Studying environmental science in an air-conditioned classroom in a comfortable chair with a professor lecturing in front of you is entirely different from putting into practice what you are there to learn. Standing in the rice fields of Lisu Lodge, Kaitlyn and I got our first taste of down in the dirt environmental work. As environmental analysts, we most often work behind a computer looking at maps, planning various surveys, and writing recommendations. Unfortunately, even if we are working on a project that will be implemented in another country, we rarely get to travel to do land surveying ourselves. For that, it has been a refreshing albeit strenuous process of taking our work from the beginning stages which we rarely get to do into the planning stages with which we are accustomed.

Our two main projects are truly interdisciplinary affairs; first, we must determine a method of creating a natural pool for clients of Lisu Lodge. While in the early stages of environmentally friendly pool in the country side, we neglected to consider two large roadblocks; first, we must determine a way to sterilize the water supply without using chemicals. Second, we need to determine the best location where the pool can be situated without requiring an electric pump to funnel the water from the source to the pool. In keeping with Asian Oasis’ goal of total environmental sustainability and zero-impact constructions water filtration is a simple process of adding chemicals to ensure sanitary water conditions, adding chemicals often negatively effects the water source, which would be extremely detrimental to the local villagers who rely on the source as their main water supply. Not only would adding chemicals have an environmental impact, it would have a social impact as well. To mitigate the challenges that a chemical free pool is presenting, we are currently devising a sophisticated filtration method which combines ideas from a variety of sources. As our planning becomes more concrete, we will share our approach with you!

Our second project is a joint effort between the Himmapaan Foundation and Lisu Lodge. The Himmapaan Foundation works to promote the concept of forest restoration as an alternative to reforestation. Forest restoration is the act of replacing land that had suffered deforestation under the hands of farmers with vegetation that had been there previously, ensuring not to introduce new species of plants that might alter the ecosystem of the surrounding area. It is an interdisciplinary effort between both environmental engineers and biologists to ensure that the local flora and fauna match what had existed previously. Currently, the main Himmapaan site sits 12 kilometers away from the Lisu Lodge. To make the project more visible to clientele of Lisu Lodge, Kaitlyn and I are strategically developing a plot of land on the Lodge property to which we can relocate the Himmapaan nursery and information center. The information center will be a zero-impact facility, integrated into the rice field in an environmentally friendly way. In addition, above the Himmapaan nursery and information center will sit a rice barn which will be able to store approximately 3 to 4 tons of rice which visitors can see.

Make sure to keep an eye out for further updates as to the trajectory of our projects and we look forward to sharing with you our work!