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Earth from Above: aerial photography by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Top photo: Ruins of the medieval city of Shali, Egypt
Bottom photo: Solar plant in Andalusia, Spain

"Earth From Above is the result of aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand's five-year airborne odyssey across six continents. It's a spectacular presentation of large scale photographs of astonishing natural landscapes. Every stunning aerial photograph tells a story about our changing planet."

There are about 35 images at the below website, but nothing compares with the real book. Look for it in bookstores, it's spectacular.

Please tell me, where will the resources come from? 2 letters from New Zealand

Here is some good sense from New Zealand. (I put these in chronological order so you read from the top down.)

On 4/6/11 at 11:59 AM +1200, John Knotts wrote in a message entitled
Re: GIMME SHELTER Newsletter Spring 2011:

Hi Lloyd
New Zealand calling. I am inspired by your work. This country has seen the greatest natural challenge ever visited on us: the Christchurch earthquake.

We are hard pressed to even house those that have lost their homes. The authorities are using parks of mobile homes; many are using portaloos and chemical toilets weeks after the event.
Infrastructure is chaotic; most sewerage storm water and power was damaged, with repairs likely to take years.

Given your methods, whole towns could be constructed if land was provided; man has an inherent ability from thousands of years of knowledge of housing himself.

Yet regulation and autocratic government takes us down the path of more regulation, engineering requirements, et al.

We have seen massive destruction of wooden buildings without any care for the husbanding of the timber resource in the central business district. One building of three stories was an old drying building for tobacco (but not sure) but it did contain thousands of board feet of Oregon clears 6”*2” about 100 years old. The walls were two layers. This was sent to land fill.

It is now impossible to build a modest dwelling in this country; even in your extreme climate you do not always double glaze; here it is mandatory. A 150 square ft building can be built but must meet all regulations. These include the banning of recycled windows and doors.

Roll on the revolution.
Fair winds at your back
John Knotts

Oakland tries to shut down urban farmer

The city of Oakland (Calif.) made a move in the wrong direction when they recently told urban farmer Novella Carpenter she'd need a permit to keep selling vegetables in the city, costing up to $4500. (Carpenter is author of Farm City.) SF Chronicle writer Chip Johnson wrote a great article on the situation; excerpt:

"…In September, when the Oakland City Council returns from break and is scheduled to make major policy changes in city urban farming rules, it would be fitting to reimburse the pioneering urban farmer for any permit fees she may have incurred, and to apologize for creating a problem that never existed.

The council should also keep in mind that growing food and raising animals for personal consumption is historically considered one of the most basic rights human beings possess.
(My italics - LK.)

Carpenter and her boyfriend have farmed the lot on 28th Street for eight years without any problems from the city. Typically, they grow chard and cilantro and set up a booth once a month to sell vegetables, T-shirts and copies of her book, "Farm City." And, in recent years, she has raised rabbits, chickens, goats and even a few pigs.

In a neighborhood known for illegal drug sales and occasional gun fire, you would think Carpenter's endeavor would be recognized as a positive development. Nope.…"

Moving house: Little old lady spent 23 years dismantling her cottage and rebuilding it 100 miles away

"For a labour of love, it was the DIY job of the century. Brick by brick, the gutsy little old lady demolished her precious home, pulling each medieval nail from its ancient oak beam.
Dressed in  workman's apron, her greying hair tucked beneath a headscarf, she single-handedly piled high the thousands of hand-made Hertford-shire peg tiles from the roof.
Huge timb-ers were loaded onto a lorry, alongside Tudor fireplaces and Elizabethan diamond leaded glass, for a rebuild that would consume the rest of her life.…"

From Lew Lewandowski

Trailer for new movie on theVW Bus

Unofficial trailer for "The Bus," a feature-length documentary film currently in production. "The Bus" is a celebration of the most iconic and beloved vehicle ever produced. It explores the history, culture and evolution of the Volkswagen Transporter from its Nazi heritage to its modern-day cult-like following and status; the film celebrates the 60th anniversary of the VW Bus and its vibrant and resonant place in modern culture. The film will be released in late 2011.

Sent in by Lew Lewandowski. From Solar Burrito: http://solarburrito.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/the-bus-trailer-volkswagen-van-movie/

I had a '60 VW bus with a 40 HP motor for about 7 years in the '60s. It had a plywood fold-up bed, table, frig, closet (precursor of the Westphalia). I carried half the materials for a house I built in Big Sur on it, drove to NYC one December (wrapped in sleeping bags for the cold), drove down to Puerto Vallarta before the bridge and had to cross the river with a guy walking to show us the way. I probably put 100,000 miles on it. 40 HP!

Holy Monastery of St Nicholas Anapausas in Meteora

"The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, "suspended rocks," "suspended in the air," or "in the heavens above"), is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. The nearest town is Kalambaka…" -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora
Photo from http://www.lovethesepics.com/2011/02/mystical-magical-magnificent-monasteries-in-meteora-20-pics/

1956 Cadillac Sedan DeVille camper for sale eBay

Only 5 hours left to bid on this stylish old road warrior.
As of now, the high bid of $1525 doesn't meet the seller's minimum. If you miss the auction deadline, you can contact the owner: SportsCar LA, 310-330-9909.
Sent us by Evan Kahn

Godfrey Stephens' rebuilt dinghy

Godfrey Stephens, artist, carver, and seafarer, wheeling his rebuilt old clinker dinghy down to the water from his house in Victoria, BC, Canada

Tiny Homes book update

Here's what's happening at Shelter Publications and environs at this moment, day of our lord April 3, 2011, with sunny Sunday morning blue skies and warm days after cold rainy months. The hills are verdant green, with Spring life pulsating, creeks rushing, ground soaked deeply. It's the month of my birthday, and I feel energized.

Tiny Homes book It's extraordinary. This book is evolving daily. Some of the best material is coming in right now. Just last week a small group of artists and homebuilders creating unique shelters on a piece of land in France; we just did 8 pages on them. "France is the California of Europe…" says our friend Paula.
   The best and most unexpected thing about working on this book is that so many of these builders say they were inspired by our books, going back to Shelter (1973). Boy! Plus our books are being discovered by a new generation.
  We've got a thread of continuity running between Shelter, HomeWork, and Builders of the Pacific Coast. (Shameless commerce dept.: we've been selling the set of 3 for a 40% discount: http://www.shelterpub.com/.
   We're in full gear production now, have maybe 155 pages (out of 228) done in rough form. We just changed the publication date to February 2012. Got to do it right. It's gonna be a beauty, is all I can say. I have the feeling that I did with Shelter, back in the '70s, that we were plugged into something vital and current. There's buzz.
   This time it's about figuring out a way use your own hands to get shelter over your head without getting tied up with a bank (or landlord) — we're talkin freedom here! Maybe not right away, but some (especially young) people can move in this direction…

One Thursday in November - The life of a busker

I get some really great comments on this blog from time to time. Last week, on the post about the old German diesel housetruck, came thus comment from acep hale:
"Just fell totally and completely in love. Did you ever see One Thursday in November - The Life of a Busker? I know google video has it up. Completely inspires me, I watch it about once a month and pass it along to as many friends as possible.
   Found it:

This sat in my in-box for a few days. and on this early sunny morning, I clicked on the link. It's a wonderful 30-minute film about a remarkable guy. Make it full screen by clicking the little box to the right of the Google logo. (OK, OK, so I've been a little late in figuring this out…)