July 2019 Issue
|Dear IHBA Members,|
I hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and involved in successful projects. This year seems to be the time when the world is starting at last, to wake up to the most important issues of our time and as someone who has been campaigning to raise awareness of these issues I can only be glad of these developments.
I am of course referring to both Plastic pollution and more seriously Climate Change. It seems that the combination of the gentle voice of Sir David Attenborough and the brave energy of Greta Thunberg have made quite an impression on people this year and have draw serious attention to a situation that many activists such as my self have been struggling to bring forward for many years.
My first reaction to both Sir David and Greta was that they were both too gentle to get this urgent information across. However I have been proved very wrong!! The fact that the dismal situation with Plastics was illustrated by the brilliant film footage of Blue Planet 2 was nothing new but the added impact of those honeyed tones of Attenborough who people have listened to all over the English speaking world, hammered the point home in a way very few other voices could have, this was added to more recently by his narrating of a special programme focussing on Climate change broadcast by the BBC earlier this year which has had a similar effect if a bit slower.
Greta Thunberg came from another direction in that she was completely unknown by the world outside her family and community until she decided enough was enough and walked out of school and into history. Her stubborn refusal to continue with an education she could see was doing nothing to prepare her for the world actually coming down the line, has been an inspiration to us all but when she started to get a chance to speak!!! Well…! the unpolished truths that came flowing in concise sentences from the youthful clarity of her mind to the ears of some of the most powerful (and ignorant) leaders of the world was when so many more of us sat up and listened.
At the same time it is humiliating to think that it took a child to wake us up, it is also typical and in fact a lesson we have been telling ourselves for centuries which is why the story of the Emperor Wears No Clothes was such an appropriate title for the book that energised so many Hemp activists.
|Out of the mouths of Grandads and Babes.|
|So what are we going to do in this age of action? As people involved with architecture we are already acting in an area connecting many of the aspects of our living habits with the design of buildings primarily being about the daily actions of those inhabiting the structure. The use of Hemp as a material to create that structure has concentrated our minds a little more on the other implications of construction such as material resources and energy use. Of course the other multiple products provided by a Hemp crop inevitably broaden our awareness further by including the clothing, food and medicines we might also require to add to the important building implications. This is the time we really need to be aware of the connections of all our actions and how everything we can change about our actions is of the utmost urgency!! |
Recently I was sent a parcel by old friends in New Zealand. Al n Jo Robertson used to publish an Undeground Newspaper back in the early 70’s called ‘Frendz’. I cannot be certain but I am reasonably sure that it was within the pages of that publication that I first learnt about the Limits to Growth report by Dennis and Donna Meadows and how the basic summary of this deeply researched paper was that the ‘American Lifestyle’ of excess consumption was never going to be possible for the whole worlds population as there was simply not enough resources on this finite planet. This was something that had a deep effect on my young mind and as I tell in my Stand up Info book/show “ Hemp Can’t Save The Planet BUT It Might Save Humanity!!” made the move toward hemp activism easy as I was already aware of how we badly needed another sustainable source and direction for our lifestyle. Contained in the package sent to me was a couple of brochures Al had made up containing the most basic and alarming info he had gained from the most recent book he had read called ‘The Uninhabitable Earth”. By the time I had received the first package Al had read another book which he sent me in the next package.
Books have often been important in my life and the stages of understanding I have needed to go through and currently I have several books I would like to tell you all about. The first 3 are about the all important situation of Climate Change and the next 2 are more about approaches to what we might call the Hemp Industry.
The first 3 are books I consider it essential everyone reads and I mean everyone. They are published in reverse order you could say in that the first one I think you should read is the last to be published etc etc.
1.The Uninhabitable Earth. David Wallace Wells
2. Drawdown. Paul Hawken
3. The Transition Handbook. Rob Hopkins
What are my reasons for each of these? 1. David tells it like it is no fuzzy focus here to help pretend what he is writing is somewhere in a far off time. In this book he writes about what is already happening and what is going to happen very soon (like in the next 10-50 years) It is important to read this first to make it very clear exactly why we need to take this situation extremely seriously. 2. I have spent most of my life attempting to work out a better way of living that fitted the limited resource understanding of a finite planet and in the last 15 years especially have been working to educate about the problems we are facing. Initially this was met with a certain degree of synicism but increasingly I was asked “so what can we do to address these problems?” This is the book to answer this question. Paul has brought together, with the help of over 100 others, details of 80 issues or actions humanity can use to not only reduce but to Reverse Global Warming. Towards the end of the book he also includes what he terms coming attractions or ideas and technologies that are also being put forward as possibilities which includes Hemp. I was of course very pleased to see this but unfortunately many of the present uses where not known about by those responsible for writing this part. Though insulation and construction were mentioned very briefly I decided I needed to inform Paul and his team about what we know about the material and how the combined Carbon storage of the material and the energy reduction through using Hemp as a material to build anything from Houses to Warehouses would also impact very positively on the move to reduce Carbon emissions. So I wrote him a letter in the hope that in any new edition of the book it might be included. I got an acknowledgement for my letter which I have attached here.
