The Turnstone Tsunami Fund is a charity set up in 2005 by Michael Buckley and Roger Miall following the dreadful tsunami that struck Sumatra in Indonesia. Its purpose was to assist victims of the Easter earthquake that followed. Over US$65,000 was raised with particular help from the Carpenters’ Company in the City of London, UK. Working on the Island of Nias off West Sumatra, the fund cooperated with North Sumatra Heritage to help with the restoration of 35 traditional wooden buildings which resist earthquakes, and repair the great house “Omo Sebua” in the mountain village of Hitinawalo Mazingo. The fund organised two training courses for local carpenters, who have subsequently repaired buildings, and the fund planted over 1,000 Afoa trees in a reforestation and education project. The great house “Omo Sebua” was on the World Monument Fund’s list of the world’s 100 most important buildings in need of restoration. All administration and travel costs were additionally covered by Michael and Roger to ensure all funds raised were solely put into the project. We are now funding the restoration of some traditional wooden homes in the nearby village of Hili’amaetaniha, in cooperation with Father Johannes, a local specialist in the field.
From an environmental standpoint, compared to other materials wood produced in a sustainable manner is an extraordinarily friendly material. Over its full life cycle (cradle to grave), wood is estimated to release up to 47% less air pollution; up to 23% less solid waste and requires up to 57% less energy to manufacture than other materials. Other products for construction and furniture discharge as much as 4 times more water pollution and emit 34 – 81% more greenhouse gas. And, unlike other products, wood in construction and furniture stores carbon, the principal contributor to greenhouse gases.