Lack of Integrity of Purpose
BY: DUSYANTA DASA
Nov 26, 2011 WALES, UK (SUN)
In conclusion by Syamasundar dasa, the lack of being able to source an Anaerobic Digester suitably capable of dealing with the organic matter waste of a herd of cows comprising around 60 head, which is the size of Bhaktivedanta Manor's Cow Protection herd, meant a non-starter. Their "sustainable alternative consultant" advised them during the consultancy period that this was indeed the most efficient way of energy production. But the problem was "they could not find one suitable for 60 cows".
You put all your faith and trust in a "consultant" whom advised that this was indeed the best, most efficient way of energy production, and you did not do it! That's gob-smacking! The Farm Manager of Bhaktivedanta Manor Goshalla admits "they could not find a suitable one". So from an outsider's point of view looking in through the window of information from Bhaktivedanta Manor via the Sampradays Sun, as written by the Farm Manager, "we could not find one", then God help us all!
What on earth are you all doing at Bhaktivedanta Manor?
Anerobic digesters are distributed and designed to deal with as little as 5kg a day of biomass up to the size of huge herds of cows. The domestic range of digesters made in the UK can produce enough methane gas to cook on a daily basis from the waste from your kitchen. In India, a man named Ram Bux Singh was able to design a digester for Mother Earth News Digester in Madison Ohio for special cold climates. It is constructed of a metal drum 3,000mm high and 1,200mm in diameter, containing a metal jacket forming an insulated area of hot water to maintain temperatures of 32'C-35'C for digestion.
The digester can either be batch fed or single loaded, depending on the circumstances. This plant, which stands twice the height of a man, has a collection vessel that floats on the water and the weight of this cover provides the pressure and it is from this vessel of stored Methane that the supply is fed to domestic appliances.
The digesters exist since at least 1976 in this capacity of domestic use and digesters capable of dealing with herds of 60 Cows+ or - have been used for years longer.
Of course, there is the alternative route of constructing your very own digester to suit your own requirements, anything from a tractor inner-tube to huge silos can be used. There are multi outlets in the UK for this information and suitable kits to DIY.
I sincerely hope that Bhaktivedanta Manor Goshalla did not pay their consultants a penny, and also the architect and construction workers. As far as the buildings themselves are concerned:
Because my taste in buildings is based on the time honoured traditionally tested system where buildings have stood the test of time, unlike modern day "warehousing", my preference is one of integrity of purpose.
The Goshalla is built especially for Krsna's and Srila Prabhupada's Cows and Bulls and with this special opportunity to build from the foundation upwards, then we could have demonstrated a more enlightened way of construction rather than capitalistic "warehouse" styled construction.
Bearing in mind the nature of sustainability and ecologically friendly materials that are available to source in this country, as demonstrated by the many agricultural buildings still standing after hundreds of years, then that blueprint would have been a wiser choice to make. Concrete, including cement and concrete blocks are highly toxic to the environment. Usually these building materials create a cold, impersonalistic, monolithic impression, which they have. The huge diametered robust tubular metal used in sectioning off feeding spaces and used in gateways, milking points and other places reinforce the cold impersonal feelings in the Goshalla, and should never be used in this way.
The importation of wood from abroad is another unsustainable activity, considering our fabulous woods we have in the UK.
The conversion of the use of the Goshalla to visitor centre status very much underlines the manifestation of the concepts of Cow Protection to be unsustainable and detracts from the integration of Cow Protection to the very system Cow Protection is used for, namely community.
The design of the Goshalla is underpinned by this very concept of cow sanctuary and cow zoo status rather than understanding the design to be a component of the whole system of integrated accessibility based on a symbiotic relationship with Cows, Bulls and Land.
The use of tractor produced big bales of hay/haylage/silage in storage buildings is another concern of the disintegration of community in Cow Protection. The food for Cows and Bulls is naturally of differing quality and the buildings need to reflect this in a self-maintaining way, not through deisel engines. Otherwise where is the example of sustainability? The design, consultancy and planning stages of this project should have dealt with this issue before the buildings were created.
The installation of an anaerobic digester should have been given priority way before the buildings were built, so as to suit the movement of biomass to the digesters and to the fields for fertilisation.
The natural production of fertiliser and bio gas can be retailed at farm gate sales and used to offset the cost of retirement of cows to lower the price of Cow Protected milk, so the market share is increased to accommodate the devotees living locally within 5-10 miles.
Just by a random search on farmland with all the buildings for milking and accommodation, it's possible to buy well over 200 acres of prime arable and grass land for half the money (£1.2 million) here in Wales. Therefore the £2.4 million spent on the Goshalla at Bhaktivedanta Manor looks like a bad investment and poor value for money.
