Thursday, March 8, 2012

La Biosfera in a Nutshell

Well, my internship here is wrapping up -- I'm done on Saturday. We've gotten a lot done to improve on the existing permaculture models, add some new ones, completely renovate the water system, and ramp up La Biosfera's publicity. I'm realizing that I still haven't published any pictures of the place itself, so here are some photos of the recycling/permaculture initiatives (specifically for families with very few resources) we have going on:

Bunk beds made out of recycled truck tires. Very, Very comfortable. The wood came from a zapatillo tree that had already fallen on the property.
The posada where guests sleep (and where all the tire trunk bunks are)  was made using earthbag construction -- bags filled with dirt and then stacked like bricks.
This is one of the three gardens on site, this one recently expanded. We've just started planting and some plants are already poking out of the soil.
We still haven't perfected the system, but we're working on  heating our water with compost. It has worked a few times, but not totally consistent.
Compost toilets. Today an unsustainable level water is wasted in human waste management. The recycling of humanure is going to be essential for sustainability. It's not as gross as it sounds -- it doesn't smell and it's placed well out of sight, and it's really easy to do. Most importantly, it's a very effective fertilizer.
Another great building option for people with few resources. We haven't built a full-scale version yet, but this is the doghouse that we use to show how it works. You put all your non-organic trash inside of plastic bottles and they make a very useful building tool. 
Mobile chicken coop. The chickens tear up the dirt, eat the bugs, and fertilize the soil in areas where you are planning to plant a garden. 
Water swale. In one of my previous posts I put up a video explaining how a swale works. Well, here's ours.  I spent most of last week tearing up old cement and resealing it. 

This is the latest addition and in my opinion the best example of a self-incentivizing recycling initiative. A plastic bottle filled with water retracts light at 360 degrees. Very simple to install and provides 50 watts of light. 

So there you have it. La Biosfera in a nutshell. In my next post I'll talk about the coffee we grow, pick, depulp, thresh, toast, and (of course) drink all on site.

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