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Chelsea Green Blog

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.


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..

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

Beyond the War on Invasive Species – Review in Permaculture Design Magazine

This review was originally published in Permaculture Design, Issue #97, “Life on the Edge,” Fall 2015; www.PermacultureDesignMagazine.com Look in the Mirror Review by Peter Bane For its extensive scholarship, clear voice, and impassioned, hopeful message, this book is a joy to read—a slim but beautifully written teaching text which uses permaculture and ecosystem science as a lens for viewing the […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..
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