Have you heard about pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PHS)?
The idea is simple - when you have an energy windmill that produces a surplus, you can use this electricity to power a water pump and collect the water in a water tank. When there is no wind, or you have an increased demand, you can release this water though turbines to produces extra electric power. This is also called a "natural battery".
While we had the molds, which we used to build a biogas digester, we decided to put them to use again, and built such a water tower. We look forward to see the results our experiment will give. Whatever happens, we have a good water storage for irrigation! And definitely a new Suderbyn's sight.
What can Suderbyn and a suburb of Berlin have in common ?
Before being immersed into beautiful September in Suderbyn, I went to the 10-day training organized by SCI in Berlin. SCI is an international volunteering organization, founded after the World War I and rooted into the idea of peace for all. Now SCI leads the campaign "Climate for Peace" which focuses on the issues of Climate Change, Climate Justice and the ways of mitigation of the global threat (Tips: Swedish branch of SCI is located in Suderbyn!). I shared some of my impressions from Berlin with the Suderbyn family and we decided it is inspirational enough to be posted here :)
So, what can be common between Berlin and Suderbyn? Two days ago I would say "Nothing". "Inspiring examples of transition" I would say today.
I tell you only one little piece of what is happening around me. Yesterday, for example, we visited the urban gardening project Prinzessinnengarten. A former dump in the city had been turned into a mobile garden in 2009 by two inspired people with the help of tens and tens of volunteers. They started from making beds and growing vegetables but then began internal projects: they gradually built a local organic cafe, bee colony, funny worms composts, soundwall, biking repairing place, social place for work and meetings, little shop for gardening, free shop for stuff, irrigation system, bar for visitors, and much more, and all it is surrounded by the garden. Despite being located in the center of city life, the garden now is blossoming, it uses only organic materials and people from the whole suburb come either for communal work or just to have some coffee with a friend. A lot of young interns and volunteers work here, supporting the garden, making the place beautiful. The organic cafe using products from local farmers and also courses and workshops help to support the garden, pay the rent and provide materials.
I am very inspired when I see how people even in the city space transform the space around, changing their and others' life. Urban gardening is not only about growing food of course. First of all it is about social space, meeting each other, finding your community. It is about trust, people's relations and their inner conditions. And we have much more resources on the countryside for such creation!
This is just one small example, a little piece of transitional processes happening all around, like seeds of the future planted all over. Another time we visited transition neighborhood and our host put in a funny but clear way: we have had the oil age when we relied on the machines work, and it is not bad, it was the time for us to have more time, to do research and learn... now the oil party is over and we need to move to the knowledge-based lifestyle.
What scares me is that the majority of the population remains outside this movement, but what inspires me is how illuminated, creative and right the local initiatives are and how they spread around. People can do amazing things with their hands and hearts! Local initiatives can be seen small if we compare with the global scale, but they create such huge invisible net of awaken people bringing the change. This net penetrates the air: you do not see it but you feel how larger and larger part of the population becomes conscious, how projects inspire each other and how even in the most challenging conditions people do bring the change.
Local projects bring so much meaning into our lives, into our desire for the change of the current production-destruction-consumption circle. Local projects fulfill your inner aspirations, but being tied together in the global net they become the worldwide action. People are realizing it and reproduce examples of more resilient living. Thus, even coming from Suderbyn to Berlin, you can find places where you feel home.
Take your local action.
During the workcamp, we got a visit from reporters who were curious about our Puxin micro biogas digester. You can see the pictures and read the article on the news portal Helagotland.
And here is the article printed by Gotlands Allehanda on July 31.
It has been almost 2 years since the Simone storm destroyed the cover on our Geodesic Dome. Ever since, we have puzzled over how to make a new and better cover, as well as to adapt the Dome for more efficient vegetable production.
Earlier this summer, we launched our new Dome project, which would include restoration of the cover, and a whole set of sustainable technologies: a micro biogas digester - to produce energy out of food- and agricultural waste; Jean Pain compost - to heat the digester during the cold months; annualized geo-solar - a system that would store excess summer heat under the floor and return it back into the greenhouse during the cold winter months; and an aeroponics system for growing vegetables - to utilize the space inside the Dome efficiently.
A group of 8 volunteers invited by IAL and 3 courageous helpers from our sister-ecovillage community Arterra in Spain made a great effort in starting this immense work during a summer workcamp between July 15 and August 4. As a result, we have dug up the floor and filled it with pipe that will carry the solar heat under ground and lose it into the stone floor; built an insulation wall around to prevent heat leaving the greenhouse; and built the digester, which is now almost ready to be used.
