As I look into the future I see many things that make me happy. I have met a number of people who have come to the school because they saw my TEDtalk, My Green School Dream. It has 727,488 views. In the New Year, I plan to audit the talk and see how close we’re coming to “My Green School Dream” and how we can exceed these goals.
I’m excited that the vortex is somewhere in transit and the gardens at Green School are growing and looking terrific.
This month, I will be traveling to Beijing; I’ve never been to the Forbidden City or the Great Wall. I will be speaking among some architectural luminaries, at the Eco City and Green Building 2013 Asia Forum at Tsinghua University. I’m also making a presentation at the Peking University. I hope this will increase our Chinese enrollment and bring us a Chinese teacher or two. They’re very excited about bamboo and I think they’ll be surprised to learn about Green School and Green Village.
A bright star is rising in the South. John Stewart and his family are coming and I’m really excited to have a well-seasoned professional as the Head of Green School.
Don’t miss the Soulshine Festival, December 27th and 28th. The dream has always been to host an amazing event like this at Green School. Come enjoy!!!
Last month I found myself flying through the air and landing abruptly on the roadside after my bicycle wheel hit a nasty hole in the road. Thankfully, a neighbor was behind me on motorbike and took me to get medical attention. But when I turned up in Singapore a week later, the doctor found that I had bursitis. A few hours later, I was in an operating room wide-awake, but half frozen, as the doctor pulled out a bunch of dirt from my elbow.
After thousands of miles of riding, this was the first time I’ve fallen off my bicycle. The moral of the story is to get your wounds cleaned before they are sewn up. I’m recovering now, but with lots of new scars. Once my ribs settle down and my shoulder starts working again, I’ll be back on the track – older and hopefully wiser.
Bring your garbage to school | We had the 2nd Annual Pemulung Garbage Fest with an important addition that made all the difference. Darren from Enviro Pallets visited and gave us a lesson in trash sorting. This year the major difference was that we were not left with a pile of plastic bags at the end of the day.
We sorted our garbage, Darren took home all the plastic bags to make pallets and one of our students, Tristan had a great idea. He decided to put a mesh net in the Ayung River and start mining plastic bags. Eco pallets need washed polyethylene bags and that’s what’s in the river. Unfortunately we’ve had so little rain, that there’s been very little delivered to the net. Tristan and I are working on a project to possibly mine all the plastic bags out of the Ayung at the vortex dam. More updates soon.
So, you’ve heard me talk about Enviro Pallets and hopefully others are talking about them too. They’re going to need 30 tons of plastic bags each day and they’re offering $150 per ton for those plastic bags, so it will probably make it worthwhile for many people to collect them. Help us spread the word.
Bamboo car drives in Italy | It’s all happening. Hopefully the car will soon come home to Indonesia to become Bali’s first bamboo car.
Samsara movie screening | My friend, Mark Magidson from LA came to India to INK with me where he spoke about the movie Samsara. I convinced him to do a screening at the school, which he generously agreed to. The plan was to show it outside or in our Mepantigan- but 10 days before the screening, I decided I wanted to make a special presentation for it. So, with the help of a young man named Matt Bell and a Sumatran guy named Epin, we created the bubble.
The inflatable theatre we created was amazing, beautiful, and big enough for more than 200 people. Samsara was great, and I think the grandness of the structure was the perfect fit for such a fabulous movie. We want to continue showing movies in the bubble but we need a projector. If anyone has projector knowledge please let me know. Here is a picture of our bubble.
Elora in New York magazine I was very happy to receive the hard copy of the New York magazine in India, which had an amazing 9 page spread of a house Elora recently finished. I’m happy this went into the world.
As many of you know, I’ve lived through a great deal over the years. The coconut that fell on me during a hike last year tried to get me, and many other things have tried to quell me, but I live and I’m strong. My commitment to making Green Schools across the world is bigger than ever today. As Green School lives and grows stronger, so Green School will grow across the world- and I’m more committed than I’ve ever been.
One of the highlights of last month was John Stewart’s visit and address at our Annual General Meeting. He is a very special man: strong and smart, he and our existing team will together continue to take Green School into the future. He will be here in January, and I’m very excited that he’s chosen to come to our school and with our people make it great.
