Freitag, 21. August 2009

Building a Brighter future

The title sounds cheesy but we really mean it!

Topics of the day: earthships, activist at heart, Bundestag elections, what politics should be about

In the morning I cycled over to Roti’s house (while Raphael went to see someone at SEDEP) on the way I passed a bus full of children (on the way to school) who were grinning from ear to ear and waving at me (what a good start of the day – already looking forward to seeing them again next week :).

Roti told me the story of how she became an activist. When she was eight years old a new girl came into the class and the teacher placed her next to Roti. The girl wasn’t fluent in French so Roti talked to her in Tahitian to explain what the teacher had said – the consequence: “You will write: “I will not speak Tahitian in class” 50 times”. A week passed and the number of lines Roti was given grew up to 1000. She still refused so the teacher didn’t know how to deal with her and eventually resorted to having her sit outside in front of the classroom door until she did her lines. This went on for another week (the whole school was talking about Roti) until the headmistress of the catholic school (a nun) took Roti to her office to enquire why she was resisting so much. Roti’s simple answer: “God gave me this language so I should use it”. Knock-out argument (swinging the moral hammer).

After a similar event (Roti received a shell from someone who had heard her speaking in Tahitian during the break - this meant she had to sit under a well positioned tree in the middle of the schoolyard (the pillory) with her eyes shut (I could really think of a worse punishment) when a nun came to take her back to class she was sitting there juggling... from that day the students at her school weren’t punished for using their language anymore. I guess being stubborn pays off :)

I didn’t really do much at Roti’s (except for exploiting her internet flat-rate and pestering her with more (or less philosophical) questions)… skip the next two paragraphs if you’re more or less easily bored!

When I complained about the masses of legal texts out there and stupid EU-laws for example regulating the degree of curvature of cucumbers (to avoid too much diversity and make nature comply with the system - grrrr – can’t they finally tackle the really important issues like education, sustainable agriculture, penalizing polluters and lead in a transition for 100% renewables?), Roti explained that the term politics was actually quite positive and (should be) connected with: health, education, social security, culture – happiness… (haha) but has nowadays unfortunately devolved into serving the economic interests (there are honestly people on the payroll of multinational corporations working on new laws which are in some cases passed without a second opinion – why isn’t everyone rioting?). Roti encouraged me to go into politics – and make a difference. Politicians should have a very broad general education (know at least a bit about everything) in order to make informed choices… I’m not sure if my brain capacity would suffice for a task like that in addition to that I hate speaking (to adults) in public.

Since I won’t be there for the next Bundestag election I tried to request a postal vote online… not that I really know whom to vote for – Maeva (and her party) unfortunately aren’t listed on the ballot paper… wonder how successful we’d be if we form a new (yet another) party?

Something completely different – sustainable architecture: Roti wants to renovate/rebuild her house (have student accommodation on top of her bungalow). I told her about earthships which are (non-floating!) houses that keep nice and cool when it’s hot (thanks to a lot of thermal mass (meaning thick walls) – and of course nice and warm in winter when you’re talking about different (our) latitudes) and are self sufficient, which is obviously not quite possible in a suburb where you don’t have your own well – so she’d still have a water connection. Other features of an earthship are reed beds for sewage treatment (a lot better than septic tanks which pollute the ground and lagoons), rainwater-tanks, grey water recycling (for example toilet flushing with water previously used in the shower), compost toilets (not smelly), clay walls (provide an excellent climate inside) and in some cases built in garbage (earth is rammed into old tires which would otherwise be dumped on a landfill site) - this also makes them very cost-effective.

This is my personal favourite (but might be a bit too… “rustic/shabby” for some people’s taste):
for the general principles of these amazing low impact houses (which can also look modern - like a “normal” house inside):

Final thoughts of the day: I’m still undecided which approach is the more effective to preserve what’s left of biodiversity (and mankind) a hierarchical or a grass roots approach… looking at corrupt politicians I think I’m tending towards latter.

I really want to get some hands-on experience and help build an earthship – Roti said she might also build one in Rapa (to show the inhabitants what low-impact living looks like in practice :)

1 Kommentar:

Reiner hat gesagt…

Hello Kimberley and Raphael,
i'd like to get your eMail-Adresses :-)
Reading your articles, some ideas come to my mind and I don't know, how to contact you in other ways than this website.
I've mailed to Eric Bihl as well.
If you need some technical support in "Krieger-Radl" (was it velotau?) contact Michael Malich at

Another idea was that you contact the "Pacific-Group" of Presencing-Institute-Community yourself - and ask your tahitian friends as well. I've posted this blog on their Web, but I don't know if anybody did have a look? I think I wrote this already here, but ...?
Or you put it on the "Sustainability-Group"?

Keep on goin'

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