Welcome to my Mahara portfolio! I am working towards a Master of Science in the Open Topic program with GaiaU starting in summer 2016, which builds on the inspiration and learnings from the BSc in „Integrative Ecosocial Design“ I completed. Here you will find a brief biography, overview of my project work, professional portfolio and more information about my learning pathway, output packet (OP) work and contribution to the GaiaU community

My online portfolio serves to:

  • Document my learning pathway, study program and skillflex development
  • Give an overview of my project work, patterns, key outcomes and output packets
  • Review and harvest design application, processes and un/learning experiences
  • Benefit the community, wider field and share useful methods, practices and resources
  • Share the story of my transformation, challenges, insights and learning edges

I want to harvest the experiences of my studies in order to contribute to building and strengthening the learning community, knowledge commons and sustainability field. The intention for this profile page is to be a welcoming entry to access all my GaiaU work and a platform for inspiration, sharing and networking. I hope my portfolio will be of use and value for fellow associates, the GaiaU online community, reviewers, friends and people in the wider ecosocial field.

Thank you for taking the time and I hope you enjoy exploring my work. Please feel free to contact me via email at Laura@be-the-change.de for questions, feedback or collaboration. I would love to hear from you!

In community and service to the earth, Laura :-)

Integral Design


Emergent Pathway


Photo taken at the lake "Ammersee" in South Germany during winter time. It reminds me of choosing to trust life, follow my calling and walk the invisible un/learning pathway, where each next step emerges in the process.


Notes for Reviewers

This profile page is part of the online portfolio using the web technology Mahara to document all my GaiaU work from the action learning cycles of both my BSc pre- and capstone phase over the time from fall 2012 until 2015 as well as my MSc program.

You can access my output work from the links below in the OP section, clicking on the title will open the report in a new browser tab. The OP is read from the first to the last page from commentary/specification, core report (consisting of multiple pages) to supportive evidence (un/learning journal and process reflections). For navigation please follow the tabs at the top or click “continue report” button at the bottom of each page.

Some of the mixed media is externally housed on google drive for various documents, xmind for mindmaps, prezi for presentations, youtube for videos or picasa/flickr for images and graphics. For the best viewing experience, especially larger mindmaps or smaller images, follow the link (double click or full screen button) and open the respective website in a new browser tap. Furthermore, external resources, links and graphics are referenced in the footnotes of each page, in addition to an annotated resource review in the supportive evidence.

All PoDAPO review forms of my personal, peer and professional feedback are located on the first page (and “welcome” 2nd page for my OP4) in the comments section at the bottom of the output packet. The pro reviews are written by my main advisor Jennifer Morgan and during my BSc by Nicole Vosper and for OPs prior to April 2014 Elke Loepthien.

Thanks for your time. Any feedback is much appreciated.

Profile Picture


Contact Information

  • Name: Laura Kaestele
  • City/Region: Ammersee/Munich, Bavaria
  • Country: Germany and TRAVELING ;-)
  • Email Address: Laura@be-the-change.de
  • Skype Username: lacha-luinil

About Me

Coming from Germany I moved to a small intentional eco-community as a teenager and then lived there about three years. We were located in an old farm house next to a beautiful nature reservation with a foundation for research and education in sustainable living and exploring a life-supporting, more connected culture. My time in community brought a lot of learning in sustainable living, gardening, building and crafting, communication, emotional healing, circle culture, teamwork and leadership.

This was a life-changing experience and shift in my personal life, which lead me to my passion and pathway of ecosocial regeneration. With this inspiration I made a decision to focus my entire life on earth care, co-creating a regenerative human culture and supporting holistic transformation. For the past more than three years I have lived as an intentional nomad traveling in Europe and SE Asia to explore, learn, work and live at various ecovillages, permaculture projects and farms.

I am a nature lover, action learner and life explorer with a deep care for planet and people. I am moved by the pain of destruction and separation on earth and the consequences of our current patriarchal-capitalist worldview and lifestyle. Feeling through the pain I discovered my love for life and Gaia underneath and found an incredible motivation, power and dedication to be a change agent. This power from the heart drives me to live my values, learn and acquire skills, connect with others, go beyond my comfort zone explore and embody the love and care I feel for planet and people.

It drives me towards the edge of modern society and to explore what alternative possibilities of living emerge beyond.Being an associate with GaiaU has empowered and liberated me in following my vision and exploring my interests in an academic, project and professional context. The university supports me to reflect, design and take action to leverage the positive impact of my work and I can thrive in the liberating structure and self-directed, responsible learning in GaiaU.

