Leadership as it happens: Notes as David Cameron addresses his party

October 5, 2011

The following notes were made as David Cameron was addressing his Party, in October 2011. My immediate reactions are included

15.07 Its start suggests careful ‘both anding‘. Each assertion being made is carefully balanced. The moral rightness of acting in Libya, and it also in our best interests. Some humourous references made to a story from yesterday of the cat who kept an illegal immigrant in the UK; and to Boris Johnson’s popularity as a leader in waiting.

15.08 warms to theme of leadership. Illustrates with themes of “leadership works”.

15.12 Why the only way out of the debt crisis is ‘Plan A’ and living within our means (Is this the re-draft of the leaked suggestion about trying to pay off credit cards?).

15.14 ‘This country will never join the Euro’ (Applause).

15.18 ‘We are the party of the NHS’. (Compared with both Labour and Lib Dems).

15.20 (There is a main theme emerging. It is about sticking to Plan A. Polished asides add interest and glitter).

15.22 Workers rights are less important than having the right to a job

15.24 Seems a bit more confusing with its lists of why ‘this country’ is innovative and great, and assertions about the need for various radical ways to release innovation

15.28 We are going to get this country back to work…(not the feckless labour party).

15.29 Education has been infected by an ideology..I understand ..we can tranform education by good leadership. Leadership works

15.32 We have great private schools. let it be us be the party that deals with the apartheid of Pivate and State schools

15.34 we will clamp down on illegal immigration.

15.36 we are going to spend over 1000 pounds to get people back to work. No previous Government did it (i.e. £1000 per person for some unspecified number of people).

15.38 Acknowledges our great leaders esp Margaret Thatcher. We don’t boo our leaders (reference to Miliband and the Tony Blair boos. ‘But didn’t you sack Margaret Thatcher?’ I wondered)

15.40 Still seems to be mostly operating in low gear.

15.42 Leadership (again) in the family. Spoke for ‘support of gay marriage not despite being a conservative but because I am a conservative.

15.44 Spoke about social gains in nearby Wythenshaw. (Not an unqualified view it seems to me).

15.46 Making things happen. That is what we do. That’s what leadership is about.

An immediate reaction

That’s it. The theme of leadership ran through the speech. It was rather a surprise.

Recycling: Plastic Bottles turned into Houses in Nigeria

October 5, 2011

An environmental project is recycling plastic bottles into houses in Nigeria. The system was pioneered by German environmentalist Andreas Froese, and similar schemes are springing up globally

One pilot house has been constructed in Kaduna, Nigeria in which plastic bottles were filled with sand and stuck together using mud rather than cement.  The process is designed to withstand severe environmental conditions.

The Project

A report in Vanguard Nigeria describes the project:

Katrim Macmillam launched Nigeria’s bottle recycling programme in December 2010. This is a programme in which plastic bottles and their lids are collected from hotels, restaurants, homes and offices.

According to Yahaya Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, Development Association for Renewable Energies (DARE), “We set out to build energy-autonomous houses from recycled materials. In order to facilitate the project, Andres Froesse, founder of Eco-Tec Soluciones Ambientales, was sent to Nigeria to train local masons in the bottle building technique”.

Chris Vassilou, the Project Manager, donated the first land for the bottle house build. Features in the bottle house include solar powered with fuel-sufficient clean cookstove, urine filtration fertilization systems and water purification tanks, thereby, making it energy autonomous. Currently, school children are being trained in the bottle brick-making technique. The newly trained masons will lead the build by January 2012 in the next Nigerian bottle project, which will be a school hall in Suleja, at an African school which urgently needs classroom space.

The Bottle-house pioneers

Bottle House technology has attracted pioneers who are believers in the potential of the process for environmental reasons. One such group includes environmentalist AmenZen who writes:

In my quest for alternatives that would allow me to recycle all trash and feel good about it, since 2003, I encountered the Portable Landfill Device [the bottle brick idea] and mentioned it on my website.

My friend Pato told me about bottle-bricks stuffed with plastic that he saw in his trip to the call of the condor in Perú by 2005 when we lived in Gratamira Ecovillage in Medellín, Colombia.
Then I saw the work of the Colombian Parmaculturist Daniel Jaramillo and Sara in their project Colombia Sostenible building a composting toilet unit with bottle brick walls in an island in the Colombian Caribbean. I also tested the idea when I went Santa Cruz del Islote, in the Caribbean, to help in a Health Brigade and to do a shore, underwater and town cleanup.

There was no garbage trucks to pick it up litter and  I didn´t have any trash bags. Empty plastic bottles were everywhere. With the help of the children and later meetings with the elders, the idea seemed to be worth trying.

A few years back I had seen the work of Andreas Froesse building incredible structures in a park with bottle bricks filled with sand or urbanite in Honduras. I lost track of him until he came to Colombia to teach and build a bathing pool for a hotel with sand- filled bottle bricks in 2005. I asked him if he would consider building with the bottlebricks filled with trash, and from them on we have been experimenting with the technique of reducing landfill waste and
using it for building.

Servant Leadership?

The innovative vision of Andreas Froesse seems to be developing momentum. Other pioneers seem to capture the altruistic spirit of servant leadership.  However, critics will suggest that the scheme is self-limiting, and dependent on the environmentally-unfriendly technology involved in the manufacture of PET plastic bottle. The schemes will require further creative leadership to achieve the dreams of the visionaries.


Image is from Solar Feeds

To go more deeply

See also
Sam Olukoya’s BBC report on the bottle Houses of Nigeria

World Architecture News