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Promoting Sustainable Community Resource Management

I get this feeling my future NOW is starting to shape up. Everything that’s been mattering to me seems to finally be coming together into a vision of how I can both work and play in the domains I enjoy. I found myself catching up with Josh from about the possiblity of building out the learning program on Intro to Computing and Information Resources that I conducted two years ago.

It made me dig deep about what it is I want to be doing day to day. The simple answer seems to be that I want to develop information tools for everyday people that are working on sustainable agriculture projects. But, getting the masses turned onto Sustainability seems like an open market ripe for giving back to the community by way of advising on how to develop programs. For me, I guess, it’s all melding from what I’ve been inclined to get into these past couple of years:

+ change management
+ usabiliity and productivity research
+ program continuity
+ collective intelligence
+ green power
+ systems engineering
+ industrial design practices
+ collection taxonomies
+ information assurance
+ community learning programs
+ sustainable systems, permaculture
+ property rehabilitation
+ self-reliance, wellness and happiness

All of it ultimately applies to my interest in building learning programs around the concept of community intelligent resource management. Been obsessing over that, if you will. People barely understand their collective capacity because they lack the tools to understand the fullness of resources around them. Moreso, they sometimes haven’t settled the means by which they could help each other out.

I’ve learned its only through Engagement that everyday people can Exchange, Experience, and create greater Value. So, how do we position the technologies so that they are best enabled towards productivity and happiness, for everyone?.. and I mean EVERYONE! Well, it turns out that THEY are best positioned to empower themselves, if handed the right tools. I truly believe in letting ideas grow through giving direct ownership so someone exercises their creative means proper. So, I’m curious about what the learning program components would be in this scenario.

From the last program we ran together on intro computing at, I learned alot! Some learners had scarce an education. Others had not really been in front of a computer at all. I had not anticipated for slowness in typing; in them not being used to memorizing passwords. Looking back on it, I realize how for some of them it must’ve really been intimidating… the rest were very brash and perhaps knew enough to get around the machine. In the end, I was flexible in how much I pushed these groups into the web tools; and I got to really enjoyed watching the process of discovery through them!

Now, I think the whole experience of learning about computers could still be structured towards building a community website, which we didn’t have time for–some of it I layed out but never stylized. The key is to spend a little less time allowing them to practice keyboard skills while chatting or emailing. Instead they should have homework, two 30 min sessions weekly, to sign in at the computer center and practice.

With the tools that exist today, they could learn more about creating a joint domain space in a place like Ning or WordPress. But, I’d never say it that way.. what I did learn about change (beliefs, wants and fears) and about community development, while I was considering the issue of Happiness and Wellness, was that there’s a gap in being able to implement the programs long term. And, from reading the Dalai Lama’s guidance on community building, the main issue does turn out to be the creation of Trusted relationships.

BK and I pondered this question of Trust, and how you can develop it.. how do you motivate people to Trust each other? and I posited that if you started by bringing them into group challenge exercises to come up with ideas to eliminate problems; or, to build simple structures (paper windmills, water courses, school interdisciplinary projects for kids to resolve), you could get a greater degree of Trust, as people spent more time together. If you added a structured participative organization, a cooperative for example, then you could even provide an ownership incentive that demanded not only Trust, but Dedication from each member.

So, in my view of the new learning program about computing, the students would be guided to think first about their community needs, and how those are laid out into requirement lists. Then we could talk about stepping into getting email accounts and doing research. Each person would be assigned their category of interest to build a list of community resources. We would talk about saved files, organizing documents, naming and tagging documents. Finally, they could build a small joint website, while guided to collect pictures for it and documents and links, independently–perhaps even some video.

While I’m describing it, I’m thinking already that I’m perhaps a bit ahead… but, these are the work skills of this knowledge economy. They need to learn how to dig, and share, together.

One experience from building the last learning program on info resources, was that it really helped me later when coordinating projects at the Information School last year. I was forced to adjust my classroom methods to the different styles of each individual at a terminal–6-12 in a room! Some could be pushed farther along into document editing, and uploading to their cloud space; but, others had to be given simple tasks like finding a flower or favorite dessert image on the web, and saving it locally. It forced me to use semi-structured plans, to be sure everyone got my equal time.

Anyway, this all builds into my need to prepare to hold seminars at the experimental community sustainable development station I have in mind. The location where I want to start is not isolated, but rather on the outskirts of a metro area. So, it serves as a bedroom country community, like North Bend would be around here. Which makes it ideal as a headquarters for the development of small seminars on maximizing productivity of oneself, the community, and in sustainable natural resources management.

