Over the last couple of posts in this series, linked below, I have laid out reasoning for why I believe that top-down approaches are not going to help us live through peak oil and climate change. I said that we needed to address things on a local level, and gave indications towards what that might look like, citing Growing Hope, Strawbale Studio, Transition Towns, and other local efforts that I know of among my inspirations.
I said that it would be almost impossible for me to provide a detailed roadmap. I still believe this is true. Besides the navigating of personal finances, there is the practical side of things to consider. What skills are useful to learn for your own environment will be different. Your environment, your community/communities, your life experiences, and you yourself are different from me, and anything outside of a few checklists of what folks new to this stuff should look for might actually be more of a hindrance than a help. The plants I know how to grow do so in the soil that I have lived on for the 30 years I have been alive.
So, here are some general guidelines on where to get started, the resources I have looked at, and what I have found helpful. As I want this to be a more general list, I won’t be putting anything region-specific like ‘how to do permaculture in Michigan’ or what-have-you. These lists are by no means exhaustive. There are folks, like Richard Heinberg, John Michael Greer, and others who have appeared across different parts of the country and in some cases other countries to talk on these subjects, and they have plenty of lectures and interviews worth watching. There are plenty of books out there that would be of use that I may not have read, and may not read. The same is true of Internet resources and videos.
If you have your own suggestions, please, list them in the comments.
Peak Oil Internet Resources
- The Post-Carbon Institute, an independent think-tank exploring peak oil, sustainability, and long-term resilience. Many of the folks, including Richard Heinberg and Chris Martenson, that I have learned about peak oil, permaculture, and resilience from are part of this group.
- Peak Prosperity by Chris Martenson, who has produced what I believe to be one of the best series of videos explaining peak oil from an economic perspective: The Crash Course. He offers current analysis and economic insights through his website, Peak Prosperity.
- Peak Moment is full of excellent videos with interviews with folks ranging from toolmakers to backyard gardeners, sailboat traders to car modders.
Peak Oil Book Resources
- The Long Descent by John Michael Greer. This book is thick, and I finished it last month after getting it back in November. It is an overview of the end of the age of oil, and how the cultural stories we are told and tell ourselves impact our ability to address peak oil and climate change. Then, it goes a step further and offers directions on how we can do so.
The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment by Chris Martenson. I watched the Crash Course this book is based on, and found it an excellent way of digesting the overwhelming factors coming down on a lot of sides.
Peak Oil Video Resources
- The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the Collapse of the American Dream, directed by Gregory Greene. This movie was a real gut-punch to me when I watched it back in 2004, and helped me to get my head around peak oil, and helped to form my understanding of the challenges before us.
- The Crash Course by Chris Martenson. A warning: This Youtube Playlist is a complete, 4.5 hour overlook at the economic, environmental, and energy dynamics at play here. He has a one-hour overview here called The Accelerated Crash Course. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
- What a Way to Go -Richard Heinberg Interview by Timothy S. Bennett. He gives a good overview of peak oil and climate change coming at us as a ‘perfect storm’, and ways we can respond to it effectively.
- The End of Economic Growth Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute, presented by Post Carbon Toronto. Heinberg explores how his views on peak oil were shaped, how he came to question the current culture of consumption, and what addressing it head-on can look like.
- Richard Heinberg on Snake Oil: How Fracking’s False Promise of Plenty Imperils Our Future
Permaculture Internet Resources
- The Permaculture Institute is, like its UK counterpart, a nonprofit that is “dedicated to promotion of permaculture through education, and by establishing professional practice standards for the permaculture movement. Founded in 1997 by Scott Pittman and Bill Mollison, the Institute’s work focuses on education and alliances.”
- The Permaculture Association is a UK-based national charity “that supports people to learn about and use permaculture.” It carries workshop dates, online resources, and ways to get involved.
- An Easy Way to Start a New Permaculture Garden by Lois Stahl from the Permaculture Research Institute. A brief introduction to starting, including how Lois Stahl starts the soil work itself.
- A beginner’s guide to permaculture gardening by Laura Laker from Green Living. A good general overview with links to more resources.
- Starting out in Permaculture by The Permaculture Association. The very basics to getting started in a permacultural mindset, then going on to apply this to where you live, and how you spend your money and time.
Permaculture Book Resources
- Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison. Bill Mollison is seen as one, if not the founder of the modern permaculture movement. His works are what a lot of folks rely upon to get started and to keep on going when confronted with issues as they build a life informed by this method of working with the Earth.
- Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison.
Permaculture Video Resources
- Beautiful 1 Acre Small Scale Permaculture Farm – Limestone Permaculture Farm by Happen Films
- Transition Network. “Transition Network is a charitable organisation whose role is to inspire, encourage, connect, support and train communities as they self-organise around the Transition model, creating initiatives that rebuild resilience and reduce CO2 emissions.” The folks who helped start the Transition Town movement started in Totnes in the UK, and since 2006 has grown from there, with transition efforts underway across the world.
- Transition Towns US. An organizing website for Transition Towns based in the United States, and ways to contact and get involved with them posted from groups across the country
The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience by Rob Hopkins. It is an exploration of how TTT (Transition Town Totnes) and the Transition movement started up, how to start one’s own, and guides for making it a success. There is an online PDF version of this available here. I have yet to find as good a resource on Transition Towns as this one.
- Transition Towns Youtube Page, which explores the what and why of Transition Towns, the economic set up and impacts, self-organization, and talks by Transition Town members.
Long Descent Skills
The Long Descent Skills Internet Resources
The Long Descent Skills Book Resources
- The Cob Builder’s Handbook by Becky Bee
- Roundwood Timber Framing and Woodland Books by Ben Law. Roundwood Timber Framing: Building Naturally Using Local Resources by Ben Law and Lloyd Kahn were part of the resources used for the roundwood timber frame workshop Sylverleaf and I attended, which was a good overview of how to do basic A-frames and putting together structures.
- Roundwood Timber Framing and Woodland Books by Ben Law
- Rocket Mass Heaters by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson, which was the resource the Rocket Stove and Earth Oven class used as part of its weekend workshop on the subject. I found it very useful both into how rocket mass heaters work, and exploring the how and why of how they are designed.
The Long Descent Skills Video Resources
- Roundwood Timber Framing by Ben Law, which explores how he creates roundwood timber frame structures from the bottom up, and shows how he has involved communities in helping to build their own structures.
- Ben Law’s Videos Page, which explores coppicing, roundwood timber framing, his organic pool, and living off-grid on 12v electricity in a woodland house.
- How to Tie 7 Knots by The Art of Manliness. This guide was pretty clear, easy to follow, and gives basic guides on how to tie these knots, and just as importantly, in which situations you would use them.
The best charcoal retort kiln in the world? by James Hookway. One of many charcoal-making tutorials I have found online. While this is not a blow-by-blow, I enjoy that it shows the proof-of-concept during the process of making the charcoal.
- How to make charcoal briquettes from agricultural waste by Amy Smith, D-Lab, MIT. A great overview of how to make charcoal briquettes from start to finish using simple materials and a minimum of production for what you need to make your own.
- Board Hewing Demo by Steve Woodley. A basic look at how to make boards using a single axe.