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Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker


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Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker

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Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker

  1. 1. Achim Ecker 5,00Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  2. 2. Content:3 Introduction: Life within a Living Organism “Peace and survi-5 Energy Use and Sustainability val of life on earth as we6 A short History of Fossil Fuel know it are threatened by Consumption human activities that lack a commitment to human7 The Protection, Conservation and values. Destruction of Restoration of Soil nature and natural resources is the result of ignorance, greed,9 The Forest as the Matrix of Life and lack of respect for the12 Permaculture earth’s living things. This lack of re- spect extends even to the earth’s hu-13 Spiritual Ecology and Geomancy man descendants, the future generations who will in-14 Cooperation with Animals herit a vastly degraded15 The ZEGG Vegetable Garden plane if world peace does not become a reality and if destructi-17 Awareness in the Kitchen and while on of the natural environ- Shopping ment continues at the18 The Greening of Roofs and Façades present rate”. (Dalai Lama)19 Water – a Living Substance21 Waste Water Cleaning and Composter23 Natural Pond Clarification24 Compost Toilets25 Energy Generation from Renewable Resources Imprint:26 Cars run on Vegetable Oil Publisher and V.i.S.D.P.: Achim Ecker27 Building and Insulating with Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 89 Plant Fibres D-14806 Belzig E-mail: achim.ecker@zegg.de28 Building with Earth Texts: Achim Ecker (Geomancy: Hermann Haring),29 Living Buildings with Willows and Photographs: Achim Ecker, Georg Loh- Other Trees mann, ZEGG-Archive; Cover Photo- graph: A. Ecker30 Mandala Pavilions Layout and typesetting: Hermann Haring, Burkhard Alexander Pranke32 Triangular Huts English translation: Stefani Ross, Niall33 Epilogue: There is no Time Glynn to Waste Print: Joost, D-Kronshagen 1. Edition 200435 What is ZEGG? Reprint of excerpts with indication of source is permitted and welcomed. Please36 Literature send specimen copy.2 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  3. 3. Life within a Living Organism or millions of years, life onF Earth has existed in biologicalbalance: all species co-exist, and new markets. Terrorism would best be fought by the implementation of global justice and by fighting po- Earth, offers the opportunity for a unique and diverse community of beings, (…)all substances are returned in a cy- verty and illiteracy.cle back to nature. There is no was- The prevailing patterns of produc-te. The energy of the sun is the only Sustainable development and tion and consumption cause deva-source of energy which is available worldwide justice require, first of station of the environment, exploi-nearly without limitations. The sun all, a new orientation of our lifesty- tation of natural resources andconstantly feeds this cycle on the les in the industrialized countries massive extinction of species. TheEarth, thereby making it possible as we already consume much more proceeds of the economic develop-for life to exist. than our share. If the entire world’s ment are not spread equally, and population wanted to achieve our the chasm between rich and poor isThe ever more obvious climatic standards of living, we would need getting deeper and deeper. Injusti-changes with all of their accompa- several planets just like the Earth in ce, poverty, ignorance and violentnying “natural” catastrophes show order to supply us with the necessa- conflicts are spreading and areus that this balance is now serious- ry raw materials, such as energy, causing incredible suffering. (…)ly threatened by us humans: if we food and natural resources. Politicswant to survive, we have to change needs to provide a supportive fra- We now have a choice: we eitherour ways of thinking, and we have mework for this change of attitude form a global partnership, in orderto re-learn to live in harmony with and thinking; but most of all it is to care for the Earth and for eachnature. This does not mean a simp- necessary for each and every one of other, or we run the risk of destroy-le movement `back to nature´, but a us to fundamentally change his or ing ourselves and the entire diver-balanced approach both to oursel- her attitude towards the way we use sity of life. Some very decisiveves, and to whatever surrounds us. our shared resources and the pro- changes in our value system, our ducts of this one world. institutions and our way of life areOur planet Earth is a living organ- necessary. We have the knowledgeism. Animals, plants and humans Let me quote from the preamble of and the technology to provide forand the so-called “a-biotic” matter, the Earth-Charta of the B.U.N.D. ourselves, and to reduce negativesuch as water, winds and rocks, are (a big German environmental or- impacts on the environment. Weinterconnected. This connected- ganization), dated March 24th, need to focus on the fact that if ba-ness between us humans and the bi- 2000: “We now stand at a critical sic human needs are provided for,osphere, which was seen as a mat- point in the history of the Earth, at human development is centredter of fact in early cultures, has to- which humanity needs to choose around “being” instead of “ha-day been neglected and disrupted. the way to take into the future. As ving”.Humankind has lost touch with na- the world more and more interla-ture, and can therefore bear to ex- ced and ecologically fragile, the fu- ZEGG (see page 35) has made aploit her by violently disrupting na- ture holds immense dangers and in- commitment to develop a way oftural cycles and relationships. Pro- credible opportunities. If we want life which does not cause any furt-fit-oriented globalisation, subject to advance, we need to acknowled- her damage to this planet andevery life-process to the laws of the ge that, despite or even due to our which contributes to its healing. Amarket, signifies a new apex in hu- many differences in culture and li- communal way of life and joint usemanity’s insanity. The so-called festyles, we are one big family, a of consumer goods are steps in thiswars against terrorism are one ex- global community tied together by direction. Within the past years,pression of this disease. They un- a shared fate (…) the ecological work done at ZEGGmask the underlying mechanisms has undergone some changes: star-of capitalism, always on the move Humanity is part of a constantly ting out with a more classical ap-to secure natural resources and evolving Universe. Our home, the proach towards ecology, it has mo- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 3
  4. 4. ved towards a holistic social ecolo- for the entire region, and much was acknowledged as one of Euro-gy. Social ecology connects the ou- more. As more people decide to pe’s foremost experts on hydraulicter, visible nature of the biosphere settle here and to contribute their engineering. His inventions on thewith the inner nature of human energy, the more attractive the re- improvement of water quality re-beings. Ecology in this sense of the gion seems to become. ceived international recognition.word encompasses the healing ofhumans as well as healing the pla- This booklet intends to provide an Viktor Schauberger was one of thenet. And healing processes take overview of the most important first natural scientists who warnedplace whenever human activities ecological projects at ZEGG. The- of the possible results of an intensi-begin to harmonize again with the re is still much to do, but we are on ve exploitation of water and fo-`ways´ of life. Any person incapa- our way. My wish is that, with this rests. Together with his son, Walterble of loving himself, will likewise booklet and its practical examples, Schauberger, he founded the firstbe incapable of loving his human, ZEGG may serve as a model for ot- Austrian ecology-movement, theplant or animal environment. Whe- her developments, far beyond this “Grüne Front”. From the very be-rever the natural functions of life, region. ginning he was an outspoken oppo-such as vibration, flow, pulsation nent of energy generation from nu-and rhythm are inhibited by either The following contributions provi- clear fission. River restoration, fortechnological or ideological force, de substantial background infor- which he was at the time the onlydisruptions or diseases will arise. mation on the topic of sustainabili- proponent, is now being done allAs years went by, more and morepeople were attracted to the regionof Hoher Fläming, the area sur-rounding ZEGG. Meanwhile, therealization of a “Hoher FlämingSustainable Region”, with