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‘real’ sustainable behavior

green(Note:  this is the story behind the story…)

Personal update

I’ve just moved to Lost Valley ( as a resident: my first foray into living in community long-term. It’s been an interesting transition to go from quiet solitude and serenity in the Sierra to 50+ people in the Willamette-Cascades.

My current focus is to get back on the lecture circuit. I gleefully call it the: baby-kissing, chicken-dinner lecture circuit. I’m writing an article about ‘real’ sustainable behavior +  giving some presentations on it.

‘Real’ Sustainable behavior

Over the last 20 years I’ve watched too many people, (including myself) get sidetracked from this thing called ‘sustainable’ behavior. – so I decided to start a conversation:  here’s a starting statement :

Everyone claims to be sustainable, few are. Our beliefs and behaviors are disconnected: cognitive dissonance. What does it mean to actually do sustainable things in everyday life – especially in community? How does one change embedded, unconscious behavioral patterns we learned as children?

brainview1Let’s start with definitions: what is sustainable behavior?   By it’s very nature, behavior is sustainable. If you’re not behaving (bad or good), you’re probably sleeping – and even that is called ‘sleeping behavior’. You can’t escape behavior: maybe we should add it to death + taxes.

Sustainable behavior is doing good for the environment, our health, and social justice. It’s a bit easier to define it from a negative side: doing no harm, not taking from future generations, not poisoning our environment, avoiding carcinogenic chemicals, and not treating people + countries poorly.
For me, living sustainably is ultimately about living within the carrying capacity of one earth and avoiding negative chemicals. Let me explain:

If all 7 billion earthlings lived a lifestyle that allows the earth to prosper – that’s living within one earth. Right now we are consuming over 4 earths. We need to shift away from using limited, subtractive type resources that the earth cannot replace. Our entire economic system is set up to be depletive.

We need to use renewable,  additive resources that our earth/humans can easily replenish (sunshine, carbon, our own garbage…). The shift is already occurring.

I’m lucky to have built  my WinSol3  home from the ground up with Cradle-to-Cradle in mind and use 90% additive resources.

For the average American – how can one live comfortably within one earth? Most Americans use over 10 earths. Is it really possible to live with 10% of everything… AND be comfortable. Of course it is. The big obstacle is our beliefs + behaviors,  change that and the rest is easy.

example of what to STOP doing:

Stop all your air travel.  After red meat consumption, air travel ranks way up there in environmental impact.  If you can’t stop, at least choose the most modern, largest + longest flight.   I’ll have David Suzuki take it from here: GHG transport figure1

One example of how to do live comfortably within one earth:  Sieben Linden  (ecoVillage in Germany, uses      ~ 1.15 earths which has been independently verified.  The 140+ people live in comfortable, hi-tech, modern homes.  It costs less than €12,000 per year and they live like millionaires because their community capitalization is over $1m while no one ‘owns’ the land or buildings.  WOW.

Good chemicals
Next to living within one earth, we need to stop poisoning where we live.  We have over 200,000 chemicals, 200 of which we know a little about.  We are doing irreparable harm to our bodies and our biosphere.  What to do:  it’s easier to talk about avoiding bad chemicals, than to talk about only using good ones.

There’s a great list of negative chemicals that do irreversible harm to humans and accumulbanned C2C chemicalsate in the biosphere. Dr. Michael Braungart and his MBDC + EPEA companies have made these public.               Click here.

Beyond all of this, ‘real’ sustainable behavior is about shifting to renewable resources and a replenishing rather than depletive economy.  It’s not just about renewable energy which is where all the attention is.   We need to extract, develop, and propagate renewable everything:  transportation, buildings, clothing, appliances ++      We need to stop these ‘one-offs’ extraction and consumption patterns like mining and extraction.   Once we remove mountaintops (coal, copper, silver…) they are not replaced for millions of years.  Once we extract and lower water aquifers and the ground sinks, that storage capacity is gone forever.

Maybe the C2C concept of ‘use current solar income’ should be changed to ‘use only renewable resources’ in everything – not just energy.

major biz change

Our RCD  (Regenerate Community Developing) has been folded into a new venture and partnership, please email us for more info.

As of October 1, 2016 I am now an official resident at Lost Valley ecoVillage in Dexter, Oregon.  I will be splitting my time between living + doing community and living energy at WinSol.  We’ll see how these three passions develop.  I owe this all to the Camino.


