Words like sustainability, permaculture, and ecological design are now part of the public lexicon, but what do they really mean? We turn on the tap and water comes out, the switch and there is light, go to the store and the shelves are full of food. Rarely are we afforded an in-depth look at how these basic life functions actually work, and how to participate in these essential aspects of our lives in a more conscious way.
Physically isolated from other communities, semi-independent of public sewers, water systems, commercial food production, and energy sources, Esalen provides a unique opportunity to understand how the places where we live physically function. This program offers a microcosmic look at what works and what doesn’t, and how to improve our own “life support” systems back home.
Guided by farmer and author Michael Ableman, guest presenters, and by those who manage the basic systems that keep Esalen functioning, we will explore the inner workings and philosophy of the farm, garden, and kitchen; Esalen’s water sources, sewage systems, and energy supply; the structures where people live, stay, meet, and work; and how these systems are integrated or not. We will hear from those who work with these systems about challenges, strengths and weaknesses of existing infrastructure, planned improvements, and hopes for the future.
Participants will have the opportunity to develop ideas and designs for the systems we are studying at Esalen, and then learn how to apply those concepts to their own homes and communities. This month-long exercise will provide the inspiration and information that is applicable to any situation, whether a single-family home, a neighborhood, or an entire community. This month is especially useful for people who seek to create a more sustainable world — in their everyday lives and beyond.