The location at Bhaktivedanta Manor will always be very expensive for expansion, always high levels of pollution, and slow in the uptake of sustainable ecological lifestyle for devotees. Whilst locations similar to Wales offer the alternative to the capitalistic rat race of the South East of England, having more space to expand, more population per capita interested in alternative lifestyles, many farms with independent water supplies, many lands with forest already established, much cheaper property market for devotees to invest in, and an overall better lifestyle capability, it makes the location of Bhaktivedanta Manor farm all that less attractive for the production of food, self-sustainability, expansion of Cow Protected milk production, devotee lifestyle of an agrarian nature, and the stability of future communities.
Positive criticism from consultants who have time served in Cow Protection projects in the past are of immense value. The main ISKCON centres such as Bhaktivedanta Manor must be the harbingers of what is the very best in Srila Prabhupada's movement through representation. That criticism is even an issue is proof positive of exclusiveness.
For me, the buildings are a great disappointment. The badly used technique of this style of building is synonymous with all things capitalistic and exploited. What's wrong with stone walls, lime rendering and washing, tiled roofs and home grown hard wood, like green oak? What's wrong with dirt floors and rope halter-neck harnesses? What's wrong with low impact buildings and construction, which is a traditional culture in the UK? Why not put grass on the roof, or green oak shingles or UK produced cedar shingles? I think there is a lot more that could have been done to build according to a sustainable ethos. Or put on the roof Welsh slate?
Why on earth include a visitors vista? That's just undermining the integrity of Cow Protection. Why on earth parade the Bulls as tourist cart gimmicks that just take visitors on cart rides? The Bull is a producer of Grains like the Cow is a producer of Milk. It's shameful to engage the Bulls in this way of gimmicky tourist attractions. Where is the integrity of purpose? Why has ISKCON forgotten what Cows and Bulls are to be protected for? What happened to the symbiotic relationship? This is why we all need input from each other, to keep us all on the right track and not diverting into something else.
Cows and Bulls are honourable creatures that represent Religion and Motherhood, not some tourist exploitative project of hauling around visitors. Bulls can be engaged in ploughing the land to grow grains and gather wood and haul agricultural materials for themselves and Cows. The Cows and Bulls are for Agricultural engagements mainly, and are integrated into how community functions based on a symbiotic relationship with us humans.
Cow Protection is different from cow protected sanctuaries and zoos where visitors come to pay for their upkeep and feed them. Cow Protection in its topmost manifestation of symbiosis includes them in community at the heart of it. We are living with them in harmony, depending on them for what they can give to us in turn for us supporting them, good animal husbandry and treating them like family members in the role that they are. It behooves us especially as Gaudiya Vaisnavas to treat them on a par as the Deities are worshipped, and so we don't exploit their peaceful, gentle, docile ways. They will do anything for us, but that does not mean we should do that. If we treat them with respect and know their place in our community together, then we have the proper relationship with the Cows and Bulls and Land.
Otherwise if we don't maintain the proper standard of Cow Protection it will degenerate. If we don't relate to Cows and Bulls and Land through symbiosis then we will just exploit them, and that has already manifest itself by making the Bulls and Cows a tourist type attraction. The relationship with Cows and Bulls in Cow Protection is symbiotic, and if it is not symbiotic then the relationship slowly spirals downwards. The construction of Bhaktivedanta Manor's £2.8million Goshalla already has the hallmarks of a downward trend in relationship with Cows and Bulls. The 5-star accommodation for the Cows and Bulls does not help the relationship and does not mean the understanding of relationship is more encompassing.
I believe that because the Bhaktivedanta Manor Goshalla is designed for a Visitor Centre, then the aim of Cow Protection has been diverted to cow sanctuary/zoo. Because in harmony with the Goshalla there is no other Cow Protection related infrastructure created simultaneously or even planned or announced, then the definition of Bhaktivedanta Manor Cow Protection project can only be one of compromisation.
As Bhakta Matty pointed out, in ISKCON there has been horrific incidents of Cow exploitation to the maximum abuse of slaughter, which illustrates how the relationship with our Cows and Bulls had deteriorated to the worst possible non-devotional aspects. I am not saying that this is being mirrored at Bhaktivedanta Manor Goshalla, but we have to understand that the deterioration starts somewhere, it begins with lack of relationship, with compromising the Cows' and Bulls' status as equal to Deity worship, and a phrase that I keep repeating, "lack of integrity of purpose".