Casaubon's Book

Just a reminder that Aaron Newton (my co-author on A Nation of Farmers) and I will be running our Adapting in Place Class online for six weeks, starting Thursday. The class is asynchronous – you don’t have to be online at any particular time, just participate when you like. The goal of the class is to help people develop a coherent plan for how to create a good and viable low energy life with what you have. Previous participants have told us that the class was “life-changing.” This class attempts to deals as clearly as possible in such a murky subject with the question of “how should I live my life in an uncertain future?”

The cost of the class is $180 or equivalent barter, and I do have several spots still open and one remaining scholarship spot (thanks to several kind donors) available for a low income participant who couldn’t otherwise afford the class. Email me for more info at

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.

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, renters and for communities as a whole. We will also cover some renewable energy choices, 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 and how to make the best possible use of it (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 (both biological and chosen), dealing with people who aren’t on board, building collective infrastructure, cannibalizing what you have and making do, dealing with the brother-in-law on the couch, helping kids adapt. Also issues raised by young children, disability, aging, college.

Week 5 – We’ll talk about finances, money, employment, retirement and savings, making do, getting along on a shoestring, thrift, 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.

Hope you can join us!



  1. #1 Ann
    May 24, 2010


    I can’t wait for the class to begin!

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