The Eden Project in Cornwall was established 7 years ago and has become a world famous visitor attraction with its iconic huge bubble-wrap domes providing the closest you’ll get to an experience of the rain-forest this side of the Amazon.
I was visiting my sister this week, who lives nearby in Bodmin, and got the opportunity to visit, with my father.
We were both hugely impressed and had a highly enjoyable trip. This week visitors got a chance to see the extraordinaryand extremely rare Titum Lilly
Amorphophallus titanum one of the largest flowers in the world which only flowers for 48 hours.
The rain forest dome also included many tropical plants that have provided important cash crops for the west throughout the colonial era and continue to do so and it was fascinating to see the plants of many common products like rubber, coffee,
pistachios, bananas and many spices like ginger and cardamon in the flesh.
The Mediterranean dome also had lots of interest to the permaculturalist, with many fruiting plants such as olives and grapes and kiwis on display.
There was also some examples of innovative ways of growing, for example the autopot system of growing in very dry conditions.
There is a big educational aspect to Eden , with outside gardens exhibiting the “crops that feed the world”- the 6 main ones being corn, potatoes, soybeans, rice, wheat and peanuts- although the potato patch looked positively sickly in contrast to most of the other crops.
Inside the Core building were many interactive and multi-media educational exhibits aimed at increasing the public’s awareness of their environmental footprint and global issues such as climate change, food, energy, waste. These showed great innovation and creativity and perhaps represent the state of the art as far as this kind of environmental exhibit is concerned.
The really hard issues were however avoided, in common with most presentations of “mainstream environmentalism”: the main message being a need to transfer to “Green tech stability” with a lot of information on technological alternatives to oil such as wind and solar and even hydrogen fuel cells, without an analyses of the limits to growth and possible powerdown energy descent scenarios, or an emphases on the need to radically change our lifestyles and the issue of population reduction.
Inspired by the displays however, it would be a great project to create such exhibits for Peak oil and Permaculture. Indeed it seems that a permaculture garden was conspicuously absent from the project; maybe we will see this added in the future as the need for practical self-reliance becomes more widely accepted.
If Eden takes such a project on, I feel confident they could do a fantastic job.
All in all, a really great day and highly recommended.