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When Lethal Weapons Grew on Trees

While manufacturing modern firearms and bullets depends on a global supply chain and fossil fuels, bows and arrows can be made anywhere out of anything, using only human power and simple hand tools.

How to Build a Practical Household Bike Generator

We built a pedal-powered generator and controller, which is practical to use as an energy source and exercise machine in a household – and which you can integrate into a solar PV system. We provide detailed plans to build your own, using basic skills and common hand tools.

The Revenge of the Hot Water Bottle

Imagine a personal heating system that works indoors as well as outdoors, can be taken anywhere, requires little energy, and is independent of any infrastructure. It exists – and is hundreds of years old.

The Printed Website: Volume III & The Comments

The printed archives of Low-tech Magazine now amount to four volumes with a total of 2,398 pages and 709 images.

Fascine Mattresses: Basketry Gone Wild

Around the 17th century, the Dutch started reinforcing their dykes and harbours with sturdy mats the size of football pitches – hand-woven from thousands of twigs grown on nearby coppice plantations. These “fascine mattresses” were weighted with rocks and sunk into canals, estuaries, and rivers.

How to Build a Low-tech Solar Panel?

George Cove, a forgotten solar power pioneer, may have built a highly efficient photovoltaic panel 40 years before Bell Labs engineers invented silicon cells. If proven to work, his design could lead to less complex and more sustainable solar panels.

How to Design a Sailing Ship for the 21st Century?

It is surprisingly difficult to build a carbon neutral sailing ship. This is even more the case today, because our standards for safety, health, hygiene, comfort, and convenience have changed profoundly since the Age of Sail.

Urban Fish Ponds: Low-tech Sewage Treatment for Towns and Cities

In the mid 20th century, whole cities’ sewage systems safely and successfully used fish to treat and purify their water. Waste-fed fish ponds are a low-tech, cheap, and sustainable alternative to deal with our own shit – and to obtain high protein food in the process.

How Sustainable is High-tech Health Care?

Can we make modern health care carbon-neutral and maintain the levels of care, pain relief, and longevity that we have come to take for granted?

Vertical Farming Does not Save Space

If the electricity for a vertical farm is supplied by solar panels, the energy production takes up at least as much space as the vertical farm saves.

How and Why I Stopped Buying New Laptops

As a freelance journalist – or an office worker if you wish – I have always believed that I should regularly buy a new laptop. But older machines offer more quality for much less money.

How to Make Biomass Energy Sustainable Again

From the Neolithic to the beginning of the twentieth century, coppiced woodlands, pollarded trees, and hedgerows provided people with a sustainable supply of energy, materials, and food.