@SolarPuertoRico, Community Building, Energy, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Systems Thinking

@SolarPuertoRico: No Limitations Beyond Design Considerations

BAREIDanoskiInstall (33)There are no limitations in designing any project, property, or life plan beyond the design considerations. This is the case in Puerto Rico.

Many people have voiced support for @SolarPuertoRico. Each has brought up the difficulties presented by the project. These are all design considerations which will advise how we proceed.

“Wait… What about a budget?? Surely that’s a limitation!”

The budget is a design consideration. It’s part of the existing conditions, present at the start of strategic planning.

“How will we get the solar panels, wiring, infrastructure there?”

This is also an existing condition. The solar company @Sunnova_Solar led by @SunnovaCEO John Berger has projects in Puerto Rico. He has met with Puerto Rico’s governor @RicardoRossello. I hope to hear back from them soon. Perhaps you know someone who works there?

“What about labor? How will you find people with the right experience to train locals in force? People can’t volunteer that kind of time!”

BAREIMichaudPathfinder (1)I agree, it’s not fair to ask people to volunteer their time and expertise to work on @SolarPuertoRico. Those who participate will experience opportunity cost by spending time away from their loved ones, and living conditions in Puerto Rico will be challenging. My plan is that people will get paid for their work. (Though I’m hoping people will contact me to volunteer if they want to help develop the project. It will make this much more fun!)

Would you like to be involved? Do you have a contact in Puerto Rico? If so, please get in touch! ¡Vamos a Hacerlo! Let’s do it!

PAREI, BAREI & Berlin BetterBuildings Energy Raiser, Berlin NH 2013

@SolarPuertoRico, Community Building, Energy, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Systems Thinking

@SolarPuertoRico: ¡Vamos a hacerlo!

Banner_H2Puerto Rico. An entire country devastated by one natural disaster. The power grids are down. Infrastructure is incapacitated. How on Earth do you rebuild after this? The answer is, you don’t: at least not a traditional power grid.What is truly frightening is that hurricane season isn’t over yet.

This is a terrible tragedy. In the weeks following the fall of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, the NYC design/build community of professionals came together to help the city redesign the space. Neighborhoods divided when the Towers were built were reconnected. Energy efficiency, renewable energy and green space were major design considerations.

When a system is disrupted, as the energy grid was after Sandy landed in 2012, we have an opportunity to improve that system. New Jersey energy providers had an opportunity to create a decentralized system which would be more resilient. They could have considered what improvements would be necessary with increased sea levels. The investment of public dollars could have been used to rebuild electrical infrastructure with renewable energy!

Increasing the number of independent hot water and electric solar arrays would have increased resilience.

The damage is more severe in Puerto Rico.

This is the time to design social, natural and financial ecosystems which integrate stakeholder engagement, product lifecycle, socially just procurement, workforce training, community coordination, energy efficiency, edible landscapes & permaculture,  waste management, and  sustainable infrastructure. It is time to distribute power in all its forms equitably and inclusively, respectful of cultural and ethnic diversity.

Someone needs to support Puerto Rico in creating distributed renewable energy. Let’s listen to what the people of Puerto Rico need AND want. Let’s offer them support in creating a workforce of energy efficiency professionals, who can grow their own food, and create a sustainable economy, using public banking to fund it.

Yes, all the parts and pieces have to be brought there. People are focusing on clean-up, many are just trying to survive. We need to find the funding. The devastation is complete. These are not limitations, they are design considerations. We know how to do this!

This is not just a dream. We can make it happen! ¡Vamos a hacerlo! (Let’s do it!)

Collective Genius, Community Building, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Local Economy, Mindfulness in Schools, Pathways to Thriving, Synergetic Genius, Unique Genius

Chicago’s Mindful Children

The majority of the news coming out of Chicago has been horrific. 67 people have been murdered in Chicago as of 2/10/2017. When I hear good news, when I hear mindfulness is being taught to children in the early grades in Chicago schools as a way of helping them cope with stress, I want to jump for joy, and share this news with everyone. So I am!


This Erikson Institute project is a bright light, and shows what is possible, even in the darkest of times. If you’re looking for an efficient, compassionate and creative organization to support with your hard-earned cash, please consider donating to the Erikson Institute. @EriksonInst



Collective Genius, Community Building, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Synergetic Genius, Unique Genius

Finding the Hidden Talented

Looking for an employee who is friendly, dependable, has good customer service and would be grateful for a chance to expand her skills, and accept more responsibility? There are people with Hidden Talents right in front of your eyes!

When the economy went bust in 2008, people who formerly had “successful” careers began to find themselves unemployed or underemployed. These hard workers still had their hard-won skills sets and unique genius.

Some of these people have retired. Some are waiting to be recognized for the human resource assets they are. To many in the business world, these people are invisible. I’m here to tell you these dedicated, loyal workers are the ones checking you out at the chain stores, the convenience marts, and supermarkets. They want to increase their income, gain more experience, and work for a supportive company with compassion.

