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Sharing knowledge to build rich, sustainable lives.

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in sustainability, appropriate technology, poverty reduction, and permaculture.

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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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Terraces and ditches at Petegral

Terraces and ditches at Petregal a Permaculture Demonstration Center in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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Community action news

Fillmore-sidewalk-1.jpg
Sep 14 California news: “Santa Monica releases second round of Wellbeing Index findings” [1]

Sep 12 Urban sustainability news: Where is the world's most walkable city? [2]

Sep 10 Australia: What about the people missing out on renewables? Here's what planners can do about energy justice [3]

Sep 8 Towards sustainable economies news: How the Blockchain Could Transform the P2P Economy [4]

Sep 6 Costa Rica: A global view from a mountain town: how conservation became ingrained in Monteverde [5]

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The only known photograph of Chief Seattle, taken 1864
This we know, the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We did not weave the web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

Chief SeattleW
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Hot topics / In the news

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Blog

Estuaries and coastal waters are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth.
Water is vital for all known forms of life. Covering 71% of the Earth's surface, it is found mostly in oceans and other large water bodies. 1.6% of the total mass of the Earth's water is below ground in aquifers and 0.001% is in the air as vapor, clouds, and precipitation (rain, snow and sleet).

The Earth's water moves constantly through a cycle of evaporation and transpiration (evapotranspiration), precipitation, and runoff, usually reaching the sea. Over land, evaporation and transpiration contribute to the precipitation over land - thus deforestation and other changes to land can have wide and long-lasting effects through their impact on the water cycle.

Some observers estimate that by 2025 more than half of the world population will be vulnerable to a lack of water. Appropriate water supply and water purification technologies can help.

Related portal: Greywater
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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Spring 2010: RCEA: Two labs of the Spring 2010 semester of Engineering 215 worked with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority to build energy education boxes for classrooms in Humboldt County. These boxes are designed for different K-12 grade ranges and cover one of three topics: energy conservation, renewable energy or climate change.

Spring 2010 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - RCEA
The Power of Wind
Educates students on the basics of wind power  
The Rad Triad
A Chutes and Ladders-like board game, a popup book and a sing-a-long song  
Weather Warnings
Teaches climate change through a movie, three stations, and a worksheet  
Modeling Renewable Energy
Educates students on many types of renewable energy  
Bust-A-Watt
Teaches energy conservation through activities, home assessments, and an art assignment  
Seas of Change
Educates students about the polar ice caps melting effects of climate change through a hands-on model  
Energy in a Cinch
Teaches about renewable energy through the use of a Windbelt  
CAN YOU WorKIT
Students assemble and operate a hand crank electrical generators  
Climate Crusaders
A Cap-and-Trade game and a model greenhouse gas experiment  
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