Happy 46th Earth Day

nature-balances-herself

By Enrique Lescure

Introduction

For 46 consecutive years, we have celebrated Earth Day, and yet the status of this planet is worsening. On the sixth Earth Day, in April 1975, we were in the process of the first overshoot of our global footprints. Since then, we have used up a larger and larger share of the Earth’s diminishing reserves, crowding out eco-systems to replace them with linear activities.

We have all the opportunities in the world to change the course, and a lot of things are undoubtly done. What is happening now however is that improvements are local and implemented within either regions (by political demand) or within companies (due to genuine convictions and green marketing), but in the same time, things like fracking and tar sands are exploding on the market, the cattle industry and meat production beats all-time records, and the main concern for decision-makers within both the western sphere and the BRICS sphere is how to maximise economic growth.

What forces are genuinely interested in saving this must plead, beg, work hard for little to no economic gain and almost apologise for struggling to save the lives of all of us, while those who are more responsible for the current state of our world would never have to worry about being homeless, about having to move around or whether they would have to buy food or medicines.

This post is devoted to those heroes of our time.

The tale of Alexander and Ann-Sofie

Alexander Bascom and Ann-Sofie Svensson. Alex and Ann-SofieA young couple in Umea, Sweden, who are passionate about innovation and aquaponics, they founded Green Free Will back in 2012, and sought resources to realize their dream of constructing automated biodomes which would transform our entire relationship with food. Their tale is one of love, struggle, many setbacks and triumphes.

Entering a collaboration with the Earth Organisation for Sustainability, Green Free Will was awarded an agricultural development grant from the European Union, which however took a long while before it arrived due to the bureaucratic structure of the application. When it finally arrived, we were all overjoyed, and so the construction could commence during the late summer of 2014.

Today, I feel privileged to announce that the last part of the grant was recently transferred to EOS, and is now transferred to Green Free Will, so they can do the last work on the dome before the next phase of the project begins. It fills me with happiness that Green Free Will’s project will receive a much needed morale booster.

Alexander’s and Ann-Sofie’s story is awesome, though not unique. Everywhere throughout the world, there are idealists struggling both to make their household economics hold together, and to initiate revolutionary innovative projects that will change the way we look at the world. This vanguard of the garages is a bright hope for humanity during Earth’s darkest hour in 65 million years.

One of the purposes of the EOS is to cooperate with and help people who burn for projects to realize them. As a small organisation, we sadly do not have unlimited resources. By helping us, you will help people like Alex and Ann-Sofie and organisations like Green Free Will to network and expand.

Ultimately, what we all are struggling for is the very foundation for our existence. In this matter, you are either for life or for death.

So thank you Alex and Ann-sofie, Richard, Jonathan, Stefan, Maria and the others! You are making the world a better place!

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Biodome Project Update

Biodome

The collaborative project between Green Free Will and EOS has finished the first stage of the Umea Biodome Project, which is also a EU-funded LEADER project (thankies EU)! The foundation and the “skeleton” of the dome are ready. Now we only need panels there.

The second stage of the project will see the insulation system established, the aquaponics installed, and the third and most challenging part will be the computer systems that will regulate the climate and atmosphere of the interior of the dome, amongst other things.

EOS and Green Free Will is aiming for a meeting to discuss – amongst other things – the future of this cooperation.

The main challenge will be to acquire funding for stage 2 and stage 3.

Enrique Lescure, Director of the Sequence of Relations, EOS

For more on this, check this.

The Logdea Biodome, event on Kungsgatan 101, Café Planet, the 11th of October

Café PlanetHow should we produce our food in the future, and after what principles?

Seeking perhaps an answer to this question, Alexander Bascom (Green Free Will) and Enrique Lescure (the EOS), have embarked on a project and a journey to construct the farm of the future – an automated organic greenhouse relying on green technologies like aquaponics and combine them with permaculture

As the biodome is realised, come and hear their story of the struggle to change the way we interact with our environment.

This event will happen in Café Planet (Kungsgatan 101), during the Survival Kit Festival, 3-5 PM Saturday the 11th of October 2014. You are all warmly welcome!

Here is the event on Facebook.

Artificial Islands as a solution to outcrowding

The Pacific Ocean is covering very much of the planet

By Enrique Lescure

Introduction

Recently, studies have shown that wildlife populations have declined enormously in the world, by one third if we look at land-based species, and with over two thirds if we take a closer peek on marine life. A large part of this – especially regarding the valuable oceanic ecosystems – can be explained with direct exploitation (like overfishing or poaching). However, another explanation could be that we as a species are “out-crowding” other species, not by covering all of the planet with urban areas (though this kind of expansion also is problematic), but especially through the amount of space needed to produce food currently.

