Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives
I remember vividly the day she arrived at my office in Tokyo, on March 3, 1995 to tell me about bamboo. It was my birthday and I was not going to celebrate, but return to my bamboo tea house in Kamakura.
A few hours later after a quite, organic Japanese dinner we decided to continue our discussions over a drink and before we knew it - it was 6am in the morning. And our minds never parted again.
The bamboo establishment did not know well what to do with me, so Linda assigned no role or responsibility at the Bali World Conference but requested my presence. So there I was in Ubud (Bali) immersed in this exceptional world of bamboo, listened and learned and decided that bamboo needed a boost. Linda introduced me to Simon Velez. From then on I was determined to create the greatest bamboo structure of modern times with a German building permit at the World Expo 2000 in Hanover, and Simon did me the favor to design it. This endeavor pushed me to the limits! Linda stood by, sent me Joanie Klar to assist, made me 2 huge bamboo tables that adorned the top floor and which at one point we had to sell one to avoid foreclosure. These tables where the King of Sweden and the Queen of Bhutan admired this seismic-indifferent structure at one point saved us. What a gift it was!
I was very hurt and lonely after the bamboo pavilion was destroyed with dynamite on February 15, 2001. So in May 2001 our Queen invited me to Bali, to spend time to be cared for, to relax and get my mind off all these troubles. After all the permit had cost 3x more than the building itself and I ended up paying off debts until very recently. But there in Bali I renewed my focus on the good news, in a wonderful environment, thanks to love and appreciation from the Queen. I wrote a few fables on housing and bamboo, and of course dedicated one to her.
When John and Elora Hardy invited me to speak to all the students at the Green School in 2015, I celebrated Linda and the grand inspiration she was. Linda used to say that there is bamboo before and after the World Expo in 2000, I say that there is the world of bamboo with love and care that Linda created, and then there is the world of bamboo directed by men.
Then our paths went in different directions, and Linda decided to leave Bali for better grounds, having navigated between heaven and earth too many times. We tried to work together in Palau, but a coup d'état blocked the project and it never took off. The last time we met was in Tokyo at the Palace Hotel ... too long ago for comfort.
Arief Rabik, her designer son continues her great work. I have always adored his mom who asked me to continue to inspire her children. Our ZERI organization gave her The Excellence Award in 1999 in Colombia where she was our guest to receive it on the occasion of the opening of the ZERI Pavilion in Manizales (Caldas) where we celebrated with a children choir singing to the acoustics of bamboo! That building has now become the symbol of the region, a reference to our Queen and to the man who stood behind that grand oeuvre Mario Calderon Rivera.
For a better story on Linda Garland
For a link to her son Arief Rabik
Gabriel germán londoño
Last week Gabriel German Londoño passed away unexpectedly in Bogotá, Colombia.
He was a close friend for years. He hosted Prof. George Chan for 8 months in Pereira, Colombia, where he started an integrated farming system in 1997.
He donated the bamboo for the ZERI Pavilion designed by Simon Velez at the World Expo in Germany in the year 2000 which was the start of a successful bamboo export strategy for the Colombian Coffee Region.
© El Espectador
MARIO CALDERON RIVERA
Mario Calderon introduced me to Colombia. The projects we were able to implement from the farming of mushrooms on coffee grounds, to the construction of the world's largest bamboo structure of modern times for the World Expo in Hanover, with the test building still standing tall as a symbol of the coffee region in Manizales, would have been impossible without Mario. He taught me how to navigate ethically in a world of corruption, and accept retreat instead of defeat. He inspired me to write the fable "Can I steal less?".
Based on his exemplary life style l invited him to become the godfather of my first son Carl-Olaf which he not only accepted, he came to Belgium to celebrate the arrival of my son. Mario was trained a banker who funded the largest solar water heating project in history in cooperation with Las Gaviotas for social housing in Colombia. His efforts have never been publicized nor celebrated, and Mario did not care about the news, he cared about what could be done on the ground. His vision is how to ensure local economic development.
Mario was a major force in the proposal to expand Las Gaviotas, the regeneration of the rainforest project from the present 8,000 HA to 80,000, and eventually to one million. Mario and I had to accept retreat after the then Minister of Agriculture favored a major investment in GMO cultivation. Maybe we lost that battle for sustainability, however the project introduced me to Katherina Bach, my partner for life.
Thanks to Mario I have met some of the most inspiring persons in my life: first and foremost Paolo Lugari, the founder of Las Gaviotas, and Noemi Sanín, a political leader who set new agendas for Colombia and challenges the status quo.
Mario left us on Sunday January 5, 2014. However he will inspire me forever.
© Gunter Pauli