About this project
I am dedicated to learning new techniques and approaches to regenerative design. I have recently completed two Permaculture Design Certification courses, one with the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco and another at Sunrise Ranch in Colorado. I am working toward an MSc in 'Integrative Ecosocial Design' at Gaia University. I grew as a person attending the Ecology of Leadership course at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA. As an artist in residence at the Omega Institute, I had first hand experience observing one of the first waste water reclamation buildings of it's kind in the USA. I photograph National Parks, use biodegradable products on job sites, and visit growing permaculture sites. I am considering certifications in photovoltaic systems and/or greywater installation. After my educational adventures in the USA, I will be immersing myself in the green revolution in Central America, documenting my experiences along the way.
I will focus on 3 major areas of Imagery and Research:
1) Anglo/Latino American Connection:
My focus has always been international and multicultural in scope with an emphasis on Latino culture. I have studied Spanish literature, language and culture for over 14 years. I was certified in SCUBA in Roatan, Honduras and I studied marine ecology in Belize with Eastern Carolina University. I have studied Spanish in Barcelona, Spain and I have taught English in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I worked as a farm intern at a biodynamic CSA farm in Tennessee (http://www.barefootfarmer.com/), an artist in residence at a holistic institute in New York (http://www.eomega.orb/), a camp counselor at an outdoor education and social justice summer camp in California (www.hiddenvilla.org/), and as a student of permaculture design for the Urban Permaculture Institute in San Francisco (http://www.upisf.com/). I completed a rocky mountain PDC and worked on a ranch in Colorado during the Spring of 2012 (http://www.sunriseranch.org/). I have photographed Guadalajara and Guanajuato, México for artistic and personal pleasure (http://www.dblfoto.com/MexicoGallery.html). I have also documented Argentina extensively during my time teaching English there (http://dblfoto.com/Argentina.html). Because of my background, skills and interests I am in a unique position to serve as an interlocutor and intermediary between the cultures, places and languages of the Americas; especially as pertaining to the blossoming social revolution geared towards sustainability.
Following intensive educational training in permaculture in the USA, I intend to immerse myself in the permaculture that is thriving in Latin America. My goal is to transcend linguistic and cultural boundaries through the creative use of the camera, an expert understanding of the Spanish language, and a passion for environmental education. My images will help teach people from diverse cultural perspectives how Central, North and South America can grow to become sustainable together. Following the ethics of permaculture, viewers will be able to replicate the methods used in creating the designs documented. I will photograph the relationships between the permaculture techniques that are being used in Anglo and Latino America, and discuss how we can best share these techniques. This work will be juxtaposed and developed in contrast to the orthodox concepts and designs that pervade Western society during this epoch of unrestrained profiteering.
2) Practical methods of achieving sustainability:
The methodologies, designs and techniques that will be required for the transition to sustainability include strategies for the production or management of: water, shelter, energy, waste and food. These are the actions that make up the applicable knowledge of the transition to sustainability. For example, utilizing plant species that thrive in microclimates, space/water saving techniques to maximize yield of edible food, strategies to utilize the energy that is on any site to become regenerative, and designing systems based on natural patterns specific to each geographic area. Design, in this sense, is not limited. In fact the original essence of permaculture design was to re-model all aspects of human habitat to meet peak oil with practical methods. I will use photographs to document the design process so that others may replicate the same designs and all may learn to live in mutual balance with the natural cycles of our planet.
Methods, Strategies and Techniques include, but are not limited to: Aquaponics, biointensive gardening, guerilla gardening, composting toilets, small scale water purification systems, grey water systems, native plant species that have abundant yield, renewable energy from all available sources, natural pattern literacy, food forests, edible/medicinal mushroom cultivation, spiral dynamics, waste management, using waste as building materials, water harvesting, increased bio-diversity, decentralized community guilds, viewing the 'problem' as the solution, bee keeping, land rehabilitation, eco-building, and more!
3) Ideology and Dialectics:
In March of 2010 I resigned from my job working as an account manager for an online advertising firm. I had no clue what I would do for money, only the desire to be in integrity with my work, and to help make a practical difference to all of the ecological and social issues that we face. Since then, I have fully changed my life path, and I have found acceptance in the greater community of people who are dedicated to living the green revolution. This transition in my life has been an amazing adventure. I am blessed to have arrived in the realm of permaculture that comes with a worldwide network of individuals who share my passion. Our network has a compelling code of ethics and design principles based on ancient traditional knowledge of how to connect with nature and live sustainably.
My personal ambition is to create educational resources (i.e. books with photographs) that will spread practical knowledge of how to be sustainable. I work to be in service of others, the planet and the natural world. While I may not “change the world,” I believe that one person who is educated in sustainable techniques can have a tremendous impact on their sphere of influence. My sphere of influence is wherever I travel or live. Traveling is one of my passions, and I have become comfortable with the lifestyle of a peripatetic student and educator.
My goal is to help change people's hearts and minds to accept the next social revolution of actually living in a sustainable manner. In the sustainable society of the future people will understand that growing food rather than lawns is not only practical but also ethical. To achieve only sustainability is inadequate, and 'regenerative design' is the desired outcome of the techniques documented. Through my work I hope to inspire greater understanding between humans and their natural ecosystems and between Anglo and Latino America through mutual dialogue.
The solution to all major problems facing humans requires shared commitment and willing cooperation to achieve practical and lasting solutions. It is my social responsibility to explain to others why the ideas I am passionate about are important to learn and implement in their lives. My photography attempts to create a map of collective intentions, so that we may more fully understand our current human condition, and our collective reaction (or lack thereof) in the face of imminent ecological collapse. We are an ingenious species, and we have the means to live off of the grid in sustainable ways. Unfortunately ingenuity exists on a small scale in local communities, and different techniques needed to live off of the land are not part of our shared social consciousness. If humans shared an awareness that our planet is like an island whose size is shrinking as the population continues to grow, then our shared awareness would have made us stronger and more knowledgeable, and that ought to be the ultimate goal of any socially conscious project: strength through unity.
Another important aspect of my work as a photographer is to create images that are compelling enough to make people aware of the vital importance of environmental issues and sustainable practices. While embracing these idealistic goals, I acknowledge that it will be difficult to go beyond 'preaching to the choir,' (i.e., finding a receptive audience among those who are not already committed to building sustainable systems) but this is a challenge that I whole-heartedly accept.
The outcome of the project will be educational in nature, building on the established canon of ecologically minded leaders, thinkers and philosophers with my own insights and photographs. I will document processes involved in the methods and strategies of sustainability, as well as processes of ideological and social transitions. As is true for any design project, the evolution of culture and belief entail a process; likewise, this project will emerge as a process. Large sum contributors can expect to receive a book by October 2013.
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- (30 days)