Summary Pictures in the High Sierra

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I will provide more details, but the basics are:

  • Grey, Benny & Teddy took a hike in the Sierra Nevada of California
  • We stayed the first night at Mono Hot Springs – a low-key spot 2h east of Fresno
  • We started from Lake Thomas Edison, Camp Vermillion, 30mins further up the rustic road from Mono Hot Springs
  • The area is part of the John Muir Wilderness, between Yosemite N.P. and Sequoia N.P.
  • The trail was along Lake Edison and then toward Goodale Pass, but up to Graveyard Lakes
  • Then over, off-trail, toward Peter Pande Lake, and onto the PCT / JMT toward Indian Head Lake and Squaw Lake to Warrior Lake and Silver Lake Pass
  • From Silver Lake along PCT, the Vermillion Cliffs and back along the Vermillion Trail to Lake Edison and the namesake trailhead
  • It was great

 

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A beautiful little area to stay overnight above 10,000ft: Silver Pass Lakes

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A fabulous siesta near Peter Pande Lake:

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Wow – looking out to the south at some major High Sierra Peaks!

 

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And looking north w/ Bridger Peak on the right in the distance. Mammoth Peak is to the rear in the center…this is at Silver Lake Pass.

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And these are the dudes who did it. Nice! Mt. Izaak Walton in the rear.

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Another selfie w/ me and those high peaks in the background. Sure was nice out there!

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Taking Down Jefferson

The Green Building Mountaineering Club was up to it again: kicking ass!

It was time to hit the big one. Well, not quite Agiocochook (a.k.a. Mt. Washington), but _a_ big one. Mt. Jefferson is 5977 ft high and quite close to the “worst weather in the world” due to its exposure and relatively sharp topography.

So we decided to head up.

It was a gorgeous morning decaying into insane wind-driven ice shard bombardment. But we managed to make our way across the deep powder landscape, scrambling through the strewn chunky field on the west side of Adams to get to Edmunds’ Col for lunch.

The storm was flying over us, as we were on the north, lee, side of Jefferson. It is quite a massif – steep to a more gentle crown. Once we made the transition to the top, the wind picked up like a chord change in an 80’s hit and we had two specific huddles about turning back.

Goggles were losing functionality, both iced over and fogged out. Everything was wet.

But the top was calling to us – a black craggy crown in the distance. In and out of vision, swirling in snow and anticipation. Our legs had been out for 4 hours by now. It was about 8F, windchill somewhere in the -20’s. But no one was ailing really. Only grumpy and skeptical.

So when we got to the last trail crossing, we had final huddle and realized even deliberating for a few moments was foolish. Someone uttered a gutteral howl. A few shoulders were punched. Someone started to run at the top.

Bam, four lads sprinted in heavy snow gear, blasting against a tremendous wind flowing across the peakland, and onto hands and knees as the gravity conflicted with the buffeting. Scramble, scrabble, hook and claw, up the stony blocks to haw!

There we were at the top. “Are you sure this is it” I yelled – “There’s no where else to go, man!” replied the others. I crashed into an 8-inch high miniature ditch, seeking a modicum of protection from the hand of Old Man Winter, swiping at us with his ice blast. I dug out my camera, set it to stun, and started taking shots. The fury of the peak was in full force. I remember getting a few pics, then jumping on the top, screaming back at the Master.

And then we descended before we could be lost in the thrill. A simpler scramble now a wind at our backs.  We regrouped a half-mile down, on the steep ice field as the wind diminished, up against a lost ice-age boulder. It felt good. We were all smiles.

I won’t belabor the return – though that was just as much if not more of an adventure. The trail was lost in the drift, cairns useless. We had a tough time re-snowshoeing, with that full storm now onto that lower west side of Adams, on our way to the hut. It was getting dark. We’d been out for almost 7 hours now. It was tremendously longer than we could remember – making us wonder if we’d taken the wrong line. But we made it back and found Gray Knob and settled in for a good dinner.

It was a great expedition and worthy of the crew.

Here are some pics.

