Investing in Transition Towns
Ecoescuela is overwhelmed to announce the receipt of US$5000 for the reconstruction of homes in the village of El Manzano. The Artists Project for Earth has made this donation for developing earthquake-proof housing that can be replicated throughout the affected regions of Chile, and will promote a change in policy and practice for earthquake reconstruction through local and regional government.
Funding from the APE will be invested in the construction of one 50 square metre home for Don Oscar and his family. The program of design and construction will be carried out in the month of April and May for planned completion before the coldest months of winter. This will be done in collaboration with the whole community of El Manzano as a hands-on learning experience, building skills and knowledge base for extending the program into surrounding communities. Team El Manzano will simultaneously install systems for the capture, storage, use and treatment of water, solar hot water heater, dry toilets, and intensive gardens in the new family home as a model of local resilience.
Oscar has lived in a small shack with his wife, daughter and two grandchildren for nearly 15 years, having constructed his home with recycled materials from a demolition site. The house is very simple, constructed by friends and family, uninsulated, but sufficient to house his family through cold Chilean winters. During the earthquake of 27th of February the house was severely shaken. ´´All the posts snapped off at ground level´´ said Oscar, ´´I am afraid in the next quake it will fall down´´. On a meagre budget of US$70 a week the family has managed to gather the resources and materials to construct a temporary structure, and have moved back inside. Winter is quickly approaching.
´´Buena! Everything is happening. Good things are coming to us´´ said Jorge Carrión, president of the neighbourhood group in response to the news of the APE donation. Jorge has been working with the El Manzano community since 2005, teaching the locals organic management and mobilising them to participate in the design of their own sustainable community. In 2009 the local community group managed to secure some initial funding from the ministry for the environment to install appropriate technology in a demonstration home. The hard work has paid off, and in 2010 a second agreement was made to extend the installation of technologies to every house in the village of el manzano as a living model of a village in Transition.
El Manzano is a small rural village in the BíoBío region of Chile fronting up to the challenges of climate change, energy disruptions and economic crises to meet its own needs from as close to home as possible. The community is the first official Transition Initiative in Latin America, and home to Gaia University Chile. The community is currently organising to make the most of the recent Mega Earthquake in Chile and share its experience with other affected communities. You can support this innovative and entrepreneurial effort by making a donation to the Permaculture Research Institute here.