Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yestermorrow Design/Build School open house

From our friends at Yestermorrow Design/Build School:

I'd like to extend an invitation to you all for an event I'm
organizing in Boston on Tuesday, March 10th at 7pm.

If you've ever wanted to learn more about the Yestermorrow
Design/Build School ( in Warren, VT, but
haven't made it up to VT, here's your chance! I'm hosting a
public information session at Next Phase Studios, 344 Boylston
ST, Boston, on March 10th.

Join me for an introduction to Yestermorrow Design/Build School,
see a slide show of our campus and recent class projects, and
meet faculty members. Learn more about the over 150 classes we
offer annually in design, construction, woodworking and more,
including our certificate programs in Sustainable Building and
Design and Natural Building. Free and open to the public.

RSVP: 802-496-5545, or via our Facebook

Please spread the word to anyone who you think might be

Kate Stephenson
Executive Director
Yestermorrow Design/Build School

Friday, February 27, 2009

This is the Reality of "Clean Coal"

So sorry that I haven't posted in a while. I've been taking a Dreamweaver class funded by your donations (thank you!!!!) so that we can update our website in-house, and not have to post to Idealist every time we need an update. Needless to say, this night class cramped by downshifted style, and I was busier than I'd like in February. Something had to give, and blogging was it. Anyway, I'm back!!!

Thanks to the folks at This is Reality for this great ad by the Coen brothers to get the reality of "clean coal" on the street:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feeling stressed?

This website, Moments of Rest, has a new, 1-minute video every day that shows soothing landscapes. Sometimes all we need is one minute everyday to take ourselves out of the craziness of our lives.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Hidden Cost of CAFO's

This article from the Union of Concerned Scientists on CAFO's (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or factory farms) had a particular resonance to me after driving on California's Highway 5 last month. Not only the smell would turn you off from beef and dairy for a long time, but also the sight of thousands of cows, standing in their own filth with no green grass to graze on, would do it for you permanently.

Raising livestock in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) generates staggering environmental, health, and societal costs—with taxpayers left footing the bill.

• Foul odors and contaminated water caused by CAFOs reduce property values in surrounding communities an estimated $26 billion nationally.

• The overuse of antibiotics at CAFOs leads to drug-resistant illnesses that are more difficult to treat. The public health impacts associated with antibiotic resistance
from CAFOs cost an estimated $1.5 billion to $3 billion per year.

• Leakage of manure from storage “lagoons” at CAFOs contaminates soil and groundwater. Cleaning contaminated
soil under U.S. hog and dairy CAFOs would cost an estimated
$4.1 billion.

• CAFOs generate about 300 million tons of manure per year; distributing this manure to enough farmland to reduce both air and water pollution (to comply with federal standards) would cost as much as $1.16 billion per year.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Welcome to Elsewhere

Newsweek ran a good article by Dalton Conley about the harried pace of modern working life, titled "Welcome to Elsewhere." He talks about how modern professionals work upwards of 50 hours a week, and then schedule leisure activities to the detriment of down time with family, friends, and themselves:
Today's professional, by contrast, is constantly dogged by a feeling that he or she should be "elsewhere"—back at the office, at a party full of potential clients, home with the kids or at a social function with the spouse. Always on the go, we feel like we are in the right place at the right time only when in transit, moving from point A to B. Constant motion is a balm to an anxious culture where we are haunted by the feeling that we are frauds, expendable in the workplace because so much of our service work is intangible.

One antidote to the problem of overwork is what we always talk about: voluntary simplicity, downshifting, just saying "no, whatever you want to call it. Another solution would be if our country had a mandatory vacation law. Our friends at Take Back Your Time are working to do such a thing, and it has more of chance of passing in a family friendly administration like we have now. Visit Right 2 Vacation to add your name to the petition and to get more information. And next time you actually ARE on vacation, why not leave your Blackberry/computer/cell phone at home? If that thought sends butterflies to your stomach, welcome to Elsewhere!