 

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The Green Building Mountaineering Club: Kinsman Pond in Winter

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That’s right: we have a new name in the game. The Green Building Mountaineering Club had its inaugural expedition on January 23rd, 2015, heading to Kinsman Pond Shelter in the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. [Above: Lafayette and Lincoln of the Franconia Ridge while heading to the top of North Kinsman]

In the crew were Brig Leland, Greg Bartolini, Ben Myers, Dan Armstrong and myself, Grey Lee. Our fearless leader, Guy Compagnone had to bail at the last minute – literally at 5AM – due to the flu assaulting his family over that preceding night.

He did make it to the muster point in Campton to go over the plan. I can’t believe he took the 4h round-trip drive just to see us off for an hour. Thank you, Guy!

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The crew proceeded to the trail head at Lonesome Lake Campground in Franconia Notch.

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It was decent weather – about 20F and light breezes. Everyone had good gear, having been instructed by Mr. Compagnone repeatedly on what to get. Especially to not bring ANY cotton. No cotton was on the trail for this trip.

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Lonesome Lake is completely frozen. We had fun strolling across. It took us about 1.5h traveling the 1.4mi to get to the hut, though we spent 15 mins horsing around on the lake. The Cannon Balls are to the north (background, above) and the Franconia Ridge to the east. Lonesome Lake Hut is on the west side where we met the caretaker and had a snack.

From there, we continued on the Fishin’ Jimmy trail for just under three hours to get to the Kinsman Pond Shelter. The shelter is a few meters from the pond. We enjoyed the quiet of the frozen pond. No one else came to stay the night. It’s a great shelter.

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We took another hour to get up to the top of North Kinsman. Below you can see the trail conditions and the vista to the north – into Vermont and Canada. We all had micro-spikes on – the rubberized plastic band with a chain/spike “basket” under your boot soles. We had not brought snowshoes due to the low snow and high traffic pattern anticipated on this expedition, which was fine.

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Here’s Ben Myers and Grey Lee with the Lafayette and Lincoln peaks in the background.

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Looking toward North Kinsman on the way up.

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Here’s looking from North Kinsman to the South peak, with Loon Ski Resort in the left background.

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Me with the Franconia Ridge in the background. It was a gorgeous day.

 

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I had been up here with my brother Benny & our dad some years ago. I knew there was a vista that could see the pond. With a bit of a cavalier attitude and one of the crew asking me not to fall off the mountain, I headed into some of the underbrush on an intuitive trail. Scampering somewhat like a four-legged winter creature through the snow and branches, I managed to find a way to a lower ledge of Kinsman North – to see this:

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You can see two small dots on the ice – in the upper left of the pond – two of our crew who stayed down there. The other two with me – Brig & Ben – made it through the brush to the ledge here. It was fun to wave to them and hear them shouting back at us. Not that we could really understand them, though.

We headed back to the main trail toward South Kinsman and found this peek of Mt. Moosilauke to the south and perhaps that’s Kearsarge or Sunapee in the far south – can you just see it?

 

 

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After the summit, we headed back to the shelter for a good dinner at about 4pm. There was a lot of freeze-dried mush, but Dan had brought a steak and I had my trusty omega-3s (sardines), and we all shared. There was some chocolate. There were some flasks passed around. By 5pm we were bundled up and in for the night. We heard a couple of stories about “Worst First Dates” and wrapped up our conversations about the future of the green building industry. There was some snoring. At 1am I went out to the pond for some stargazing and caught a shooter among the constellations. It was brilliant, but pretty cold. About 10F, but still quiet of wind, so not really damn cold, just cold.

We were up at 7am and on the trail by 9. We returned the same Fishin’ Jimmy trail, as the alternative, Kinsman Ridge trail, had only been trekked by one or two snowshoed parties and as we started we were just post-holing, thus changing the plan. At Lonsesome Lake they offered us their excess chocolate chip pancakes which was a real treat. Brig established the strict pull up  record of (uh-oh – I already forgot) 18 (?) for one of us to beat next year. By 11:30 we were down and on the road to grab the real mission of the trip: Burgers & Beers. This is so no one imagines the peak as the goal – if anyone has trouble, and we have to turn back on these expeditions, that is fine as the real mission is…

Here we are at The Common Man (Plymouth) offering a beer to our dear leader Guy Compagnone for having organized such a great trip!

