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All articles here are written by Melinda Briana Epler (that's me!) unless otherwise noted. I'm a documentary filmmaker, writer, and brand experience designer - I've dedicated my life to living a sustainable lifestyle and helping others do the same. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or thoughts for articles. Welcome!

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Great Reading

With Doing, Comes A Learning Phase

Wise Owl with Head Spinning, originally uploaded by Chapple.stephen on Flickr


Do you ever feel like you have to stop writing for a moment and do some more learning? That’s where I am this week. As I spend an increasing amount of time becoming a part of my community and working toward its sustainability – as well as our own personal financial stability – I’ve spent a good deal of time reading and learning about how to do it.


I’ll resurface soon, but wanted to explain my decrease in posts this week. Just like that owl, my head is spinning!


Here Are Some Interesting Reads…


1. Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy, by Lyle Estill. I needed a good, easy read about sustainability, and this fit the bill perfectly. It’s full of inspiring tidbits about one community’s attempts at creating a local economy, and it’s fun to read. (Note: since it reads so quickly, I recommend checking it out at the library rather than purchasing it.) From here I plan to move on to more reading about local economies, so if anyone has any recommendations please let me know!!


2. Kirk sent me an interesting article on Dot Earth this week about “Generation E”: “for energy and the environment.” Andrew C. Revkin feels the new generation of “young people around the world whose actions, or inaction, could well spell the difference between an accelerated transition to a world with abundant, renewable, non-polluting energy options and business as usual.”


What do you think, youngsters? Is this true? What about Generation G, or One Green Generation (instead of X,Y,Z, and E), where we all come together, young and older, rich and poorer, from around the world??! Do you think that’s possible?


3. Speaking of Keeping Your Costs Down, The Wisdom Journal has some good, quick ideas for what to do in the midst of our current Recession and credit crisis. First, what to do right now. Then, what to do over the next ten years. What else have you been reading that has helped you figure out your finances?


4. Mark Bittman at the NY Times has written about a new No Knead Bread Recipe… it’s quicker, and made with WHOLE GRAINS! Hooray! Here’s the article. Here’s the recipe.


If you haven’t made bread before, the No Knead Bread is the one to try (Matt wrote about the original version here). If I can do it, you can do it, because I am most definitely not a baker! We haven’t tried the whole wheat version yet – if you try it, let me know how it goes!


5. The rest of the stuff I’ve been reading is less interesting and quick, but maybe I’ll find a way to incorporate them into later posts. So… #5… what interesting things have you been reading this week??


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13 comments to With Doing, Comes A Learning Phase

  • I’ve been reading Sharon Astyk’s “Depletion and Abundance…Or One Woman’s Solutions to Finding Abundance for Your Family while Coming to Terms with Peak Oil, Climate Change and Hard Times”. It sort of encompasses everything you wrote about above.

    It’s making me take a very hard look at what the future may bring to me and my family, but unlike most male-oriented TEOTWAWKI writings, it centers around giving hope and ideas so that we can cope with it. Much of her book is really hitting home for me. We’ve been doing the “shall we move to the city, or stay in the country?” dance, so her chapter on choosing to stay put really caused me to stop and rethink my priorities.

    I haven’t tried no-knead bread, but might try it this week….

  • oldies but goodies that have been on my shelf since i was a kid (left over from my mothers hippie days)… Recipes for a small planet and Diet for a small planet by ellen buchman ewald, the are not just recipe books. she has philosophically based chapters on ecological eating, growing your own. its interesting to read stuff from the past to see how the language and dialogue has changed around sustainable living and what essentially has not.

  • I’m reading _Life is a Verb_ by Patti Digh. I’m really enjoying it. It has a lot to say about making choices and building community.

    I have _Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day_ by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. It’s all no-knead bread recipes. I checked it out from the library first and liked it so much I bought a copy.

  • Thanks for the link on the new no knead bread recipe. I made our first loaf the old way yesterday after not making any all summer. It was as delicious as I remember.

  • Hi Melinda,

    Congratulations for taking care… and focusing your time.

    There is so much information out there and right now at least to me it feels like so little time. Reminding myself that I really don’t need to know it all just access and knowledge of where to find the information certainly helps.. along with actually progressing on that earth shattering “should know” list.

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

  • Okay, that “youngsters” comment was directed at me — I can take it. I think.

