Education Programs at SCZ


Site Map

About Us



How to Help


Critical to the long term knowledge, skills development and success of all our projects is the involvement of young people, whose future can be based on sustainable projects and development that meets basic social and cultural needs, economic opportunities and ecological respect and protection.


Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM (SCZ) gives several different kinds of ZERI inspired courses, presentations, seminars and workshops. These include several important meetings with world experts.

For most of our educational projects, we charge a fee to cover costs, although some workshops are offered at no cost to the participant. We also offer some limited scholarships in trade for work. Some of the courses include meals. We have had students and instructors from several parts of the USA and the world.

Educational Program

We have visited numerous elementary, middle and high schools to meet with students and teachers to discuss ZERI's K-12 educational program and the integration of such program into existing curriculum to bolster science learning, strengthen emotional intelligence, and have students participate in local projects for service learning opportunities. We have also been discussing incorporating ZERI's methodology into the curriculum of the UNM School of Architecture Planning Department for college students.

In 2002 Gunter Pauli spoke to 15 members of Miguel Santistevan's dynamic La Jicarita Youth Group. Simon Vasquez, aged 16, asked if Gunter would come back to Penasco High School and address a larger group of students. Gunter replied that he would, if Simon would write a song based on what he learned that day.

Three months later Simon and Miguel performed the rap song on Gunter's return appearance before l00 students, teachers and the principal at the High School. Simon has now written and produced in studios three raps songs and is working on more for an album - the bold cover of which was drawn by his younger brother.

Zeri Certification Course

The ZERI Certification Training is an extremely intense course spread out over a six month period which includes a total of 12 full days with Gunter Pauli divided into three 4-day modules. Reading, writing and speaking assignments will be required as part of the course starting before the training, as well as during and after each module - to be done on your own as well as in small collaborative groups from the training.

Photo shows some of the March 2004 ZERI Certification graduates and instructors. 1) Carmenza Jaramillo demonstrates mushroom substrate preparation in Lynda Taylor's kitchen. 2) Arky Lopez, BECC. 3) Oscar Romo, architect, worked with Mexican EPA & BECC. 4) Bruce Epstein, from France, and Lynn Mortensen, of Santa Fe, working in Egypt. 5) Heidi Wittenborn, Texas Commission for Environmental Quality. 6) Duane Fladland, New Mexico with the Small Business Development Centers as a financial/business advisor. 7) Robert Haspel, co-director of SCZ. 8) Laurie Williams, New Mexico, engineer at Los Alamos National Labs. 9) Barbara W. Ford, instructor at UNM School of Planning & Architecture. 10) Rod and Randi Mehling, New Mexico. 11) Nicole Leduc, New Mexico. 12) Dorna Shroeter, N.Y. educator. 13) Sylvia Waggoner, engineer with Internatonal Boundary & Water Commission.

As appropriate, participants will visit one or more projects in northern New Mexico and/or meet with project stakeholders to view and discuss real projects within the context of the ZERI methodology. Post-certification assignments will also be required for full certification. While material in each module overlaps with material in the other modules, there is an ordered sequence to the modules that facilitates the presentation and application of ZERI methodologies and tools.

We have successfully completed four certification courses and trained 90 people having diverse occupations from around the state, country and world in the application of the ZERI methodology.

Surrounded by an electric energy of excitement and anticipation of future projects, 27 graduates completed the 4th ZERI Certificate Training Course, held in Durango, Colorado, in June 2005. Future projects included expanding breweries to make bread, grow mushrooms and other projects using the spent grain "waste" of the brewery as well as various model ZERI projects including a Chan biodigester at a nearby farm/ranch. George Chan, below with Gunter Pauli, gave a one day workshop there following the graduation.

A core group of former ZERI graduates from Durango, Colorado, are working with the new Durango graduates. Highlight of the graduate meeting was a roundtable discussion with elected leaders and officials of Durango, including members of the City Council, County Commission, the Mayor, the City Planner, and the President of Fort Lewis College. There was great interest expressed to look further into potential ZERI activiites within Durango.

The June 15 - 19, 2005 ZERI Teacher Training was video-taped and will be condensed into an educational training tool. Approximately 25 attended the first day with some 18 for the full 5 days. On day 1, Gunter Pauli talked of the ZERI concepts, their background, how systems work and sustainability. He continued by reading the fable: King of Hearts and touching on the underlying concepts built into this fable.

Over the next 4 days the group worked on in-depth discussion, group activities and exploring a total of 12 of the fables. Individuals were encouraged to discuss what ideas, thoughts and activities came to mind around each fable. Ideas for bringing these fables, concepts and activities into our lives, classrooms and communities were discussed.

We plan to meet monthly as a group and continue to develop strategies for further development of teacher trainings, educational activities and projects as well as link with the other ZERI education projects around the world.

For further details, contact Judy Gerhardt, Durango, CO, (970) 247-4497,

The next ZERI Training Program will be at the Marion Institute, Marion, MA., on November 11 - 14, 2006, February 24 - 27, 2007 and May 5 - 8, 2007. Contact the Marion Institute for further information.

Presentations, Seminars and Workshops

We have conducted numerous presentations, seminars and workshops on a variety of subjects from the integrated waste/farming system and sustainable forestry to technical seminars on the system methodologies we apply to sustainable development of communities.

We were honored to have Gunter Pauli, ZERI founder; Paul Hawken, author of Natural Capitalism; Paolo Lugari, founder of Gaviotas a model of sustainable development; Amory Lovins, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute; and Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry, take part in a New Visions session we sponsored in September 2003. They are some of the greatest sustainability thinkers and doers in the world.

More about the present and future of the ZERI educational program.

Education Initiative An SCZ Packet page

ZERI Certification Training An SCZ Packet page

ZERI Education Initiative pages on the ZERI web site.

Biomimicry web site.

Fritjof Capra and Ecoliteracy web site

Friends of Gaviotas web site

Selected articles by Gunter Pauli

Paul Hawken and Amory Lovins Natural Capitalism web site

Rocky Mountain Institute web site, Amory Lovins, Co-Founder

| Home | Site Map | About Us | Education | Projects | How to Help | Links |

Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM
(Our legal name is Sustainable Communities, Inc.)
P. O. Box 8017,
Santa Fe, NM 87504 USA
Phone: 505-820-0186
FAX: 505-986-6019

Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

This page was last updated on June 27, 2005

Copyright Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM, Inc. © 2004. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: for permission to use contents of this web site.
Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs are © 2001-2004 Lynda Taylor.