In recognition of this EBANZ changed its strap line to “promoting the art and science of earth and natural building". It is in this role that EBANZ has taken on the task of organising an international natural building conference, one that is part of a series of international conferences that are held in different locations around the world every two years or so, focused largely on strawbale building.
Planning for this fantastic and exciting event is well underway, and will cumulate in March 2016 in Methven in the South Island of New Zealand.
One of the major appeals of natural building has a lot to do with the sense of environmental responsibility.
Would you be interested if there were building materials that:
- Are abundant in many places;
- Are readily found and used with minimal processing;
- Are non-toxic;
- Have low environmental impact;
- Have low material cost;
- Require low maintenance;
- Are sturdy and durable;
- Can be readily made into many different and sculptural shapes;
- Are readily used by owner-builders;
- Are able to moderate swings in temperature and humidity inside buildings?
Indeed – why wouldn’t you use them more often? This is a question often asked by visitors to buildings made with natural materials.
While writing this I have been thinking about other meanings of “building,” a word that is not only a noun but also a verb. We are all, by now, I hope, very aware of the host of environmental calamities that are impacting on the Earth as it becomes more and more obvious that humans have overshot the carrying capacity of our planet to support most of the developed world’s current lifestyles.
Natural materials will play a really important part of building buildings that at least do no harm, and can contribute to helping restore or repair ecosystems, and become part of a wider strategy for repairing the Earth's ecosystems. Regarding our buildings as an integral part of a dynamic ecological system requires us to consider both the source of our resources and the impact on our surroundings. So in this sense we are in fact Earth re-building, or Earth building in a very wide sense by appropriate use of natural building methods that include, naturally, earth building.
So when we start to look at earth building from this wider perspective, then suddenly we have grasped something really BIG.
So there we have it. ISBC has a really important role to play to help promote natural building in New Zealand by bringing together international and local experts on natural building and appropriate technology together to share knowledge and experience. Let’s hope you are already planning to attend.