Keeping you informed on Site C: the six court challenges

a terrific site. I give it an A… Whoever gave it a C is nuts!!!

Keep the Peace Blog

framed together

Dear Friends,

We hope you are entering 2015 with the excitement and anticipation of knowing that 2015 is the year that we will put a stop to Site C for good!

Despite the fact that just before Christmas the BC government announced they intend to proceed with Site C, we are confident that it will not come to fruition as six court challenges have been launched against it!

As such, we thought you would appreciate some information on what these court cases are about. We think you’ll agree that they look very solid and have the potential not only to stop Site C, but also to set important precedent for the future of BC and Canada.

The court challenges are about: holding the federal and provincial governments accountable for the decision making processes that they designed and didn’t follow; and, protecting treaty rights, which have already been seriously eroded due…

View original post 599 more words

Advertisements

Dyslexie

A new typeface is making life easier for people everywhere who live with dyslexia.

Christian Boer, 33, is a Dutch graphic designer who created the font that makes reading easier for people, like himself, who have dyslexia, according to his website. Now, he’s offering it to people for free.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 6.14.09 PM

The typeface is called “Dyslexie,” and Boer first developed it as a final thesis project when he was a student at the Utrecht Art Academy in the Netherlands. The font makes reading easier for people with dyslexia by varying the letter shapes more, making it harder to confuse similarly shaped letters like “b” and “d,” for example.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 6.13.25 PM

Dyslexia is a language-based processing disorder resulting in a learning disability often characterized by difficulties with accurate word recognition, decoding and spelling, according to the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

Research suggests that about 17 percent of the population has dyslexia, according to PBS.

Watch the video below to hear more about how “Dyslexie” works:

Boer hopes the font will create more awareness around the problem of dyslexia, according to a press release.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 6.22.06 PM

Traditional fonts are designed solely from an aesthetic point of view, which means they often have characteristics that make characters difficult to recognize for people with dyslexia,” his website reads. “Oftentimes, the letters of a word are confused, turned around or jumbled up because they look too similar.”

The font has been proven to get positive results, including a reduction in flipping and mirroring of letters and increased ease in reading for dylsexics. Independent studies at the University of Twente and Amsterdam found that nearly three-quarters of the students surveryed reported making fewer reading mistakes when taking a test written in the font, according to “Dyslexie’s” 2012 research.

To download “Dyslexie,” or for more information, visit this site.

h/t Reddit Uplifting News

The Empty Chair

By Susan Musgrave and Friends
Posted December 12, 2014

 

 

HARPER EMPTY CHAIR

Susan Musgrave
Original 4 December at 23:02 ·

You, George Payerle, Robert Priest, Beth Appeldoorn and 39 others like this.
11 shares

1-53

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair

54 of 73
View previous comments

Joan M. Baril Click on edit, then crop. Play around with the sliding lines. That is my advice here.
5 December at 06:07 · Like

Ingrid Philipp She looks so miserable
5 December at 06:17 · Like · 1

Dave Godfrey send it to the new yorker for their contest: best caption for this cartoon…
5 December at 06:19 · Like · 5

Mary Baker Susan, you have some very funny and clever Facebook friends! Still smiling at the comments…grimly.
5 December at 06:24 · Unlike · 1

Ian Gray Thanks John Oughton, I just quoted you as I shared this image.
5 December at 06:25 · Like · 1

Ingrid Philipp http://www.theglobeandmail.com/…/new…/article21966178/

New Jersey governor Chris Christie to meet Harper, lay wreath at National War…
THEGLOBEANDMAIL.COM
5 December at 06:29 · Like

Meredith Egan Ingrid, she’s unhappy because Mr. Harper vetoed her other lover in the picture. I know who she’s lovin’ this Christmas…
5 December at 07:00 · Like

Barbara Hunt Thanks for the chuckles
5 December at 07:03 · Like

Ingrid Philipp We all know the rumour. I’m just focussing on the picture itself. The house looks unloved in. A real family would have a fire in the fireplace.
5 December at 07:04 · Like · 2

Andréa Ledding Maurice the beauty of your statement is that I’ve often thought of Elijah Harper (now deceased) and once asked him how he felt sharing a last name with Stephen…Susan Musgrave you always have superlative posts & comments but today this is one of my favourites and I have to tag two people b.c they didn’t believe me when we were in Ottawa Declan & Jonah read the comments: EVERYONE. KNOWS. #NotARumourIfTrue
5 December at 07:16 · Like

Donna Allard maybe it is a studio and not their home?
5 December at 07:20 · Like

Donna Allard certainly not a christmas photo..
5 December at 07:22 · Like

Ingrid Philipp Just noticed how my post said “unloved in” rather than un-lived (damn autocorrect)
5 December at 07:23 · Like · 1

Laurie Anne Fuhr Here I thought they were getting behind PEN.
5 December at 08:15 · Like

Johnny Pigeau That’s where the LOVE is.
5 December at 08:16 · Like · 1

Wendy Leslie The Stepford family.
5 December at 08:22 · Like

Jamie Reid It’s reserved for Harper the Wrecker’s silent partner, the one who really gives the marching orders.
5 December at 08:23 · Like