|3 Vital books to read to get real about the present situation.|
|The Third Book The Transition Handbook is I have just found out is out of print however a PDF can be found online here http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~sme/CSC2600/transition-handbook.pdf it is essential reading because it outlines how we bring our communities onboard as there is no point trying to do this on our own. I was involved in attempting to start this initiative in our Home town of Kenmare about 9 years ago but it was a difficult job as there were still many people who either knew nothing about the facts of either Peak Oil or Climate Change or if they did were too busy surviving the crash that had happened a few years before. Now many more are aware of the impending crisis at least to some degree and the information and ideas contained in this book are essential for involving the whole community wherever you might live.|
Of course Hemp has a large part to play if allowed and encouraged by governments, as we cannot depend on private investment to get involved as much as we need as they still look at things mainly from the old paradigm viewpoint of quick profit. This is just another aspect of how things have to dramatically change as I am sure I have said before the Growth Paradigm is over because it has to be for everybody or anybody who will live through the next 20 years the first 10 of which need to be increasingly and wholly devoted to implementing the aims in Drawdown and the next 10 year devoted to seeing if we are heading in the right direction or need to desperately prepare for the 6th Extinction!!!! Yes it really is that bad the earths atmosphere has not been this unbalanced since we lost 90% of all life on earth. Some may say (and some have) that this is too much harsh reality and could be made to be more palatable however it is this drastic it really is. One of the hardest things to understand is the psychological impact of all this. Several counselors have told me they have had distressed teenagers come to them with worries about the future and they have no solutions to give them, what can you say to such young people especially when most of the damage has been done in the last 30 years. when many of us knew what was happening. We can only hope we get things done in time. However as you can see below I am having a problem with the recent focus on CBD.
|Some humour to relax you, after all laughter is the best medicine.|
|My opinion of CBD a Band Aid for the Train Wreck Humanity is approaching.|
|Recently i was invited to give a presentation to the EIHA conference and I offered two options to Michael Carus one about the broad range of Hempcrete uses around the world and the other about Hemp Buldings part to play in the U.N sustainable development goals. He chose the former as he thought my approach to more general subjects too messiah like. Well I have no wish to be anything like a Messiah but if the sustainability goals are not important then the issue of Climate change certainly is and there was very little of those ideas present at this years conference. So I went to some lengths to relay these thoughts in the survey they sent out to delegates later and I really hope it becomes a major aspect next year. One of the things I have discovered in my recent reading is that Bitcoin mining used the same amount of energy last year as a million transatlantic flights!!! or all the green electricity generated so I will be confronting anyone who proposes the ridiculous idea of a Hemp coin!!!!|
|Delegates at the 16th EIHA conference in Cologne in June|
|So before we get back to the subject of Building with Hemp I’ll briefly return to books. As I mentioned earlier in this message there are 2 more books I recommend reading the first was sent to me for review by the author earlier this year.The Quiet Blossom is the story of the experiences of a young guy involved in the Marijuana industry in Northern California and Southern Oregon in the decade or so before 2016. Working as a ‘Trimmigant” Michael Clarke describes the situation on the remote farms he worked on as it moves from idealistic entreprenours growing in beautiful isolation to massive movements of, to say the least, to desperate gangsters growing in National parks and polluting all around them. Both sad and extremely funny in turns it is well worth the read. The same topic was touched on by a fellow speaker in Vienna. Tony Silvaggio of Humbolt University also brought to our attention the worsening situation there. You can find Michael’s Book here.https://www.dancingmoonpress.com/project/the-quiet-blossom/|
The second book was one recommended by Alex Sparrow of Hempcrete UK during his presentation in Brussels last year. Be More Pirate is a very entertaining read outlining how the Pirates of yesteryear and today were and are the liberators and revolutionaries society so badly needs. For example the Pirate societies of the 17th and 18th centuries were far more liberated than the coventional systems with equal rights for either sex or orientation, equal pay and a level of disregard for the unfair laws of the time which should probably be begun again today. To be honest the book read a little like a guidebook for my life as I have lived it but I recommend others allowing themselves to be inspired. Read more about it here https://www.bemorepirate.com/
|Books on Trimmigants and Pirates|
|So back to building, there has been quite some activity with IHBA members in the USA with both Hempitecture, Wnder and Henry Valles all combining to create the US Hemp Builders Association and to hold their first event on October 24-25 in Ketchum ID, which I will be attending to help launch the initiative. I don’t have any further info yet either about the Association or the event but I will keep you informed. Meanwhile, Hempitecture went ahead with purchasing an Ereasy spray system and binder and held a workshop based around it’s operation. A small structure was completed with the sprayer and everything seemed to go well I have yet to get any details but will also update you all when I do.|
|Sprayed Cabin by Hempitecture, USA|
|Another move inspired by our Symposium in Brussels last year was the coming together of activists in Germany to bring the technology to a country that has for some reason not yet grasped the significance of the potential. In order to rectify this situation long time IHBA member Roger Dauer and other have organised an event on August 1 &2 in the capital Berlin|
Details of the event in Berlin next month.
|When it comes to events some of you are probably asking when the next IHBA Symposium will be held? Well I can tell you that initial steps have been taken and our next meeting will be in the U.K in March 24-25 next year. The delay is mainly due to the overwhelming amount of work I have piling up on my desk but also that I wanted there to be a decent amount of new research and projects happening that we could feature. The venue will be Hornington Manor near Leeds in Yorkshire, owned by Harrison Spinks who manufacture high quality mattresses for both the Premier Inn chain of hotels and the British Royal family (my family also purchased one earlier this year) using both wool and hemp produced at their farm and manufactured at the factory we will be visiting during the Symposium which also produces building materials. There are many Hemp building projects in the area including the event centre we will be using. We are now inviting proposals for presentations at this event. More details will follow in the next Newsletter once I have had the time to make up the graphics etc..|
Well that’s all for now folks