Earthbag houses by Cal Earth

Nader Khalili’s students and others have been spreading the earthbag concept far and wide. Earthbag houses have been built in Arizona by Dominic Howes and in Utah by Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer, and structures using earthbags have appeared in Mexico, Canada, and Mongolia. Straw builder Matts Myhrman has used earthbags for the foundation of a straw-bale dome, and Steve Kemble has used bags to create the first floor of a house in the Bahamas.

There is still much to be researched and experimented with until this technology can be considered mature. Current work by Cal Earth with the ICBO should open the door to many more buildings being created using earthbags. As natural building innovators continue to experiment by building with bags, many new innovations are sure to develop.

Joseph F. Kennedy is an architect, writer and peripatetic scholar of natural building and ecological design. livingearth62@hotmail.com

Cal-Earth: California Institute Of Earth, Art & Architecture
Emergency Shelters – Vaulted House – Eco Domes – Planetary Architecture
Cal-Earth Website

Build An Emergency Sand-Bag Shelter Home – 3 x A4 Page Colour PDF File: http://loveforlife.com.au/files/KhaliliEmergShltr_0.pdf (Attachment is also located at the bottom of this page)

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What Is Cal-Earth

What Is Cal-Earth

Cal-Earth (The California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) is at the cutting edge of Earth Art and Ceramic Architecture technologies today. Founded and directed by the internationally renowned architect and author Nader Khalili in 1986, it’s scope spans technical innovations published by NASA for lunar base construction, to design and development of housing for the world’s homeless for the United Nations.

Donate Now: https://www.egrants.org/donate/index.cfm?ID=2093-0|705-0

Cal-Earth is a non-profit foundation dedicated to research and education of the public in environmentally oriented arts and architecture. It’s philosophy is based on the equilibrium of the natural elements of earth, water, air, and fire, and their Unity at the service of the arts and humanity.

Nader Khalili’s Message

humans are members of the same body
all created from the same essence
if one limb is in pain
others cannot be at ease
if you are indifferent to other people’s pain
you cannot be called a human
– Saadi – (13th century Persian poet)

The world’s focus on Global Warming with its unpredictable future is happening while the world is trying to recuperate from the catastrophic central Asian Earthquake as well as the Asian Tsunami, which also happened on the anniversary of the great Bam earthquake in Iran. Tens of thousands have lost their lives – most communities wiped out in a matter of minutes or hours. The hurricanes on the South Coast of the United States have created an unprecedented disaster requiring great cost and effort to deal with. Added to this are the Central American hurricanes, refugees in Darfur, as well as continuous victims of AIDS who leave behind huge numbers of homeless orphans.

Emergency help has been rushing and criss-crossing the globe to find survivors – doctoring, feeding, crowding them into temporary shelters and relocating them. There are not enough tents in the world to shelter the latest Central Asian earthquake victims who are facing more disaster from the winter freeze and winds.

The greatest costs of rebuilding after the disasters goes to the infrastructure and human shelter.

The need is ever more urgent to build self-help, emergency shelters which can become sustainable, permanent structures and are more resistant to more disasters.

The accelerating rate of disasters in the world and the historical increase in the loss of human life and property, must create a sense of urgency for the U.N. and other agencies to pay serious attention to alternative ways of building.

There is a Sustainable Solution to Human Shelter, based on Timeless Materials (earth, water, air and fire) and Timeless Principles (arches, vaults and domes). Every man and woman should be able to build a shelter for his or her family with these universal elements, almost anywhere on the earth and other planets. These principles, interpreted into the simplest form of building technology have created emergency shelter which can become permanent houses, and which have passed strict tests and building codes. Since 1975 we have been dedicated to researching and developing this low-cost, self-help, eco-friendly technology which can resist disasters, and to offer it to humanity. The only missing link is to educate humans how to use these timeless techniques, developed at Cal-Earth Institute, to fit their own culture and environment.

PRESS RELEASE

Self-Help Emergency Shelter for Central Asian Earthquake Disaster

Cal-Earth Institute is ready to offer its help to Families, International, Governmental and Non-governmental organizations in the earthquake disaster region for emergency shelters.

Basic materials needed are on-site earth, sandbags, barbed wire, and human labor.

To the best of it’s ability as a small institute it will contribute its technology using the following methods:

1) Provide Distance Learning via live internet connection instructing how to construct the emergency shelters directly to relief organizations in the disaster area.

2) Provide training at Cal-Earth Institute to selected individuals in intensive hands-on workshops who are coming from the disaster regions to teach and supervise the construction of shelters. The training is based on Cal-Earth’s existing educational materials.

This emergency shelter technology can be used for the reconstruction of both permanent housing as well as other buildings and infrastructures.

Cal-Earth Institute is a non-profit educational and research organization in Hesperia, California. The Superadobe emergency shelter technology, which has been designed and developed by architect Nader Khalili and his associates at Cal-Earth Institute, has been built and successfully tested for California’s strict building codes. It is patented in the U.S. and overseas but is now offered freely to those in need in the disaster region.

The shelters and technology have been visited and endorsed by the United Nations emergency response in 2001, and recently given the 2004 Aga Khan award for architecture for Sandbag Shelters – see link for description, photos and video clip.

PRESS RESPONSE

Reuters Alertnet: “War zones yield cheap shelter for tsunami homeless” (sandbags and barbed wire)

– from Reuters Alertnet:

” My goal is to use distance learning through the Internet,” he said. “If we could set up a regional center, we can broadcast building classes direct from Cal-Earth,”

” We can cut through the bureaucracy and go directly to the people … We could do it with a fraction of the foreign aid that has been offered to Bam. ”

– from the Washington Post:

” Bypass the U.N., bypass government, people can start building their own. ”

Dear friends,
We have been overwhelmed by your calls, emails and proposals and were very happy to see such devotion and concerns surfacing among Pakistanis. We apologize for not responding. It has become impossible for us to attend the avalanche of emails and calls not only from Pakistanis but other disasters.

Cal-Earth is a small non profit organization with great ideas and dreams and meager means. Architect Nader Khalili has given his full attention to the mission of shelter for the needy and disaster stricken since 1975. He set up Cal-Earth Institute in 1991 specifically for Superadobe, sandbag and barbed wire technology that he had designed to be the most accessible for humans around globe. This system uses on-site damp earth for temporary structures, and stabilized earth with a small amount of cement/lime for long term structures along with needed doors and windows, provided the necessary buttressing and waterproofing are added. The rest of the story is on our website, in the News Articles’ section.

Our not responding has been because we have been intensely working to help deal with these disasters especially with the emergency shelter for the great earthquake victims in Pakistan. And we are happy to share the following news with you:

1. A hands-on teaching site has now been set up by the SASI foundation in cooperation with the government in Rawalpindi and prototypes are being built which can be suitable to the local earthquake sites’ soil and conditions. Two of our trained apprentices are teaching and helping on location. We encourage you to collaborate, participate, learn, volunteer, and support. They are making the Superadobe bags available, while they are trying to set up several teaching centers in different regions.

2. To respond to this great disaster when victims are threatened every day for their lives because of fast approaching winter, as well as other disasters around the globe, we are focusing on giving more information about the Emergency Shelter with the Superadobe building method. We are diligently working to finish a summary of the relative section of Mr. Khalili’s unpublished, soon to be finished, manuscript, the Superadobe Manual, to be placed on the Emergency Shelter page of Cal-Earth’s website.

3. We are hoping to find volunteer staff to respond to the avalanche of correspondence while we are planning to do Distance Learning sessions to speed up the training, when funding becomes available. However, we have accomplished a lot with little so far and are confident that we will sustain.

We believe that your networking together can create a critical mass, to help the disaster stricken people and support the continuation of design and teaching, including Distance Learning, of this sustainable solution for Pakistan and other regions, now and in the future.

Iliona Outram
program director
Cal-Earth Institute

To help achieve Cal-Earth Institute’s goals please make a donation via the donation button.