    But first, no-knead bread: but kneading is so fun! I made bread twice over the summer. I can’t decide whether kneading or watching it rise is more thrilling… I found a fantastic book at the library about bread-making. Since we used it more than once we bought it used, online. So when I go home I can make more bread! Very exciting.

    And lately I’m reading more for school than for fun. However, the papers I had to read for a panel this weekend had to do with Development, and climate change came into the talks at one point. Also, one of the papers was about oil, and how corrupting it is in the Niger Delta.

    So: what do I think about youngsters. I don’t know. I never understood the “Generation [ ]” designation, and E/G is just the same. I also don’t understand people with enough energy at the end of the day to go to organization meetings and take on extracurricular activities. :P And yet I’d like to believe that, though we are the future, our actions right NOW won’t be what determines the future.

    You know, I found the idea at Green Bean’s blog that “we are grown ups now” almost shocking. I mean, I read so much but I read so little about personal responsibility. It seems like the very notion of personal responsibility is getting less and less “airtime”, as it were, and for many people I know it seems like personal responsibility isn’t a value. But then I could be superficial.

    I really don’t know what the younger people think. I have a lot of trouble connecting with people. I’ll try to think it over some more.

  • I totally understand that. I write fiction (when I’m not blogging) and sometimes I feel like I need a break from writing to actually experience things.

  • Bettina Lauth

    First: I love your blog!

    Thanks for all the reading suggestions.
    I just finished “depletion and abundance”. Now I ordered Ben Law’s “The woodland way”. Think it’s much about coppice. Ben law has also a nice website.

    For years now I have made a no-knead-bread. This is my recipe:
    (I’m german, so I hope everyone will be o.k. with grams and millilitres…):
    mix in a bowl: 500 grams (a pound) wheat flour (I mostly mix half and half white and whole wheat),
    1 tsp. salt
    you can add: rolled oats (a handful), sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds – what you like.
    In a second bowl, mix 450 millilitres (little less than half a litre) lukewarm water with 40 gr. live yeast (in Germany you can buy little packages in the dairy-area of supermarkets). The yeast should dissolve quickly.
    Then mix (with a spoon) the yeast-water with the wheat-flour-mix. The dough should be “sticky”, not dry.
    Set aside and let it raise to the double size (takes about an hour).
    Push the dough down again (that’s important!) and put it in a buttered bread-pan (I hav a “Kastenform”). Very tasty: butter the Kastenform, sprinkle a layer of sesame inside, then put dough into it. Makes a crunchy, tasty crust on the bottom of the bread.
    Then put the bread into the NOT preheated oven, turn to 200°C (Celsius!) and set your timer to 1 hour.
    Thats it. Even my DH can make this :-)
    The bread will come out totally different, but also veeery tasty (kind of sunday-morning-breakfast-like) , when you use milk instead of water. That’s best with only white wheat flour.
    I don’t like the normal bakery-bread anymore…
    Bettina

  • Bettina Lauth

    sorry – me again.

    I think the recipe will work with dry yeast, too. Perhaps the dough will need more time to raise. And you could add a tsp. sugar to the water.

    Bettina

  • Kristi, Interesting. I haven’t read Sharon’s book yet – how does it compare to what she writes on her blog?

    I am glad more women are writing about our economy, energy, and climate. Bart at Energy Bulletin has written about women’s writings focussing more on the solutions rather than just the graphs that tell how the world will end. I like to be thought of as one who focusses on solutions…

    Crunchy Chicken is hosting a book club focused on Depletion and Abundance. I’m interested to hear what people say about it! Good to hear from you, by the way!!

    Kelly, Ah, thank you – I will take a look at them. They’ve been recommended to me before!

    Deb G, Oooh, I haven’t heard of it before but I love the premise! I’ll check them both out of the library – thanks!

    Katrina, You’re welcome! A friend of mine posted a pic of her bread made with the new recipe, and it looked beautiful! I’m anxious to try it.

    Belinda, You’re so good at focussing your time as well – I like to think we’re good influences on each other! The earth shattering “should know” list. LOL. You know, I finally decided to throw away that list and I feel a lot better! : )

    Stephanie, Oooh, not just you – there are other “youngsters” out there. LOL, I was one too, you know! ; )

    Stephanie, what are you studying? It sounds quite interesting!!