 

 

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See you in Feb for the Jefferson Assault! (February 20-22 based two nights at Gray Knob Cabin of the Randolph Mountain Club). Stay tuned for the travelogue of that one!

Here is a Flickr Album of the Kinsman trip.

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Happy New Year!

I’m going to write more this year. Here are some pics I liked from 2014.

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Okay, to explain: White Mountains, Happy New Year, Funny Comic

 

Over Arizona, My Ride in Detroit, Sustainable Neighborhood Dev in JP

 

Ric & The New Orleans Devvil Himself, A conference about green buildings & cities, Norie & Grey in Quebec

A conf about healthy building materials, a beautiful farm in VT, the Bostonville at night

Considering farm property, me w/ hero David B of AllEarth Renewables, sunset over Tucson

 

My colleague Steve & I at a gala, looking down at a farm from the silo, an architect who recently died (I liked the pic)

My favorite Threefoot Building (Meridian MS) (at left), seeing Sting, summiting in -15F (Mt. Crawford I believe)

NY, NY! Me with Kerri, The Carolachusetts vista from my office

 

Teddy balancing in the desert, Monhegan Island, skiing

 

 

A stately tree in Maryland, my revellers for the big 4-0, looking up at Frontenac

 

Thanks everyone! 2014 was a fabulous year and now we’re on to 2015. Let’s ROCK!

 

 

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What is inside?

I had an old magic 8-ball…

The answers weren’t coming to the surface any more.

It had dried out I guess.

I thought I could drill into it, add some fluid, and re-seal a small hole on the docket. I have been thinking this for about ten years. The ball resurfaces from time to time, wanting to provide answers. But when you try to use it…it’s not working so well. It’s kinda sad.

Then I acquired a new magic 8-ball. At some event. Halloween or something? I don’t recall. Maybe a brokers’ open house somewhere.

 

 

 

So the old one…needs to be…dealt with.

 

 

AND: THIS IS WHAT’S INSIDE!

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This is what the surgery looked like.

 

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This is what gives you all the answers.

 

“Outlook Good”!

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Showcase Spotlight

I was interviewed related to my upcoming MA LEED Project Showcase on Oct 17th – it’s sold out, but I had buy meratol fun talking about it with the fellas at the New England Real Estate Journal Radio Show…

 

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Carter Dome to “New” Height (Mt. Height)

Finally got out on the trail for a great overnighter in the White Mountains!

Organized with PZ (who of course is more organized than I am, every time) and decided to drive further but hike shorter. He has some back issues, I’ve got leg issues, but we have to get out there. It had been a while since our last outing – Labor Day last year at Camel’s Hump in VT. Time flies.


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In the area to the east of the Carter Huts, there are the Ramparts. These seem to be a major tellus field from falling off the side of the dome sometime in the post-glacial era. Huge boulders piled up all over the place. Lots of nooks and crannies. As I mentioned to Pete – this would be a great place to take your kinds and let them run wild and freak out your wife. He said he’d be freaked out too. I’d let them have fun. I do see the point, there were serious gaps and drops into dark corners and someone could get hurt etc…I’d be happy to go there again to play.

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At the top of Wildcat, some interesting rock formations and vegetation. Actually minerally odd- our compasses were totally thrown off. Luckily we did not actually need to use the compasses.

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I was totally fascinated by the lichens on the top of Wildcat…Amazing colors!

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Not that you can really see it but the community of plants in the crack of the rock was really beautiful, and then, there I am, standing on the edge of this pond (see below).

