SERIOUS MONDAY: THE EDEN PROJECT

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The Eden Project needs your votes. It hopes to win the Lottery funding in the Big Lottery Fund’s People’s 50 million pounds contest to be decided by the public in December.

If they win, they will start on THE EDGE: a new project to be built in the former china clay pit in Cornwall. The EDGE will focus on the arid regions of the world. It will be a visionary new building focusing on the issues of the time like water, energy and climate change.

Linda McDonald of the Gardens for Life Programme recently visited Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan in the Great Indian Desert. She saw firsthand how the children of the area were dealing with the issues of drought and water conservation.

She was especially impressed by the children’s appreciation of the value of water. “If you ask a room full of children in the UK what they want most, they may say the latest play station, a new bike, or a new Barbie. When you ask that question in Tilonia, the answer is water, water, water.”

The last proper rainfall in Rajasthan was in 2003. The total rainfall for that year was 250mm, half of what it used to be.
Water conservation is a part of life in Tilonia. The children have learned to use an extensive network of gutters and pipes to save every drop of water. They channel the water into storage tanks with gauges so water can be carefully rationed.
The children and the community drip feed the trees as conventional irrigation is not a viable option. The water would simply evaporate.

“While they are happy to share their water with the fruit trees which benefit the whole community, they also make sure no one misappropriates for their own ends,” said Linda McDonald. “When the water level in one village’s tank mysteriously began to drop, the children and an elder set a watch on the tank and that night caught a goat herder stealing water for his goats. When water is so scarce, communities like those in Tilonia can’t afford to tolerate this kind of anti-social behavior and the goat-herder found himself banished for three weeks, a serious punishment for any inhabitant of the Great Indian Desert.”

Joining Eden’s Garden for Life Network will connect the children of Tilonia and the Barefoot College with their counterparts around the world, allowing them to share their experiences with those from very different climates and cultures.

You can vote for this project by visiting www.edenproject.com.

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