Showcase Spotlight

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

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.


IMG_7822

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.

IMG_7778IMG_7783

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.

IMG_7750

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

IMG_7756

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).

IMG_7769

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. 
IMG_7792

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.
IMG_7767

 

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

IMG_7737

 

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

IMG_7805

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!

IMG_7807

IMG_7811

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.

IMG_7842

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

IMG_7845

IMG_7850

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.

IMG_7874

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

IMG_7867

IMG_7863

 

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.

IMG_7860

 

 

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

IMG_7854

IMG_7861

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:

IMG_7883

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

IMG_7897

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

IMG_7870

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

IMG_7875

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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…

IMG_5728

I liked this rock. There were a lot of these, long and plate-ey with little gardens of sedums packed in the crinkles…
IMG_5727

 

Looking south, the massif might be the hills near Portmagee, or Valentia Island…something says “Inishtooskert” in my head…

IMG_5746

 

 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_5733

 

 

 

It was a bit steep!

IMG_5756

 

Alex observing the distant scenery:

 

 

IMG_5729

 

Thar she blows! The SKELLIG!

IMG_5750

 

Also some sheep on the ridge above the crashing waves…

IMG_5731

 

 

Still pretty anywhere you turn…

IMG_5741

 

IMG_5744

 

IMG_5751

 

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

IMG_5755

 

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!

IMG_5753

 

IMG_5758

 

IMG_5759

 

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Just a bit of that Hooky Norton

 

 

 

IMG_6826

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!

IMG_6792

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.

IMG_6793

IMG_6795

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 this.

IMG_6803

 IMG_6800

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?

IMG_6812

 

 

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.

IMG_6818

 

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

IMG_6817

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!

IMG_6829

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

 

IMG_6827

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

IMG_5980

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 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!!

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I got blogged:

In support of Mayor Menino’s Energy Disclosure Ordinance proposal, a connection chumped my linked in shout-out and blogged me. So now I really am a celebrity. Of some kind. In the green building world.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Sharing Table

We had our usual Wednesday night dinner at the Cambicoop this eve. However, we had a topical focus on the sharing economy and collaborative consumption. Janelle Nanos from the Boston Magazine had been in touch with Zahra (from my house) about the subject and wanted to check out a real share-space, our cooperative.

photo (26)Nora, our subletter of the past three months from Germany, cooked an apple cake from her grandmother’s recipe which was delicious. The discussion talked about the shared economy as seen with platforms to make markets like AirBnB and TaskRabbit, but also the more sharey stuff like couchsurfing and yerdle. I made a point to distinguish sharing as a means of exchange, the commercialization of sharing that is, and the collaborative lifestyle and the cooperative process which we embrace in coop culture. Our situation is more about the process and what goes on, than the result of the activity. We’re not so transactional as all these techie we collcons startups.

photo (25)I was thinking it could be a much longer conversation. I hope to elaborate further with Janelle and also with our former housie Eric who is studying collaboration in a psych degree at Northeastern.

We did start talking about the various ways we participate in the collcons scene and it made me think about all the things I’m involved with, such as:

  • Couchsurfing
  • Zimride
  • TimeTradeCircle
  • Co-working at Space with a Soul
  • AirBnB
  • BlastOffice (AirBnB for office teams)
  • LiquidSpace (for subleases of office space)
  • RelayRides (for renting out my car)
  • Tryxler – some Weston contacts are creating a platform for web-based collaboration co-branded with a firm to increase morale and social capital within the firm
  • Wikimedia
  • and of course the social media – facebook, LinkedIn and twitter…

We are sharing all over the place, but these are all different ways of connecting people, and figuring out who and how to trust people and make decisions about exchanging based on anticipated future returns. Very interesting stuff indeed.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Happy Birthday!

Yes, it’s been a fine birthday. I’m actually wrapping it up listening to the last of my real estate broker license continuing education webinars. 12 hours of droning…I suppose it would be quite good but being able to do it on your own time means I’m double or triple tasking and actually not much paying attention. Next round I’ll certainly go to the full day live course. I enjoy asking questions of the presenters, which is a major drawback of the online course. It’s really pathetic to let people do the online thing. You could just have a kid sign-in for you and click every 9 minutes to indicate that someone (certainly not needing to be you) is listening. Sure you have signed something threatening perjury if you don’t actually listen to the courses, but it’s really a bad system ripe for abuse. See – I’m blogging while listening.