On a sad note, Roger Hamilton, the Chairman of Green School Board has resigned as Chairman and is going on to pursue other interests. His absence is clear to everyone and I know over the next few months people will start to understand what a significant loss this is for our community. He, his wife, and kids were some of the school’s greatest supporters and will be greatly missed by our community. I personally am very sad he will no longer be at the school. Roger, best of luck, as you continue your journey in the world. I know you will make a huge difference to all the people you meet.
I’m happy to share that I attended the Energy and Environment Foundation Global Excellence Awards in India last month where I represented Green School and was presented with the Global Excellence Award in Renewable Energy Sector.
Living in Bali has been fantastic every week. This past week we had garbage day where everyone brought their garbage to school and dumped it in the Mepantigan to sort. We’re going to see Enviro Pallets next. This is the first period in history that plastic bags have found a home, in that plastic bags have become worth collecting and are possible to recycle locally (as opposed to other plastic waste that has long been locally recycled). As you all know there are too many plastic bags on the beach, way too many in the ocean and absolutely too many in Bali. We’re supporting a couple of our local pemulung (scavengers or DIY recyclers) to begin collecting bags. Our support will happen by paying them cash for the plastic bags and together, visiting the local factory that turns these plastic bags into pallets, which helps replace wooden pallets in the shipping world!
The Vortex Lives! I know this is a very old story and it’s kind of embarrassing because I’m the old guy telling the old story, but the vortex lives. We’re doing testing and we’ll be ordering our turbine by the end of the week. This means, hopefully, by Christmas we’ll be pumping vortex-generated electricity into the Green School and into the grid.
We just had our 2nd Educator Course where I invited all the participants to have dinner with me in the rice paddy below my house. It was an honor to see such a turned on group of international educators from 12 countries coming all the way to Green School to learn about green and our curriculum.
Green School Blue? A visitor from the north came last week to speak to us about the possibility of Green School Blue. That’s all I can say for now, but stay tuned for more on having a future Green School on the ocean with floating classrooms.
Click the buggy below to get a sneak peak of the Green School bamboo car from Italy.
I was very happy to stand up for the 6th time and welcome new families to Green School. Someone remarked that there were as many new families as we had total families 3 years ago. This is good. A lot of good energy there; I met great new people and I’m very open to meeting more of you, just come up and say hello.
Becoming more local is the Green School challenge. Here is a simple idea adopted from a Balinese world. See what happened.
LIVING IN BALI
Living in Bali: An 8 part series sharing the secrets of living in Bali successfully. Read more by clicking below…
CARBON POSITIVE COMMUNITY
I’m making a personal commitment to be carbon positive and I need people to join me. Read more by clicking below…
We can know the price of pork bellies in Chicago, but the fair price for a banana often alludes us in Bali. Join fair exchange and see what others are paying for everything from a driver to the size of a Balinese wedding gift. Join now! Read more by clicking below…
I’M A PROUD FATHER
4 Amazing kids and what they’re doing, read more by clicking below…
VORTEX WORK GROUP Call for Support
People that know me understand I never give up or go away. The vortex is coming and you can help. Read more by clicking below…
It’s summer in Bali, the very best part of the year. It’s much better to leave in February than in the summer. The nights are cool, the days are long. We’ve been having intermittent rain because the weather pattern seems to have completely gone mad. But we planted rice the other day with some kids from Green Camp.
I went with my daughter Chiara twice to do the EYE walk for the John Fawcett Foundation and she raised enough money to do 29 cataracts surgeries.
I had the pleasure of visiting China. They have the most beautiful hills and rice fields ever. But it makes me happy to be living in Bali in an intact culture. That’s why I hope we’re all here.
Melissa Abdo has arrived to run Green Camp. I’m super excited about that possibility. Her commitment is very strong to the lives of our young people and adults alike.
I’m doing my Living in Bali course this fall. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s got me thinking about lots of things that I haven’t thought about for a while. We’re going to get dirty and learn things together. It’s very exciting. Get dirty, get washed, get blessed. It’ll be an eight week course, I’m hoping it will grow into some very active group in the school and some very incredible projects will be kickstarted through it.