local re-cycling of materials has turned intothe connecting vision for manypeople who live here. Many of thethings we need in order to liveshould come from this region; andthis region is beginning to change.Since 1991, more than 300 peoplehave settled here, in addition to the70 odd ZEGG inhabitants, all ofthem searching for more commu-nal lifestyles and a more sustaina-ble economy. They form a looselywoven network. Knowledge, cul-ture and goods are exchanged, andin their wake friendship and manyloving relationships have been ge-nerated. ty. Many thoughts are inspired over the world. His maxim of ob-Community members, newcomers from the work of the Austrian rese- serving and emulating nature nowand original residents work toget- archer Viktor Schauberger, whose seems to express a wide range ofher in a variety of projects, projects work during the first half of the what is currently done in the realmswhich in hindsight may turn out to 20th century was far ahead of time. of technology and natural sciences.have been the germ cells of a regi- In his opinion, too, the state of the Many of the impulses Schaubergeron `fit for the future´. There is a world and of nature today is the di- set still reverberate today, and therebartering network, a `Free School´, rect and unavoidable consequence is still a wealth of work to farming, an Info-Café as a of the ideological and spiritual con- After many years of obscurity, neg-meeting-place for asylum seekers victions of humanity. ligence and suppression, Schauber-and local residents, an alternative ger´s work is finally starting to re-Health Center, an alternative to of- Schauberger was forester, hydrau- ceive the recognition it deserves.ficial Health insurances based on a lic engineer and inventor who, du-solidarity principle, etc. There are ring the 1920’s, developed his view May you enjoy reading this bookletplans also for an encompassing of water as the “Basis of all life”. and draw inspiration from it!concept for sustainable economy As a bio-technician he put his as- tounding insights into practice and Achim Ecker4 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  5. 5. ything we do; in the cultivation of Energy Use and fruits and vegetables, the generati- on of energy, the selection of buil- ding and insulation materials, and of consumer goods. Sustainability Another cluster of problems we have so far been unable to handle successfully here, concerns trans- port. The calculated permissible emission of CO2 per person, worldwide, is maximally 1.2 me- uring the past fifty years, the tric tonnes. Every delegate whoD Earth has lost one quarter ofits arable farm land and one third of kind of world will our children in- herit, who will experience the re- sults of our present day activities? flew from Germany to the Sum- mit-Conference on climate controlits forests. At the present rate of de- in Johannesburg in 2002, was al-struction, we will live to see the In the course of one year, the cur- ready causing 7t of CO2 emissions,loss of 70% of all coral reefs, ma- rent annual consumption of crude much more than reasonably justifi-king up the habitat of 25% of the oil is 3.5 million tonnes worldwide able. It is clear that rigid rules willmarine flora and fauna.” (Hawken (numbers from 2001!); an amount not be of any service, but we need2000;22) the Earth took one million years to to become aware of the effects we produce. We drill, mine, dig and cause by choosing to spend our ho-We all consist of sunlight and wa- chop as if there was no limit. The lidays on low-budget trips to fara-ter. Radiant heat, visible light and inhabitants of the wealthy coun- way places.ultraviolet light are the sources of tries, – 20% of humanity – consu-most of the life on this planet. me 80% of the natural resources. The regionalization of the materialEverything we need for nourish- While Europe is currently slowing cycles will go hand in hand with ament, heating, building and for our down its consumption and polluti- regionalization of production, andsustenance can be traced back to on, the U.S.A. for example, is not. therefore of work. Forestry andtrees and other plants. With their It is evident that we cannot go on in agriculture represent two of theability to synthesize matter from this way. To live sustainably inclu- most vital activities in rural areas.sunlight, air and water, by absor- des awareness of the fact that on a The objective is to produce, consu-bing CO2 and transforming it into global level we simply cannot use me, share and recycle as much ascarbon and oxygen, they generous- more energy than what we can possible on a regional level. Thisly provide us with all of our basic catch from the sunlight daily hit- creates the basis for a partial exitrequirements. Without this photo- ting the earth. Here at ZEGG, this from the systems destroying thesynthesis, we would not be able to is a main consideration in ever- Earth and its inhabitants. Thus wesurvive. Our future on can develop models forthis planet totally de- change, which can be fol-pends on oxygen. If we lowed by others. Thesecontinue to cut down new models may also in-trees, we diminish the clude regionally focussedquantity of the water and services, leisure and cul-oxygen available to us. tural programmes. This promotes diversity and in-In everything we do, or terest in each other, inste-refrain from doing today, ad of global uniformity.we need to be aware thatnature operates with a Under no circumstancesbuilt-in time-lag. It can should these visions leadtake 30 to 50 years before to closing off of the regi-we are able to witness the on. “Nothing natural oreffects of our present day alive may ever keep itsbehaviour. Many of the qualities in a closed-off`natural’ disasters we see system, as all natural pro-today, some of which are cesses are open and needdevastating, were caused to be able to interact withby human behaviour 30 their environment” (Cal-to 50 years ago. What lum Coats) 5
  6. 6. efore the discovery of fossil B fuel, the energy available to humans was simply what the sun extracted from the earth by hu- mans, these balanced processes will be interrupted. As a result the tions. Finally the single pole, charged groundwater, once it has lost its surface tension due to the gave us every day. For a long outer layer of the earth will cool lack of carbonaceous material time, the planet’s human popula- down and the atmosphere will be- near the surface, will sink deep tion was relatively stable; in 1000 come colder. into the earth where carbonaceous AD it amounted to 500 million matter will still be found. There it people. At that time, a forest was If these essential oxidation pro- will change its boiling point, an important source of energy and cesses within the earth cease, lar- oxidize early and cause powerful building materials, and was pro- ge amounts of water will amass, eruptions. After great catastro- tected and cared for. first in the atmosphere and later in phes that will come in the form of the earth itself, because the water earthquakes, thunderstorms, hur- Around 900 AD, coal was disco- then can not be rebuilt and refined ricanes, floods etc. all of the vege- vered and was soon widely used. any more. tation of the earth will recede as For the first time humans had a source of stored solar energy A short History which had reached the Earth some 900 million years earlier. The population rose to 1 billion in 1800. In 1850, crude oil was discovered in Rumania, and in 1859 the first North American oil well went of Fossil Fuel Consumption into operation. Now there was even more energy available, and humans learned to use it: for ma- chines, for the production of syn- thetic materials, artificial fertili- sers, and many other applications. The water that will sink into the the ground water sinks deeper and The forests, which had hitherto earth or evaporate into the atmo- the vegetation layer freezes again provided energy, food and buil- sphere will be overloaded with in permanent ice.” ding materials, began to dwindle, oxygen. Without the carbonace- until it was possible to believe ous matter with which it could in- During the past 24 hours, more that they were nothing but plea- teract, it will change its freezing than 70,000 hectares of rain forest sant recreational areas, nice to point. This will completely chan- were destroyed on this planet. 13 look at, but otherwise useless. In ge the general climatic condi- tonnes of toxic chemicals were re- 1930, there were 2 billion people; leased into the in 1960, 3 billion; in 1974, 4; in environment. 1987, 5; and in 1999, there were 6 More than billion inhabitants of this planet. 