Posts Tagged ‘from war to peace’

Bamboo feeds, clothes, adorns, and can even save lives. Growing up in Afghanistan, inventor Massoud Hassani used to play in raging war zones and fields studded with landmines. He and his brother would construct small spheres from scrap metal that would roll along the desert floor, powered by the wind. Sometimes, their contraptions would travel dangerously close to the bombs.

For his final project at the Design Academy of Eindhoven, Hassani drew upon his childhood experiences to create a giant version of his old playthings. Nearly 20 times bigger than the original, the heaver and sturdier Mine Kafon is made from bamboo and biodegradable plastic. Propelled by the wind, they can meander through dangerous terrain, saving lives with each mine they trigger. It has been estimated that through conventional methods, its costs up to $1,200 to remove a single landmine. Hassani’s design costs only 40 Euros, and can be used multiple times before needing to be replaced. With every explosion, the Mine Kafon looses only one or two legs, allowing it to keep moving and remove up to three or four explosive devices in a single journey. He hopes to track his inventions by GPS, monitoring their paths and keeping tabs on how many bombs they clear.

Massoud’s work can currently be seen at the MOMA in New York and will be shown at Gallery Slott in Paris later this year. Visit the link to see the Mine Kafon in action!

Long after the formal conflicts have ended, physical reminders of war remain embedded in our landscapes.  From old missile silos to spent artillery and and mothball fleets, much of the nation’s military past lies in disuse, strewn across the country without a proper place or function.  Once used as tools of aggression and destruction, some instruments of war have been given a second life in the hands of some very creative, progressive people and businesses.

The Headlands Institute: Just north of San Francisco, the Headlands Institute has turned an old army fort into an outdoor education campus.  Formerly Fort Cronkhite, the school has repurposed the now defunct WWII mobilization point’s mess hall, supply buildings, and auxiliary structures to create conference halls, classrooms, dining facilities, and overnight accommodations. Positioned amidst the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, this NatureBridge campus takes full advantage of its scenic beauty to encourage lasting, emotional connections between students and nature.  From residential school programs to corporate getaways, the old military base now inspires feelings of wonder and revitalization instead of fear.

From War to Peace:  Local San Luis Obispo jewelry company From War to Peace uses the salvaged metal from nuclear weapons systems to fashion symbols of peace. Each piece of jewelry, bottle opener, and plaque, incorporates copper from the giant underground cables that once connected missile silos across the Midwest.  Drawing upon inspiration from many different societies, their designs employ religious and cultural notions of tranquility, balance and compassion.  By physically reclaiming and changing the composition of the material, the alloy both literally and figuratively becomes a new object complete with a new and more positive purpose.  Bambu Batu is honored to carry the From War to Peace line in our store.

The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm: Founded in 1927, the Alameda Naval Air Station was built after the wetlands were filled to establish runways for military planes.  Most active in WWII and the Cold War, the station was officially closed in 1997 for development.  The Alameda Point Collaborative Urban Farm is now a one acre plot that grows an array of fruits and vegetables and supports the production of honey, eggs, and fish.  Originally started to combat the problems of urban food deserts, the farm also educates residents about nutrition, agriculture, and offers a weekly CSA.  Surrounded by olive and stone fruit orchards, the Farm has become a unique spot that nourishes and sustains life.

While we are constantly confronted with the destructive aspects of our nature as human beings, it is reassuring to know that there are those using their talent and ambition to call upon our higher qualities.  Though it is important to speak of peace, it is also vital that we create the conditions for social justice and fairness to exist.  This can be accomplished only by ending the cycle of violence that perpetuates conflict, and by transforming the destructive into the constructive.



Let’s face it, the world is a difficult place to live in, and we all could use a little kindness now and again.  Whether it comes in the form of a hug from a loved one, a driver letting you into his lane during rush hour traffic, or a smile from a stranger on the sidewalk, everyone can appreciate life’s small pleasures and acts of selflessness.

Next time you are in the mood to show the world that you care for its inhabitants, grab a couple of frosty brews for your friends or co-workers and offer to pop the caps with your Beers Not Bombs bottle opener.  The key chain opener is made from Peace Bronze, an alloy fabricated with scrap metal taken from dismantled nuclear weapons systems.   Take a stand for peace by showing some goodwill and love for your fellow man by spreading some joy with an oat soda and the intriguing back story detailing the fascinating history of your BNB opener.

From the 1940’s through the 1980’s, huge quantities of copper were mined in Montana for the expressed purpose of being used in the massive network of cabling connecting nuclear missile silos across the upper Midwest.  During the Clinton Administration, many miles of these cables were decommissioned through the process of disarmament.  The San Luis Obispo company that fabricates Peace Bronze into bottle openers and jewelry, From War to Peace, excavated huge sections of the gigantic wires and used the copper to create necklaces, earrings, and bottle openers.   The metal is not, and never has been radioactive.  The 95% copper mix has been certified safe by the U.S. Government, Iowa metal recyclers, and the From War to Peace lab.

As if sharing a beer with friends was not enough of an excuse to come by Bambu Batu and pick up a BNB opener or stylish t-shirt, perhaps the knowledge that 20% of the profits from your purchase will be donated to social justice organizations might spur you into action!  Choose from three trendy models designed by SLO jeweler, Jason Main.  Make your Happy Hour a peaceful one and proliferate some merriment with beers, not bombs.