Cal-Earth Inc. (Institute) is a California 501C3 non-profit foundation directed by Khalili, whose founding mission is:

“Research and education of the public in environmentally oriented arts and architecture, based on the equilibrium of the natural elements of earth, water, air, fire, and their Unity at the service of the arts and humanity”

“Every man and woman should be able to build a home for his or her family using the earth under their feet and integrating some features of modern technology to make their homes resistant to fire, flood, hurricane, earthquake and other disasters.” -NK

NADER KHALILI, Architect and Author

photo by George Azar

Nader Khalili, California architect/author is the world renowned Iranian-American Earth Architecture teacher and innovator of the Geltaftan Earth-and-Fire System known as Ceramic Houses, and of the Superblock construction system. Khalili received his philosophy and architectural education in Iran, Turkey, and the United States. He has been a licensed architect in the State of California since 1970, and has practiced both in the U.S. and abroad. Since 1975 he has been involved with Earth Architecture and Third World Development, and is a U.N. (UNIDO) consultant for Earth Architecture, the Ceramic Houses and SuperBlock Technologies. In 1984 the award for “Excellence in Technology” went to him for the innovation of the Ceramic Houses system, from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects (CCAIA), and in 1987 Khalili’s project “Housing for the Homeless: Research and Education” received a Certificate of Special Recognition from the U.N. International Year of Shelter for the Homeless and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Since 1984, Lunar and Space habitation have become an integral part of his work; his “Magma Structures” design, based on the Geltaftan (Ceramic Houses) System, and “Velcro-Adobe” system (later to become the Superblock/ sandbag and barbed wire system) were presented at the 1984 NASA symposium, “Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century”. He was subsequently invited to Los Alamos National Laboratory as a visiting scientist. He has presented papers and has been published since 1984 in several symposiums and publications including those of NASA, and the “Journal of Aerospace Engineering” for which he was awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Khalili was a member of the team of the “Lunar Resources Processing Project,” along with the Princeton -based Space Studies Institute, McDonnell Douglas Space Systems, and Alcoa.

Since 1982 Khalili has been directing the Architectural Research Program at SCI-Arc, California. He is the director and founder of the Geltaftan Foundation, and the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth) since 1986. Current projects include the Sustainable Desert Village and Hesperia Museum & Nature Center, the Rodeo/Arena for the Mojave Desert city of Hesperia, erosion stabilization of Hesperia Lake, a FEMA related project. At Cal-Earth he continues building and testing prototypes in Earth Architecture for inclusion in the Uniform Building Code. Recent work has been funded by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Katharine Tremaine Foundation, the Rex Foundation, the Leventis Foundation, Our Ultimate Investment Foundation, the Turner Foundation, and the Flora Family Foundation.

His five books were written while evolving these techniques and his philosophy of architecture. “Racing Alone”, and “Ceramic Houses and Earth Architecture: How to Build Your Own”, while developing the Geltaftan “Earth and Fire” system for building ceramic houses; “Sidewalks on the Moon”, while designing for the moon, a journey through tradition and technology; and “Rumi, Fountain of Fire”, translations of 75 poems from the Persian language mystic poet, Rumi whose wisdom concerning humanity and the elements of Earth, Water, Air and Fire are the inspiration behind his work; and “Rumi, Dancing the Flame”, 300 Rubayiat short poems of Rumi.

photo by George Azar

Khalili’s “Works and Words” have been widely exhibited and published in the US and internationally including the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico; and broadcast on national and statewide TV channels such as the BBC World Service and Voice of America. Over 100 hands-on workshops and lectures have been conducted in the U.S. and abroad, from Princeton University/ Princeton New Jersey, International Space University/MIT Boston Mass., to inmates of Chino and other prisons, from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) / Washington D.C., Los Alamos National Laboratory/ New Mexico, to many Native American Reservations, the Eight Northern Pueblos/ San Juan New Mexico, and from children in South Central Los Angeles hospitals to the Universities of California, national and international universities.

Khalili’s architectural works also include: the design of a future-oriented community for 5,000 inhabitants for Future City/Villages, Intl. in New Cuyama, California in 1988 (prototype structures were built on-site, and pre-fabricated vault modules were built, fired and glazed at a brick factory); Malekshahr of Isfahan, a community for 20,000, which was designed and partially constructed by 1979; the Middle East headquarters of Dupont/ Polyacryl was designed and supervised, completed in 1978; over 100 projects of conventional buildings ranging from high-rise to single residence.

Geltaftan Foundation/ Cal-Earth: 10376 Shangri La Avenue, Hesperia CA 92345.
Tel: (760) 244-0614 Fax: (760) 244-2201
Email: calearth@aol.com
website: http://www.calearth.org

LECTURES AND WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED BY KHALILI INCLUDE:
Princeton University/ Princeton, New Jersey
Space Studies Institute/ Princeton, New Jersey
International Space University/ MIT, Boston, Mass.
Carnegie Mellon Institute/ Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
National Aeronautics and Space Administration/ W D.C.
Ohio State University/ Columbus, Ohio
California Art Education Assoc. Conf./ San Diego, Calif.
Ball State University/ Muncie, Indiana
Rensslaer Polytechnic Institute/ Troy, New York
Catholic University of America/Washington, D.C.
North Dakota State University/ Fargo, North Dakota
University of Wisconsin/ Milwaukee, Wisconsin
University of Arizona/ Tucson, Arizona
Pitzer College/ Claremont, California
Claremont Graduate School/ Claremont, California
California Polytechnic Institute/ San Luis Obispo
California Polytechnic Institute/ Pomona
University of California/ Riverside
University of California/ Santa Barbara
University of California/ Los Angeles
Southern California Institute of Architecture
Southern California Ceramic Association
Ojai Foundation/ Ojai, California
Institute of American Indian Arts/ Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eight Northern Pueblos/ San Juan, New Mexico
College of Santa Fe/ Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rough Rock, Navajo Reservation/ Arizona
Tsaili Community College/ Navajo Reservation, Arizona
Lindisfarne Institute/ Creston, Colorado
University of Baja/ Mexico
San Jose/ Costa Rica
University of Cairo/ Egypt
University of Tehran
United Nations (regional conference) Tehran/ Iran
Eos Institute/Laguna, California
American Institute of Architects/Los Angeles
American Institute of Architects/Inland Empire
Arcosanti/Arizona

TELEVISION AND RADIO PRESENTATIONS
Channel 28, Los Angeles, Public Broadcasting System
Channel 28, Los Angeles, “FUTURE” PBS
Channel 2, Los Angeles, a CBS Station
Channels 9, 4, and 8, Los Angeles
KPFK Radio, Los Angeles
Group W, Westinghouse Cable TV/ Sierra Madre, Cal..
KCST, International Channel, Los Angeles, California
Voice of America English and Farsi Services
BBC World Service, London
CNN News
BBC TV
NBC
CBS
PBS
Discovery channel
National Geographic
and numerous other newspaper, magazines and online publications such as Space.com.

EXHIBITIONS
Institute of American Indian Arts Museum, Santa Fe, NM
Centre Georges Pompidou/ Paris, France
Museum of Contemporary Arts/ Tehran, Iran
Various Universities and Educational Galeries in U.S.

for a more complete profile, please search Google.com – Nader Khalili

“Hesperia Domes pass Seismic Test….Earth Architecture has made it to the big leagues” Victor Valley Daily Press

“We think this design has the potential of revolutionizing the housing industry! said Hesperia Mayor.” Hesperia Resorter

“Look inside the demonstration houses he’s built and you see spacious beauty. They meet all building codes, are energy efficient, weathertight, and so solid they passed the most gruelling stress tests. “- CNN World News

“The building was stronger than the testing equipment .”” – (Hesperia building official)
“People are coming from all over the world to Hesperia, California, to learn this simple way of building.” – (Hesperia Mayor) – CNN World News

“The buildings are cool in summer and warm in winter, probably the most environmentally friendly homes you’ll ever come across….. ” -BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.)

