Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Burn Calories, Not Fossil Fuel

A recent article in the local paper profiled an elementary school teacher who had biked across the continent this summer, and was proselytizing about bikes to his students now that school is back in session. His motto is “burn calories, not oil,” which I’ve borrowed for this post. Thanks, teach! Meanwhile, I’ve learned today that a new website is up and running: The Human-Powered Home. It’s the latest entry into the web-world dedicated to bikes, treadles, and cranks in lieu of motors, a subject I’m personally passionate about. (A couple years back I assembled what was supposed to be a bike-powered generator, but it didn’t work. Then, before I could perfect my muscle-powered rig, I got waylaid into creating new muscles to help in the struggle—my two daughters—and so haven’t found time to get the sucker up and running. Fellow Chelsea Greener Jesse McD is planning on usurping my glory and getting it to work himself. Thanks, Jesse!) My favorite news tidbit from the HPH? A piezoelectric dance floor in London. That’s right—with every step you take, you create electricity to help light up the disco. Talk about getting the party started right! This reminds me of a bit of trivia gleaned from Rob Hopkins [in the video here], author of our new Transition Handbook, to whit, that one liter of petroleum contains the same amount of energy as a human expends in about five weeks worth of work. Holy cow! And this stuff only costs $130 a barrel*? We really do live in a fantasy world. So go get inspired. If you’re going to have a Carbon-Free Home and you also want some of those useful advantages of modern times, like blenders, coffee grinders, washing machines, and so on, consider putting your body to good use. * Ignoring all the hidden costs, of course, which add up to many tens if not hundreds of dollars in equivalent value; plus many, many values that simply cannot—and ought not—be made in dollar equivalent.

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More..

Designing Your Own Solar Cooker & Dehydrator

In today’s world, nearly everything we use, from phones and computers to cars and kitchen appliances, requires energy derived from fossil fuels. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset some of that energy use by harnessing the renewable power of the sun? Josh Trought, founder of D Acres—an educational center in New Hampshire that researches, applies, […] Read More..

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this […] Read More..

A Man Apart: Remembering Bill Coperthwaite’s Radical Life

A Man Apart is the story—part family memoir and part biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow’s longtime friendship with Bill Coperthwaite (A Handmade Life), whose unusual, and even radical, life and fierce ideals helped them examine and understand their own. Framed by Coperthwaite’s sudden death and brought alive through the month-long adventure of building with […] Read More..