I recently got an email from Sunny Tsai, a Chinese professor of architecture (now retired) with an update on a lovely meditation dome he and some 1400 Buddhist volunteers have just completed in Taiwan. He says that “To reach my idea of carbon reduction and sustainability, I avoided using all kinds of industrial materials and used only a minute quantity of cement. The dome is 6 meters in diameter. To people’s surprise, the interior space looks so wide and comfortable. It’s super cool and the Monks can enjoy the atmosphere of quite and peacefulness. One summer day at noon we surveyed the temperature, and found a 6 degree (Centigrade) difference between the interior and outdoors.”
I have posted a page about this project at earthbagbuilding.com where you can see lots more photos of the dome being built.
“The unit takes one person two days to construct, one day to install, and costs under $100. The temperature inside the unit easily reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a 50-degree day, and can be blown into the house using a fan that pulls less electricity than a light bulb.”
It is my honor to introduce Dr. Jerry Epps, my friend’s poverty reduction plan. He helped inspire me as I developed the Take it to Zero and Rosetta Interactive Library projects (both still in early start-up stages) as I helped inspire his Recipe for Hope project.
“The goal of Recipe for Hope is to End Poverty (at least 80% or more of it) by creating the economic conditions that enable families to have more money to spend and thereby move out of poverty into the working class.
Author believes there is no good reason for widespread poverty existing in the world—no reason for having entire countries be extremely poor. All that is lacking is political will to change it. Author suggests ending poverty one “Target Area” at a time. Area leaders, primarily in business, come together in an Exploratory Group to choose a Target Area in which to promote and apply the model. Dr. Epps coaches the Exploratory Group in model application.
The Recipe for Hope model applies four poverty-ending activities.
1) Macro activity focuses on investment, job creation, and market analysis/demand creation.
2) Microbusiness activity aims to assist people with entrepreneurial spirit to start microbusinesses.
3) Methods for abundant food production: rural farming and urban gardening.
4) Skills Training in construction trades, car and motorcycle repair, and computer.
When I read a certain book last year (War Front To Store Front, Brinkley, Paul, 2014), I had a major insight: there really is no good reason that we have major poverty in the world—we just have undeveloped economic units! Brinkley worked in Iraq before the current president pulled the US out. In 5 years there he created hundreds of thousands of jobs for Iraqis, introduced a modern banking system (allowing interface with the international banking system), developed resources, supported green farming methods etc. and economically revitalized much of the region.
If Brinkley and 5 good assistants went to any poor country in the developing world, and had $3 million for seed money, and spent 3 years there, they would turn a poverty country into a viable economic production unit participating in the world market!! They would employ the current jobless masses. Brinkley knows how to make it happen! But others can do it too. If the will is there, business leaders can get rid of most poverty by economic development. There will always be some poor, but widespread poverty can become obsolete. And add to that the wonderful land restoration activities taking place all over the planet—barren lands restored to abundant grasslands in just 3 years, etc. There is good documentation for this.”
“When this was a lawn, we had to work very hard to keep weeds under control. Now that it’s a vegetable garden, we do next to nothing.
Today I talk about how we turned a high maintenance lawn with a seemingly insurmountable weed problem into a productive low-maintenance vegetable garden where weeds are, at worst, a minor inconvenience.
“Weedy” Annuals That Out Compete Weeds: 1) Mustard Greens 2) Arugula 3) Red Orach 4) Amaranth
“Weedy” Edible Perennials that Out Compete Weeds: 1) Red Veined Sorrel 2) Egyptian Walking Onions 3) Chives 4) Oregano
One Yard Revolution is all about growing a lot of food on a little land using sustainable organic methods, while keeping costs and labor at a minimum. Emphasis is placed on improving soil quality with compost, mulch, and compost tea. No store-bought fertilizers, soil amendments, pesticides, compost activators, etc. are used.”
One Yard Revolution is a good gardening channel. The videos are short and well edited. Soo many videos have terrible sound quality, etc. so it’s great to see well made videos.
The goal of do-thing gardening becomes more important as the size of the garden increases. You quickly reach a point (like our garden) where many typical gardening methods aren’t practical. That’s where composting in place and growing lots of soil building plants really shine.
“Earthships can be built to create fantastic survival shelters. This simple shelter is being constructed in Te Puke (New Zealand) as part of a training program aimed at teaching survivors of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu how to construct these robust buildings for their communities.”
More info on this project here: http://www.livingbiginatinyhouse.com/survival-shelter-earthship/ YouTube
We don’t often report on earthship projects since they’re so much more labor intensive than earthbags. However, this project is interesting, and if adapted to earthbags then it could be practical enough to catch on. As I keep saying, if you’re planning to build with tires, do a simple test to compare ramming one tire and one earthbag. There’s about 10-fold difference in time and labor. Multiply that times hundreds of tires and … well, you get the idea. (Actually I’m surprised people are still building with tires. It seems like people would have figured out by now how much extra work is involved. Example – the plaster work alone would take 2-3 times longer than plastering an earthbag house due to the huge spaces between tires that have to be filled.) You can build an earthship type house with earthbags and still get all the water collection and solar features for off grid living.
I was recently interviewed for How 2 Build Green: The Sustainability Podcast by Adam Fries, the podcast’s host and creator. It was a lot of fun and though I had a pretty serious head cold at the time, I think it came out pretty well! You can check it out for yourself by clicking here. We discussed straw bale from several angles, but more importantly, we spoke about what it means to be green in our lives as part of building and beyond.
There are some other great folks on the podcast list as well. For example, Chris Magwood and Michael Reynolds whom I imagine you have all heard of. Enjoy!
Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat has greatly improved from the older version shown here.
Today’s news is reposted from my favorite blog — E-Cat World.com. It’s a story I’ve been following closely for several years because it is world changing technology. For those who don’t know, Rossi now has major investors and is half way through a successful year-long test of an industrial sized reactor in a commercial plant. This patent will help protect his IP and attract the major funding he needs to bring his cold fusion reactor to market.
“Mats Lewan has posted on his Impossible Invention blog that Andrea Rossi has been granted a US Patent. [See book summary below.]
This should be a very significant event in terms of replication of the “Rossi Effect”. There have been a number of efforts already by people who have studied Rossi’s statements, E-Cat test reports, and the work of other replicators like Alexander Parkhomov [plus a major lab in China]. Now we have some important new details that should help replicators — and I am sure new replicators will get in the game now.