Initial Thoughts on the Age of Limits 2013 Conference

This is actually free desktop wallpaper. Who says we’re not looking forward to the apocalypse? Over Memorial Day weekend, Erik and I and our buddy John Zapf, attended a conference called The Age of Limits: Conversations on the Collapse of the Global Industrial Model. This conference brings together different luminaries from the “doomosphere” to discuss the impact and implications of the three-headed hydra of...

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Matching Your Waste Stream to Your Composting Method

Image source: Philip Cohen, Wikipedia. This past weekend I taught a composting class at a local Waldorf school to a group of adults. When I asked the students to describe their living situations, I realized I needed to take a detour from the main activity of the day, building a large biodynamic compost pile, into a discussion of worm composting. Why? A few of the attendees lived in apartments or had very small yards. The type...

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Induced Demand

Image: Wikipedia. I was on the phone the other day having a conversation about greywater with a person enrolled in an entrepreneurial program. She asked me an excellent question: did having a greywater system cause me to use more water? She was alluding to a concept known as induced demand. In other words, when you have more of something you use more. Buy a hybrid car and you end up driving more miles since you don’t pay...

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Help! Small birds are eating us out of house and home!

So–we thought it would be a nice idea to get a bird feeder. We had resisted up ’til now because we figured any bird feeder we got would end up a squirrel feeder. Then we discovered this particular type of feeder, which is enclosed in a fine mesh, and meant to hold tiny seeds, like thistle seeds. This sort of feeder attracts small, seed-eating song birds, like finches, but doesn’t feed the mice and rats and s...

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The Sami Way

What’s more impressive? That humans figured out how to live in the arctic or that we figured out how to collateralize debt obligations? As we deal with the consequences of the latter it’s nice to reflect on those thousands of years spent herding reindeer. It’s also comforting to know that there’s still some folks left who know how to take care of reindeer even if they now use snowmobiles. Homegrown Evolution had the privi...

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What’s the Best Solar Food Dryer?

Appalachian Food Dryer. Image: Mother Earth News. Dehydration is a great way to put up food. Second to freezing, it’s the best way to persevere nutrition without adding sugar or salt. And if you use the power of the sun, you won’t need to spend any money on electricity. In a desert climate you can just put your food out on screened trays. But just a bit of humidity in the air makes this approach risky. Food can spo...

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Journal of the New Alchemists

“Six-Pack” Backyard Solar Greenhouse, 1975. Image: Journal of the New Alchemy. After reading an article by Paul Ehrlich, “Eco-Catastrophe!,” Nancy Todd turned to her husband John and said, “We must do something.” The year was 1969 and the Todds along with Bill McLarney went on to found the New Alchemy Institute. History repeats itself. What the New Alchemists did, in response to the 1970s er...

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Saturday Linkages: From Bananas to Laird’s Laws

Breaking news from Mrs. Homegrown’s alma mater–banana plant busts through glass roof at Smith College conservatory http://www.gazettenet.com/news/9182534-95/banana-plant-busts-through-glass-roof-at-smith-college-conservatory#.UrzZKcw8rbU.twitter … Goleta considers groovy permaculture ordinance: http://www.independent.com/news/2013/dec/23/goleta-considers-groovy-green-ordinance/ … Spanish sperm whale death linked t...

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Saturday Linkages: Holiday Edition

How Children Demanding Play Streets Changed Amsterdam http://feedly.com/e/ejQo__gG Overpriced, useless, or just plain bizarre: an anti-garden gift guide http://gardenrant.com/2013/12/overpriced-useless-or-just-plain-bizarre-an-anti-garden-gift-guide.html … Half Of Supermarket Chicken Harbors Superbugs, Consumer Reports Finds http://huff.to/JKYa1W  Why LA’s local water strategy is like ‘Superman 3′ http://www.scpr.org/news/2...

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Village Homes: A Model for Sustainable Suburbs

I’ve recently discovered a truly inspiring housing development in Davis, California. This is not new news–it was built in the 1980′s, but it’s new to me and worth sharing. Village Homes is the brainchild of architect/developer Michael Corbett. It encompasses 70 acres and 200-some homes. It has all the space and privacy that brings people to the suburbs, but it’s designed with considerable intelligence. For instan...

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