Househunting again

Check out these photos of last weekend’s househunting. I’ll take this little place with great ventilation and beach views. I think it’s LEED Platinum.

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A restorative Twin Tower memorial

In 2002 or so, architect Malcolm Wells (the illustrator of Liquid Gold as well as many books on underground homes) mailed to his friends color copies of his alternative vision for a Twin Towers memorial. Mac was unimpressed by Liebskind’s and others’ proposals for a tower that thrust into the sky tauntingly. Mac’s vision was […]

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Eco-Amazons on Hermit Island (another Sept. 11 story)

Thanks to the hermit, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 will be memorable to me even without the catastrophe that branded the date—”Nine Eleven”—into history. The weekend leading up to Nine Eleven started in the dashing fashion typical of that eventful 2001 for me. Anja Brüll and I left Concord, Mass. early Friday evening, driving through the […]

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Ashes to ashes: Taking the dead back to earth

In the 1970s and ’80s, British brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair chronicled their journeys in Borneo and the Spice Islands in the dazzling and memorable documentary, “Ring of Fire.” The jovial, monocle-wearing Lawrence led the adventures, accompanied by his lanky, handsome brother, Lorne. I watched a re-issue of the documentary on public television in the […]

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Morning at the New Alchemy Institute

Remember the New Alchemy Institute? Perhaps you heard of it. It was a thinktank/do-tank on Cape Cod where baby boomer idealists gathered to model the green future, with experiments in fish farming, using composting to warm a greenhouse, and so forth. That was mostly in the 1970s. When I journeyed there in 1989, it was […]

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Behind the glamour of the ecotoilet biz

I know many envision me answering customer questions via cell phone while lying in a  hammock (produced by local women’s cooperatives) hanging from palm trees (in a sustainably managed grove) overlooking a powdery sand beach. While that is true, the reality of running a small business selling water innovations no one else was willing to […]

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Toiletology finally gets its due

Ciarrai Walsh passed on this Time Magazine article about Bill Gates seeing the light of improving sanitation as one of the most effective ways to save lives in the world: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2082509,00.html?artId=2082509?contType=article?chn=world Ten years ago, I wrote to the Gates Foundation to suggest it focus on sanitation as a cheaper and effective way to reduce child […]

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Midnight in the garden of the old New Alchemy Institute

I returned to Hilde and Earle’s house around midnight. They were still up. Hilde noted the peeping coming from the vast greenhouse attached to their house, the last remnant of the New Alchemy Institute. “It’s a great big bullfrog. It eats bugs for us. And when it rains, it’s so happy, it just sings.”

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Natural burial: Jaime Barajas goes back to the earth

I didn’t really know Jaime Barajas, brother of environmental transformer/activist Babak Tondre. I met him briefly when Nik Bertulis and I visited Babak’s home in 2003 to view his back-yard micro-eden, with its chickens, gardens, and fruit trees. (Photos from that day are in my two later books.) Jaime, who was living in an art-filled […]

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City ducks as sitting ducks

A mallard duck and her six chicks appeared Thursday in our cellar stairwell. Here’s a link to photos. They were darling. Mother duck and two of the chicks were able to hop up the stairs to a tray of water and bowls of oats and spinach seed heads I left at the head of the […]

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Not ready for prime time composting toilet projects

I’m putting a Caribbean composting toilet on the back burner. Why? The problem started when my well-meaning North American contact for this project told me she read the book, Three Cups of Tea. It’s the story of Greg Mortensen, who worked to build 55 schools in Pakistan. Here’s what I wrote on the blog, Not […]

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The true obstacles to “green” solutions (a minor rant)

Ah, the glamorous life of an eco-entrepreneur. Today, I argued with my shipper, DSV Air & Sea via email about a $200 storage fee I incurred because they claim they didn’t received by bank-issued check in time. Yet a dated cancelled check suggests they are wrong. Apparently I must eat this one. As well as […]

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Get ready for an economic and technological Nantucket sleigh ride*

Canadian writer Douglas Coupland reminds us that the current torrent of change means there’s no going back—at least not to the U.S. middle class tableau of the past 50 years. Goodbye middle class. Rural suburbs. Technology emerging at a digestible pace. Assured economic upswings. What will the next 10 years look like? This question reminds […]

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Manure as medicine

A PBS show about asthma reported that kids exposed to animal manure have lower incidences of asthma. The key agent appears to be “endotoxins” in manure. It might be that microbes like fecal coliform, which in certain volumes and types can cause illness, actually either result in boosted immunity. A study shows that kids who […]

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