A recent visit to northern NSW to deliver an EcoBuilding On A Shoestring Workshop, using sawn timber and peter-posts, took a strange twist on-site. The site seemed to be asking for something different!
How did I know this? Well, a general lack of preparedness despite the good intentions of the organisers; a very strong earth energy dimension to the location; a sensitivity to the history of the place which has seen literally hundreds of people come there and see their dreams fade to nothing; a feeling of having to listen and interpret the invisible dimensions of what was being attempted; etc. etc. In the end I was inspired to suggest we build octagonal EconoSpaces using poles instead of sawn timber.
Result? Almost thirty people working tirelessly and harmoniously over three days to make it happen. Amazing! So inspired am I that my good friend Anthony Santamaria and myself are going to build one here in central Vic – with a reciprocal roof – and run a workshop demonstrating how exactly you can make one for yourself. In addition we are going to keep the cost at rock-bottom!
Details of the Octagonal EconoSpace Workshop will be published in the September Sheltermaker.
LIFE IS EASY – WHY DO WE MAKE IT SO HARD?
Watch this inspirational presentation which connects us with the most important thing we all have and share – time. Time to live. Time to laugh. Time to make life easy for ourselves. Time to understand who we are and where we are going.
When we sell our time we lose the potential to live our lives fully and, most importantly, to build our homes in the image of who we really are.
Contrast that to this …
HOMELESSNESS ON THE RISE IN USA
Despite working every day, one US mother has ended up in a shelter – and she is not alone as situation worsens.
So, here you have it. The incontrovertible truth – how the Market Economy Game is played. By controlling access to the shelter we need to maintain our aliveness and by pedaling FEAR. So, even selling our precious time as part of this game is oftentimes not enough to satisfy the insatiable growth the system demands to satisfy its greediness.
This Chinese man has his own unique sheltermaking solution – a house he can carry on his back.
When building a house in Ireland some years ago I encouraged the client to ‘dedicate’ the timber frame before it was closed in. She proceeded to inscribe on it the words ‘Nil aon tinteán mar do thinteán fein’. This translates as ‘there’s no fireside like one’s own fireside’ which neatly captures the feeling of the hearth as the vital centre of our lives.
The nature of such feelings form the basis of the ‘living’ architecture I have taught and practised for over twenty years. The premise of this is quite simple – our homes are an extension of our lives, a large scale representation of who we are. The hearth supplies warmth and vitality as well as facilitating emotional engagement with the world. While the home’s role in providing for people’s physical needs is well known, its role in providing emotional sustenance is less obvious but nonetheless understood.
PRIVATE CITY PROPOSAL DIVIDES GUETAMALA
Guatemala is building its first private city. Its architects say the project is part of a movement to create more liveable communities. But critics say it is an attempt to separate the rich from the poor.
Hmm … this, undoubtedly, is a glimpse of the future!
HOW BUILDING YOUR OWN HOME CAN AWAKEN YOUR SURVIVAL INSTINCTS
by Derry Nairn
Published in Permaculture UK magazine
“Anyone here from the planning office?”
A malevolent grumble dashes around the room – planners are not the most popular breed in County Wicklow – before we are shown a house that successfully, and, I might add, legally, circumvented the pitfalls of local building regulation.
This event, marketed as “Eco-building on a Shoestring”, has attracted approximately thirty people to a requisitioned primary school classroom near Dunlavin in Co. Wicklow. If those attending are anything like myself, this is exactly what they came to hear. Not only is Ireland now stocked with empty and half-finished houses – the so-called ghost estates – it is also, perversely, a very expensive place to pay rent. We are nothing if not rich in people struggling to find affordable accommodation. And so the dream of the self-builder remains a powerful one.
ECONOSPACE UP FOR SAVE OUR PLANET AWARD
Ciara Barrett & Gareth Phelan who designed, obtained planning permission for and self-built two conjoined EconoSpaces for their mortgage-free home in Co. Sligo have been nominated in Ecological Building section for a Save Our Planet Award.
