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The Building a Better World Podcast
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The Building a Better World Podcast

Author: Shawn Klassen-Koop

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Join Shawn Klassen-Koop, co-author of "Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys", for short episodes introducing ideas you can use to make a huge, positive, global difference from your own home! Prioritize comfort over sacrifice while saving thousands of dollars!
26 Episodes
The world's problems are massive and overwhelming. Fortunately, for nearly every global problem there are solutions we can implement in our backyard that, at the same time, save us money and help provide more luxuriant lives.In this introductory episode, Shawn Klassen-Koop discusses his preferred approaches to solving the world's problems from his book "Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys." He talks about what inspired him to work on the book and shares the unique story of how he got together with Paul Wheaton, owner of, to co-write the book that Paul had been wanting to write for years.This will be a fixed-length series of 26 short episodes that will introduce some of the ideas and solutions presented in the book. For more about the book, visit
The list of global problems is huge. But a lot of them are related. This episode covers 5 problems that are holding us back from living a happy, healthy, life on a sustainable planet. And since Shawn doesn't enjoy talking about the problems, he'll also start introducing some solutions for each of them.The five biggest environmental problems are:1. Environmentalist vs. Environmentalist: Greenwashing and infighting are holding us back from making massive progress.2. The Wicked Lies About Light Bulbs: Lighting is such a trivial part of our environmental impact and yet it seems to be the only thing that a lot of people want to talk about.3. Carbon Footprint: A changing climate has significant impacts on the Earth's ecosystem, which we rely on for our food, our shelter, our air, and so much more.4. Petroleum Footprint: Very much related to #3 but focused on separately because it's also a limited resource. We need to learn to live with way less of it eventually. Might as well start now.5. Toxic Footprint: People are getting sick at an alarming rate. Nearly everyone seems to be taking some thing for some problem.For each of these problems, there are things we can do at home to make a significant difference. Things that can save money and provide us a more luxuriant life! To learn more, visit
The most effective way to make your voice heard is not writing letters, signing petitions, or going to a protest. It's making the right choices each and every day.Angry about the impacts of fracking? Vote with your wallet.Want a food system that heals the planet instead of destroying it? Vote with your wallet.Want to make big change happen? Vote with your wallet.And remember, voting with your wallet doesn't always have to mean spending more. It can mean spending less and saving a bunch of money to put towards something else that you are passionate about. To learn more visit
Having conversations with others about environmentalism can be extremely frustrating - even with other environmentalists.It's important to remember that life is a journey, and different people are at different places on their journey. And the things they want to talk about where they are on their journey might be much different from what we want to talk about from where we are on our journey. Being aware of this is an important first step in understanding how to help each other move forward together to increase our positive impact in building a better world.For more about the book, visit
Most of us heat our homes by heating all of the air in the whole house and then blowing it around in the hopes that it will eventually heat some people. Why not just heat the people instead?By focusing on heating the person instead of heating the space, it is possible to save up to 90% of the money you spend on heat! In a cold climate this can be hundreds of dollars per year!Each person will have their own comfort level with these techniques. Maybe some will actually save 90% while others will only save 50%. Still, 50% is a big deal! That could reduce your carbon footprint by many tons!For more about Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys, visit
In a cold climate, heat is almost 2/3 of home energy use. Rocket mass heaters are super efficient wood-fired heaters that are pretty much smokeless and use one tenth of the wood of a conventional wood stove. They can be built for as little as a few hundred dollars and a weekend's worth of time. Using sustainably harvested wood as fuel, or even junk mail, the burn on a well-built rocket mass heater is so clean that installing one could potentially cut 27 tons off your carbon footprint and save many hundreds of dollars per year!