When I was walking 500- miles on the Camino this year, my mission was to discover how to do business without doing business.

One of the insights I gained was to ‘fight the good fight’, to become a warrior – albeit a peaceful and gentle warrior, and to stay focused doing good work in partnership with others and avoid another solo act.  Joanna Macy calls it a ‘Shambhala’ warrior – click on the WTR menu (up, right).   So i will be re-entering the mainstream (yikes!) and staying true.  I guess I’m tired of preaching to the choir – they already get it – we need to build bridges to the other 90%.

I find this to be my life’s work.  I am more energized, tireless, and driven than ever before – and that’s saying somethin’ !

Stay tuned for exciting things to come…


Leader in big-food change

Panera Bread is a leader in removing harmful chemicals in our food.

Panera has over 1,900 ‘fast-casual’ restaurants featuring a wide menu of items.  They sold over 250million bagels in the USA last year.

Panera has been the food industry leader in:

  • 2005 Panera got antibiotics out of their chicken servings
  • 2006 Panera stopped using trans fats
  • 2010 Panera started posting calorie content of its menu
  • 2014 Panera introduced its ‘No No List’ of over 150 chemicals no longer in its food (or being phased out)

On all of these points, Panera led various legislative bodies by years in passing laws which in turn changed the entire big-food and big-Ag industry.

I will start patronizing Panera whenever and wherever I can. They are proof that the marketplace is indeed the most powerful force we have in changing the world for good – not the government or laws. In a consumerism society, the consumer wields more power than they think – unfortunately few consumers do. But enlightened and smart business owners can appeal to consumers’ latent needs and wants and leverage success.

The NYTimes article (july 5, 2015) featuring Panera,  started with Mr. Kish – Panera head chef – on how he grew up on a farm with his grandmother’s cooking: two important influencing factors within Mike Pollan’s repeated advice: no more than 5 ingredients and eat what your grandmother would recognize.


The NYT article also includes CEO Mr. Shaich’s passion for providing ‘real foods’ in his restuarants, and walking his talk by hiring Mr. Kish (a Michelin chef who returned to the farm) and allowing him to implement his farm + grandmother’s version of real food. His quote “The marketplace may be the most powerful way to effect change” rings true. Unfortunately most other corporations do not use this power for the good. Panera does.

The story I really like within this story is Panera’s relationship with PepsiCo. A kind of David vs. Goliath battle. Panera has $3b vs. Pepsi’s $140b in annual sales. Yet, Panera is insisting PepsiCo get the corn syrup out of it’s restuarants soda fountain, or risk losing its business. Given Panera’s track record of influencing first the marketplace + consumers AND then regulatory agencies + laws, I think PepsiCo is working on it. But Panera won’t just settle for PepsiCo replacing corn syrup with Sorbital or other aspartame substitues – it will insist on any ‘real’ food additives (there’s an oxymoron for you! … aka natural flavoring) being totally gone in its soda fountains.

So, rock on Panera. I urge you to start frequenting Panera and show your support for the great work that they are doing.

WTR + the unraveling

One of the key elements of all the work I now do is to follow Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects (WTR).

My recent discovery of her book, and spending time with one of her lead teachers has inspired me to include this important philosophy in everything that I do.  WTR consists of two main principles:  The great turning and the unraveling.

You don’t have to look far for bad news these days. Our lives are filled with fear based messages. Instead of having negative thoughts about it, I am listening to this bad news as more positive evidence of the great unraveling.

If one looks beyond these news flashes to factual comparisons done by independent third parties, we can see our natural world slowly unraveling:

  • The US forest service now spends over 50% of its budget fighting fires, it used to be 16%.

  • 2014 was the hottest year on record, and 2015 will most likely beat that.

  • Iran recorded its highest ever heat index at 1650F

Need more evidence? Just look at your daily morning low temperatures. They are probably at an all time high. Where I live, the morning low design temp was 55F, now it’s commonly about 70F for a morning low!  Just this week (Sept 7, 2015), the US weather bureau changed their forecast from 7 days of 90F temps to 7 days of 110F within 24 hours – that’s a 20F mistake!  so much for our computer modeling… they can’t even keep up with nature’s unraveling.

Another example is to look at the availability and price of fish. Various fish species are going extinct, or are so few they are not commercially viable1 anymore.

Joanna Macy’s wonderful book ‘Coming back to Life’ is my current must read.  I am in the midst of reading it twice.

