(1) Scary article about climate change: Wallace-Wells, David. “The Uninhabitable Earth”. New York Magazine, July 9, 2017: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html
(2) “We Might Lose Giant Sequoia National Monument This Week,” article by Lena Moffitt, Aug 21, 2017: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/347399-we-might-lose-giant-sequoia-national-monument-this-week
(3) “After public outcry, the Interior Department won’t eliminate national monuments,” article by Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna, Aug 25, 2017: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/8/24/16199048/interior-department-national-monuments
(4) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, book by Robert Putnam http://bowlingalone.com
(5) Various websites give data and graphs of each country’s footprint, showing how many Earths we’d need if everyone on the planet had the footprint of people in the United States, as compared with other countries. According to one chart I’ve seen, we’d only need half of one Earth if everyone had the average footprint of people in India. But if everyone on Earth were living the footprint of people in the U.S., we’d need over four Earths! There are various ways of measuring this, but the U.S., Canada, and Australia invariably appear among the highest-footprint counties. Residents of other lands, such as oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, do have a higher footprint than ours because of their huge supply of petroleum (which allows the citizens to have unlimited free electricity and free water). Free water in a desert land, what a testimonial to the power of petroleum! My favorite info-graphic is here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33133712
(6) Astyk, Sharon, “Revisiting the Riot for Austerity”. http://scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook/2011/04/25/revisiting-the-riot-for-auster/
(7) Jensen, Derrick. “Forget Shorter Showers” http://www.derrickjensen.org/2009/07/forget-shorter-showers/
(8) Brad Lancaster video: “Dryland Harvesting Home Hacks Sun, Rain, Food and Surroundings” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcAMXm9zITg This is the video where Brad slides down a fireman’s pole and chases off a would-be thief. “Hey! Hey” Get away from that car!” Priceless. I’m not telling you where that part of the video is because I want you to see the whole video.
(9) Climate catastrophe and Peak Oil aside, there are always reasons why a low-footprint life is the right choice––the thing we should be doing regardless. “The Theory of Anyway”, article by Sharon Astyk http://www.resilience.org/stories/2007-01-25/theory-anyway/
Books, Websites, Social Movements, & Other Resources
In being able to live my low-footprint life and write this book, I stand on the shoulders of giants. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive; however, I do feel particularly indebted to the people and works I mention below.
The Riot for Austerity:
• The book that started it all! HEAT: How To Stop the Planet from Burning, by George Monbiot
• Article by Lynn McDonald, summarizing and commenting on the main points of HEAT: http://www.justearth.net/george-monbiot-heat-extract-and-comments
• The Riot for Austerity group on Facebook
• Riot for Austerity (90 Percent Reduction) Yahoo email list https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/90PercentReduction/info
• Riot resource calculator http://www.greenknowe.org/r4a/
Sharon Astyk’s Books:
Sharon Astyk’s books on food security and other topics merit an entire category by themselves. When I was worried that this book would not end up being worth the money I was asking people to pay for it, I realized that a person could get their money’s worth from this book even if all it did for them was to introduce them to Sharon Astyk’s work.
• Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front (how families can adapt to climate change, financial crisis, and peak energy)
• A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Farm Crisis on American Soil (written with Aaron Newton)
• Independence Days (focuses on food preservation and storage)
• Making Home: Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle In Place. http://sharonastyk.com
Electricity and Home Usage Calculators:
For highly detailed information and suggestions on how to reduce your electricity usage and save a lot of money without sacrificing comfort: “Mr. Electricity,” Michael Bluejay’s website www.michaelbluejay.com
“How Not To Get Hit by Cars” – bike safety tips – michaelbluejay.com
Stuff and Consumerism:
• “Story of Stuff” video online by Annie Leonard. You just have to watch this!
• Junkyard Planet, book by Adam Minter. An eye-opening tour of the recycling and scrapping industry, and its sometimes-staggering impact on land, economies, and people all over the world.
• The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Mari Kondo (my all-time favorite book on decluttering).
• Ray Jardine: Ultralight Hiking “If you need it and don’t have it … you don’t need it!” This guy hikes the PCT with an 8-pound pack, yet he’s equipped for all weather.
• “100 Things” movement: people aspiring to own just 100 things or less. I don’t personally aim to pare down to a certain number of things, but have found this concept to be thought-provoking.