Michael Dennis She doesn’t look happy at all.
5 December at 08:29 · Like

Laurie Anne Fuhr I’m envious of their fancy stash box with a map of the world to show you where your pot came from. What money can buy. Can probably fit a few pounds in that sucker.
5 December at 08:39 · Like

Laurie Anne Fuhr Weird how they matched the painting to the urn though. The painting is so ugly it’s like a parody of the urn. “Hey look at me urn, I’m wearing your colours but I’m way bigger.” “Up yours, painting.”
5 December at 08:42 · Like · 4

Tina M Ooishi I think it is for the family ghost!
5 December at 09:16 · Like

Liz Maxwell Forbes it certainly isn’t a happy family photo..all of them look repressed…definitely lacking in inner joy…it is an odd publicity shot…the empty chair is weird.
5 December at 09:17 · Like · 3

James Poupore Mrs.Harper looks despondent.
5 December at 10:42 · Edited · Like

Laurie Anne Fuhr If I was the son I’d be the most non-chuffed… “It’s hard enough at school that my dad’s the most despised criminal PM of all time — do I *have* to wear a lilac-coloured sweater? And match my little sister?”. Poor bastard should be on suicide watch.
5 December at 10:41 · Like · 2

Laurie Anne Fuhr Harper’s Christmas tie makes him look rather Liberal. I bet he’d rather have a Blue Christmas despite all the bad PR from Elvis.
5 December at 10:42 · Like

Jamie Reid Maybe the silent partner is the Invisible Hand of the Market.
5 December at 10:51 · Like · 2

Judith Renaud Satire is bizarre at the best of times, maybe it’s Harper’s invisible friend.
5 December at 10:52 · Like

Joan Walter His late finance minister- what’s his name, who died last year. Could be him.
5 December at 11:08 · Like

Mac Farrant The urn needs to be on the chair.
5 December at 11:24 · Like · 2

David Berian Hopper The urn on the left is filled with the ashes of dead scientists
5 December at 13:08 · Like · 1

Leslie Mcbain Steve looks like he is photoshopped in. Weirdness
5 December at 13:40 · Like

Mel Sarnese Young Ben is a classmate of my daughter at University–no security around him. He seems to be a well-adjusted teenager with many friends.
5 December at 13:58 · Unlike · 1

Olya Marko Mrs. Harpers has got those knees tightly clasped.
5 December at 17:11 · Like

Bill Code he saves it for Jesus. The Idiot.
5 December at 17:26 · Edited · Like · 2

Dave Godfrey UNLOVED IN sounds fitting also….although the kids look ok, especially the daughter–the other smiles all seemed so forced…
5 December at 17:28 · Like · 1

Ingrid Philipp Perhaps the chair is for sale to the highest bidder?
5 December at 18:38 · Like

Buck Dornster I’m seeing strange faces in the fireplace… anyone else?
5 December at 19:24 · Unlike · 2

Douglas Mackenzie Come on Mr. Code please don’t link the idiot with J.C. Kinda soils the cloth.
5 December at 19:58 · Unlike · 1

Olya Marko church and state — separate hammocks.
5 December at 20:01 · Unlike · 1

Dave Godfrey it’s for you, the prodigal, the wastral, the lost. We’re just waiting for you to return to Jesus and Das Kapital; to give up your errant, hippy, owl-hugging, river-running, grizzly loving, Orca-riding ways and come to Ottawa and live this friggin’suffocating life we’re determined to pretend we enjoy…..
5 December at 20:06 · Edited · Unlike · 1

Robert Hilles Yes!
5 December at 22:28 · Unlike · 1

Robert Arnold His wife is not smiling! In fact she looks mad.
6 December at 01:41 · Unlike · 3

Olya Marko The son is practically hiding his face.
6 December at 10:04 · Unlike · 1

Fergus Hearne It’s the cat’s chair!
6 December at 15:53 · Unlike · 1

Sharon McKay The Ghost of Christmas?
6 December at 17:11 · Like

Matthew Henley and they all look so cuddly
6 December at 22:03 · Like

David Young Gitche Manitou
Yesterday at 10:17 · Like

Olya Marko In my old community of Point Douglas, we would use the word ‘gotch’.
Yesterday at 10:21 · Like

Sonia Elisabetta Di Placido How very creamy & white
Yesterday at 12:49 · Like · 1

Michael Boughn Actually, however hard he tries to look cuddly, Harper always looks like he is restraining himself from eating your liver . . .
Yesterday at 14:10 · Like · 1

Bruce Meyer The empty chair is a tribute to the science research that won’t be done this year, to the artists who do more than sing questionable Guns and Roses songs and play a little piano, and to the countless civil servants who used to work for the Canadian gov…See More
1 hr · Unlike · 6

Olya Marko There’s such a feeling of despair. I appreciate your comments, Bruce Meyer.
1 hr · Edited · Like