“To this visionary architect the earth houses… are the obvious response to 21st century housing shortages, deforestation, the energy crunch and even the physical sickness brought on by the toxic exhalations of modern building materials. ” – Orange County Register

” Cutting Edge Housing: In Hesperia Architect Nader Khalili is showing off his sandbag home… Malibu architect Eric Lloyd Wright, after viewing it said it’s just the kind of organic architecture his grandfather talked about, and engineering tests show it’ll hold up to earthquakes…”- Los Angeles Times

“We haven’t had people with this kind of vision since Frank Lloyd Wright died’, said Hesperia redevelopment manager….” – Victor Valley Daily Press

“A Hesperia Architect has seen the future of affordable housing.” – San Bernadino Sun

“His hope is to create truly low-cost housing in many parts of the world.” – AIA Journal : Architecture

“The Excellence in Technology Award, California Council/American Institute ofArchitects, went to him for his work.” – Los Angeles Times

“Without this spirit of pioneering no thoroughgoing changes can take place to create anenvironmentally harmonious architecture.”- LA Architect

“…Creating a city from the dust under their feet using a variety of earthen construction techniques.”- Automated Housing

“Making Bricks without Clay: Sandbags and barbed wire, often the materials of war, havebecome the building blocks of peace at Cal-Earth in Hesperia.”- Daily Press

“…a family should be able to walk to a piece of land and build themselves a homewithout timber, steel or concrete. Just the earth alone should suffice.”- Ceramic Monthly

“… a vision that could be of considerable value to architecture in development”- Mimar

“His architecture has a quasi-mystic character…”- Centre Georges Pompidou

“It came about because of the sun, because of the wind, because of the earth”- Permaculture Journal

“A revolution in the traditional architecture of Iran…” Museum Contemporary Art, Tehran

“It is cool in the summer, warm in the winter, water-and fireproof, and beautiful.”- L.A. Weekly

“Earth Architecture recieves a warm welcome from the third world to outer space.”- House and Garden

“Khalili is also at work on prefab ceramic vaults, modular units that can be trucked and linked together easily. And sometimes his vision goes much, much further: he’s worked with NASA on scenarios in which the moon’s soil could be melted, then, after molding, fused into structures by concentrated rays of the sun.”- Mother Jones

“A novel ‘magma structure’ concept presented by him…proposed melting mounds of lunar soil with focused sunlight to create a pliable material that could be sculptured into facilities …at the NASA symposium, ‘Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century.’ “- Aviation Week & Space Tech.

“Khalili’s perspective on lunar architecture provides an interesting and thought-provoking contrast to ‘orthodox’ scenarios.”- NASA’s Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, editor W.W.Mendell.

“…he draws from thousands of years of traditional architecture in his effort to build modern, affordable, sustainable housing…” – RAN/Turner Foundation – Cut Waste not Trees

“… in Hesperia, the houses were beautiful, well-insulated, structurally rigid, and cost almost nothing to build.” – Los Angeles Times

Lunar, Martian, and planetary Architecture

Click here for Lunar Structures Generated and Shielded with On-Site Materials

MAGMA, CERAMIC, AND FUSED ADOBE STRUCTURES GENERATED IN SITU

E. Nader Khalili

The accumulated human knowledge of “universal elements” can be integrated with space-age technology to serve human needs on Earth; its timeless materials and timeless principles can also help achieve humanity’s quest beyond this planet. Two such areas of knowledge are in earth architecture and in ceramics, which could be the basis for a breakthrough – in scales, forms, and functions – in low gravity fields and anhydrous-vacuum conditions. With the added missing link of the element of fire (heat), traditional earthen forms can be generated on other celestial bodies, such as the Moon and Mars, in the form of magma structure, ceramic structure, and fused adobe structure. Ceramic modules can also be generated in situ in space by utilizing lunar or meteoritic resources.

TIMELESS MATERIALS – TIMELESS PRINCIPLES
The traditional techniques of building without centering, i.e., leaning-arches, corbelling, and dry-packing can have greater applications in lower gravity fields, as well as higher material strength, than in the restricted conditions of these techniques’ terrestrial origins. At the same time, the “high-tech” heat-obtaining skills of solar heat, plasma, microwave, and melting penetrators can provide ceramic-earth shelters and appropriate technology for both developed and underdeveloped nations. Through understanding and utilizing the principles of “Yekta-i-Arkan” – unity of elements – integration of tradition and technology in harmony with the laws of nature is possible at many levels of microcosm and macrocosm.

MAGMA STRUCTURE
Lunar base structures can be generated and cast, based on the natural space formations created by magma-lava flow such as tubes and voids. By utilizing existing lunar contours or by forming mounds of lunar soil to desired interior spaces, structures can be cast in situ with the generated magma. Either way, the upper layers of the mounds and the apex, consisting of unprocessed lunar resources, can generate magma flow with focused sunlight (Criswell, 1976). Ceramic-glass (Grodzka, 1976) and/or other lunar fluxes may be added to the main composite for lowering the melting temperature. Basalt melting point, 900’ to 1200’C, can be lowered to glass composites’ melting point with added lunar flux. As the molten composite flows with the low gravity crawl, the lava crust can be formed in spiral, circular, or multi-patterned rib troughs on the mound. A controlled flowing magma can cast single- or double-curvature monolithic shell structures. The underlying loose soil mound can then be excavated and packed over the monolithic shell for radiation/thermal/impact shielding (Carrier, 1976). Since high depth of necessary soil coverage over the structure is detrimental to both architectural flexibility and harmonious interaction of inner and outer space environments, the variable magma viscosity can be utilized to reduce the estimated 2-m thickness (Land, 1984) of the packed soil protections depending on material composites and attained temperature degree/time parameters. The viscosity of the generated magma and the packed regolith can counterbalance internal atmospheric pressure, and the semi-glazed interior can provide an airtight membrane. The pliability of the magma medium can present new dimensions in the creation of sculptured interiors for the ultimate functional utilization of the generated spaces. It also offers an aesthetic dimension, since the molded forms conform to human generic non-angular tendencies. The organic material of magma and the possibilities for ceramic glazing of the interior will open a new era in integration of the arts to scales unattainable for humans under the limits of terrestrial conditions. Magma materials, basaltic in particular, have produced agricultural soils and with suitable atmospheric conditions have proved to produce vegetation. Plant successions have taken place in magma-lava metamorphosis in terrestrial lava tubes and voids. Many examples of flora can be seen in old lava beds of the volcanic regions of the world. Similar conditions will be present in lunar magma structures when the temperature- moisture ambient exists for a life-supporting environment. Thus, common spaces of lunar bases could be designated as mini-agricultural zones that could both generate suitable atmosphere to sustain human life and provide supplemental nutrition resources. Natural lava structures, such as Craters of the Moon National Monument, can provide case studies in the design development stages. Research is needed to determine material composites, magma crust formation patterns, and span limitations.

PREFABRICATED MAGMA MEMBERS
Conventional structures can be built with magma in lunar base complexes by prefabricating structural members. Beams, columns, panels, and connections can be prefabricated with generated magma composed of unprocessed lunar resources fused with solar heat. Magma-lava solidified structural members can be reinforced with fibers or reinforcing mesh produced from lunar resources. The precast panels and members can be post-tensioned by tendons or fused with spot mortar composed of similar magma materials. Precast magma and ceramic members can be shaped to fit desired forms and functions. Lunar soil troughs and fused regolith layer form work can be utilized for casting systems.

CERAMIC STRUCTURE
The use of shielding ceramic tiles on the space shuttle points to the potential of ceramic materials for lunar and space applications. Ceramic structures of limited spans can be cast in situ on lunar sites; they can also be generated in space. On lunar sites, a centrifugally gyrating platform – a giant potter’s wheel – featuring adjustable rims with high flanges can be utilized for the dynamic casting of ceramic and stoneware structures. A mass of lunar resources can be “thrown” in the stationary center zone of the platform and melted by focused sunlight to flow to the periphery rotating zone and cast desired shapes. Known lunar resources can also be spun on the same platform to create tensile fiber; by integrating the two operations, monolithic ceramic structures with tensile fiber reinforcing layers can be generated. Double-shell ceramic structures sandwiched with space and/or packed with insulating materials can provide radiation, thermal, and impact shielding. Such units can be used singularly for lunar camps or combined around a common hub and/or spine to form a lunar base complex. The centrifugal platform system with its adjustable rim flanges can be utilized for lunar base infrastructure parts: pipes, ducts, and tunnel rings. Prefabricated sections for utility sheds can also be formed in single- or double-shell modules. In space, a centrifugally gyrating platform moving in three dimensions can create more variations of ceramic structured modules than is possible in terrestrial or gravity fields. Attached to a space station, the gyrating platform can generate ceramic modules in situ. The resources for ceramic structures can either be of lunar or martian origin or, in space, from captured meteoroids.

