By Susan Kraemer

Green Building Elements

Cash, that most basic element of our economy, can be in abysmally short supply for new young families scraping by on marginal jobs.

Sustainable housebuilding may not be foremost in their minds.

But one young couple in Wales managing on an annual income of just $10,000 went ahead and built their own cheap home anyway, sustainably, mostly out of materials from “a rubbish pile somewhere.”

They had wanted to spend as much time as possible at home while their two children were young. Their nearby woodlands ecological management work would have been impractical if they were paying a mortgage. READ MORE…


Welcome to my Walden: This load-bearing straw bale house was built by me, Carolyn Roberts, consultant Jon Ruez, and many friends on evenings and weekends, using natural (straw bale walls, earthen plasters, earthen floor) and recycled materials wherever possible. We passed 23 county inspections. It’s an incredibly sturdy, beautiful and well-insulated house that will last for many years and only cost $50,000 to build (land not included). The straw walls offer insulation from the summer heat, while the earthen plasters and floor give thermal mass to maintain an even interior temperature. A well-insulated ceiling helps, too. The south-facing sunroom heats my home in the winter. I can collect 500 gallons of rainwater in a 1/2 inch rain. A hand-made solar water heater with a small tankless heater as backup provides all my hot water. My electric bills average $35 per month year-round, with no solar panels. Many people thought I was crazy, but this is by far the wisest thing I have ever done, though possibly the most difficult.  (A House of Straw)

I had a dream the other night in which there was famine. Fuel was not available, and the land was barren. This dream affected me greatly because of our current state of world affairs, and the way our politicians are hell-bent on national destruction. I hope it does not come to this, but if we are indeed being thrown straight into third-world status, we need to prepare.


Most people I have come across that realize the need to prepare for the coming economic crash emphasize purchasing survival equipment and stocking up on food. But what do you do when the food you have stored is gone? This is a question that not many have tackled, and one that needs to be answered.


The answer is that the best survival equipment you can have at your disposal is a basic set of skills. This skill-set should contain things such as how to grow your own food and how to apply basic medical attention to yourself and those around you.


When the grocery store shelves are either bare or the food on them is so high-priced that only the rich can afford it, we need to know how to survive off the land. When access to health care is not possible, we need to be able to take care of basic health-care needs ourselves.


The Surviving the Middle Class Crash website is dedicated to providing people with information they can use to learn skills needed to survive in a post-crash world. Learning these skills takes time and soon, if the indicators we are seeing are correct, we will need to know how to apply these skills. The time to start learning is when you still have the capability to brush off the mistakes and start again without serious consequences.


There are many links on the site dedicated to growing healthy food. This morning I posted a link devoted to healthcare that I received from a friend, Carroll, titled “Where There Is No Doctor.” Thank you Carroll, for this timely submission. This is a free downloadable e-book from the Hesperian Foundation. Here is an excerpt from the introduction:


It [the book] has been written in the belief that:


·         Health care is not only everyone’s right, but everyone’s responsibility.


·         Informed self-care should be the main goal of any health program or



·         Ordinary people provided with clear, simple information can prevent and

treat most common health problems in their own homes—earlier, cheaper,

and often better than can doctors.


·         Medical knowledge should not be the guarded secret of a select few, but

should be freely shared by everyone.



·         People with little formal education can be trusted as much as those with a

lot. And they are just as smart.


·         Basic health care should not be delivered, but encouraged.


Some of the book’s instructions may not apply, or are invalid such as any referral to Sodium Fluoride as being good for the teeth. However, the bulk of the material is valuable, so please use common sense when figuring out how to apply the health-care methods proposed in this book.


Again, and I cannot emphasize strongly enough; we need to be prepared, and we need to start now. Stocking up on food and supplies is only a temporary fix. When the food and supplies run out, we need to know how to replace them. Learning how to grow your own food and take care of basic medical needs are necessary survival skills that we will all need to develop or simply go without.


Here is a link to the free e-book “Where There Is No Doctor.”


Copyright 2008, Barbara H. Peterson