45,000 people starved to de- In 1933 Viktor Schauberger, in ath, 38,000 of his book “Unserer sinnlos Arbeit” them children. (Our Senseless Toil), wrote: “The More than 130 temperature on earth is a product plant and ani- of balancing processes involving mal species carbonaceous matter in the earth were extingu- (note: Schauberger used “carbo- ished by hu- naceous matter” to mean all or- mans (num- ganic and mineral matter like bers published coal, crude oil, natural gas, mine- in 2001!). And rals etc. excluding oxygen and the trend is up- hydrogen) and the oxygen that ward. penetrates the earth dissolved in rainwater. When all this highly organised carbonaceous mater is Source: Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  7. 7. orldwide, 24 billion tonnesW The Protection, of fertile soil annually arewashed or blown away, or are sim-ply destroyed. This huge mass ofmaterial would suffice to cover the Conservation andentire agricultural surface of theUnited States. The vast areas threa-tened by desolation are estimatedto encompass 3,6 billion hectares Restoration ofof land by the UNEP, an expanseequivalent to one quarter of the en-tire global land mass. In Africa alo-ne, 900 million hectares areendangered. The root causes areecological (climatic) as well as so-cial (Impoverishment)” (see: DerSpiegel, No 15/2000). Healthy SoilSoil is our only source for healthyfood/nutrition. In addition to air and deep sand soils, interspersed spark can cause a large-scale fire.and water, it is one of the essential by narrow layers of loam several The prevalent dry eastern windsenvironmental systems, which to- hundred metres apart. In the fo- and the pine monocultures are alsogether make up the basis of life for rests, the humus layer is no more contributing to the humans, for the flora and the than 2 centimetres deep. In openfauna. Only due to them is it possi- terrain a thin grassy sod covers n order to improve the water stoingble to sustain biodiversity, genetic pure sand. The soil is poor in or- capacity and the fertility of the san-and natural resources. Soil is indis- ganisms and in vitality, and only li- dy soils on our property, we havepensable for the production of mited nutrients are available. steadily increased the humus layerfood, for the storage of water and by mulching with old straw, leavesenergy, as a filter for pollutants and One key problem is the low and hay from the parks and publicas a regulator for global amount of rainfall, amounting to gardens of the Belzig municipality,bio-chemical material cycles. The only 500mm per year, together and with cardboard. Mulchingimprovement and the protection of with the sandy soils and their poor creates a habitat for a multitude ofthe soil layer therefore are very im- capacity to store water. One or two organisms and fungi, which,portant concerns of the ecological days after a summer rain, there is among other things , make nu-work done at the ZEGG. no trace of water to be seen in the trients available to other plants ground, and there is serious danger through their symbiotic relations-The Hoher Fläming region is cha- of forest fires. The meadows are hip with trees. When you mulchracterised by pure, light coloured, withered and dry, and the smallest you initially draw nutrients, such Mulching old straw. 7
  8. 8. as nitrogen, from the On some of the mulchedsoil: the mulch layer areas we also spread theneeds them for its own compost from our drydecomposition. But la- toilets, as the nitrogen,ter, the amount of nu- phosphorus, the innu-trients set free is much merable mi-greater than what was cro-organisms, fungithere originally. In or- and compost wormsder to remedy this initi- promote decompositional burden on the soil, of the organic materialone can concurrently into humus. Initially wespread a small amount scattered clay dust,of compost. which forms a mineral compound with humus,Leaf mulch is particu- therefore improving itslarly beneficial in a fo- ability to retain nutrientsrest, as in addition to and water, preventingimproving the soil it their loss by leachingsuppresses the dreaded into the groundwater.Roth (woodsmall-reed) (Calama- In the forests on ourgrostis epigejos) . Leaf grounds we built upmulch also contains so-called Benjes hedgesseeds from a host of ot- from brush-wood, pro-her trees, shrubs and viding habitats for hed-flowers, which all con- gehogs, snakes, toads,tribute to transform a amphibians and birds.forest into a mixed fo- The slow decompositionrest, combining a varie- of organic material byty of fructiferous trees and by improves thewith the typical forest Mulching with leaves. soil. These hedges retainplants. Leaf mulch pro- water and slow downvides these seeds with perfect con- her plants, and permeates the soil winds. Birds settle on them andditions for germination and growth with veins of humus. We use a drop seeds, which can then sprout(cool/damp stratification). mulch mower for cutting, and sub- and grow protected from game. sequently leave the plant materialAnother valuable means of soil res- on the ground, in order to create a Since we began our soil restorationtoration is green manure. This is natural layer of humus. Over a peri- work, vitality has already beenthe sowing of plants, which, due to od of several years we have sown a considerably improved and a largethe nodule bacteria living within large variety of green manure variety of micro-organisms, insectstheir root systems, are capable of plants, which now propagate them- and fungi may be observed. A verybonding atmospheric nitrogen, the- selves. particular healing dynamic hasreby making it available to ecologi- been initiated, which is especiallycal cycles. These so-called legumi- In addition to mulching, we have obvious during dry spells. We werenous plants include peas, beans, constructed several raised beds, in able to reduce watering to an abso-lentils, clover, alfalfa (Medicago which we incorporated entire trees, lute minimum, while the vegetati-sativa), lupins (Lupinus polyphyl- wood scraps and cardboard. After a on remains vibrantly green for alos), broom and black locust (Ro- downpour, the decomposing mate- much longer period.binia pseudoacacia) - all members rial is water-saturated like a spon-of the pea family (fabaceae). ge. These raised beds also introdu- While we strive to improve the soil ce welcome contours into an other- in large parts of our land, other are-Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is able to wise extremely flat landscape. as are left untouched as rough pa-extend its root system down to an Their various microclimatic zones sture, forest biotope, etc. We veryastounding depth of more than 10 offer habitats to many plants, in- rarely enter these enclaves, leavingmetres, enabling it to remain lush sects and animals, all within very them to themselves as much as pos-and green even during the driest of small space. These raised beds sible, so that they remain sanctua-summers. In this way it makes wa- were partially planted, and are still ries for animals on our terrain,ter and minerals from deep levels mulched every year. which is sometimes heavily used.of the ground available to many ot-8 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  9. 9. The Forest as Matrix of Life“Without forest, there is no water. The life of a forest is – just like all depths up to the surface. The levelWithout water, there is no bread. Life – a unique harmony of conti- of the groundwater is raised andWithout bread, there is no life.” nuity and change joined together in spring water may form. A balanced(Viktor Schauberger) one beautiful organism. In a natu- groundwater level is the result of rally mixed forest, nearly every well-adjusted ground temperatu-“Don’t you know that the forests species has its place without any res, a process safeguarded by trees.are the life of the land?” (Babyloni- need to struggle. Contrary to aan inscription) commonly held doctrine, Nature Without trees, life on Earth would involves much more cooperation be inconceivable. And still, everyTrees form a forest. The life history than competition. Without symbio- day vast areas are deforested.of a tree is also the life history of sis, there would be no life in any fo- About 120,000 to 150,000 squarewater. Trees are the highest and no- rest. There would be no forest at kilometres of virgin forest (an areablest plant form, whose giving is all. three times as large as Switzerland)universal and unconditional. is cut down every year. In order to By dropping their leaves and need- protect the remaining primeval fo-Whatever their colour, shape and les, trees share nutrients with smal- rest on the planet, the world’s de-species, there is one trait they sha- ler plants. Trees make salts, mine- mand for wood needs to be met byre: they play a crucial role in the bi- rals and water from deep in the soil plantation forests only. These plan-osphere of planet Earth. They regu- accessible not only to themselves, tations would need to be managedlate the climate by raising the hu- but also to other plants, animals, in accordance with ecological prin-midity of the air; they slow down and even agricultural areas. The ciples.wind and mitigate the extremes of roots of a tree permeate the soil to aheat, frost, drought, floods and much greater depth than those of Due to a more favourable legal re-storms. They filter the air, store and any other plant, thereby providing gime, European forests are againpurify water, conserve soil fertility with water all plants in and around growing. Worldwide, though, Eu-and inhibit erosion. Trees create a the forest. But by drawing up large ropean demands play a crucial rolemagnetic field around them. A amounts of water, the tree also in the process of forest destruction.whole forest with its many billion draws warmth from the soil. In ac- The German market is the maintrees has an integral part in buil- cordance with the laws of physics, customer for wood and celluloseding and maintaining the Earth’s this cooling of the upper soil levels from countries such as Indonesia,field of gravity. draws warmer water from greater Brazil, and the Cameroon. Europe- 9