Now, imagine you’re a small business owner in a geographic area with limited human resources. There are a couple of big local employers who can afford to give their employees great benefits. These employers naturally are the employer of choice for most of the experienced talent pool. What’s a small business owner to do?

First, I suggest that you change the way you’re thinking about what defines “talent”. Instead of looking for staff trained for office work, with higher expectations around income and benefits, look for the kinds of skills that is transferable, the ones that make a good employee. You want someone with a good attitude, primarily. She also needs to be dependable and honest, with the best interests of the company at heart. You want someone who is going to be accountable, and loyal, because turnover is expensive.

People with these skills are working in “blue collar” jobs throughout your community, and many would love the chance to try something new.

cashier02The next time you’re shopping at the pet store, in a box store, or eating out, pay attention to the person behind the counter. Are they courteous, helpful? Are they accountable when they make an error, or if something is mis-priced?  Are they aware of what is going on around them, do they create relationships? Pay attention to the way they speak to customers on the phone. Then imagine them working in your office.

When you meet a service person with hidden talents, give her one of your business cards. Let her know you’ve noticed what a great job she’s doing, that you’re looking for someone with her skills for your business. Just this moment of appreciation will improve her day, to be sure! She might even give you a call, or send you her resume. And you’ll both win!

It may take some time until her hidden talents will be fully aligned with that of your business. If you handle this relationship with compassion, understanding, and clear communication of expectations, I believe you will both have engaging and successful careers ahead of you.

Community Building, First Circle Coaching, Green Collar Economy, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Unique Genius

Hidden Talents

It is my belief that there is no “quality” difference between people who work in “blue collar” and “white collar” jobs. Talented people anywhere in an organization will move up quickly if they are provided opportunity, education and good mentoring.

cashier-copyConsider a cashier at a chain store. There is no more important position in any organization than one which serves as the face of the organization. People who are dependable, friendly, helpful, accurate, and take initiative can succeed in this position. And you also make great managers!

I’m willing to bet that you have hidden talents. Here is an exercise you might consider: Make a list of everything you’ve done today: the relationships you nurtured, the solutions you found, the people who left your presence better off, with a lighter step. Next, take an inventory of your week. What projects have you accomplished? What new skill did you learn? List any goals you set, met or exceeded.

These don’t have to be monumental skills, or substantial projects. Examples might be: A customer came in to return an item, she is very upset. By the time she leaves with her replacement item, she is smiling. Or, during your break you happened to run into the furniture manager, and discuss how to help her increase sales while working at the register. Perhaps you’ve been noticing recurring questions from customers on a particular display, and create signage to help minimize confusion. What may seem like small successes show you can notice pieces of a system that aren’t working, or could work more efficiently, and create solutions. These are all things managers do, though on a larger scale. Use these exercises to gain confidence and hone your message, so you’re ready when someone notices your many talents! (Next blog: how employers can recognize and recruit Hidden Talent in non-traditional environments.)

A great resume is written in the language of the target position. Once you’ve completed this exercise, translate this list into the language used to support the industry or sector of your dream job you’re. Your skills are transferable. Show you are already doing the job you are targeting. If you’re applying for a promotion to senior cashier, use language that shows your leadership, ability to be accountable and to nurture relationships with those at all levels of the organization.

Don’t know what your dream job is? Find a coach or mentor to help you figure it out. Is there someone in your organization you admire and have always wanted to know? Is there one who is doing a job you find intriguing? Do you already have a relationship with this person? If you have no one in mind, consider what traits the ideal person should have to help you reach your career goals. Perhaps you will need to find someone from outside your organization. How would you go about doing that?

I would love to hear your story of success, or answer your questions about next steps. Please reach out or leave a comment.


Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, September 11, 2001, Systems Thinking

New York New Visions: How the New York Design Community Began to Heal In the Days After September 11, 2001

I recently discovered that an important document is no longer available on the internet. In the days following the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, brand-new New York AIA Director Rick Bell got to work. The Design Build community had lost hundreds of members who were loved and admired throughout the world.

From what I understand based on conversations we shared, Rick was inspired to help create a tribute to the City of New York and the Design/Build community. He launched New York New Visions. In honor of the people I knew at Cantor Fitzgerald and the Port Authority, and for anyone who was personally affected by the events of that day, I offer this copy of the report, which we presented to Mayor Bloomberg early in his administration. I’ve heard that much of his first Inaugural Address was taken from this report.


Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

July 15 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stormwater Analysis of Crowell Park

Session 8 of the Turning Point Gratitude Project permaculture course will be a field trip to Crowell Lot in Brattleboro. This session will be free and open to the public.


This heavily wooded park is very popular with neighbors. It borders on the Green Street School and has a playground. It has also been know to be camp for squatters. It was initially chosen as the site for the town skate board park, which will now be built in Memorial Park.

