The Durham Buzz and the “New Slow”

The New Slow City  Book Tour has gotten off to a great start – first in the Twin Cities and now back in North Carolina, home of the 12 x 12 off-the-grid home I wrote about in my last book. Asheville and Chapel Hill have welcomed me warmly for talks at their fantastic independent bookstores – Malaprops and Flyleaf, respectively.

Durham has done a stupendous job – they will be welcoming me for an event tomorrow, Monday at Regulator Bookshop at 7pm. Durham’s Clarion Content also featured me in one of their articles about bringing the message of a balanced joy-to-stuff ratio to Durham. How to bring the lessons I learned in New York City to the busy life in Durham? See more and read the article here.

Winner of Solstice “Twelve by Twelve” Book Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who responded to the summer solstice question on the William Powers Books Facebook page. There were so many wonderful responses to the question: “As summer begins, what feels inspiring or hopeful to you today?”

As promised, I chose one comment at random. And the winner is (drumroll please!)….

Britton Tuck, a student in Georgia, USA. She wrote: “What inspires me is seeing my fellow Earthship Biotecture Academy students make great strides in the way of promoting Earthship/off-grid living. I’m so inspired by these individuals and their passion to spread the word about how to lead a self-sustainable lifestyle!”

Forget Shorter Showers

Forget Shorter Showers

Why personal change does not equal political change

by Derrick Jensen

From Orion magazine

WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Keystone Fight Uniting Tea Partiers With Environmentalists

If you’re following the Keystone pipeline battle, you’ll find this development interesting! -Bill

In Washington, DC, the fight over the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline mostly divides common enemies: Republicans and Democrats; environmentalists and fossil fuel interests; big business and the federal bureaucracy.

But though the project exists in a state of suspended animation, TransCanada — the company that wants to connect the tar sands in Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico — is preparing to build anyhow. In particular, on the portion of the pipeline that would link Nebraska to Texas, TransCanada has threatened to use disputed eminent domain powers to condemn privately held land, over the owners’ objections. And that’s creating unusual allies — Occupiers, Tea Partiers, environmentalists, individualists — united to stop TransCanada from threatening water supplies, ancient artifacts, and people’s basic property rights. 

‘Buy Nothing Day’ is this Friday (At least make it Buy Local Day!)

It’s the 20th annual Buy Nothing Day, an all-out offensive to unseat the corporate kings on the holiday throne.

Historically, Buy Nothing Day has been about fasting from hyper consumerism – a break from the cash register and reflecting on how dependent we really are on conspicuous consumption.

This year’s Black Friday will be the first campaign of the holiday season where activists are setting the tone for a new type of holiday culminating with #OCCUPYXMAS. As the global protests of the 99% against casino capitalism continues, why not take the opportunity to hit the empire where it really hurts…the wallet.

Seven Ways to Have More by Owning Less

Inconspicuous consumption, or what lunching ladies have to do with social web karma. By Maria Popova.

Stuff. We all accumulate it and eventually form all kinds of emotional attachments to it. (Arguably, because the marketing machine of the 20th century has conditioned us to do so.) But digital platforms and cloud-based tools are making it increasingly easy to have all the things we want without actually owning them. Because, as Wired founder and notable futurist Kevin Kelly once put it, “access is better than ownership.” Here are seven services that help shrink your carbon footprint, lighten your economic load and generally liberate you from the shackles of stuff through the power of sharing.

Ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, and more

Several folks on my Facebook fan page have been asking: How do I get started with living outside the Flat World in sustainable community? What are some resources?

Well, here’s one. A website called Intentional Communities serves the growing communities’ movement, providing resources for starting a community, finding a community home, living in community, and creating more community in your life.

And Intentional Community is simply an inclusive term for ecovillages, cohousing communities, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, intentional living, alternative communities, cooperative living, and other projects where people strive together with a common vision.

Thank you Red Squirrels and Herons!

Today I leave the Minnesota woods after a marvelous fiction writing retreat.

The view from my writing desk in the cabin

During my too-short stay at Pine Needles—it was supposed to be longer but my schedule only allowed twelve days— I made friends with the folks around the cabin: raccoons, red squirrels, eastern grey squirrels, chipmunks, muskrats (I watched a muskrat couple frolic in the water, mate, take baths, and build their dam), bats, and white-tailed deer. Oh, and then there were the abundant water turtles, a large snake, and fresh-water mussels.