Book Giveaway: Building a Better World in Your Backyard

book cover of Building a Better World in Your Backyard: Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys

Updated 08/03/20: The giveaway has now ended. But you can still join the Zoom discussion of the book on 08/10/20.

Earlier this month, Paul Wheaton’s people contacted me about doing a giveaway on my site for the book Building a Better World in Your Backyard, Instead of Being Angry at Bad Guys, written by Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop. The authors believe their message is so important that they asked if I’d like to give away 200 digital copies of their book to my audience.

I had to read the book first. I just finished it. I loved it.

We have reason to be angry. If you don’t believe me, go read any reputable news site for five minutes and try to stay calm (10 if you have a fuse longer than mine). Read for an hour and you may feel we are doomed. Spend a few minutes reading this book chock full of solutions and you’ll feel inspired to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Why I think many of you will also love this book

We need to change every aspect of how we live and this book covers those aspects—from the type of home we live in, to how we heat and clean that home, to where our food comes from, to how we wash our hair, to what happens to the ensuing grey water running down our drains after we’ve washed our hair and so on.

A few pages in and I knew I was the target audience for the book. For example, the authors tell us to use a clothesline rather than waste money on “energy-saving” appliances. As for buying a new hybrid car, they write, “rather than focus so much on what you are driving” focus on “sharing a car, getting a job that doesn’t require a car, or living in a place where you don’t need (or want) a car.” In other words, they provide the antidotes to consumer culture rather than a greenwashed version of that culture.

One of the many things I’m excited to try in this book is hugelkultur (think the ultimate raised bed that contains wood and requires no irrigation). I am probably disproportionately excited by hugelkultur. I haven’t been this excited to try something since the day I received two banneton baskets for baking sourdough bread (I couldn’t sleep that night, I was so excited…).

Book description from Indiebound:

Luxuriant Environmentalism

Make a huge, positive, global difference from your own home. Prioritize comfort over sacrifice while saving thousands of dollars. Explore dozens of solutions and their impacts on carbon footprint, petroleum footprint, toxic footprint, and other environmental issues.

If 20% of the population implemented half the solutions in this book, it would solve the biggest global problems. All without writing to politicians, joining protests, signing petitions, or being angry at the people that are causing the problems.

Good solutions are often different from conventional environmental wisdom. The average American adult has a carbon footprint of 30 tons per year. Replacing a petroleum car with an electric car will cut 2 tons. But if you live in a cold climate and you switch from electric heat to a rocket mass heater, you will cut 27 tons.

Join Paul and Shawn on a journey featuring simple alternatives that you may have never heard of—alternatives which are about building a more symbiotic relationship with nature so we can all be even lazier.

How to get one of the 200 free ebooks

Update: the giveaway has now ended!

To get the ebook, go here. In 24 hoursor when all 200 copies have been spoken forthe link will expire. I think the 200 books will go quickly so if you want one, I recommend you move fast. If you no longer see the download link on the download page, the books are gone.

If you like the book, please say nice things about it on Goodreads.

I’m not getting paid to post about this book (in case you were wondering…). I’ve posted about it because I agree with the authors that their message needs to get out.

But wait, there’s more! You’re invited…

Paul Wheaton

I’m very excited to have Paul Wheaton himself join me on Zoom to discuss his book and work! Whether you snag a free copy of the book or not, please join us and bring your questions.

About Paul Wheaton

Paul Wheaton, dubbed The Duke of Permaculture by Sepp Holzer and Geoff Lawton, is an author, producer, certified advanced master gardener, and tyrannical ruler of two on-line empires. After a successful career as a software engineer in aerospace, Paul became obsessed with everything permaculture. He has created hundreds of youtube videos, hundreds of podcasts and written dozens of articles. You can find all of it at

I hope to see a lot of you on the 10th 🙂

16 Replies to “Book Giveaway: Building a Better World in Your Backyard”

  1. Michelle Snarr says: Reply

    Anne Marie, this is awesome! Over the last few years I’ve been trying to gradually do more permaculture at my place. I remember first hearing about hugelkultur several years ago and it had drifted off my radar. Our local landfill gives away free chips from the wood chipper, which I’ve been using as mulch between my raised beds. Maybe I can use them in hugelkultur too, as they are quite coarse “chips”. I have downloaded the book – from which looks like a fabulous website! Thanks to you and to the permies as well.

