The Green School in Bali is a particularly astonishing place for many reasons. Attendees of the Green School not only enjoy a higher-quality education than what’s normally available in their region, they do so in environmentally friendly surroundings. The school’s 75 buildings are cooled and powered with renewable energy sources like micro-hydro power, solar power, and bio-diesel. Bamboo, lalang-alang grass, and traditional mud walls form the structure of the buildings. The school was carefully built on 20 acres of land and is on an organic permaculture system, designed to work in perfect cohesion with the natural ecology of the land. A thriving organic garden to be cultivated by the school’s own students will grow fruits and vegetables, herbs, and other crops including chocolate.
The school hopes to enroll students from both the local and global community. Teachers will also be from a wide spectrum of backgrounds both Balinese and other cultures. Within a few years the whole campus will be a year-round community of summer camps and symposia. The campus will host environmentalists and change makers from all over the globe giving students the opportunity to learn about the importance of respecting the planet year round.
Founders Cynthia and John Hardy opened the school with the goal of having minimal impact on the land and with the stunning Ayung River as its backdrop, it’s a good thing. As often seems the case with this enthralling utopia, Cynthia and John Hardy landed in Bali over thirty years ago and never left. Cynthia, an American, was on an around the world trip before she planned to head to law school at Berkeley and John, a Canadian artist had made his way to Bali for artistic inspiration. Nearly four decades later the couple has opened the Green School, an International School for students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade that embraces sustainable practices in education and entrepreneurship.
There are not words to describe this prison. It is the dirtiest, darkest, and most overcrowded place. The conditions of the ‘streets’ inside the prison were broken and grimy and always covered with trash and dirty water. Behind the ominous barbed wire and high concrete walls of the Santa Martha Acatitla prison in Mexico City, sits a cheerful nursery school with colorful walls, a maze of swings and slides and a playgroup of giggling toddlers. The inmates at the female penitentiary include women serving sentences for murder, drug dealing and kidnapping. There are also about 50 children, living inside the prison with their incarcerated mothers. Iron gates and menacing guard towers loom over sand piles and jungle gyms; outside the mini oasis of a daycare, life is that of a high-security penitentiary. Inside the prison, moms serving long sentences dread the day when their children are tossed out upon turning 6, and many struggle financially to care for them while they are there.
Here you have this seemingly unthinkable scenario and a story screaming to be told in way that disgusts, but also all these glimpses of beauty and gentleness popping up between harsh lines, as if maternity and human instinct know no bounds. Brute and hardened, tattoo-covered women smuggle in weapons and drugs and lash out at each other in the classroom, then melt into calm while in the presence of a child. In working on this piece, I strove to consciously capture these moments of softness, while still conveying the truths of the rough scene they were found in. Many inmates were ‘homeless’ inside this prison. The mass of humanity milling around was intimidating at first. It was impossible to stay together as a group when moving around the prison. If one of us were to be intentionally separated from the group, we would not have immediately noticed. The free and convicted were walking around together. Surrounded by various rooms, dormitories, workshops and prison cells. The majority of prisoners are housed in windowless, concrete dorms of about 50 x 20 feet. The prison authority provides no blankets, no beds, and no mattresses: nothing. When you sleep, you pull up a corner of the concrete floor. Over time and with the help of family, the prisoners have constructed their own little rooms made of a wood frames to which are attached blankets granting some semblance of privacy. The stalls are about 4 x 6 feet, some of which are furnished with beds, cooking equipment, shelving for clothing and one even had a TV although I have no idea how the electrical system was accessed.
Gardens are a perfect place for you to refresh your mind and soul. It really brings you peace and serenity with the nature’s entire beauty –flowers, plants, water, and wind. There is no doubt that gardens make a home beautiful. If you are planning to decorate your garden but don’t know how to do it, I might have some tips for you. And I hope this information will be helpful to you the way it has helped me decorate my own garden. If you like spending your time outdoors in the midst of nature and you have always dreamed of transforming that rooftop of yours into a wonderland then you’ve got to get some ideas rolling. To create a terrace garden requires planning in advance and some hardwork.
Plan your terrace décor according to the surrounding environment and the climate of your place. If your building is surrounded by tall buildings around it, you would have to screen off your terrace for privacy. You can have a partially covered terrace for using it during rains. There’s a variety of material to choose from for the flooring – cement, smooth turf, flagstones, hollow clay building tiles, redwood or cypress blocks and un-mortared brick. Burnt bricks are preferred as they don’t turn into mud like normal bricks due to drainage. Spread a wire mesh over the bricks before pouring the soil. To ensure proper drainage, the floor should be slopy and it should have drainage chambers with pipes at various points leading to the main drainage pipe.
When choosing terrace garden plants you should keep in mind that they don’t have a tap root system which will grow deep into the building. Instead use fibrous root plants. The growing soil for plants should be rich in soil rite or peat moss. You can grow plants like Indian bamboo, palms, money plant, peach, lime and orange in big pots or planters. Cacti are also a good choice as they are low-maintenace. To add class and color to your terrace garden add flowering plants like sunflower, roses, orchids, chrysanthemum, etc. Bonsais are adorable and take up less space. You can make your own little vegetable garden with plants like tomato, curry leaves, brinjals, basil, etc. You can also put a small waterfall or a fountain by the corner. Plant on in your multipurpose terrace garden as you absorb the beauty and serenity around you.