FUSED ADOBE STRUCTURE
Lunar base structures can be constructed in situ utilizing lunar adobe blocks produced from unprocessed lunar soil or the by-products of industrial mining operations. Lunar adobe blocks can be formed by the fusion of lunar resources with solar heat. It is anticipated that vacuum conditions and the essentially zero-moisture content of lunar soils should significantly reduce thermal diffusity (Rowley, 1984). Lunar adobe blocks can be used to build structures without form work, employing the earth-architecture techniques of dry-packing, corbelling, and leaning-arches (Khalili, 1986). The low gravity field and vacuum conditions, which allow for a smaller angle of repose and enhance lunar soil cohesion (Blacic, 1984), will give greater opportunity, in the case of the leaning-arch technique, for larger spans and shallower vaults and domes. The same advantages will cause the soil-packed covering to follow desirable contours for more flexible interaction of interior and exterior space and solar orientation. Fused spot-mortar or lunar dust sprayed at fusion point temperature can be used to bond the blocks in medium and large span structures. Arches, domes, vaults, and apses can be constructed to fit the contours of the moonscape; these curved surfaces can create sun and shade zones that are functionally desirable. For functional or aesthetic reasons, total or partial interior ceramic glazing of lunar adobe structures can be done with lunar resources containing glass (Heiken, 1976) and other fluxes by solar heat fusion or plasma technology. The difficulty of mechanical separation of lunar dust can be solved by the bulk use of the soil at its powder stage, involving pre-heating the dust and guniting it on the structure at the point of fusion, The techniques of earth-architecture and the human skills that have evolved to deal with natural materials and to meet the historic challenges of harsh environments and terrestrial gravity can put future men and women in direct touch with the lunar world. Discovering suitable dimensions of blocks, techniques of construction, and appropriate material composites while developing their own sense of unity with the lunar entity can be the start of human independence from Mother Earth, creating shelters in the heavens. The organic growth of lunar architecture, with its own materials and equilibrium of elements can be used to initiate an indigenous and ecologically balanced human environment without damaging the heavenly body. On Earth, one of the main tasks of architects, engineers, and builders has historically been nothing but winning the fight against gravity; now and in the future, the chance for victory on the Moon will be six times as great as it has been here on Earth.

INITIAL IN SITU CONSTRUCTION
Locating a lunar lava tube may well be one of the first stages of setting up a lunar base site. Lava tubes can provide the most expedient and economical way of starting an indigenous lunar architecture. Terrestrial lava tubes are the best design model for exploring the development of appropriate life-supporting environments in lunar lava tubes. Either at the initial stage or in the following phases of lunar base construction, locating and utilizing lava tubes can be of great value. An immediate construction system for the lunar base, after the initial camp setup, can utilize unprocessed lunar resources in a non-mechanized construction system. This system uses existing rocks of different sizes and dry-pack techniques. The low gravity field and higher rock fracture strength give added advantages for larger spans of corbelling and leaning-arch earth-structure systems. Meteoroid and/or indigenous rock structures covered with lunar soil for radiation and thermal shielding can provide immediate, non- life-supporting shelters. Structures built with the same techniques can be fitted with an airtight fabric mesh for human habitation (Blacic, 1984).

PAVING AND LUNAR DUST STABILIZATION
The lunar soil, with a particle size of about 70 microns, which adheres to everything and chums up with vehicular traffic, needs to be stabilized (Carrier and Mitchell, 1976). Fusion of the top layers of lunar soil with focused sunlight can form a magma-lava crust to arrest unstable lunar dust. Spacecraft landing pads, vehicular traffic roads, and pedestrian walkways can be paved with solar heat by on-spot fusion of the top layers, penetrating to desirable depth. Unprocessed lunar soil can be fused by solar energy via a manual or automatic and remote control “paving” vehicle. Inappropriate regolith areas can be topped with a layer of appropriate lunar soil before its fusion. For low temperature fusion, lunar fluxes can be sprayed on top of the soil prior to introducing solar heat. Paving surfaces of heavier traffic areas can be constructed from composites fused to ceramic and stoneware consistency with desired colors and textures. As a general rule, it is the use of the universal principles of the terrestrial element of fire (heat) – the solar rays – that must be thought of at the forefront of mediums and materials for planetary base design and construction. Adhering to the philosophy of the use of local resources, human skills, and solar energy, we can achieve our quests on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. We must learn from the accumulated human knowledge of earth-architecture, which has sheltered humans in the harshest conditions. Each person going to the Moon, regardless of his or her work, must be aware of these fundamental principles and techniques to participate in creating an indigenous architecture to form their communities, not only because of economic benefit but also because of spiritual reward. As an old Persian saying goes, “Every man and woman is born a doctor and a builder – to heal and shelter himself.”

Acknowledgments. The Geltaftan Group, consisting of Manouchehr Sedehi, Mahmoud Hejazi, Ezzatollah Salmanzadeh, Ali Gourang, Ostad Asghar, and A. A. Khorramshahi, supported my work in earth-and-fire developments. Eyal Perchik, Alessandra Runyon, Tsosie Tsinhnahjinnie, Steven Haines, Ellwood Pickering II, Barclay Totten, students at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, have helped advance my research work.

REFERENCES
Blacic J.D. (1984) Structural properties of lunar rock materials under anhydrous, hard vacuum conditions (abstract). In Papers Presented to the Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, p. 76. NASA/ Johnson Space Center, Houston. Carrier W. D. III and Mitchell J. K. (1976) Geotechnical engineering on the Moon (abstract) In Lunar Science VII, Special Session Abstracts, pp. 92-95. Lunar Science Institute, Houston.
Criswell D. R. (editor) (1976) Lunar Science VII, Special Session Abstracts (on Lunar Utilization), pp. iii-vi. Lunar Science Institute, Houston.
Grodzka P. (1976) Processing lunar soil for structural materials (abstract). In Lunar Science VII, Special Session Abstracts, pp. 114-115. Lunar Science Institute, Houston.
Heiken G. (1976) The regolith as a source of materials (abstract). In Lunar Science VII, Special Session Abstracts, pp. 48-52. Lunar Science Institute, Houston.
Khalili E. N. (1986) Ceramic Houses. Harper and Row, San Francisco. In press.
Land P. (1984) Lunar base design (abstract). In Papers Presented to the Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century, p. 102. NASA/Johnson Space Center, Houston.
Rowley J. C. (1984) In-situ rock melting applied to lunar base construction and for exploration drilling and coring on the moon (abstract). In Papers Presented to the Symposium on Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 2lst Century, p. 77. NASA/Johnson Space Center, Houston.

Hesperia, California MUSEUM SANDBAG GALLERY MUSEUM RUMI DOME GALLERY

On April 19th, Earth Day weekend 1996, the City of Hesperia Recreation and Park District broke ground to construct the Hesperia Museum and Nature Center, the first of it’s kind in the world, legally permitted to be built totally of earthen construction, as part of the Desert Village, Rodeo/Arena and other futuristic programs in Hesperia.

The complex of fourteen domes and two vaults in earth and ceramics is designed by internationally renowned architect and author Nader Khalili, founder of the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth), who has devoted the last 20 years to developing simple disaster safe Earth Architecture technologies along with his associates and apprentices. For these he has won acclaim from NASA, CCAIA, and ASCE, for his proposals for building on the moon and Mars and worked with space science organizations in the U.S.

