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Newsletter: Rainwater Harvesting, Maruata,
Principles of Ecological Design

December 2002

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Behind the scenes

Dear Ecological living enthusiasts:

Last month we sent an email to several hundred old e mail addresses just before deleting them, giving the owners the chance to opt in to our newsletter list.

The response was very inspiring. We got hundreds of new subscribers, many including glowing praise along with their subscription request...and not a single flame—Thanks!

The caliber and diversity of people receiving this newsletter is mind-boggling. Top people working on the cutting edge of just about every facet of green living, friends, family, writers of building codes, numerous highly skilled authors, publishers, musicians... If some sort of peculiar catastrophe happened and the recipients of this newsletter were the only people left alive on earth, I think the 250 of us not only could rebuild human society, but that it would probably turn out better than it is now.

I hope you find the newsletter informative and entertaining.


Off to Maruata

We'll be working in Maruata for the month of December. This visit I'm going to be working on learning Nahuatl, safe local drinking water supplies, urine reuse from composting toilets and the start up of local cottage industry.

Past sustainable development work in Maruata.


Rainwater harvesting in the San Juans

While recently in Port Townsend, Washington, I took a side trip to San Juan island to spend a day with Tim Pope of Northwest Water Source.

The San Juans feature critical water situations and an influx of clueless rich people. San Juan is a clay covered rock which receives 1.5" average of groundwater recharge annually. Wells typically yield a fraction of a gallon of a minute until they go dry, or several gallons a minute until they suck salt water. Lopez Island is a gravel pile with a delicate lens of fresh water perched atop the salt water.

Tim has been setting up house after house to run exclusively on harvested rainwater. This is pretty cool, but his most amazing achievement is that he's got the county to approve new construction with rainwater as its only water source, and gotten banks to loan money for their construction or purchase.

Tim pope, Northwest water source, posing by tank for house permitted on Orcas island with rainwater as its only water source


Principles of Ecological Design

Eco Design Principles-article, the long-awaited, massively revised and expanded first section of the out of print Living with Nature, is available for download. This article explains the design principles for redesigning our way of life from the ground up, optimized for long term quality, not short term profitability.


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View from Orcas in the San Juan Islands