JOHN DAY - Kathy Bash, keynote speaker at last weekend's SolWest Fair, had an audience of about 70 as she shared a "snapshot" of her life and thoughts on living consciously - she also told some humorous experiences she and her husband had working with homemade biodiesel.
Bash is an architect, an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional and a certified passive house consultant from Portland. Her work includes the practice of architecture, teaching, small-scale farming, and the study of mechanical systems, electrical energy and building science and permaculture. She is also a Solar Oregon volunteer.
She said her philosophy isn't just use less and use renewable this and that, but is more about living consciously.
A favorite quote of hers comes from Brook Medicine Eagle: "The most important lesson in the entire process is that the method you use to transform yourself must have the energetic quality of the end you seek. In other words, you can't dash wildly about to create peace in your life, although we've all tried that."
One idea for shifting awareness and consciousness, Bash said, calls for creating "a regular habit of unplugging from the media." She suggested turning cellphones completely off, not just setting them to silent.
An "impressive and scary" sight she caught while on a walk was a woman pushing a stroller with her 2-year-old daughter engrossed with an electronic device, missing the sights and sounds of nature.
We need to "balance tuning into the media and tuning into ourselves," she said.
She recalled her dabbling with homemade biodiesel as "The Great Biodeisel Experiment."
So convinced that biodiesel was the answer, she and her husband traded in their Toyota Camry for a Jetta TDI and began collecting barrels of waste vegetable oil in their basement to make their own biodiesel.
"It was a time when we were dashing wildly about," she said, noting they had to find a more efficient use of their energy.
She and her husband have weatherized their bungalow - "a huge thing," she said - installed a solar electric system and use an efficient woodstove.
"We're using 28 percent of the energy of the average household," she said.
They also have a storage of food and household items, and composting is the centerpiece of their back yard, which she said has caused them to be more selective about waste.
In learning concepts of permaculture, her organic garden is not about getting big tomatoes - her intent has changed, she said.
She left the audience with a meditation and a parting thought.
"Change our hearts and we change our minds," she said. "Change our minds in resonance with earth and we change our choices. And in a world where we are literally all connected by a great field of vibration, when we change our choices, we influence the field of possibilities for everyone around us, and we change the world."