Our Purpose


TLA was formed:

  • To provide educational programs, classes, information and demonstrations on sustainable living, appropriate technology, and alternative renewable energy, in order to educate the public about how to convert to these lifestyle options and the importance of sustainable living.

  • To create awareness of the global dangers posed by environmental degradation.

  • To teach and enable self-discovery and self-empowerment for individuals, communities and society in general.

Over the years, our range of presentations, classes and internships helped people prepare for emergencies, understand  energy conservation and permaculture-related principles, explore alternative ways of engaging in local economies, and attempted to increase resilience against the converging global crises of our time.

Launch and Progress

Combining diverse backgrounds encompassing engineering, the arts, education and business, Christopher and Caren left their home and careers on the Monterey Bay in 2004 to find a place where they could homestead and found an educational center where people could learn and practice living sustainably. 

They established garden and orchard areas, a barn with goats and a horse, coops with ducks and chickens, solar thermal, PV and wind systems, and learned to live simply. They began a decade of outreach to local residents and to interns from many areas.


The world as we know it is like the Titanic. It is grand, chic, high-powered, and it slips effortless through a frigid sea of icebergs. It does not have enough lifeboats, and those that it has will be poorly employed. If we do not change course, disaster, perhaps catastrophe, is almost inevitable. There is a reason why interest in the Titanic has been revived; it's the perfect metaphor for our planet. On some level we know:  we are on the Titanic. We just don't know we've been hit.        

~ John Brandenberg and Monica Rix Paxson, Dead Mars, Dying Earth

Just as the Titanic was thought to be unsinkable, so we've grown to believe our culture and lifestyle will continue forever, but they have taken on water fast.

A lifeboat is a rescue boat --  stable and strong, built to withstand pounding waves, with extra buoyancy to stay afloat even if leaking badly, self-right, self-bailing, relatively light and fast --  designed to save lives.

~Columbia River Maritime Museum, Coast Guard lifeboat display

When a civilization is sinking, lifeboats are built not with wood but ideas, and people must construct their own in concert with their chosen communities. TLA provided reasons, training and encouragement to build resilience.

Exponential Change

When TLA began, the Sixth Great Extinction had been looming for some time, yet it seemed still a remote threat and other crises, like Peak Oil, loomed larger.

The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. 

~ Dr. Albert Bartlett

As the pace of change increased over the following decade, TLA expanded its outreach to a variety of forms including emergency preparation, a field resonant with more people. Finally, it became apparent that the "resilience" remaining for which to prepare others would simply yield the time to choose one's preferred ending, rather than the time to transition to a new "standard" of living. 

TLA has turned to online outreach, joining the growing number of those whose sites we've been recommending to others. Our global situation understood can be a powerful motivator. It is time to make peace with an earlier end than nearly all of us ever anticipated and to fully, actively live during the time remaining. TLA's educational, awareness, and resilience goals focus here now, and we hope are helpful to others.