Fundamentals of Sustainable Living

Course No. 9483
Professor Lonnie A. Gamble, Co-director of the Sustainable Living Program
Maharishi University of Management
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4.8 out of 5
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Course No. 9483
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Course Overview

Become a more thoughtful consumer, save money, and reduce your ecological footprint with this course that teaches you how integrate sustainable practices into your everyday life. By learning specific knowledge and techniques on how to work more efficiently with the energy, water, and food you consume, you can live a more balanced and sustainable lifestyle that also positively impacts the world around you.

Sustainable living practices can help you to:

  • reduce your home's energy consumption by 75 percent or more and enjoy the same or better service;
  • heat your home without fossil fuels and produce enough clean energy to contribute back to the grid (or leave it altogether);
  • reduce, and potentially eliminate, your water bill;
  • grow your own pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, and herbs year round; and
  • make effective cleaning products at home that are safer and cheaper than anything you can buy at the store.

And you can do these wherever you live, whether it's on acres of land or in a small city apartment.

Fundamentals of Sustainable Living reveals how you can become an active participant in the worldwide sustainability revolution, in as simple or as ambitious a way as you wish. Across 12 practical and inspiring half-hour lectures, you'll learn concrete strategies for making the shift toward providing for yourself and reducing your cost of living, without compromising the resources of future generations. Guiding you is Lawrence A. Gamble, an award-winning Assistant Professor of Sustainable Living and the Co-Director of the Sustainable Living Program at Maharishi University of Management. A pioneer of the discipline and living proof of sustainability's real-world applications, Professor Gamble hasn't had to pay an electric bill in more than two decades.

The significant financial rewards are only one benefit of cultivating a sustainable lifestyle, but it's a perk that can be realized relatively quickly. As Professor Gamble says, "For about the price of a daily latte, you can put enough solar electric power on your roof to offset your electricity bill. And you don't even have to give up the latte - the system will pay for itself in utility bill savings."

What Is Sustainability?

Whatever the motivation - personal finances or personal ethics - energy and resource conservation are a priority for virtually everyone. The reality of living a sustainable worldview, though, is still new to many of us. First and foremost, sustainability is not about doing without.

It's about doing more with less and working with natural systems to become co-producers of the resources we need to meet our needs, without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Every aspect of life can be reconsidered in terms of sustainability, from your choice of home and mode of transportation, to city design and the provenance of your produce.

Fundamentals of Sustainable Living brings this notion to life with demonstrations of how you can implement sustainable practices where you live. You'll leave the studio for eye-opening field trips: see a thriving community orchard; watch the installation of a backyard drip irrigation system; walk through the professor's own greenhouse; tour solar-friendly Fairfield, Iowa; and witness many other aspects of sustainability in action.

  • Food: By cultivating fruit, vegetables, and herbs in your yard, a container, or a community garden, you can be confident that you're eating the safest produce possible. Tips to get you started include step-by-step instructions for building a simple greenhouse that allows you to enjoy fresh produce through winter.
  • Energy: Designing your home to collect and store solar energy pays dividends for your bottom line. Get strategies for using solar - even if you rent, have a shady yard, or can't put panels on your home.
  • Water: Investigate how you can minimize your dependence on the water company by collecting, storing, purifying, and using rainwater to meet your daily needs.
  • Shelter: Travel to the Sustainable Living Center to learn how local rammed earth blocks timber, and earth plasters can be used to create sustainable materials for regenerative buildings.
  • Heat: Visit the Living Soil Compost Lab to learn the recipe for good compost and how heat generated as a byproduct of the process can be used to heat water, buildings, and greenhouses, and even to create a "hot spring" in the snow.

Intellectual Exploration Meets Practical Application

Why do organics cost more? What style of washing machine uses half the energy and one-third less water? Which wild-growing plants are safe to eat? You'll get answers to these and other practical questions throughout, yet this is so much more than a how-to course.

Fundamentals of Sustainable Living zooms out to view the big picture of sustainability and the institutions that flow from it as you explore the interconnectedness between human and natural systems. The underlying science of the course, much like the field of sustainability itself, cuts across a diverse swath of disciplines, including engineering, physics, biology, chemistry, agriculture, and economics.

