Thursday, October 28, 2010

Biochar and Climate Justice

We got a lovely visit here at the ETC from James & Jamie of The Climate Reality Tour (or, as I like to call them: The Climate Justice League). The two Jameses are cycling from the US mid-Atlantic all the way to the 16th U.N. Climate Summit in Cancun. They hope to collect stories of and bring attention to the injustices heaped on all peoples by the business practices of our global industrialized system, whether it's the pollution from mountain top coal removal in the Appalachians or the inhumane conditions of sweatshops in Mexico. They also hope that the stories they gather can be used to help people organize, to create a network of communities standing up to these injustices and working together to better their immediate area and their world.

While they were here Albert took them on a mini tour of the ETC and explained our developing system of using biochar to enrich our soil through carbon sequestration. "Bio-what? Carbon-what?" you ask? Biochar is a substance used in the pre-Colombian Amazon. It's similar to charcoal, but with a few major differences. These differences allow the ground up biochar to be added to the soil to help encourage healthy growth. It's also being used now to trap carbon in the ground, instead of allowing it back out into the atmosphere, where we already have an over abundance contributing to things like climate change and global warming.

I played paparazzi and followed Albert and the Jameses around while he was showing them our system. Here's the little video that came out of it. (I also made one outlining our use of strawbales in our garden and greenhouse, but it doesn't seem to want to upload. I'll try to get that fixed within the next week or so.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Building Flurry

As the weather roller coasters its way to winter, Cliff and the apprentices take this last chance to get some natural building in. A few days ago, the apprentices tackled the exterior of one of our two hippitats, one roomed round buildings designed to be sleeping spaces for one person or a couple. One of the hippitats already plays home to apprentice Jason, but the other still needs some love (and a floor) before it's habitable...or should I say hippitable?

Here's a quick video of the crew preparing and applying an even coat of plaster to the crumbling, mix-match exterior of the beautiful little building. Once that's dry, they plan on adding one last tinted layer, probably in a rich orange or burnt umber.