Our experiences living Off the Grid Solar

Looking back on our efforts to be “off the grid”, I think that in general we have done a good job of working with the sun to heat, cool and provide electricity for our home but it was not without some very painful “missteps” and hard learned lessons along the way.   My biggest mistake was not to provide Tammy and family the basics of reliable electricity, a stove, hot water and heat during the building process. Our pioneer woman stepped-up of course, cooking and heating water over a open fire at times to feed the crew but a little more planning […]

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Step Lightly- minimizing ecological footprint!

Setting out on this grand adventure we wanted to model how not to mess-up more of our natural world than was necessary. In sustainable development thinking, this is called leaving a minimal Ecological Footprint (EF). This is a measurement of how many acres of productive land it takes to produce the natural resources needed to support our current way of life? In our classes we have students visit http://www.footprintnetwork.org to calculate their EF and they are always amazed and a little disgusted to find out how wasteful their lifestyle is- the average American uses 6 acres, as compared to an […]

Our Journey Living Off The Grid 2

Well it appears that our “crazy ride” to build an off the grid home and live green is finally starting to slow down…a little! I woke up last week to realize that we had one more wall to throw mud (natural plaster) on, and our DIY home solar system to finish and we would be ready to call the county inspector for final inspection. Kinda hard to believe, right!? It has been such an adventure over the last 10 years and now that our house is nearly done we are so excited to properly share our story with you in […]

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Local Power-Choosing A New Energy Pathway

In developing energy policies- the laws, regulations and programs that affect energy production and use, governments must keep a sustainable future in mind. Experience shows that it takes at least 50 years and huge investments to faze in new energy alternatives. Our energy future depends primarily on which energy resources and “pathways” the government and private companies decide to promote and on political and economic pressure from politicians and citizens. The idea that our current fossil fuel based Energy Pathway is in deep trouble is not new. Way back in 1976, energy expert Amory Lovins was scoffed at for advocating […]

Mojave Renewable Solutions

Mojave Renewable Solutions The implementation of wise energy practices will take wise planning, good science, appropriate use of technology and most of all careful evaluation of what works best for the sustainability of the local community. We have an unprecedented level of local citizen engagement, several very active local community groups, good collaboration history with local Agencies (the BLM is a good example) and strong commitment from local politicians to listen to us-the locals. How then do we galvanize all this into successful action that ensures that we make wise land-development decisions here in the Mojave and do our part […]


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Going Mojave Solar Green 1

Created April 2012 republished Jan 2015  California leads the world in the development of renewable energy resources. The aggressive California energy policies (33% by 2020 and AB 32) and massive government incentives have resulted in a rush to develop some of the world’s largest “utility grade” solar and wind projects in the Mojave . Two of the largest solar projects under construction are Abengoa Mojave Solar and Ivanpah Solar. Check out a video we did on site at the Ivanpah project in April 2012  Going Mojave Solar This video provides a commentary on the need for the principle of long-term […]

Light or Blight- Renewable Energy in the Mojave?

There is a great deal of concern, in our local desert communities about the “why” “how” and “what” of using the Mojave Desert to generate Renewable Energy(RE). Is it smart to clear precious habitats for large industrial scale RE generating facilities and transmission infrastructure? Are the current policies and practices really Green (Sustainable ) for these rural communities- animal, plant and human? The  Mojave Desert is blessed with some of the best conditions for solar and wind power generation in the USA. This along with its proximity to major metropolitan areas, has presented residents and conservationists with  a “perfect storm” […]


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Changing a Messy World!

Is our world a mess? I think we all would answer a big yes That response then begs the question, Do you care? that sounds a little bit like the start of a SPCA commercial to rescue abused pets, but in this case the real question is, Do we care about the future of the Earth? Well OK then; Why should I care? and What can I do about it? I believe that with the exception of the three or maybe four people that have it all figured out! (definitely not our family and our friends!). We all know-deep down, […]

Natural Design 1

It’s been a while since we last chatted and a lot has gone on here in the gorgeous Mojave Desert at the Sustainable Learning Center (SLC).  We had a spectacular wild flower bloom this Spring- with the purples, yellows and reds flowing down into our back door. A lovely reminder of why we did not clear our building lot and left nature to do its thing (Minimizing our Ecological Footprint). We definitely gave it “the old school-boy try” this summer in our quest to implement the principles of natural design and at least make the inside of our home livable, […]

Naturally Solar

Although I have always had a deep love of nature and strong awareness of fairness/equity for other people, embedded from growing up in the incredible natural beauty of the South African “Veldt” and experiencing Apartheid first hand- I would say that last year (2013) was the first time that I truly experienced the joys and challenges of a sustainable lifestyle. The whole “crazy” experiment of living green started to take root eight years ago. My wife Tammy and I purchased 7 ½ acres in the Mojave Desert, and began to put the principles of sustainability into practice – definitely easier […]