The Mulberry Operation:

How do you deal with seemingly impossible, yet essential tasks? Do you ignore them, procrastinate, or see them as futile efforts? Do you take ‘free will’ for granted; or, do as as others have in the past, and fight for it?  
During WWII, the allies had no success in the crucial task of penetrating the Atlantic wall to capture a French harbours, to land troops and all that was essential to sustain the battle of Normandy; for a paradigm shift in the war. After Dieppe, in lieu of trying the same approach, an impossible plan was proposed: If a port couldn’t be taken, one should be created And so, amidst derision, the concept began to take shape. But even in the context of a world war, this project would be a mammoth undertaking.   
Although the detils of the project delivery method are surely another story, it’s reasonable to doubt that a public low lump sum for fairness and transparency was likely not the approach.  worked together, with incredible leadership and masterful coordination. The project, codenamed the Mulberry Operation, required 24 contractors working around the clock at 14 different sites throughout England, where not one, but two pre-manufactured temporary harbours were built. Countless men and women contributed however they could, the French ‘Resistence’ relayed vital messages across enenmy lines, and with a common objective, allies collaborated, with true leadership and masterful coordination. Simply put, all were committed to do whatever they had to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their freedom.  
Thus, on June 9th, 1944, three days after D-Day, the Mulberries were deployed, towed across the English Channel, to their respective location to be assembled, and expected to hold for three months. ‘Mulberry A’ was set for Omaha Beach in Ville Franche” Unfortunately, it was destroyed in a large storm on June 19th, as it was installed in haste, insecurely anchored to the sea bed. Thankfully, ‘Mulberry B’ which was installed at Gold Beach in Aromanche was successfully installed, withstood the storm, and used for ten months after D-day, reminding us the value of a solid foundation. It became known as Port Winston, and singularly enabled the landing and supplying of 2.5 million troops on French soil, ensuring this horrible war would soon end thereafter. 
Today, visitors to Aromanche, can still clearly see some of the ‘Mulberry’ structural elements. And, as learning of this incredible accomplishment truly inspired CRI Council founding president many years ago, it is shared here as a tribute to the determination, the heart, the ingenuity of the countless individuals and organizations (public and private), who accepted the challenge of their own free will – Lest we forget!
Sadly, while the war we wage is different, we are again in a ‘seemingly’ impossible situation. One where the global population and its needs are growing on a finite planet; and where our lack of awareness, priorities, policies or infrastructure have us on a path to self-destruction. ”Economic growth and social development cannot be sustained with our current consumption and production patterns. Globally, we are extracting more resources to produce goods and services than our planet can replenish, while a large share of an increasingly urban world population is still struggling to meet basic needs.”**    

We are all responsible for the growing wasted resources and all the negative environmental, social or economical this causes; thereby, we are all concerned with finding remedies to this situation. In spite of many important initiatives in the field of whole building design or specialty industries, much remains to be done. Particularly in respect to industrial, commercial and institutional resource design, selection, specifications, building practices, operations and maintenance, policies.

Therefore, just as those responsible for the success of the Mulberry Harbours came together, we are asking you to be part of a vast team of determined visionaries, commited to sustainable development: meeting our current needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.  Our ‘Mulberry’ will be to stop the reckless dumping of valuable resources, negatively impacting on our environment, economy and society.

With initiative, collaboration, and the refusal to accept that any problem exists without a solution, we can create our own harbours. And, with open minds, we should now be inspired by countries like Germany; where the construction and demolition (C&D) waste management is a mature and well integrated sub-industry, within the broader German construction market.

“In 2003, German construction and demolition acitivities generated 214 Megatonnes of waste composed of thwo thirds excavation material, mearly another third of building and road demolition wste and a smaller fraction of mixed construction site waste. Despite these high numbers, only 15% of this material was disposed of in landfills, while the remaining 85% was recovered and reused in further applications or recycled.

Germany’s high material, energy. labour and waste disposal costs favour the economics of recovering, reusing and recycling as much as C&D waste as possible. Additionally, strong waste management systems have been long required by laws and regulations at all levels of government in order to minimise the impact of C&D waste in the waste stream. More recent versions of these regulations focus on the complete material cycle, working towards a closed loop substnance cycle in construction and demolition, known as ‘Kreislaufwirtschaft’. This combination of regulatory pushes from government and economic pulls from the market have helped Germany establish an effective C&D waste management infrastructure. Furthermore, waste management and abatement prctices have been integrated into mainstream architectural and engineering education and practice. Architects and engineers designing and constructing buildings are obliged to consider the entire life cycle of materials, from production to removal, and reuse or recycling, of components they install in buildings….”**

In conclusion, we can only note that ‘free will is closely related to two other important philosophical issues: freedom of action, and moral responsibility’*** What actions will you take?

Will you join Mission 2030?