Sunday, 18 January 2009

Sustainable building, day 3

It's hard to imagine a better way to finish the 'Sustainable Building' workshop than we did today.

In the morning we went to Kalisada to see to the completion of the Waste Water Garden piping in Lynda's and Glen's house. Mr Murphy forgot us today, and the works progressed very well.

The working crew went on with the pipe connections, put the tank in its place filled with water and also positioned accurately the pipe on the leach field. I was very happy to see the physics principle of communicating vessels (Prinzip der kommunizierenden Röhren :-) in action, more than two decades after learning it at school :-/. We used it to position the leach field pipe flat (not sloping) on the ground.

After Kalisada we went to Annete's place and we had a unique opportunity to reflect on one of the permaculture design principles that are harder to grasp: that of random assembly. The way I understand it, permaculture is about working towards a certain quality of life, about meeting our 'non-material needs in a sustainable way' and for this to be attained, intuition, art, our personal vision and philosophy of life join forces with scientific method and technology. (I tried it to make it sound not so cosmic, Norman!)

This is what Annette and Nyoman are doing, building Annette's wonderland.

Norman tried hard to keep us on the ground, faithful to the permaculture principles (Stay on the ground, be practical) and he asked us to interview Annette as if we were permaculture designers and she were our client. We discussed concrete solutions about the most important issues in the property, like water storage and quality. We then made a tour of the property, we finally visited the snake and the new house they are building entirely from natural materials, like earth bricks, wood, mud and thatch and we discussed a bunch of interesting ideas about natural materials and building techniques.

Since we were on a coastal area, Norman did not miss the opportunity to talk about the global warming effect on areas like this, that will probably be apparent in the not-so-distant future. Although this is quite gloomy prospect, I remember how Norman opened this workshop, by saying that 'yes, the future may not seem so bright, but there are things we can do and there are ways out of the mess we have put ourselves in. We just need to go ahead and start doing something about it!' And this is exactly what we are aiming for in the next Workshop about 'Sustainable Communities', do something about it....

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