Free ebook filled with inspiring and useful information. Organized by Raam Dev, written by 40 bloggers who contributed over 100 ideas for improving the world.
“What changes can we make to our daily lives that will have a positive effect on the rest of the planet? This ebook exists to answer those questions. This ebook is a place to start, a place to get ideas and inspiration for small ways to make a big difference.
Over 40 bloggers contributed more than 100 ways to live more sustainable, to live happier and healthier, to get more out of life, to inspire and share, to reconnect with our true selves, to be a leader, to exist more intelligently.”
From the website below:
“Kim Thompson, the consultant we’ve been working with to learn about strawbale building, has completed a research project for CMHC that involves documenting all of the strawbale buildings in the Maritimes. There are at least 55, if you can believe it, and more than a dozen others planned for construction this year. To cap off her research, Kim invited all of the folks who currently own strawbale homes, plus a few industry contacts (architects, designers, builders), and a number of soon-to-be builders like us to a weekend camping at Ship Harbour.
We toured Kim’s home and property nearby – check out the cool smurf-like cob house with the thatch roof, her tool shed and the shot of her kitchen window sill. We learned about yurts (the photo of the white tent-like structure) and how to build them using local greenwood (like fresh cut spruce). These originate in Mongolia and people still live in these in climates where the temperature drops below 40 degrees C.”
Richard’s and Maggi’s blog post the other day about rice hull houses could become one of our most popular articles. It reminds me of a simple strawbale house that someone built 20 years ago to “get through university”. It worked so well that the owner/builder ended up living there about 10 years.
As surprising as it sounds, they broke the normal rules of strawbale building without running into major problems. They put the bales directly on the ground without a foundation (normally a big no no), and covered the walls with clay muck from a local swamp. Vines covered the walls. You’d think the bales would have quickly rotted. David Eisenberg of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology later investigated the house and wrote a report for The Last Straw Journal (back issues are available if you want to read the details). David measured the moisture content in the straw bale walls and found no problems except the bales in contact with the earth decomposed a little on the botom. No big deal because the house was built dirt cheap in an area with no codes and it paid for itself many times over in saved rent.
This is a great story of how someone was able to put themselves through school while living comfortably (snug in the winter!) and save enough money to do what they want in life. Contrast this to living in a noisy dorm and then paying a large portion of your hard earned money for a mortgage year after year. So there are alternatives if you’re determined and look hard enough. Maybe there’s a farmer nearby who’s willing to allow you to build an outbuilding on their land as part of a trade. Or venture out to rural areas with few or no building codes.
“Designers Thomas Kosbau and Andrew Wetzler have come with a plan for a greener alternative — a “biologically treated and processed paving material” that uses a common microbe to transform loose grains of sand into stable, road-worthy sandstone.
The plan, called ‘Sand.Stone.Road‘ recently won the grand prize in the Korean green design ‘Iida Awards 2010.
The designers’ plan would create roads from abundantly available sand mixed with the microbe Bacillus Pasteurii, which would cement it into a biologically engineered hardened sandstone. The idea is that this sand/microbe solution could then be sprayed onto a layer of sand, which would then harden it into a tough road surface.”
Thanks again to Richard for finding this story. The potential for this material is enormous. It’s been in the works for years and now appears ready for commercial development.
Hi Owen, we would appreciate more exposure. This is bigger than just a natural built home. The bigger picture here is that land rights for the normal person to live and feed themselves are not working. This is about shedding light on injustice and discrimination between the landowners (1%) and the rest. As social justice workers and environmental educators we will not just roll over and run away when the going gets tough. We live this way because someone needs to be a voice otherwise things aren’t gonna change. Did Gandhi just walk away?, is Aung San Suu Kyi sitting under house arrest because of her ego?
This is food security/land access issue. This is about sustainability, we cannot continue to live in a way that uses more resources that the earth can bear This is not just about us. As soon as we had the capacity we turned our place into a commons. We will continue do that as long as we can.
Anybody that is going to confront the ruling paradigm is going to meet with aggression and extreme challenges. It’s the earth that is under attack and our home is a symbol of what is a viable alternative.
We are a living and learning centre for sustainable lifestyles and permaculture principals. To be a positive response to the destruction which the planet and its population are suffering due to unsustainable agriculture, industry, consumerism, and non-renewable energy lifestyles.
Please check out our web page, sign our petition and spread the word to stop this madness.
“Here’s a mild chemical treatment recipe: Mix 10kg boric+15kg borax for 200lts water (warm enough to dissolve the borax in it). Puncture the bamboo nodes and fill it up with this solution. Let it stand saturated for a week. Let it dry and ta-daa, it’s ready to be used!” Best for indoor nature-friendly uses.