News Items: Micro-Houses, Global Warming and Agriculture

Short news items in this installment of an ongoing series include a report on micro houses and an upcoming study evaluating global warming and agriculture.

| August/September 1994

  • 145 news items - micro houses2
    Sixteen sheets of 4' x 8' plywood are enough to assemble micro houses like this one.
  • 145 news items - steel can recycling
    The rate at which people recycled steel cans more than tripled from 1988 to 1993.
  • 145 news items - global warming
    In a new, warmer climate, our vast corn fields may have to give way to rice or grapes.

  • 145 news items - micro houses2
  • 145 news items - steel can recycling
  • 145 news items - global warming

The following news items originated from multiple sources. 


Most of us beat the high cost of living by saving a nickel here, a penny there. But Bill Kaysing of Soquel, California, cofounder of the Holy Terra Church in nearby Aptos, which he started to help the sick and the homeless, has found a unique approach to keeping living costs to a minimum. It's called micro-housing and the houses he's created resemble a child's playhouse or a backyard toolshed.

Back in 1940, after seeing his childhood friend's father move out of his house and into the backyard tool shed as a result of a divorce, it hit Kaysing that the toolshed didn't make a bad home. Even though this was an ordinary toolshed, it had a toilet, kitchen, and contained everything to make it a pleasant place to live. He was overwhelmed by the man's ingenuity and has continued to apply this innovative thinking to his own life.

Kaysing was not alone. The micro-house was officially named the Granny house back in the 1970s by California State Senator Henry Mello for its use as a second housing unit for older people. The relaxed building code's only requirements were that it be less than 640 square feet and be occupied by at least one person older than 60. Kaysing, however, sees the micro-house as suitable for anyone looking for an alternative or addition to their current home, an ideal place for teenagers who need a little space from mom and dad, or homesteaders who just need a quick roof.

According to Kaysing, a micro-house can be built with 16 pieces of 4' x 8' plywood. This includes the floor, roof, and sides.

Global Warming and Agriculture

Earlier scientific predictions that global warming would devastate U.S. agriculture in the next century by leaving corn withering on the stalk and desiccating vast wheat fields across the Midwest are unduly pessimistic, according to a new analysis by Yale economists. In fact, they suggest that U.S. agriculture would be minimally damaged and could even be slightly more profitable if global warming occurs.

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