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I really enjoyed meditating at this pond between Carter Notch and the Huts. I’m not sure the name. Very peaceful. Bullfrogs, some fish biting at flies, a few birds but not many. 
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Loads of yellow-flowering lillypads. Very cool. The trail goes around to the left, on the way to the huts, so you could hear any traffic. A few parties moving through. Mostly just the mist and increasing precipitation…into the dark of evening…Mystical for real.
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This was up at the actual Carter Notch were we camped, just to the south of the 19 Mile Brook Trail as it hits the Wildcat – Carter Dome connecting trail. There’s a little patch of rough ground but open to the sky, and this magnificent frozen druid…or something…We

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I Natox was psyched to have both whiskey and a chocolate bar. Note cool wind screen for stove:

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Soon it would be night. I had an orange theme to dinner – carrot, cheese, and Annie’s Mac-n-Cheese with a can of tuna. Anatto!

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The next morning we woke up but the tent was wet. Waiting a bit, reading more of Dharma Gaia, then up the trail to Carter Dome. This was about 1500 in about 2 miles. Just over an hour. It was a slog but nice to summit. No view. The remains of a lost, perhaps burned out, tower. A pair of mother-daughters that we passed arrive at the top to take pictures – it was one of the old gals’ 46th 4000-footer (there are only 48 in NH) so she was excited. They were very talkative. Pete and I were trying to dry the tent and finishing off the whiskey. In the distance you can actually see the top of Agiocochook.

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Then another hour on a ridge, not to far up or down, to Mt. Height. What a gem!

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Looking east (below) from the top of Mt. Height. I really liked how removed we were. Total wilderness all around. The only thing you could see of humankind was the auto-road on Washington, but that was behind clouds a lot. Otherwise, really about as far-out as I’ve felt in the Eastern US.

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Yep, two dudes hangin’ out on the top of the mountain.

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Here we can see the tops of the northern Prezzies – Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Madison, peaks obscured by clouds, but I like the foreground. It was sunny the whole time we were on Height. Great peak.

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I liked the little mountain plants. I don’t know what this cute stuff is…

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Well, here’s to a great day out in the mountains! Avocado on bread. With super salt from the PZ pantry. Thanks man!IMG_7868

The most interesting thing we found was this dangling slug in the middle of the trail. I had never seen that before:

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Anyone know what these are? I would like to identify.

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I also don’t know the name of the bird right in the middle of the photo here:

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So we’ll have to come again, to see past the edge, into the unknown…

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Furthest Dingle

Alex and I drove on, drove out past that lunch near Camp on the north side of the peninsula west of Tralee…after ripping up the road to Castlemaine, finding the little parking spot for the Burren…we kept going.

We kept going to Dingle and through.

We found the end of the road.

We found a little car park and took a walk – we are looking back at the little village – where the cove disappears behind the side of the hill in the foreground – and proceeding west, but looking back…maybe you had to be there. Lots of fog over the hills in the distance…

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I liked this rock. There were a lot of these, long and plate-ey with little gardens of sedums packed in the crinkles…
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Looking south, the massif might be the hills near Portmagee, or Valentia Island…something says “Inishtooskert” in sizegenetics complaints my head…

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Great Basket Island…and the little one, last in the chain known as “Lure” – to the deep blue sea? I liked the lichens on these rocks.

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It was a bit steep!

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Alex observing the distant scenery:

 

 

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Thar she blows! The SKELLIG!

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Also some sheep on the ridge above the crashing waves…

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Still pretty anywhere you turn…

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“Harrumph, excuse me, I’m trying to eat here, please…”

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I must say I like the old stone wall pastures of this long-inhabited land…don’t quite know the economics of it these days but still it’s fairly attractive, eh?IMG_5749

 

 

That was a good little ramble!

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Now, on to Kenmare! Maybe with a couple of stops along the way yet…I love you IRELAND!!!

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Just a bit of that Hooky Norton

 

 

 

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The afternoon required us to venture further into the Cotswolds, the real Cotswolds. Not those little villages with embroidery and teacups for sale, but really into the heart of the economy. We had to look at what was being produced in middle England. What did the people really require?

 

We must needs take our youth to see the inner workings of one of Britain’s finest productive establishments: the Hook Norton Brewery!