I’m off now to the mountains in Ladakh. Probably the most beautiful and peaceful place on Earth. I’ll be back in the middle of August, recharged and energized for more fun at Green School.
The kites have appeared; I’ve noticed for a week or two that little kids are making kites and by August everybody will be making kites. No country in the world celebrates kites the way the Balinese do. That means the cool season is upon us; I’m walking often 10 km early in the morning and there’s a cool breeze, which is a blast to experience in the tropics.
Green SuperCamp is coming, my daughter Carina is going to be a Group Leader. If you haven’t heard of Green SuperCamp, it is probably in my view the most amazing social educational week that my kids have ever spent. They come home with rhymes like, “if you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late, you’re left behind again.” I mean, wisdom for a lifetime. I love Green Super Camp.
I wrote last month about watching kids in my old high school in Canada with their heads down, looking from side to side, being herded around, closely guarded by teachers. It really double hit me when I saw the Green School graduating class. We have such an amazing group of young adults! People that will surely change the world. Good luck, class!! You will be very missed. I was watching some of them play the marimba and I thought we’re not going to see them anymore. And that’s cool. Grade 11 is going to come into its own.
See an update on the Green School vortex in this video, good news:
Summer is upon us, the beautiful season. Enjoy the cool breezes and the clear days!
Visiting the Grave of the Ancestors
I had the distinct pleasure recently of visiting my birth place and it was a haunting experience. The sky was blue, the sun was out, and Cannington, Ontario, Canada was experiencing one of those rare beautiful days. Walking down the street, I was flooded with memories of my childhood there and my days at the school.
Great grandparents resting in a bush
I had the pleasure of meeting some of my old classmates from 1957 that remembered our music teacher, Mrs. Pinkam, who had told 3 of us to go to the other side of the room. We found out later that we were not going to be in the Christmas concert, because we couldn’t sing. The power and the responsibility of running a school became very clear to me.
I went to my old high school (Brock High School) and that’s when the real trouble started. I felt quite strange walking down those halls, which haven’t changed a cement block since my days there. I had the pleasure of presenting to a lot of old and young people. The old people came voluntarily; the young people were shepherded in by ever observant teachers. The talk was very interesting, laced with memories of the past and visions of Green School and the bamboo future we’re building.
My most inspirational teacher, who is now 91, was there and he asked some difficult questions, looking to trip me up as he always had. But he was the ray of hope in my life as an undiagnosed dyslexic. He was the guy that gave me B’s, the only ones I ever got because he engaged me. I was always inspired by his passion, not just for delivering his curriculum, but because he started his lesson by opening the morning’s newspaper, and that’s what he would teach. He also was running for the New Democratic Party, in our county which hadn’t elected anyone except a Conservative for 50 years. He never gave up running! He never got elected.
The thing that really got me was the looks on the faces of the children: the downcast eyes, the quick glances to the side. I’m always amazed that children are smiling. We take it for granted at Green School, but when I went out there into the real world I didn’t find children smiling, I didn’t find young adults given the opportunity to be responsible members of their community. What it showed me is that we at Green School, especially when you look at our soon to graduate class, that we have done something different. And I believe better. Kids at Green School are smiling. I’m going to be very proud to see the first group of graduates go into the world, hopefully to become the new generation of green leaders.
Kuningan, a day in Bali. It means yellow. It’s one of my favorite days of the year and I know some of you have experienced this with me. It’s our 7th monthly (Kuningan is every 7 months) trip to Klungkung, to the village of Paksebali to experience the Perang Dewa festival.
It was amazing to be with some young children from Green School this Kuningan. The altar boxes are taken down to the river and blessed. Kadek as usual feeds us with an amazing feast by the river. And then the fun begins, as the boxes head back toward the temple they decide that they don’t want to go back inside for another year. You can see what happens in a small video below. Please watch the video, and next time you’re going to be here on Kuningan come and join us.
I’m in awe. I’ve been to this festival more than 25 times and I’m still in awe. It hasn’t changed except this year it rained like madness which made everyone soaking wet. The people that came were very excited, for some it was their first time in Bali, some were residents.