  10. 10. such as this, wood can be harvested What is the value of a tree? on a sound, ecological basis. During the course of its life, a 100 year-old tree: In 1991, we took on about 4 hecta- res of monocultured forest, mainly • has lifted about 2500 t of water from its roots to its crown – pine and birch. It surrounds our against gravity – and evaporated it; property and its outskirts seamless- • has processed some 18 million cubic metres of air, extracting ly blend with the park-like vegeta- from the carbon-dioxide therein about 2500kg of pure carbon tion on the remaining 10 hectares. (C); On each parcel of land, the pine trees were of nearly the same age. • has photo-chemically converted 9,100kg of CO2 and 3,700 litres In some places new growth, mainly of H2O; of oak (Quercus robur) and black • has stored up some 23 million kilocalories (equivalent to 3,500 locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), had kg of hard pit coal) and has supplied 6,600 kg of oxygen (O2) for arisen. There was also a vibrant un- the respiration of human and beast, ensuring enough air for one der storey, - even some old fruit human being for at least 20 years; trees (apples, pears and sweet cher- • has fixed a mechanical equivalent of heat equal to the calorific ries), mostly hollow. Over the last value of 2,500 tons of coal; 50 years, pine (Pinus sylvestris), birch (Betula pendula) and oak The combustion of 100 litres of petrol consumes 230 kg of O2. That is have moved into the fruit orchard, to say, if a person chooses to breathe for 3 years, or to burn 400 litres and have forced the fruit trees to of petrol or heating oil or 400 kg of coal, then the production through grow higher and higher in the com- photosynthesis of 1 tonne of oxygen is required (Viktor Schauber- petition for light. ger). Since 1993, we have been busyan consumers are responsible for nigra L.), elm (Ulmus glabra creating a forest rich in species.the annual destruction of at least Hudson), yew (Taxus bacata L.), There will be little separation bet-150 square kilometres of primeval whitty pear (Sorbusforest in the European Russia. Yet domestica), wildEurope is not the worst in terms of service-tree (Sorbaglobal forest destruction. This pla- torminalis) alongce is held by the US. with various wild species ofIndustrialised, modern forestry re- fruit-tree.gards old, gnarly trees and deadtrunks as undesirable breeding pla- At ZEGG, we aimces for pests, such as the bark beet- to foster mixed fo-le. But their removal and destructi- rest rich in specieson destroys the habitat and food and habitats, withsupply for a whole range of organ- venerable grandfat-isms. One dead oak tree, for exam- her-trees neighbou-ple, hosts 500 different insects and ring fresh youngmicro-organisms, all of which are saplings, and withimportant for speeding up its de- moss-covered deadcomposition. In Germany, from trunks being swiftly1,350 to 6,000 native beetles breed returned into thein dead wood; 60% of these insects rich, healthy humusare to be found on the so-called by the insects andRed List, as they are threatened by mushrooms thatextinction. Moreover, of the fungi live on them: A fo-that propagate on dead wood, 25% rest providing pro-are considered endangered. tection and food to a wide range of in-The concentration by German habitants, andagroforestry on a few, which at the sameprofit-yielding species of tree has time depends onled to the near-extinction of fir these tenants. From(abies alba), black poplar (Populus a living organism10 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  11. 11. ween orchard and forest, as we are Since 2002, we have two splendid and yew (Taxus baccata). The un-trying to build up a natural, vibrant work horses, which help us to pull der storey has hazel (Corylus avel-sanctuary where humans can visit, trees from the forest. This is the lana), european mountain ash (Sor-harvest and enjoy. We would like most natural way of harvesting bus aucuparia and intermedia),to show that there is no conflict bet- wood. hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha),ween a Nature worth protecting blackberry (Rubus fruticosa ),and the human settlement and use If we include young growth, the raspberry (Rubus Idaeus), red andof its resources, as long as we take ZEGG forest now includes pine black elder (Sambucus racemosaon the responsibility of living in (Pinus sylvestris L.), birch (Betula L. and nigra), currants (Ribes),close harmony with natural cycles. pendula), oak (Quercus robur L.), Oregon grape(Mahonia aquifoli- black locust (Robinia pseudoaca- um), European birdcherry (PrunusIn the beginning, we extensively cia), field maple (Acer pseudopla- padus), hips dog rose (rosa canina,interfered with the existent, unna- tanus L.), aspen (Populus tremula), budleia (Budleia davidii), lilac (Sy-tural forest. Pine and birch were cut cherry (Prunus avium), pear (Pyrus ringa vulgaris), Dwarf Garden Ser-down in order to create clearings communis), apple (Malus domesti- viceberry (Amelanchier ovalis)for the seedlings of other trees and ca and sylvestris), prune (Prunus and even, at some sunny outskirtsplants. Layers of leaves were domestica), lime tree(Tilia platy- of the forest, sea buckthorn (Hip-brought in as mulch and Benjes phyllos and cordata), fir (Abies pophae rhamnoides).hedges were laid. Dead wood was alba), Canadian oak (Querkus ro-left to rot and more brought in. We bur C.), walnut (Juglans nigra), Through discussion with the pro-believe such interference will no chestnut (Castanea vesca), beech prietors of the surrounding forests,longer be necessary in about ten (Betula pendula), larch (Pinus la- we seek to foster support for ecolo-years. Some areas were left for na- rix), whitty pear (Sorbus domestica gically sound forestry, and to crea-tural succession to take place. L.), wild service-tree (sorbus ter- te a network of producers and con- minalis), ash (Fraxinus excelsior) sumers of regionally grown timber. Itnever learntismankindaway seems that has that to take away the trees to take solution and that is to refo- rest this planet on a massive scale – now! specific weight the hydrogen then rises into space, while the oxygen sinks back down. the water. It is the forest co- Worst of all, all that was once ver that is responsible for A further horrific consequen- water has effectively been re- fine-tuning the content of wa- ce is that groundwater is no moved altogether. It has ter vapour in the atmosphere longer recharged; the gone, and gone for good. and for the creation of fresh groundwater table sinks and water itself. Once the forest the supply of nutrients to the This initiates a process, in has been removed, the expo- vegetation from below cea- which the atmosphere is first sed ground heats up rapidly. ses. At the same time, the in- forced to get warmer due to As a result the ground tempe- creased intensity of the overcharge of water va- rature in general is hotter thunderstorms and wind acti- pour, but then, as the water than the falling rain. A hot, vity and the warming of the rises higher, it is dissociated dry ground-surface inhibits ground due to massive defo- and disappears, and the at- infiltration of the soil with restation, raises the water mosphere cools, because the rain water. Until a sufficient vapour levels far higher than amount of heat-retaining wa- number of trees have been normal, even to as much as ter vapour has diminished. planted; not just a billion, but 40 – 80 kilometres above the What follows is a new ice several hundred billions, we planet’s surface Here it rea- age. All this was elaborated will be subjected to the unre- ches altitudes where it is ex- in detail in Viktor Schauber- lenting , merciless cycle of posed to much stronger ger’s writings some 70 years drought, flood, drought, ultra-violet and high-energy ago. flood, particularly in equato- gamma-radiation, which dis- rial and warm temperate zo- sociate the oxygen from the Quoted from: Callum Coats, nes. There is only one hydrogen. Due to its lesser “Living Energies” Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 11
