What is it? The Hexayurt is a refugee shelter system based on work done at the Rocky Mountain Institute. It uses an approach based on "autonomous building" to provide not just a shelter, but a comprehensive family support unit which includes drinking water purification, composting toilets, fuel-efficient stoves and solar electric lighting. Other systems can be added in a modular fashion.
Is this for real? Yes. Both the American Red Cross and the US Department of Defense have examined the Hexayurt system in detail and found that it has considerable merit and utility. I hope that we will see it in use by international agencies within two years.
The best place to get started is to read the slides from the presentation Vinay Gupta gave at the Pentagon in December 2006: Pentagon Presentation (pdf) - 20 pages, not much text, and the best summary of the system we currently have online.
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.