The project was approved by the Hesperia Building Department in consultation with the ICBO (International Conference of Building Officials) after successful static and dynamic load testing for wind, snow and earthquakes on full scale prototypes at Cal-Earth in Hesperia. The extensive engineering analysis and design, and the tests, were devised by Phill Vittore, a world specialist in dome engineering and structural design.

The architect’s innovations of Superadobe (mile-long sandbags and barbed wire construction) and Ceramic Houses (fired in-place adobe structures) are seen as solutions to global deforestation by organizations such as the Turner Foundation and Rex Foundation (Grateful Dead) who have lent their sponsorship along with other organizations to work at Cal-Earth.

The United Nations with whom Khalili has built housing prototypes usimg these technologies see these as the answer to affordable housing worldwide and emergency relief housing because of their efficient simplicity.

The Hesperia Museum and Nature Center sets the most important precedent for building with earth in the American fast-track mainstream in a harsh climate. They will be built with standard contractors’ equipment and skills, by community participation, and by the Laura Huxley Teenage Program (Our Ultimate Investment Foundation) who sponsors teenagers at Cal-Earth.

The project demonstrates how, with the simplest of elements, Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire, and with the ancient earth architecture techniques developed in the deserts of Iran and the Middle East, and traditional cultures from the Native Americans of the far west to China in the far east, whole communities could be developed in total harmony with the environment.

The process which has led to the permitting and building of this historic project with the support of Hesperia’s progressive City Council, Recreation and Park District, and Building and Safety, show that the American pioneering spirit still realize a vision of the new century.

“Hesperia Domes pass Seismic Test….Earth Architecture has made it to the big leagues” Victor Valley Daily Press

“`We think this design has the potential of revolutionizing the housing industry!’ said Hesperia Mayor.” Hesperia Resorter

” Cutting Edge Housing: In Hesperia Architect Nader Khalili is showing off his sandbag home… Malibu architect Eric Lloyd Wright, after viewing it said it’s just the kind of organic architecture his grandfather talked about, and engineering tests show it’ll hold up to earthquakes…” Los Angeles Times

“`We haven’t had people with this kind of vision since Frank Lloyd Wright died’, said Hesperia redevelopment manager….” Victor Valley Daily Press

“A Hesperia Architect has seen the future of affordable housing.” San Bernadino Sun

“His hope is to create truly low-cost housing in many parts of the world.” AIA Journal : Architecture

“The Excellence in Technology Award, California Council/American Institute of Architects, went to him for his work.” Los Angeles Times

“Without this spirit of pioneering no thoroughgoing changes can take place to create an environmentally harmonious architecture.” LA Architect

“…Creating a city from the dust under their feet using a variety of earthen construction techniques.” Automated Housing

“Making Bricks without Clay: Sandbags and barbed wire, often the materials of war, have become the building blocks of peace at Cal-Earth in Hesperia.” Daily Press

“…a family should be able to walk to a piece of land and build themselves a home without timber, steel or concrete. Just the earth alone should suffice.” Ceramic Monthly

“… a vision that could be of considerable value to architecture in development” Mima

Vaulted House

The 3-Vaulted house prototype has been in development since the mid-1980’s by Nader Khalili to allow the maximum space, light, and interior ventilation, while using the traditional form of the vault. The spaciousness of the interior design derives from this pattern of 3 offset vaults which allow a maximum view through the house’s open plan area, and from the height of the vault. The 3-vault system can be combined with domes and apses, or repeated back to back to form a variety of aesthetic and efficiently planned house designs.
A prototype 3-Vaulted house has been tested and approved for California’s severe earthquake codes and natural elements, in the harsh climate of the Mojave desert (over 100 degree F summer temperatures, freezing winters, flash floods, high speed wind, and the highest US earthquake zone 4).
The universality of the material and design has caused these houses to be considered for the moon and Mars by NASA scientists interested in in-situ utilization of planetary resources.

“Earth One”, the prototype 3 bedroom Superadobe house is now under construction at Cal-Earth.

Some features of the Earth One house and 3-vaulted designs are:

View through depth of two vaults increases a sense of interior space.

The offest vaults eliminate the need for corridors.

Simple design based on repetition of the single vault design unit simplifies construction.

More vaults can be added at a later time.

Variety can be introduced through the placement of windows and other small elements such as niches.

Arches and vaults are inherently beautiful, especially if repeated in a series.

A two storey wind-scoop faces prevailing summer breezes for cooling.

The vaulted curve of the roof, combined with the sun’s path overhead, creates sun and shade zones which encourage circular air movement inside the house.

Play of light and shadow minimizes the need for decoration.

The combination fireplace and wind-scoop enhances both heating and cooling functions (also called energy tower).

To review and purchase the “Earth One” blueprint set with 12 page specification see the Cal-Earth Products page. Additional plan variations start with a 1 or 2 bedroom house and grow to 4 or more bedrooms by adding vault elements. Dome elements can also be added for circular living spaces, meditation room, performance or music room, courtyard, pool, water cistern, root cellar and so on.
The environmentally friendly design uses on-site earth (or any kind of earth) with 99% wood/forest saving in contrast to conventional building systems. It has non-toxic interior finishes, utilizes solar and wind energy for passive cooling and heating. The self-help system directed towards U.N. requirements, for affordable housing with savings in material costs. It can also be integrated with standard contractors’ equipment and pumps. There is design flexibility for interior layout and artistic exterior finishes.

Emergency Shelter

EMERGENCY SHELTER
A spin off from Khalili’s Lunar/Mars habitat designs

Cal-Earth Institute is happy to humbly dedicate the following two pages to the overwhelming requests related to the latest series of disasters in the world. It is meant as a start to providing guidance for human shelter. Click here for the 2-page “Emergency Sandbag Shelter” pdf file. (Get Acrobat Reader) Cal-Earth Emergency Shelter Village Images

water in the boat
is the death of the boat
water under the boat
and the boat’s afloat
– Rumi

Natural disasters are human created disasters blamed on nature.

After a fire, hurricane, flood, or earthquake we immediately declare that this was a natural disaster, an act of God. Then we ask if we have insurance, or how soon will the goverment or U.N. come to help? And these are repeated and echoed in the media around the globe over and over again. But these are not the right questions. The right question is why did our house burn, fall apart, or get swept away? And when we have the chance to re-build it, why should we build it the same way and in the same place? Ultimately “natural disasters” are human created disasters blamed on nature.

The human impact in nature and its effects: pollution, deforestation, land mismanagement, the green house effect, and more, will undoubtedly accelerate the rate of disasters in the future. Added to that are the man-made disasters: millions of displaced humans, wars and human aggression and act of terrorism with its incalculable damage to human life and property. There is a sense of urgency to educate ourselves and our children to act more in harmony with nature, rather than insisting on dominating and interrupting the environmental process. As well as urgency to awaken to a new set of questions where we, and not nature or God, are to be blamed.

We must also prepare ourselves for the inevitable disasters. One of the best ways to shield against fire, flood, and storm may as well be with earth, water, air and fire. Nature does that itself. The equilibrium of the natural elements are the natural balancing acts among these universal elements.

To build simple emergency and safe structures in our backyards, to give us maximum safety with minimum environmental impact, we must choose natural materials and, like nature itself, build with minimum materials to create maximum space, like a beehive or a sea shell. The strongest structures in nature which work in tune with gravity, friction, minimum exposure and maximum compression, are arches, domes and vault forms. And they can be easily learned and utilize the most available material on earth: Earth.

Here, using a simple sandbag-and-barbed-wire technology, named Superadobe, designed by architect Nader Khalili, and developed by his associates and apprentices this documentary video shows how to:

# Use the materials of war (sandbags and barbed wire) to create a safe shelter in most regions of the globe as well as in your backyard.

# Utilize minimum amounts of purchased product and maximum amounts of the free earth under your feet.

# Participate in a family or community activity by building a shelter, or a sustainable community.

# Create a shelter with maximum protection against natural and man-made disasters.

United Nations Visit

In July of 2001 a visit from the United Nations headed by the Director of UNDP Emergency Response Division with his team from New York, participated in a Cal-Earth workshop for these Emergency Shelters; they slept in one to experience their quality. Their very positive response was recorded in the Reuters World News Agency article.

