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Sustainable Living
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
MUM Students Build Adobe House from Scratch in Texas Desert
Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living students study natural building and travel to the Texas desert to put up a 14' x 14' adobe bunkhouse made primarily from indigenous materials
For their October 2013 Natural Building class, a group of 12 MUM Sustainable Living students traveled to the Texas desert, where they spent 11 days constructing a 14 x 14ft. adobe house made primarily from local materials.
Working with their instructor, MUM Sustainable Living Workshop Director Mark Stimson, the students began their work on campus, creating a plan and estimating the amount of materials they would need. For the post-and-beam frame, they harvested and trimmed dead spruce trees on campus. They also prepared and canned all their food in advance.
Another major project before they left: learning metalwork so they could make machetes for harvesting the river cane they would need for thatching the roof.
The desert site is just north of Big Bend National Park, 80 miles from the nearest town on a road too rugged for ordinary cars.
They traveled from the MUM campus in Fairfield, Iowa, via the Sustainable Living Department bus, which is powered by biodiesel fuel that was made by the students and staff member Steve Fugate.
Once on site, the students learned to sift the soil used for the bricks, moisten it with water, and then use forms to create the bricks. Once skilled, they were able to make a brick in less than a minute. But then the 850 bricks -- all 17,000 lbs. of them -- had to be carried up a long hill. The students formed a chain, and accomplished the task with aplomb.
Then they harvested local giant river cane (Arundo donax) with the machetes they'd made. Tied into bundles, the river cane served as a waterproof thatched roof. The finished adobe house will be used as a bunkhouse and field research station.
Posted by on 12/20/2013 12:19:00 PMComments 0
Sustainable Living Department Hosts Drop Spindle Spinning Workshop
The Sustainable Living Department is pleased to announce a drop spindle spinning workshop on Sunday, November 24th from 1:00 - 4:00 pm.  Local artist and musician Taylor Ross will teach the spinning session, and says, "Ever wanted to understand how threads and yarns are made? Even better, to make your own? Well, on the 24th we will be learning about fibers, and how to spin wool. We will also teach a little bit about cotton, silk, flax, and even milkweed! Each workshop member will get a drop-spindle and we will all practice this age-old, amazing and simple technique for spinning your own yarn or string from fibers that come from real places, like the backs of sheep and alpaca or the stems of plants right in our own little prairie town. MAGIC!!! This workshop will only be $5 dollars including a drop spindle. It's so stinking cheap because we want you to know these things, and it's sponsored by Doug and Jennifer Hamilton, who are awesome pillars of life. They have a flock of Icelandic sheep among being radical in many other ways."
Here is the public Facebook event so you can sign up ahead of time - see you there!

By Leanne Hays

Posted by on 11/11/2013 2:23:00 PMComments 0
Senator Hogg to Lecture at MUM - "Remembering Hurricane Sandy, Why America Should Make the Fight Against Climate Change Our New National Purpose"
The Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University of Management is proud to welcome state senator Robert Hogg to Fairfield on Thursday, October 24th.  Senator Hogg will be present for a meet and greet potluck at Green Building Supply, sponsored by our local chapter of the Sierra Club, from 5:45 - 7:30.  The Senator's talk, "Why America Should Make the Fight Against Climate Change Our New National Purpose", will follow at 7:45pm in Dalby Hall on the MUM campus.

Posted by on 10/11/2013 3:31:00 PMComments 0
Living Soil Lab Offers First Time Ever Course to the Public - Cultivating the Soil Food Web and Enhancing Plant Productivity
Have you ever wanted to make compost and wound up with a stinky, fly infested mess?  Ever made successful compost but were unsure how to go about making compost tea and applying it?  Maybe you know a bit about soil biology but aren't sure of the specifics, or how to go about learning what biology is in your soil.  Now, at last, there is an opportunity to have all your questions answered and learn to work with your soil to improve the health of your garden or farm.  The Living Soil Lab at Maharishi University of Management is offering its first time ever course to the public: Cultivating the Soil Food Web and Enhancing Plant Productivity.

