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The New Era of Self-Sufficiency
Building a Greener Future with Thomas J. Elpel

      "With my background in survival skills, I recognized that it was fundamentally the same issue. We are all on one great survival trip, trying to figure out how to meet our needs for shelter, fire, water, and food - preferably without destroying the planet in the process. That really is the bottom line: How can we sustainably meet our needs for shelter, water, fire, and food without consuming all the earth's resources, without altering the climate, and without being enslaved to a meaningless job until we die?

      The conventional route of getting a job and paying a mortgage doesn't really work. Conventional houses are way too expensive, and not even very good. Most houses require a furnace and constant inputs of fossil fuels to keep the pipes from freezing and breaking. The bathrooms are virtually guaranteed to rot out halfway through the mortgage. The walls are so flimsy that you can punch a hole through one with a fist. From the floor to the roof, there is an endless parade of ripping out, landfilling, and replacing carpets and cabinetry, furniture, and shingles.

      It is any wonder that we struggle with resource depletion and global warming when every person in America is burning up the pavement running back and forth to a job that is generally bad for the environment, just to make a pile of money to throw at their home mortgage, utility bills, and endless repairs? What happens if we hit a recession and don't bounce back? How long can we maintain the illusion of being an affluent nation?

      It made sense to me to focus on the basics and build my own house, figuring that if I had a place to live and no mortgage then I would be free to do whatever I wanted in life."

- Thomas J. Elpel,
The New Era of Self-Sufficiency
Keynote Speech - Alaska Bioneers Conference, 2011

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Meet Thomas J. Elpel, Owner | Meet Charmaine Taylor, Founder

      I just wanted to thank you for sending me Living Homes so quickly! I greatly appreciate it. I am excited about using some of the techniques from it. Also, we have the Art of Nothing Videos that Tom has done and they are awesome!!! My husband and I both enjoy them very much. We have recently moved to the mountains of Kentucky to live "Our Dream". Thanks for helping to inspire us!

Take care,

Jeannie Buck

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