Jon Jandai's life is easy
Compared to him I have 29 years and 10 months of free time


Jon Jandai from Thailand speaking at TED. 

"Before I thought that stupid people like me … cannot have a house… because people who are cleverer than me and get a job need to work for 30 years to have a house. But for me, who cannot finish university, how can I have a house. It's hopeless for people who have low education like me. But when I start to do earthen buildings, it's so easy! I spent two hours per day… and in 3 months I have a house. A friend who was the most clever in the class he has a house too but he has to be in debt for 30 years, so compared to him I have 29 years and 10 months of free time. I feel life is so easy."

Jon runs Pun Pun an organic farm, seed-saving operation, and sustainable living and learning center. At Pun Pun they use ancient natural building techniques with readily available, local, natural materials with little embodied energy and salvaged materials to make homes, a practical and affordable alternative to resource intensive conventional building.

William Kamkwamba's windmill
My proudest creation... a simple machine that changed my life


William Kamkwamba from Malawi at TED. 

"Because of the hunger I was forced to drop out of school. I looked at my father and those dry fields, it was a future I could not accept... I went to the library and read books, especially physics... A book said windmills can pump water and create electricity. Pumping water meant irrigation, a defence against hunger... I decided I would build a windmill for myself. Many people, including my mother, said I was crazy!"

William, driven by a situation he could not accept and without a scientific education, built a windmill out of scraps so that he could irrigate his family's land so they would never have to suffer again the terrible famine in Malawi in 2001.

Peter Tsiorba: The scent of wood
I remember the  smell of wood surrounding me as he built the house


Peter Tsiorba in his workshop in Portland, Oregon. 

"My dad built the house where I grew up by making bricks  from the ground which was surrounding the building site. He pretty much built all the windows and doors and the floors. Stuff like this, I just remember the shavings and the smell of wood surrounding me even as he was building the house... I think it's important to keep in mind this tone wood was once a tree and it stood in a forest and it absorbed nutrients from the ground and it responded to the sun..."

Peter grew up in a natural home made from adobe brick by his father in Uzbekistan, at the time part of the former USSR. Growing up with the smell of wood shavings and the close connection with the land Peter developed a lasting relationship with natural materials and traditional cabinet skills and now makes guitars. Please visit his website and enjoy his beautiful work.