Home Heating and Cooling:
• Rocket Stove; Rocket Mass Heater: DIY stoves and heaters fueled by deadwood twigs! Yes you too can cook a meal or heat a home with a deceptively small pile of sticks. Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center, http://www.aprovecho.net and on YouTube
• Passive solar heating and cooling – “Passive solar design refers to the use of the sun’s energy for the heating and cooling of living spaces.” http://passivesolar.sustainablesources.com
• Solar cooking – Solar Cookers International, solarcookers.org “Solar Cookers International’s mission is to spread solar thermal cooking technology to benefit people and environments.”
• “How to flood-proof a house? Look to colonial New Orleans architecture,” article by Thom Smith. In addition to low-tech flood-proofing, the house also has passive-cooling and heating design features “known as ‘passive’ or ‘bioclimatic,’ and were the norm before modern, energy-intensive air conditioning and heating systems.” http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2017/08/how_to_flood-proof_a_house_loo.html
• Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, book by Brad Lancaster https://www.harvestingrainwater.com
• Brad Lancaster video: “Planting the Rain to Grow Abundance” (TEDx Tucson talk; on YouTube). Brad is a delightful speaker! You’ll get a big smile on your face while getting informed. His little butt-wiggling happy dance “a-BUN-dance” is priceless.
• Greywater recycling: Create an Oasis with Greywater, book by Art Ludwig http://oasisdesign.net
The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins. My favorite composting book even if you’re not yet ready to compost humanure. I’ve lost count of how many copies of this book I’ve donated!
• Besides Sharon Astyk’s books mentioned above, a couple of my favorite books are Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew; and How To Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land than You Can Imagine, by Jon Jeavons. These books totally dispelled my apprehensions about having not enough land to grow food to feed everyone by non-industrial methods. Personally, I don’t follow their plant-spacing systems and so on to the degree of precision they recommend, but I do find both of these to be excellent guides.
• Also download your local Master Gardeners planting guide; visit your local nursery; attend talks by your local Master Gardener group and Native Plant Society.
• Andy Firk, floridaforaging.com
• Greene Deane, eattheweeds.com
Google for experts in your region
Wizards of Prosperity and Thrift:
• The following two highly popular bloggers are financially well-off people who have radically reduced their overhead in order to enjoy economic and creative freedom:
1) Mr. Money Mustache: created wealth and financial independence for himself and his family by radically reducing their need for money and material goods, while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. His goals: “To make you rich so you can retire early”; “To make you happy so you can properly enjoy your early retirement”; “To save the whole Human Race from destroying itself through overconsumption of its habitat.”
Mr. Money Mustache – “early retirement through badassity”
2) Early Retirement Extreme: “a combination of simple living, DIY ethics, self-reliance, and applied capitalism.” He and his wife live on $10-14K a year, combined. http://earlyretirementextreme.com/about
• And a wizard of thrift on the other end of the income scale: Dolly Freed, Possum Living book. Minimalists living off other people’s leavings, this young woman and her father created ample time for recreation and educational pursuits. Possum Living – How to Live Well without a Job and With Almost No Money, by Dolly Freed https://www.pdf-archive.com/2012/06/29/possum-living/
Social Movements for Sustainable Civilization
Permaculture Design movement:
It’s easy to mistake this for an organic-gardening or homesteading movement, and many people do, but that’s a serious oversight. Permaculture is a movement and a set of design principles for the functional design of human settlements, of every aspect of how we live. There’s a need for more functional design in every industry and sector right now, and permaculture people have an important role to play.
• Books: Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison and Reny Slay; Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, by David Holmgren; The Permaculture Way, by Graham Bell. I treasure each of these books for different reasons. Mollison’s because he is considered the father of permaculture; Bell’s because it is short and practical; Holmgren’s for its focus on energy, which goes into everything we do and everything we make.
• Google permaculture guilds in your region. Austin Permaculture Guild in Austin, TX is one that’s particularly active. They offer classes, as well as organizing land-restoration workdays and other community projects.
• Huge international permaculture email listserv, divided by subject (cooking, etc.): permies.com
• Search for permaculture on YouTube and you’ll find enough to keep you busy for a lifetime.
• Take a permaculture design course. It really is life-changing!