    1. I’d never heard of hugelkultur! OMG YOU DON’T NEED TO IRRIGATE! is a great site. It’s filled with info. I think you’ll really like the book. And it tells you where to go on the permies site for more info on the topics discussed.

  2. I’m so doing a Hugelkultur!
    I spent most of yesterday doing hand laundry so I could reuse the water on the garden (we’re in drought conditions). I need Hugelkulture in my life.

    1. OMG isn’t hugelkultur AMAZING! My family all think I’ve lost my mind because I won’t stop talking about it–or saying “hugelkultur.” It’s such a fun word to say. I hope you have some hugelkultur in your life soon!
      ~ Anne Marie

    1. My pleasure! I’m so happy the authors offered to do this!

  3. Please enter me for a copy of Paul Wheaton’s book. Thank you!

    1. Hi there Ajortho,
      To get a copy, go here: I think the 200 copies are likely all gone by now but the Zoom talk with Paul Wheaton is also free if you’d like to come to that on August 10th.
      ~ Anne Marie

  4. I’ve downloaded a copy and started reading- I think I’m going to get lots of great ideas from this book! We’ve already done some things (such as have solar panels fitted, and dry washing outside as much as possible, which is usually all the time between about April and October) but I’m really interested in what else I can do. I’m interested in ways to reduce our water consumption, and the possibility of reducing heating use (gas powered) or replacing our heating system at some point..

    1. Hi Nicola,
      Wonderful! You will get lots of great ideas! There’s info on grey water systems and lots on reducing energy. And lots of permaculture stuff too if you are interested in gardening.
      Anne Marie

  5. I have Hugelkulturs, 4 of them right now, it is how i built all my raised beds and none raised beds. I have to do this where I live as some summers we get absolutely no rain June through August. It works very well. My girlfriend and I were discussing how she only needed to water her garlic once, her hugelkultur was working so well. Make sure you build it before winter, (fall is best) as this allowing the wood to fulling absorb moisture from the rains and snow.

    1. Hi Kathy,
      That’s amazing that your girlfriend watered only once :O From about May until October where I live, we don’t get any rain so it sounds perfect for gardeners here. Thank you for the testimonial for hugelkultur and for the tip to start in fall 🙂
      ~ Anne Marie

  6. I started my hugelkultur piles this season after having a friend talk to me about it a few years ago and seeing it in practice in one of the most beautiful urban gardens in my city. As with everything else in gardening, you always hold your breath to make sure it works as promised, and then of course (usually!) it does.

    I groan more than a little at all of the excitement over Tesla and other hybrid vehicles, plus the urge to keep things the way they are but magically not cause any pollution. Nice to see someone offer solutions that reflect reality.

    1. Hi Deb,
      I feel the same way. Teslas don’t address the root of the problem: consumption. I live in Silicon Valley and Teslas are all over the place. Most people are driving them short distances that, mass transit (if we had it), could cover. But for many, a Tesla is sexier than hugelkultur. I would rather have a bunch of hugel beds (not sure if that’s the correct term) myself.
      Enjoy your garden 🙂
      Anne Marie

      1. Teslas are so not sexy! (Mini Coopers, on the other hand, are a different story….) 😀


  7. […] Cavei muro de 20 centímetros, deixei desabar os pedaços de melão e cobri-os com terreno. Você também pode trinchar os resíduos de provisões do lado de fora, jogá-los ao volta das vegetalidade e vedar os resíduos com um cobertor publicado uma vez que “trinchar e soltar”, uma estratégia que li em Livro de Paul Wheaton) […]

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