April 2010 Newsletter

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Prepared for the Peak™ Newsletter
April 2010 newsletter

What's In This Issue


We've recently been reaching out to the many Transition Town Initiatives out there to let them know about us and find out what they need to get their job done. Thanks to everyone who we've spoken to and I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation. A common question we answered was whether we have or will have a community-building course.
The short answer is: not yet! The course pipeline is pretty full right now with three courses to get ready for the summertime. We will revisit the idea of a community course when those are all launched. As always you'll hear about it first on the newsletter.


We are very happy to announce that Carolyn Baker's new course is now open for registration. It's called Navigating the Coming Chaos of Unprecedented Transitions. The transition we are moving through will have many good parts to it but it will also force people to accept many changes they may never have thought would happen to them or their family. Carolyn's course is based on her book Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse, about which Sharon Astyk said:

"Perhaps the best and most useful thing I can say about Carolyn Baker's book is this — it manages to leave you consoled, sustained and in new ways to face the future. Despite the fact that its unflinching honesty takes away denial as a choice, it leaves us better of than before. And what more can one say about a book?"

Carolyn deals with our future head-on in the course. She will talk straight and with compassion as you sort through your concerns and look for the opportunities in this incredible transition we get to experience.

Carolyn has given several excellent interviews lately in which she explains why the course exists and what people can expect to get by taking it with her. Here they are:

This completely onine-course takes place over four Saturdays starting April 24 and everyone participates in the private forum to discuss the course material between sessions. Early registration ends on April 17, 2010. Learn more about the course and register here.


It's spring and time to learn the basics of permaculture from a master at the craft, Cathé Fish. Her Introduction to Sustainable Gardening takes place on May 8. Learn what you need to know and bring your questions for the extensive Q&A session. Learn more about the course and register here.

The next eLearning version of the UnCrash Course is also open. It starts on May 1, 2010 and since the lessons are pre-recorded you can learn when it's convenient to you. In the last course we had people from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Qatar. The eLearning course includes the private forum so that you can discuss your homework with your fellow participants. The conversations we had were fabulous and the resources people turn up on top of the ones we provide are great. Learn more and register here.


Happily the product corner is back! Seamus Ford, one of the UnCrash Course instructors has selected two products to let you know about. Do you have a product you think other people should know about? Please drop up a note!

Category: Transportation
Product: The FreeRadical, a bicycle extension that can allows a regular bicycle to transport cargo
URL: ExtraCycle

Xtracycle L20 manufactures a series of products that are designed to increase the carrying capacity and utility of already existing bicycles. They began developing their products for people in rural communities in Nicaragua in the 1990s. Based in Oakland California, they list among their company values community, simplicity, adventure and positive change.

The FreeRadical is a bicycle extension that converts a road or mountain bike into a utility bicycle that can accept payloads of up to 200 lbs. Available direct from the company for $239 US, the FreeRadical extension accepts a wide range of modular accessories that allow users to carry all kinds of loads from groceries to surf boards to adult passengers to garden supplies. The concept is akin to adding a bicycle version of a pickup bed for your bike. There are two big reasons we like this product:
1) it was developed and tested in the developing world with people who use it every day and
2) the company has made the product design open source in an effort to encourage a uniform standard and thus greater options and practicality for everyone.

Category: Water
Product: Frontier Filter
URL: Aquamira

Based in Utah, Aquamira has created a wide range of water filtration products that are used by households, outdoor enthusiasts and the military. The Frontier Pro Water Filter System sells for $24.95 and one unit will filter up to 50 gallons (200L) of water. It is tested and certified to remove >99.9% of Cryptosporidium and Giardia. It is simple to operate and allows you to drink directly from a water source. The device comes with a bite valve and a universal connector that allows the system to be connected to common 28 millimeter threaded bottles (such as soda bottles). It is also possible to set up the system on a gravity feed. The system can also be disassembled for easy cleaning. While it isn't a solution for long term water security, it is ideal for a disaster preparedness kit, as well as hiking and travel. Aquamira also sells an emergency version of the filter for $11.95 that can filter up to 20 gallons of water.

We like this product for two reasons: it is inexpensive, thus allowing you to have multiple filters for each person in your family, and it is made for and used by the military, which means it has been extensively field tested.


Would some of the slides from the Preparing for a Post Peak Life video be useful in your presentations? Drop me a note and I'll send you them in Keynote, Powerpoint or PDF format. Keynote is best because you'll retain the animations (the vidoes were made in Keynote). And don't forget that you can download and play the videos without prior permission. Many colleges and Transition Initiatives are doing exactly that.

I also just discovered this World Simulation tool, which might be useful to educators who are trying to convey "the big picture." It is based on the same Club of Rome model the Limits to Growth team used. Set the amount of resources, the delay in technological innovation and other variables and it will compute resource and population curves. Many people tried to discredit the Limits to Growth report but it's clear to me that they are trapped in the cultural narrative of "there are no limits to human endeavors."

I'll also be keynoting a sustainability conference at Peralta Colleges in Oakland on April 23. I'll be giving the students "the big picture" so that they have a clear idea of both the problems and the opportunities of Transition. Let me know if you have a group you'd like me to speak to.

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André Angelantoni, Founder, aangel@postpeakliving.com
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