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Building Self-Reliance for Challenging Times
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About Us
Why Titanic
Why Lifeboats


What is a Lifeboat?
In Coast Guard terminology a lifeboat is a rescue boat, designed to save lives:
“A lifeboat must be extremely stable and strong, built to withstand pounding waves and the possibility of hitting hard ground.  It must have extra buoyancy, so that it will stay afloat even if it is leaking badly.  It must be self-righting (able to turn upright if capsized) and self-bailing. Finally, despite its needed strength, a lifeboat must be relatively light and fast.”

Columbia Maritime Museum

Some day the earth shall weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. You will make a choice if you will help her or let her die, and if she dies, you too shall die.

John Hollow Horn,
Lakota Shaman, 1932

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Our Purpose
  • To provide educational programs, classes, information and demonstrations on sustainable living, appropriate technology, and alternative renewable energy, in order to educate the public about how to convert to these lifestyle options and the importance of sustainable living.
  • To create awareness of the global dangers posed by environmental degradation.
  • To teach and enable self-discovery and self-empowerment for individuals, communities and society in general.
TLA was formed to provide educational programs, classes, information, research and demonstrations on sustainable living, appropriate technology and alternative renewable energy to help people living more sustainable lifestyles. Current programs help people prepare for emergencies, to teach and demonstrate energy conservation and permaculture-related principles, to support our local economy and nonprofits, and to increase resilience against the converging global challenges of our time.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

Combining diverse backgrounds encompassing engineering, the arts, education and business, Christopher and Caren left their home and careers on the Monterey Bay in 2004 to find a place where they could homestead and found an educational center where people could learn how to live together sustainably.  Both avid readers, they love learning through research and hands-on experience.  They found three acres with a beautiful home in Northwest Oregon and set out to turn an all-electric 1970s mini "estate" into a working off-grid farm.  

One year later, they had established a garden, begun a barn, installed solar thermal and PV, purchased dairy goats and chickens, formed a local group to study the effects of Peak Oil, established a newspaper column and a radio program, held a conference … and founded an educational non-profit.  

The Titanic Lifeboat Academy  leases space at their "Earth Haven" homestead for educational programs offering intensive personal training in the physical skills, practical knowledge, meta context, psychological adjustments and spiritual opportunities of self-sufficient living outside our unsustainable consumer culture.

Why  "Titanic"
The world we know is like the Titanic. It is grand, chic, high-powered, and it slips 
effortless through a frigid sea of icebergs. It does not have enough lifeboats, and those that it has will be poorly employed. If we do not change course, disaster, perhaps catastrophe, is almost inevitable. There is a reason why interest in the Titanic has been revived; it’s the perfect metaphor for our planet. On some level we know: we are on the Titanic. We just don’t know we’ve been hit.
                             —John Brandenburg: “Dead Mars, Dying Earth

Just as the
Titanic was thought to be unsinkable, so we’ve grown to believe our culture and lifestyle will continue forever, but they are taking on water. Fast. Like the Titanic, our current culture is on a collision course with the iceberg (Peak Oil, Climate Change, Population Overshoot & Economic Collapse), without enough “lifeboats.” We need to start building them now!

How can we independently and interdependently provide for our own food, shelter, clothing, energy, transport, technology, commerce, communication, and spiritual well-being ?

Titanic Lifeboat Academy will always begin with the inescapable fact that ours is a slick but sinking civilization desperately in need of both lifeboats and of training in how to deploy them, equip them, fill them, and keep them afloat. Had such training been given the Titanic crew, even such few lifeboats as she possessed could have saved more lives. When a civilization is sinking, lifeboats are not built with wood, but with ideas, and people must construct their own, in concert with their chosen communities. We provide and facilitate training.

Since our founding in 2005, the Titanic Lifeboat Academy is a center for research and education in sustainable living practices, deep ecology ethics, renewable energy systems and low-impact appropriate technologies.

Why "Lifeboats"?
A lifeboat is a rescue boat --  stable and strong, built to withstand pounding waves, with extra buoyancy to stay afloat even if leaking badly, self-right, self-bailing, relatively light and fast --  designed to save lives.
            ~Columbia River Maritime Museum, Coast Guard lifeboat display

Some jumped dozens of feet into ocean. Others crowded into the two remaining fiberglass lifeboats, piling one on another in an attempt to make room for the injured. Half of the lifeboats on the ship were engulfed in flames and could not be reached, and those that remained were overcrowded.

        ~ regarding the Deepwater Horizon explosion April 20, 2010

We're all familiar with the grim fact that the Titanic carried too few lifeboats. Often we don't learn from experience.

What may be less familiar is the ironic fact that upper class passengers and crew were so certain the Titanic was unsinkable that they didn't make good use of what lifeboats there were.

When a civilization is sinking, lifeboats are not built with wood, but with ideas, sweat and the willingness to learn from history, even if it means being different, even if it means leaving the known behind.  Since there are never enough lifeboats, and since they are rarely open to those of us in "steerage", people must construct their own, often alone, sometimes with family or friends.   TLA provides patterns and training.

Building Resilience...for Challenging Times
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the news, the converging crises, the enormity of it all.  Resilience is the confidence and creativity to try something new, confidence built through preparation, education and service. "Resilience" turns "overwhelmed" into positive action.   

Our Philosophical Foundation
The vision of the Titanic Lifeboat Academy is rooted in the rich, philosophical soil of Deep Ecology. Arne Naess, a contemporary Norwegian philosopher, was the first to coin the term. He said, "The essence of deep ecology (as distinguished from shallow ecology, which is the usual short-term view of nature) is to ask deeper questions. The adjective 'deep' stresses that we ask why and how, where others do not. Furthermore, we ask which society, which education, which form of religion, is beneficial for all life on the planet as a whole, and then we ask further what we need to make the necessary changes."

The founders of TLA support the fundamental precepts of the Deep Ecology Platform. This platform is comprised of eight basic principles:
  1. The well being and flourishing of human and non-human life on Earth have value in themselves. These values are independent of the usefulness of the non-human world for human purposes.
  2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.
  3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.
  4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease in human population. 
  5. The flourishing of non-human life requires such a decrease. Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
  6. Policies must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.
  7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be profound awareness of the difference between big and great.
  8. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes.
In the spirit of Deep Ecology, the Titanic Lifeboat Academy supports continuing inquiry into the appropriate human role on our planet, root cause analysis of unsustainable practices, reduction of human consumption, conservation and restoration of ecosystems, and a life of committed action for the Earth.

The Titanic Lifeboat Academy is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt educational non-profit.

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