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Solutions & sustainability - July 3

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

‘Free sharing’ sites expand on Internet

Gregory M. Lamb | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
... Today the free online give-and-take organization [] has more than 5 million members in 4,500 local groups in 85 countries. It’s by far the largest, but far from the only, organization dedicated to using the Internet to match up people who need something with people who are happy to part with it.

While the rules governing how swaps are made and what kinds of things may be offered may vary from group to group, one thing is constant: Everything is free. No money changes hands. On Free­, direct “I’ll swap you this for that” exchanges are not allowed. Goods must be freely offered, no strings attached.

... “Waste not, want not” and “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” have found new life online.

The original goal of was ecological, Mr. Beal says. By reusing items, fewer new goods need to be produced, saving energy and raw materials.

... But today, say Beal and others involved in online give-and-take sites, people are also looking harder for ways to stretch dollars. continues to grow by 10,000 to 15,000 members per week, Beal says. “I think that’s in large part a reflection of the economy right now.”
(1 July 2008)

Our Chest Refrigerator

Bob Waldrop, Energy Conservation News and Resources
Two years ago, as we began the Extreme Green Renovation of our 1929 Craftsman bungalow near downtown Oklahoma City, I began researching refrigeration options. I found several very efficient fridges on the market - all of which were insanely expensive!

Then an internet search turned up this link -

This is an "insanely cheap" way to get maximum efficiency for your refrigeration needs: transform a chest freezer into a chest refrigerator by using an external thermostat.

So I got a free chest freezer from a friend, bought an external thermostat for $60 from an online supply house (see as an example), and got set up. These are often available at local home brew stores.

I plugged the external thermostat into the wall outlet, and then plugged the chest freezer into the thermostat. I put the sensor (a long coiled wire with a metal sensor at the end) inside the chest freezer, resting it on a piece of metal towards the middle that was probably designed to hold a rack
(24 June 2008)

Stone Ground Goodness
(audio and text)
Lucy Martin, Environment Report
Today, we buy whatever we need from the store. But what would happen if we had to make our own butter or spin our own wool? We needed these kinds of skills to survive. And many of them took centuries to learn. Some people are working to keep these skills alive. Lucy Martin followed a man who works in a historic flour mill. He's taken the time to learn old skills that he says still matter today:
(30 June 2008)

Taking care of yourself and medical survival

M.D. Creekmore, The Survivalist Blog
We need to become as medically independent as possible. If you are unemployed or uninsured, getting sick or wounded is not an option. As the economy worsens, more workers will loose their jobs along with the health insurance benefits provided by their former employer. Many will be unable to pay for medical care if needed and will be out of luck if the need should arise.

Our health system is set up to care for only a small number of patients at any given time. During an emergency most facilities are quickly over ran and unable to deal with the influx of wounded received. The Oklahoma City Bombing, LA Riots and a number of recent natural disasters have demonstrated this fact very well. You will most likely be on your own.

The first step is education and training. Taking a First-Aid / CPR class is the absolute minimum training every survivor should have, and should be the first step taken to becoming as medically independent as possible. Home nursing / home health care and Paramedic / EMT classes are well worth the effort, and will take you well beyond the knowledge level of the average first aid class.

We can learn a lot on our own from books and independent study. There are many good books available to the survivalist; I recommend, Where There Is No Doctor, Where There Is No Dentist, The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook, The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy. There are many others but this is a good starting point to a complete medical library for the survivalist.

The best medicine is prevention. Personal hygiene and proper sanitation are the first defense to maintaining good health and preventing disease. Keeping clean and washing your hands often goes a long toward the prevention of transmittable disease. ...
(2 July 2008)
Good advice for anyone, not just survivalists. The Hesperian Foundation has several healthcare books online, including "Where There Is No Doctor" and "Where There Is No Dentist".

Another recent post from M.D. Creekmore: The bug-out Van

Transition town gets moving

The Bay Chronicle (New Zealand)
The Bay of Islands transition towns initiative got off to a roaring start last week with about 110 people packing the Wharepuke hall.

It was clear there will be no shortage of people willing to climb on board the community campaign to become less wasteful and more economical.

Kaitaia and Kohukohu are also making moves to join the transition town movement, which brings people together to explore how communities can respond to the twin challenges of climate change and peak oil.
(3 July 2008)

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