Post Tsunami Visions
We welcome everyone to join us here to establish local working groups and a Global support network to develop and implement projects for tsunami re-construction that gives a high priority to sustainable design for Eco Living solutions that will build self reliance and livelihoods that will restore the local ecology and economy from the grass roots.
* Sri Lanka Vision - is the first project to go forward.
Key Note Message - Please Discuss Post Tsunami Visions HERE!
This Group has been created to work on the challenges of Sustainable Reconstruction? following the Tsunami Disaster?. It is unfortunate that the majority of Emergency Shelter? will create rudimentary protection from weather and which provides no climate control. Such shelters are often too hot and too cold and have crude finishes (dirt floors, flap doors and vents) that preclude any possibility of comfort and productive lives - yet some disaster refugees may remain in such primitive living conditions for years. Here is a good example of the best of such emergency shelter systems: http://www.bfi.org/shelter - this results in immediate relief but living in such environments on the long term results in debilitation and sense of hopelessness.
What is needed is a habitat that enables and empowers; it would provide the means for families to bootstrap to a better life; the habitat would build self reliance and knowledge; it would produce confidence and a way forward out of difficulties; it would be an investment that would continue to yield material and social benefits and build local resources and wealth. The habitat for sustainable living which we seek would able to exploit inexhaustible resources from the ambient environment - by using water, plants, eco systems and sun - and homes would be designed and equipped to directly capture and use such "free" and abundant resources.
At the Sola Roof Community we are ready to take on this challenge by going forward with a technology approach that is based on life science and systems for controlled ecological life support that are integrated with our buildings. Innovations and advanced materials and design provide a way forward. Technical elegance and simplicity is needed to increase efficiency and do more with less materials and resources. Our goal is also to exploit effectively ambient energy and resources that have not previously been fully utilized. The Sola Roof Goal is to create habitat that would be capable of harvesting and converting solar energy resources using the power of living plants and algae. The building itself becomes a living system that nests within the planetary ecology. Its functions are not designed only for zero environmental impact but to generate net energy above the embodied and consumed energy, positive environmental benefits, production of distributed wealth and creating well being, health and comfort. These systems should also be universally effective in hot and cold climates, arid deserts and tropical rain forests.
Working sensitivity, on site and with local materials and local people leading the process is one way of helping tsunami victims to rebuild a sustainable future. It also offer those of us in the "west" an opportunity to learn and to connect with the culture of these communities. When working with traditional methods of construction we see natural patterns more clearly so that we can harmonize our livingry technology (in Bucky's passionate vision) with nature's abundance. This means biomimicry and is the way forward with technology. Habitat is our most fundamental technology for living. When we see it destroyed by tsunami and reduced to broken debris then this is a time to rethink and rebuild our Habitat closer to natural and sustainable patterns; thus becoming more accessible and affordable to all - especially those who through disaster or poverty have not a roof over their heads.
At the Sola Roof Wiki we have been looking at the issue of whether traditional, local construction is actually able to achieve such goals. It was such structures that were completely destroyed by the tsunami disaster. Perhaps the challenge is not to repeat the patterns of the past but to seek an evolution in our concepts and methods of construction. We can honestly ask if some of our reverence for tradition simply a lack of vision for the future. The reality is that not only are disasters frequently destroying the lives of millions, but these events are likely to become more dangerous in future years because of Global Warming: http://www.stabilisation2005.com/index.html - further, it is estimated that there are currently 400,000 homeless in the world due to poverty and that by 2030 that number is projected to double. These numbers indicate that we need 30,000 new homes to be constructed each and every day just to hold position with the problem. The reality is that the gap between the have and have not populations is widening and that a large fraction of humanity is left behind.
Therefore we must start by recognizing the inadequacy of traditional building design to face the urgent challenges of this century. I feel strongly that we must be open to inventing some truly new patterns for Eco Living - thus there is a need for receptiveness for new methods to restore and renew old values. Though these innovations will be expressed in the form of new technology, such technology is not always "Hi Tech" - but most often it will be appropriate and often "Low Tech" technology that is "not out of control" and is based on truly ecological design. These "living structures" will support human life by a very high productivity of food, water, biofuel and other renewable resources. It is my view that these developments are actually the answer to the hopelessness that is expressed by many (most) of today's "experts" - as for example the Life After The Oil Crash thesis by Matt Savinar.