The mission is to bring forth an ecologically regenerative, personally fulfilling and socially just human presence.As a result my whole life is a dynamic un/learning journey ofdeveloping my BEING, doing and knowing as an edgeworker and cultural creative to contribute to connection, healing and regeneration on earth.I am committed to co-creating the more beautiful and connected world my heart knows is possible. I embody evolution, clarity, connection, creativity, vitality and teamwork.


Project Work

I want to present a summary of my work to offer a clear orientation and share some thematic highlights of my project and professional experiences. This serves as background information for better understanding my story and the projects documented in my output packets. Over the past several years I have engaged in various ecosocial fields and personal & world transformation exploring regeneration and the story of connection in the emerging new culture. My intention is to gain knowledge, experience and skills as well as growing as a person to become an effective, planetary-conscious designer co-creating a regenerative human culture.

  • Permaculture – Permaculture ethics, principles and design application for land-based projects, soil and plant health, water management, food forests, organic gardening and nature restoration
  • People Care – Ecovillage design and development, creative collaboration, participatory leadership, facilitation, organisational development, governance and empathic communication
  • Regenerative Economics – Thriving right livelihood, alternative economic systems, socially-conscious entrepreneurship and regenerative, shar(e)conomy, work exchange and cooperative business models
  • Nature Connection – Deep ecology, nature connection, living with the land and people, practical skills of building, crafting and creating and simple, sustainable living
  • Personal Transformation – Conscious transition, healing and empowerment, emotional competence, self-observation, acceptance, sensitivity, worldview awareness and feedback culture
  • Design Thinking – System thinking and emergent, collaborative design using a variety of design principles, models and methods with applications for my project work, action learning, professional development and life

Love for Action Learning

My action learning cycles have been an incredible rich, insightful, transformative and diverse three years with massive un/learning in ecosocial regeneration and personal & professional empowerment. Expanding my being, doing and knowing in life and learning happening every day. I love action learning and thrive in the liberating support network of GaiaU!

The portfolio is an opportunity to harvest, weave and integrate the many un/learning threads of my pathway into one lively tapestry of who I have become as an action learner, ecosocial designer, nature lover, project collaborator and life explorer. Overall, I have expanded my practical knowledge about ecosocial regeneration, permaculture, community building, nature connection, design and system thinking, collaboration, leadership, personal transformation and professional development.

Please take a look at the action learning cycle graphic for a clear overview of the main areas of my un/learning, conscious engagement and perennial interests. Together these experiences form stepping stones in my life-learning journey and creation of a thriving right livelihood. A path I will continue to walk with inspiration, clarity, creativity and love for the planet and people.

Professional Bio

Laura Kaestele is an inspirational, young eco-social designer with a passion for holistic design and planetary regeneration. This lead her to explore practical solutions, lived examples and inspirational leaders in various ecosocial field since the age of sixteen. She completed a Bachelor of Science in “Integrative Ecosocial Design” at Gaia University International, an un-institution for action learning, human transformation and ecological regeneration.

Laura currently works as a designer, facilitator and project collaborator in integrative design, community development, ecological regeneration, applied permaculture, project management and sustainable living bringing six years of practical knowledge in the ecosocial field. Besides, she serves as a mentor for Gaia University as well as a facilitator and organizer in the European core team of NextGEN, the youth ecovillage initiative. Being actively engaged in the Global Ecovillage Network, Permaculture Movement and Gaia University Laura learns and works in various eco-projects, communities and permaculture farms.

She has visited and worked at more than twenty-five places over the past three years and supported them with her enthusiasm, collaborative competence, clarity, design thinking and practical knowledge to thrive, evolve and have a greater positive impact. With the combination of these diverse experiences and skills the goal is to build a successful, regenerative livelihood as an eco-social designer following her heart vision and commitment for creating a thriving regenerative culture.

Here is a link to my professional resume updated in summer 2016 for further information.

Advising Services

I have had the great joy and learning opportunity of being an advisor since December 2015 after undertaking the GaiaU advisor training with Jennifer Morgan English and a fantastic team. I am able to support Bachelor and Diploma associates in their learning journey with GaiaU. My role as a main advisor is to accompany associates in their pathway as well as to offer support and guidance for design, project and program management, documentation, OP creation and provide feedback. My intention is to empower associates in their personal, project, professional and academic development. One of the aspects I enjoy most about advising is the dynamic feedback culture and the human-centred, collaborative quality of these mentoring relationships.

