East Texas Weather and CEB

At 9:40 Christmas Day, 2012, a massive tornado touched down in Pennington, Texas, and ripped through two miles of farm land and forest racing north directly towards our farm and family. It appeared out of the woods a mere 200 yards from our homes and then stopped, turned east and roared down our road ripping trees and power lines.

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Above: the remainder of the feed store

The Feed Store featured on the news looked like a bomb and been dropped on it. Had that funnel hit our frame homes, we would be dead and the structures in splinters. It took me a full half hour to stop shaking from that life-and-death threat. My clearest lesson was that we cannot live in wooden structures any more. We face increasingly more violent storms and terrifying fire fueled by the forests and hay fields around us as drought intensifies.

© Dan Schellenberg tornado damages.jpg

And so the time has come for thick walled, compressed earth block buildings that cannot be blown over or burned down. And the nice thing about such structures is that they will also sequester carbon and help remove the very CO2 that continues to intensify global warming.

In our conservative little community, the expressions of “Thank God!” for the safety of many families whose homes were destroyed but their lives spared were justified and heart felt. What won’t work anymore, however, is a magical belief in a God who will prevent all destruction and even stop global warming and climate chaos. The consequences of man’s choices for lifestyle and the destruction of the planet for our luxury will not be mitigated by God. Calling on God will not protect us from the converging catastrophe of climate change and the increase in violence that will accompany it all brought on by human greed and selfishness.

If appealing to God’s power prevents us from changing our culture--especially our housing and energy policies to say nothing of global violence—we will go down the road of failed Empire’s before us. And it will be a long, dangerous and sad road for Americans under the illusion that how they live is divinely ordained with no negative consequence; and that when bad things happen, miracles will magically spare them.

As for me and my house, we will build a CEB fort that requires no air-conditioning and little energy to operate. We will cut our carbon footprint as much as we can, believing as we do that we must not contribute to further global warming. Can we bring CO2 levels back down to the target of 350 ppm by 2020? We won’t likely see any policy changes or increased regulation of coal fired electricity emissions, so every single concerned citizen must take the steps they can to reduce their carbon footprint as fast as they can. Neither the government nor the “markets” will solve this problem in time.

Please pass me another compressed earth block!

Why not start with a house that will also withstand the chaos already built into the climate while it mitigates the future increase in warming? If you don’t believe in global warming believe in the destruction of the worst tornado in East Texas history!

#cebblockmaking #globalwarming #tornado

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