‘Coming back to Life’ is also a 1994 song by Pink Floyd (youtube song video)

Pink Floyd – Coming Back To Life Lyrics

Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
And where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me

While you were hanging yourself on someone else’s words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun
Lost in thought and lost in time

While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence

I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the waiting had begun
And headed straight into the shining sun

Songwriters: DAVID GILMOUR
Coming Back To Life lyrics © IMAGEM U.S. LLC

1‘Commercially viable’ what an ugly term that is the poster child for what we are doing. When nature is no longer ‘commerically viable’ we have a crisis. So in other words, when we stop making money off nature because we overdid it – that’s bad. The initial action of destroying rainforests and ecosystems and wildlife is not the issue – it’s whether or not we make money off it.

LeLc update + musings…

The LeLc (Living Energy Learning Center) is progressing nicely and a bit ahead of schedule.  I’ve been fortunate to have several helpers lately and WinSol in general is really improving.  We have out marque entrance posts now (pics later?) and as soon as we get a dry spell we’ll be putting up the first layer of roof covering on the geodome.  The ‘space’ inside the 36′ dome is amazing.  I DO remember that from 40+ years ago when I had a small dome in Trinity County.  There’s something magical about spherical spaces as opposed to our normal square rooms.  Like I told an architect friend once ‘nature doesn’t design anything square’ .

I can’t wait

  • to get the grand piano in there and return to my pianist musings
  • to start the experiental lessons – some are assembling already
  • to give the green light for advertising and lecturing about the LeLc
  • build bridges to the mainstream

Stay tuned


I enjoy watching weather on commercial TV.  I never hear about violence, war, etc… the only big downsides are the commercials… But it is ‘observation’ in its purest forms.

The latest weather trend seems to be trying to predict the coming ‘el nino’  with infrared Pacific ocean pic comparisons between 1997 and 2015 – we should be in for one heck of a wet winter – maybe.

Again, June 2015 has been the warmest on record… since 1850 recorded history.  1850!!??  you gotta be kidding me!!  that’s a mere 165 years of record keeping.  Within a climate window of millions of years?  And we are putting all our eggs in this basket of predictions for climate change.  We know nothing.


Last week a friend invited me to attend an all-day conference on Trans-humanism and Singularity in Oakland.  What a waste of my day.  I always like to attend something weird and different each year – and this fit the bill.  Dr. Brian Haney (UCDavis) one of the world’s foremost authorities on transhumanism, had a great presentation.  Turns out the singularity will not be happening by computers getting smarter than us – but by us adapting technology into our biosystem and brain to transcend our ‘humanism’ – so hopefully we will be in control of all this?  Somehow I am skeptical of this view – i still think that something more along the lines of the movie ‘ex-machina’ is awaiting us.


On a BIG note, I am making a life-changing move in a couple months.  I will be a full-time member of an eco-village in Oregon.  I’ve been serving on their Board of Directors for over 6 months now, and I look forward to actually enjoying community living, rather than getting into the nuts + bolts of helping run it.  maybe!?


most difficult ‘green’ decision

Cold food storage has been my sustainability nemesis for over two decades.  It is the most difficult element of self-reliant living. Just ask other people who have really done it for more than 5 years.

I would have been better changing my habits away from our food supply chain and focused on more gardens and having dug a very deep root cellar with a big back hoe before I built (under) WinSol3.


So… from trying a small ‘bar’ refrigerator, to ice blocks and snow in deeply insulated coolers, to outsourcing it to the supermarket freezers (yuk!), to thermoelectric cooler… to finally a ‘real’ freezer (albeit a small one), I now have to change my whole food storage routine!

But help is on the way.  A couple helpers (from helpx) who are spending weeks in WinSol’s learning center, were going through ice bottles in less than one day.  There had to be a better way.

So we went into the root cellar, dug down another three feet and buried a cooler in the hole.  This hole was special:  It was surrounded by poured concrete (thermal mass) and polystyrene insulation.  Then the double 2″ styrofoam on top, inside AND outside the cooler, sealed the deal.  (pun intended).  The frozen water bottles should now last 5-8 days and even more once the root cellar is completed.

The Learning Center root cellar is about 3 feet underground located under the main geodesic dome.  It is also the source of the fine clay that will be used for the dome’s 1200sqft. earthen floor.


