Firebrand in sustainable living

Steen Møller / November 1, 2017

Firebrand in sustainable living

228 228 Civilian

For many years I have been trying to create a new foundation and goal for life. Based on experience with poor economy and consequent physical and mental pressure, I decided to be debt free. I want to recapture time and space, that I can stand on my own feet and resources so that I do not depend to the same extent on the state and the market. I want to decide for my own life and contribute to others who want a life without debt and waste.

I wanted to cooperate with nature, not to fight it, I want to be waste free. I think we abuse the resources and we in the rich part of the world should be able to cope with 10% of current consumption. In the long term, we should only use biological resources. These thoughts led, among other things, to build well-insulated, comfortable houses in natural resources with low recycling input and for my own money.

What kind of society are we building now? What is the consequences for the people who participate in the current circus, talking only about growth and working faster and more efficiently? There are more and more pressures from the outside world.

We need to find new ways to organize ourselves. New ways in which civil society can take care of people we have left over to market and state. They are unable to take care of people.

Over the past decades there has been a migration from land to large cities, both of human, money, production, cultural and intellectual capacity. Globally, heavy productions have been moved from factories in rural areas to remote countries in low-wage areas, such as China and several eastern countries. The workplaces have disappeared. This has meant that the outer districts of Denmark, have become relocation areas. Especially young people attend education in the big cities and do not return and as a result, local communities and business are in the process of being settled. As prices rise in the cities and people must run faster and faster to get it all going. If this scenario is to change, it requires new perspectives and possibilities. It is not enough that there is fresh air and beautiful scenery on the countryside.

But it is also a unique opportunity to establish low-cost entrepreneurship. If we want, then there is an opportunity to create something new. Something new, where the perspective is sustainable lifestyle and production in covenant with nature. Developing new ways of thinking, both cultural and production, requires time, experiments and mistakes. This can be done if the foundation is indebted and free from large financial costs. Young entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who are passionate about an idea often do not have high consumer demands; they just want to spend their time on what they are passionate about, but they need an environment of like-minded and, moreover, a creative and exciting social environment – a community with other enthusiasts. But communities are not something you can adopt. It does not fall from heaven but is something that needs to be worked up and kept alive. It does not happen by holding a lot of meetings, but by doing something together. I would like to help create meaningful communities.

I have made many projects through life, including a large organic cooperative farm in West Jutland, started a high school in Sdr. Felding and been a teacher at the organic agricultural school.

In 1992, I started on the first house, a ground-floor house of 210 m2, insulated with flax and straw, construction of round woods and a roof of 400 m2 and uninsulated ceiling of 250 m2. A huge but beautiful building, it was very educational. Heating came from a mass furnace and 21 m2 solar collector with heat storage of 150 m3 clay. It all cost about DKK 300,000 that I had saved, and I was thus debt free. My total cost of living came down to DKK 6,000 per year incl insurance of DKK 2,800.

It fought to continue building and making it cheaper and easier. The next became a small self-supporting straw house of 40 m2 but with a flexible oven. All construction materials cost a total of DKK 14,000. The entire construction was made as 3 TV shows on Danish TV and since then, many construction courses have been completed with experimental, natural construction, at least 22 and advice on a number of other straw houses, furnaces and treatment plants.

At one point, I think that I had such good experiences with another lifestyle that it should include a whole village and in co-operation with Dorthea Arnfred and Anton Gammelgård, in 2000, a foundation was established for open-air that started in Feldballe 2002.

IA stands for Ingen Affald (No Waste), a company that started in 2011. Our vision is to invent and create solutions that do not create waste. We work with straw elements, flexible ovens, wood, clay, ventilation windows and wastewater that evaporate in greenhouse production. In practice, in Grobund, an off-grid village near Ebeltoft. With the possibility of business and settlement. As well as through the Bio Buildings Block organization, a straw design develops that is both bearable and has a high insulation effect. A construction that can be built by a machine, so we get together a standard product every time and with a high quality. To be able to get an international approval. A Danish design that can be found all over the world!

Steen Møller, firebrand