Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
If you happened to be walking down Frontier Ln. outside of La Plata Missouri, you might not notice a small house, near the top of a hill, emanating old folk music and warm light coming from beeswax candles. This is the Possibility Alliance (PA), a collective where members live simply and walk humbly in the world. They focus on sustainable building, permaculture, intentional community, gift economy and service. Every year they host more than one thousand guests in events ranging from super hero rides to permaculture classes and activist clown school.
Part of living sustainably for this community includes living a life that is free of electricity and petrochemicals. That means, clothes are washed by hands, foods are preserved without freezing or refrigeration, meals are cooked with wood powered rocket stoves and candles are the only form of lighting after dark. Nearly everything is made, planted, harvested, cooked or built by hand.
At the PA, do it yourself isn't just a concept, it's a way of life. Candles are made regularly, and use locally sourced materials. These homemade beeswax candles utilize waste from a neighbor’s honey production which has a minimal footprint when compared to other sources of wax. The candles burn cleanly, are non-toxic and are beautifully made without scents or dyes. Here how they’re made:
- Beeswax is collected from a neighbor and brought to the Possibility Alliance
- The wax is broken into pieces and melted using a rocket stove
- Wax is then poured into a double boiler
- String is attached to a taper dipping rack and soaked in wax for 5 minutes, soon the waxed wicks cool and become solid
- Then begins a cycle of dipping and cooling to add layer after layer of molten wax to the exterior of the candle until the desired width is achieved
The warm light of the honey brwon beeswax candles at the Possibility Alliance makes every evening seem cozy. The candles are amazingly functional and are easy to make. They produce a warm glow and allow the members of the Possibility Alliance to maintain a high quality of life, with a minimal footprint. Making candles from beeswax in your own home is a great stwp towards shiftiny to a zero carbon lifestyle.
Photo by Jason Hering