Stephen Reid Well said Bruce.
33 mins · Like

Ruth Meta Maybe the chair is for the next time his son has a drunken party and a 15 year old has to go to the hospital with alcohol poisoning… she can rest there till the ambulance arrives…of course, we never heard much more about that, did we!
27 mins · Like · 1

CRRTP

Here are my eight tasks–with my priority
1. CRRTP
Collaborative, responsive, regional, transparent Politics
This is over-riding. I am appalled to see how difficult it is even to figure out how the CRD works, let alone to have a voice.
2. Voting 2018
Get this up to 50% turnout. A measureable goal.
With a BIG turnout of U-40’s.
3. Sewage
  • Tertiary
  • Collaborative
  • Distributed
  • Gasification
  • No P3
4. Transportation
  • CRRPT
  • Green–that is more linkages but fewer cars with a single passenger
  • bottom up planning
5. Real Sustainability
  • No more Leonard crap about planting a few trees and buying a few electrics cars getting us anywhere.
  • Municipal purchase and management of island forests as we move Saanich households away from fossil fuels and towards a neutral carbon footprint
  • Huge task–a single tree offsets only 48 lbs of CO2. A Saanich family is responsbile for about 40 tons of CO2 per annum
  • Green Funds for non-fossil power from individuals, investors and municipal tax base
  • rethink of the tree bylaw to make it incentive-driven: tax credits for carbon storage above some minimum requirement
6. Farms and urban containment
  • Just keeping the boundary where it lies now is essential, but inadequate
  • We need that land growing food
  • Which means municipal/trust ownership of land and
  • tax rebates to real farmers rather than low taxes for rich people to ride their horses around
7. Reform of the CRD
  • Which means figuring out how it works and
  • how we can move control to people who believe in CRRTP
8. Active Participation by voters –year round not once every 4 years
  • Support for SCAN and the resident associations
  • real roles for advisory boards
  • video of council meetings
  • town halls–regular and informativ

Tracy Johns. Teacher.

This is a moving, intelligent concise post from the battles lines to preserve educational values in BC. Thank you, Tracy Johns.

 

Teaching in 2014.   September 3rd, 2014.

I am a teacher in B.C. and I have been quiet (for the most part) about the ongoing conflict and subsequent job action. Quiet even when reading comments online and in the papers attacking me as being selfish, lazy and greedy. Quiet even when the guy in the white SUV drove past me on the picket line yesterday screaming at me to “get back to work #$%^ing lazy…” There are a lot of statistics and ‘facts’ being put forth by the government but these are my facts, my reality.

1. I taught Grade 4 last year with 29 students. 6 students were on an Individual Education Plan and at least 10 more required a lot of support. More than I could give.

2. I had an amazing Education Assistant that worked tirelessly to help as many students as possible but was often required to follow and keep safe, the one student that had such high learning needs and anxiety that he would run from the class, building and even the school grounds.

3. I had students that would hit, punch, kick, swear, yell, cry, throw chairs etc. Students that were in and out of foster care, students that came to school hungry. With all these needs I often did not get to those who were not acting out. Consequently I found out months after it happened that one of my student’s parents had gotten divorced. She certainly could have used some extra attention and support.

4. You would think that this was a very unusual case and that most classes are not like this wouldn’t you? Unfortunately this is becoming the norm.

5. Despite the challenges, I LOVE my job. I genuinely care about all of my students and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

6. B.C. has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country, B.C.kids are funded $1000 each per year less than the national average while B.C.is one of the wealthiest provinces. $1000 less? How is that OK? (This makes me furious as a parent and as a teacher)

I have run the full gamut of emotions about this over the summer. Panic about how to feed my family (despite the stats being put forth- at 7 years of teaching without yet getting a continuing contract I make less as a teacher than I did at Starbucks), fear about the future for all our children, and finally anger. I have had enough. If you still think this is about a pay raise or better benefits then you really need to educate yourself. We will never, not ever, get back the money that we lost since this job action started.

Teachers, and everyone that works in a caring profession, go out of their way to make sure those in their care get what they need. After more than a decade of cuts,we can no longer stretch to cover what is not being funded. I can’t continue to buy supplies for students and the classroom that should be covered, parents should not have to hold bake sales, poinsettia sales, chocolate fundraisers etc., to cover what should be funded by our tax dollars. (Yes, teachers pay those taxes too). Children deserve classrooms that are not overcrowded, with enough support and textbooks- ones that you didn’t use yourself when you were in school.

At this point we need to ask ourselves what kind of society we want to live in. Are we so afraid of not being able to afford the latest gadgets and fancy cars/clothes/houses that we buy into the fear that the government is putting forth about affordability? I want to live in a society where children are well educated and taught to think critically, have empathy and learn to care about each other and our environment. I don’t want to see B.C. sold off to the highest bidder at the expense of our environment and our children. School is not a business to produce mindless masses ready for the workforce. Everyone should be standing up together and saying that this is not right. This is not just the teachers’ fight, this is a fight for everyone who values an educated society.

