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5/17/2005 12:00:00 AM

Tags: green living

I’ve heard that the moment you plunk down a deposit for a vacation or buy yourself a plane ticket, a good chunk of you is already at the beach (or the mountains or the city . . . or wherever). I can honestly say that’s true for me right now. My thoughts are already all wrapped around snorkeling, exploring—oh, and talking and learning about green building — at the Maho Bay eco-resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I’m headed to the Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction, which is sponsored by Colorado State University’s (CSU) Institute for the Built Environment and held at Maho Bay every May. In the mornings, we’ll engage in great conversation about sustainability, green materials and products, and planning and design. We’ll spend our afternoons getting intimate with St. John’s flora and fauna and sailing on a solar-electric catamaran. Then we’ll sleep soundly in eco-tent cottages, and (here’s the rough part) get up and do it again.

On Sunday night, I’ll give a presentation on wabi-sabi, based on my book The Wabi-Sabi House. Aside from that, my job is really to absorb it all—from the cutting-edge design and philosophy of internationally acclaimed Maho Bay (one of the first and best eco-resorts) to the wisdom and insights of the course leaders (CSU professor Brian Dunbar and Miami of Ohio instructor Karen Pelletier), and the students (who will create personal definitions of sustainability and projects focused on ecotourism and sustainable design).

It’s a combination of two things I love most: great conversations about living green, and serene, healing time with nature. I’m not even bothered that the forecast calls for rain. When you’re headed for the beach with a bunch of like-minded others, it’s all good.

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