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Bottle School

In the photo: SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR Illac Diaz leads the building of Asia’s first plastic and glass bottle school that not only promotes sustainable architecture, but also addresses the shortage of classrooms in the country. Photo by PINGGOT ZULUETA.

MANILA, Philippines — Despite aggressive campaigns on recycling and sustainable development, not everyone is still convinced to go green. Tons of garbage continue to pollute the environment and harm man’s health.

But Illac Diaz, social entrepreneur and proponent of sustainable, alternative architecture, is steadfast in proving that recycling is the way to go, even in solving the dire need for more classrooms in the country today.

In his latest project called the Bottle Schools, Diaz shows that with much creativity, imagination, and out-of-the-box thinking, a classroom or even an entire school may be built out of discarded soda and alcoholic beverage bottles!

Read more: Bottle schools

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SIBANG KAJA, BALI — Half a world away from Cancún, Mexico, and the international climate change talks that took place there last month, a school here in Indonesia is staging its own attempt to save the planet.

It is small-scale and literally grassroots — and possibly in some respects more effective than the tortuous efforts of politicians to agree on how to stop global warming.

In the midst of the lush, steaming jungle of Bali, along a pitted road, past scattered chickens and singing cicadas, Green School has two dozen buildings made of giant bamboo poles. There are no walls, and there is no air-conditioning. Just gracefully arched roofs, concrete floors and bamboo furniture. There is a big, grassy playground, complete with goalposts made — yes — of bamboo; a bamboo bridge across a rock-strewn river; vegetable patches; and a mud-wrestling pit.

But there is also a computer lab, a well-stocked library and an array of courses drawn from an internationally recognized curriculum and taught in English.

Read more: Bali School Makes Sustainability a Way of Life

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Black carbon (BC) or soot holds both peril and perhaps promise for Earth's climate system. The peril, of course, is that continued emissions will hasten ice melt, because of its heat-absorbing qualities, and thereby quicken global warming. The promise is if we can reduce the amount emitted soon (which is technologically and clearly possible) warming will slow significantly. Reducing BC will give world leaders time to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) of concern.

Read more: Black Carbon: Part 2 — Changing Glaciers in Asia

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