Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Thinking about newfangled cars

As Americans in their role as consumers embark on a massive shift in preferences regarding automobiles, and as entrepreneurs proffer some pretty neat technological advances, yet and still…Consider this. In 2006 (year of most recent data I could find on the Department of Transportation website), 134,836,165,000 gallons of gasoline were burned by cars, motorcycles, and light trucks on US roads. This was what it took to power the 135,399,945 automobiles, 6,678,958 motorcycles, and 107,943,782 light trucks (pickups/Vans/SUVs) we all own. (And leaves out the buses and big trucks and all the diesel they burn.) All told, and excluding Puerto Rico (no offense intended), 2,784,085,000,000 miles [PDF] of driving were done with all that fuel. (This mileage sum excludes buses and big trucks, I think.) That’s an average of 539 gallons of gasoline for each auto, motorcycle, or light truck over the year. And it’s an average of 20.6 miles per gallon. If we could magically convert the entire US automobile, motorcycle, and light truck fleet into vehicles getting 100 mpg, but our driving habits remained the same, we would still consume approximately 27,840,850,000 gallons of gasoline. This is very nearly the same amount of gasoline that was consumed on US roadways in 1947 [large PDF file]. Recall that even by that point in time, we were burning enough fossil fuels to have put us on the global warming track. Anyone for a bike? Photo courtesy of Madaise.


The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More..

Designing Your Own Solar Cooker & Dehydrator

In today’s world, nearly everything we use, from phones and computers to cars and kitchen appliances, requires energy derived from fossil fuels. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset some of that energy use by harnessing the renewable power of the sun? Josh Trought, founder of D Acres—an educational center in New Hampshire that researches, applies, […] Read More..

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this […] Read More..

A Man Apart: Remembering Bill Coperthwaite’s Radical Life

A Man Apart is the story—part family memoir and part biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow’s longtime friendship with Bill Coperthwaite (A Handmade Life), whose unusual, and even radical, life and fierce ideals helped them examine and understand their own. Framed by Coperthwaite’s sudden death and brought alive through the month-long adventure of building with […] Read More..