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Still There

5/27/2005 12:00:00 AM

Tags: education

I'm more than a little late in posting this week. I’m having a hard time shaking that “no worries, mon” mentality that seeped into my pores (along with a lot of sand and a little sunburn) while I was at the Colorado State University Sustainable Practices in Design and Construction course at Maho Bay in St. John. We had some awesome conversations about green design and construction—I’m hoping a few of the students will weigh in here once they’ve recovered from “island time”—and it was just so cool to see these kids take this stuff and run wild with it. I returned full of optimism about our humanity’s future. (In one particularly memorable late-night beach conversation, a graduate student named Phi caused a deep shift in my thinking about sustainability. “The planet will survive us,” she said. “So it’s really about whether we’re going to save humanity as part of the planet.” I think maybe I knew that; I’ve just never heard it said so well.)

A perfect manifestation of what’s possible in eco-design, Maho Bay was idyllic in more ways than one. Once the princess in me got over the cold-water showers and the trek up some sixty or so stairs to the bathroom, I got a structural wake-up call into just how pampered and removed from nature my life has become. I went to sleep on Thursday night surrounded by the songs of tree frogs; in the middle of the night a soft rain broke loose on my screened eco-tent. I woke up Friday morning, and the first thing I laid eyes on was the vast, glittering turquoise of the Caribbean. And suddenly all the worries and concerns and oh-so-important stuff I brought with me to that island (along with too much luggage) lost all its meaning. The most important thing, for those four days, was simply appreciating what a wonderful world we live in.

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