Posts Tagged ‘environment

04
Feb
09

garbage architecture

THAILAND-TEMPLE/

Thai monks from the Sisaket province have used over one million recycled glass 
bottle to construct their Buddhist temple. Mindfulness is at the center of the 
Buddhist discipline and the dedication and thoughtfulness required to build 
everything from the toilets to their crematorium from recycled bottles shows 
what creativity and elbow grease can accomplish.

The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple is about 400 miles northeast of Bangkok in 
the city of Khun Han close to the Cambodian border. Using Heineken bottles 
(green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown) the monks were able to clean up the 
local pollution and create a useful structure that will be a visual reminder 
to the scope of pollution and the potential we can make with limber minds.

The water tower and tourist bathrooms are even made from beer bottle litter. 
The monks were able to have the local people bring them the building materials 
which beautifully reflect the Thai sun.

the greenUPGRADER has several pictures of the recent buddhist temple in Thailand.

Of course this isn’t the first glass bottle building. In this picture you can see friends making some more empties available for building with at Rhyolite, Nevada in Death Valley. How’s that for ruffin’ it? Go to the desert and drink your way to shelter. No wonder its a ghost town.

bottle1

“In the old ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada, a saloon owner named Tom Kelly, built a house out of bottles because lumber was scarce at the time. Reportedly he used some 50,000 beer, whiskey, soda and medicine bottles to build the structure which still stands today. Mr. Kelley was 76 years old when he built the house and it took him almost six months to complete.”

It is not surprising that the monks had used Heineken bottles as Alfred Heineken in 1960 had devised the ‘World Bottle’ or WOBO for short. As the story goes, Alfred Heineken had an epiphany while on a world tour of Heineken factories. When Heineken was on the Caribbean island of Curacao in 1960 he saw many bottles littering the beach due to the fact that the island had no economic means of returning the bottles to the bottling plants from which they had come. He was also concerned with the lack of affordable building materials and the inadequate living conditions plaguing Curacao’s lower-class. Envisioning a solution for these problems, he found a dutch architect John Habraken to design what he called “a brick that holds beer.”

wobo_5
Over the next three years, the Heineken WOBO went through a design process. Some of the early designs were of interlocking and self-aligning bottles. The idea sprung from the belief that the need for mortar would add complexity and expense to the bottle wall’s simplicity and affordability. Some designs proved to be effective building materials but too heavy and slow-forming to be economically produced. Other designs were rejected by Heineken based on aesthetic preferences. In the end, the bottle that was selected was a compromise between the previous designs.

The bottle was designed to be interlocking, laid horizontally and bonded with cement mortar with a silicon additive. A 10 ft x 10 ft shack would take approximately 1,000 bottles to build. In 1963, 100,000 WOBO’s were produced in two sizes, 350 and 500 mm. This size difference was necessary in order to bond the bottles when building a wall, in the same way as a half brick is necessary when building with bricks.Unfortunately most of them are destroyed and no bottles are left. They are very rare and become a collectors item.

Only two WOBO structures exist and they are both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk, near Amsterdam. The first was a small shed which had a corrugated iron roof and timber supports where the builder could not work out how to resolve the junction between necks and bases running in the same direction. Later, a timber double garage was renovated with WOBO siding. Alfred Heineken did not develop the WOBO concept further and the idea never got a chance to materialize.

The lack of support for the WOBO idea didn’t slow bottle buildings from popping up. I remember visiting the George Plumb’s ‘Glass Castle’ near Duncan, BC. Which was destroyed to make way for highway expansion. I still have some classic bottles from there before it was cleared away. 

If you wanted you could build your own earthship using bottles, tyres, and other recycled materials. You could maybe even build a place at the Earthship Landing Zone in Taos, New Mexico.

02c

With the economic crisis I’m sure we will see more people pushed to the fringe and become desperate and build shelter with whatever is available where they are. Check out UNHOUSED for links and papers on squatting, madhousers, slum tv and Zero Yen Houses.

12
Jan
09

NASA warns of large radiation storm 2011?

the register

 

A study funded by NASA has flagged up yet another terrible hazard for those no longer able to get excited about nuclear war, global pandemics, terrorism, climate change, economic meltdown and asteroid strike. Top space brainboxes say that even if the human race survives all those, there is a serious risk of civilisation being brought crashing to its knees by a sudden high-intensity solar radiation storm.

solar_storm

In essence, the report, which can be downloaded in pdf here (free registration required) says that sooner or later there will be a solar storm much more powerful than any seen so far in the age of high technology. Such events have occurred in the past, but as the human race then had very basic electrical power grids (or none at all) and made no use of satellites, it didn’t matter.

