Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Chickenshack Chapter Two

I'm not long back from another great few days with Steve Jones at Chickenshack - it was good to hear that the composting toilets I helped with a few weeks ago had worked well and to see the ingenious shower and bath the guys on the Permaculture Course put together. Work has obviously been lavished on the garden and it was looking bloomin' lovely.

Much of Steve's time is taken up at the moment with the planning of the new study centre at Chickenshack. Out of the blue comes this amazing guy Gabriel, an architect raised in the Rocky Mountains by hippy parents. He specialises in eco-architecture and has been studying how buildings can be designed to help people to live in sustainable, resilient, more self-sufficient communities - in the way that buildings are grouped together as well as how they work individually. Gabriel has been visiting eco/cooperative communities in the UK and offered to help with any building design work that might be needed...synchronicity or what or what...

It's all just the sort of stuff that I would love to be involved in myself whether with eco building work itself or with helping to run courses, (I have fond memories of helping John and Carol with the CranioSacral Therapy courses at the Upledger Institute in Perth). Debi and I already run our own therapy courses and we are working on ideas to help smaller communities to be more self-sufficient in their healthcare.

Steve and I drove up through wild mountain scenery to Llangeris where local authority and EU funders were putting on a fair. There are all sorts of environmental/eco/sustainable projects on the go in Wales at the moment and funds are available to help with them.

Awesome scenery! And lots of beautiful, wild, wide open SPACE !!

Back in the Machynlleth area we looked in at the Centre for Alternative Technology to meet Gabriel and have a quick look round. It's looking pretty good for an old slate quarry with gardens of all sizes everywhere and there are lots of different eco-buildings and displays to see. There are more photovoltaic cells than you could shake a stick at and I loved the bookshop building on the right below - it features rammed earth walls which are holding up the roof as well as storing passive solar energy. There are no toxins in the building at all and the limecrete used in the construction actually absorbs CO2. It has a lovely calming, gentle feel to it as well.

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