An issue of space

Monoculturalism

Food. Alongside water one of the two essentials to sustain the human body and thereby the human civilization. Today, food production is increasingly transforming the face of the planet, especially regarding the usage of space. Corn, wheat, rice, nuts, tea, coffee – but also food components like palm oil are produced on a large scale, transforming entire regions into monocultural landscapes, perfectly assimilated to maximise the space for useful economic growth.

Of course, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are frequently used. While mining as an activity often is more directly harmful to the local environment, monocultures are a direct killer of biological diversity and leads to species more and more being crowded together in isolated patches of wilderness. This leads to problem such as more frequent starvation, inbreeding, cannibalism and external stress to animal species, and they respond by dwindling in numbers, thus furthering the process of environmental degradation.

Mass deaths are natural occurrences in nature, but what we must realise is that this mass death is caused by the activities of our civilization.

Don’t we have a shortage of food?

If you would like to contend with me that we today face a shortage of food, I can respond by saying that there is a consensus that we today are producing more food than the current amount of people on Earth can consume. That we still have widespread poverty and starvation in parts of the world such as Subsaharan Africa and India can not be attributed to any planetary scarcity of food.

Using space more wisely

shogun

As a planetary civilization, approaching the level where we can create a Type 1, we should definetly be using space in a wiser way. During the 17th century, Japan was steadily approaching an ecological crisis created by the overusage of the limited woodland reserves on the Japanese archipelago. To solve these issues, the Tokugawa Shôgunate imposed a series of measures (some which would be considered draconian by today’s standards) which averted the crisis and prevented starvation.

Europe approached a similar situation during the same period, and solved it by colonialism and proto-industrialization, while Japan solved their renaissance-era ecological crisis through using space more wisely. Today, with the Earth rapidly approaching a mass extinction, we cannot solve this crisis by large-scale colonialism (Mars will not be terraformed for many millennia).

With using space more wisely, I am referring to the cessation of the construction of suburban housing areas, so typical for the late-modern west, and instead construction more habitats vertically and more based around tenements, and possibly even arcologies (single buildings that can house several tens of thousands of people comfortably).

Arcology-1

Such arcologies can, as illustrated by this image, contain their own ecosystems and farms, which could sustain at least a part of the demands of the citizens of the structure. The arcology would be a minor city in its own right, with its own hospitals, education systems, recreation spots and sporting facilities.

Since the amount of suburban areas (at least in the US) starts to be visible from space, it would be a good transition project to build human habitats on more limited space. This however will not wholly address the issue of food production, since urban farming cannot under any circumstances sustain the entire needs of the planet.

More vegetarianism, less meat

Cows

The nutrition we get from eating meat is “immensely wasteful” and contributes greatly to the addition of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Moreover, the meat industry is treating intelligent beings in ways which would evoke nightmares if they were conducted on human beings. Meat consumption is largely on the increase in the growing economies of the east, mostly because meat has traditionally been seen as an “upper class” luxury. Meat also contributes to heart diseases. While EOS under no circumstances advocates the ban of eating meat, we would suggest the creation of a way to estimate the cost of goods which take into account their long-term effects.

Seasteding

Lilypad, design by Vincent Callebaut

Lilypad, design by Vincent Callebaut

A more efficient way to utilise space on Earth and allow areas and regions to be freed up for a return to a more wild state, would be to increasingly move human activity out into the great blue. The Pacific Ocean is covering very much of the planetary surface, and an increasing transfer of human activity there could serve to free up space. The Pacific region, as well as other oceans, can be used for both human habitation and food production.

It would also expand our knowledge of space settlement and of creating new cultures which would be more resilient. Seasteding could in an organised way become the great new frontier and a way to put pressure off the continents. However, there needs to be a coordinated effort to not deplete the fragile ecosystems of the oceans, or add to the pollution.

What are your ideas?

What ideas do you have? If you are interested in this, I recommend that you check into our website, or join our facebook group. Also, like our facebook page, we have soon entered 500 likes. We hope to see your contributions to the work we are doing.

Update on the Biodome Project

By Enrique Lescure

Biodome Construction

As you who have followed this project know, we have had some troubles getting the second half of our grant (and you should know we’ve tried since March). Now, it seems like we’ve would get 86.000 SEK, which would cover both for remnant costs of the construction process until now, and the panels.

However, that does not mean that the crowdfunding initiative will cease. The next step after the panels are the programming systems and the computers, and those pieces do – as you probably know – cost money to obtain. Nevertheless, for the moment, the project is saved and can move on.

Biodome Fundraiser

Green Free Will at work!

