Living Tiny, Finding Community (256)

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When we met Logan Smith and Tammy Strobel in A Young Couple Find Freedom in Simple Living, they'd already gotten out of debt and simplified their lives. (Tammy's book You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) recounts how they did it.) Fulfilling a long-held dream, they're now … [Read more...]

Natural Buildings for Urban Living – The Tour, part 2 (247)

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The Craftsman-style bungalow looks normal on the outside, but the surprise is on the inside: straw bales inside the framing provide super insulation. Natural builder Lydia Doleman designed this 800-square-foot small-footprint house to last centuries, with its metal roof and … [Read more...]

Natural Buildings for Urban Living, part 1 (246)

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Wanting to demonstrate that "cities can be less impactful on the planet," natural builder Lydia Doleman bought and remodeled a Portland house to demonstrate her values. Composting toilets reduce water usage while feeding the soil. Growing food shortens dependencies. Building … [Read more...]

Earth, Wood and Sun – Natural Building, Local Style (239)

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"When we're able to successfully work with local ecologies to meet our needs, we do the Earth a better service. And we are becoming empowered in our own lives." Natural builder Chris Foraker gives a tour of work-in-progress at Aprovecho Center, Oregon. The structure's clay, … [Read more...]

Splendid Bicycles for Cargo and Kids (238)

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Picture a sofa perched on a bicycle for its move across town! That's how Portlanders Joel and Barb Grover transport items too big or awkward for a car. More and more folks in bicycle-friendly terrain are using cargo bikes for their in-town transportation needs — carrying … [Read more...]

Columbia Ecovillage, part 2 — Shaping a Life Together (232)

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What's it like, living in an urban ecovillage? Barbara Ford finds that this size community enables people to contribute while doing what they love. Dennis Karas and his wife had to adjust to noise levels with more children around, but enjoy having many friends with shared … [Read more...]

Columbia Ecovillage, part 1 – From Apartments to Community (231)

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What if you could turn an apartment complex into a houseful of friends? Joe and Pam Leitch did. They purchased the apartments adjoining their farmhouse in metropolitan Portland, with the vision of creating an intentional community. While retrofitting the apartments to … [Read more...]

An Eco-Sense House – Natural Building, Natural Living (230)

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The Eco-Sense House is alive! From dream (see episode 103) to reality. Its curving cob walls embrace Ann and Gord Baird's three-generation family. A living roof offers summer cooling and filters winter rains stored for garden water. The composting toilet provides rich soil … [Read more...]

Dignity Village – A Community By and For the Homeless, part 2 (224)

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"No violence. No theft. No drugs or alcohol. No constant disruptive behavior. Everyone must contribute to the village." While finishing our tour, Jon Hawkes lays out the five agreements residents must abide by, all forged by real-world experience. What would it be … [Read more...]

Dignity Village – A Community By and For the Homeless, part 1 (223)

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"Anybody can come through our gates 8 am-10 pm and use all of our facilities. We have hot showers, a telephone, free computers internet-ready, our commons, offices, [and a free store of donated items.] Anybody has access to this." Tour guide Jon Hawkes highlights this … [Read more...]