We Buried a Time Capsule…

06/29/2016 17:57

We Buried a Time Capsule…

We buried a time capsule (two of them, actually) on August 28, 1994 at the ground-breaking of the Solar Living Center. We'd just finished our design competition and hired Sim Van Der Ryn and David Arkin to design the facility. We had invited people to contribute to the time capsules, which we said we'd open in 2010. But 2010 seemed too soon, so we decided to wait until the Solar Living Center's 20th anniversary celebration, which we held in early June of this year (2016).

Flashback to 1994

  • Bill Clinton was the president
  • Dan Hamburg was our local congressman
  • NAFTA was signed
  • Zapatistas began their uprising in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Schindler's List won the Oscar for Best Picture
  • Kurt Cobain and Richard Nixon died
  • O.J. Simpson did his nasty deeds
  • The first labor strike in Major League Baseball began

So there we were in August 1994, with over 200 items donated for the time capsule (this is why we ended up needing two time capsules).

What Got Buried in the Time Capsules?

Some of the highlights:

  • A San Francisco Chronicle from August 28, 1994
  • A "Hamburg for Congress" campaign button
  • A list of computer component prices from the day
  • A slightly moldy joint of marijuana
  • A Trojan condom
  • A $1 bill, a $0.29 stamp, and assorted coins from the 1980s
  • A CD called "Romantic Interludes" by Spencer Brewer – maybe the first ever?
  • A few Real Goods catalogs
  • A Ukiah, CA electric bill for 200 kWh of electricity for $20 from Abbey Kauffman
  • A bottle of red wine
  • Two paper plates rubber banded together with the caption: "Organic food of the 1990s" - inside was a bagel with cream cheese and lox, from Bev Milone (I since put it back in the mail to her with a note that she might need it if she got hungry...)

Now, we didn't have much of a clue as to where to bury them, nor how to protect them. We ended up burying them in the parking lot, then realized the flood plain extended there and moved them up to higher ground.

But this was 22 years ago, and no one remembered exactly where they'd been buried. So Dr. J. Edgar Holden came out with a metal detector to look around, but found nothing. Eventually Everardo, our veteran landscaper, started digging and found them both. They were a little a bit waterlogged, but we were able to save a lot of the contents, and put them out on display at the 20th anniversary event on June 11.

The next day at noon, we buried the choicest of the original items along with some new submissions in a brand new stainless steel, hermetically-sealed capsule to be unearthed at the SLC's 40th anniversary (and 58th Real Goods anniversary), assuming I'm still alive at the ripe old age of 85.

For the Earth,

John Schaeffer,

Real Goods Founder and former President


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