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Building a low-impact den for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Friday 30 November 2012


From UK magazine Permaculture:


Gillian McCarthy
Gillian McCarthy

Building a Low Impact Den for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Tony Wrench | Tuesday, 27th November 2012

Gillian McCarthy is a sufferer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity caused by organophosphate poisoning early in her career. Without a warm roof over her head she will not survive this winter. Tony Wrench and a group of natural builders are building her an emergency den. Can you help?

Tony Wrench, author, low impact development activist and pioneer of Low Impact Roundhouses has become involved in a unique and compassionate project. Tony, with the help of friends and volunteers, is building a 'den' for Gillian McCarthy who suffers from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Gillian cannot be near man-made chemicals or electrical fields without suffering debilitating allergic reactions. Her helpers say she will not survive this winter without an insulated home made from completely natural materials.

Gillian McCarthy is a scientist, a permaculturist and expert on bee plant cultures, animal feeds and horse care. She was a national dressage judge.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

As a student Gillian worked on sheep dips and organophosphates. All her fellow researchers are now dead. (I can hardly believe this as I write it). Now she is an extreme sufferer from MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity – a condition that imprisons sufferers in their own homes, unable to use cars, mechanised transport, mobiles, mains electricity, gas, wood, or oil.

Gillian lives in a shack supplied for her as a temporary measure by her local council seventeen years ago. She sleeps in a chair with several layers on. Her shack leaks, is not insulated and is not heated. It is a miracle she has survived this long, and the tangled web of bureaucratic procrastination could be the subject of fiction.

See a short clip about Gillian and why she has had such a battle with the council:

One day South Somerset District Council may find an appropriate piece of land for a proper house for her, as has been done for other sufferers elsewhere, with planning permission, with a grant from central government (as nearly happened before but the grant lapsed). In the meantime I am co-ordinating a rescue mission to build her an emergency den to get her through the winter, with a thick foamglas, limecrete and slate floor, solar warmed, with underfloor heating, straw bale walls and an ash frame. Gillian can tolerate seasoned ash.

Can You Help?

Six workers have been digging out a space in terrible weather conditions over the past two weeks, but we are just on target. The den will cost about £10,000. If you wish to find out more and offer your labour, money, expertise or fundraising skills please first check out the facebook page Gillian McCarthy Den.

You can also post donations to: Gillian McCarthy Rescue Fund c/o The Treasurer, 10 Innox Hill, Frome, Somerset BA11 2LW

For more information read The Hazards of Sheep Dipping from Pesticide Action Network UK.

To find out more see Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Help spread the permaculture word...


The above originally appeared here.


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