A School Beyond the Boundaries of the Bamboo Campus
Our campus is immersed in the jungle, providing constant opportunities to experience the impact that we have on our environment. To build an appreciation of sustainability, our students start small by thinking locally, they reacquaint themselves with the environment and rebuild their symbiotic relationship with it.
Day-by-day, our community develops a strong bond with nature. By making it part of who we are, we feel inclined to nourish it, compelled to respect it and empowered to care for it now and forever.
John and Cynthia Hardy have taken their vision of holistic education and applied it to the architecture of Green School. Our bamboo buildings are much more than just an architectural wonder in the middle of the jungle. They are giving back to the land that has adopted them by expanding, yet preserving, the innate beauty, plentiful culture and genuine souls of this magical island.
On a Journey to living sustainably
Living a sustainable lifestyle is a process of learning by doing and remembering what we once knew and have forgotten over many generations. Many things need to change to lead a life that is more integrated with the natural systems that surround us. The most important change that can lead to living an authentically sustainable life is a change in our mindset and habit patterns. At Green School we study, work, live, and play with an awareness of the impact of our thinking and decisions.
Our journey is comprised of thousands of small details; the detailed decisions and activities that makeup our days, weeks, months and years. Through a systems thinking approach to developing understanding, we realize that it is our habits of thought that often lead to actions that have unintended and undesirable consequences.
As we live our lives and participate in planning the supporting infrastructure of our campus and local community, we strive to be mindful systems thinkers. This philosophy and approach to living our journey is the guiding Compass that keeps us heading toward our destination of true sustainability.
Solar energy is an important and material component of Green School’s renewable energy and carbon emissions reduction strategy. In 2011, Akuo Energy generously donated a solar PV and microgrid energy management system to Green School. The solar PV energy system is composed of 118 solar PV panels, a 72 kWh capacity lead acid battery bank, and inverters. Current PV panel optimum capacity contributes 21 kWh to Green School’s renewable energy portfolio. Under the current renewable energy strategy, we plan to expand the the solar PV share of the energy portfolio mix to meet Green School’s energy needs and get us closer to our goal of being a carbon positive member of a carbon positive community.
Mini Hydro Vortex
The microhydro vortex embodies the learning by doing philosophy. In 2005, Green School launched this exciting renewable energy project with a vision and aspiration to be a carbon positive school in a carbon positive community. Through this project we have learned invaluable lessons in microhydro energy development, community engagement, and ecosystem services benefits. It is estimated that when the Vortex is commissioned sometime in 2016, that it will supply approximately 6 kW of renewable energy to the overall Green School energy portfolio, getting us that much closer to our goal of being a carbon positive school within a carbon positive community.
Water Filtration System
At Green School we are constantly seeking solutions to meet our needs that minimize embodied energy. The energy embodied in process water contributes to climate change. Our solution to this challenge was to install a Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration system to meet our drinking water consumption needs. The source of our facility potable water is a 60 meter deep well. Although the well water is drinkable, we decided to install a Reverse Osmosis Biofiltration System to ensure the purity and safety of the drinking water for our community.
Waste Management Centre
The Green School solid waste management system is one of the greatest examples of our systems thinking culture. Our waste is part of a closed system and understanding how to cycle it back through the environment and into our soil and food creates an authentic sense of connection to all the moving parts in our natural world. We are striving to create a closed loop system from the food forest and the gardens, to the kitchen, out to the composting pile and the grey water management system, back to our lunch plates and finally back to the composting toilet for yet another cycle.
We have four primary solid waste streams that we need to manage at Green School:
- Food waste from our kitchen is either fed to the pigs or sent to our composting center for recycling. Biomass waste produced by our gardens and natural landscape during their lifecycle is used as a input material in our composing station.
- Human waste or sewage is recycled through our composting toilet system which is recycled back into the soil that becomes fertile ground for planting bamboo and bananas.
- Industrial and office waste is delivered to Kembali, a social enterprise that collects recyclable materials from Green School and the surrounding community for pickup by a local partner for recycling.
This is consistent with the principles of a circular economy where there is no such thing as waste and a movement away from the destructive practices of the “Take, Make, Waste” system of industrial production and consumption that plagues contemporary society.
Green School uses composting as one of its solid waste management strategies. We have a dedicated Compost Station on campus where biomass, kitchen waste and cow manure is collected and composed to create an organic material that is used as nutrient rich fertilizer for the permaculture gardens dispersed throughout the school grounds that supply our kitchen.
The Compost Station is a excellent place to learn from and connect with natural processes. To see the layers of a composting pile is to watch life itself in motion. The alternating green nitrogen and brown carbon layers are composed of every variety of waste; wood chips, brown leaves, green leaves, grass, food scraps, and manure.
As the valuable organic material starts to decompose a dark, rich, productive soil amendment that gardeners call Black Gold begins to evolve. If you push your hand into the pile you can feel the heat the process generates.
A simple definition of aquaponics is that it is the integration of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one closed system.
The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. The third component of the system is the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that that are food for the plants.
The Bio Bus story represents the nexus of solution based learning, community engagement, and enterprise. Bio Bus is a social enterprise, initiated by Green School students, that strives to provide sustainable transport services to Green School students and community members. The project sponsors setup a cooking oil collection system in the local community. Once cooking oil is collected, it is sent to a processing facility to create the biofuel that is then used by the Bio Bus vehicles to transport students and community members.
The Bio Bus project has resulted in multiple learning opportunities and practical sustainability solutions. The decrease in passenger car trips resulted in carbon emissions reductions, as well as the ecological benefits of recycling cooking oil and using the biofuel as a fuel alternative. As well, a byproduct of the cooking oil recycling process is glycerine which can be further processed into sustainable soap products.
The use of bio soap reduces the use of monoculture palm oil based products that have chemical additives which pollute fresh water sources, not to mention the massive ecological impact of palm oil plantation related deforestation. This is one of many inspiring Green School projects.
Sibang Kaja, Bali
Our location on a site in an undeveloped and natural area of gentle jungle of the Sibang Kaja Village, bisected by the Ayung River makes it an ideal place for students to connect with nature. The site is farmed and landscaped to make it productive while being safe and secure.
Bali is an international island within the archipelago of Indonesia. It has a good international airport making it easily accessible within the region. Green School absorbs and respects the rich culture and customs of this island which is known for its inspirational creativity.