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Publication Title | Just Say No

Organic Rankine Cycle

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Above: Risa Buck’s home is solared-powered and off of the grid in downtown Ashland, Oregon.

Just Say No!

Risa Buck

Iam blessed by being able to live on a small parcel of land that can accommodate an accessory structure

addition and the good fortune to have secured a loan to make my dream come true.

Changing Values

Developing the way I wanted to live took a more sustainable direction during my six years in Davis, California, where I lived in a 5-person vegetarian cooperative. Our front and back yards utilized many permaculture concepts: composting, the use of drought-tolerant native plants, diversity in vegetables, flowers, and seed collecting from our organic garden.

But it was my relationships with the people I lived with and those in my community that exposed me to a link I was unaware was missing. I lacked knowledge of the connection of me, the human, to my impact upon my surroundings.

Once upon a time, I believed organic farming was a marketing ploy. It had never occurred to me that the “conventional agricultural industry” was poisoning much more than the food I ate. I had never been exposed to information that enabled me, nor was I on my own able, to connect the dots.

© 1995 Risa Buck

My awakening began with the pleasures and necessity of eating. It then traveled full circle to affect every aspect of living. What I consume, where it comes from, how it was created, what the costs are (human, environmental, economical, political, and spiritual), are factors that matter to me. It is not always practical to honor these ideals. Money and time are unfortunately important considerations. No one ever said that the road to conscientious consuming would be easy.

So, all kinds of new, incredible information and understanding has come to me and been integrated over the years. Talking to people, attending the Ecological Farming Conference for some years, volunteering for the Committee for Sustainable Agriculture and the California Action Network, and a little bit of reading helped shape my idea of what a dream home might look like if one took an ecological approach to building a home.

I built my house the way I did because it expresses (in part) the way I want to be in the world. The amount I impact my environment/community matters. Building my house the way I did took my convictions and materialized them into a 3 dimensional form that I can share with others. Taking to heart what I have learned in the last ten years made it impossible for me to build a house any other way.

6 Home Power #48 • August / September 1995

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