Cities and towns that are proactively retooling themselves for a post-fossil-fuel age. The first Transition Town was Totnes, England. Now there are several hundred Transition Towns in countries throughout the world. Transition groups organize skill-shares, work to create affordable low-footprint housing, and all sorts of other wonderful things.
• The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience, by Rob Hopkins
• U.S. Transition Towns: transitionus.org/transition-towns
• Transition Town Totnes: transitiontowntotnes.org
Bioregionalism emphasizes becoming a steward of your place, getting to know its natural characteristics (watershed, native plants and animals, geology and so on), rebuilding ecosystems, and establishing right relationship between humans and other species. The artist and poet in me feels a particular resonance with this movement.
• “What Is Bioregionalism?” excellent article by Peter Berg, Planet Drum Foundation: cascadianow.org/about-cascadia/cascadia-bioregionalism/what-is-bioregionalism/
• Attend a Bioregional Congress in your region, or attend the national or international ones.
Creativity; Right Livelihood
In the past few years, I’ve noticed the emergence of a chorus of what I’ve dubbed “Creative Cheerleaders” or “Creative Champions”: writer-artist-entrepreneurs who are calling on all of us everyday people to step up and make our creative mark on the world. Some of the people and works that have inspired me most:
• Seth Godin is my #1 pick in this category. Linchpin and Poke the Boxare my two favorite of his many fine books. Godin urges us all to “Go out and make something happen; don’t wait to be picked,” and “Ship! Ship!” His blog sethgodin.typepad.com is packed with wise advice and real-life examples of people who have carved out unique niches for themselves.
• Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield. “That’s what we’re all waiting for you to do––to do the work.”
• The Flinch, by Julien Smith. Beware the lizard-brain. Resistance is your enemy.
• Die Empty, by Todd Henry. “The most valuable land in the world is the graveyard. In the graveyard are buried all the unwritten novels, never-launched businesses, unreconciled relationships, and all of the other things that people thought, ‘I’ll get around to that tomorrow’.”
• I owe special thanks to several “writing cheerleaders” whose books, email newsletters, blogs, ebooks, etc., lit a fire under me to write this book: Stella Orange “Shut Up And Write”; Jeff Goins “Tribe Writer”.
• And extra hearty thanks to Sean Donovan, author of The Book Book. My favorite quotes: “It’s wrong not to write!” and “GOYA (Get Off Your Ass)”. I credit The Book Book for removing my last shred of excuse for not writing DEEP GREEN, which is my first book.
Getting Your Mind In Order
• The Power of Now, book by Eckhart Tolle. I read this back in 2000, and it was a turning point for me in learning to drop worry and regret, and just be in the present moment.
• Nonviolent Communication, a Language of Life, book by Marshall B. Rosenberg. I read this in 2004 and got helpful tips for verbalizing my needs in non-combative language. But I also realized that even if I used nonviolent language, I would still end up transmitting violence energetically unless I also worked to heal my inner violence (unresolved emotions, etc.).
• The Avatar® books and The Avatar Course, by Harry Palmer. Awakening personal responsibility; rising above victim-consciousness; strengthening the “will muscle”; managing one’s attention; freeing oneself of limiting beliefs. Setting and achieving goals that are “Right For You.” Cultivating compassion and expanding one’s capacity to be in service to others. Navigating beyond familiar consciousness.
The absolute best resources I know of for building these essential life-skills are the Avatar® books and The Avatar Course, by Harry Palmer. “As YOU learn to manage your mind’s beliefs,” Harry says, “more and more of the elements of life will come under your control.” Also: “We are rarely, if ever, locked into a reality we cannot change simply by deciding to change our beliefs.” I took the Avatar Course in 2005 and consider it the most life-changing work I’ve ever done (and I’ve done a lot of life-changing work!). The course impressed me so much that I went on to take the Master Course to become a licensed instructor of Avatar.
The Avatar Course is attached to a social movement for the evolution of human consciousness and the realization of an enlightened civilization. I can honestly say that without the Avatar Course, I would never have become a leader in the permaculture and green movements. And this DEEP GREEN book would not exist! To find out about Avatar, visit www.avatarepc.com (Avatar® is a registered trademark of Stars Edge, Inc. All rights reserved.)