During the upcoming months, we will post updates and pictures on the further progress.
We have started a new website! We will be constantly updating and improving it so that everyone could follow what is happening in the ecovillage! Enjoy and engage!
Don't you mean Baltic? No, despite Suderbyn's long-standing work in the Baltic, now we are as well working in the Mediterranean. "Let's Do It" is a virally-spreading global initiative that started in Estonia 2008 and thanks the the Global Ecovillage Network began to spread and now encompasses 100 countries. Having got 96 countries and 7 million people to make waste clean-up actions in 2012, the movement turned its sights on more complex tasks. The visionary Rainer Nölvak, one of the founders of Skype, felt that Let's Do It could unify the 25 countries of the Mediterranean in a one-day action to clean up the sea and beaches of waste, particularly plastics, before they are broken down and get into the food chain. RELEARN Suderbyn was involved in the discussions and because only Suderbyn had links to the Anna Lindh Foundation, Suderbyn was asked by Let's Do It! to apply for funding from ALF to coordinate the Mediterranean clean-up 2014. The Anna Lindh Foundation based in Alexandria, Egypt has now granted 30 000 EUR support to the 37 500 EUR project. But the campaign is bigger than the project and its blog can be seen at www.letsdoitworld.org/mediterranean.
The campaign will encourage spontaneous bottom-up initiatives around the Mediterranean to clean the sea and beaches on 10-11 May 2014. A practice clean-up is planned for 13-15 September 2013 to test the interest and gain experience. The main event for the Suderbyn-led project will be to train NGO trainers from all Mediterranean countries in Alexandria in October 2013 in the methods of organizing huge participatory clean-ups using smart phone apps, internet-based mapping and web page registration of groups.
Suderbyn has been a member of the Swedish Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) National Network since the ecovillage was founded. ALF offered Suderbyn a way to do outreach in the Mediterranean and work with sustainable lifestyle issues as well as peace-building in a conflict-prone region. Having presented Suderbyn at the ALF Forum of 2010 in Barcelona, RELEARN came in contact with the Jordan NGO Institute for Leadership Excellence (ILE). After many years of sporadic contact between RELEARN and ILE, the two NGOs finally succeded in getting funding for a joint project. The Swedish Institute granted 100 000 SEK to develop a Creative Force application. The RELEARN-ILE idea was to make a film about the environmental concerns that face both NGOs. It was originally thought it would be about water shortages in Jordan and on Gotland. In June 2013, Suha Ayyash and Iyad Al Jaber of ILE visited Gotland and Suderbyn to discuss a possible film project in 2014.
Currently the two NGOs are agreed to shooting catalytic film footage on Gotland regarding "community living" at Suderbyn in Summer 2014 with the ecovillage summertime and interviews of inhabitants focusing on the reasons for seeking community, the diversity of community, handling conflicts in community. Following this the catalytic film about "value of and diversity in community" would be created in Amman with sub-titling in Arabic. This film would be screened at diverse locations representing different audiences in Jordan and filming their reactions immediately afterwards. The final production with post-screening discussions and flashbacks of catalytic film would be screened in Jordan, Egypt and at an international film festival A return visit of Suderbyn to ILE and Jordan towards the end of November is expected to clarify remaining details before more funding is requested.
Here are the two articles that appeared in the two local Gotlandic newspapers, writing about our Ecovillage, and our Open House that occured on the 18th of May, 2013.
We would like to invite all for a day of gardening. So if you fancy learning some new skills, getting your hands dirty and meeting like-minded individuals then you should come along.
We will provide you with lunch and fika in return for your time and help!
At Suderbyn we see volunteering as being about giving and receiving and we hope that our volunteers will both enjoy and learn from their experiences here.
Suderbyn goes to Ängsbacka! In the middle of April 2013, the residents of Suderbyn travelled to Ängsbacka on the mainland to attend the national network of Swedish ecovillagers - Ekobyarnas Riksorganisation (ERO). Over 100 ecovillagers from Sweden and around the Baltic Sea Region gathered for a couple days to exchange knowledge, information, advice, and stories! Many new friendships and contacts were made, which is invaluable in strenghtening the network.
What's happening in the ecovillage? What projects are we running at the moment? Here you can follow our work and find out about exciting news and events!