"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday 9 June 2011

Starting small, leading to bigger and better things...

It's been a hectic week - filled with cleaning, tidying and doctors.  Tuesday was completely taken up with a visit to a specialist and and MRI and x-rays.  That was because over the past few months I have been subjected to incredible pain in my face.  Hopefully, I will get the results today.  The specialist thinks it is cluster migraines, which is unusual as they normally occur in people in the 30's LOL  Ah well, I always say I feel 32 - so obviously my body has been keeping up with my mental age...

But that hasn't stopped me reading e-mails, and I was sent one, by my friend, Linda, which I am sharing with you now:

There is a school in Kommetjie, Cape Town, which has been busy teaching their children the benefits of recycling.
Two clever teachers (who were visiting from Brassington Primary School in Derbyshire, UK) shared with the children what had been done at their school.

Firstly, they asked their children, and their childrens' friends, to collect as many empty cool drink bottles as they could.  They then got the kids to help them string the bottles onto a dowl rod.  This rod was inserted in a frame:

Finally, they had enough "walls" to create a room!  Brilliant.  Not only have they shown the children how to make use of something which is normally thrown away (hopefully into a recycling bag) but they have also sown the seeds for them to view their rubbish from a different perspective!

The end result?
A working greenhouse!  Just love it - the light can come through, and a certain amount of air (but not the hectic wind we can be subjected to).

All in all it has to be quite an effective little structure, which is teaching the children all about recycling, as well as developing their little green fingers... :-)

Well done!  Clever, clever teachers.

But, last night on National Geographic channel, RMan and I watched an episode of Megastructures about an architect in Taiwan.  He is passionate about creating sustainable buildings.  He was tasked with designing a building for the 2010 Taiwan International Expo.

Taiwan has grown dramatically in the past 20 years, and with growth, naturally, comes more (human) waste matter.  Given that this tobacco leaf shaped island has a limited amount of land, they have a problem with where to put all the garbage, as their landfill sites are inadequate. Especially plastic.  So, apparently, what he did was this.

He got together with the biggest manufacturer of recycled bottles and with his (financial) assistance, a new recycled bottle was created, specifically for the purpose of building.  They have called them Polli-Bricks :-)

Picture source:
They are interlocking plastic bottles which are grouped in, I think, 1 metre sections, using the lids to secured them to a polycarbonate sheet (for wind / rain / strength purposes).

Picture source:
I reckon they are an absolutely stunning solution to recycling plastic! They have created a work of art called the Eco-Arc, in Taiwan.  Even the air conditioning is eco-friendly - they have raised the floor on the prevailing wind side of the building, sending the wind through a "wall of water" which is thus chilled and then fed into the building via air ducts.
Picture source:
Even the illumination is self-sustainable.  During the day light pours through the transparent walls and at night the walls are lit up with solar powered LED lights.
Absolutely stunning!!!!

Good grief - I feel so useless.  There are so many brilliant idea's out there - why doesn't my head function properly LOL

Thank goodness there are teachers out there who are inspiring the youngest generation on how to use their "recycling" brains for the benefit of our planet.


  1. thanks for great post.....lots of stuff to think about

  2. wickets - This concept has given me much brain activity too :-)

  3. Oh I hope your tests come back fine. I too have migraines and they can be absolutely brutal. They make you lose whole days. Sending good thoughts your way.

  4. Jane - thanks. Yes, they are horrific when they happen...

  5. I think there are many good ideas and workable solutions to the problems of overflowing landfills .. it just takes a good imagination to come up with solutions .. this is a good solution.

    Hoping you have good results and treatment from your testing.

  6. Mrs Mac - LOL - just wish some bright ideas would pop out of my brain.

    Thanks for the wishes :-)

  7. Hope they can get you squared away on the pain soon.

    I used the same method as in the green house with the exception of using black pipe to run through the bottles. Circulated water through them and used it as a passive solar heat array. It blocks wind from taking the heat from the pipe and actually worked pretty good. I finally gave up on that idea and started doing the same with polycarbonate florescent light bulb protectors. Unfortunately I had to scrap all of that before I came down here.

  8. tffnguy - thanks.

    Actually, I think those bottle walls are a stunning idea. I'd maybe consider filling them half full of sand for stability / weight, whilst still allowing light through. That, together with wire support, may obviate the use of the polycarbonate, Could work out a nice "greenhouse" - with or without the pun LOL

  9. Those bottle walls are stunning! What a great idea.
    I hope all your tests come back well. My husband had terrible trouble with pain in his face over a year ago. He was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Fortunately, his has faded with time an it doesn't bother him much anymore. Hope you get good news.

  10. Wow, those ideas are really inspirational.

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words on my blog.

    All the best with solving your pain problem.


  11. fullfreezer - Thans - that's exactly what my GP thinks I have. Dunno - haven't heard from the specialist yet...

  12. Cath - welcome :-)

    The idea is good, isn't it! Wonder what RMan would think...

  13. It would be nice if glass bottles were interlocking.

  14. Frann - True, but I would worry about breakage and how to replace / insert replacement ones.

  15. Really good stuff to see. On a side note. I used to have migraines occasionally. I had a friend who had terrible ones quite often. We both started having Ingham's method of reflexology on our feet. NO more migraines for either of us. seriously. Using the pressure point in the foot. This also helps with other issues. it might be worth looking into finding someone who does this type of reflexology in your area. Keep in mind it won't be a quick fix after one session, but if it gives you any relief it is better than nothing. Emily

  16. emilysincerely - Thank you so much for that info - that is really sweet of you :-)

    I must see if I can find a reflexologist around here...


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