Earlier, I started this fine bluebird of a day heading to the old Hancock Building in the Back Bay to a presentation for A Better City – I was filling in for a volunteer who’d come down with the flu, to talk about LEED accreditation and how to take the exam(s). Even though my colleague hadn’t been able to send me a presentation or anything, I let the facilitator know, “Meghan, I’m flying blind but I’m happy to talk about this stuff” and she was fine with it – she had more recently taken the exam so was actually better at it than I was. The group was ABC’s “Challenge for Sustainability” which is a regular gathering to enable mutual support for mostly facility operators in the downtown to work on bringing sustainability into their realms. I enjoyed the venue, the crowd was very receptive, and I felt like I made a good presentation, even if I wasn’t really the best person for it.

photo (27)I walked across the Boston Common (from Berkeley St) through the north end of Chinatown on Tremont toward South Station and took this picture looking west toward Federal St (I think). The highest tower there is the Bank of America building. The white one has the distinct (if you know what you’re looking for) shadow of the Federal Reserve building.

I went to work for a little but then had a lunch date with my dear old UVM friend Heather (Kaplan) Coleman, and her new 4-week old daughter Lila. We went to Sam’s on the waterfront – on Fan Pier. It is so cool, with parking for her ease, and great views. I really enjoyed getting taken out by Heather! Thanks! We had tofu-mushroom cheeseburgers and I had _two_ beers! Then they brought over this dessert! Wow:

photo (28) Heather got me flowers – and I can’t say when the last time I got flowers was – and when I got back to the office I bumped into one of my housemates – Yutaka – who was there for a conference. The office is co-working “Space with a Soul” and often other non-profits use the board room and conference rooms. It was great to see a housie outside of the Cambicoop.

I managed to catch up with my friend Anu for drinks at Les Zygomates in the Leather District. We sat next to the grandson of George C. Scott, Campbell James Scott, who was moving through town from VT to NYC but the Fung Wah had been shut down so he had a longer than usual layover. He offered us pot and took this pic of us:

photo (29)

While we were there my father called to wish me happy birthday, and while I was on the phone with him, my mother called from here phone. Funny coincidence. Two of my brothers also called. Not at that exact time though, at another coincidental moment. Then as I was leaving, someone says “Hey Grey! How are you?” and it was some friends from high school – Lindsay and Sam Hunt (now married) who had started the supper club when I was running the farm, Land’s Sake. Sam said “Yeah, we’re out for my birthday” – and I’m like, wait, it’s my birthday! but actually it was his on the 22nd, same as Jeb. But it was funny. Great to bump into them, esp. in such a fine little restaurant. He just bought the Wild Horse Cafe in Beverly and is re-launching it later this spring. Great to see them! 

photo (24)Then it was off to dinner for myself, with my next date, my other other dear friend, Theo van Roijen, back in Harvard Sq. We went to First Printer and I ordered a bossa nova (cachassa w maracuja) and jambalaya. We walked back to her place and got to thinking about another old friend, Gordon Fontaine, who we have a habit of calling whenever we’re together. So we left him a message at his “Zen Dog Training” answering greeting. I had met Gordon while doing controlled brush burns in Weston almost ten years ago and through him and his Aikido Dojo had met Theo. Theo had rescued a rabbit from a lab that someone at the dojo worked at. So we got started singing a song about Dojo Rabbit Phone Call – don’t ask me how. We were really into it! Dojo Rabbit!

And now I’m back wrapping up the last of my re-licensure webinar nonsense and getting the blog back on track (thanks JEB!). It was a great birthday, thanks everyone!

I’ll be at it every day from now on.

Grey

 

I got the following quote via a spam-bot today:  ”It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once.” by David Hume….What’s up with that?

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Gigatons to the Soil

What is the one way we are really going to mitigate the overdose of carbon we’ve put into our atmosphere? Allan Savory and his Savory Institute have the answer: livestock.

photo-46

Yesterday afternoon I went to an awesome lecture at Tufts by one of my old faves, Allan Savory of Holistic Resource Management fame and hailing from Rhodesia originally. About 300 people in the ASEAS lecture hall at the Fletcher School. I ended up sitting in his seat in the front row as I knew one of the organizers. Savory has a plan to use managed grazing of livestock to transform brittle desertified landscapeds to vibrant green carbon-sequestering pastures. The climate crowd is getting kinda excited. There’s 10 billion acres of this landscape, if this type of management can put 1 ton/acre of carbon into soil, that would be more than all the carbon we’ve burned so far. A three-millimeter layer of soil across one acre is 20 tons of soil (that’s what I heard)…so…maybe it’s possible. To move gigatons of carbon into a beneficial purpose in the world’s soils. And there’s a lot of other benefits like nice juicy goatburgers and stuff.

photo-42

Many environmentalists have been opposed to livestock for many years: meat is bad, it causes various heart diseases and cancers, it is a waste of energy in the food chain. Cattle belch massive amounts of methane! Ranchers have been opposed to enviros, ranchers want to kill wolves and lions that enviros hold dear. Ranching causes desertification and soil erosion. So why should people listen to this ardent supporter of livestock ranching, who wants to re-invigorate pastoral communities with a new livestock management framework?

photo-41

The answer is: carbon sequestration in soils. There is no other way to get what we want out of the atmosphere fast enough, by an activity spread across enough territory to make a difference. As Allan says, we have no alternative.