  12. 12. and plants. This also includes Permaculture so-called pests, the massive occur- rence of which always indicates a lack of complexity. If examined more closely, these insects support the healing-processes of the Earth, as they serve to rectify human mis- takes, such as mono-cultures. ermaculture means sustainableP agriculture and is a way to sup-port, conceive and to construct du- “An agriculture set up to feed hu- manity long-term needs to meet the following criteria: it may not use We would like to achieve a high le- vel of self-sufficiency in the area ofrable habitats and systems. These more energy than it creates. It healthy food. To walk through aare intended to secure our perma- needs to conserve the integrity of blooming, green and fertile land-nent and fundamental needs – eco- humans, nature and of landscapes, scape, is in itself already healing tologically, socially and without simply transferring diffi- heart, body and soul. It also gene-economically. As a central aspect culties onto other essential realms rates a space for children to growbefore any new design, but also at of life, and it needs to produce qua- up in a variously environment,intervals during later stages of any litatively and quantitatively high which leaves room for discoveries,project, it is necessary to closely yields. In all of this, it is also im- and allows them to experience ani-observe plants, animals and any ot- portant to set limits to the uncon- mals as wild and free, not as depen-her elements involved, in all of trolled explosion of the population dent of humans. They profit fromtheir functions. We also need to in- and of consumerism.” (Rohr, Ja- naturally experiencing diversityclude traditional knowledge into scha: Asking for the roots. Deep and start to understand the naturalour work. This serves as a basis for ecology giving directions out of the complementary character of ever-new models, of how living systems crisis. Hagia Chora, Nr.14, 2002) ything around them.can maintain themselves and rege-nerate. Instead of fighting disrup- This is where social experiments, Another important aspect of per-tions, they are utilized as part of the such as communal lifestyles, may maculture is multifunctionality.solution. take on an important role, as they Each element has several allow in-depth recognition and ear- functions, and each function is ta-First of all, permaculture is a me- ly realisation of basic needs, before ken on by a variety of elements.thod of planning, the aim of which they are channelled into a host of Grapevines, rambler roses and ki-is to build functioning systems, and substitute gratifications. wis, for example are trained aroundto take into consideration the an arbour structure, providing sha-well-being of humanity and of na- The aim of our ecological work is de during hot summers. During theture. These systems could be gar- to build up stable systems in coope- winter, they drop their leaves anddens, or agricultural operations. ration and partnership with animals allow sunlight to come through.But permaculture is also viable inurban situations, it may be appliedin architecture, in community plan-ning, urban planning and the struc-turing of organisations and socialinstitutions, – in short, whereverthere are complex contexts, nee-ding to be connected within anopen, multifaceted structure.Permaculture uses modern techno-logies just as much as ancientknowledge: Feng-Shui or geoman-cy, bio-dynamic gardening or me-thods developed by Fukuoka, pas-sive houses and solar plants, barte-ring networks, car-sharing or vege-table boxes. A central role withinpermaculture is given to the closeobservation and use of natural cy-cles, and the recycling of all mate-rials, – locally wherever possible. Mushrooms break down dead wood and keep the natural cycles alive.12 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  13. 13. During the fall, they provide us Spiritual Ecologywith plenty of delicious fruit, andduring the summer we delight intheir blossoms. On south-facingwalls, climbing plants profit from and Geomancythe warmth of the sun, while theyshade the building beneath. Thispreserves the plaster and keeps thehouse pleasantly cool. On north-fa-cades, we planted evergreen ivy(Hedera helix), protecting the hou-se against heat-loss during the win-ter. he word `Geomancy is derivedFruit trees and bushes should grow T from the Greek expression for `seeing the Earth , or `perceiving the joyed at the sight of a pristine landscape.wherever people pass, so that Earth’. To `see’, in this sense, me- Very early on, during the foundingeverybody can gather whatever he ans much more than simply looking years of ZEGG we were twice vi-or she needs in passing. The num- at the surface. The geomancer may, sited by the British geomancer,ber of plants should be large for example, feel the vibrations of a Peter Dawkins. His visits were aenough for humans and animals certain location or an area, and may few years apart. He saw an entirealike to take their share. We do not attempt to translate these images system of chacras on our land,have to harvest everything we sow. into definite statements or descrip- which again is part of a much grea-We take what we need, the remain- tions. While doing so, he or she is in ter energetic system of energy cen-der is left for animals, fungi, in- close contact with the Earth. This tres in the Fläming region. To oursects, all joining to maintain a he- type of sensitivity is inherently pre- great surprise, we had intuitivelyalthy biotope. We also plant fruit sent in each one of us, but does re- placed the harmoniously corre-bearing plants specifically for fo- quire practice. sponding facilities on many of the-rest animals. se locations, such as our One research objective set by the restaurant, the reception and theThe ecological work at ZEGG is geomancy group established at reed bed waste water treatment.inspired by Sepp Holzer from ZEGG in the spring of 2002 is to un- During his second visit, DawkinsAustria, and by Masanobu Fukuo- derstand the energetic structures of perceived significant improve-ka from Japan. From this knowled- ZEGG and its natural environment, ment in the total energetic conditi-ge, complemented by our own ob- and to modify these wherever ne- on and revitalisation of theservations and intuition, and influ- cessary. What is required in the be- location.enced by local conditions, we crea- ginning is the willingness to taketed our very own body of methods every inner or outer perception seri- Marko Pogagnik, whose visit du-and knowledge. In this approach, ously, to take note of whatever ari- ring our Summer Camp 2002 in-we also integrate plants, which ses when looking at a piece of land spired the foundation of ourwere not originally native to the or a building, even if your mind dis- Geomancy group, found a spotFläming-region. We do make sure, cards a certain perception as `uns- very vital to ZEGG, which wasthough, that no local species is ous- cientific . After a short while, you highly charged with heart energy.ted by our introduced species. Our realise that there is indeed an inner He had noticed two trees in the di-vision is a “multicultural” one, in answer to the questions such as rect vicinity, which had grownwhich exotic plants may comple- what kind of a feeling characterises around each other as if lost in anment and enrich the “natives”. This a certain place? Is it pleasant to be embrace. Coincidence? Placesis why we decided to plant kiwi here, or does it have `holes in its such as these need care and attenti-(Actinidia deliciosa), figs (Ficus) energetic fabric, which might indi- on in order to recharge and to mo-and medlars (Mespulus germanica) cate that some detrimental event bilise their power, particularly ifat appropriate sites. We do not try took place there, or that trees were their meaning has for a long timeto eradicate Japanese Bird Cherry cut down for no reason or veins of been neglected. Progagnik, who is(Prunus padus) and Black Locust water were sealed off, so that part of from Slovenia and who first beca-(Robinia pseudoacacia), which are its vitality was inhibited. What is me known as a sculptor, has spentimports and have turned into quite the meaning of a landscape, and of considerable time researching thisa plague at some places. We try to the elements characterising it? Each field of knowledge; his healingrestrain them within a certain limit, one of us knows the experience of work is now well known to manyand otherwise enjoy their various taking a walk in a vibrant mixed fo- people in Europe. Among otherqualities and their beauty. rest, and feeling the healing effect activities, he has been busy as an on body and soul, or of feeling over- “energy converter”, reactivating Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 13