People are getting sick at an alarming rate. The list of factors is immense, but there are things we can do at home to reduce our exposure to toxins that will also save us money at the same time.This episode shares strategies for home care that use cleaners that are so healthy, you can eat most of them! And the cost will be much less than the conventional cleaners that come with a long list of warnings and concerns.For more about the book visit
Living in community is one of the biggest solutions for solving our environmental problems. Unfortunately, it is also really hard to do in a way where people actually want to do it.Oftentimes discussions on community assume that people are going to be noble. It's important to plan for a community that recognizes that people are human, with all of the flaws that come with being human.For more about Building a Better World in Your Backyard, visit
The food we eat has a massive impact on our health and our planet.Conventional methods of raising animals are terrible for everything involved, but eating food grown in a way that mimics nature can drastically reduce our footprints and help us live happier, healthier lives. In doing so, we can also restore ecosystem diversity and improve the soil.For more about the book, visit
A huge portion of our world's footprints come from the food we eat, not only because of the destructive methods of conventional agriculture, but also because of all of the many other industries that are attached to it. Growing our own food in a way that works with nature rather than against nature can dramatically reduce our footprints, while also allowing us to save money and eat healthier food.To learn more, check out
This is the first in a series of episodes about strategies for growing double the food with one tenth of the effort.Most gardeners spend a lot of time starting their plants indoors in the spring and babying them until they are ready to go in the ground. But nature doesn't really do transplants. By emulating nature, we can grow most plants just by putting the seeds in the ground, or even better, allowing plants to seed themselves year after year, auto-selecting for the best varieties for our specific plot.To learn more about the book, visit
This is the second in a series of episodes about strategies for growing double the food with one tenth of the effort.Tilling can be a lot of work. And while the short-term benefits can be excellent, the long-term consequences are huge. Every time you till, you lose 30% of the organic matter in the soil and destroy the soil structure. There are strategies that lead to better growth and require less water and nutrients.To learn more about the book, visit
This is the third in a series of episodes about strategies for growing double the food with one tenth of the effort.Growing more trees is one of the best things we can do for the environment. They stabilize soil, increase moisture, provide shelter, deliver free mulch, sequester carbon, and much more! In addition, there are many trees that can produce food with very little effort once established!To learn more about the book, visit
This is the fourth in a series of episodes about strategies for growing double the food with one tenth of the effort.This episode shares two strategies for building soil and reducing the need for irrigation. Berms block wind and introduce texture into the landscape, providing some spots that are wet, some that are dry, some that are sunny, and some that are shady. Mulch adds organic matter to the soil, discourages undesirable plants, and protects the soil from the harsh rays of the sun.To learn more about the book, visit
This is the last in a series of episodes about strategies for growing double the food with one tenth of the effort.Conventional methods of controlling pests and fertilizing are time consuming, expensive, and have negative environmental consequences. By emulating nature and growing plants in a polyculture, we can eliminate the need for both while making better use of the water and sunlight falling on our plants.To learn more about the book, visit
Lawns are the most irrigated crop in the United States of America. If we want to have a lawn, let's explore ways to care for a lawn that require much less irrigation. While we're at it, let's find ways to eliminate the need for fertilizer and weed control at the same time.For more info, visit
Colony collapse disorder threatens to destroy food crops around the world. Conventional beekeepers were reporting losses of 40%! And yet treatment-free beekeepers reported near-zero losses. The solution is easy: stop stressing the bees.To learn more about the book, visit
Animals are a key component of natural ecosystems. Learning from nature, caring for animals can help us increase the amount of plants growing on a plot. But conventional methods of caring for animals are repulsive, don't help, and cause far more problems. Let's explore the idea of pampering animals instead.For details about the book, visit
The toxic footprint of our wastewater is immense. Reducing the amount of water that goes into septic or sewer systems will result in a much higher concentration of toxins, which should hopefully ring more alarm bells to properly handle the material. There are many ways to reduce the amount of water going down the drain. Some are simple and cheap, while others are more complex. The further down this road you travel, the more you will start exploring all sorts of other questions about the toxic footprints in your home.For more about Building a Better World in Your Backyard - Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys, visit
Blackwater is filled with nutrients. Flushing those nutrients away is like flushing away free fertilizer! But blackwater can also be very dangerous, so we need to deal with it safely. There are many different strategies that one can use. This podcast explores two of those strategies that can work extremely well if done right.For more about the book, which goes further into this topic, visit
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