For Mother Earth succesful in launching pioneering Ecological Centre in Belgium. Also concrete plans for two 1.65MW wind turbines.
Gent, October 10th 1999 - Exactly 7 years after the end of the 5.500km 'Walk across America for Mother Earth' in the Nevada desert, a new pioneering project is being realized with the handing over of the keys of two beautiful and centrally located houses which will soon open its doors for an environmental demonstration centre. The 'Gents Ecologisch Centrum' (GEC) will open its doors for the public before the start of the new millenium right at the main bus, tram and railway station of Gent.
GEC aims to demonstrate a renewable life-style, making maximal use natural recycled materials, natural paints, loam construction and renewable building materials. Also the use of energy will be provided by renewable means, while an economical use of energy (low energy lamps, insulation) will be a top-priority. By the end of October 1999 solar panels (for warm water, central heating and electricity) will be installed, while in a second stage concrete steps are being made to install two wind turbines of 1.65 MW in the neighborhood of the Belgian coastline.
Think Globally - Act Locally
Pol D'Huyvetter, a For Mother Earth spokesperson, stated that this cooperative model of an Ecological Center not only offers a strong statement for a green renewable life-style. According to him it also offers new and interesting opportunities for many NGO's struggling for good office spaces and challenging financial situations. With this model For Mother Earth might soon be able to finance its anti-nuclear campaigns by offering information and healthy organic foods to the public, while also harvesting wind power at the Belgian coast.
GEC was initiated by For Mother Earth in 1996. The proposed plans for an environmental center immediately received public support from several VIP's in the community, i.e. Walter De Buck (artist and assistant of the Mayor), Vera Dua (Flemish Minister of the Environment), Walter De Taeye (ex-environmental editor of a daily newspaper), Jan Klussendorf (founder of a well-known carpooling).
The ecological centre will house several environmental NGO offices, two eco-appartments, but also an alternative shop and an organic restaurant. For Mother Earth will run the info-center and organic vegan/vegetarian restaurant and coffee-shop. All activities will be focussed on sustainable solutions, as i.e. with Westenwind, an office for developing plans for wind power.
During the last years the building has undergone structural alterations and has been insulated thoroughly. The final touch will be done only with recycled and ecological materials (e.g. natural paints, durable kinds of wood and loam construction), while priority will be given to rain water for the use of sanitary, and solar panels will be installed for warm water, central heating and electricity. Some business firms (producing ecological materials) are being contacted to sponsor, since they can in that way demonstrate their durable products and services to a broader public.
The purchase was an unexpected and surprising development during a public auction. The final purchase will be notarized on October 12th. The building consisted of two commercial houses (ground surface 260m²) at the Maria-Hendrikaplein #5 and #6, 9000 Gent. The total space is over 1000 m², the net surface is about 700m².
Wind turbine 1.65MW for the green energy consument (GEC)
In the meantime, GEC as well as For Mother Earth have concrete plans to install two wind turbines of 1.65MW. Two sites near Zeebrugge are under contract, and the building and environmental licenses are applied for before long. According to the first prognoses these wind turbines, situated on an ideal spot, are capable to supply 2400 families/year with electricity.
These pilot projects cannot be realized in a short term without the engagement and help from volunteers. From the second half of October people can help cleaning, painting, decoration or with other tasks such as publicity.
Become part of this: be a shareholder.
You can become co-owner of the center and in a second phase the windmills by taking shares of 6000 BF/piece.
An annual general meeting of the co-op can decide to give a divident to share holders. In a first phase new shares are sold to augment the assets (now 2.000.000 BF) and to decrease the amount of the loan and the interests. But we need also a large involvement in the investment for an ecological energy use in the new building and for the wind turbine. These projects can only succeed thanks to the engagement of a large group of people, who want to give in this way a clear signal to the politicians and to the public.
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