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CR sustainable design class

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College of the Redwoods, Hoopa: Sustainable Design Program Kick-Off[edit]

Directors: College of the Redwoods, Sustainable Nations
Instructors: Tressie Word, Joy Keller Weidman
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sustainable Design Kick-Off Course Approach[edit]

The goal of this Sustainable Design kick-off course was to use Open Space Technology, a highly interactive and sustainable workshop form, to engender the following outcomes:

  • Introduce and define Sustainable Design
  • Recommend Sustainable Design curriculum content and format
  • Identify approaches to Sustainable Design in the past, present and future

These outcomes are depicted in the Course Outcomes section.

Participant Introduction[edit]

The College of the Redwoods, Hoopa Sustainable Design course participants are incredibly diverse in goals, backgrounds, and ethnicities.

Student Goals[edit]

Student goals for this class center on gaining applied skills to design projects for either their personal or work lives. Specific interests are depicted in the Course Outcomes section. In addition, some students decided to complete this three month intensive course to obtain Certifications that will foster future employment opportunities.

Backgrounds[edit]

The backgrounds and interests of Sustainable Design course students are broad ranging. Their backgrounds and interests include, but are by no means limited to: anthropology, construction, art therapy, music, photography, and motion pictures.

Ethnicities[edit]

These students are from California, New York, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Texas, Mexico, Ireland and the Philippines. Many participants represent tribes from across the United States, including: Yurok, Hopi, Hoopa, Karuk, Pauite, Tule River, Yokut, Havasu Lake, Chemehuevi, and Pueblo/Navajo.

Course Outcomes[edit]

Sustainable Design Definition[edit]

A holistic process to plan specific projects, considering short and long term implications, that promotes health for all involved in the system, such as: individuals, cultures, ecosystems, governments, and economies.

Sustainable Design Program Curriculum Recommendations[edit]

Content recommendations:

  • Indigenous cultures as a model (respect/balance)
  • Home construction
    • General design considerations
    • Straw bale
    • Log houses
  • Hydro-electric and solar power
  • Black and grey water treatment systems
  • Laws and regulations on course topic areas, and approach to pursuing exceptions

Format recommendations:

  • Address course topics in-depth first (academic presentation of core concepts), then become directly engaged afterward (site visits, hand-on projects, etc)
  • Invite more expert guest speakers

Applications of Sustainable Design in the Past, Present and Future[edit]

As a part of the open space format of the course, students groups selected their own topics addressing applied past, present and future sustainable designs. These topics were selected as part of the theme: “Promoting healthy individuals, our schools, our communities and the environment through sustainable design- now and for the future.” Specific focus areas are illustrated in Figure 1, and depicted in additional detail below.

Image by Tressie Word































Indigenous Cultures and Ways of Life (Group: A1)

  • Use the philosophies of indigenous peoples, their connections, and respect to their environments as a model

Alternative energy (Group: B1)

  • Integrate, harness and combine resources
  • Look to everyday activities

Sustainable design in architecture (Group: C1)

  • Build with nature
  • Employ efficient energy
  • Use local, natural resources

Toxins in the environment (Group: D1)

  • Transportation, health, hygiene, construction

Natural building (Group: A2)

  • Straw bale

Water (Group: B2)

  • Treatment
  • Conservation
  • Restoration of natural resources

State programs (Group: C2)

  • Sustainable foster care
    • Refinement of accountability, oversight, supervision, networking, child rights and voice, mentorship, communication, screening, interventions, funding, expectations, and guidelines

Salvation logging (Group: D2)

  • Contaminant reduction
  • Efficient use of lumber
  • Implementation of alternative energy in mill equipment

Open Space Group Outcomes[edit]

Topic: Indigenous Cultures and Ways of Life[edit]

Group: A1

Key Points:

  • Relearning/Researching/Borrowing
  • Implementing ideas in the design
  • Respecting and balancing individual and community needs
  • Connecting to the land and utilization of it

