Spiral Island I was a floating artificial island in a lagoon near Puerto Aventuras, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico south of Cancún. It was built by British eco-pioneer Richart (or "Rishi") Sowa beginning in 1998; he filled nets with empty discarded plastic bottles to support a structure of plywood and bamboo, on which he poured sand and planted numerous plants, including mangroves. It was destroyed by Hurricane Emily in 2005. Sowa has built a new Spiral Island II in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
The original island sported a two-story house, a solar oven, a self-composting toilet, and three beaches. He used some 250,000 bottles for the 66ft (20 m) by 54 ft (16 m) structure. The mangroves were planted to help keep the island cool, and some of them rose up to 15 ft (5 m) high.
Sowa is a musician, artist, and carpenter. Now in his fifties, he is an environmentalist who believes in recycling and low-impact living.
A book about Rishi's journey in building the original island and his philosophies, titled Spiralogically Speaking written by the German author Tanja Samed along with Rishi, is due to be released in 2008.
During the hurricane in 2005, Spiral Island I was washed completely onto the beach in one piece, and a small proportion of the bags of bottles washed up on the beach away from where it landed. The roots of the 7-year-old, 7-meter-tall mangroves were intertwined through the island's base and the strong net that was wrapped totally under the whole Island.
Almost all of the sand Rishi Sowa used for Spiral Island at Puerto Aventuras was taken from the end of the beach, where it came up against the man-made rock pier on the edge of the canal system where the Island was tied. Due to the prevailing winds, beach-sand was constantly being piled up because of the constant motion of the waves and wind. The beach sand was dredged out using large machinery so that boats could continue to come through the canal. Since Rishi gathered 8 to 10 large buckets per week, the builders of Puerto Aventuras canal did not need to dredge it again as Rishi was doing it for them.
In late 2007 and 2008, Rishi Sowa built a new Spiral Island in the waters of Isla Mujeres, the "Island of Women", also near Cancun. It opened for tours in August, 2008. Japanese TV and Korean TV have produced documentaries on the project.
The new Spiral Island is about 20 meters (60 feet) in diameter, and plants and mangroves are already growing on it. It contains about 100,000 bottles. The new island has beaches, a house, 2 ponds, a solar-powered waterfall/river, and solar panels. Volunteers helped with the project. Rishi will continue to make improvements to the Island, so it will always be a work of art in progress.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The Recycling/Recyclable Paradise
Posted by M. Christian