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New Alchemy Institute — Inspiration in the Pandemic

Once upon a time — okay, it was 1969 — a group met to discuss the future of the environment and how humans live on the planet. By the next year, they had formed the New Alchemy Institute (NAI) on Cape Cod. This research organization was one of the most direct inspirations for the Low Technology Institute (LTI).

Although our direct goals and applied research are different, the two institutes are in the same realm of thought and approach. NAI was primarily interested in creating communities that were self-sustaining in energy, food, and shelter. This is not far from our goals to produce solutions to house, clothe, and feed ourselves in a future without fossil fuels — by definition, LTI is interested in self-sustaining communities.

I’m going to highlight some of NAI’s research over the next few weeks as I read through their publications again. But to start, we should have a quick overview of their history, as told in the article, “Promise Rediscovered: New Alchemy’s First Twenty Years,” by Kate Eldred.

You can, and should, read the full article at the above link, but here I’ll hit the highlights.

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976

1977

1978

1979

1980

1981

1982

1983

1984

1985

1986

1987

1988

1989

Over the next decade, the institute dissolved into other entities, most prominent among them is the Green Center.

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