Introduction

The Biodome Project progress can be followed on http://enggreenfreewill.wordpress.com. The construction team are doing an awesome work. However, one of the problems we have encountered with the LEADER support grant we’ve received has been that we have encountered demands on additions and elaborations to the reports we send in to explain how we’ve used the part of the grant we received first. The result is that our payments are delayed by constant demands on more and more specifications.

If we do not receive our next payment, we can have trouble finishing the project as it stands, and we are risking to be liable of the grant. This is not how it should go, because we have all struggled very hard with this project, a project that is non-commercial and aims to create a better world.

The Biodome in Lögdea (on Swedish)

The goal is to build an automated experimental biodome with an aquaponics system, connected to a computer system that can alter conditions inside the dome after the changing needs of the ecosystems inside said dome.

What do we need?

We would need 60.000 Swedish Crowns to complete this stage of the biodome and pay our costs. That is 9000 USD and around 6500 Euro.

We have already received 1000 SEK during the early stages of this fundraising, and that money would go to compensate some of the practivists of Green Free Will for their gas costs driving to the site for voluntary work. Needless to say, that is a small fraction of our costs.

Re-funding

If we receive our next part-payment from the County Board of Vesterbotten, we can refund your donations as “private expenses”, so you can get your money back. Note that we are not sure when the next part-payment will arrive, or if it will arrive, given the experiences taught us by the process until now.

That is why we are asking for a donation and not for a loan.

How do I pay?

You can donate a sum of money through Paypal or to our official bank account.

Our official Paypal adress is: andrew.wallace[at]technate.eu

Our bank account number is: 8420-2 903 584 947-1 (Swedbank)

The future needs your help!

Enrique Lescure, Sequence Director of Relations, EOS

The Biodome Project 2014

dsc02411One of the greatest challenges of the future, in a world affected by peak oil, damaged soil and climate change, is how to ensure our food. We stand before the greatest challenge that humanity has ever encountered. There are 7 billion people on the planet, and many of them are today dependent on an agricultural sector which is dependent on fertilizers based on chemicals and fossil resources.

There are, however, alternatives. Organic farming for example.

But for organic farming to become an alternative to the prevailing paradigm of large, monocultural fields, it needs to become less labour-intensive and be able to feed billions of people. That is why I found the ideas of Alexander Bascom and Green Free Will so intriguing when I first heard about them.

The idea is to contain a self-regulating aquaponics system within an automated geodesic dome. This system will simulate an eco-system, with an artificial river floor world, filled with small aquatic animals, and a plant bed where vegetables, fruits and beans are grown. There will be a computerised regulation system inside the dome which would adjust to a number of variables – climate conditions, atmosphere, bacteria levels, nitrate levels and water levels, and change the conditions of the dome to keep a dynamic equilibrium. This choice represents the reality, where vegetables and fruits together stand for around 80% of the human calory intake, whereas aquatic food stands for 20% of the proteine intake for most people. Since soil will not be used, and the plants will be fertilized by organic manure produced by the aquatic eco-system, the internal eco-system will be sustainable, and will only require a minimum of external nutritional in-take (mostly iron).

EOS has joined its forces together with Green Free Will, to make sure that this project is realised.

Our aim is to raise a small, experimental prototype dome, made of plastic composites and located in Lögdeå, near Umeå.

And we have received a grant which is covering a part of the cost. The grant is delivered by URnära, a LEADER project which helps with agricultural development in northern Sweden. The grant is covering the construction materials for the dome and the initial wages for the two project leaders, Alexander Bascom and myself. However, a condition for the grant is co-financing from other entities – from individuals and from associations and companies. Also, the grant does not cover the foundation digging, the aquaponics system nor the computer hardware and software.

The grant is on 34.035 Euro (300.000 SEK), while the total cost of the project is 177.011 Euro (1.560.000 SEK). We have a deadline until the 30th of June 2014 to have the Dome up.

You have an opportunity to help with achieving food sustainability, combine innovative new systems to make high-tech organic farming. The aim of this project is not to make a profit-driven enterprise, but to help individuals, communities and peoples achieve sustainable farming. Imagine roof-tops, private and public gardens and communities centered around dome-farming. Imagine a future where people once again can grow clean, unpolluted food in a sustainable way any time they want during the year, no matter where they live. This project has prospects from everything from ordinary gardening, to humanitarian aid, to space exploration.

Our paypal address is biodome2014@gmail.com

Contact person is Dr Andrew Alexander Wallace, Spanngränd 13, 906-28 UMEA, SWEDEN.

CURRENT NEEDS: 300.000 SEK/1.560.000 SEK