This is the first in a series of workshops about urban permaculture held at Art El Lewa. In this workshop Dominique introduced some permaculture concepts in an interesting way to participants while Tarek Sami assisted him by doing the English-to-Arabic translation.
As we arrived to the rooftop of Art El Lewa, we found two adjacent tables around which chairs were set. Before starting the workshop, Dominique asked use to move the tables at the side of the roof and arrange the chairs in a semicircle.
We were all sitting down on the chairs that were arranged in a semicircle. Dominique started the workshop by asking everyone to stand up telling us that we are all participants and that in this workshop "there are no spectators." He then preceded by asking us to perform some increasingly funny physical exercises which helped set the fun tone for the rest of the workshop and was an effective way to break the ice and to get us ready for the even more fun exercises that followed!
The interesting thing was that there were actual chickens at the rooftop!
Dominique also mentioned using plants that would provide shade in the summer while dying out and thus giving room to warm sun rays to enter in the winter. This amounted to "eating your air conditioner" as he mentioned.
Rotan satellite channel were present before the workshop started. They did a number of interviews with participants. They also covered the first part of the workshop.
Valentina Cattane reported on this green roofs workshop in Al Masry Al Youm.
Among the participants of the workshop:
[Report by Ashraf Al Shafaki]
After Ahmed El-Dorghamy introduced her, Sara El Sayed started by using the story telling technique and told the story behind her falling in love with studying organisms in nature and how they behave and adapt perfectly to their surrounding natural conditions. Her story, told in front of an interesting background slide, was interesting already from the second she said she's going to tell her story.
Sara then proceeded to show us one colorful slide after the other explaining how various organisms employ a number of interesting behaviors and possess unique adaptations enabling them to survive and flourish in their habitats. It was a story about harmony explaining how living organisms are interconnected and have evolved in such a way to keep an intricate balance for a sustainable natural system.
After the first batch of slides came to an end and after showing us how some innovative human designs were actually inspired by observations of natural organisms and their adaptations to nature, Sara then moved the ball to the audience, grouped them into small groups and provided them with an exercise to start their minds on a creative journey. We were asked to think in groups about sustainability solutions for Egypt.
At first glance we thought the exercise was not related whatsoever to biomimicry, but as we concluded the creative process Sara tied the results of our work with concepts from biomimicry after grouping similar answers from each group together on the wall. The linking process was in itself another enlightening exercise.
As the session came to an end, a chance for asking questions was granted. Sara started responding to an unending stream of questions which had to be cut by Ahmed El-Dorghamy due to time constraints.
The session was concluded by a long series of claps. The audience started to stand up but no one seamed to want to leave! They stayed long after the session was over discussing the session in small groups and networking.
I was thrilled to have attended this session about biomimicry for it was both inspiring and informative. Getting to network and connect with new interesting people was also a big advantage of being there at Nahdet El Mahrousa that day.
Groups wrote down a number of sustainability practices and ideas including:
Natural organisms exhibit a set of properties and behavior to which the previously mentioned sustainability elements can be linked. For instance:
[Report by Ashraf Al Shafaki]