Unlike these experts I am confident that global problems do have solutions. The difficulty for the experts is that they cannot make the leap from problem analysis to innovative, new patterns. Take land use for example: The expert opinion is that the Biomass Crops cannot be a solution to energy supply because there is not enough land and the large energy inputs that go to growing crops. However, Mass Algae Culture proposes the renewable resources that we need can be produced solely from our urban area (only 3% of land use, or 66 million acres) by our buildings (about one trillion square feet of roof area) when they are constructed with a new approach - the efficient and productive (transparent) Building Envelope - this is a step further than Green (which is about the environment) to a Blue Green solution which is for people and their human habitation. With this approach it is possible to achieve a new level of self reliant living using ecological life support that is provided within our controlled environment structures. Then, without any need to impose agricultural and forestry and mono cultures on the landscape, which are so destructive to the natural ecology of earth, we can live without doing harm. Rather, we can focus on the positive; the restoration of nature and of wilderness. Our habitat and lifestyle will actually operate to clean and renew the air and water and build up natural ecological capacities. Our Blue Green habitats, with their own built in ecological life support can therefore interface more directly and closely with the natural environment and cultivated landscapes, including gardens and permaculture.
The Eco Sphere Project is developing a modular unit in which a synthesis of all these closed (and controlled) systems can be shown as a Arcology Vision?. It builds on the fundamental positive directions mapped by Paolo and Bucky by enclosing within a light tensegrity dodecahedron structure a complete demonstration of such life synthesis. These Eco Sphere modules would form interconnected arcs and clusters of intersecting "great circles" forming dome like Arcologies. The controlled environment spaces are within the 3D structure of the arcs and clusters, while modified environment spaces can be managed below (especially under the dome like clusters) or, the natural landscape can be built over, but almost undisturbed.
Traditional buildings can co-exist with this new Arcology Vision? and it is not necessary to see an immediate application of an Arcology Vision? to most situations. However, the vast amount of new construction that is needed for both poor (for example the 400 million homeless will increase to 800 million by 2020 on present trends) and rich communities (California's residential growth is projected to expand 40% in the next ten years) indicates that it is a breakthrough in building methods that is needed if we are to avoid crushing the planetary ecology under the heavy footprint of humanity. A growing percentage of people will desire to shift from the old to the new Eco Living? paradigm.
Perhaps new communities will be built in a dense "ribbon style" Arcology will be born out of this new Eco Living? solution that will be a synthesis of man and nature - to reach the supernatural. It would be a non intrusive web of human habitat resting lightly upon the landscape - no heavy footprint that obliterates. Our built environment must have proximity of various forms and layers of nature: the intensive rural, the extensive rural, the shared natural, the protected natural. Franz Nahrada said, in this context: "Permaculture and many other ways show that humans can immensely increase their cooperation with nature and also gain from it while nature gains. Humans orchestrating natures cycles so species survive instead of being extinct."
As this pattern becomes is adopted universally (adaptation to local cultures and conditions is guaranteed by our DIY grass roots method) the negative trends will be arrested and then rolled back - something that no other proposal is offering. A vast rate of removal of CO 2 from the atmosphere is possible through the Global Warming Solution, a concept that is independent of "land" since it uses our building envelopes. Using no more than the building envelope area required by our residential habitat (although all structures are adaptable) we can be self reliant in terms of liquid fuel replacement (all diesel and gasoline). The algae, so produced, is 50% vegetable oil by weight and would be separated and processed into Bio Diesel and other natural by products resulting in dense CO 2 storage as a sequestration solution.
The Eco Sphere Arcology? is a high profile "futuristic" concept that would bring attention and interest to the paradigm shift - but solaroof can also be incorporated in low profile solutions that can be so integrated that the roof is practically invisible (and it is transparent) and has a more subtle presence. As a tsunami reconstruction project, an initiative of this quality will be a powerful grass roots example for world transformation that can be applied to fight poverty and save the environment all around the world. This is a mission of hope that will play a key role in building a sustainable future (of our dreams) and avoiding the overshoot and collapse scenario (of our nightmares).
This global transformation is reflected in local and personal transformations of our home environment, communities and lifestyle - this is the reason why we need a tremendous capacity to support personal action and to make our ICT tools accessible, affordable and adaptable. They will support DIY methods that empower our enduser community and will engage a vast number enthusiasts who will form our collaborative and interactive development community. There will also be a strong and growing "group" and enterprise network that will prosper in the Open Source business environment. If Open Coop, in partnership with other very significant Open Source enterprises, can create the right environment - then on a social level I can promise that a significant and rapidly growing Global community is ready and "actively" waiting for these systems to empower a global shift in lifestyle.
It is a match of needs and tools to meet those needs that is destined to restore hope and capacity and will banish worries of scarcity and conflict while rooting out the actual causes of poverty. No doubt I have belabored my message - since I know that you are all well informed and moving in the same direction.. However, many people can only see dead end avenues ahead and there are to many predictions that even greater disaster is inevitable - so I just want to make sure that it is clear that our community has seen the light at the end of the tunnel and we are proving that a way forward is at hand and within reach of everyone. The Sola Roof Community will appreciate the challenge of working with your team on the tsunami reconstruction with a sense of great urgency to move rapidly from present constraints and limitations - we can do this by working together in a community of collaboration.
I hope that this introduction and background information will be helpful. I am always available to answer questions.