I sent an e-mail out to a potential advisor for my project, a gentleman I respect who taught one of the classes I took at Yestermorrow. I attached to the e-mail a copy of my proposal, and then within 24 hours we spoke on the phone about his expectations and he gave me some initial feedback. At the end of the call, I asked him if he had any final questions or concerns before we got started with him as my advisor. He tasked me with answering the following question:
“What do you mean by the word, ‘green?'”
I told him I’d give it some thought. Here’s what came off the top of my head:
“First I think of regenerative design. Rehabilitating a sick or fading resource by adding inputs that are healthful (read: non-toxic, nutritive, perhaps locally-sourced), thereby allowing that resource to support or create additional growth.
“Green can mean recycling. But evergreen is cradle-to-cradle design, which factors in health in each step of a process from inception to rebirth. Green means working in harmony with nature as much as possible for ends that are of interest to human / personal / communal development. But that said, the deeper we go into green thinking and design, it should erode that divisive sense of “us as apart from nature,” and “me apart from others.”
“Green means being involved in politics, public policy, art, science, ethics, and community. It means being increasingly conscious of the ways in which we choose to create and consume. It means being more appreciative of things we can easily take for granted; things as simple as a fresh breath of air, or a drink of water. It means responsibility. It means we have more to learn. It means more compassion.”
“Thanks. That gives me a more complete picture. That’s a wonderfully comprehensive perspective.
“One idea worth pondering, though, is the notion of ‘growth’ and how that has become a dangerous demographic and economic paradigm.
“Juvenile ecosystems grow and consume rapidly, but mature ecosystems achieve a steady-state low-consumption phase, while stressed ecosystems revert to juvenile characteristics.”
Grateful that I’d gone with my intuition and just given a gut response – and that it had been well received by someone whose experience & sensibilities I very much respect – I asked, “Would you say we can get started working together as student / advisor?”
And as fast as you can say, “Sure, let’s go for it,” we’re suddenly off on the next leg of the Little Green Airstream’s journey! To make it official: My advisor for this Yestermorrow practicum project is Robert _________.
[UPDATE 1/2/16: Advisor’s last name has been removed from the post above, as we ultimately did not complete the process together for reasons described in this post: Impracticum and a New Beginning. However, if you’re interested in reading more about this process in sequence, please proceed to the next post, First the Bad News! – JB]