Friday, April 25, 2008

Arcosanti and Earth Day

We visited the “future city” of Arcosanti and I was amazed at the possibilities that were mentioned. I wonder if it will ever reach its potential. This project is the brainchild of Paolo Soleri who once studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and he hoped to mix architecture with ecology by showing a place where 5000 people could live on 25 acres of land by following ecological practices. I actually found out about this from someone on Twitter (I love the magic of twitter!) so we had to check it out. We went to the 10:00 tour because on that tour you can see them pour the bronze which I found fascinating. It was truly an artist’s community because I saw the ceramics shop where they make the bells by pouring the clay into silt molds. After it dries, they put it in the kiln to be baked. After seeing that, we went to the place where they pour melted bronze into the sand molds. It was amazing to see this molten stuff being poured and I can’t imagine how hot that must be to work with. Of course I had to buy 2 bells to bring home because they fascinated me.

Now I have to admit that I was a little disappointed because I had hoped to learn about ecological practices that they followed in order to show me how this community was different than an average apartment building in New York. I never really heard of anything different though. I was told an apartment is about $180 for rent but I never heard how these people worked in order to pay their bills. Right now there are about 70 people who live there including employees and volunteers. I would think after almost 4 decades, you would be able to have a more ecological sound community than I saw. It seemed to me like it was more focused on art than ecology.

This made me realize that Earth Day is here and how can I personally help the earth and how can I encourage students to help the earth. We have really got to do a better job with getting our children in tune with the earth. We have put those energy saver bulbs in our lights and we actually cut off our hot water heater when we don’t need it. I recycle plastic, paper, and glass. I also have a worm compost bin for food scraps and old clothes (they love cotton clothing!) and then I use the worm poop in my garden. This keeps the need for chemical fertilizers out of my garden too. We bought a hybrid car which not only saves on gas but also saves our money too!

If you have other neat suggestions, please let me know in the comments because I am really trying to be a model for students and hope to encourage other adults to do the same.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry that you missed Arcosanti's wide range of activities and designs that reduce ecological impact. First, the design of the space itself drastically reduced the need for vehicle transportation (for people, goods, and services). This alone reduces pollution in a dramatic way, even for the ~75 people that live at Arcosanti now (imagine for a town or city). There are no designs for artificial air conditioning, only for cooling with natural air movement. The community composts, heavily separates waste materials for recycling or re-use (much more so than any municipaliy). One could go on and on... no pesticides, reduced energy use, a rise in culture and civilizational growth allowing for further conservation efforts...

loonyhiker said...

anonymous: Thanks for sharing this information. I only wish that the tour guide had shared this information with us because I think it would have made it more meaningful to me. Even though there are no designs for artificial air conditioning, I did notice a window air condition unit in a window so I think they haven't perfected the system yet.