The importance of being self-sufficient cannot be underestimated when you live over 1,000 miles away from civilization.
The world’s most remote island, the small South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha is about 1,000 miles away from the closest landmass. Fishing boats visit the island only 8-9 times per year and there is no airport, making transport very difficult.
The island had it’s internet shut off in 2006 because of how expensive and unreliable it was.
With such little assistance from the outside world, the inhabitants have found it increasingly difficult to rely on outside resources. The British overseas territory recently launched an international design competition to help improve sustainability on the island. A team led by Brock Carmichael Architects won the competition and their entry was cited as attracting attention because of its “practical approach and in-depth understanding of the issues.”
The competition was looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to making their island more sustainable, and the results were very profitable. The design included modernized buildings with insulated roofs and heated floors, a wind farm, a waste-to-energy incinerator, backyard greenhouses, community composting, and communal kitchen gardens.
Because they are so isolated, it’s important that they maintain the self-sufficient lifestyle so they can pass the knowledge down through the generations to ensure the tradition never dies out..
Over a course of time, key people would be trained in any areas of expertise required to deliver these design proposals and acquire the knowledge and skills that can be passed down to generations to come,” Martin Watson, director of operations for Brock Carmichael Architects
Locals will be trained to manage the facilities, and will also build the facilities themselves using materials found on the island, such as sheep wool, basaltic blocks, beach sand, and seaweed.
The group in charge of the architectural changes will be visiting the island in the summer of 2017 to start drawing up the plans. Though the group will be providing all of the information for how to carry out the plans, the government on Tristan da Cunha has final word on the designs and will base it on the viability and level of sustainability. The ultimate goal is to produce 30 to 40 percent of their own energy in the first five years.
The locals currently face the dangers of living on an island with an active volcano, earthquakes and hurricanes are a real threat to everyday life. With this in mind the locals are determined to go forward into the future in the hope of defeating the elements.
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