Arid Lands Newsletter--link to home pageNo. 38, Fall/Winter 1995
The Whole Wired World

A list of selected internet resources: Prepared for the conference 'Women for Sustainable Technologies: Creating Sustainable Communities'


[Ed. note: URLs last checked March 2000]

As a Special Librarian at the Office of Arid Lands Studies, my work involves being on the Internet every day. That being the case, it seemed logical that I develop the list that follows as a resource for those attending the 1995 conference "Women for Sustainable Technologies: Creating Sustainable Communities." That said, a caveat (or two) is in order:

This list is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive. The Internet is constantly changing, and the World Wide Web, in particular, is growing exponentially. New resources are added every day and some are more useful than others. The resources I have chosen are those which seemed particularly useful and pertinent to the topic of this conference. To the best of my knowledge, all contact information is current and working as of October 26, 1995.

This list does not cover all Internet services. My work involves heavy use of electronic mailing lists and World Wide Web sites, and that's what you'll see most of here. I have listed a few Usenet newsgroups, but there's very little here on Gopher sites, FTP sites, or Telnet sites. This omission should not in any way be taken as a judgment on the usefulness of these services.

The List

I. Alternative Energy

Ia. Usenet Newsgroups
Scope: Indicated by the group's name.
Scope: Indicated by the group's name.
Scope: Primarily aimed at solar air heating.

Ib. Electronic Mailing Lists

AE: Alternative Energy Discussion List
Scope: General list for discussion of all practical aspects and applications of alternative energy.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: sub AE your first and last name

Ic. World Wide Web Sites

Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Network
Scope: A U.S. Department of Energy site; offers basic information on topics like energy-efficient heating and cooling, building materials, and alternate transportation methods.

Energy Yellow Pages
[20 Nov. '98, site not found]

Mr. Solar Home Page
Scope: Very interesting and entertaining site with articles, information, and links galore on solar energy, put together by a "solar pioneer" living in rural Utah.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Scope: Another U.S. Department of Energy site. Lots of information on technologies such as alternative fuels, buildings and energy systems, photovoltaics, and wind technology.

The Solar Cooking Archive
Scope: Information and downloadable plans for building solar cookers out of easily obtainable materials like cardboard boxes and aluminum foil. Some plans are available in Spanish, too.

Scope: This is The Internet Information Service of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology; a very good starting point for information of all kinds on alternative energy.

II. Building Systems

IIa. Usenet Newsgroups

Scope: Nontraditional housing, including straw bale, rammed earth, belowground, earthships, and more.

IIb. Electronic Mailing Lists

Scope: Earthships (houses made of discarded tires and rammed earth) and subjects relating to them; see also the first Web site below.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: join earthship

Scope: Technical information on how to build with straw bales.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe strawbale

IIc. World Wide Web Sites

Scope: Earthships are built from used tires, tin cans, and rammed earth; this home page has lots of pictures and information about using this method.

Gary Shea's Resource Guide For Straw Bale Construction
[March 2000, site not found] Scope: Good, comprehensive Web source on straw bale construction; current contents include an annotated bibliography, list of organizations involved in straw bale construction, and an events list.

Sustainable Building Sourcebook
Scope: Focus is on the Austin, Texas, area, but much of the subject matter is pertinent to any location; current contents include chapters on xeriscape, greywater use, rainwater harvesting, earth-sheltered design, earth materials, roofing, structural wall panels, insulation, windows and doors, cabinets.

III. Food/Landscaping

IIIa. Usenet Newsgroups

Scope: Organic/sustainable agriculture; this newsgroup pretty much mirrors the Sustag-L mailing list (see below).

IIIb. Electronic Mailing Lists

Scope: Anything relating to permaculture.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe permaculture-mg

SUSTAG-L: Sustainable Agriculture Mailing List
Scope: Anything relating to organic and sustainable agriculture.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe sustag-l your first and last name

TREE-HOUSE-L: Discussion List for Community Forestry
Scope: Issues and methods intended to further the cultivation of trees in sub/urban settings.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: In subject line, type: info tree-house; in message body, type: subscribe tree-house

IIIc. World Wide Web Sites

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
Scope: One of the 10 centers run by the U.S. National Agricultural Library; lots of good annotated bibliographies of documents on various aspects of alternative/sustainable agriculture.

Scope: Information on biological control and Integrated Pest Management (IPM); also houses the online catalog for Arbico (Arizona Biological Control, Inc.).

City Farmer's Urban Agriculture Notes
Scope: Page of a nonprofit society promoting urban food production and environmental conservation from Vancouver, British Columbia; lots of good information on composting, community gardens, and urban food production from around the world.

Don't Panic, Eat Organic
Scope: An organic farmer's home page; interestingly quirky; lots of good links to information to help you garden organically and to purchase organic products.

