Archive for June, 2012

Adapting in Place Class in July!

Sharon June 22nd, 2012

Well, since the Rio Summit failed to save the world (again), and we’re slipping back into economic crisis, and _Making Home_ my book on Adapting-in-Place comes out in August, it seems like the right time to teach my AIP class again.  It helps to renew my sense of purpose as well – there’s nothing like sitting down and sorting out all the work we’re doing to get ready for the world we actually are emerging into again to feel a sense of excitement and purpose about it.

The class will start on American Independence Day, July 4, and we’ll declare our independence from corporations and the fear that all those things that can’t go on might not.   There is nothing that makes you feel free like the capacity to take care of yourself and your family in a variety of situations.  By the end of the class, you’ll have a plan for where to go next in preparing to get the most from the least.

Don’t worry if you have plans for the holiday or don’t live near me, the class is online and asynchronous – ie, you participate and read material when you have time.

Here’s the syllabus:

Week 1 – How to evaluate what you have. We’re going to concentrate on figuring out what the major concerns are for your place and your community. We’ll talk about your region and its climate, culture and resources, your house itself, your community and neighborhood – the challenges you forsee and maybe ones you haven’t thought about yet, and your personal circumstances – how much money, time and energy you have to deal with it. How does the definition of home change when we do this? We’ll also talk about when adapting in place is not an option, or when you should consider relocating, and what your options are if you do need to leave or move.

***BEFORE THIS CLASS – I’d ask everyone to send me a fairly detailed (2-4 pages) description of who you and your family are, your home, your neighborhood, your town/city and your region. I want to know as much as I can about things like your local climate, how much insulation you have, what kind of neighborhood you have, how you get along with the neighbors, what your goals are, what your concerns are. You have until the first day of class, although we’d prefer you do it earlier. Please do put in Caps – AIP SELF-EVALUATION in the header, though, especially if you send it early, so that it doesn’t get lost among other emails.

Week 2 – This week will focus on your house itself – we’ll talk primarily about low energy infrastructure for heating, cooling, cooking, lighting, washing, etc… About costs and options and choices for both private homes and for communities. We will also cover some renewable, especially low cost options.

Week 3 – We’re going to go into the walls of your building and into other mysterious home infrastructure- water, plumbing and toileting, insulation, keeping warm and cool and all the other things that your shelter does or could do for you. We’ll also talk a bit about what’s in your soil and on your property (this won’t get heavy emphasis in this class since we teach a whole class, garden design, on just this subject).

Week 4 We’ll focus on Family Issues – Sharing resources with both immediate and extended family (and chosen family), dealing with people who aren’t on board, Building collective infrastructure, cannibalizing what you have, dealing with the brother-in-law on the couch, helping kids adapt, disability, aging, college

Week 5 – We’ll talk about Finances, money, employment, making do, getting along on a shoestring, thrift, subsistence labor, starting cottage industries and businesses and community economics. This is also when we’ll talk about transportation of all sorts. We’ll also begin discussing building a set of plans – 1 year, 5 year – to adapt to different scenarios.

Week 6 – We’ll talk about Community at every level, about how to build it, what to bring to it, how to get your neighbors to help, even if they are weird. How to get along with them even if you are weird ;-) , about models and ideas for bringing resilience and community to every level from the neighborhood to the state. We’ll also talk about security, dealing with unrest or violence, and try and get those plans finished.

Cost of the class is $175 for a six week class.  I also have five scholarship spots available for low income participants – please email me to request one.  I also accept donations for additional scholarship spots – if you’d like to sponsor someone in the class or part of a spot, please let me know – 100% of all donations goes to making more free spots available in the class.  Email me at for more information or to register.