It’s a very exciting month. The cold breeze is starting in the morning and the season is changing. The little kids are on the street with their kites and that’s a sure thing that the winds are coming from the east.
Good things happen when good energy is in existence. We got our first multi-year commitment to the Balinese/ Indonesian Scholarship Fund, Grade 8-12, from an amazing young man. One of my main missions in life is to support the green leader vortex at Green School. We’re having our first graduates this year and we’ll see what magic they perform in the planet.
I was asked to come to Jakarta to speak at the GreenRight Conference held by the Green Building Council and the experience was really inspiring. Who would’ve guessed that Jakarta would be full of people committed to green building and companies committed to bringing innovative techniques to green building into the world?
I met a young man that made insulated concrete houses which use 60% of the air conditioner required on a regular house. The return on investment is 7 years. What an incredible concept, considering the number of air conditioned buildings in the world. Here is a brochure: and a semi-detailed technical write-up about b-panel.
I also in awe of the talent in this country and the diversity. So many things that aren’t just carbon copies of what’s going on in the West. I renewed my commitment to getting more Indonesian and Balinese involvement in Green School. I don’t think anyone’s dream is to have just like it is in the West. I’ll be working hard on diversity in the future.
I have another group of people making early commitments to help me with my favorite subject, which is garbage. The plastic bags on the island can be recycled. It’s just a matter of will. It can be profitable and sustainable for the recyclers. I had the pleasure of going to China and looking at machines that take all kinds of plastics and turn them into pellets where they can be reused and fed back into the industry.
As you know we have a massive problem here of plastic washing down the ditches, into the stream, into the river, and you see it on the beach. Worse than that, you see them in the ocean, miles and miles away from Bali, in perfectly clear water. You think it’s a fish coming by, but it’s a Cheetos package from somewhere.
I also had the pleasure of addressing a company called ARUP. They’ve engineered some of the most amazing things in the world, and their 30 top leaders were in the room in Singapore. I got to show them the magic of bamboo, growing vegetables instead of bushes, many kinds of magic. The reception was really warm. I felt a little bit like I was walking into the valley, but they were impressed and we hope that in the future there’ll be more bamboo skyscrapers.
As you know we’ve been working hard to make Green School’s footprint smaller. We have the solar panels running – we need to make a few adjustments and we’re going to eventually have a vortex on the river. This will make our footprint very small. We have a long way to go to make our carbon positive community, but I personally will not rest until we’re there.
The other footprint of Green School continues to amaze me. It’s our footprint in the world. For a tiny school of 300 kids half way between an island and nowhere, we’re attracting a huge amount of attention. You can see by this newsletter that people are hearing about it, thinking about it, dreaming about it. This makes me very happy and very proud. Artists are coming out of the wood work; musicians and inventors are getting involved and all of this is good for our community, good for our school, and I believe, good for the future.
Click here to watch my February presentation at alldesign 2013 in Istanbul.
So much happened in the last month. I really can’t even begin to tell you. But it’s terrifically exciting, from buggies to harps. Please click here to see my slideshow and what I have been up to.
To all the Founders Dinner Participants – Thank you so, so much for coming to the dinners. I thoroughly enjoyed them. I hope you did too. I’ll think of the next series of fun we can have together soon.
2013 should be a lucky year for everyone that has not been hit by a coconut. I had my birthday and a good friend said to me, “John, at a certain moment you’re too old to do more bad, and there will be no time to rectify it so only do good.”
I thought that was pretty funny, so my New Year’s resolution is to do less bad and more good. I guess that’s a good message for all of us.
I’ve started a series of Founders Dinners and I’ve met some terrific people. I’m really excited and inspired by the people who changed their direction in life, and came to Bali to see if the Green School was the future. But it really does put pressure on Green School, because after a while everyone seems to think a school becomes kind of an institution and we all know how institutions deal with opportunities, entrepreneurship and many other things. We need to be keenly aware that people have actually changed their lives and their life courses to come to Green School and we have to look after every one of them with great care and intention.
So that’s my thought for the new year. By meeting some of these people, I’m able to pass along my long experience in this country, my experience of building a business, and surviving here. It’s a real pleasure to be in Bali.
