A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise of Ecological Design

Overview

In the late sixties, as the world was waking to a need for Earth Day, a pioneering group founded a small non-profit research and education organization they called the New Alchemy Institute. Their aim was to explore the ways a safer and more sustainable world could be created. In the ensuing years, along with scientists, agriculturists, and a host of enthusiastic amateurs and friends, they set out to discover new ways that basic human needs--in the form of food, shelter, and energy--could be met. A Safe and ...

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A Safe and Sustainable World: The Promise Of Ecological Design

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Overview

In the late sixties, as the world was waking to a need for Earth Day, a pioneering group founded a small non-profit research and education organization they called the New Alchemy Institute. Their aim was to explore the ways a safer and more sustainable world could be created. In the ensuing years, along with scientists, agriculturists, and a host of enthusiastic amateurs and friends, they set out to discover new ways that basic human needs--in the form of food, shelter, and energy--could be met. A Safe and Sustainable World is the story of that journey, as it was and as it continues to be.

The dynamics and the resilience of the living world were the Institute's model and the inspiration for their research. Central to their efforts then and now is, along with science, a spiritual quest for a more harmonious human role in our planet's future. The results of this work have now entered mainstream science through the emerging discipline of ecological design.

Nancy Jack Todd not only relates a fascinating journey from lofty ideals through the hard realities encountered in learning how to actually grow food, harness the energy of the sun and wind, and design green architecture. She also introduces us to some of the heroes and mentors who played a vital role in those efforts as well, from Buckminster Fuller to Margaret Mead. The early work of the Institute culminated in the design and building of two bioshelters--large greenhouse-like independent structures called Arks, that provided the setting for much of the research to follow.

A Safe and Sustainable World demonstrates what has and can be done--it also looks to what must be done to integrate human ingenuity and thefour billion or so years of evolutionary intelligence of the natural world into healthy, decentralized, locally dreams hard won--and hope.

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Editorial Reviews

architect - Donald Watson

"A clear, inspirational story that shows the nitty-gritty of how talent coalesces around important issues and how creative minds work together. This book is a necessary read for any idealist who aspires to change the world through architecture, design, the environment, and science."
author of <i>Epicurean Simplicity</i> - Stephanie Mills

"Nancy Jack Todd tells a marvelous story. This first hand account of New Alchemy's visionary, rigorous, and phenomenal projects to sustain life gives us all hope. This is a book that I'd like to share with local farmers, sprawl fighters, and conscientious citizens. Here we have grounds for the hope of living simply, meeting our basic needs, and restoring health to the world, and on a shoestring budget."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781559637800
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/2006
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 194
  • Sales rank: 1,036,220
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Jack Todd is a writer and editor based on Cape Cod, where she gardens and swims and publishes the environmental journal Annals of Earth. Her other books, with John Todd, include Tomorrow is Our Permanent Address and From Eco-Cities to Living Machines. Her writings have also appeared in a number of publications and anthologies. She and John Todd have received the Bioneers Award, the Charles and Ann Morrow Lindbergh Award the Daimler/Chrysler award for design, the United Nations (FUNEP) Award, and the Swiss Threshold Award for contributions to human knowledge.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
1 How it all began 5
2 Food from our gardens and our trees 19
3 Food from our fishponds 34
4 Energy from the sun, the wind, and conservation 51
5 Education and outreach 63
6 From shelter to bioshelter to Gaia 77
7 An ark for Prince Edward Island : a live-in bioshelter 98
8 A period of consolidation 116
9 Victims of our own success 131
10 Ocean arks : restoring the water 143
11 Ocean arks sails on 161
12 The new alchemy legacy 181
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