SHELTERMAKER OCTOBER 2013
TINY ECO-HOUSE WORKSHOP
A 1-day Workshop with architect, author, eco-builder and international teacher, Peter Cowman at the Living Architecture Centre, Yapeen, near Castlemaine, central Victoria, Australia
CONFIGURE YOUR TINY ecoHOUSE DESIGN + BRING IT HOME WITH YOU!
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 3rd 10am – 5pm
APRIL – SEPTEMBER 2014, IRELAND
A unique opportunity to experience Sheltermaking with Ireland’s leading exponent of conscious natural debt-free living, Peter Cowman
A wealth of opportunity to engage with the fascinating aspects of architecture+life.
A Pedal-Powered Detour from the Rat Race
by Greg Foyster
The EconoSpace features in the ground-breaking new book, Changing Gears by australian author Greg Foyster, who quit his job in advertising and decided to live more simply. Looking for inspiration, he and his partner Sophie cycled from Melbourne to Far North Queensland (via Tasmania, naturally) scouting out ideas …
Preposterously underprepared, they are propelled by the inspiring and eccentric characters they meet along the way – from a forest activist living up a tree to an 18th-century woodsman and a monk walking barefoot through Queensland.
Featuring eye-opening encounters with DIY downshifters and leading figures in sustainability, Changing Gears is a jaunty adventure that explores an important question for the future: can we be happier with less?
‘From Hepburn Springs, Sophie and I cycled to the outskirts of Castlemaine, where we visited a quaint little cottage perched on a hill overlooking a row of wattle trees. This tiny house measured only 3.3 metres by 3.3 metres, giving it the footprint of a garden shed. The architect, Peter Cowman, showed us inside. The straw and clay walls were a foot thick, providing excellent insulation. Instead of paint, the walls were rendered with yellow ochre dug up from a nearby creek. The window ledges were covered in fabric and throw cushions. There was a small wooden table with three red chairs around it, a sofa that converted into a bed, a kitchen bench with sink, and a small toilet at the back. And that was it. No laundry, no master bed room, no theatre room with leather lounge suite and whopping wide-screen TV. And, as a result, no massive mortgage. Peter said the cute little cottage, called an ‘EconoSpace’, cost less than $3800 to build yourself. The EconoSpace was tiny, but the natural materials put me at ease, so it actually felt like a home. This was very important to Peter, who believed a house should be a physical and mental sanctuary. ‘Psychologically you need to know where your boundaries are so you can relax,’ he said as we sat at the small round table and looked out through the window at a row of wattle trees.’
THE SHELTERMAKER’S MANUAL REVIEWED IN OWNER BUILDER MAGAZINE
We wanted to be our own architects, but without any experience we knew we needed guidance. Then The Sheltermaker’s Manual appeared. This practical step-by-step guide helped us to be our own architects and design living spaces perfectly suited to our needs. All areas of building and design are covered with a definite flavour for building ‘green.
NEW ONLINE SHELTERMAKER COURSE BEGINS IN JANUARY ’14
An Online Sheltermaker Course will commence on January 24th 2014. This will offer Students a unique opportunity to create buildings to support their individual lives.
The Course will consist of 5 Segments presented over a 5 month period, based on the unique and proven Sheltermaker Design Programme within The Sheltermaker’s Manual and its supporting Worksheets.
Tuition will consist of a series of 5 Video Presentations and individual written Reports to the Assignments which Students submit to Tutor, Peter Cowman, every month. A Question & Answer facility with Peter Cowman will available to Students within the Course timeframe. Students also can exercise the option of having One2One Videophone Consultations with Peter, if they so wish.
HOBBIT ecoHOME TO BE BULLDOZED
A young British couple have been left heartbroken after planners ordered their unique ‘hobbit home’ to be bulldozed, effectively leaving them homeless.
Charlie Hague and Megan Williams, both 25, built the roundhouse from scratch with their own hands, using only natural materials.
But the couple recently lost their appeal against a planning enforcement notice telling them to tear their pride and joy home down.
NOBEL PRIZE WINNING ECONOMIST CALLS A HOME ‘A LOUSY INVESTMENT’
Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who nailed the housing bubble before it burst, was on Bloomberg Television recently to discuss the U.S. housing market. He explained that the housing market is a speculative one and that there’s no telling which way prices would go tomorrow. He also explained that there wasn’t much reason to believe that home prices would appreciate back to levels seen during the last cycle.
Shiller’s message: buying a home at a time when your government is artificially inflating housing prices is not a good idea. As a matter of fact, a house is almost never a good investment. It only seems to be one in the middle of a bubble, when prices rise enough to make people believe they will always keep rising. To go into debt to buy a homeis not a good investment.