Food Storage Basics

Between your grandmother’s canning + fermentation, drying food (solar dehydrator – another upcoming blog) is probably the best way to store food.  But there are so many ‘niceties’ in our mainstream food supply that need cold storage:  eggs, cheese, condiments (majo++),  And then if you’re an omnivore you’ll need to store fish, meats, sausages, etc.

cold_storage chart_002

From working on a project in Indonesia, I do remember cheese needs to be stored at 41F or less.  I can achieve that with a combination of earthen tubes, thermal mass + troop (clay-in-clay) pots.  When WinSol3’s root cellar is completed, insulated and sealed off – it will have a maximum temp of around 45F and the cheese will be inside the troop pots along with eggs, etc.

Kitchen makeover

I think with global weirding (aka climate change), our constant drought cycles, higher morning temps and changing eating habits – that it is LONG OVERDUE to do a complete MAKEOVER of the kitchen and dining habits of westerners.  Heck, even the venerable NYTimes just featured an article on this…  click here…

Everything is connected – it’s a system.  Starting with keeping healthy by eating good and ‘life is too short for lousy food and drink’ (thanks Engelbert!) we need to re-examine it all.  From the farm to our mouths.

My personal best practice on this makeover is in conjunction with my newfound ‘lazy’ everything approach.  How about lazy eating…having food drop right into your mouth… see the next blog (under construction)…


Eco-Modernist Manifesto overview

This one caught my attention, I consider it a dangerous step by the ‘Neo-Greens’.   It may establish another breakthrough moment like the seminal paper  ‘Death of environmentalism’ considered by some to be as important as Rachel Carson’s  ‘Silent Spring’.   But this one is asking us to decouple ourselves from nature.  And that if we don’t,  we will end up destroying nature.   Really?



It’s ‘An Eco-modernist Manifesto’  from the Breakthrough Insitute’s It’s got an impressive list of authors, including Stewart Brand.  The free pdf can be downloaded at at this site.


Here are some excerpts summarizing this 32page  paper:
“…we affirm one long-standing environmental ideal, that humanity must shrink its impacts on the environment to make more room for nature, while we reject another, that human societies must harmonize with nature to avoid economic and ecological collapse.

Intensifying many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts.

Natural systems will not, as a general rule, be protected or enhanced by the expansion of humankind’s dependence upon them for sustenance and well-being. A good Anthropocene (age of the humans) demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world.

Despite frequent assertions starting in the 1970s of fundamental “limits to growth,” there is still remarkably little evidence that human population and economic expansion will outstrip the capacity to grow food or procure critical material resources in the foreseeable future.

There remain, however, serious long-term environmental threats to human well-being, such as anthropogenic climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, and ocean acidification.

In fact, early human populations with much less advanced technologies had far larger individual land footprints than societies have today.

Extensive human transformations of the environment continued throughout the Holocene period: as much as three- quarters of all deforestation globally occurred before the Industrial Revolution.

Urbanization, agricultural intensification, nuclear power, aquaculture, and desalination are all processes with a demonstrated potential to reduce human demands on the environment, allowing more room for non-human species. Suburbanization, low-yield farming, and many forms of renewable energy production, in contrast, generally require more land and resources and leave less room for nature.
Whether it’s a local indigenous community or a foreign corporation that benefits, it is the continued dependence of humans on natural environments that is the problem for the conservation of nature. Absent profound technological change there is no credible path to meaningful climate mitigation.

Along with decoupling humankind’s material needs from nature, establishing an enduring commitment to preserve wilderness, biodiversity, and a mosaic of beautiful landscapes will require a deeper emotional connection to them…”


Fred’s counter position to this eco-manifesto:
In their opening statement: ‘Humans are made from the Earth, and the Earth is remade by human hands’, the authors conveniently leave out the word ‘nature’. What is earth if it is not nature? This is a false dichotomy.
But there’s a statement on page 18: “Humans should seek to liberate the environment from the economy…”  this gives me pause!  Are they right?   Instead of putting an economic price on the environment’s resources, we should totally decouple from it.  I agree! Putting a higher price on carbon or any other resource is going to create unintended consequences, and only be good for Wall Street (as Europe has proved).  Decoupling ourselves from nature would leave it alone.  But can we do this?  Is decoupling ourselves from the environment a good thing? My right brain/heart + gut say ‘no’,  my left brain says ‘yes’.