Cal-Earth Emergency Shelter Village Images

Superadobe Technology is designed by Nader Khalili, engineering by P. .J. Vittore, models of which have been constructed and tested for the City of Hesperia, California, Building and Safety Department, in consultation with I.C.B.O. (International Conference of Building Officials), in the forms of arches, vaults, and domes between 1993 and 1996. These successfully passed the California required codes for the models.

Superadobe is a patented system at the service of humanity. It is offered free to the owner builder. Licensing is required for commercial use.

The video “Emergency Shelter”, a documentary, is produced to be used as part of a set of learning tools developed and used during the apprenticeship training program at Cal-Earth Institute (such as the compass for the dome’s curvature, hands-on techniques, and so on). These can teach you, step by step, how to build. To learn how to build your emergency structure, you must begin with a small practice dome, a storage shed in your backyard for example, to understand hands-on all practical aspects of the tools and materials, after which you may have the skills to increase the size of your shelter.

By practicing to build the eight foot interior diameter dome we hope that you will learn how to shelter yourself in an emergency situation with some basic materials that can be stored in your closet or carried in your car trunk.

The students shown building in this video had never worked with earth before, but they built their 8 ft. diameter dome in a total of ten hours. They were participants of Cal-Earth’s apprentice course and were taught by a teacher. The students added niches, storage, plastering, and doors in the following days.

And in the following months Khalili, his associates and apprentices built many variations of small shelters each 120 sq. ft. or less in floor area which you can visit at Cal-Earth Institute.
Cal-Earth Emergency Shelter Village Images

Link to website: http://www.calearth.org/index.htm

Source: http://loveforlife.com.au/content/08/08/04/cal-earth-california-institute-earth-art-architecture-emergency-shelters-vaulted-ho

Appearances and ‘real’ people.

From The Ring Cedars.. From Illusory People chapter.

Anastasias grandfather says in response to Vladamirs statement whilst pointing at two girls in the park talking.  “I think one of them – the one smoking – is unreal.”  And later says “look closely. The girl has on very uncomfortable high healed shoes. Besides, there a little too tight for her.  She wears them precisely because someone else is dictating what shoes women should be wearing these days. And she’s wearing a short skirt of material made to look like leather but it isn’t leather.  It’s harmful for the body, but she’s wearing it according to the dictates of society’s current fad. Look at all her gaudy make-up and how arrogantly she is behaving.  Outwardly she is independant.  But only outwardly.  Her whole appearance is at odds with her self, her real self.  She’s been ‘smitten’ by an image of someone elses thoughtforms, a soulless, illusory image has eclipsed her living soul and taken it captive.” it takes a strange twist when asked to prove if this  is true.  Grandfather approaced the two girls, looked the one smoking in eye n said “put the cigarette, dear girl, into your right hand. You should try holding it in your right hand.” she obediently obliged. But it was more to it than that.  Her face suddenly became completely altered.  Her arrogance had vanished.  In fact, everything about her was differen: her face, the way she stood.  And in a completely different tone she said: “I’l try grandfather.” “You should have your child, dear girl.” “it’ll be hard for me.  I’m all alone.”. “let him come to you. You go and think about that hand of yours, think about your child, and he will come.  Go along now dear girl, you must hurry”. Vladamir says after this “can you tame any woman like that? That’s terrific! Some sort of super-hypnosis, eh? Far out!” to which the Grandfather replies ” it’s not hypnosis.  And theres no far out mysticism here.  It’s simply an attentive attitude to ones fellow man.  And i mean to the man, not the dreamt up image which obscures the real man.  And, man responds instantly to this, he finds his strength, when you appeal directly to him, ignoring the illusory image.” “But how did you manage to see the invisible man behind the visible image?” “It’s all very simple, really. I watched them a bit.  The girl was holding the cigarette in her left hand.  She was also rummaging around in her hand with her left hand. Which means she’s left handed.  And if a small child holds a spoon or does something else with the left hand, his parents try to get him to use the right.  She got along fine with her parents.  I realised this when i saw the way she looked at the man and woman walking along with a little girl in tow.  I spoke to her the way her parents might have when she was little.  I tried to use the same tone of voice her parents might have used.  Back when she was little, unaffected, not under someone else’s image.  That little girl was the real man, and it responded rite off.  And it’s the alien image doesn’t want the child. But the girl’s inner being wants the child very much. They’re struggling with each other.  Now her inner being will win out!!!”

I just found this last night in my favourite series, hope u like it. I could never find the words n now i hav, so i had to share.

ARE YOUR CHILDREN AT RISK?

For most parents it is impossible to understand or decipher what the ingredients in some of chil-dren‘s products actually are:

Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on your baby care and children‘s products and wondered what they are?

Have you ever researched what the ingredients are and what their purpose is?

Do you believe the ingredients are safe for your kids?

Are you aware of the effects the combination of some these ingredients may have on your baby and children‘s health and wellbeing?

Do you believe that products advertised or labelled ‗natural‘ or ‗organic‘ are safe to use?
ARE YOUR CHILDREN AT RISK?
Raise Questions, Seek Answers
When you know the truth about the chemicals in your baby and children‟s products you may be shocked at what you find!

Because you make ALL the choices and decisions for your children from birth to their formative years, it is vitally important that you make wise and informed choices for them.
You will decide: What products they are exposed to What medications they will take What food they eat Where and how they will live
Are you aware of the toxins they may be exposed to from their baby products and in their every-day environment?
What is that you require to help you understand the impact of toxins on your child‘s health and wellbeing now and for the future?
What do you think they would ask you in the future about the choices you are making for them today?
If your child had a choice, what would they choose?

Copyright © 2009 Niche Finders. All rights reserved.
Healthy Living
PUT YOUR BABY IN HARMONY WITH NATURE
We have all lathered and pampered our kids with all sorts of potions, lotions and concoctions so they feel soft and smell good. Most people intrinsically believe that companies would not inten-tionally promote or sell products that would harm our babies or children.
Is this really true?

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better”
Albert Einstein

Inner Alchemy
The alchemists of ancient times were aware that the human body works in harmony with mother nature. They used her secrets in a form of natural chemistry, free from synthetic chemicals using only ingredients derived from plants, minerals, flowers and nature.
This fact is what makes natural substances more powerful than any synthetic substance created by man. Most modern men and women have detached themselves from nature. We now live in a world where every aspect of our environment is saturated with synthetic chemicals. Sad but true…
We have been fooled for decades into thinking that ‗synthetics‘ are the way of the future and that they are safe and superior to nature. Given the massive increases in cancer and other im-mune related diseases since the beginning of the chemical revolution in the 1930‘s and the cur-rent global environmental issues of our planet, we can see that this may not be the truth.

A Call from The Wild: How today’s children need nature and how the future depends on it By Ian Cleary

A Call from The Wild: How today’s children need nature and how the future depends on it

I received Richard Louv’s new book the day I received the news that I was to become a father for the first time. The book, Last Child in the Woods, Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, is a timely reminder of the challenges that lie before all parents, but an equally powerful recognition that my work as an environment educator has more purpose than ever!

Louv’s fascinating book highlights the broken relationship we have with our environment which stems from spending less time physically in nature. He links this separation from the natural world to many problems facing children today, including, diminished use of the senses, attention problems, and increased emotional and physical diseases including higher levels of childhood obesity and depression. Through a combination of compelling anecdotes and research, Louv argues a strong case for more focused studies, pointing out that no other generation in human history has had such levels of disconnection with nature. He suggests causes in the current crisis include a reduction of easily available open spaces, parental fear of injury or abuse, and, of course, the modern lures of being indoors.

Any adult who has experienced the delights of natural experiences knows the benefit. But sadly, Louv believes we may have ‘scared children straight out of the woods and fields’ and given in to a litigious culture that promotes organised sports as outdoor activities over unsupervised play in nature. In addition, he believes our fear of violent crime is based on a perceived risk exaggerated by biased media coverage.