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So after our quick lunch at Shipton Standing we headed over hill and dale, passing the bright fields and small woods to where the ancient art of zymurgy continues daily. We arranged the tour for the boys as this was the first afternoon of their spring break. Below you see Sebastian and Marcus dutifully listening to the safety precautions. Charlotte is already wondering how long the tour will last.

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The whole place smelled great – rich musty malt and fermentation. The boys really enjoyed all the machinery. This is Marcus and his schoolmate from Thailand who was staying with them over the break. He had never been in anything like MaleExtra this.

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And from the top – in the cupola where they dry the malting barley, quite a view of the quaint old (eponymous) village. Hey – is that a photovoltaic array?

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Down below we went out around the grounds to the Stables to see the draft horses who still deliver casks of beer to the local pubs in the valley. Mostly they are good for festivals and tours. I liked the idea of horse-drawn beer.

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In fact, I liked the entire idea of having a brewery!

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And thus, after the rigors of the tour – up and down all those stairs and ladders! – we made it back to the welcome center which doubles as the village pub. Our guide then put on his next had to share with us the particulars of the brews we had seen in production. The newest recipe is the Lion, “Pride of the Cotswolds,” – quite good. My favorite: Old Hooky. Thanks for joining me on the sampling, Andrew!

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And if you want to know the latest scoop from Hook Norton, be sure to follow Albert the horse!

 

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Jonathan Rose and “The Well-Tempered City”

I attended a presentation by Jonathan Rose whom I first met through the Garrison Institute in New York.

Jonathan’s family owns the Rose Company a big real estate operation in NYC. His philanthropic efforts have resulted in the Garrison Institute – they bought an old monastery about an hour north of the City and have turned it into a buddhist/mindfulness themed place which hosts a lot of components, including the Climate, Mind & Behavior program which I support.

Jonathan was at Harvard to talk about “Planning Resilient Communities in and Uncertain Future” and was introduced by Dan Schrag, one of my neighbors. Jonathan is into how minds lead reality – we have cognitive problems a priori, then traffic or crime or lost opportunities. So his theme was linking resilience of infrastructure to cognitive resilience. Very cool stuff. I hadn’t heard him really present on anything before, only as a “chimer-in-er” on panels, so it was great to see him as an academic.

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Here are more of my notes:

Russian revolution in 1600 was caused by climate change that challenged the reality of the serfs which was caused by a volcano in Peru……Cognitive problems are a last issue of priority – 9/11 resulted in back-up generators going off the roofs and into the basements. Hurricane Sandy flooded all those lower-level generators…….Urbanization will grow from climate-destabilized rural migrants…….already Cairo is 70% unplanned shantytowns…….McKinsey’s Top 600 Cities in 2002 were 1.5B, in 2025 = 2B…US triactol the best way to was 190 of those top cities in 2002, in 2025 will be 125 of them……What is the implication for infrastructure in declining cities?……He brought up Split in Croatia (though used a picture of Dubrovnik) to describe how the 300AD water system for Diocletian is still being used……NYC’s water system is from 19th century……

The for-profit mission of his company is “to repair the fabric of communities? – very cool!

Things I need to look into: Rose Company in Brazil recycling……David King UK Net Zero……NYC BERDO & then labeling like cars……Christine Jones soil study in Australia

He had some principles to hold to: Diverse, clustered, dense, connected, independence, leadership, participation, planning, feedback systems, Nature, Buildings, Social systems & labor, Economic systems & Info. I’ll have to review this another time.

Information does not shift behavior. There is a “conservation attitude behavior gap.” The Garrison Institute is about people’s behavior and creating embodied experiences.

He went through a few examples: Via Verde, Burnham Building in Irvington, and the Denver Dry Goods Buliding – 23 pieces of financing!

It was a great presentation that I’m sure you can catch another time. Thank you Jonathan!

IMG_5981The cool thing was I sat next to Karl Thidemann who I’ve been networking with for a long time. He is a big proponent of Allan Savory’s holistic management and grazing grass-soil carbon sequestration stuff. Which you can read about somewhere else in here…See ya later!!

 

 

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