Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Hippies 'R Us ?

Spent an hour or so on the phone with another Innkeeper last night organizing my speaking trip to PA in November. She'd heard all about the "kids" from Ashley and wanted to know more. I wound up sending her pictures and talking about how great it is to have them around, the energy levels and dedication to what they are doing and now she wants to hire a few of them to work on various projects.

Woke up this am and started trying to put together our Portland trip as a piggy back from Pittsburgh, skimming blog feeds while waiting on the various hotel and airline searches to complete including some reports about the West Coast Green conference. Which started me thinking again about what do I want to do in Portland? While I have no doubt in my ability to make a living, I have only some broad stroke ideas of what I'd like to do.

Something in sustainable development/living, something small biz scale with no more than 10 employees - I like the family business feel. Or more like employee-owners, give everyone a stake. Producing something from thrown away, or reusing something in a different manner. A blending of the practical "pays the bills" along with the creative "kindergarten fun". What if some did this full time while others worked part-time or took Sabbaticals to pursue other interests and travel?

I would imagine that sounds impossible to many reading this, but we've already created most of that here by accident, just imagine if we worked on doing it intentionally. Just last week Evan commented how it sort of took him by surprise to get a paycheck, that it doesn't normally feel like working.

After talking about making the glass for the outdoor lamps out of wine bottles last week, Ryan said to think of what else could be done with the kiln we're building. He was talking art, I instantly think business. The thought that has come to mind is hunting down the glass that is going into the recycling bins. Making tiles from it and selling them, along with using some to make mosaics, decorative borders on photo frames and mirrors, wind chimes and suncatchers. Crush some down and blend it with concrete to make countertops and sinks and tabletops. Maybe figure out a way to use all the scrap paper in the process.

Buy an old warehouse and convert it to retail/studio/living/loft/teaching space so we can 'recycle' a building. Take the building beyond green or Platinum into a "Living Building", that sustains itself. Solar & wind on the roof, net zero energy, along with a rooftop herb and vegetable garden, water catchment for irrigation, water gardens to filter the grey water, solar dehydrators to cook off the black. Materials from local sources or created on site from throw away materials. And do it at the same or lower cost than traditional building, what a model for people to see what's possible.

Billy suggested that I meet his instructor who is going to head the SD program - and also mentioned that they were developing classes in Sustainable Entrepreneurship. I think I just came up with a new business along with what courses I should be taking next semester.

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