Inaction is no longer an option. If you aren’t standing up for what is right in this world you are just as guilty as those in power who are making the wrong decisions. Instead of clucking your tongue at the madness or burying your head in the sand hoping it will all sort itself out (or worse blaming the teachers) I challenge you to look at what is really going on and take a stand. I am fighting for your children and mine. If you aren’t standing up and doing the same, why aren’t you?

Revival of ancient barley variety thrills fans of old beer styles

Excellentr summary

Zythophile

Chevallier b arley Chevallier barley, revived after seven decades

In a move that has thrilled beer style revivalists, a beer has been brewed from what was Victorian Britain’s most popular barley variety for the first time in at least 70 years.

What is most interesting for historians of brewing is the way the revived malt acts when used to make beer, putting a new slant on the interpretation of old beer recipes, suggesting they produced beers using the ingredients available at the time that were both fuller in the mouth and less bitter than the same recipes using modern malts, and also beers that needed longer to mature than those made using modern malts do.

The new-old beer, a nut-brown bitter ale made using Chevallier barley, which once went into the vast majority of pints sold in Britain, will be on sale at the Duke of Wellington pub on Waterloo Road, Norwich this…

View original post 1,880 more words

Algae to Diesel

…Algae growing in large tubes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs have been trying for years to get something valuable out of algae.

It has not been easy, and not just because algae are an unsightly nuisance (and sometimes dangerous, as is the Lake Erie bloom that has endangered drinking water this month).

Although algae grow prodigiously and contain potentially useful molecules — especially lipids, which can be turned into high-energy fuel and other products — extracting those molecules has proved complicated and expensive. So far, virtually the only marketable products based on algae have been high-end skin creams.

But a Nevada company, Algae Systems, has a pilot plant in Alabama that, it says, can turn a profit making diesel fuel from algae by simultaneously performing three other tasks: making clean water from municipal sewage (which it uses to fertilize the algae), using the carbon-heavy residue as fertilizer and generating valuable credits for advanced biofuels.

If it works, the company says, the process will remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is added when the fuel is burned.

Photo

At the pilot plant, Algae Systems converts the waste and algae into clean water and biocrude oil.CreditTad Denson

“We think it is a really elegant solution,” said Matt Atwood, the chief executive. At its heart is a “hydrothermal liquefaction” system that heats the algae and other solids in the sewage to more than 550 degrees Fahrenheit, at 3,000 pounds per square inch, turning out a liquid that resembles crude oil from a well.

The company sent the liquid to Auburn University, where scientists added hydrogen (a common step in oil refining) to produce diesel fuel. An independent laboratory, Intertek, confirmed that the diesel fuel met industry specifications. The thermal processing has caught the attention of independent scientists. The Department of Energy recently awarded a $4 million grant to a partnership led by SRI International for further work on Algae Systems’ hydrothermal processing system.

Engineers hope the system could dispose of a variety of unwanted or hazardous materials. It also destroys pathogens in sewage.

At the University of Texas at Austin, Halil Berberoglu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering who is conducting research in the area and is not affiliated with Algae Systems, said the process had the potential to eliminate a key bottleneck in working with algae.

Earlier processes for extracting lipids have been “very energy-intensive,” he said, adding, “You have to dewater the algae, poke holes in cell walls and do all kinds of separation technologies.”

But with high-temperature processing, he said, a factory could get useful products out of not only the lipids but also the proteins and the carbohydrates.

“It is a great way to break those molecules up,” he said, and the presence of extra water in the reactor helps reassemble the elements into long-chain hydrocarbons, which are basically crude oil.

Challenges remain, because such crude oil sometimes incorporates heavy metals, nitrogen and sulfur. But “it is by far the most promising approach,” Dr. Berberoglu said.

And it has attracted a wide variety of employees. John Perry Barlow, a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group, is a vice president; he was in charge of finding a site for the pilot plant — in Daphne, Ala., on Mobile Bay — and is looking for a spot for the commercial plant that the company hopes will follow.

The general manager of the Daphne municipal water and sewage utility, Rob McElroy, announced this month that he had been so impressed with the pilot plant that he was quitting his job to work for Algae Systems.

Company executives say their pilot plant consumes pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen, which are blamed for the algae bloom in Lake Erie and the “dead zone” near the mouth of the Mississippi in the Gulf of Mexico.

The installation in Mobile Bay takes clever advantage of natural characteristics. It uses giant plastic bags made by Nike that are filled with sewage and algae. The bags float on the water, moored at each end like a sailboat. The bay water keeps the algae at the right temperature, and the waves stir the mix.

Some companies have tried gene-altered algae, but Algae Systems uses naturally occurring forms drawn from the bay. Whichever strain flourishes in the bags is what the company uses. “We call it the Hunger Games,” Mr. Atwood said.

The early results were promising enough for IHI, a Japanese conglomerate, to invest $15 million.

Biofuel plants, like hope, spring eternal but have mostly ended in grief. KiOR, which spent more than $200 million to produce a synthetic fuel from wood, recently shut down; Ineos Bio, the offspring of a major Swiss chemical company, produced commercial quantities of ethanol from wood waste a year ago, but now says it has “unexpected start-up problems.” In many high-tech start-ups, the problem is to get from the pilot stage to the commercial stage, but even some biofuel companies that have lined up the financing to build a commercial-scale factory have been unable to make the process work.