One of the base premises is ‘decoupling .  Separating ourselves from nature. They say we are part of nature, yet they say we need to decouple ourselves from it…   sounds almost like a GMO thing: stopping all seed germination is a good thing for capitalism… Monsanto should hire these guys as their PR wizards.

One of the BIG issues in our footprints on earth are the chemical toxics  we are unleashing – but the manifesto makes no mention of it!!?  They say we need to isolate ourselves and be SEPARATE from nature??  what?? So, we humans are BETTER than nature?  We don’t even understand nature… we don’t know even simple things in nature:  like how a tree works… this is counter to many, many wise people, elders, shamans, mystics over the centuries.

These are the ‘neo-greens’ that say we need to invest in MORE TECHNOLOGY to make things better.  It’s an all-in-one bet – with human life on this planet at stake.  Most of the authors are all scientists.  Enough already!  Their premise is not intuitive – there’s something deeply wrong here.  I wonder what Wendell Berry and others would say to this.

Like the climate skeptics, they are cherry-picking their data + points.  example : ‘While the total amount of nitrogen pollution is rising, the amount used per unit of production has declined significantly in developed nations.’  How about putting methane or water vapor up there.

To me, the whole idea of ‘giving up on our immersion within nature’ and ‘decoupling’ ourselves is unrealistic and nonsensical. We ARE nature, we came from it and we exist because of it. I think we are signing our own death spiral warrant when we engage this way. It’s sort of geo-engineering – let’s call it ‘anthropocene- engineering’

I hope this is not a seminal paper as ‘Death of Environmentalism’   


An interesting counter position from the de-growth people (Richard Heinberg, Paul Krugman, etc) can be found at:

this link

Building Bridges

…to a good, regenerative global community that sustains our home.

… to an infrastructure based on living energies, with everyday uses.


… to 99% of the mainstream that rises above  ‘sustainability noise ‘

…. to those who control 99% of the wealth

…to the 20% of industrial farming conglomerates

… that impact 99% of the earth’s eco-footprint

…who dictate 99% of public policy

new blog… about

Welcome to my Blog within the Living Energy Learning Center.   This Blog will focus on cutting edge, critical + original thinking, and most importantly focusing on making GOOD TURNS along the path within WTR:  Work that reconnects.


For those of you who are ‘switching’ to this blog, a note from our Operations Director (Fred Klammt) : Thanks for all your kind words over the past decade (especially my CSUS Green Business students).  I will be transferring a few of the blogs from my previous blog  site You may have noticed there were no postings in the last few months.

This ‘new’ blog will encompass ALL  these topics:

– updating Living Energy Learning Center + WinSol progress,

  • good turns along the path the Joana Macy’s Work that Reconnects (WTR)

– Practical, everyday regenerative + lo-cost projects + demos

– Community microgrids + global progress + utilities’ reactions

– Community development + leading issues in living together.

– Real (positive) Renewable Energy, Sustainability, green chemistry issues

I’d like to get conversations + dialogue started – maybe through a forum or chat room – TBD – stay tuned.  If at any time, I am not keeping with the main theme, or losing my ‘edge’, I would like people to nudge me – social media feedback (yikes! -:)

Initially this blog will be private, but soon it will become public.   I will be using social media to drive traffic here

All of this website + blog  content will be covered by a creative commons copyright – open source sharing, giving credit where credit is due.

With that in mind, I’ll be following Paul Wheaton’s excellent permies business model – except it will be more science and mainstream focused, without the opinionated twists.



Creative Commons License
LeLc: Living Energy Learning Center + RCD: Regenerative Community Development by Fred Klammt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at

Ecovillage + Sieben linden

On my 4th visit to Sieben Linden in Germany, I noticed some changes in the air.  There were the same (or a bit less) people there, and several of the ‘veterans’ seemed to be fading into the background or moving on.  But overall there was still the peacefulness, compassion, love + kindness and JOY pervading all over.

imageThis is the new addition to the main hall/lodge.  It has a small retail store downstairs and a beautiful new dining room that seats over 100 on the second floor with an outdoor heating area.

This fourth visit was very different from my previous ones, since I was now actively involved in Lost Valley on the West Coast of the USA.  I am also more familiar with the inside details of legal + finance issues of communities.  And most importantly, I was founding a new company focusing on community development (RCD).

On this visit, I had some personal instruction on sociocracy and how its governance is different from consensus and other processes.   The double linked communication links present a new alternative to one-way communication and connections between people all trying to reach a common consensus.  Time will tell.