“Housing traditionally is not viewed as a great investment. It takes maintenance, it depreciates, it goes out of style. All of those are problems. And there’s technical progress in housing. So, new ones are better.”
“He goes on to say that the idea of home ownership as an investment was a fad – an idea that took hold in the early 2000’s and he doesn’t expect it to come back, at least not with the same force. He thinks that people might just decide, “Yeah, I’ll diversify my portfolio. I’ll live in a rental. That is a very sensible thing for many people to do.”
Shiller’s assessment is that real U.S. home price appreciation from 1890 to 1990 was just about 0 percent. This is explained by the falling costs of construction and labor.
“If you think investing in housing is such a great idea, why not invest in cars?” he asked. “Buy a car, mothball it, and sell it in 20 years. Obviously not a good idea because people won’t want our cars. It’s the same with our houses. So, they’re not really an investment vehicle.”
Co. Tipperary, Ireland, 1st – 7th September 2014
The Sheltermaker Festival will run from Monday September 1st to Sunday September 7th.
From Monday – Friday participants will engage in a variety of the activities while on the Saturday & Sunday the Festival will be open to the public with a Programme of Talks, Workshops, Presentations & Discussions.
CLIMATE AFTER GROWTH
Transition Network and Post Carbon Institute have just come together to publish a new report, Climate After Growth: Why Environmentalists Must Embrace Post-Growth Economics & Community Resilience. The report is published to co-incide with Rob Hopkins’ visit to the US, and is co-authored by him and Asher Miller. “The nearly ubiquitous belief of our elected officials is that addressing the climate crisis must come second to ensuring economic growth. This is wrongheaded—both because it underestimates the severity of the climate crisis, and because it presupposes that the old economic “normal” of robust growth can be revived. It can’t.
In fact, we have entered an era of “new normals”—not only in our economy, but in our energy and climate systems, as well.
Responding to each of these new energy, climate, and economic “normals” will require one common strategy: building community resilience. Efforts that build community resilience enhance our ability to navigate the energy, climate, and economic crises of the 21st century. Done right, they can also serve as the foundation of a whole new economy—an economy comprised of people and communities that thrive within the real limits of our beautiful but finite planet.”
You can download the full report HERE.
THINGS OF STONE & WOOD
Burraja is an Indigenous Cultural and Environmental Discovery Centre located on Gateway Island, Wodonga Victoria in Australia. As part of their “Caring For Our Country” grassy box woodlands projects, Aboriginal Elders were invited to participate in exploring grassy box woodlands and the resources available within these ecosystems. This film documents the collecting and use of theses resources. You will see Aboriginal Elders basket weaving, making stone tools and cutting bark for coolamons and canoes. Beautiful!
If you enjoy this video and want to see more you can explore the Burraja Centre fim archive HERE
Journalist, author, activist and historian Harvey Wasserman has been reporting on, and participating in, the nuclear free movement for decades.
In that time, by his judgment, only one other event matches the nuclear danger to the world posed by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
That event is the ongoing nuclear disaster at Fukushima.
Haven’t heard about it in the corporate media? That’s because the deadly and dying global nuclear industry and its allies don’t want you to know.
That’s why Wasserman, who edits NukeFree.org, has organized a petition drive to the UN advocating international expert oversight of, and participation in, management of the Fukushima crisis.
In this EON interview, he explains why we must all be involved in this world-historical challenge to human and planetary survival. Sign the petition HERE.
The art of clay plaster, render and paints
by James Henderson Published by Python Press
Rendering or plastering is a craft as old as house building, the basic methods and concepts having changed little over time. This book offers a detailed look at the use of raw earth for painting and rendering walls in new as well as in existing buildings, focusing on sand-clay render, straw-clay render and clay paints. The skills needed to create and apply these natural finishes are easy to learn and the tools required are minimal, most people quickly picking up the skills as though something inside them has been rekindled from former lives!
‘ … an extremely well written and easily understood practical manual’
Peter Hickson President, Earth Building Association of AustraliaCUSTOMERS IN EUROPE, USA & ASIA CAN PURCHASE THIS BOOK HERE
IMF PROPOSES A 10% SUPERTAX ON ALL EUROZONE HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS
‘The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a capital levy, a one-off tax on private wealth, as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability. The appeal is that such a tax, if it is implemented before avoidance is possible, and there is a belief that it will never be repeated, does not distort behavior (and may be seen by some as fair).’
READ ARTICLE INVESTIGATING THIS REPORT