Juliet Kinsman writes about the Green Family in the St Regis Magazine.
Bali has long attracted free-thinkers: travelers seeking a tropical escape from the usual routine, with a spiritual dimension. When John Hardy arrived in the 1970s, he was struck by the beauty of the island, the lush landscape, the kindness of the people. When I visited the island, it was the unique institution that he and his wife had created there that entranced me: the Green School. This bamboo structure is impressive not just because it’s made from sustainably harvested materials from the surrounding forests, but because of its green ethos and the family behind it. Which is why I am writing this from a balé in the Balinese jungle: I was so inspired by the Green School that I decided to move to the island for three months and enroll my daughter in the school. As she runs around in the sunshine, I can work in the café.
The story behind the Green School offers many lessons, not just about what can be achieved by one family with a vision, or what we should be teaching our children, but about the buildings in which they learn. In the past, bamboo was thought of as something to be used in constructing scaffolding, simple huts or basic fishermen’s shelters. But thanks to John and his wife, Cynthia, who opened the Green School in 2008 – having previously operated a successful jewelry business on the island – the plant has been given a dramatic brand repositioning.