David Blume Inspires Us
by Yvonne Rainbow Jensen Teplitsky
On a cold Saturday in February we sat in the Council Hall, sunrays and snowflakes dancing outside the windows, listening to a lively presentation by David Blume, author of Alcohol Can be a Gas, and Luke Staengl, of the Virginia Ethanol Association.
They vividly explained how we can produce alcohol using a wide variety of plants like cattails, corn, beets, kudzu and more or using waste products like stale donuts.
"Alcohol fuel is liquid sunshine," said David Blume, and you can even use it in your car, right now! Converting a car to 100% alcohol or flexible fueling (both alcohol and gas) costs only between $350-$500 for a converter, which they sell from their website.
With alcohol fuel, you can become energy independent, reverse global warming, and survive Peak Oil in style. More at permaculture.com.
But we need someone to start a production system here locally. David and Luke implied that a small-scale alcohol plant of 500 acres would be enough to start an energy revolution!
I was touched by David and Luke's involvement with Project Gaia, which brings ethanol cooking stoves to refugee camps in the developing world. Their work with stoves and with establishing regional alcohol plants helps to reverse global warming because alcohol burns very clean. One stove (cost of just $50) used for a year removes up to 17 tons off the carbon footprint of the planet.
In fact, I was so impressed that I decided to donate a portion of my upcycled clothes sales to Project Gaia too. As I walked home through the forest, I felt uplifted, hopeful and inspired, knowing there's so much possibility to turn the energy crisis around, right here in our Valley-and out there too.
Yvonne Rainbow Jensen Teplitsky is involved with Transition Black Mountain, a grassroots organization aimed at increasing local awareness of appropriate ways of living in response to energy descent and climate change. Rainbow also creates unique upcycled clothes for sale at the EH Trading Post, on Etzy, or on Facebook: Artsy Goddess.
Late February a strong ice storm came through our area. Rain froze, trees fell, phone lines were down, and roads were slippery. The next day, when the sun rose, it created a fairy-tale, winter wonderland of crystals glinting and melting.
Thanks to Lee Warren for the photos.
Interview with Brandon Greenstein
Neighbor, friend, and former member
by Arjuna da Silva
Brandon came to Earthaven in 1998 in pursuit of meaningful connection to Earth and Spirit. “When I discovered permaculture in Communities magazine, I realized organic farming, natural building and ecovillage lifestyle were what I was after.”
The following year, he returned to Earthaven with his partner, Brandi, and her daughter, Aurora. Along with two other young families, they settled into the pioneer life. “I wanted to live with people taking responsibility for our individual and collective impact on the world—socially, politically, energetically, spiritually. Also,” he admits, “I came for the Hut Hamlet, as unkempt as it was, because it felt like a fairy tale place. It still does!”
“I got what I came for and a whole lot more: I got an education. Though I had the permaculture concept, I’d never reckoned with what it takes to build a house or create a farm from a standing forest, let alone provide infrastructure for a neighborhood. I learned so much about so many systems we all depend on.”
“What I learned at Earthaven, I maintain as a focus in my life. Being able to assist people in managing power and other home systems is a way of being of service that nourishes me. The lifestyles here represent many of my priorities, and my love and appreciation for the diversity of people has helped me work things out with most everyone.”
Though now living up the road, Brandon is an active part of Earthaven in many ways, meeting social and work-related needs among the members and community at large. He probably visits more neighborhoods in a single day than any resident.
Culture's Edge Upcoming Events
A Villager’s View of Permaculture with Chef Kabui of Kenya, April 6, along with the first in a series of Introduction to Permaculture weekends with Patricia Allison, April 6 & 7.
On Saturday, April 27th, Michelle Dionne brings her 5 Elements of Healing Dance workshop to the Council Hall.
Monthly introductory permaculture weekends with Patricia continue through the summer, interspersed with her 3-weekend Permaculture Fundamentals course, June. 14-16.
Mollie Curry and Steve Kemble lead an Introduction to Natural Building hands-on experience, May 31-June 4.
On July 6 & 7, Diana Leafe Christian and Gayatri Erlandson offer a workshop on the dynamic self- governance system, Sociocracy.
Summer celebrations with music and dancing will be on the boards as well!
Visit here for more details, half-day “after tour” events & more.
on the System of Exploitation and the Nature of Happiness
Earthaven has many philosophers. We're awash with abundance when it comes to theories of the industrial complex, natural systems, and know-it-all opinions on just about everything. If we took a vote on the "Most Likely to Philosophize," it'd be a close race. But one of the leading contenders, maybe even the all-out winner, would be Paul Caron.
He's been known to quote Nietzsche and his favorite science fiction writer in the same sentence.
Here are a couple of short clips that capture him, in the flow, during a recent interview.
The Nature of Happiness
System of Exploitation
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel.
Do Eggs Really Balance Upright?
Legend has it that on Spring and Fall Equinox, when the energies are perfectly in balance, eggs will stand on end.
Find out more from the latest Earthaven Blog "Equinox and Eggs."
Lee Warren is the editor of the Earthaven newsletter. She is an herbalist, writer, cofounder of the Village Terraces Cohousing Neighborhood, and the manager of Imani Farm.
Arjuna da Silva is the assistant editor of the Earthaven newsletter and a founding member of Earthaven. She is now living in her earth-and-straw home, "Leela House."
Archives of our newsletters can be found here.