Thinking Green at Arcosanti

Toa Rivera, Nelson Delarosa and several workshoppers recently took a field trip to the Earthship Greater World Community in Taos New Mexico. Recently my friend Billy Walsh who is located in upstate NY furnished a link to a documentary by Oliver Hodge about the Earthship project:

Leon Neilhouse’s has worked as an engineer with many years experience in the Navy as well as consulting in ship design and nuclear technologies. His project to develop a greenhouse system similar to that envisions by Paolo Soleri as part of the Energy Apron is documented in the 4 August 2008 Times Record


Arco Alum Promoting Sustainability in Arizona

I found a nice site overiview about arcosanti titled Everyday Life in Arcotopia.

Mark Waters from the Arizona Republic is shooting a video for that is a general overview of Arcosanti. I referred him to Karen Talyor and Paul Katan as two examples of people having spent some time at Arcosanti who went on after leaving Arcosanti to develop livelihoods centered around sustainability. Karen is partners with two others in a permaculture landscaping business called Eden on Earth Landscaping. Paul is working to promote awareness of biodiesel and straight vegi oil in the region.

Arco Musings + Notes 08.12.08

At Arcosanti it has been three months without me personally owning a car. Lou Dallara shared with me this link. Living Without a Car: My New American Responsibility:

That reminds of the fact that fellow ArcoNaut Jeffrey Michael has been using a old 84 mercedes benz diesel that Prescott Biodiesel Cooperative’s Paul Katan (see his bio at bottom of the page of the hyperlinked doc) converted over to run on straight vegi oil. When Paul came by last week we talked about some of the issues of using SVO for street applications. He says most of those issues seem to have been worked out and that he hasnt had any reliability problems using SVO on the vehicles he has converted over. Jeffrey who is making a transition out of the Arcology and back into the matrix (by way of Manhattan or maybe the Bronx) is planning on going to Burning Man along with a large ArcoNaut Contingent before leaving Arocsanti. So he is planning to sell his SVO powered benz before he leaves. I recently considered buying it as I know that the conversion and the total cost of materials and labor rivals the total value street value of the car.

Arcosanti was once the backdrop of a plan to develop Sterling Powered Dish Solar units which I also wrote about in my blog. The technology originally developed by Boeing and Kockums of Sweden is now licenced by Sterling Energy Systems of Phoenix. Recently they signed a contract with Southern California Edison and was able to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of a CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) installation to the point that it was competitive with traditional load-following / peaking generation. Now several other Southwestern utilities are investing in thermal solar, using parabolic trough collectors.

Parabolic mirrors concentrate solar energy onto thermal receivers containing a heat transfer fluid. A heat transfer fluid is circulated and heated through the receivers, and the heat released to a series of heat exchangers. Parabolic trough solar technology thus converts sunshine into useful thermal energy and, by concentrating the heat, generating super-heated steam. The steam powers a turbine/generator to produce electricity.

There are two, parabolic trough, solar power plants located in Spain, each with 50MW capacity and one 500MW plant in Israel.. in addition to the ones located in the SW USA.

Cosmos: A Co-creator’s Guide to the Whole World

Stephen Budner sent me a book about the reawakening of humanity around a new world view. Its by Ervin Laszlo and Jude Currivan and the title of it is Cosmos: A Co-creator’s Guide to the Whole World (thanks!).

Skimming through the book I see many references to complex math equations about the changing reality of human existence.

Laszlo is a founding member of the Club of Budapest

The idea of the Club of Budapest was developed in 1978 in a discussion between Aurelio Peccei, founder and first president of the Club of Rome, and Ervin Laszlo, systems philosopher and also member of the Club of Rome at that time. They were convinced that the enormous challenges to humanity can only be dealt with through the development of a cultural and cosmopolitan consciousness. Based on these ideas, the Club of Budapest was founded by Dr. Laszlo in 1993. The founding city and namesake of the Club lies at the heart of Europe and is spread out over both banks of the River Danube. The successful merging of the two cities Buda and Pest is symbolized by the famous Chain Bridge. It visualizes our ambition to build bridges between generations, disciplines and cultures. Therefore, it was selected as the logo and signet for the objectives of the Club. The main essence of the global efforts lies in the initiation of dialogue.

Interesting to note some of the people involved:

I saw Laszlo speak at the Digital Be-In 15 in the spring of 2007.

When I received a newsletter about Pachamama Alliance Partnering with the Unity Church to celebrate 11 Days of Global Unity between September 11 and the 21st inviting their churches to organize meditations, prayer circles, and Awakening the Dreamer Symposiums, I recalled Laszlo citing in his book that researchers have quantified the impacts of global prayer events. Some might further interpret this as having an impact on what Peirre Teilhard de Chardin called the Noosphere (the idea of a global consciousness web that links us and all life together in a massive matrix that could somehow be linked with the notion of Gaia).

Setting the Stage for Group Motion

Group Motion comes to Arcosanti for five days. Const team (including me) set up stage on friday. Then we weeded the long abandoned volleyball field. On Mon its back to the sidewalk…

Fri was also a Big day for Dixon and Jenn in planning. They on the second attempt completed a successful fabrication of a concrete countertop that will go in crafts III residential bathroom.

On Sat I met Dale from Austin. He is very perceptive about Arcosanti, seeing many things very early that it takes many a lot longer to figure out. We discussed the project’s entrepreneurial roots. Related to that we wondered why they dont teach about selling art in art school.

Arcosanti is of course unique in that it is a place created by a artist visionary that combines aspects of art, architecture, entrepreneurism and philosophy. We considered the reality that there are not really many such places started and wondered why… Yet at Arcosanti it seems there is little support for such things rather it is all promoting Soleri’s futurist vision of Arcology – even though Soleri says the “future does not exist.

The lesson learned for me is that a place like Arcosanti would be best focused on how to train the people coming their so that they could replicate the success of the founder or founders of the project rather than worry about the legacy of the founder and putting forward what might come across to many as a pie in the sky vision that has little if any practical connection with the everyday reality of the project!