The 1st congress on the Island on Sustainability Development Strategy is underway this year in PR. I’m going to register to help work on the objective towards a strategy for the Economic Development domain and the Education domain. How could I not? I see a big break to help resolve some important information problems!

Strange how these career transitions do start to play out, eh?!

Maybe I’m facilitating a lesson plan this Summer. Perhaps I might turn out to be advising through some firm that encapsulates these Loves of mine. Or, else, I could end up just Digging Holes.

Lots of work that I want to make time for  to structure how SPAKL could take a shot at the needs in the PR market for sustainability information resources. Someone needs to simplify the message, the process.. *SPAKL stands for “Simplifying Parents And Kids Lives”!

Funny how passions have a way to come full circle and open doors like that! Cheers!

M.E.  ;P

How Do We Best Promote Sustainability?

I have been kicking around the number of opportunities in promoting sustainable practices, the use of renewable resources, and the adoption of self-reliant natural systems through which we can nurture our selves with minimal investment. We all agree it matters; but, how do we get people to Care!??

I have recently registered with the, and was trying to sort out how could I fit and contribute most effectively to the Permaculture Study Center in Corozal, P.R.  My interest is in building community learning systems. So, I put together this model as a baseline to discuss opportunities in developing new curriculum for differing ages and learning levels.  If you have strong opinions about how to get people to embrace Sustainability, I want to hear about it.  Send M.E. an email {me[at]bohemio[dot]com}.

Como se puede ensenar acerca de la sostenibilidad?

Let me know if you have further ideas on how to expand this model, particularly the highlighted area (at right) of aprendizaje/sistemas–I owe the public at large an english version of this mental map.

I anticipate opportunities to:

  1. structure camps for students, while they build solutions, maintain research and knowledge sharing information systems
  2. conduct community seminars, in partnership with equipment providers, so that methods and kits are more easily adopted
  3. publish a toolkit for the community, to increase knowledge, simplify adoption, raise funds for the Permaculture Study Center, and establish the Center as one of the premiere sustainability research centers in the Caribbean
  4. build learning hands-on learning programs for the Department of Education

All these opportunities present an opening to collaborate with educators, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Energy, among others, along with the regional universities.

Someone is going to have to write up the lesson plans, organize events and publish best practices guides. I think the Think Green Tank ought to be the first to take an organized stab at the gap in public knowledge.

By connecting well established institutions, particularly those that would not see it their mission to advocate sustainability, we can create wider awareness and penetration with the public at large.

Given my involvement with, perhaps its worth checking in with the policy makers to find out how they handle communitiy outreach.

Eyes Wide Open: Permacultura

I’ve been trying to build a strategy for some time now on how to go about rehabilitating my property in Puerto Rico. Three acres is just large enough to build a self-reliant extra-urban farm house. But, for a guy that spent half his life moving opposite of a farming life, its a bit of a struggle to find oneself squarely back in the drivers seat. The rest of the family has been holding its breath to get direction from me on how to execute the re-development strategy. Everyone admittedly agrees on the objectives: depend solely on solar, solar-thermal and wind for energy, re-use water wisely, make room for plant rotations; and even allowing for the pursuit of my personal passion of keeping track of it all using information tools.

Not only are we having to change our approach from what we had learned from our grandparents. Now we had a responsibility to share in our knowledge with the community, to build a wider network to support community sustainability and self-reliance.

This wasn’t about money, it wasn’t about egos, pride or recognition; but, about a promise to my Abuelo to preserve his deed to the world… Moreso, personally, about what is right to return to a state of balance with the world. For as much as I love digital gadgets and appreciate the value of virtual existences (my bread and butter), we must learn to put down the distractions and take care of our planet so it can carry out its role in nurturing us.

Until this past weekend, when I chanced upon a brilliant puertorrican soul in the guise of one Glorimar Santiago, and her thesis on sustainability in the Caribbean, I was not sure exactly how to make that change happen in my native Trujillo. Glorimar’s thesis ( provides a blueprint upon which to soundly base a growth strategy. Yet, it goes beyond that. It provides us a means by which we can structure learning opportunities for others, to work with local educators and technologists to put our youth to work on building our future by engaging in small plot agriculture as a basis for their application of math, biology, chemistry, agronomy, renewable energy resources and information sciences methods.

The future just got brighter as there is a clear path towards local partnerships that will help me realize the CHaPA project–a draft mental model for which I append below.

Centro de Habilitacion Personal Alamo

Centro de Habilitacion Personal Alamo

I recommend to anyone else that is interested in growing  a sustainable living movement to read up on permaculture through, and register to contribute to the conversation.  Glorimar’s thesis presentation slides can be downloaded here: