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Necessity is the Mother of … Conservation

The New York Times recently posted story about the power-crisis facing the city of Juneau, Alaska. On April 16th, an avalanche cut them off from a local hydroelectric dam that supplied 80 percent of the city’s electricity. Back-up power, from diesel generators, is tiding them over until power can be restored in late June. Using these diesel generators would have been all well and good in the days of cheap fuel, but as we all know, diesel fuel these days costs well up over $4/gallon in the contiguous 48, and is likely much pricier up in Alaska. Electricity bills for residents and businesses in the city have skyrocketed—literally overnight—by 400 percent. Just as Americans on the mainland are avoiding high transportation fuel costs by bicycling to work, buying smaller cars, and carpooling, the Alaskans are avoiding high electricity fuel costs in other ways: reading in the evenings, walking to work, going to bed earlier, and turning off the walls of TVs at the local electronics store. Using these measures, Juneau has managed to cut its collective energy bill by a staggering 30 percent in just a few weeks. Juneau’s conservationist actions, even though triggered by financial necessity, should serve as an inspiration to the rest of us. Do we need 33 degree water at all times? How hot does our dishwasher really need to be? How many beeping/blinking/buzzing gadgets can we stand to carry? Can we forego some of this luxury in exchange for lower energy bills and greater peace of mind? It sounds like a good deal to me. So let’s get to it! Read the Times’ full story here.


Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you. Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and […] Read More

Recipe: Pascal Baudar’s Basic Wild Kimchi

Experiment with what you have, anything from the mustard family will work extremely well. Read More

Author Elizabeth Marshall Thomas: Dreaming of Lions

Reading through your life story, it’s clear that you were amazingly open to new experiences, approaching them like an observer who arrived with few previously held ideas. Do you think that it takes that kind of openness to see and understand animals and people in new ways, as you’ve done throughout your career? I do, […] Read More

Author Petra Kuenkel: The Art of Leading Collectively

More than ever before, there is a focus on new, collective forms of leadership—and an urgency to get collective change processes underway, all over the world. What’s behind the recent push to move collective leadership to the fore? Whether we find ourselves in societal or organizational change, it requires collective energy and drive to bring […] Read More

10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More
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