Friday, July 31, 2009

Kibbutz Lotan

"Eco-Volunteer" Josh and "the domes"

I just got back from a few days in the Arava Valley, a couple of hours south of Sde Boker. I stayed on Lotan, a small Kibbutz [50 members, 60 kids, 50 volunteers] located literally on the Jordanian border.

The Arava makes the high Negev [where I'm living] look luscious. Whereas we have some naturally growing plants here...the Arava Valley is significantly drier and more barren. On Lotan, for example, they haven't had any rain in more than 2 years.

Lotan is really cool. They run a "Green Apprenticeship" course 4 times a year, where people come from all over the world to learn about permaculture and green building techniques like strawbale and mud bricks. They also treat and recycle their wastewater [including that from the cow dairy] and compost their organic waste [including human & cow shit] to make mulch...which they then use. "Eco-Volunteers" live in a small neighborhood called "The Bustan," in geodesic domes insulated from the extreme heat by walls made from strawbale + mud. Lotan played a large role in the recent declaration by the Arava Regional Authority that the region will become completely energy independent.

For more photos, click here.

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