Amber

blog headshots-3This is my first time submitting a final assignment in a blog form, which is a testament to the “alternative” learning experience I had at The Hive. These types of things are what give us bragging rights as students of sustainability- not just being assigned to play with dirt and bees, but being able to say, “Come check out what we did!” Acquiring a higher education is an undeniable privilege, but entertaining that a career path may not transpire from it can admittedly spark traces of defeat. So empowerment in college has come to me through projects like this- building small skills that allow me to live a more spirited and consciences life. Although I’m still unclear in which avenue to pursue a career in sustainability, I can feel it transpiring for others at The Hive. Here, an appreciation for creation, kindness, community, and playfulness manifest an energy that I can reflect on as truly inspiring.*

I will speak more concretely for a moment. Over my time at The Hive I have come to recognize Super Adobe (ahem, flexible-form-stabilized-rammed-earth) as the closest example of sustainable building I have seen.  A small amount of lime or concrete is affordable when it is not the bulk of your building material. Sourcing earth from the area makes the project feel really bonded with the site. I imagine if you were able to directly source gravel or glass aggregate it would feel even more so. Knowing that a Super Adobe structure is heat and wind resistant, grows stronger with water exposure, can move with the earth and withstand major pressure gives it superhero status in my book. Energy efficiency and employment of human labor earn credit for the method as well.

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I see it personally important to present sustainability as possessing beauty, so I found value in not only integrating the arches and LED lighting, but in the process of making it attractive and what that looked like to each of us. I believe conversations can be just as important to a project as the work. The Hive creates platforms for conversations, which lend to our understanding of sustainability dialogue and culture. Quite literally people will come down the street and inquire about our messy adventure. Next thing you know they are checking in almost daily.

To speak more on community, I found that help was more readily available from the people around us when we occasionally broke from work to acknowledge the creations around us. (For example, Rev’s dragon or Dan’s mud hot tub platform).  Kindred recognition in those around me is essential in valuing my communities, so I am most grateful to have met some muddy chums in my Super Ado-bay journey. For example, a text message from one of my comrades reads, “It was the first time in school I feel like I really accomplished and learned something, and the look on that kid’s face learning about the stuff we were doing made it feel like we really can make a difference. It was a good day.” (I will leave him –oops- anonymous.)

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It is really the patience, repetition, personal attention, and graciousness put forth by Jesse and Mitchell in the teaching process that leads me to have any confidence in using Super Adobe.* I came to realize over the course that this type of mentoring is forthcoming in creating a functioning team; a skill that reaches far beyond the ability to build a structure.

*Please note this is not a superfluous attempt at brown-nosing- I actually had a freaking blast.