Friday, January 23, 2009

Lightning in Ojo

Ojo Caliente, New Mexico is where I first encountered Sustainability on the ground. Johnny Waterman gave me a tour of his off-grid home. He educated me on solar energy, small wind turbines, passive solar, grey water, black water, composting and rain catchment systems.

His 3,000 square foot home cost him $14 per month to operate. It was mortgage free also. I knew he was a retired physics teacher so I asked him what he did for a living now.

"ANYTHING I WANT TO," Johnny replied with a smile. That was my lightning bolt.

I returned to Dallas. I paid my $2,000 mortgage, $450 electric bill, the $200 lawn care bill, the $1,200 nanny, the $1,000 car payment, the $250 water bill. Johnny lived on 9,000 gallons of water per year. My water bill showed I had used 27,000 gallons in ONE month. I used a three year supply of water in 30 days. Lightning strikes twice.

Johnny was a kind teacher. He did not belittle me for my excess and ignorance. He spoke his truth and let me convict myself. As I read about America's green CEOs I see a similar pattern. Each was approached by a trusted friend and were ready and able to hear the message without someone screaming at them. We are all always learning.

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