You'll learn how the disparate parts of sustainability come together in a holistic design process grounded in systems thinking; how energy and the law of entropy play a fundamental role; and how this movement fits in the context of other great societal shifts.

A sought-after consultant, Professor Gamble is truly inspiring. A teacher who successfully practices what he preaches can be relied upon to be knowledgeable, and he is the epitome - not only is his home solar-powered, but also it was built from straw bales with his own hands. He harvests rainwater and grows much of his own food.

And yet he understands that not everyone has the same options he has. These highly visual, informative lectures lay out the potential for a truly sustainable future if a range of possible choices are made on both the individual and institutional levels. With Fundamentals of Sustainable Living, you can understand and help build this future, preserving valuable resources for yourself, your community, and future generations.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Making Your Lifestyle Footprint Regenerative
    What does it mean to live sustainably? How can we better live within the biophysical limits of the planet without engaging in self-denial? Begin to answer these questions here as you consider how your choices of home, food, transportation, energy, and more promote a sustainable lifestyle. x
  • 2
    Sustainable Energy Options
    Every day, the sun delivers 14,000 times more energy than the human economy uses. Discover how solar energy in all its forms can be harnessed and used in efficient ways, in addition to the financial benefits that come from using it. Learn how you can use energy wisely in your home. x
  • 3
    Sustainable Building Choices
    Buildings and cities have a huge impact on our well-being, sustainability, and ecological footprint. See how architects design green buildings that are regenerative - giving back more energy than they take - by using natural daylight, nontoxic materials, and superior levels of air quality and thermal comfort, all for about the same cost as conventional building. x
  • 4
    Cultivating Sustainable Landscapes
    If we make our landscapes beautiful and functional, many of our needs can be met where we live. That's the idea behind sustainable landscapes, the benefits of which you'll explore here, from the surprising abundance of edible plants and household materials that can be produced, to the valuable services they can perform. x
  • 5
    Fresh Food from Your Own Garden
    Explore the benefits of local, sustainable food production and find realistic ways you can become more involved with your food, from seed to fork. Learn simple methods for growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs - even if you live in a city apartment - and about revolutionary gardening philosophies and gastronomic movements, including Slow Food. x
  • 6
    Winter Gardening
    Local produce is readily available year round when you know tricks for off-season gardening. Learn the advantages of and methods for planting during the second spring," including tips on building a simple, inexpensive structure that creates a microclimate, making it possible to harvest fresh food all winter long. " x
  • 7
    Sustainable Water Use
    Sourcing clean water and using it wisely are key to sustainable living. Consider how systems can be designed to sustainably provide water for drinking, washing, irrigation, and other uses, and find smart ways to get the same or better services using less. Also, examine ecological approaches to handling storm water. x
  • 8
    Transportation Alternatives and the Ecocity
    Turn your attention to how settlement patterns - from rural to suburban to urban - and their existing infrastructures affect sustainability by defining how people can travel within and between locations. How can cities transition to ecocity design? What are the greenest modes of travel? How can we continue to drive cars and still live sustainably? Find out here. x
  • 9
    Sustainable Products for the Home
    Learn how you can live a greener lifestyle and establish a regenerative ecological footprint through the choices you make every day as a consumer, whether you're shopping for groceries or replacing your carpeting. Find out why organics cost more, how you can make safe and effective cleaning products at home, and more. x
  • 10
    Green Economics: Living Well
    What does a sustainable economy look like? Take an in-depth look at the core concepts necessary for an economy that meets people's material needs while respecting the hierarchy of sustainability and working in service to humanity and nature. Such ideas include a steady state economy and the movement for degrowth. x
  • 11
    Inner Dimensions of Sustainability
    Move from outer elements of sustainability - such as solar energy, ecocities, and organic agriculture - to inner dimensions of sustainability: spirituality, holistic health, and well-being. Learn what faith-based organizations have to say about sustainability, investigate meditation, and delve deeper into the Slow Food Movement. x
  • 12
    Shifting to a Sustainable Worldview
    Integrate everything you've learned in this course with a high-level review. Look closely at permaculture and its ethics; consider the customs of the Tlingit, a self-sustaining people indigenous to the Pacific Northwest; and discover biomimicry, an emerging discipline that uses nature as a model for technological design. x