During the four day course Sustainable Living graduates Molly Haviland and Zach Write, as well as Soil Lab manager Jacob Isaacs will teach you about the soil food web, nutrient cycling, decomposition, and how to use a microscope.  You will build your own aerobic, thermal compost pile, use a microscope to assess soil and compost samples, and take part in a one hour question and answer session with Rodale Institute Chief Scientist Dr. Elaine Ingham.

After this exciting course you'll be entitled to a three month membership to open lab times at the Living Soil Laboratory.  There you can continue to hone your new skills by analyzing soil samples with your peers, sharing your progress, and asking any questions that may come up during your work.  Mark your calendars, and contact Molly to sign up - you, your soil, and your plants will be so happy you did!

This workshop is sponsored by The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Sustainable Living Program at Maharishi University of Management.


Posted by on 10/3/2013 2:26:00 PMComments 0
Sustainable Living Department Announces New October Course!
The Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University of Management has an extra, and exciting, course lined up for the October block.
Posted by on 9/12/2013 3:25:00 PMComments 0
Activist Lawyer Tom Linzey to Speak at Maharishi University of Management
by - Leanne Hays

The Sustainable Living Department and Maharishi University of Management are proud to welcome Tom Linzey, the Executive Director and Chief Legal Counsel of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.  Mr. Linzey will speak at MUM on Wednesday, September the 18th at 8:00pm in Dalby Hall, Argiro Building.  The event will also be live streamed to enable audiences worldwide to enjoy Mr. Linzey's exciting message of community empowerment.

Tom Linzey has worked with the CELDF on cases in over 500 communities across the United States, funded entirely by donations.  In a recent case Mr. Linzey helped the citizens of Mora County, New Mexico to draft and pass an ordinance banning all oil and gas extraction. 

Tom Linzey explains on the CELDF website, “Existing state and federal oil and gas laws force fracking and other extraction activities into communities, overriding concerns of residents.  Today’s vote in Mora County is a clear rejection of this structure of law which elevates corporate rights over community rights, which protects industry over people and the natural environment.  This vote is a clear expression of the rights guaranteed in the New Mexico Constitution which declares that all governing authority is derived from the people.  With this vote, Mora is joining a growing people’s movement for community and nature’s rights.” 

If you're interested in learning more about your rights as a citizen and community member, and how to take back those rights from ever encroaching corporate control, you do not want to miss this lecture.  Join us and be informed, encouraged, and inspired.  Meet and network with fellow citizens who share your concerns and dreams for a better future.  See you there!

Posted by on 9/10/2013 11:55:00 AMComments 0
Maharishi University of Management is a "Sierra Club Cool School"!
The Sustainable Living Department is pleased to announce that this year, for the first time, Maharishi University of Management has been included among the "Sierra Club Cool Schools" competition winners.  This annual competition is in its seventh year, and the standards have been getting more and more comprehensive with every iteration.  This year Sierra utilized the AASHE Stars survey, a "transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance".  The Stars survey collects data on every aspect of campus sustainability including, but not limited to: curriculum, renewable energy infrastructure, waste management, bike and pedestrian friendliness, campus dining, and community outreach.

While basking in the glow of this honor we aren't forgetting how much work we have to do in the coming year to further our green campus initiatives.  We will be reviewing our AASHE Stars score in the coming weeks and highlighting specific projects that we can take on as a department and a university to reduce our carbon footprint and increase our reach as sustainability leaders.  Stay tuned for further developments!

