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James McCommons in The L.A. Times

James McCommons is the author of the award-winning book, Waiting on a Train; The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail Service, which chronicled a year spent riding Amtrak across the United States.

In a recent piece for the Los Angeles Times, he shares his experience of effortless connections, convenient stations, and gorgeous routes as he traveled by rail in Europe with his son. There’s more than a touch of lament in his words for the way passenger rail works back here in the States. As Waiting on a Train illustrates, Amtrak is hampered by ineffective subsidies and decaying infrastructure, making rail travel difficult where it’s possible at all.

McCommons is not alone in hoping that we can follow in Europe’s footsteps to create viable rail transit in this country. The fuel efficiency of rail, when compared to cars and trucks makes it a favorite for those looking to trim carbon dioxide emissions. We won’t be holding our breath for a change, however. Subsidies for less efficient travel methods have been strong for ages, and even the recent oil disaster doesn’t look to be changing that anytime soon.

Read Waiting on a Train.

Read the full Los Angeles Times article.


How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

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Research is emerging almost daily on the role of the microbiome in human health. But how do we acquire this mysterious community of microbes and more importantly how do we make sure the good bacteria outnumber the bad? According to a new book by Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford, Your Baby’s Microbiome, it all starts […] Read More

Prepare! Keep a Grab-n-Go Survival Kit Handy

Are you prepared in the event of a sudden emergency? Blizzard, earthquake, insurrection after the inauguration? We know a lot of people are wondering what’s coming next in the US, as well as the world, given terrorism, politics, and global warming, among other threats. In this excerpt from When Technology Fails, a popular book on […] Read More

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More
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