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 5 Rules of Lean Thinking

Are you ready to co-create the future? These 5 Rules of Lean Thinking are a useful tool as we set out to collectively invent a post-market future.Surviving the Future is a story drawn from the fertile ground of the late David Fleming’s extraordinary Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It. That […] Read More

Imagination, Purpose & Flexibility: Creating an Independent Farmstead – Q&A (part 1)

Twenty years ago, the land that authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased and have come to name the Sow’s Ear was deemed “not suitable for agriculture” by the state of Ohio. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture […] Read More

Using Permaculture Principles to Design Resilient Cities

The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods, and even cultures.Author Toby Hemenway (Gaia’s Garden) lays out how permaculture design can help towndwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs […] Read More

Overshoot, Collapse, and Creating a Better Future

In 2016, Earth Overshoot Day happened on August 8—the day when we’ve exhausted the planet’s resources for the year, and are essentially borrowing from future years to maintain our existence today.Perhaps you celebrated this day with a counter-solution: a vegetarian meal, telecommuted, or turned off the air conditioning. There’s a lot more you could be […] Read More

Save Energy & Money This Winter: Seal Up Your Drafty House

Unless you’ve taken special preventative precautions, it’s likely that on cold days much of your house’s heat pours out through your (closed) windows. Most houses—especially old houses—have drafty, uninsulated windows that do little to prevent heat from dumping out into the cold night. Even if your windows aren’t drafty, the expensive heat your furnace has […] Read More
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