Larry London's Permaculture Web Site
Scope: Archives of the Permaculture-MG mailing list (see above), permaculture FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), and access to Larry's FTP and gopher sites on permaculture.

Rot Web
Scope: This site tells you all about composting -- why and how to do it, what not to compost, various types of commercial compost bins available, list of composting sites to visit, resources for teachers, etc.

IV. Lifestyle Changes/Issues

IVa. Usenet Newsgroups

Scope: The group is meant for discussion of both alternative households (multigenerational housing, multifamily housing with shared recreational spaces, etc.) and alternative houses.
Scope: Any aspect of intentional communities (that is, communities formed around a common "intent," which might be anything from religion to social activism to organic gardening).

IVb. Electronic Mailing Lists

Scope: Working discussion among people heavily involved in developing cohousing; affordability, community building, and similar topics; very high volume of traffic.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe cohousing-L your first & last name

Scope: How to deal with the changes in the nature of work that are being created by economic globalization and technological change.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: sub futurework your first & last name

Scope: Discussion of recycling issues.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe recycle your first & last name

SRB: Socially Responsible Business and Investing
Scope: Discussion and information exchange focused on aspects and topics of socially responsible business (SRB) and investing (SRI).
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe srb your first & last name

IVc. World Wide Web Sites

Scope: Links to numerous resources, including an online guide with lots of advice about organizing a group, finding land, legal issues etc.; an online master's thesis about cohousing; an archive of messages to the Cohousing-L e-mail list (see above).

Global Ideas Bank
Scope: This interesting site bills itself as "an international suggestion box for socially innovative non-technological ideas and projects;" perhaps not as directly practical as I hope most of the sites on this list are, but it's bound to get visitors thinking in new directions.

Intentional Communities
Scope: Information on ecovillages, cohousing, residential land trusts, communes, student co-ops, urban housing cooperatives, and related projects.

IVd. Online Catalogs

Admittedly, a list of online catalogs may seem out of place in a resource list for a conference promoting the creation of sustainable communities. So this part of the list begins with another caveat: buy locally, from locally owned and locally run businesses whenever you can. Nonetheless, some of us may not yet be able to find environmentally sustainable products locally. In such cases, the Internet can help connect you with businesses supplying such products. Following is a short list of the most interesting online catalogs I've located.

Arbico Home Page
Scope: Online catalog, press releases, and some IPM-related tidbits from Arizona Biological Control, Inc., a company based near Tucson.

Energy Federation, Inc. (EFI)
Scope: An online catalog of energy-efficient items and more; originally formed by a group of nonprofits and sells to nonprofit organizations at wholesale prices.

Jade Mountain Inc.
Scope: Not only an online catalog but also pages (under construction) to give information on product comparisons, frequently asked alternative technology questions, and more.

Real Goods Trading Corp.
Scope: Actually, the last time I looked their catalog wasn't online yet, but the Web page already houses some useful stuff like the "Real Goods Net News" online newsletter and information on the outfit's educational programs.

V. Sustainable Communities:
Networking, Development, Planning

Va. Electronic Mailing Lists

CD4URBAN: Urban Community Development
Scope: Enterprise communities and empowerment zones, other zoning regulations, low-income housing development, neighborhoods, etc.
Subscription address:
Subscription message:subscribe cd4urban your first and last name

ECOCITY: Sustainable Urban Development
Scope: Pretty much as the name implies.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe ecocity your first and last name

Vb. World Wide Web Sites

Neighborhoods Online: National (USA)
Scope: Provides access to national organizations and federal agencies concerned with neighborhood concerns; dozens of links of interest, and the site is searchable.

VI. Sustainable Community:
Economics and Financial Systems

VIa. Usenet Newsgroups

Scope: Discussion about any kind of cooperative organization, ranging from student housing co-ops to food co-ops.
Scope: Discussion of alternative money systems, including LETSystems (see Web sites below).

VIb. Electronic Mailing Lists

CED-NET: Community Economic Development Discussion List
Scope: Community economic development in developed countries; trends, opportunities, and changes in community economic development; what communities can do for themselves in terms of programs and funds, among other things.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe CED-NET

Scope: Community development credit unions and related issues, including nonprofits involved in the support of community development banking.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe CommunityDevelopmentBanking-L your first and last name

VIc. World Wide Web Sites

The Credit Union Home Page
Scope: Information of all kinds about credit unions, sponsored by the Florida Credit Union League, Inc., a not-for-profit trade association. One of the services they offer is low-cost home pages for credit unions around the U.S.; overall, my impression is that this site is more commercially oriented than the next one listed.

Credit Union National Association Home Page
Scope: Another site with lots of information about credit unions.