Algae Systems says it hopes it can make a profit by producing potable water as well as fuel, and by charging fees to municipalities for treating their wastewater.

Another potential source of income is the generous renewable fuel credits that the Environmental Protection Agency offers for companies producing “advanced” biofuel, those with small carbon footprints. The credits are purchased by oil companies that are obligated by law to blend in renewable fuels — or, more practically, to complete a paper transaction showing that they have supported such fuels.

Still, Algae Systems estimates that it will cost $80 million to $100 million to move from the pilot plant to commercial-scale production. So far it has not made that leap.

Living Willow Fences

Takes a lot of energy to make a roll of fence wire.Living Willow Hedges

Here’s a better way. Posts do not have to be too skookum.  Basically, you are planting a lot of trees.

Or ‘fedges’ = fence + hedge. Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix (Latin for willow), which consist of around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs. Willow are native to moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Almost all willows take root very readily from cuttings. Young, thin willow cuttings are known as withies, longer willow rods are known as whips.

willow hedge

Living willow fence at Vevey Garden, Switzerland. Willow rods are pushed into the ground at an angle. The tops are tied to a horizontal, weaved in withy to give stability along the top. Willows have high levels of auxins, hormones that promote rooting success. The hormone is so prevalent that “willow water” brewed from willow stems, will encourage the rooting of many other plant cuttings as well. Image by Barbara, OvertheMoon www.flickr.com

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
The angled rods tend to sprout along their entire length, while the uprights oft times sprout from the top only. Botanical Gardens of Wales. Photo by Libby, www.flickr.com

fedge
living willow hedge
Simply make a hole in the ground with a metal bar, then insert the willow cutting. Weed control is important when starting a willow fedge and the cuttings should be planted into a weed barrier that allows water penetration, otherwise the weeds might suck away a bit of vitality from the young willows. As a general rule, shorter cuttings establish and grow best without competition from weeds, whereas longer cuttings have more stored energy and can handle a bit of competition. Willows prefer full sun, but will accept part shade. Willows are also very adaptable as per water conditions once they are established and will also survive in poor quality soils. Image: www.yorkshirewillow.co.uk

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
Use Salix Viminalis and rub off the new shoots on the lower portions of the rods to achieve this open look. Image: livingwithtwistedwillow.blogspot.com

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
‘During the summer any side-shoots are rubbed off to keep the lattice work of the fence clear of growth, but the top three or four buds are allowed to grow out. These shoots are trimmed back to the top of the fence in the winter.’ From Living with Twisted Willow. livingwithtwistedwillow.blogspot.com

willow fence

Living willow fence at
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Yorkshire.
rchsblog.wordpress.com

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
Three willow stems woven into a diamond pattern. The tops are tied to a horizontal withy to give some stability to the top. Photo: Peter D’Aprix:www.vegetablegardener.com.

living willow hedge

Salix ‘Americana’ planted in Canada. Ties are used to secure the structure while it becomes established. salix-willows.blogspot.com

willow fedge
living willow hedge
Same hedge as photo above, yet one year later. The fence was trimmed back once in the early fall. Fence and photo by Lene Rasmussen. salix-willows.blogspot.com

living willow hedge

Living willow fence. Photo by Barbara, OvertheMoon, www.flickr.com

living willow hedge

The living fedge structure will require periodic pruning and weaving of new growth. By Green Barrier Fence, Europe and Canada. www.lesecransverts.ca

living willow hedge

Living willow hedge surrounding a vegetable garden in France. Design: Judy and David Drew. Photo by Nicola Browne. www.gapphotos.com

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
Lush new growth on the willow arbour at Whichford Pottery, Warwickshire.www.whichfordpottery.com

living willow hedge

Willow arch at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. permaculturecottage.wordpress.com

living willow hedge

Living willow arch. See resources below for willow arch kits. Photo by Daniel via: www.flickr.com

living willow hedge

Living willow arch. A 4′ x 7’6″ x 2′ arch installed for 130 pounds in Suffolk, England. www.naturalfencing.com

living willow hedge

A living willow arch. As photo above, but in winter. www.naturalfencing.com



living willow hedge

Fedge in the winter at Ryton Organic Gardens. www.thewillowbank.com

willow hedge

Living willow privacy screen in urban settings. englishbasketrywillows.com

living willow hedge

In 1998, natural artist and architect Marcel Kalberer created the Auerworld Palace, a pavilion made of living willow trees. It is also known as the “mother of all willowpalaces”. It has become a tourist attraction for the region between Weimar and Naumburg, Germany. www.arcprospect.org

living willow hedge

Willow is often used for streambank stabilisation (bioengineering), slope stabilisation and soil erosion control. Willows are often planted on the borders of streams so their interlacing roots protect the bank against the action of the water. Their roots are often much larger than the stem that grows from them.  See how to plant willow cuttings to prevent erosion at a streambank: www.ksre.ksu.edu

living willow hedge

Living willow fence by Wassledine, Bedfordshire, UK. Additional cuttings can be added to secure the base. As they grow the lower shoots can also be woven in to thicken the fence. www.wassledine.co.uk

living willow hedge

Living willow hedge panels by Green Barrier of Scotland. Living hedge sections come in pre-constructed 1m widths and in heights from 1.2 to 2.5m. They are planted directly into topsoil to a depth of 60cm (2 feet), to provide support while the roots grow. www.esi.info