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Utilize and adopt the philosophies of indigenous peoples, their connections, and respect to their environments
  • Be informed
  • Get proactive
  • Conduct workshops and classes
    • Integrate into this Sustainable Design Curriculum


Topic: Energy[edit]

Group: B1

Key Points:

  • Clean water
    • Natural water filters
  • Magnetic static electricity
  • Solar panels

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Energy proficient appliances
  • Inventing ideas
    • Artificial trees -> Natural resources
    • Store energy in a cleaner way (without using toxic batteries)
    • Create more sustainable energy alternatives
  • Energy strike (Conservation)
    • Individuals can stop using energy for a designated time once a day, week or month

Topic: Sustainable Design in Architecture[edit]

Group: C1

Key Points:

  • Build with nature
  • Use natural resources
  • Evaluate needs versus wants, and focus on needs
  • Employ energy efficiency

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Underground housing
  • Recycle and reuse of products
  • Use alternative energy
  • Avoid man made materials
  • Incorporate the natural environment into structures

Topic: Balance Toxins with Natural Alternative Products[edit]

Group: D1

Key Points:

  • Health and hygiene products
    • Perfume and dyes
    • Food and water
    • Land (Spraying)
    • Beauty products
    • Plastics (Bottles, containers, bags)
    • Household products
  • Building/construction projects
  • Transportation
    • Chemicals

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Support an education campaign
    • Schools
    • Businesses
    • Local governments
  • Teach school age youth truth about beauty products
    • Buy healthier
  • Ask stores to:
    • Reduce plastics
    • Improve food and product quality

Topic: Straw Bale Home Building[edit]

Group: A2

Key Points:

  • Plentiful resources/inexpensive to build
  • Not destructive/earth friendly
  • Innovative designs/you can add to it

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Make information available to the community
  • Visit a nearby straw bale structure
  • Trinity River Coffee Company in Junction City: info@strawhouseresorts.com
  • Research the web: www.appropedia.org
  • Incorporate it into the CR Sustainable Design curriculum

Topic: Clean Water[edit]

Group: B2

Key Points:

  • Improve water treatment systems
  • Historically impacted wetland areas
    • Kidney waterways
  • Provide and protect critical water resources
  • Remove appropriate dams

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Use aquatic plants such as bulrush to treat water
  • Restore historically impacted wetland areas
    • Kidney waterways
  • Remove poor quality bottled water from grocery stores
  • Increase water quantity by appropriate watershed management

Topic: Foster Child Sustainability[edit]

Group: C2

Key Points:

  • Family counseling (weekly)
  • Hiring process for parents (more detailed)
  • More outlets/support for foster youth
    • Mentors, clubs, etc
    • More rights for extended family/information over a foster child

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • More rights for foster kids
  • Community awareness
  • Tighter financial regulation
  • Voice for kids
  • More funding for the foster child
  • More supervision of case workers

Topic: Salvation Logging - Creating Health Forests and Headwater Systems[edit]

Group: D2

Key Points:

  • Heli-logging (Reduces condensed underbrush)
  • Energy improvements to create more energy efficient milling equipment
    • Efficient/central motors – fueled by clean energy sources
    • Byproducts for energy to mill lumber for homes
    • Capitalizing on the use of all parts of lumber
  • Reduction of harmful byproducts of logging (Silt in headwaters, Less polluted waterways)
    • Control chemical contaminants (Diesel, Oil, Carbon)
    • Eliminate clear cutting, less roads, less forest destruction
  • Lumber recycling
    • Cleaning the forest to prevent vegetative diseases
    • Reduce cost of building homes
  • Creating of top soil from slash
    • Underbrush, scrap boards

Conclusions/Applications/Next Steps:

  • Create less hazardous and more jobs
  • Use clean energy
  • Plant more indigenous vegetation
    • Extract invasive plants for energy
  • Promote more stable economy by regions
  • Conserve the trees we have left
  • Reduce emissions in the air
  • Stop chemical spraying in forests