Today was our final day of field trips for the course. We visited El Monte Sagrado Resort and the Blackstone Ranch Institute. Because of our recent study of permaculture and biomimicry, we were off to explore the sustainability practices taking place at these two luxurious locations in Taos.
First stop, El Monte, we found to be breathtakingly gorgeous both inside and out. If you are ever visiting Taos with your parents for a ski vacation, you have to stay here! Our tour guide explained the challenges the resort has had within the Taos community because of the strong cultural beliefs against such opulence and high standards of living.
In order to develop a love/hate relationship with the people of Taos, El Monte established itself as an ecological preserve. They utilize a system known as the Living Machine, which blends cutting-edge science and engineering with plants and beneficial bacteria to efficiently treat and reuse wastewater, which enables El Monte to provide a lasting water solution in an area where conflict over water rights is common. By modeling the entire facility through permaculture, El Monte is able to provide an indulgent resort and be ecologically mindful of the epistemologies of the neighbors and surrounding cultures.
Next stop was the Blackstone Ranch. After traveling along a winding road, we turned onto a gorgeous piece of property that extended into the mountains. From the comfortable meditation room, to the horse stables, lush green house and two industrial kitchens, this multi-million dollar facility needs to be my future home! What started as a think-tank for environmental exploration has turned into a place for groups to come, stay and explore green ideas. The Institute provides grants to organizations that are exploring cleaner and more efficient ways of life in hopes to revolutionize some area of our world.