Turning our attention to indoor technologies such as TV, computer games, home computers and the Internet, we find that these have had a double impact on child development. First, they take from available time that previous generations spent outdoors and, secondly, they only allow partial development of the senses and impede physical development. A line from Richard Louv’s book really drives home the challenge ahead, when he quotes a small boy saying. ‘I like to play indoors cause that’s where all the [power] outlets are.’

The book stresses the need to see play in nature not as leisure time but as something that is as crucial for our children’s development as a balanced diet or a good night’s sleep. He uses the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ not to describe a medical condition but to describe the symptoms experienced when children are cut off from direct nature experiences. Louv’s examples tend to have an American focus, but in my ten years as an environmental educator I have come to believe it also exists in Australia and the UK and probably in most developed countries. It’s a symptom of a larger social problem that has children (and adults) spending less time in nature than in the past and developing more of a ‘virtual’ relationship with it.

So why is building cubby houses and catching tadpoles more important than computer skills and soccer? Studies into the effects of reduced nature experiences are limited, partly because no one took note of how much time children of the past spent outside. It was probably assumed that it would always be that way, and that it was only natural for kids to want to play outdoors. It would appear that for many this is no longer the case.

So what IS the impact of a less nature-based childhood?

The Biophilia Theory, championed by Harvard Professor E.O.Wilson, suggests that we actually have a biological need to be outdoors. We develop and thrive through the sensory input from the natural world and its absence can cause all manner of problems. A branch of psychology known as eco-psychology also supports this. Of particular interest is the work done on the apparent links between outdoor play and ADHD. Studies at Illinois University have shown that time spent outdoors in ‘green spaces’ can actually reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Louv wonders whether a lack of nature might also be a cause of such attention problems.

Nature seems to operate on a more relaxed timetable than our own. Something as simple as a walk on the beach or through a rainforest tends to have a calming effect on most people. Louv would argue that this calming effect is crucial in healthy childhood development.

Inspiring the environmentalists of the future

Of the many points Louv raises in his book, I would like to focus on one aspect that particularly concerns my profession. How do we as teachers and parents, teach about ‘the environment’ and what priority should we place on experiencing the real thing?

I believe environmental education in primary schools today should concentrate on physically getting into local forests and mangroves — learning to listen for and identify the calls of local birds, or to wander local bush land smelling, touching, tasting, listening to, and generally feeling an intimate connection with what sustains us.

Try this. Think of the term ‘environmental education’ and feel what comes to mind or what should be taught under this field. For many it gives rise to ideas of global warming, protecting rainforests and oceans, animal extinction, stopping whaling, conserving water and other catastrophes. All of that is certainly critical information for society to take on. But it’s just that — information. To change people’s actions they first have to associate the environment with something worth saving — something seen in terms of awe, wonder, beauty, vastness, inter-relationships, precious moments, complexity beyond knowing and love. With this firmly anchored in their hearts through direct experience, only then should we teach about the broader issues facing the environment. The problem is that without such direct experience of nature our kids get an imbalance of information; we risk focusing on the negatives before children develop an appreciation of the positives. It’s a little like learning about the deadly snakes before learning that most snakes are harmless and all have a crucial part to play in our environment.

How then do we relate to snakes? Are we motivated to protect them?

I often get asked the question, ‘At what age is it best to start teaching about major environmental issues?’ The answer is always the same — not until the child has had plenty of years experiencing, exploring and developing a fascination for what’s around them; not dinosaurs or Madagascan lemurs, but ‘their’ environment — real experiences. I believe the love of skinks in the backyard — not the panda bear in Asia — is more likely to drive children to live responsible environmental lives as adults.

Studies of the great environmentalists of the last hundred years show two things they have in common. First, they had a childhood rich in contact with nature, and secondly, a close relationship with an adult who was enthusiastic about the environment. These two options are becoming less available, at a time when the world actually needs more committed environmentalists. The role of teachers and parents in this equation is obvious.

A virtual relationship with nature

Ironically we live in a world where children know more about the earth, but less about their own backyard. The huge increase in information available online or through nature documentaries has almost taken the place of direct nature experiences for some. Kids will excitedly tell you of last night’s Discovery Channel documentary on monkeys, alligators, emperor penguins or lions of the Serengeti. But ask what bird just called and there are blank faces.

These amazing nature shows can perhaps do more harm than good by giving people an unreal expectation of nature. I often think back to a night walk I once led. We had been out for about an hour and in that time we had seen an echidna, a platypus, heard two types of owls calling, seen several species of frogs, a small snake and to top it off, we watched a yellow-bellied glider (a possum-like animal the size of a small cat) leap from a tall tree and, spreading flaps of skin between its legs, soar over our heads and land in a tree over 50 metres away!! At the end of the night when I asked what people thought, to my surprise several of the group, adults and children alike, were disappointed. On further questioning, they admitted they didn’t quite know what to expect, but thought they would see more ‘stuff’.

I often question younger children about animals they know. Invariably it is the tigers, lions, giraffes and elephants that first come to mind, demonstrating that their knowledge is primarily virtual, not built on experiences with their local fruit bats, frogs, gliders, possums, kangaroos, snakes and lizards. I would encourage parents to choose from the great range of children’s books available today that have an ‘Australiana’ focus.

Schools are doing an amazing job but maybe the environmental education that’s really needed goes beyond the remit of schools. In the past it has taken place on weekends and after school, in the backyard, down at the local creek or forest. It was spontaneous and unsupervised. Anecdotally, this time nowadays seems to have been taken up by other activities. Many of these nature experiences seem to be beyond formal schooling but not beyond family activities. I see huge potential here for parents to both generate environmental awareness and spend valuable time with their kids. Parents are in the best place to be that enthusiastic adult who can stimulate an interest in nature. Ultimately it will have a far greater impact on the planet than any household recycling or compost scheme.

A few years ago I worked as an Education Officer for the Oxford University’s Botanic Garden and I was asked to run kids activities once a month. It may surprise you, but I cringed at the thought of it. Not that I don’t love working with children, but I had done the ‘Kids Club’ gig at so many nature resorts and national parks, spanning a decade of school holidays and long weekends. They tended to turn into baby-sitting sessions, while the parent took a break or went off to explore on their own. It seemed like such a wasted opportunity for families to explore together. I felt for the kids and the parents as well. And so I modified the weekends from kids activities to family learning days.

The new activities I developed drew from the fascination that comes from exploring nature and from an observation that it’s often the parents who are unsure of how to ‘play’ in nature. It was a huge success and amazing to watch. Families shared the experience of learning and exploring, and parents eagerly took on the role of ‘Tour Guide’ for the day with the information I had primed them with. The activities challenged the adults to relax and enjoy their surrounds and they were often also inspired by their own child’s sense of awe. The adults soon had a ‘childlike’ fascination for what was before them. These creative and simple activities helped bring about a wonderful connection between parent, child and nature.

Over the years I have seen how many adults and children struggle being in nature. This disconnection creates a feeling of discomfort and sometimes even fear. But it never occurred to me that they may physically struggle too. The role that nature can play in the physical development of children hit me one spring morning in England. I took a school group of nine-year-olds walking through a beautiful wildflower meadow. These were kids from a rough estate who had had very few ‘outdoor’ experiences. As I watched them walk, I noticed that amongst all the laughter, they were struggling to walk over the uneven ground. Their teacher said that for many it was the first time that they had experienced uneven grass. Their brains were actually telling them, from past experience on the ovals and sidewalks, that grass is flat.

After these experiences, and now back in Australia I decided to write a book compiling all the years of activities that I have used to reconnect families with nature and with each other. I want to share beautiful ways to generate the awe and inspiration that nature provides, as well as the benefits that seem to follow.

From these activities comes a fascination for nature, confidence in being outdoors, the valuing of all life forms, improved self-esteem, imagination and creativity and a general honing of all the senses.