Posted by on 8/19/2013 11:57:00 AMComments 0
Sustainable Living Graduate Kelly Mae Heroux is Valedictorian for Class of 2013
At Maharishi University of Management's graduation ceremony this year the valedictorian was Sustainable Living major Kelly Mae Heroux. Ms. Heroux's moving speech to her fellow graduates and audience members reminded us all of the incredibly valuable community life we enjoy here in Fairfield, and of the many gifts afforded by our practice of Transcendental Mediation.  Kelly Mae recalled, "MUM has offered the perfect combination of dedicated faculty and staff, bright students, all seekers of truth, and this extraordinarily supportive environment for personal development. When I came here I was on a warpath against humanity and myself. I was deeply resentful of humans for the way I saw them treating each other and the Earth, and for the culture of greed and consumerism I observed everywhere. I resented myself for participating in this culture that conflicted with my deeper values, but too stressed and disconnected from myself to access the inner strength necessary to live the change I wished to see in the world.  MUM’s gentle daily routine and emphasis on the subjective aspects of knowing changed this for me. Unlike most colleges, ours advocates for healthy lifestyles and introspection. I learned how to take care of myself and connected with my inner wisdom. In time, through TM and then the TM Sidhis program, the anger and sadness within me was released and I had easy access to my higher potential."

The consciousness based education offered at Maharishi University of Management is meant to do exactly what Kelly Mae experienced.  Through daily practice of TM, students become more settled, centered, and self aware.  Stress is released, allowing for greater enjoyment of everyday life, reduced anxiety, and a feeling of calm and clarity.  It was this clarity and calm that allowed Kelly Mae to apply the knowledge from her classes to her larger world view.  Kelly Mae explains, "There is a great permaculture principle I learned in my education at MUM: “The problem is the solution.” In the same way I’ve realized that love is the deepest driving force behind all ecological processes in the world, whether it seems good or bad, within each challenge we will face in our lives, there is always a solution embedded within, and when you shift your attention from grievance or frustration to sincere wonder and gratitude for the experience, the gate of your heart will open for both the solution and love.
Thanks, Kelly Mae, for that reminder, and thank you, MUM, for spreading the message.
Posted by on 7/29/2013 12:19:00 PMComments 0
Sustainable Living Class Visits CISA Conference

Sustainable Living TA Sascha Kyssa contributed the article for this week's blog - thanks, Sasha!

    I’ve just left a conference that can only be described as the best weekend of my life.
CISA (Community Initiatives in Sustainable Agriculture) is a Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin) conference designed to gather young minds who are dedicated to transforming our society. Appleton is no stranger to revolution. Lawrence University student Oren Jakobson has played a key role in securing over 70 acres of urban farmland within Appleton, successfully transforming a country club and golf course into a thriving community beacon of transformation. Lawrence University also supports a sizable student garden complete with a greenhouse, supplying a portion of the campus cafeteria produce.

   CISA itself is structured as a progressive meeting of hearts and minds centered around organic, sustainable agriculture. World Cafe processes, Open Space formats, and tear jerking speeches kick off a weekend that is largely fueled by the students that attend. Opportunities for the cross-pollination of knowledge are abundant, but more importantly, the comradery and kinship make for a complete experience. Knowing there are so many other individuals out there ready to support one another provides me with the fuel I’ll need to persevere through some of the more difficult experiences associated with shifting societal paradigms and inspiring revolution. I’ve forged connections this weekend that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.

   Regardless of whether students worked processes dealing with education, natural birthing, urban farming, inner-city transformation, or eco-village dynamics, an underlying set of principles became apparent. Individuals of this developing paradigm are passionately spreading the ideas of curious, open-hearted community centered around the principles of organic education. Through the encouragement of diversity (whether it be in education or lifestyle), and the culturing of passion-based exploration, the paradigm of applied community and environmental stewardship becomes a tangible practice that can inoculate our local towns and cities.