IRISH LAND OWNERSHIP
That other great factor which impels the sheltermaking process is access to land. While it is relatively easy to build a low-cost eco-home, access to [affordable] land on which to construct such dreams is a key issue.
Recently a 300-year-old map detailing the gradual transfer of landownership in Ireland from Catholics to Protestants went online. The Down Survey of Ireland, which has been uploaded by the history department in Trinity College, was undertaken by the Cromwellian regime between 1656 and 1658.
The survey introduced Ireland to methods of modern mapping and created the first recognisable maps of the country. The survey was the first ever detailed mapping project on a national level and measured all estates that were forfeited by Catholic landowners.
Even when returned to native Irish ownership, the hegomony of Planning Laws, which are part of the Market Economy Game, hamper peoples aspirations to live a truly sustainable life.
YEMEN’S MUD CITY OF SHIBAM
Known as the Manhattan of the desert, this timeless city on the southern tip of Arabian Peninsula rises high with ancient structures that blend perfectly into the landscape. Click HERE, for a cool video of this amazing city.
CARBON BUBBLE WILL PLUNGE THE WORLD INTO ANOTHER FINANCIAL CRISIS
The world could be heading for a major economic crisis as stock markets inflate an investment bubble in fossil fuels to the tune of trillions of dollars, according to leading economists.
“The financial crisis has shown what happens when risks accumulate unnoticed,” said Lord (Nicholas) Stern, a professor at the London School of Economics. He said the risk was “very big indeed” and that almost all investors and regulators were failing to address it.
The so-called “carbon bubble” is the result of an over-valuation of oil, coal and gas reserves held by fossil fuel companies. According to a report published on Friday, at least two-thirds of these reserves will have to remain underground if the world is to meet existing internationally agreed targets to avoid the threshold for “dangerous” climate change. If the agreements hold, these reserves will be in effect unburnable and so worthless – leading to massive market losses . But the stock markets are betting on countries’ inaction on climate change.
by Féile Butler
I do not have an electric fridge. My milk does not go sour. My food stays fresh. Is it a miracle? What is this wonderful eco-technological breakthrough? It is Granny Wisdom. It is a well ventilated
(un-mechanically), well-located cupboard built from materials which store the cold.
When people visit the house, the fridge is one of the things that really impresses them. When we explain how it works and that it was inspired by Granny’s meat store and pantry, a light goes off for so many of our visitors. They remember a similar set-up in their grandparents’ homes and how effective it was …
I ♥ SLIME MOLDS
The humble slime mold is neither fungus nor animal, but has characteristics of both. One cell can grow up to 3 meters (about 9 feet) long. Indeed, slime molds are undoubtedly the most amazing organism on the planet even though they don’t have brains, but can solve mazes and build highways.
These simple organisms are, frankly, changing what we mean when we talk about intelligence. Slime molds, through secretions of ooze, can detect “memories,” which keeps the organism from backtracking on its quest for food and water. In a study on Physarum polycephalum, the slime mold proved it could solve a simple maze by laying down a slime trail and detecting those chemical signals.
A corner of west London has seen culinary and scientific history made when scientists cooked and served up the world’s first lab-grown beef burger!
The in-vitro burger, cultured from cattle stem cells, the first example of what its creator says could provide an answer to global food shortages and help combat climate change, was fried in a pan and served to two volunteers. Feedback? Delicious!
If that doesn’t get your taste buds going how about this?
INSECT EATING CAN SOLVE WORLD FOOD CRISIS
A new United Nations report say the health benefits of consuming nutritious insects could help fight obesity and world hunger.
More than 1,900 species of insects are eaten around the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, but people in the West generally turn their noses up at the likes of grasshoppers, termites and other crunchy fare.
The authors of the study, which was published on Monday, by the Forestry Department, part of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), said many insects contained the same amount of protein and minerals as meat and more healthy fats doctors recommend in balanced diets.