From Smart Planet

Ben Keene and James Strawbridge ready and waiting at the Eden Project

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The Tribewanted project, begun in 2006, saw more than 1,400 people sign up to form an online and offline community on the Fijian island of Vorovoro, while BBC Two followed it in a multi-part documentary. The idea was to create a simple, sustainable village. Tomorrow, ‘Tribewanted: Live’, a spin-off of the original project-cum-social-networking site, launches in Cornwall, bringing the island project closer to home.

This time around it’s just a weekend instead of an ongoing project, and it will be dedicated to teaching people about sustainable living. Co-founder Ben Keene says it’ll give people a chance to get away from their urban lives and see how sustainable living can be applied to them. “Tribewanted is all about learning from each other in a participatory way,” he says.

The weekend will be held at the home of James Strawbridge, best known for his environmentally friendly and sustainable exploits on the BBC TV programme It’s Not Easy Being Green. ‘Tribewanted: Live’ also includes a trip to SmartPlanet fave, the Eden Project.

It’s nice to see an event like this on home soil — Fiji was a bit far-flung, and Keene recognises that. “Many members have visited the island, helping build the communities there, but many are also well aware of the environmental cost of travelling to Fiji so we wanted to try and bring some of that experience closer to home,” he says.

Tribewanted is also celebrating winning Best Social Networking Site at the Broadcast Digital Channel Awards, beating the likes of Myspace and Skins from E4. “It seems a bit ridiculous that something about living on an island wins a digital award,” says Ben. “But it shows social media isn’t all about numbers and how many friends you have. It’s about the depth of the network and the relationships people have built.”

The Tribewanted team hope the Cornwall event will be the first of many, with one in the Lake District planned at the end of June, and some further afield projects in Amsterdam and New Zealand in the pipeline.