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
A wood frame with tall, straight willow branches stuck vertically into the soil and intertwined into the frame. Caution, willow roots are aggressive in seeking out moisture; for this reason, they can become problematic when planted near cesspools or drainage areas. They should also not be planted close to a building due to their roots aggressive and large size. modmissy.com

living willow hedge
living willow hedge
Heavy pruning at the top encourages growth at the bottom.

willow hedge

A rose in front of Hakuro Nishiki or Dappled willow. This is just a shrub not a fedge, added here because this willow variety is striking. The slender leaves emerge as glossy bright pink, then mature into a white, green and pink variegation.  Regular pruning encourages the best color. Stems are red in the winter. Prefers moist soils. Image via:davesgarden.com

living willow arbor

Living willow dining arbor to protect you from the sun. Kit for sale here:www.thewillowbank.com

Resources:

Seventeen willow varieties for fencing: www.yorkshirewillow.co.uk
Willow for living structures:  www.bluestem.ca
Which willow where:  www.bluestem.ca
Varieties: www.willowsvermont.com
Read about the different Willow Species for Hedging: www.hedging.co.uk

Popular willow species for living fences:

Rods available in 1.5, 2.0m, 2.5m, 3.0m and 3.5m lengths.

Salix Viminalis (produces long, straight rods without many side shoots),
Salix Tortuous (Corkscrew or Curly Willow),
Salix Alba Vitellina (Golden Willow),
Salix Alba Chermesina (Scarlet Willow),
Salix Purpurea (Chou Blue),
Salix Sachalinensis (Sekka)
Salix Triandra (Black Maul) grows fast.

Willow cuttings for sale:

Washington State: www.dunbargardens.com
New York – kits: www.englishbasketrywillows.com
Vermont: www.willowsvermont.com
Oregon: www.forestfarm.com enter willow in search.
Iowa: www.willowglennursery.com
BC, Canada:  www.bluestem.ca
Fedge Kits and more, England: www.yorkshirewillow.co.uk
Kits and cuttings: Gloucestershire, UK. www.thewillowbank.com
Kits:: Suffolk, UK: www.naturalfencing.com
Kits, Northampton, UK: www.willowworks.co.uk
Check on ebay.

Willow Water:
Root azaleas, lilacs and roses by soaking two large handfulls of pencil-thin willow branches cut into 3 inch lengths in two quarts of boiling water and steep overnight. Refrigerate unused water.

Willow and Deer:
Young cuttings should be protected from deer and rabbits. Deer will eat willow when there is nothing else to eat. But if you desire your fedge trimmed periodically this might not be a bad thing. Willow rebounds quickly. Salix purpureas is the most bitter and therefore least eaten willow. 

Here’s a better way,

Farewell Concrete

Here are some great ideas for getting free of our reliance on concrete-an industrial process which creates a great deal of CO2 pollution. Fly ash from gassification is one of these ideas.

Would you live in a house made of sand and bacteria? It’s a surprisingly good idea

<strong>Had enough of concrete blocks?</strong> The hugely useful (but harmfully polluting) material responsible for the rise and rise of the modern city can no longer claim to be the only material available to architects.

Had enough of concrete blocks? The hugely useful (but harmfully polluting) material responsible for the rise and rise of the modern city can no longer claim to be the only material available to architects.

Edinburgh College of Art student Peter Trimble has created a possible solution using little more than sand and urea. <strong><a href='http://petertrimble.co.uk/microbial-manufacture' target='_blank'>Dupe</a></strong> is almost as structurally strong as concrete but produces no greenhouse gasses. Trimble's system is not yet ready for production, but similar concrete alternatives are already available to builders...

Edinburgh College of Art student Peter Trimble has created a possible solution using little more than sand and urea. Dupe is almost as structurally strong as concrete but produces no greenhouse gasses. Trimble’s system is not yet ready for production, but similar concrete alternatives are already available to builders…

Builders laying the concrete foundations of the Wilshire Grand Tower -- the skyscraper set to become Los Angeles' tallest building -- <a href='http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140217005645/en/Headwaters-Fly-Ash-Record-Setting-Los-Angeles#.UyhZevl_uDl' target='_blank'>substituted a quarter of the cement </a>with
Fly Ash” The waste ash from coal combustion at power plants in Utah and Arizona increases the durability of concrete while offsetting the CO2 cost of cement production.

Builders laying the concrete foundations of the Wilshire Grand Tower — the skyscraper set to become Los Angeles’ tallest building — substituted a quarter of the cement with “Fly Ash” The waste ash from coal combustion at power plants in Utah and Arizona increases the durability of concrete while offsetting the CO2 cost of cement production.

