Sustainable Living Articles

EcOasys - Patrik Schumann
Patrik Schumann started EcOasys with two locations in Forestburgh, NY & New Mexico. One is a regenerating temperate forest including sustainable forestry and an edible forest, orchard, garden, and nursery demonstration and the other is a high desert institute for radical sustainability...ecOasys means “economic Oasis ecosystem”, and is conceived as a household-scale micro-cosm of the larger habitat, hinterland, and biosphere for people plus the rest of life on which we depend...

Breaking the Chains Buying Guide
Alternatives to the Corporate Big-Box Megastores, posted 8/05/07
One of the world's largest directories of green and organic businesses

Global Warming Knocking At Your Door
Bill McKibben, posted 3/20/07
THE MOMENTUM in the economy has begun a small, still barely discernible shift toward the local and away from the global.
You can see it in ways large and small: President Bush, touring Latin America, talks less about new free trade agreements, suddenly not as popular either with our neighbors or with the new Democratic Congress. Meanwhile, local food is on the cover of Time magazine...

Sustainability: Living Consciously
An Independent Study Project through Fairhaven College, by Diedra Penner, December 2006
For this independent study I compiled three educational pamphlets on issues related to sustainable living, particularly focusing on what individuals can change in their daily lives. The three topics are Nontoxic Household Cleaning, Nontoxic Body Care, and Voluntary Simplicity. To view web versions of the pamphlets click links below:

The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community
This video should be sent out as wide as possible. Excellent presentation by David Korten speaking in Vancouver B.C., September of 2006. It's a 1 hour presentation (with nice Powerpoint slides), followed by 20 minutes of Q&A. Highly recommended.

Beyond Despair: Nurturing the New World
by Megan Quinn, outreach director of Community Solutions
We who are disengaging from a top-down-controlled global economic system and we who are becoming producers instead of just consumers are taking back control over our lives and our future and re-asserting our hope. While corporations and governments tell us that we can continue to consume finite resources in ever increasing amounts because there will be alternatives, they are trying to maintain their mastery over us and the planet. When we are dependent upon them for our survival, we sacrifice our freedom. On the contrary, when we curtail, conserve, share, and make other changes we not only assure our freedom, but the ability of future generations to be free. This is real hope – not a blind hope that everything will somehow be okay, but a hope that is grounded in tangible action.

Proposing Plan C: Report on the Third U.S. Conference on Peak Oil and Community Solution
Participants at the Third U.S. Conference on "Peak Oil" and Community Solution learned how they must use less energy, save and share resources and grow food in their communities. This response to the coming peak and permanent decline of global oil production, dubbed "Plan C: Curtailment, Cooperation, and Community," was a major theme at the conference last month in this small southwestern Ohio town, the epicenter for a growing national movement.

Community and Curtailment
by Pat Murphy
The triple threats of peal oil, climate change and increasing inequity are growing in intensity at a shocking rate. We are bombarded with disturbing news including threats of war and even preemptive nuclear attack. We are told that China is a threat to our survival because it is attempting to mimic the American lifestyle. Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth” suggests that our very survival is at stake from global warming. The handwriting is on the wall – massive change is in the offing – and we are totally unprepared. For this New Solutions we will discuss options for addressing these threats under the rubric of four “plans” arbitrarily labeled A, B, C and D. The alternative we propose, Plan C, is to tackle the issues of food, housing and transportation, preparing for a world of greatly reduced fossil fuel consumption.

Preparing for a Crash: Nuts and Bolts
This essay is intended to address the serious “peaknik,” that is to say a person who accepts as axiomatic that Peak Oil will occur and that the consequences will be devastating for most of the world’s Homo sapiens sapiens. As one of these people, I am often frustrated by the lack of practical suggestions for what to do to survive the Peak and the Crash. Recently I read a list of things that the people who participate in the forum of a noted Peak Oil site were doing “to prepare for a future that can no longer depend on cheap oil.” These included having a rain barrel, a one-month supply of canned goods and a one-week supply of bottled water, “adjusting my stock portfolio with more energy and other commodity stocks,” setting the thermostat at 62, and replacing the light bulbs in the house with compact fluorescents. While all of these are good things to do now, they fail to even minimally prepare for a world with no food distribution, no electricity, and lots of hungry people, things that I think are an acceptable picture for a post-Peak future. Therefore I would like to set out my suggestions, assuming that the worst-case scenario is the one we may have to deal with.
See also Enlightened Survivalism

Lightening Our Load
The United States, South Korea and China all have energy policies. Why don't you? A personal energy policy can help you save money, limit pollution and reduce nation's reliance on imported fuels.

Investing in renewable energy: Samso's eco-revolution
Since 1998, Samso began converting its energy into renewable energy, and has been so successful that 100% of its electricity comes from wind power and 75% of its heat comes from solar power and biomass energy. That’s a near total Eco-Revolution...but it gets better. Here’s how they do it...

The Oil In Your Oatmeal
So how do you gauge how much oil went into your food? First check out how far it traveled. The farther it went, the more oil it required. Next, gauge how much processing went into the food. A fresh apple is not processed, but Kellogg's Apple Jacks cereal requires enormous amounts of energy to process. The more processed the food, the more oil it requires. Then consider how much packaging is wrapped around your food. Buy fresh vegetables instead of canned, and buy bulk beans, grains, and flour if you want to reduce that packaging....From the perspective of fossil-fuel consumption, I now look at my breakfast as a waste of precious resources. What I eat for breakfast connects me to the planet, deep into its past with the fossilized remains of plants and animals which are now fuel, and into the future, when these nonrenewable resources will probably be in scant supply.

Japanese putting all their energy into saving fuel
As President Bush calls on Americans to break their addiction to oil and increase energy efficiency in the face of soaring prices, perhaps no people serve as better role models than the energy-miser Japanese. With the world's second-largest economy and virtually no domestic sources of fossil fuel, Japan has had little choice but to turn energy efficiency into an art form, experts say. Japan has dramatically diversified its power sources over the years, becoming far less dependent on oil while cultivating a culture of conservation.

How peakniks are preparing
I’m one of a growing number of people who believe fossil fuels are going to become very expensive over the next few years, and everybody but the filthy rich are going to be looking for ways to make their lives more energy-efficient.
So I asked people at, a site that monitors energy depletion, what they are doing to prepare for a future that can no longer depend on cheap oil and gas:

Affordable Housing Goes Green
a trend taking off in cities across the country: the merging of affordable housing and "green" building. City officials and others are recognizing that energy-efficient buildings, while they may cost a bit more to build, are far more affordable than traditional housing in the truest sense of the word. They cost less to operate and live in, and they provide tenants with a healthier atmosphere that can save on healthcare costs.

The Power is in Your Hands
"The power is in your hands to manage energy security by making energy efficient choices..."

Consumer Reports Greener Choices: Products for a Better Planet

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