Adapting-In-Place Class Starting in July!

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.



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To all Sharon's readers who may be contemplating taking this course, I'd like to tell you that it is extremely worthwhile and will likely change your life and that of your family. I took it in 2009, about a year after becoming aware of peak oil. When I took the course, my husband did not believe, as I did even then, that life as we knew it all our married years (since 1971) could not go on. Sharon and Aaron filed their AIP posts week after week, and I began to see what my husband and I needed to do. With his consent (bemused though he was), I began to cash out my retirement funds (taking the heavy tax hit) and used the money to prepare for the post-carbon future. In spring 2010, my husband and I happened to host Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh, of The Automatic Earth) who was in Brockville to give her talk on "A Century of Challenges." Bob listened to Nicole and, overnight, he was completely on board with me. Together we have been adapting in place. On our 15-acre rural property we now have a well and hand pump, several means of cooking food without oil, gas or electricity, warm duvets for all the beds, a much larger vegetable garden and far more stored and preserved foods, stocks of food staples, stocks of medical supplies, a grain mill, a treadle sewing machine, a push mower, and numerous hand-powered items to replace electrical ones. We are out of the stock market and have no debt. We own our home outright. We are now moving out into our community, getting to know our neighbours, sharing seeds, recipes, plans for chicken coops, etc. In short, we are getting prepared, but I wonder if anyone can be truly prepared for what lies ahead. At least we've made a good start. I hope many people will take Sharon's course and begin to know the freedom she speaks of -- and the happiness that comes from living a truly meaningful and rewarding life on the homefront .

By Chris Stesky (not verified) on 22 Jun 2012 #permalink

Take this class!! I took this class and I learned about all the systems that deliver to my house, all the basics I need to live--water and sewer info, foodshed and water shed info. You will also know about alternatives to things you do daily if some system in your life breaks down.

After this class I started to make the effort to smile and say hello to all my neighbors. BTW, just a smile and hello to all neighbors even if you hardly see them can pay off when you need to really talk to them about something. It doesn't always work but I highly recommend it!

peace to all, Shamba

have you thot aboout a follow up or advanced beginner course? the subject you cover could be covered on progressively deeper levels. and that would be of value to your past learners as well as folks like me, who have been working in this direction for some years and are ready for more depth.