  14. 14. energy at sites where it has been Air vitalises the encompassing per structures of the land on whichblocked, twisted or buried by hu- landscape. A river kept from vibra- ZEGG has settled, and if so, howman interventions. For this kind of ting naturally by modern river en- can we strengthen them. In the im-work he used to employ energetic gineering, will cause irritation, not mediate neighbourhood of ZEGG,symbols sculpted in stone. These only in the physical sphere. It will there is a medical rehabilitationdays he prefers to use the healing, be paralysing to look at, but also, centre with an adjoining thermalheart power of sounds produced by the energies it radiates in other fre- spa, tapping a thermal water re-people singing together. quency ranges will be inhibiting. source deep down in the Earth. The human master, who would for- Maybe the location at which we’veDuring the 2002 Summer Camp, ce it into a crippling bed therefore decided to live, is particularly wellProgagnik attempted to unblock becomes a victim of is own deeds. suited to receive, to promote and toand cleanse one particular location A vibrant landscape with an unblo- foster new information on healingon our grounds by the “sounding” cked “soul” or essence, will in the social and ecological realms.of 100 people. He advised us to re- strengthen all creatures living in it, We still know so little about thelocate an important ceremonial site and vice versa: if we humans re- connections between “Heaven andto a place nearby, in order to spect the diversity of a landscape Earth” - between the spiritual andstrengthen its vital-energetic ener- and the characteristics of its “or- the material. This is why Geoman-gies. The geomancy group at gans”, we will strengthen its sacred cy is such an exciting field of re-ZEGG will continue to work on spaces which enable it to exist in search for some of us here at thethese issues, in order to find out physical harmony. ZEGG.which sites are best suited to expe-rience inner peace, clear the mind Another interesting geomanticor awaken joy. A natural flow of question is whether there are hea-the energies of Earth, Water and ling powers hidden within the dee- If, during a particular year, butterfly Cooperation with Animals caterpillars had nibbled off the lea- ves of a plant, it very often turned out to benefit this plant later, when it got drier, as the plant suffered a lot e want to learn how to work to- less evaporation loss. W gether with the plants and ani- mals around us, no matter how During guided tours through our small they are. If we include them in gardens, people very often deplore our thoughts and considerations, they the fact that they have too many will cooperate with us in the great slugs in their vegetable patch, ex- challenge of healing the Earth. The pecting us to give a patent remedy. following are just a few examples In our view, slugs serve as a regula- from our experience. Since we started ting measure in nature. They “set the to promote a wider biodiversity on table” for all kinds of other animals, our grounds by taking down large sec- such as toads (Bufo bufo), lizards, tions of the surrounding fences, more frogs, slow worms (Anguis fragilis), deer (Capreolus capreolus) , wild boar hedge hogs (Erinaceus europeus), (Sus scrofa) and hares (Lepus europe- birds and moles. When these ani- ans) from the neighbouring monocul- mals come to feed, we like to welco- ture forests have come to feed and live me them by offering them a comfor- on our grounds. As much as we enjoy table place to settle down - nest bo- their trustful presence, they do have a xes, piles of rocks or tree-cuttings, tendency to eat and damage the newly Butterfly caterpillar wild hedges, small ponds or wate- planted shrubs and trees. We therefo- ring holes. We find that by taking a re protect young trees and single European starlings love cherries. We closer look, by observing natural plants by surrounding them with fen- could keep them from eating all the process and by re-examining our ces while they are too delicate to sur- cherries by spreading large nets over habitual mindsets we can find ways vive game bite. Additionally, we have the trees. We prefer to invite a starling to support Nature in her work. Is it planted some of the animals favourite family to nest in a cherry tree. One really so important that a garden is forage plants in the forest. In our needs only to put a nest box in the so neat and tidy that there is no thoughts, we try to communicate our tree. The `resident family will then room left for any other creature to welcome and our wishes regarding defend the tree against all uninvited live there? what we would like them to eat and guests, but will leave enough cherries not eat. for us to eat.14 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  15. 15. The ZEGG Vegetable Garden ature doesn t make mistakes.N If paradise does not becomereality in the garden, it’s humans (Zea mays) or tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), we add some of our own compost; otherwise we don t give you an example how nature produces stone meal: in Egypt, the river Nile used to flood the soilwho’ve made the mistake“ (Sepp fertilize at all. All we do is feed the once a year. The sludge depositedHolzer) organisms living in the soil, the by these floods served as fertilizer worms and the bacteria. These will to the Nile valley farmers, and asFelix Matile, the ZEGG gardener, then in turn feed the plants. We sow building material. Now they ve gottalks about his work in this way: leguminous plants, such as beans the Assuan Reservoir, and all of“In our garden, we try to do as (Vicia faba L.), peas (Pisum sati- this stone meal is collected withinmuch as possible the way nature vum L.), lupines (Lupinus poly- the reservoir. The farmers have toherself does it. For example, nature phyllos), clover (Trifolium ..), buy artificial fertilizers and theydoes not know compost heaps. which draw nitrogen from the air are getting poorer and poorer. ForEverything just drops wherever it into the soil, via the bacteria living us, it s important to know thehappened to grow. For crops with within their root systems. We do ph-values of our soil. The soil hereexceptionally high nutrition needs buy and introduce soil for seed- has too little lime. I can balancelike potatoes (Solanum tubero- lings and stone meal, a by-product that by using wood ash, a by-pro-sum), pumpkin (cucurbita), corn product of stone masonry. Just to Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 15
  16. 16. duct of our wood-burning heating dise emerges, is rewarded by less wers from our own garden are the-plant.“ work for more bountiful crops refore not only a visual delight and every year! a `soul food , but also an expressionThe ZEGG garden is not intended of our political a commercial horticultural en- In 2004 we started to use copperterprise, but as a place for learning gardening tools following the ideas The gardeners also take on the taskabout organic gardening, for expe- of V. Schauberger and we are curi- of passing on their experiencerimenting, for regeneration and for ous to see the results through guided tours and consulta-growing vegetables for our own tions, i.e. for gardens planned el-consumption. There are no In addition to the vegetable garden, sewhere. Preschool children regu-“weeds“ at the ZEGG garden. The- the ZEGG gardeners also care for a larly join the gardeners to partici-re are wild herbs and indicatorplants. Neither are there any `use-less pests or `beneficial creatures;there are only animals and all kindsof insects.On ¾ of a hectare, we produceenough fresh vegetables and fruitto feed our community and ourmany seminar and conference par-ticipants and other guests duringnearly six months of the year, withstill plenty left over to preserve forthe winter. To provide valuable or-ganic produce for ourselves duringthe Summer and Fall means a lot tous: we know how to care for our ve-getable cultures, and we can besure that no herbicides, fungicides,pesticides or artificial fertilizersare used. Meanwhile, the fertilityof the soil and the yield have risenyear after year. We eat the vegetab-les which are grown here, and anyremains are again given back to theland as compost. This comparati-vely small and closed cycle hasgreat political significance to us: itstrengthens our connection to theland we live on. At the same time,we become aware of how depen-dent we are on nature. Any lossesdue to unfavourable weather con- View into the deapth of the vegetable