Sunday, June 10, 2007

Anderson Ranch and a great field trip

I'm currently assisting a Willow twig Furniture class. Clifton Monteith, ( the same Instructor that inspired us to plan out trip, teaches the class. We are building chairs out of Willow and Aspen. I have really enjoyed myself this past week, mainly because the class consists of working artist and wood workers. The age group of the class is 21-45. It is definitely rare that there are so many young people in the class. It makes for sun evenings and weekends. The class is a 2-week class- so this past weekend has been a blast hanging out with people. On Friday we all headed out for a field trip. We visited the Rocky Mountain Institute.

This is the chair that Clifton is working on during the class.

This is Clifton and his wife Nancy- they are on my "Favorite People's List"!

Rocky Mountain Institute (
Mission Statement:

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is an independent, entrepreneurial, nonprofit organization. We foster the efficient and restorative use of resources to make the world secure, just, prosperous, and life sustaining.

Our staff shows businesses, communities, individuals, and governments how to create more wealth and employment, protect and enhance natural and human capital, increase profit and competitive advantage, and enjoy many other benefits — largely by doing what they do far more efficiently.

Our work is independent, nonadversarial, and transideological, with a strong emphasis on market-based solutions. For detailed descriptions of our Research & Consulting within the Natural Capitalism Framework as well as our activities and areas of impact, please follow the links at left.

We visited the Snowmass location and took a guided tour. The building itself was under a lot of construction, which made it a little difficult to get an idea of how the building looks normally. The building is almost completely solar powered. The water is heated by the sun. The interior is designed to keep in heat and also has a green house that is able to grow even banana trees in the winter. It was great to see a building that is a successful example of efficient and sustainable designs. I recommend taking a look through the website to get more of an in depth idea. I found it very interesting to see how they have updated the building. The Snowmass building was built in 1984 and I am sure you can imagine all of the improvements that have been made in the past 23 years in the technology. The solar panels have become so much smaller and also way more efficient. The one thing that I found frustrating but also difficult to avoid- the fact that living in such a sustainable way is nearly impossible unless you have the funds to do so. Within the first year the building paid for it self with all the savings, however, the money still must be paid up front to take on a project like that. The question that I will continue to ask is: How can we make these living improvements possible for those that don't have the access to the funds?

These are my thought for now.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


While not originally in our travel plans, I will be heading down to Mexico tomorrow for a little R&R on a cruise ship. Quite different from how Alison and I traveled, but I will still be looking for sustainable developments and spicy recipes.

I also published our first blook today! Woo Hoo! It's not the full blog book, that's still being edited, but a photography book I put together. With a hard cover and 72 full bleed 11" x 14" pages it should be pretty nice.

And as a final note, I've completely re-done my own website to be more international friendly, so check it out! I'm still working on my blog format though.

By matthew mosher