The Foundation Center
Scope: Independent nonprofit organization that provides information on foundations and their grant-funding activities; current contents include information on training programs, publications information, tips on researching foundations, a proposal-writing short course, and links to private and community foundations, corporate grantmakers, and philanthropic organizations.


Scope: An online journal on "socially and environmentally responsible investing and consumer resources."

LETSystems - The Home Page
Scope: The LETSystem (Local Exchange Trading System) is a local currency system designed to deal with the problems associated with conventional money; current contents include definitions of terms, documents giving background information, a guidebook on setting up LETSystems, software tools to download, and links to other LETSystem pages.

Local Currency Sites and Resources
[20 Nov. '98, site not found]

Resources for Grant Writers on the Internet
[20 Nov. '98, site not found]

VII. Sustainable Development

VIIa. Electronic Mailing Lists

Scope: Anything to do with sustainable development.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe sustainable-development

VIIb. World Wide Web Sites

Borderlands Environmental Archives
Scope: Not specifically oriented to sustainable technology, but an invaluable site for anyone concerned with creating sustainable community in the U.S./Mexico borderlands region; lots of terrific info and links, including one to a page specifically about the Sonoran Desert.

The Garden: Sustainable Living Info Site
Scope: General directory page with links to dozens of sites relating to sustainable living (many listed elsewhere in this article).

URL: (follow the link to the "Projects" frame, then follow "Otherwise" link at the bottom of the list in that frame)
Scope: Bimonthly book review features recently published and upcoming books, with timely news of university, alternative, international, and mainstream publications exploring (1) the nature and practice of sustainable development and (2) the ecosystems impacted by development, including cultural ecosystems.

VIII. Transportation

VIIIa. Usenet News Groups

Scope: New ideas in urban transit and urban planning; new transportation technologies and the potential impacts of related fields like the Internet; future trends and political paradigm shifts involved in developing new systems for the twenty-first century.

VIIIb. Electronic Mailing Lists

ALT-TRANSP: Alternative Transportation
Scope: Issues and policies pertaining to alternative and non-motorized transportation.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe alt-transp your first and last name

BIKEPEOPLE: Bicycle Advocacy
Scope: Racing, touring, commuting, off-road, tandeming, etc.; announcements of cycling advocacy events, gatherings, etc. Advocacy can take the form of a copy of a letter written to the local paper, excerpts from a new cycling textbook, or testimony before a government committee.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe bikepeople

EV: Electric Vehicles
Scope: General EV information, advances in EV technology, and general promotion of alternative transportation (everything from electric boats to buses).
Subscription address: LISTSERV@SJSUVM1.SJSU.EDU
Subscription message: SUBSCRIBE EV your first & last name

VIIIc. World Wide Web Sites

Greenwheels Electric Vehicle Resource List
[20 Nov. '98, site not found]

IX. Waste Management

IXa. Electronic Mailing Lists

ET-VENUS: Bio-integration and Zero Emissions Production
Scope: Developing technologies that use agro-industrial and agricultural waste products, leading to "zero emissions" production, small business development, and increased income generation.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe et-venus your first and last name (organization); please keep to fewer than 36 characters.

IXb. World Wide Web Sites

[20 Nov. '98, site not found]

X. Water Use

Xa. Electronic Mailing Lists

AQUA-L: Aquaculture List
Scope: Discussions on the science, technologies, and business of aquaculture.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: Subscribe aqua-l your first and last name

IRRIGATION-L: Irrigation Theory and Practice List
Scope: Technical aspects, such as design, hydraulics, system layouts; irrigation management and sociocultural, political, and economic aspects of irrigation.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: Subscribe irrigation-l your first and last name

TRICKLE-L: Trickle Irrigation Discussion List
Scope: Unmoderated discussion of all aspects of trickle or drip irrigation.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: Subscribe trickle-l your first and last name

SALINITY-L: Salt Management in Irrigation and Drainage
Scope: Irrigation and drainage management to control salinity problems, load-flow relations, soil hydraulic properties as influenced by salts, crop tolerances to salt.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe salinity-l your first and last name

Scope: Water-related subjects and sources of water information on the Internet.
Subscription address:
Subscription message: subscribe water-on-line your first and last name

Xb. World Wide Web Sites

Water Center Home Page
(University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center)
Scope: Current contents include publications information (some in full text); searchable database of expertise at Arizona's state universities; glossary of water terms, acronyms and organizations; searchable riparian expertise directory for the U.S. Southwest; online field handbook of water quality sampling protocols, in both English and Spanish.

Scope: Information on water efficiency and water conservation; bibliographies, archived mailing list messages, activities and events, and links of interest.

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Katherine Waser, a Library Specialist with OALS's Arid Lands Information Center, is Editor of The International Arid Lands Consortium Online Newsletter on the World Wide Web. In her free time she drums with Mama Ritmo, a women's folkloric drumming group based in Tucson.

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