Garden.ditions are painfully felt. We grate-fully accept the gifts nature pre- beautiful flower garden. These flo- pate and to help. In this way theysents us with. wers are given as gifts and are used soak up a lot of knowledge on plant to beautify our seminar spaces, ren- growth and how to cultivate seed-We sow and we harvest vegetable dering us independent of the flower lings and vegetables. We like to of-plants, but we also take note of any producing industry. Most flowers fer them an opportunity to feel theirother little shoot in our garden. All bought at the florist s have not only connection with the land we livewilds herbs are indicators of the travelled considerable distances, on, and to take responsibility earlysoil s needs and condition, telling from Africa or Latin-America, but on for our own nourishment andus what needs to be done in order to have been produced under inhu- the nourishment of the soil.nourish it. Our garden teaches us man conditions, often involvinghow we can improve the soil, and massive exploitation and destructi- We are also committed to suppor-how we can live off and on the land on of natural resources. Cut flo- ting `fledgeling gardeners. Forwithout depleting it. Our willing- wers are treated with even more school classes or groups of at leastness to get out of the way, as Para- chemicals than food crops! Flo- ten visitors, we offer guided tours16 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  17. 17. all of the residents are tough vege- tarian. At the same time, a growing Awareness in the number of people would like not to eat any animal food at all – to be vegan. Kitchen and while We do not buy eggs produced by factory farming; our suppliers are regional farmers who leave their Shopping chicken to roam as they want. Cof- fee is provided by `Fair Trade’, which guaranties fixed prices to growers, as opposed to multinatio- nal companies who exploit these n addition to ecological and he-I alth aspects, the decisions wemake each day when we shop have our power; every one of us, every day! coffee farmers. Our aim is to redu- ce our “complicity“ in inhuman production of foodstuffs. Where-a political aspect as well. Whom do “The rule of multinational compa- ver possible, we refuse goods who-we support by what and where we nies will collapse if we refuse to se production involves the blood orbuy? Do we support transparent re- buy what they are selling – their pain of animals or humans, or da-gional structures, or do we contri- ideas, their version of history, their mage the environment.bute to the exploitation of people in goods, their weapons, their visionother parts of the world? Do we of inescapability“ (Arundhati Roy; A very high priority is our own pro-foster contamination, erosion or a well-known Indian author and duction of foodstuffs. We grow asthe leaching of valuable soil, or do anti-globalisation activist) much as we can, supplementingwe contribute to care and regenera- this by food we can buy regionally.tion of the soil? Are we able to be To feel good, we do not need a lar- When not available regionally, weresponsible and recycle, preferably ge number of things, but we need buy through `Fair Trade’ and orga-regionally, the goods we´ve goods which last, and which don´t nically grown produce. We refusebought? harm the environment. We do not to buy genetically modified food. need to personally own everythingPower is moving away from the we use from time to time. The joy We try to improve the local availa-hands of elected politicians and of life does not lie in our consu- bility of valuable foodstuffs. Weinto the hands of multinational ming more, or in having more of were able to convince a local bakercompanies. Behind closed doors, our lives commercialized by multi- to bake organic bread for us. Hethe GATS Agreement (General national cooperations. Sustainabi- then offered organic bread also toAgreement on Trades and Servi- lity is intended to counter this everybody else who came to hisces) is used to sell off even the last trend. shop. In 2004 we started to bakebasic goods humans need for their bread and cake ourselves.survival (i.e. water). As consumers One small word on me-we find ourselves in a new role, at-consumption: a large part of the The soil, the garden, the peoplewith quite unexpected influence primary food produced on this pla- working in it or in the kitchen ... alland power. Our political influence net is fed to animals raised for of these are valuable way of consumer behaviour is slaughtering. Every day more tro- That is why another goal at ZEGGalready much greater than the in- pical rainforest is cut or slashed is to eat or buy only what we reallyfluence we have through the occa- and burnt for meat production. But need. We seek to develop an awa-sional election. But this power is we do not need meat. The greater reness of whether we are reallybased on information on the origin part of humanity adequately lives hungry, or whether our `hunger’ isof the products we choose, and on on a vegetarian diet. Meat con- only a substitute for some otherthe knowledge about the social and sumption in the rich countries is re- need. We’d like to develop a moreecological conditions of their ma- sponsible for hunger and deforesta- satisfying culture in which this fal-nufacture. Millions of people are tion in other parts of the world. We se `hunger’ no longer occurs be-frustrated, sitting in their have an opportunity to satisfy the cause our true needs and desires areone-bedroom flats, feeling power- material needs of humanity wit- fulfilled. Our aim is not renunciati-less , thinking that there´s absolute- hout destroying the planet. on – rather sensual delight. Wely nothing a single person can do. seek not to be morally superior –But by deciding what to shop, we This is one of the reasons why the rather to be more aware of our in-have the power to (s)elect, every ZEGG community kitchen decided It´s we who decide to whom to provide only vegetarian disheswe´d like to give our money and for residents and guests, even not Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 17
  18. 18. of temperature, thereby extending their lifetime. The Greening Greening a façade is a lot cheaper and easier to accomplish, as no sea- ling and no substrates are needed. For ivy (Hedera helix), kiwis (Acti- of Roofs and nidia), grapevine (Vitis vinifera), knotweed (Polygonum aviculare), clematis (C. Integrifolia) and ho- neysuckle (Lonicera japonica Façades ‘Halliana’), trellises are all you need. Virginia creeper (Partheno- cissus tricuspidata Veitchii) do- esn’t even need that. Virginia cree- per, ivy, clematis, and honeysuckle prefer walls which do not face the sun, but grapevines and kiwis en- t ZEGG, there are quite a few joy basking in full sunlight, at leastA flat, bitumen-covered roofs -most of them inadequately insula- by one person. The decomposition of the plants takes up the same amount of oxygen: it is therefore a at our latitude. After a period of ac- climatisation, grapevines becometed. We decided to insulate and closed oxygen-cycle. very drought-resistant, due to theirlandscape some of them, as far as extremely long roots (up to 40 me-this was financially feasible andnecessary for the building’s main-tenance. Insulated green roofs im-prove a building’s heat insulationand bind about 500 grams ofair-bound dust per m² per year.This is particularly important forcities. The green roofs filter the nu-trients and pollutants contained inrain, thereby contributing to theclarification of surface and groundwaters.Green roofs also slow down therun-off after heavy downpours.Spread over the entire year, thesubstrate and the vegetation release75% of this moisture directly intothe air via evaporation. For about2000 , it is possible to green about50m² of roof, with a 10cm layer of Grapevines lighten the somewhat massive façade of the ZEGG’s seminar building.substrate, which can store about1.5m³ of water after a heavy rain-fall with 30mm of precipitation(=30l/m²) In order to seal the green roofs we tres). Our grapevines grow to a use an environmentally friendly, height of 8 metres, delighting usAmong those plants particularly recyclable EPDM (Indian rubber) (and the birds) with plenty of deli-suited for growing at these lofty liner. The substrate is a mixture of cious fruit.heights are some robust survival soil and pumice stone, or soil andartists such as sheep’s fescue (Fes- expanded shale, which is much Greening does not only serve to be-tuca ovina L.), English bluegrass lighter than normal soil even when autify a façade, but also protects it(Poa compressa), brome grass thoroughly soaked, but can store from temperature fluctuations and(Bromus tectorum) and a number much more water (an interesting driving rains. Additionally, theof sedum-varieties. As little as fact for any stress analyst!). Gree- plants produce oxygen and provide0.5m² of unmowed grassy vegetati- ning protects roofs from corrosive welcome nesting places for a varie-on generates the oxygen required UV-rays and extreme fluctuations ty of birds and many rare insects.18 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