Take a look at his Savory Institute to read more. I’ve been following his work for 20 years since I first came across “Holistic Resource Managemet” during a class with Bill Murphy and Abdon Schmitt at UVM. Allan has worked as a ranger and researcher first in Rhodesia, and then in the States and wherever he could find clients to experiment with his process. He has left the term HRM and now refers to it as Holistic Context. Very good stuff. See the chart below? Yeah, that basic: glomalin, dung beetles, hoove chopping action, living soils and perennial grasses are happy!

photo-48

When the perennial grasses are happy, the critters are happy!photo-47

By quadrupuling stocking rates, and keeping herds close together as they evolved to do, under pressure to cluster defensively against predators, and then keeping the herd moving through a range methodically – so they eat everything in one location but don’t come back to graze again for weeks if not months – he can promote grasses. Grasses cover soil and enable a vibrant surface level ecology which enables water to stay in the land and microorganisms to decay plant material. There is so much more to say: avoiding oxidization, improving water recharge, healing entire watersheds. He’s got evidence from all over, and even historical record corroboration.

I really enjoyed hearing him and being in his presence. Although he comes across very genteel and rather polished, you can tell he is tough, opinionated, and passionate. I appreciated his earnest interest in being shot down, fielding questions and critiques. He wants to be right through validation and I think his proof will be in the ability of these frameworks of his being picked up by ranchers and pastoral people across the globe. I talked with Tre Cates, his CFO, about setting up learning centers across the globe. They have a partnership with Patagonia for wool from ranchers in Argentina. I think it’s a good framework and has a lot of benefits. I’m ready to support his work. I wonder if we’ll see some “Savory Brand” eco-advantageous meat in the shops sometime soon?

photo-43

It was great to hear from Allan. He urged us to get involved in whatever it was that resonated for us. The problems as everywhere. Engage and engage in the scientific process to constantly improve – experiment, evaluate, redeploy. He is a crusty old bush man, and can’t help his convictions: he ended on the one note. “There is no alternative. We must use livestock, in dense herds, to improve grasslands, halt desertification and pull black carbon out of the atmosphere. We have no other choice.”

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Advancing Sustainability with the BSA

I attended a great meeting this morning with the Boston Society of Architects’ Committee for the Advancement of Sustianability at the invitation of Vernon Woodward and Ken Fisher, co-chairs.

I had a chance to introduce myself to the 15 or so attendees and describe a bit about the Chapter and where we are in terms of cultivating our community,  building our capacity and advocating for green building friendly state and local regulations.

One of the main points we discussed was the Coming of the Casinos to the state. Julie Taylor, of Noble & Wickersham, provided a great overview of the collaboration between AIA MA, BSA and ACEC. She was holding the draft white paper for the Gaming Commission regarding design standards and an outlined design review process, which the commission had asked them to produce. This was as follow-up to the “Promoting Sustainability and Strengthening Communities: Design Excellence for Massachusetts Casinos,” forum held on Dec. 12 last year (which many USGBC MA members attended).
Julie reviewed the State’s charge to the Commission and how design professionals can help weigh in on the casinos. Many in attendance hoped that the process would result in casinos that could support sustainability goals for their host communities. I asked Julie what would be the one priority that peer associations could push for, and she said getting renewable energy into these casinos, since they really will be energy hogs one way or another. You can read more about the forum here, and stay tuned to John Nunnari (ED of the Mass. AIA) who chimed in considerably with Julie, as he is also one of the white paper authors, to keep track of this process.

We also heard from Carolyn Sarno, from NEEP (Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership) speaking a bit about the base building code and also the stretch code for the state. It sounds like a lot of things were waiting for the recent fall’s election, and now, are just stuck in bureaucratic backlog. It may be one thing our Chapter could specifically advocate for: asserting for the stretch code and demanding the state issue appropriate regulations for green communities as per Green Communities Act of 2008.

I look forward to promoting good green policy at the state and local levels! Let me know what you’d like to see us move forward on. The USGBC (national)has a great list to work on, but we need to think locally, strategically, and creatively, to help move the levers of influence throughout Massachusetts.
See you soon! – GreyPS – the image on the right side of the photo is what? It’s probably obvious, even if it looks like some kind of mini-monster from this angle…

Leave a Comment

Filed under Uncategorized