The next space radiation biggy, however, will hit a human civilisation which is becoming more and more dependent on satellites for essential communication and navigation tasks, and whose electrical grids are much more widespread and heavily stressed. The impact of a bad geomagnetic spike would be somewhat as though an unbelievably powerful electromagnetic pulse bomb – of the sort favoured by movie villains but not yet available – had gone off:

While a severe storm is a low-frequency-of-occurrence event, it has the potential for long-duration catastrophic impacts to the power grid and its users. Impacts would be felt on interdependent infrastructures, with, for example, potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in about 12-24 hours; and immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply, and so on …Open access on the transmission system has fostered the transport of large amounts of energy across the power system in order to maximize the economic benefit of delivering the lowest-cost energy to areas of demand. The magnitude of power transfers has grown, and the risk is that the increased level of transfers, coupled with multiple equipment failures, could worsen the impacts of a storm event …

In summary, present U.S. grid operational procedures … are unlikely to be adequate for historically large disturbance events.

The impact on satellites would be even more severe, as spacecraft have less shielding from the Earth’s atmosphere – and in some cases from the magnetosphere. In particular, the present Global Positioning System (GPS) sat constellation, used by almost every navigation system in the world, is regarded as highly vulnerable to a solar event – though new satellites are to go up shortly equipped with a backup signal which will allow errors to be bowled out.

In general, however, the assembled brainboxes considered that a solar event was a much greater threat to essential space infrastructure than any evil foreign power – for instance – could possibly be. The US military has previously warned of the risk of a “space Pearl Harbour” – a devastating surprise attack against America’s space presence, which could leave the world’s sole superpower blinded and crippled. According to the National Academy, though, the USA should forget about a space Pearl Harbour and worry instead about “a space Katrina, a storm that we should have been prepared for but were not”.

I guess we should be working on our force fields.

16
Oct
08

EnCana pipeline attacked in northern bc

from: CBC 

Oct 15, 2008

Former CSIS strategist David Harris says a weekend explosion near the town of Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. fits the description of terrorism, despite police statements to the contrary.

Sometime overnight Saturday, someone detonated a large explosion next to the sour gas pipeline about 50 kilometres from the B.C.-Alberta border.

The blast did not rupture the pipeline, but blew a 1.8-metre crater in the ground, which was discovered by a hunter on Sunday.

The previous week, suspicious handwritten letters arrived at newspapers and a TV station in Dawson Creek calling EnCana Corp. and other energy companies “terrorists” for expanding “deadly” gas wells and giving the firms a deadline to shut down operations, including the gas plant served by the pipeline.

RCMP spokesman Sgt. Tim Shields called the blast a serious criminal matter but he stopped short of calling the explosion terrorism.

“It was set there … with the intent to blow up that pipeline. That’s a threat to the infrastructure of this province,” said Shields. “We’re not categorizing this as terrorism.”

11
Oct
08

Bear Mountain update

For almost two years, we’ve documented and publicized the impact of resort development on wetlands, rare species, watercourses, recreation sites and First Nations heritage. As a result, land-use decisions on southern Vancouver Island, BC face greater demands for due diligence on environmental preservation and democratic accountability, among other long-term effects of the campaign. The fallout is still coming down on the interchange, First Nations sites, and future resort development.

In August, Langford residents reported on changes to the city’s plans for the Bear Mountain Interchange (also known as the Spencer Road Interchange). Construction of the interchange connecting the Trans Canada Highway and Bear Mountain Resort commenced and then stalled for lack of funding. The project is now going forward (with TD Bank’s funding, which has angered many), but it appears to be scaled back drastically. The overpass will be built, but cloverleaf on-ramps are on hold until the second phase of construction, beginning at an unknown date in the future. It is still possible that some of the groves of Garry Oaks and wetland habitat for Red-Legged Frogs may be spared, depending on the municipality’s future direction on environmental policy.

It seems clear that well-documented public outrage, coupled with financial agencies’ concerns about Langford’s process and diligence, contributed to the downsizing of the interchange.

Meanwhile, a movement to strengthen First Nations heritage protection has led to a historic agreement in the Gulf Islands. The agreement may eventually extend to places like Langford, where Bear Mountain development and interchange construction irreparably damaged Langford Lake Cave and Spaet Cave, despite legislation and government agencies dedicated to preserving cultural sites. The loss of the two caves and nearby indigenous burial grounds shocked the conscience of the community and especially angered First Nations people across British Columbia.

Now, according to the Victoria Times Colonist:

The Islands Trust council has approved in principle a protocol developed with the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group that goes far beyond the protections offered in the provincial Heritage Conservation Act and could become a template for similar agreements all over B.C., according to archeologist Eric McLay.

The protocol creates a consultation and dispute-resolution framework and will allow the Hul’qumi’num to designate “spiritual places” not protected by provincial legislation.

Such an agreement could have prevented the destruction of spirit caves at Bear Mountain resort.

Our report The Langford Rebellion recounts how municipal plans to pave over the caves and heritage sites triggered a groundswell of criticism that grew to include a wide range of other public policy and environmental issues.

We have done much more than shine a light on conservation concerns. We have contributed to public policy changes that will reverberate far beyond Langford for many years to come. Thank you for speaking out, and stay strong – there is much more to do!




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