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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

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To catch the rain cover.png You made it happen! Get a paperback on Amazon or digitally at http://www.tocatchtherain.org.


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The First Rice Hull House
Rice Hulls in Construction. The rice hulls are unique within nature. They contain approximately 20% opaline silica in combination with a large amount of the phenyl propanoid structural polymer called lignin. This abundant agricultural waste has all of the properties one could ever expect of some of the best insulating materials. Recent ASTM testing conducted R&D Services of Cookville, Tennessee, reveals that rice hulls do not flame or smolder very easily, they are highly resistant to moisture penetration and fungal decomposition, they do not transfer heat very well, they do not smell or emit gases, and they are not corrosive with respect to aluminum, copper or steel. In their raw and unprocessed state, rice hulls constitute a Class A or Class I insulation material, and therefore, they can be used very economically to insulate the wall, floor and roof cavities of a super-insulated Rice Hull House. This paper also explains how the structure of such a house can be fashioned out of a variety of engineered lumber products derived from sugarcane rind.
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Parabolic basket and tin can solar cooker

Creating a solar cooker out of local invasive species and waste materials in order to pasteurize water and be an alternative to the use of fossil fuels for cooking food.

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Community action news

AlleeImFruehling.jpg
Sep 18 Community currencies activism: Don't think of currency, but "current-sees". How do we recognise different flows of value in our society? Art Brock knows [1]

Sep 17 Paris: Journée sans voiture: les 4 premiers arrondissements de Paris piétons un dimanche par mois [2]

Sep 17 Germany launches world's first hydrogen-powered train [3]

Sep 6 Food USA: What public banks can do for food systems [4]

Sep 5 Norway builds world's tallest timber tower, and it's both environmentally friendly and fire resistant [5]

Read More...


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Paul Polak presenting at the Cusp Conference 2008, Chicago, IL
I hate books about poverty that make you feel guilty, as well as dry, academic ones that put you to sleep. Working to alleviate poverty is a lively, exciting field capable of generating new hope and inspiration, not feelings of gloom and doom. Learning the truth about poverty generates disruptive innovations capable of enriching the lives of rich people even more than those of poor people.

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Hot topics / In the news

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Blog

You can have a green Christmas.
Green living (or sustainable living) is about practical choices, large and small, to preserve the earth and have a better quality of life. It is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources and his or her own resources.

In order to make sustainable choices, it is very helpful to have solid, reliable information that tells us which behaviors are sustainable and which are unsustainable. In quantitative terms, which actions will make the greatest difference, and should be prioritized. Green living can be high tech (buying a hybrid vehicle), low tech (green cleaning, or completely "back to nature." It can be smart grid or off the grid. Sustainable city living explains some of the areas of action for a city dweller.

Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption and diet. Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity's symbiotic relationship with the Earth's natural ecology and cycles. The practice and general philosophy of ecological living is highly interrelated with the overall principles of sustainable development.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Fall 2010: HBCSL Somoa Hostel: The Fall 2010 semester of Engineering 215 worked with Humboldt Bay Center for Sustainable Living to design and build projects that support a proposed eco-hostel in Humboldt County.

Fall 2010 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - HBCSL
Thermosyphon Solar Shower System
An outdoor shower that utilizes solar energy to heat the water  
Samoa Hostel Truth Tank
Provides greywater treatment system for a satellite solar shower  
Samoa Hostel Wattimus Prime
A metering scheme that monitors the amount of energy used by the visitors  
Can You Feel The Heatloss?
An education display about convection and heat loss  
Samoa Hostel Natural Paints
A natural paint display to educate visitors of the Samoa Hostel  
Pain in the Axle
A bicycle-powered electrical generator that powers a television and DVD player  
Samoa Hostel Windbelt
An array of wind belts that can charge a cell phone  
The Mechanical Munchy-Maker
A mechanical bicycle that generates energy to power a kitchen appliance  
Samoa Hostel Insulation Station
Educates visitors about the effectiveness insulation types and their relative costs  
Samoa Hostel greywater island
Models, designs, and educates guests and implementers of hostel size greywater treatment  
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