   The central focus of CISA is agriculture, but more importantly, CISA is about what the art and science of growing food means for our mental state, our community experiences, and our survival as a species. The lack of holistic nutritional education in the public school system enables youth to consume processed food and drink, degrading their mental and physical performance. As work schedules and lifestyles become increasingly hectic, take-out and fast food services become the easy choice for families overloaded by hectic lifestyles. While these services are accommodating stressed parents, they negatively impact the rich bonding experiences of preparing and sharing home-made meals as a family or community. Most importantly, the growing of food itself is becoming a necessity as corporate interest and big-business treat food production as an industrial manufacturing process. Local organic CSAs and CSRs (Community Supported Agriculture / Community Supported Restaurant) provide an oasis amid food deserts, such as Detroit, and South Central Los Angeles.

   The conference was incredibly valuable due to the stimulating exchange of concepts and techniques, but it became truly memorable as students from all across the Midwest forged true kinship over super funky heartfelt dancing and a shared vision of a society founded on ethical and social values that encourage a cultural story of doing “the right thing” for ourselves and our community, not because it’s profitable, not because it will bring us fame. Rather, we do the right thing because there is a genuine desire contained within each and everyone one of us to uplift one another, and live in a world that celebrates life for the incredible abundant and diverse journey that it is.

- Sascha Kyssa

Posted by on 4/18/2013 3:51:00 PMComments 0
Dr. Elaine Ingham Offers Microscopy Workshop
Composting To The Highest Standards

Microscopy Workshop With Dr. Elaine Ingham

in the MUM Sustainable Living Center

April 6th 12:30 - 4:30
Bring your laptop or thumb drive
Fee = $150

April 13th 12:30 - 4:30
Bring your camera
Fee = $150

1.  An understanding of Dr. Ingham's concept of the composting process
2.  The ability to use a microscope

Sustainable Living Students Molly Haviland, Jacob Krieger, and Jessica Smith will assist Dr. Ingham

Join us for these workshops and take your understanding of the soil to a new level!

Posted by on 3/27/2013 12:27:00 PMComments 0
Consciousness and Sustainability Research Paper

Are we machines that have learned to think or thoughts that have learned to grow bodies? Putting it another way: is the universe mechanistic and dead, or is it fundamentally alive?

Here at MUM we are exploring the hypothesis that the fundamental constituent of the universe is consciousness and that the cosmos is alive, creative and intelligent. The ancient Vedic tradition of knowledge, a guiding philosophy of our university, is 100 percent adamant about this.

But if there is all this creativity and intelligence, why is creating sustainability such a challenge? Solutions abound to the challenges of population and consumption growth, carbon emissions and climate change, resource and habitat depletion, lack of food and water security. But they are not being adopted fast enough.

The basic explanation for this is a partial disconnect between humans and this primal level of consciousness and intelligence.  Sustainable Living faculty member, John Collins has authored a research paper exploring routes to repairing this disconnect. Download here

The paper starts by reviewing the ‘state of the world’ in relation to sustainability and how some philosophers’ have responded to this challenge in the last 50 years. It then reviews the perspective of the Vedic tradition of knowledge, including published research that corroborates this perspective for creating social change towards sustainability. The Vedic approach is also compared and contrasted with some leading social change ideas of the last 300 years.

And the conclusion? …….  Read the paper!

Posted by on 3/22/2013 12:35:00 PMComments 0
Dr. Elaine Ingham Presents "Symphony of the Soil"
Posted by on 3/21/2013 12:23:00 PMComments 0
Sustainable Living Department Hosts IOWATER Introductory Workshop

The Sustainable Living Department at Maharishi University of Management will host an IOWATER free introductory workshop on March 16th at the new SL Center, Rm 12, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. IOWATER is a statewide volunteer water quality monitoring program, which works with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to train volunteers. The training offered by the Iowa DNR staff will include hands on demonstrations of how to collect water samples and test for nitrate, phosphate, and sodium levels. After completing the workshop, you will be a certified IOWATER Citizen Monitor.

Please preregister to reserve your space:
Leanne Hays
641-472-7000 ext 1164
Posted by on 3/11/2013 11:23:00 AMComments 0

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