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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.


Get Ready, Get Resilient

Are you resilient? How about we put your answer to the test, literally. Now, we know that assessment is always an important, albeit imperfect, subjective, and incomplete tool. In order to understand one’s skill in living a resilient lifestyle, Ben Falk, author of the award-winning The Resilient Farm and Homestead, developed the following assessment tool. […] Read More

Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

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 […] 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 […] 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 […] Read More
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