Dr. Samuel Alexander

“Anyone who has attempted to actually live simply, of course, will know very well that doing so is not very ‘simple’ at all, in the sense of being easy.  This is especially so in the consumerist cultures that have arisen today, which are dominated not only by materialistic values but also by growth-orientated structures that often lock people into high consumption lifestyles.  To be sure, it is hard to swim against the current of consumerism.  What this suggests is that the significance of simple living is not just about personal lifestyle choice, but has wider and deeper implications on how we think about the structures of our societies. As we will see, this raises political and macroeconomic issues, as well as ethical, cultural, ecological and even spiritual issues. It seems, then somewhat paradoxically, that simple living is actually an extremely complex notion that exhibits a multitude of dimensions and defies simplistic definition.” - Dr. Samuel Alexander

Dr. Alexander is a lecturer at the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of  Sufficiency Economy: Enough, For Everyone Forever (2015), Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in an Age of Limits (2015), and Entropia: Life Beyond Industrial Civilisation (2013). He is a co-founder of the Simplicity Institute, a non-profit education and research center dedicated to advancing the Simplicity Movement.

Read recent posts by Dr. Alexander here.

Mario Arrastia Avila

Mario Arrastia Avila is a specialist in Science, Technology and Environmental Information at the Center of Information Management and Energy Development (CUBAENERGIA), part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment (CITMA) in Havana, Cuba.

Watch an exert of Mario's recent US talk:


Megan Quinn Bachman

Megan Quinn Bachman is a journalist and environmental educator in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She is an award-winning reporter, columnist and photographer for the weekly Yellow Springs News, a columnist for the environmental news service website EcoWatch.com and adjunct instructor at Antioch University Midwest, where she teaches courses on ecology, environmental policy, sustainable agriculture and conservation.

Read a recent post by Megan here.

Carolyn Baker

Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is the author of Love In The Age Of Ecological Apocalypse: The Relationships We Need To Thrive (2015) and Collapsing Consciously: Transformative Truths For Turbulent Times (2013). She lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado and manages her website. A former psychotherapist and professor of psychology and history, Carolyn offers life coaching for people who want to live more resiliently in the present as they prepare for the future.

Read a recent post by Carolyn here.

Peter Bane

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Peter Bane is the author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country, and a frequent contributor to Permaculture Design magazine (formerly Permaculture Activist). In 1994, he helped to found Earthaven Ecovillage in North Carolina where he built an off-grid home of natural materials. A solar energy pioneer, home remodeler, and microfarmer, Peter has provided consulting advice and design to landowners, municipalities, and universities for over 25 years. After moving to Bloomington, Indiana in 2006, he and his partner rebuilt an older home to achieve energy use reductions of 60% measured against the per capita U.S. residential average, based chiefly on the deployment of conventional building materials, passive solar design, grid-intertied photovoltaics, and changes in household practice that include rainwater collection, wastewater re-use, sustained yield harvest of wood fuel, sheet mulching with organic wastes, edible landscaping, and home food production and storage. He went on to advise the city of Bloomington on prospects for an Energy Descent future through his service on its 2008-09 Peak Oil Task Force. His teaching career has taken him from Canada to Patagonia, and among its highlights are launching permaculture education in the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago and helping to inaugurate permaculture design at the Ecovillage Training Center in Tennessee, at Indiana University, and at Paul Smiths College, New York. In 2005 his work in Media, Education, Trusteeship, and Community Development was recognized with the Diploma of Permaculture Design by the Permaculture Academy of Britain. He currently serves on the board of the Permaculture Institute of North America, and is at work on a book about biological approaches to climate cooling.

Website: www.permacultureactivist.net

Read recent posts by Peter here.

Bob Brecha

"Many have you seen the Mauna Loa Observatory graphs co2 rising in and bumping up and down in wiggles during the course of the year. I would say that these iconic images are demonstrating not only the impact that we're having on the atmosphere - that is, we have increased by over 40 percent the co2 in the atmosphere - but it also shows a kind-of breathing. If you look carefully those graphs, it's not just a monotonic increase. It's an up and down every season. This is the breathing of the earth. Somehow this gives a sense of a living system, a living planet." - Bob Brecha

Dr. Robert Brecha was born and raised in Ohio. He is now a Professor of Physics at the University of Dayton. He teaches in the Renewable and Clean Energy Graduate Program and coordinates the Sustainability, Energy and the Environment (SEE) Minor and other SEE initiatives.  Since 2006 he has been working periodically as a visiting scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Below are links for some of Dr. Brecha's articles for WYSO

Spring Flowers and Climate Change 

A House Made of Straw

Fracking – Bridge To The Future Or To Nowhere?

The United States, China, Ohio and Climate Change

Read recent posts by Bob on our blog.

