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The Sixth Community Solutions Conference

Friday Evening, November 7 – Sunday, November 9, 2014, Yellow Springs, Ohio


The Power of Individual Action: Hear from people who are leading the way in personal CO2 emissions curtailment. Learn about a personal energy and emissions budget.
Speakers Include: Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over and 11 other books; Bob Brecha, scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research; Mario Arrastía, Cuban author of The Undefeatable God Sun and five other books; Martin Heller, researcher at the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan; Liz Walker, author of EcoVillage at Ithaca; Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity; and Pat Murphy, author of Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change.
» Brochure of the Conference and Speakers (print landscape) here.
» Conference Schedule – Detailed schedule here.
» Registration by Mail or Phone – Printable registration form here.
» Online Registration (includes online fee) + food, housing, ride sharing options here.


Conference Speakers


Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over, will discuss climate change, peak oil, over population, and resource depletion and how they all require an end to consumerism and a dramatic reduction in material living standards in currently wealthy countries. While world leaders deny the inevitability and necessity of this profound economic and cultural shift, millions of ordinary people and thousands of grassroots organizations are finding ingenious ways to make living with less not just possible, but preferable.

Mario Arrastía is a physics professor and works as an energy specialist at CUBAENERGIA in Havana. He is author of five books including Energy Conservation and Environmental Respect and most recently, The Undefeatable God Sun. He will speak about Cuba’s steps to transform its energy system, climate change adaptation measures, and what it takes for a culture to minimize energy consumption.

Bob Brecha Professor of Physics at the University of Dayton and visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (Germany), Bob will discuss the steps taken in Europe and Germany to address climate change. In addition, he will give a brief overview of the International Panel on Climate Change report, sharing how such reports are produced and the assumptions that underlie them.

Jim Merkel, author of Radical Simplicity, will suggest dozens of lifestyle steps that lighten ecological footprints and the heaviness of a world going sour. Now that we have witnessed strings of economic bubbles burst, leaving behind unemployed workers, cancer clusters, depleted ecosystems, war-torn families, climate change and stressed-out individuals, many people have begun building a sustainable way of life. From roof top gardens to root cellars, organic markets to locavore potlucks, from solar power to utility-shaving strategies, from low-cost fun to low-waste campuses, changes are underway in real lives. Government and big–business have no better plan than to urge Americans to continue consuming beyond personal and planetary means to ‘save the economy.’ Jim suggests a ‘sustainability bubble’ could be resilient if individuals sustain deep and meaningful change. This will include small families, small footprints and be based upon ethical relationships with humanity, nature and future generations… and it will be fun!

Martin Heller Every step of the food system – from agricultural production to food processing, transport, distribution, storage, preparation and disposal – consumes energy and emits greenhouse gases. But where are the dominant impacts? Where should we focus our efforts to reduce these impacts? After all, we still need to eat everyday; do our choices of what we eat matter? Building on lessons from Life Cycle Assessment, Martin will explore options for environmentally conscious eating and rebuilding our food system.

Liz Walker will share how; starting 23 years ago from the seed of a great idea, EcoVillage at Ithaca is now a 100 household cohousing community that demonstrates many sustainable living practices, while enjoying an exceptionally high quality of life. By utilizing a variety of best practices, residents have cut their ecological footprint by 63% compared to typical Americans. The impact of this award-winning village has not only helped to catalyze a vigorous county-wide sustainability movement, but it continues to offer inspiration and ideas to others seeking to create sustainable communities around the world. Along with thousands of other grassroots efforts, this experiment offers hope that solutions to many of our deepest crises can also be deeply satisfying, offering rich connections to each other and to the natural world.

Pat Murphy Research Director of Community Solutions, and author of Plan C— Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change, Pat will explore the need for an individual CO2 and energy budget. He will discuss the Curtailer’s Emissions Guide, a program under development that will provide the data necessary for a personal Life Cycle Assessment of energy use.