We have 2 incredible people coming to Bali. One to build the world’s first bamboo buggy and one to work with bamboo and turn it into art. The only problem is he’s doing it with shoots that can’t be harvested for 3 years, so I guess that’s what you call a committed artist.
As for me, 10 baby pigs were born, 1 died along the way, but 9 have survived and 7 of them have found homes, 1 with a Green School student, who has always wanted to have a pig in his house, sort of like Green Acres, the Green School’s Arnold Ziffle. The male pig came up to visit the female pig; I think it was kind of a date, but she’s having nothing to do with him, has something to do with the children. We are going to send them to camp so he’s not very happy right now, but eventually, hopefully he’ll get it together.
I’m heading off to a giant design conference in Istanbul, called alldesign Istanbul. If you are in the neighborhood, let me know as it is truly an amazing place to visit.
That’s all the news from my side of the planet. I hope you are all as happy as the baby pigs seem to be.
The majority of you have visited Green School and I want to start by saying thank you.
We have been extremely busy and productive since the summer both in Bali and abroad. We started the year with the refreshed leadership of Alan Wagstaff, our learning leader. It gave us tremendous sense of pride to see Alan speak to a wide audience at INKtalks in India. Alan spoke about not just including every child, but creating a school environment where the love of learning becomes a lifetime pursuit. A parent at the school, Will Travis, did a talk about excellence. I was very proud to see Green School featured as one of his examples of excellence in the world.
I spoke at TEDx Taipei recently – not about “Green School, the Dream,” but “Green School, the Reality.” Green School students, parents and faculty have started businesses and social programs that impact in Bali and their local communities where they returned to. Beyond providing an enriched academic environment, the school is also acting as a catalyst for children and adults to act and create through their inspiration from the school.
Jose Ramos-Horta, the former Prime Minister and President of Timor Leste and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, recently visited the school. He left a permanent quote to the students on a Heart of School bamboo pole “After Einstein, you are the genius.” He was totally lit up about what is going on at the school. This year we are graduating our first class of 12th graders. We are doing everything we can to launch them into the future. Some of the graduates have been at Green School for five years, since we began, and they will be ambassadors of our Green Leader Vortex. While some have been the recipients of the Balinese scholarship program, generously supported by you. This is where you can make a real difference for the local community – supporting Balinese kids to have a scholarship at Green School.
Lastly, as we look ahead, we think about Green SuperCamp and Green Camp as ways for children to connect with the Green School. These summer programs offer different types of learning and exposure that will leave a lasting mark. For camp goers, their success has been profound and beyond expectations. They both give you an opportunity to get some Green School energy next summer – please join us!
Please come back and visit the school. Bring your friends and explore “The Greenest School on Earth” (as per the title the U.S. Green Building Council award to us – and that we strive to live up to daily).
A number of us are traveling and speaking in support of Green School. See the list below and come out and support us if we are in your neighborhood!
Thank you very much.
John & Cynthia Hardy
When we first had thoughts about building a school we met a visionary educator named Alan Wagstaff and John read a document called Three Springs. He immediately sent Alan an inquiry asking, “Can I see this project? This is a dream”. Alan laughed and replied “It doesn’t exist yet!” So I guess in a way Three Springs inspired Green School.
A lot of things have happened since then. The great news is Alan is back and inspiring the world, Green School is built and for Earth Day, Rachel Gutter, Head of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council from Washington, D.C. was in Bali and here at Green School to give us the award as 2012 Greenest School on Earth.
This is a huge declaration. We are working hard every day to become more and more green. It’s a long process. Akuo Energy was generous enough to give us solar panels and a battery system, the energy team has put them in place and they’re powering more and more of the school. The vortex, which has been a very long project (also funded by Akuo Energy), is going ahead. It should be producing clean, low-impact hydro-electricity in the next few months. That will likely take us entirely off the grid.
I was on TED.com the other day and I find it a constant source of inspiration. I came upon my Green School talk and saw that it had almost 500,000 views.
This really shocked me because the last time I saw it the viewership was at 20,000. If you want to pass my talk along to some people, I’d like to hit 1,000,000. It would be a real highlight in my life and the life of Green School.
We have come a long way, and it’s a long, long journey ahead. But the dream is to create green leaders for the future.