Japanese firm TIS & Partners have created a new building material called “CO2 Structure,” dreamed-up in the aftermath of the March 2011 Japanese Tsunami as an emergency rebuilding material than can be put in place quicker than slow-drying concrete. By injecting carbon dioxide into a silica (sand and quartz), they managed to developed a carbon-negative building material with twice the tensile strength of brick.

Natural building materials are a popular choice for those looking to cut CO2 emissions. Making bricks from hemp results in a net decrease in carbon dioxide levels, as the growing plant takes in CO2. These bricks are made of hemp combined with clay, while <strong><a href='http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/10/hempcrete-hemp-house_n_1506662.html' target='_blank'>Hempcrete</a></strong> (a mixture of hemp and lime) is sold internationally as a thermal walling material.

Natural building materials are a popular choice for those looking to cut CO2 emissions. Making bricks from hemp results in a net decrease in carbon dioxide levels, as the growing plant takes in CO2. These bricks are made of hemp combined with clay, while Hempcrete (a mixture of hemp and lime) is sold internationally as a thermal walling material.

<strong><a href='http://www.ecovativedesign.com/' target='_blank'>Ecovative</a></strong><strong> </strong>already make packaging from agricultural waste and mushroom

Ecovative is already make packaging from agricultural waste and mushroom “mycelium” — and their next project is building materials. Founder Eben Bayer describes mycelium as “essentially the ‘roots’ of mushrooms” and says it is very good at binding together organic materials, which could one day make building blocks.

Another natural material with carbon negative production: lowly straw is making a return to construction. In America's
Straw bales are used as a both a structural and insulating material. Companies such as UK’s ModCell manufacture pre-fabricated wall and roof panels from straw.

Another natural material with carbon negative production: lowly straw is making a return to construction. In America’s “Nebraska Method” homes, straw bales are used as a both a structural and insulating material. Companies such as UK’s ModCell manufacture pre-fabricated wall and roof panels from straw.

Traditional building materials such as mud and <strong><a href='http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513154/Farmer-builds-house-just-150-using-materials-skips--current-tenant-pays-rent-MILK.html' target='_blank'>cob</a></strong> -- a mixture of sand, clay, straw and earth -- have been proposed as a non-polluting alternative building material for small buildings, such as households. One <a href='http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenerliving/10478442/Michael-Bucks-cob-house-Does-the-answer-to-the-housing-crisis-lie-within-a-150-cottage.html' target='_blank'>man from Oxford</a>, UK claims to have built a Hobbit-like home from cob for less than $250.

Traditional building materials such as mud and cob — a mixture of sand, clay, straw and earth — have been proposed as a non-polluting alternative building material for small buildings, such as households. One man from Oxford, UK claims to have built a Hobbit-like home from cob for less than $250.

Recycled materials are making up an increasing part of building blocks. <strong><a href='http://www.aggregate.com/products-and-services/blocks/enviroblock/' target='_blank'>Enviroblocks</a></strong> are made from over 70% recycled aggregates, bound with cement, while <strong><a href='http://www.durisol.net/pdfs/Durisol%20Flyer.pdf' target='_blank'>Durisol</a></strong> units contain 80% recycled woodchip, which is wrapped around steel bars for strength.

Recycled materials are making up an increasing part of building blocks.Enviroblocks are made from over 70% recycled aggregates, bound with cement, while Durisol units contain 80% recycled woodchip, which is wrapped around steel bars for strength.

Clay blocks with

Clay blocks with “honeycomb” structured cross-sections — often known asZiegel Blocks — have been common in some parts of Europe for decades, but are now spreading far beyond. Manufacturing blocks from clay rather than concrete means less CO2 emissions from production, while the blocks insulating characteristics can cut a building’s energy costs.

Cutting concrete pollution could mean rethinking our approach to construction from start to finish. Housing made from recycled <strong><a href='http://www.gizmag.com/infiniski-shipping-container-architecture/22365/' target='_blank'>shipping containers</a></strong> has popped up all over the world and provides one low-cost, low-emission solution. Are there others?

Cutting concrete pollution could mean rethinking our approach to construction from start to finish. Housing made from recycled shipping containers has popped up all over the world and provides one low-cost, low-emission solution. Are there others?

— Peter Trimble found his formula through trial and error. A design student at the University of Edinburgh, he was aiming to produce an artistic exhibition for a module on sustainability, when he stumbled on “Dupe,” a living alternative to concrete.

A lab technician introduced Trimble to Sporosarcina pasteurii, a bacterium with binding qualities, sometimes used to solidify soil to hold road signs in place. The student tested it with one of the world’s most abundant resources – sand. Pumping bacterial solution into a sand-filled mould, he added nutrients, urea derived from urine as fertilizer and calcium. After a year, and hundreds of failed experiments, this process manufactured a stool around 70% the compression strength of concrete.

The process requires less than one-sixth of the energy used in concrete production, and is completely biodegradable. Crucially, Trimble believes his mechanism has the added benefit that it could be employed by anyone, anywhere.