  19. 19. Water - a Living Substance he Upholder of the cycles But how we satisfy this need, plays and landscapes will turn intoT which supports the whole oflife – this is WATER. In every drop a crucial role. Water is not simply water. Drinking water from a swamps.”of water dwells a deity, whom we spring is subtly different from drin- Today (more than 70 years later!),all serve; there also dwells Life, the king that which flows constantly scarcity and pollution of water, inSoul of the First substance – Water from a tap and gurgles, after use, addition to climatic changes which– whose boundaries and banks are down a drain. When we drink from have a disastrous effect on the re-the capillaries that guide it and in a spring our disposition towards generation of water resources, arewhich it circulates. Let me summa- our fellow human beings, to socie- the most pressing worldwide envi-rize: healthy air, healthy nutrition ty and to nature is subtly changed. ronmental problem of this century.and healthy water together supportnot only a healthy body, but a he- As early as 1933, Viktor Schauber- Globally, 97% of water is salt wa-althy, positive human character ger had made it plain that there is ter. A mere 3% is fresh water. Ofalso.” (Viktor Schauberger) something fundamentally wrong in this 3%, as much as 79% is stored the way we treat water. In his book, in the pole caps as glacier and anot-Water is a remarkably complex “Our Senseless Toil”, he wrote: her 20% in the form of groundwa-substance. Its significance as a ”For about a decade the groundwa- ter. The last 1% of fresh water islife-giving element is expressed in ter has been falling so fast in many surface water. These numbers illu-a multitude of myths. The early areas, that we can reckon on our strate the limited availability of ourphilosophers identified water as fingers how soon people will be global fresh water provisions; whi-being one of the fundamental ele- forced to abandon their higher sett- le at the same time, the planet’s po-ments which, together with fire, lements and houses, because the pulation and its need for water issoil and air, make up the whole necessary water can no longer be growing exponentially. Currently,world. Even now, looking upon brought to them, or only at great humans consume 50% of the avai-water with more educated eyes, cost. Along with the falling of lable fresh water, leaving all theand describing it in terms of its che- groundwater levels, springs dry up, plants and animals on the planet tomical characteristics, we are still water ways fall dry and the glebe, share the remaining half.aware of the fact that all life needs which is supposed to give us ourwater. In particular, we humans: daily bred, dies of thirst. At other “The proper ways will themselvesour physiological need is 3 litres places the water will rise above the lead us back to nature, and therefo-per day. earth, rivers will break their banks re to the source of all life, to healt- hy water, which, lifted by inner po- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 19
  20. 20. wers, the higher the better, flows lowest point of the curve of the alike. Our very existence isfrom Mother earth when it is matu- specific heat values for water, therefore intimately connectedre enough to do so, that is, when it however. is +37,5°C. It is with the quality of water availablehas achieved its optimal physical remarkable that the lowest specific to us. It is vital for our own livescomposition, and has no choice but heat of this `inorganic substance, and those of our children that weto leave the ground.“ (V. Schauber- at which the greatest amount of become seriously concerned notger) heat or cold is required to change only for the health, vitality and the water’s temperature, lies at quality of the water we drink, butAs a compound made up of the two only 0.5°C above the normal also for its source and the treatmentgases hydrogen and oxygen, water human blood temperature –. This it receives. Apart from ourin its pure form could technically property - of being able to resist consumption of it, this same waterbe described as an oxide of hydro- rapid thermal change - enables us, is also used to grow everything wegen. But water is no isolated sub- with blood composed of up to 90% eat. If we want to live in health andstance, as it possesses a multitude water, together with many other happiness, then the living entity –of characteristics according to the animals and creatures, to survive a water – should be highly reveredmedium or the organism in which it relatively large range of external and the most sensitive care shouldresides and moves. temperature fluctuation and still be taken of it.” (Callum Coats) maintain our own internal bodyAs a molecule, water has an extra- temperature. Pure accident, so we Here at ZEGG, our weed bed waterordinary capacity: it can combine are told, or is it by clever, purification system, with awith more elements and com- symbiotic design? If the blood in capacity adequate for 300pounds than any other molecule. our bodies had a lower specific inhabitants, has been workingThis is why it is sometimes descri- heat, it would mean that in hot since 1992. The water we drawbed as the universal solvent. Water weather it would heat up much from the Earth for our needs isbehaves in a way which is funda- more rapidly to the point where we cleaned and given back to thementally different from other li- would start to decompose , or it natural cycle. After it hasquids. While all fluids become den- would freeze solid, if exposure was nourished, washed and rejuvenatedser with cooling, water does so to the extreme cold.” (Callum us, it seeps back into the groundonly down to +4° Celsius (39.2 Coats) and is returned to the groundwater.Fahrenheit). Below this temperatu-re it once more expands. This is the In contrast to a seepage spring, true In the times of company-domina-so-called “anomaly point”, which spring water has a water ted globalisation, in which water isis decisive in terms of its potency temperature of +4°C. Born in the degraded from being a basicand has a major influence on its cool, diffuse forest light, water human need and a right to a merequality. At +4°C water has its grea- begins its long, life-supporting commodity, access to good water istest density, 0.99996 grams per cu- cycle as a living and translucent increasingly important. We insistbic centimetre, and is virtually in- stream. Naturally flowing water on our right to keep our own watercompressible. always has a tendency to flow in sources, and we try to convince the darkness or in the diffuse light of community of Belzig not to followAt 4°C, water also has its highest forests, avoiding the detrimental the example of many other largerenergy content and is in what effect of direct sunlight. With German cities, which is to sell theirSchauberger called a state of `in- increasing warmth and light, water water works to internationaldifference . In other words, when in gradually loses its vitality, its companies, at cut-throat-condi-its highest natural condition of he- health and its capacity to enliven tions, and then lease it back fromalth, vitality and life-giving poten- and animate its surroundings as it these same companies, which intial, water is in an internal state of passes. As it by and by transforms turn use this water as a speculativeenergetic equilibrium and in a ther- itself into a broad river, it becomes value, - all in order to save taxes onmally and specially neutral conditi- more and more turbid. But even a short-term basis. A sensitive andon. this cloudiness still serves an caring treatment of water is important purpose: it protects the important to us.“A further life-giving property of deeper strata of the river from toowater is its high specific heat and much heat and light from the Sun. We do use rain water occasionally,thermal conductivity, namely the for watering plants during dryability and the rate at which it “Water is the issue most crucial to spells. Its collection and use in ourabsorbs and releases heat. This all life on Earth. Water, flowing as existing building would demand ameans that a large input or sap, lymph or blood, is the large and costly re-construction;extraction of heat energy is life-blood of our planet, the for new buildings we plan to userequired to bring about a change in life-giving fluid of all organisms, rain water for flushing, wateringdensity and temperature. The plants, animals and human beings and laundry purposes.20 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community