This park is located at the corner of Western Avenue and Union Street. It is owned by the school district, and slops towards the Whetstone Brook and Connecticut River. The “Whetstone Brook flows west to east from the hills of Marlboro across Brattleboro before emptying into the Connecticut River in downtown Brattleboro (Whetstone). The brook’s headwaters originate at over 1,500 feet above sea level at Hidden Lake. The brook cascades down from steep hills and follows Vermont Rte. 9 to the Connecticut River flatlands. The brook empties into the Connecticut River at 250 feet above sea level, dropping over 1,250 feet in just seven miles of stream length (Whetstone). Approximately 69% of the watershed resides in Brattleboro with 29% of the land in Marlboro and 2% of the land within Dummerston (Whetstone, 2008). The watershed contains nearly 20 miles of streams and a mix of rural, residential and urban land.” (Watershed description taken from a Vermont Environmental Conservation publication.)

During this session participants will analyze water flow, including how the site is being affected or affects its neighboring properties. The participants have learned a lot about water flow, how water and land interact, and how to retain this valuable resource on site for use in creating an edible landscape aligned with the existing ecosystem. They’ve learned the value of stacking functions, using and enhancing existing patterns, how forest layers interact, and how to use the permaculture principles and ethics to guide their designs.

Join us for what will be an interesting and informative session. This will be the final session before the students focus on the Turning Point edible forest garden design. If you have questions about the Turning Point Gratitude Project, the stormwater analysis of Crowell Lot, or want to talk about using ecological design to manage stormwater on your site, please contact me!

Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

TPGP Makes the Airwaves with Green Mountain Mornings

Many thanks to Chris Lenois of WKVT Radio’s Green Mountain Mornings. Chris invited us in to speak about the Turning Point Gratitude Project. Chris asked many really insightful questions about the benefits to the Turning Point of Windham County community. Take a listen!



Community Building, Green Collar Economy, Infrastructure, Local Economy, Pathways to Thriving, Permaculture, Synergetic Genius, Systems Thinking, Turning Point Gratitude Project, Unique Genius

Turning Point Gratitude Project Permaculture Course Launches!

The Turning Point Gratitude Project launched Tuesday June 2nd with a session introducing permaculture theory, ethics and principles to the participants. Permaculture is as much about creating social abundance as it is about ecological abundance. We discussed our hopes or goals for the course, and what our expectations are. Community is all important, and the bonding of a PDC cohort is something which provides grace and beauty to the final group design.

The first session took place at Turning Point of Windham County and involved a walk through the site, including the building. The participants became familiar with the permaculture principles: Observe & Interact, Catch & Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Self-Regulate/Accept Feedback, Use & Value Renewables, Produce No Waste, Design from Patterns to Detail, Integrate, Slow, Small Solutions, Use & Value Diversity, Value the Marginal.

As we toured the site for the first time together, we noticed where these principles and correlating ethics of Care for the Earth, Care for People, and Fair Share are already being demonstrated. Participants were introduced to the concept of “stacking functions”, which is to receive many types of yields from one item, such as a tree, or a chicken, or a fence. Students looked for evidence of this on the site.

Our role as designers is to recognize what is working, and to help build on the successes which exist in the ecosystem. (Tuesday June 9th we will look at the existing conditions at a homestead on Bonnyvale Road. If you’d like to join us, please contact me by close of business Monday June 8th.)

The enthusiasm in the group was very inspiring. As is the case for many budding permies, being around people who share your love and support for ecosystems is heady stuff. Understanding the dynamics of the natural system and viewing it through a permaculture lens enhances the way you look at all the ecosystems in your life: natural, social and professional.

Session 2 ~ Tuesday, June 9, 2015
6 BTT Hours or EBT card FREE (Inquire if you would like to join us for a nominal fee)
Water & Landscape, Soil & Earthworks

In this session you will visit a homestead in Guilford where hugel culture is being implemented. We will dive more deeply into the interaction between water and land, and what the consequences are when we disturb the land without understanding how its systems work

Knowledge covered
Observe & Interact, Catch & Store Energy, Obtain a Yield, Self-Regulate/Accept Feedback, Use & Value Renewables, Produce No Waste, Design from Patterns to Detail, Integrate, Slow, Small Solutions, Use & Value Diversity, Value the Marginal

♦ Care for the Earth – Environmental goals
♦ Care for People – Social goals
♦ Fair Share – Embrace justice for all beings

Learning Objectives
How are you affecting the water cycle where you live? What are the duties of water? How can you design so you support your water and soil relationship, and accomplish as many functions as possible? The best question is the one that is asked.

Skills covered:
♦ We continue to build a cooperative and non-threatening environment in which to learn.
♦ In understanding of how soil and water are intricately linked, demonstrated by hugel culture.
♦ An understanding of how soils and plants can provide carbon sequestration.
♦ Become familiar with designs that have dealt with soil issues successfully.