Free Downloads, Useful Sites and Inspiration for 2012

Maddy Harland
Tuesday, 27th December 2011

2012 will be a watershed year. In the spirit in the season, Maddy Harland points you in the direction of free downloads, information sources, useful sites and inspiration to fuel your conviction that a better world is possible. Happy New Year.

2012 is a turning point. Of this be sure. It is our opportunity for positive change, yet most of us sense that the transition from the fossil fuel based hierarchical societies that run this planet will not be easy. There are struggles ahead. One of the most powerful agents of change is information so here are some free sources, plus inspiration and channels of communication for this coming year. I am indebted to all the wonderful people who so generously share their videos, articles, recipes, eBooks and practical DIY solutions on Here are some highlights and pointers to great sites beyond ours too.

Free Books

Want a great collection of permaculture ebooks totally for free? We launched a free downloads page this year on our eCommerce site Green Shopping. It really is free and this year thousands of happy people downloaded titles from us. These eBooks can be read on desktop, laptop, iPad, Kindles and Androids.

Our pay to download eBooks start from £2.99. Many are under £10. You can also have 3 for 2. Cheap as chips as they say. If you want to keep in touch with new free uploads please sign up to our Green Shopping newsletter. See window on left of page. We only mail you once a month and promise not to spam you. We will be adding material throughout the year. 

Free Newsletters

We post regular high quality editorial here on Sign up to our free newsletter and keep in touch with our monthly guide to the best postings. Again we won't spam you or inudate you with emails. Our promise. You can also download a free issue of Permaculture magazine to whet your appetite.

Free Inspiration

If you have the post-Christmas blues here's one of my favourite TED talks that is both funny and deeply wise:

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice – and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Free Ideas

We post hundereds of reader's practical ideas and projects. Here's our most vewied idea - how to make 50 watts of natural light from a plastic bottle. Thousands of people in every continent of the world watched this video on our site.

Free Music

Fancy access to the best 1001 albums ever produced? Radio Romania 3 Net lets you play a huge archive of albums from the 1950s to 2005. If you rig your computer to an amplifier and speaker system you can play them until the cows come home. 


I love poetry. It soothes me when I feel low and inspires me. I love Wendell Berry's poems particularly so here is one about gratitude:

What We Need Is Here

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Wendell Berry

And here is the magnificent Drew Dellinger reciting Hieroglyphic Stairway - wow!

Lastly, I'll leave you with some good cheer.

"How big am I? As an individual, five foot two and whistling. At a government level, I find I've shrunk, smaller than the X on my ballot paper. But at a community level, I can breathe in five river-sources and breathe out three miles of green valleys."

Kirkpatrick Sale

Happy New Year. Thank you to all for supporting our work and spreading the message it carries. We deeply value all you do.

May 2012 be a watershed for human beings. Lets join together and work for positive change. May we become more kind... to ourselves, to each other, to our Planet Earth. May we wake up to our collective power and never lose sight of what we want: an equitable world in ecological balance. There is still time...

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