Gaia Education Design for Sustainability
Incorporating Transition Towns Training
Saturday 12 - 28 October, 2013
by Michael Shaw & Lisa Shaw
Whole Systems Approach to Ecological Design & Bioregionalism
As part of this module we will work within a holistic framework, integrating a whole systems approach to ecological design and a bioregional perspective. This will include presentations that provide an introduction to key aspects of ecological design such as permaculture, restorative ecological design, ecological engineering and economics, biomimicry and industrial ecology. We will also create bioregional maps of our case study projects and look at successful bioregional mapping examples from other communities.
Natural wastewater treatment systems enhance the forces nature uses to reduce pollution by harnessing the metabolic processes of living ecologies to break down and digest organic wastes in water. Engineered ecologies provide a high degree of biodiversity, resulting in stable and robust processes. These processes involve establishing diverse life forms in new combinations of species within engineered settings to meet specific requirements. Nature is both mother and teacher.
Simple natural treatment technologies and construction methods will be explored, such as constructed wetlands, including recycling systems for treated effluent. Process calculations will provide sizing information. More highly engineered systems, which use less land than simple systems, will be explained. As part of this module we will work in small groups within the Living Machine at Findhorn building eco-kits, which are small ecologically engineered systems that clean water and run on renewable energy.
1. Sustainable wastewater treatment
2. Water restoration
3. Hands-on learning in the Findhorn Living Machine
4. Water recycling
5. Rainwater Harvesting
6. Composting Toilets
This module will provide an overview of methods of generating and using renewable energy. Practical applications and costs will be explored. We will compare and contrast renewable sources and conventional sources: costs, installation/running, benefits, disadvantages, pollution, carbon footprint, convenience, availability and so on. There is also a practical hands-on component in which we will work in small groups connecting solar PV and solar thermal systems to power our eco-kits.
1. Requirements for the generation and use of appropriate renewable energy technologies
4. Solar energy
5. Wind power
6. Marine power
7. Hydroelectric energy generation
8. Energy conservation
9. Ground source heat pumps
10. Combine Heat and Power (CHP)
11. Hands-on learning with solar PV and solar thermal
Organic Agriculture and Local Food
This module explores the role of food in community, from the way we relate to the land on which it is produced, to the celebration of life that is eating together. We will discuss and experience different approaches to the production and distribution of food as shared from the experience of participants in the training. We will visit the Findhorn Cullerne garden and learn from one of the lead farmers about the farming approaches that are being used at Findhorn. We will also cook a meal together in the Findhorn kitchen using food that comes from the gardens.
1. The basic principles and practices of organic and biodynamic food production
2. How to create a Community Supported Agricultural (CSA) scheme
3. Food as nutrition and as a central community ritual
4. Findhorn farming techniques
5. Composting of organic solid wastes
This module is an introduction to the principles of ecological building and retrofitting. We will visit different eco-houses in the Findhorn Community and learn about the various approaches and materials that were used. We will also have a practical skills session building with cob. A presentation on green building by a Findhorn architect and a leading expert on co-housing will provide enough information so that students will be able to evaluate building materials and methods in terms of environmental standards for energy and resource conservation. The use of sustainability indicators and building standards will be explored.
1. The use of low cost indigenous construction techniques as well as conventional construction
2. Light versus heavy construction designs
3. Timber frame
4. Straw bale,
5. Cob wall, adobe and rammed earth,
6. Breathing wall construction,
7. Earthship construction
8. Simple ways of using passive energy on the site
Shaw's field is ecological design. He is
a founding member of The Ecovillage Institute at
Findhorn and is a resident trustee of the Findhorn
Foundation. He pioneered the Ten Stones ecovillage
and cohousing community with others in Vermont,
USA. An engineer by training, he has been involved
in all phases of the development and implementation
of natural wastewater treatment and bioremediation
systems including Restorers since 1989 with Ocean
Arks International (OAI). With Dr John Todd, founder
of OAI, he is the author of two wastewater treatment
Lisa Shaw is an artist, designer and environmental educator. She is a partner in the Ecovillage Institute, an ecological design and engineering company based at Findhorn. She has worked on water restoration projects in India, China, Bolivia, Russia and the UK as part of the Ecovillage Institute team, educating for the restoration and sustainable use of water and soil. She co-founded Lookfar Connections, an environmental education cooperative, and Grasshopper Art and Nature Camp for children in Vermont USA, which she ran for five years. Lisa uses art as an educational tool, bringing people together in a creative and inspirational way.
the EDE programme in a way that changed my dreams
into plans, or should I say my life into something
that could be useful. I have now the skill, tools
and ideas for starting rebuilding Iraq from the
rural areas together with my good people, I hope....
Dr Ali Al-Dabbagh, Phoenix Rising, Iraq
course in Findhorn was the most comprehensive teaching
on integral ecological design I have seen available
worldwide. Richness and diversity of teachings,
practical techniques, facilitators, and resources
as well as a deep respect and honour to both inner
and outer dimensions of sustainability. Excellent
spirit of participation as well. I hope and wish
more people gain this invaluable experience. We
desperately need it!
Pymalion Karatzas, Greece
Income related price for the five weeks
£2245 payable by participants with low income
£2350 payable by participants with medium income
£2795 payable by participants with high income
£495/£545/£695 per module according to income
Fees include tuition, accommodation, vegetarian meals and materials.
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