Trees Water & People

Trees, Water & People is committed to improving people's lives by helping communities to protect, conserve and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends. We believe that natural resources are best protected when local people play an active role in their care and management.
Oct 8, 2015

The walls are rising!

The walls are rising!
The walls are rising!

We are excited to report that the first compressed earth blocks have been set and the walls are now rising at Paul Shield's new CEB home! The weather has been beautiful at Pine Ridge and we have a great group of 15 high school volunteers from Aurora, Colorado helping us on this new (and most exciting!) phase of the construction process. We also have the Lakota Solar Enterprise crew and our partners at EARTHinBLOCK assisting on-site. What an incredible group of people that have come together to make a house a home!

Yesterday, Paul had the honor of laying the very first brick of his new home, a life-chaning moment for he and his family. In fact, Paul has been involved every step of the way, putting a huge amount of sweat equity into his new home. I can tell you, they are blessed and humbled by the outpouring of support.

Next steps:

  • Leveling the interior floors and pouring the floor slab by this Friday
  • Installing solar powered radiant floor heating - clean, free energy from Mother Nature!
  • Installing windows and doors 

We are very grateful for your support. We would not be able to complete this new home without your generosity! Please consider sharing this project with your friends and family so we can meet our fundraising goal by the end of the year.

Mitakuye Oyasin (We are all related),

 

Richard W. Fox
Executive Director
Trees, Water & People

P.S. More updates to come soon, so stay tuned. Until then, please consider a donation to help us meet our fundraising goal of $10,000! 

The Red Clouds
The Red Clouds
The first window frame is in!
The first window frame is in!
CEB walls
CEB walls
Sep 10, 2015

The Building Blocks for a Better Life

Building blocks of a better life!
Building blocks of a better life!

We have started to pour the foundation for the Shield's home and now here are some of the 4,500 compressed earth blocks (CEBs) we are busy making. These are the building blocks for a healthier home and a better life for Paul and his family. 

What is Compressed Earth Block?

Building with earth offers an eco-friendly solution to one of the world’s, and one of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe's, most pressing problems—the acute shortage of adequate shelter for families. Although earth is the oldest building material, compressed earth block (CEB) is part of a new wave of green building. CEB reduces the energy required and the pollution produced in the creation of bricks and cement blocks. In many areas, CEB homes can replace wooden structures that are contributing to the depletion of the world’s forests. Earth blocks are cheaper, greener, and far more durable than concrete blocks or mud bricks. It offers a construction upgrade while respecting local architectural and cultural traditions.

How do you make CEB?

Our partners at EARTHinBLOCK have a patented machine that produces blocks of precision height and width, with an adjustable length. The blocks are tongue-in-groove and can be dry stacked or used with mortar. The machine can also be manufactured to produce "traditional" blocks without the tongue-in-groove.

The machine is designed and manufactured in the U.S.A. It weighs under 2,000 pounds and can be towed behind a truck or SUV. It can be easily moved around a building site or up the side of a mountain. It takes roughly 4,300 blocks to build a 1,200-square foot house. The machine produces 2 blocks per minute. These blocks meet all relevant standards for load-bearing capacity and strength.

We look forward to sharing the progress as we continue manufacturing blocks and building this beautiful new home for the Shields family. Thank you so much for your love and support!

EARTHinBLOCK CEB machine
EARTHinBLOCK CEB machine
All ages can help make CEB!
All ages can help make CEB!
Sep 8, 2015

Native Students Gain Hand-On Solar Experience

Solar PV Training
Solar PV Training

On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Oglala Lakota, over 40 percent of residents live without access to electricity. On Native American Reservations across the U.S., the Energy Information Administration estimates that 14 percent of households have no access to electricity, 10 times higher than the national average. Many tribes are looking to renewable energy as a way to provide reliable, clean energy to their tribal members.

Since 2007, Trees, Water & People’s Tribal Renewable Energy Program has been training Native communities in a variety of renewable energy applications, including solar PV, solar heating, wind energy, geothermal, and solar water pumps. This program strives to put the power of nature — the warmth of the sun, the power of the wind, the shelter of trees — to work for Native Americans. It also gives native entreprenuers the hands-on experience needed to gain an edge in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Last month, we hosted a Solar Energy Workshop that brought Native Americans from around the country to the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The workshop explored basics of solar energy and culminated in a hands-on installation at the KILI Radio station, Voice of the Lakota Nation, where students expanded a solar PV array.

We want to thank our all-star intructors who brought their incredible talents and years of experience to the workshop:

  • Jeff Tobe
  • Henry Red Cloud
  • Deby Tewa
  • Johnny Weiss
  • Steve Carol

We also want to thank YOU, our friends and supporters who have made this a stronger program with your financial support. Stay tuned for more updates!

A Lakota blessing to open the workshop
A Lakota blessing to open the workshop
(Clean) power to the people!
(Clean) power to the people!
 
   

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