Main areas of interest and competence and were I can offer support are:

  • Design Thinking – One of my most refined learning edges is emergent, systemic and creative design to gracefully manage the complexity and effectively intervene in projects, environments, communities and life. I have applied various ecosocial design principles, models and methods as well as developing my own design patterns and processes. All human beings are designers and I empower associates to use it for the greatest benefit and become more conscious, strategic and clear in design theory and practice.
    Action Learning – I am a passionate learner myself always expanding my knowledge and skills while integrating un/learnings from all life experiences with experience in different learning models, tools and integrated systems. I mentor associates to embrace action learning cycles, patterns and support to make the most out of their GaiaU program while harvesting learning from their life and projects.
  • Project Collaboration – Combining diverse skill-flexes and practical experience in participatory leadership and group processes, social designing, community building, organisational development, creative (online) collaboration, project management, communication, listening and facilitation tools such as Open Space, World Café, Circles, Appreciative Inquiry, Collective Mind-Mapping, (Graphic) Harvesting and more.
  • Permaculture – With experience in land-based design mainly garden, smallholding and farm-scale in temperate and partly in tropical climate and working in areas of soil health, food production, water management, forest gardening, natural building and nature restoration. Moreover, I have applied permaculture design and principles in social projects, including communities, grassroot organisations or educational systems.

If you are interested in arranging skillflex advising session please email me at Laura@be-the-change.de

Contribution to the GaiaU Community

Creating Knowledge Commons

Coming up here is a collection of my other contributions to the Gaia community, where I share my thinking, practical knowledge, methods and tools. Please note that all three pages are work in progress, thus have and will be further developed along my learning journey and whenever I find the time to add more information and explanation in order to make it understandable and relevant for fellow associates and readers.

Interactive and evolving design resource, knowledge and sharing space for building emergent and participatory ecosocial design skills and competence

Collection of some of my favourite design tools including permaculture ethics, design principles, patterns, processes, models and mehtods that I have successfully applied during my Bachlor studies with GaiaU

Sharing the social permaculture flower I created and a newly developed set of people care principles inspired by (social) permaculture, Possibility Management and collaboration experiences as well as a brief collection of social models and tools

Published GaiaU Blog Articles

Map of Un/Learning Edges


This hand-drawn graphic is inspired by the art of harvesting and practice of graphical recording. It was created as part of my learning review for the first action learning cycle, the pre-capstone phase of my BSc, with GaiaU.


These are a few impressions to capture some of my latest project work in ecological regeneration, design, community organizing and natural building. These photos are mainly taken at the permaculture farm and education center Rak Tamachat in Thailand and the ecovillage conference and NextGEN activities at ZEGG ecovillage in Germany.

Action Learning Cycles



Capstone Phase

  • Mid-Cycle Presentation - Project Review about Collaborative Leadership --> Prezi Presentation
  • End-Cycle Presentation - Learnings about Empowerment, Design and Regeneration --> Prezi Presentation

Pre-Capstone Phase

  • Mid-Cycle Presentation - Project Review about Designing a Community Work Mandala --> Prezi Presentation
  • End-Cycle Presentation - Review of my Transformative Action Learning Journey --> Prezi Presentation

Gaia Radio Call Co-Facilitation

All Gaia Community Call

  • AGC - Worldview Transformation from Separation to Connection

     Call Recording and Prezi Presentation

  • AGC - The Power of Conscious Feelings

      Call Recording and Prezi Presentation

  • AGC - Emergent Design Theory and Practice

      Call Recording

Content Call

  • CC - Tools and Models for Design

      Call Recording and Google Presentation

Furthermore I was part of the PoDAPO call series on Gaia Radio with Jennifer Morgan and Kate Marnul, contributed to four calls and helped design and document the conversations. Finally, I have co-facilitated two more Radio Call in the design series with Jennifer Morgan about builing design knowledge commons and participatory emergent design, where we also shared and interacted with the emergent design hub on the GEL site.

Laura Kaestele's friends

42 friends

Laura Kaestele's wall

Hi Laura, would you allow me to post any more of you pro-reviewed OPs to the Associate's Gallery of OPs? found here - http://portfolios.gaiauniversity.org/view/view.php?t=S6K3X1F0Hpvb2kPUoxlZ - I would just need the secret URLs of the ones you would like to share. Its great work!
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