Watch an exert of Dr. Brecha's talk at our most recent conference:


Dr. Jifunza Wright Carter M.D., M.P.H.


Dr. Jifunza Wright Carter M.D., M.P.H. is a family physician boarded in holistic integrative medicine. She is also a community health advocate. Jifunza co-founded Black Oaks Center for Renewable Sustainable Living and Health Food Hub, a 500+ community supported agriculture project in Chicago.  Black Oaks Center assists communities in reducing their carbon footprint and fossil fuel use through education and training that includes teaching permaculture.

Website: www.blackoakscenter.org

Kurt Cobb

Kurt Cobb is an author, speaker, and columnist whose novel Prelude provides a startling reinterpretation of contemporary events and a window onto our energy future. He writes a widely followed blog on energy and the environment called Resource Insights and is a regular contributor to the Energy Voices section of The Christian Science Monitor.

Read recent posts by Kurt here.

Nicole Foss


Nicole Foss is Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth, a big-picture website. Since January 2008, she and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going global credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and geopolitics in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. 

Nicole is also an international speaker on energy and global finance. She has lectured in hundreds of locations across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and has made many media appearances in a variety of countries. In addition, she has been involved in teaching permaculture design certificate courses in Central America, Europe and Australia. 

Prior to the establishment of The Automatic Earth, Nicole was Editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and financial crisis. She also ran the Agri-Energy Producers' Association of Ontario, where she focused on farm-based biogas projects, grid connections for renewable energy and Feed-In Tariff policy development. While living in the UK she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialised in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level. She also has significant previous experience practicing as an environmental consultant.

Her academic qualifications include a BSc in Biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, the common professional examination in law and a Masters degree in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK.

To visit Nicole’s website, the Automatic Earth, please click here

To watch a video about Nicole and her work click here

Ma'ikwe Ludwig

Ma’ikwe Ludwig is the Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage's nonprofit branch, the pioneering sustainability educator who heads up Ecovillage Education US, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship for Intentional Community. She is an inspiring public speaker, a regular contributor to Communities magazine, and the author of Passion as Big as a Planet: Evolving Eco-Activism in America, which focuses on the intersection of spiritual and personal growth work, and sustainability activism.

Watch a TED Talk by Ma'ikwe here:


Jim Merkel

Jim Merkel is the author of Radical Simplicity: Small Footprints on a Finite Earth. Jim founded the Alternative Transportation Task Force in San Luis Obispo, California, and held an elected Sierra Club position while honing urban simple living skills. He lobbied in Washington for wilderness, peace, and Native American rights. In 1994 he received a fellowship to research sustainability in Kerala, India, and walked in the Himalayas. The following year he founded the Global Living Project (GLP) and initiated the GLP Summer Institute where teams of researchers attempted to live on an equitable portion of the biosphere.

Community Solutions is partnering with Jim Merkel on his new film, Saving Walden's World. The film will gingerly explore two of humanities sacred cows “be fruitful and multiply” and “he or she who dies with the most toys wins.” Together they lead the stampede to wreck the planet and underlie most environmental and social woes.  The viewers will be treated to an insider’s glimpse of societies that exhibit sustainable practices, that is, have small families, small ecological footprints and healthy, educated people.

To see the film that Jim is working on with Community Solutions click here.

Read recent posts by Jim here.

Website: http://www.radicalsimplicity.org/

Dr. Thomas Princen


Thomas Princen is the author ofThe Logic of Sufficiency (2005),  Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order (2010) and co-editor of Confronting Consumption (2002), The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift (2012)  and Ending the Fossil Fuel Era (2015) all published by MIT Press. He teaches social and ecological sustainability at the University of Michigan with recent fellowships at the universities of Munich and Muenster.

Read recent posts by Thomas here.

Watch a talk on sustainable governance by Dr. Princen here:


Liz Walker

Liz Walker is the author of EcoVillage at Ithaca: Pioneering a Sustainable Culture and Choosing a Sustainable Future. She has helped to introduce the concepts of ecovillages and sustainable communities to a broad audience in the US and other countries. Liz has also been active in the sustainability movement around Ithaca, New York as a founding member of the Partnership for Sustainability Education between Ithaca College and EVI, which in turn helped to catalyze Sustainable Tompkins and Ithaca Carshare. She serves on the Cayuga Sustainability Council and the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative.

Linda Wigington

Linda Wigington was the 2002 recipient of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy's Champion of Energy Efficiency Award. Linda Wigington is a residential energy consultant and founder of the Affordable Comfort conference. Through ACI, she worked under contract to PG&E to support projects that aimed to achieve deep energy reductions (70% or more) as part of the Thousand Home Challenge. She has direct knowledge of many residential energy projects that are delving beyond business as usual to achieve 70% and greater reductions in site energy use.

Website: www.thousandhomechallenge.com