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 2 DVDs
  • 120-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Lonnie A. Gamble

About Your Professor

Lonnie A. Gamble, Co-director of the Sustainable Living Program
Maharishi University of Management
Professor Lonnie A. Gamble is a founding faculty member and Co-Director of the Sustainable Living program at Maharishi University of Management, where he has taught since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina State University and has completed additional studies in renewable energy, cognitive science, and computer science at the University of Maine; Maharishi University of...
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Fundamentals of Sustainable Living is rated 4.8 out of 5 by 15.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Uniquely Valuable: "Hows" and "Whys" This is the most comprehensive course on sustainable living that I have found, either on video or in print. It goes well beyond the typical “how-to” courses that focus on the three R’s of ecological resource efficiency – reduce, reuse, and recycle. That said, the course provides a lot of useful tips and practices that characterize sustainable lifestyles, including a variety of ways to substitute renewable for non-renewable energy. It’s unique in that it goes beyond resource efficiency and substitution to address the essential social and economic dimensions of sustainability. The professor recognizes that sustainable living in not just a “feel-good” approach to living but is part of a larger social movement that has important economic, political, and even spiritual dimensions. This course provides the student the “whys” as well as the “hows” of sustainable living. Whatever the professor may lack in style of presentation, which I thought was well-done, is more than offset by the fact that he obviously has lived and lives the quest for the sustainable lifestyle that he advocates – personally, professionally, and spiritually. He is “walking the talk.” The environmental movement has been captured by economic interests and morphed into a “shallow” concept of sustainability. This course challenges the student to be guided by a “deeper,” transformative approach to sustainable living. Those who are inspired by books like Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything,” Joseph Stiglitz’s “The Price of Inequity,” or Pope Francis’s Encyclical on “Care of our Common Home,” will find practical ways to begin “walking the talk” of sustainability. They will understand “why” sustainable living is important to humanity as well as personally rewarding.
Date published: 2015-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good course if you are tolerant This course is really an introduction to sustainable living. It covers many of the important building blocks, of sustainable living. Honestly – some lectures, such as the lecture on sustainable energy and alternative transportation were really quite basic and I believe most will not find new content in them. Other lectures, however, went beyond basic (at least my basic), such as the lectures on building from sustainable materials, growing your own food, both in the season and out of season. I had two problems with the course – neither really so major. The first had to do with the tone of the professor. It was a little like getting a conversion preach from a missionary. The lectures are not designed to only enlighten you with new material and data, they are also meant to convert you to the Sustainable camp. This attitude comes attached with a theory (as told by the Professor) that we are at the beginning of a sustainable revolution no smaller than the industrial or agrarian revolutions. While the professor does support this view with some evidence, it really isn't a well-established theory at all. Perhaps it is more of a prophecy than a theory, and an apocalyptic one at that. We all know how non-linear history tends to be. Projecting our current situation on the future evolution of our civilization has proven countless times to be more than tricky. I found this only mildly irritating because I was prepared for this almost "religious" approach. The other problem I had was with the Professor. I don’t want to be too harsh, but the lectures were clearly read from a prompter. They did not sound or look alive at all!!! The shooting was unbelievably artificial: the Professor would simply turn clockwise from camera to camera every three or four sentences for no apparent reason, never changing his rigid stance and always looking straight at the camera. The cameras, also, never moved or changed perspective. He seemed extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera, and appeared as if he really did not want to be there at all. Personally I do not belong to the "sustainable living church", at least not yet, and I really don’t practice it in everyday life at all. So overall I learned quite a lot and found the course content quite interesting and new; enough to overcome the shortcomings and enjoy the course.
Date published: 2015-07-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great course for beginners As the title is saying, it is about ''fundamentals'' of sustainable living. This course is for people who want to understand what sustainable living is, what is the philosophy that is behind and what it covers. If you are already being into this way of life, then you might not learn much. The professor is explaining the different concepts attached to sustainable living when it comes to energy, design, food, spirituality, transportation and others. It is more an explanation of what sustainable living is than a how to for anybody who would like to make a change in their life.
Date published: 2015-06-29
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