A Safe and Sustainable World
6 x 9
82 photos and illustrations
6 x 9
82 photos and illustrations
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.
Successfully proving through the Institute's designs and investigations that basic land sustainability is achievable, John Todd and the author founded a second non-profit research group, Ocean Arks International. Here they applied the New Alchemy's natural systems thinking to restoring polluted waters with the invention and implementation of biologically based living technologies called Ecomachines and Pond and Lake Restorers. 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 the four billion or so years of evolutionary intelligence of the natural world into healthy, decentralized, locally dreams hard won--and hope.
"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."
Donald Watson, architect
"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."
Stephanie Mills, author of "Epicurean Simplicity"
Foreword \ David W. Orr
Chapter 1. How It All Began
Chapter 2. Food from Our Gardens and Our Trees
Chapter 3. Food from Our Fishponds
Chapter 4. Energy from the Sun, the Wind, and Conservation
Chapter 5. Education and Outreach
Chapter 6. From Shelter to Bioshelter to Gaia
Chapter 7. An Ark for Prince Edward Island: A Live-in Bioshelter
Chapter 8. A Period of Consolidation
Chapter 9. Victims of Our Own Success
Chapter 10. Ocean Arks: Restoring the Water
Chapter 11. Ocean Arks Sails On
Chapter 12. The New Alchemy Legacy