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Author Interview: Evelyn Hess (Building a Better Nest)

Please join us Saturday April 23rd at Village Books Literature Live, where Evelyn Hess will discuss her new book, "Building a Better Nest: Living Lightly at Home and In the World."  More info here.

From the author's website is an interview, originally from Gillion Dumas's Rose City Reader.

After living for 15 years in a tent and trailer in the foothills of southern Oregon’s Coast Range, Evelyn Searle Hess and her husband built a real house on their 20 acres. But they wanted their “better nest” to be off-grid, sustainable, and reflect the personal and community values they had developed during their years of camping life.

Her new book, Building a Better Nest: Living Lightly at Home and in the World, is the story of how they built their house and accomplished their dreams.

Evelyn recently took some time to answer questions for Rose City Reader:

How did you come to write Building a Better Nest?

My earlier book, To the Woods, was the story of our lives during fifteen years of camping. Though of course not without challenges, those years were rewarding in numerous ways: in new connection to the natural world, in growing self-knowledge, in improved interpersonal relations and, perhaps most importantly, in the kindling of gratitude for gifts of nature such as clean drinking water, that I had formerly taken for granted. When readers seemed to consider simple living a deprivation, I wanted them to know that, rather than a hardship, I found it to be an awakening and a joy. A wish to convey that message was my original impetus for writing Building a Better Nest.

But as I began to tell the story, it grew and branched and meandered like a river. A river and its watershed, because we don’t nest solely between walls. The ecosystem, the community and the planet all contribute, as we and our actions and attitudes also affect them. So that became the driver for the book. What kind of world do I want to live in? How can I be a responsible and effective organism within this tortured and wondrous biosphere? What models do I have in history and in my ancestry? What societal, economic and political roadblocks stymie cooperative sustainable living in each layer of nest? And finally, as climate and other environmental and social issues become increasingly dire, how can we not only lessen the impact, but also learn to live in the most comfortable and satisfying manner in a changing world? Building a Better Nest evolved chasing those questions.

Read more here.

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