    When I was in school, I didn’t go to as many organizational meetings and actions as I do now. My thought was that I was learning and doing well in school so that I could do more later. That pretty much worked out for me. Others felt that being in college, with so many others their own age who were interested in doing things, it was the perfect time for them to do and act. And so they did, and I don’t think they regret it. It depends on the person, I suppose!

    The Generation thing… I was a part of Generation X. It was awful. X was supposed to stand for some sort of vacancy, some sort of nothingness. That was awful to be identified with. And then I realized that it’s divisive to divide people by their generations, because in order to save the planet and make it into a good, sustainable, and just world…. we all have to work together. That’s why I named the blog “One Green Generation”: to unify us all, regardless of where we live, how old we are, and what our backgrounds are economically, spiritually, and culturally.

    I apologize for seeming to single you out when I wrote “youngsters.” It’s counter to what I hope to do with this blog, which is to bring us together. I guess what I meant to ask was: do you feel good about becoming a part of a community of people who are all working toward one goal, regardless of age (and other backgrounds)? Do you think we can discard this idea of dividing each generation by some arbitrary singular letter that supposedly defines them?

    Allie, Good – someone else understands too! : )

    Bettina, First: Thank you! It means a lot to hear that.

    And second: thank you for posting the recipe! The crust sounds fabulous. And it’s such a quick time!

  • I think I’m online far too often, since I get follow-up comments instantaneously. Hmmm. Need to rectify that somehow.

    In any case, no need to apologize — I was thinking more jokingly about the ‘youngsters’ comment.

    All of the papers I read for this panel are currently works-in-progress, so only one of the three are online, and that had more to do with economics of development, but it can be found here: http://people.cornell.edu/pages/sk145/papers.htm The most recent one listed. The International Studies department sponsored this panel, called the International Roundtable, at which three professors from other institutions came to discuss the topic, “Whither Development?: The Struggle for Livelihood in the Time of Globalization”. I actually have to write a paper on the panel/papers, so once that’s done if you’d like to read it, it might provide a better summary than any I can come up with here!

    “My thought was that I was learning and doing well in school so that I could do more later.” Yes, that’s EXACTLY how I feel. And how one of my professors feels (oddly, I don’t like him particularly well). And that’s what I want to focus on. But I also feel that having a community might ground me more into the life here. For now at least I’m getting into the knitting group, because it’s more a time to chill and make friends than a time to run around trying to save the world.

    I do feel remarkably comfortable around this community that’s working toward the goal of sustainable living, though that might have more to do with the fact that I’ve always felt more comfortable around people a bit older than my age. I also think that excluding people on basis of age or background who are trying to live sustainably or at least lessen their impact on the Earth is in direct opposition to the goal. You can’t really change things if you don’t have enough support, at least with this kind of project. So I agree, that trying to unite everyone is a good thing.

    And at the same time, we have to remember that diversity amongst people and cultures is crucial to the richness of our lives. (Ha! that was part of the panel. And, okay, some of those might be my professor’s words.) I mean more specifically that unification is one thing, standardization is not. We must all have our own ways of doing things in order to be able to continue our culture. You can’t have creativity without people that think differently, and I hope we all cherish creativity enough to encourage diversity among our ranks, so to speak.

    Wow, I feel like I’m beginning to write my paper. I guess it all has more to do with this than I thought at first.

    Anyway, yes. Discard the generation designations. I never paid much attention to them anyway. ;) I suppose I should ask some of my peers as well what they think.

    That was… long. Did I mention I have a paper to write? I think I’m starting to get into the writing mood. Thoughts are starting to come together or something. Huh. Finally.

  • I feel the opposite, Melinda. With all the learning, I feel like I need to stop and start doing! Seriously, the list of things to try keeps getting longer and my time is somehow not getting longer with it. LOL!

    I never did try the original no knead bread. Guess it’s time to check out the new version. Thanks.

  • Stephanie, I will reserve the readings for a time in the (hopefully) not too distant future when I can sit down with them. Thank you.

    “we have to remember that diversity amongst people and cultures is crucial to the richness of our lives.” I agree completely. I am ecstatic that people from different areas of the world are increasingly coming to this blog. It’s very exciting. I think we can all learn immensely from one another’s experiences and ideas. In fact, this is the only way to truly solve the many world problems. Thanks for your thoughts! I hope the paper is going well.

    Chile, Mmmm. Two sides of the same coin. : ) Learning, then doing, then realizing you need to learn more, so more learning, then doing….

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