In evolutionary biology there are two related but different concepts. One is parallel evolution where two fairly closely related species develop similar adaptations independent of one another. The other concept is convergent evolution where two unrelated species develop similar adaptations independently. Examples of convergent evolution abound--the dorsal fins of sharks and dolphins are great examples of this concept.
I was thinking of parallel evolution this past weekend because I spent it with my cousin Michael Chandler (pictured with his wife Beth Williams), who I had never met before. Michael has worked on enviromental issues and also has a strong interest in green buildling. I run a design/build school and Michael runs a design/build firm in North Carolina. And we are both married to green architects/designer (OK, now I am getting a little ridiculous).
It was a good exercise to take Michael around and show him the Valley and the world of Yestermorrow. It helped me see a lot of what we do with his fresh and informed eyes. It also reenforced for me the value of providing a venue for growth and experimentation. And, quite frankly, a place where folks feel safe enough to fail once in a while. Yestermorrow is all about grand and glorious design and we are serious about sustainability but we also have our fair share of what Charles Darwin would have called "hopeful monsters." And that is just fine.
My cousin is also a contributor to Green Building Advisor along with Yestermorrow instructor John Abrams--check out their blog: http://thegreenbuildingadvisors.blogspot.com/
Also check out Michael's account of his visit at: http://chandlerdesignbuild.blogspot.com/2008/07/visiting-yestermorrow-design-build.html
Yestermorrow Design/Build School