“Once you have the basic framework it should be transferable. Imagine a Tsunami-hit farm in Indonesia that is not getting supplies. You could use sand and bacteria on site, practically free, and have shelter housing that is far more permanent.”

Trimble is working with NGOs to apply Dupe to Aboriginal settlements and insecure regions of Morocco. But while the applications are new and experimental, the concept of growing the material for our built environment is increasingly regarded as not merely interesting, but essential.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the construction industry accounts for 40% of the world’s C02 emissions, 40% of U.S. landfill and has been uniquely resistant to change. Concrete, bricks and cement have remained the dominant materials since the industrial revolution in the early 19th century, and as pressure mounts on resources and climate, scientists and architects are looking to the natural world for solutions.

Buildingbacteria

Bacteria have been at the center of alternative methods. North Carolina start-upBiomason is growing bricks on an industrial scale, cultivated from sand by microorganisms. The company has won major prizes and funding for the bricks, which will be used in a structure for the first time this year in a pedestrian walkway, ahead of building projects across the world.

Similar processes are being developed to build in the most challenging environments. British architects see an opportunity to cultivate new life in deserts, while NASA believe bacteria could allow the construction of bases on other planets without the headache of ferrying the material there.

While bacterial processes save heavily on carbon, there are concerns that by-products could be poisonous. But another living brick — made from mushrooms — has no such problems.

Functional fungus

New York firm Ecovative are producing materials that combine agricultural waste products such as corn stock with mushroom mycelium — the roots of the vegetable. Over five days the mycelium binds the waste to create a block with a stronger compressive strength than concrete, with none of the heat or energy required by regular bricks.

The product is in commercial use for packaging, producing thousands of units a month, and the company is expanding into construction. Ecovative believe that in addition to being renewable and decomposable, natural properties give them a performance advantage.

“It has great insulation properties”, says Sam Harrington, Ecovative Director of Sustainability. “A key benefit is flame resistance — without adding any chemicals we were able to achieve a Class A fire rating”.

There is scope for development. Mycelium effectively dies once its growth is complete, but Harrington is looking ahead to material that does not. “We are exploring ideas of living materials, perhaps that are self-healing or respond to leaks with indicators.”

Ecovative are in dialogue with major construction companies, and the material will soon be tested on a historic scale. A collaboration with architects The Living won the prestigious MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) PS-1 competition, and their creation will be installed in the museum courtyard this summer.

Growing for gold

“Hy-Fi” will be the largest ever grown structure, and first large building to claim zero carbon emissions. It will be formed of three 40-foot spiral towers constructed from the mushroom material, with varying properties of brick to maximise light and ventilation.

The material’s versatility offers unique design opportunities, says David Benjamin, lead architect of the project.

“You can dial in almost any performance you want. You can mix and match a variety of properties such as water resistance or UV resistance, lightness or durability. You can grow the bricks in almost any shape”

Benjamin says the bio-bricks could be made to last as long as traditional materials, but believes architecture must embrace temporary structures.

“It’s essential to recognize that not all materials should last for centuries. A lot of the steel in our buildings will last longer than we need. Our idea is a building that be made locally and quickly, and then have a plan for when the life of the building is over.”

Future applications would include pop-up stores, festival “tents” and emergency shelters, says Benjamin, but there are greater hopes for the material within the industry.

Stronger than concrete

“I could imagine every structure you would built out of bricks”, says Dirk Hebel, Assistant Professor of Architecture and Construction at the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. “No high-rises, but smaller scale structures and houses. The material is stronger than concrete, with better insulation capacities”.

The challenge will come in commercializing the products, Hebel feels. “There is huge demand for alternative materials. The question is how easy it is to penetrate the existing market. This needs time and a couple of buildings to show the possibilities”.

Stealing from nature

Another, more radical approach takes the material from nature but also allows it to build the structure. Michael Pawlyn, director of Exploration Architecture, is a leading figure in biomimicry, having previously applied natural processes to create man-made forests in England and the Sahara Desert. His latest project to grow a “small venue for spoken word performances” from undersea biorock was recently unveiled at the Architecture Foundation in London.

“In biology, complex structures achieve resource efficiency by putting things in exactly the right place, which is very difficult with made materials”, says Pawlyn. “Our ways should deliver significant resource savings.”

Drawing on the natural accumulation of coral reefs, his team would install a steel frame in the deep ocean and leave it to attract material. Growth would be focused on specific areas of need using an electrical current.

“We’re interested in looking at its structural growth patterns. We have stress gauges on the structure to measure force in particular areas. If one is highly stressed, we can input more current so the rate of deposition matches the force.”

Pawlyn believes the structure could be built within two years, for consideration at scale. As with Ecovative, a key challenge ahead is to integrate still-living material to allow intelligent biosensors that respond to the building occupants.

Innovators in this space acknowledge the ongoing barriers presented in an industry that has resisted modernization. But from rock to fungus, sand to space dust, the use of materials and processes designed by nature herself offer both a solution to the sustainability crisis, and a glimpse of our new built environment: clean, efficient, and alive.