The activities also draw on another lesson that being in nature gives us and is particularly vital nowadays — the ability to slow down and ‘be’ at a more natural pace. Being in nature also gives us the gift of experiencing a place where there is no judgement. It is a place that eases our stresses while increasing our creativity. It has been beautiful to watch these activities heal what Richard Louv calls the ‘broken relationship with the earth’, while strengthening the bonds within the family.

Can we ever reconnect with nature?

I’ve thought a lot about whether an activity can ever actually ‘reconnect’ us with nature. It seems to me that we are never really disconnected. We breathe, we eat, we drink and in turn feed the earth with our waste and eventually our bodies. We are always connected as we ARE nature. We just live and behave as if we are not. So these so-called ‘reconnecting with nature’ activities actually help us to change our awareness of our place in nature; helping us to realise how deeply connected we always are.

It’s an exciting time to be alive and raise kids. I’m inspired by the incredible environmental movement, its dedicated teachers and rich spiritual traditions that are reawakening our awareness of our earthly origins. I want my children to live in a world rich in biodiversity and have a deep respect for others and nature, and see the role I played in helping them achieve it. It does take a commitment of time and energy, and often it feels like a movement against the tide. But I have a quotation on my office wall that I often look to for encouragement.

‘Some people know what they do. Others know why they do what they do. But nobody knows what they do, DOES.’

Hopefully through the work of enthusiastic parents and teachers, enough kids will develop an intimate love of their nature so that they will help drive us in a new direction — towards a life-sustaining society instead of our industrial growth society that is failing our children and our environment.

And so my thoughts turn from environmental educator to parent. How best to raise my child? I know the adult I am today is a result of my childhood. I cherish my memories of the outdoors, of camping, fishing, swimming, walking and, best of all, exploring. As a father-to-be, I know that I will be guided by that nostalgic view of a carefree childhood, and will make it a priority to give my child those opportunities. I also realise I will be challenged by the clash of past and present. I am not immune to the media messages about unsupervised play. The question is ‘Will I let my children explore on their own?’ I recognise the importance of nature and the harm caused by its absence, so the answer is ‘absolutely’. Not that I intend to disregard the potential dangers, it’s just that I will assess them against the risk to my child’s mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing of not having a nature-based upbringing.

Advice from me as an environmental educator is to be cautious about what we are teaching about the environment; push for school outings; fight to save the local bushland; meet your ‘neighbours’ (the birds, reptiles and frogs); read Louv’s book and most importantly, get out there. Merely being in nature will benefit you and your kids and … their kids. 

Published in Kindred issue 22, June 07

Ian Cleary is a passionate educator and speaker, whose environmental vision has taken him around Australia and the world. Now, as co-founder of True Nature Guides, he inspires people to experience and celebrate their profound connection with their inner and outer nature, their True Nature. To receive regular fun family activities, or updates on future workshops or publications, email Ian.

Connection Parenting, Pam Leo.

“Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhood.” – Pam Leo
“The level of cooperation parents get from their children is usually equal to the level of connection children feel with their parents.” – Pam Leo
Pam Leo is a founding board member of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children (aTLC) and is one of the the primary architects of the aTLC Proclamation and Blueprint. The aTLC has generously posted a free, one-hour streaming audio in-studio interview (MP3) on their website. Please click the following link if you would like to hear the interview. The link will open in a new page:
What is Connection Parenting?
“Connection parenting is parenting through connectioninstead of coercion, through love instead of fear.”
The model of parenting most of us grew up with was authoritarian parenting, which is based on fear. Some of us may have grown up with permissive parenting, which is also based on fear. Authoritarian parenting is based on the child’s fear of losing the parent’s love. Permissive parenting is based on the parent’s fear of losing the child’s love. Connection parenting is based on love instead of fear.
Connection Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children’s optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond.
Both authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are reactive. Connection parenting is proactive. Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection.
Connection parenting is an ideal, a navigation star we can look to for guidance. Whenever we question how to respond to a child we can ask ourselves, will this response create a connection or a disconnection. We feel connected when we feel listened to and loved. We feel disconnected when we feel hurt and unheard.
Sometimes a child’s behavior will push our buttons and we react rather than respond. As soon as we realize we have created a disconnect, we can reconnect by doing the following:
Rewind – Acknowledge we have said or done something hurtful
Repair – Apologize and ask for forgiveness
Replay – Respond with love and listening
Even if we can’t parent in the most nurturing ways all the time, the more often we can, the more our children get what they need, the better they will be able to weather the times when we parent in less nurturing ways.
Pam Leo is an affiliate of the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children ( aTLC ).
To learn more about parenting practices that support healthy bonding, please see the Proclamation and Blueprint for Transforming the Lives of Children at the aTLC website:
http://www.atlc.org/
Pam Leo speaks on Parenting Advice:
A parenting philosophy is relevant only to the extent that itpromotes parenting practices which support secure bonding.
Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Securing and maintaining that bond is our primary work as parents and is the key to optimal human development.
Parents often tell me that they find parenting advice to be confusing and contradictory. They ask, “How do I tell the difference between ‘good’ parenting advice and ‘bad’ parenting advice? One expert or book says to do one thing and another tells me to do the exact opposite? How am I to know what is best for my child?”
My best answer to that question is the question I ask myself: “If I follow this advice, will I create a connection or a disconnection with my child?” When a parent’s behavior creates a connection, the child feels that the parent is on his side, and their bond and connection is strengthened. When a parent’s behavior creates a disconnection, the child feels that the parent is against him, and their bond and connection is weakened. Since parents’ effectiveness is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond and connection they have with their child, any advice that undermines the strength of that bond is counterproductive.
“In any interaction with a child, will my words or actions strengthen or weaken our connection?” – Pam Leo

Pam Leo – Connection Parenting
Attn: Magnolia
10 Old Orchard Road
Gorham, Maine 04038

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Is it Time to check ourselves- b 4 we wreck ourselves

Did you know?
In 1901 Cancer rates were 1 in 8000 – they are now 1 in 3 and rising
Between 1965 & 1982 over 4M distinct chemical compounds were made
At least 250,000 new chemicals have been made each year since 1982. They are found in our water, the air we breathe, the food we eat, what we put into and on our bodies and under the sink.

Most of these chemicals have never been tested for their effects on humans, animals or the environment
A study of umbilical cord samples from the American Red Cross found that babies in-utero have an average of 200 known toxic chemicals in their blood, including mercury, fire retardants, pesticides and a chemical used in the production of Teflon. All this even be-fore being born! (See ARTICLE #1)
Girls are reaching puberty at a younger age, sometimes as young as seven
More boys are being born with genital deformities than ever before
PMS, fibrocystic breast disease, endometriosis and other hormonal problems are rife
Diseases such as Alzheimer‘s, Parkinson‘s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other immune related diseases are far more prevalent than they once were
Since 1980, asthma has increased by 600%. The Canadian Lung Association and the Asthma Society of Canada identify common household cleaners and cosmetics as triggers
There has been a 28% increase in childhood cancer, such as leukemia, since the addition of pesticides into household products.(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Allergies and skin conditions have increased 10-fold
1 in 3 children and adults now suffer from Asthma or respiratory illness
ADHD etc are now commonplace – 7.7 – 12.8m children in the US alone have mental health problems such as ADD, ADHD, DEPRESSION
People suffering from depression has risen from one in twenty people to one in five
There are up to 110 chemicals used on apples alone – so much for an apple a day… They can be kept in cold storage for up to two years before you buy them so they gotta keep them looking fresh and stop them rotting somehow!!
Approximately 710 chemicals in our water supply & Over 10,000 chemicals used in food processing and preservation which increases every year.

These are just a few of the published statistics. There is now scientific and medical evidence which supports the correlation between the increase in cancers, immune related diseases, asthma, skin disorders and more and the introduction of synthetic man-made chemicals into our environment since the 1930‘s. It‘s something we can no longer pretend isn’t happening…
I know this is scary stuff but congratulate yourself because you now have the information to question what‘s in the products you‘re using on Yourself, your Children and in your Home?  Stay tuned now to find out more and more and more.
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