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 Enroll by June 30! 

Survive and Thrive: A Crash Course in Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability

This course will provide an overview of numerous aspects of sustainable living and self-sufficiency. The first half of the course will include an overview of what it means to live sustainably and opportunities for hands-on introductions to natural building techniques like straw walls and earthen plasters. The following days will focus on energy solutions and food self-sufficiency. Throughout the week, participants will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, group discussions, hands-on workshops, and tours around the Moab community. 


Course Schedule


Course Dates:

Move in: July 15, 2022

Move out: July 23, 2022


General Structure:

All instruction days will begin at 9:00am and wrap up around 5:00pm, with snack and lunch breaks mixed in throughout. After a dinner break, evenings will offer optional tours or activities relevant to the topics discussed each day. Most days will include both lectures and hands-on demonstrations and workshops, though some lean more heavily on classroom-style instruction. See the schedule below for more detail!


Day 0-000: Move-in and get to know Moab!

Residential participants will move in on July 15 and have the full weekend to get acquainted with their desert surroundings and make memories on the river, explore Utah’s iconic red rocks, and more! 


Day 1: Introduction to Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability

Key Topics:  Sustainability, Self-Sufficiency, Natural Building Options


We’ll kick things off on Monday, July 18, with introductions and an overview of what exactly we mean when we talk about self-sufficiency and sustainability. Today’s sessions will lean on lectures and discussion. To close things out and to get ready for tomorrow’s workshops, we’ll introduce some options for natural building.


Day 2: Natural Building

Key Topics: Building with Straw, Working with Earthen Plasters


Today we’re getting down and dirty! We’re really focusing on hands-on learning in today’s workshops. By the end of the day, you’ll gain experience with stacking straw-bale walls and preparing and applying natural plasters. In the evening block, you’ll have the chance to tour local structures and see these materials (and more!) in action.


Day 3: Energy Options 1

Key Topics: Net-Zero Energy Homes, Renewable Energy Technologies, Passive Heating and Cooling


Have you been thinking about how to lower those utility bills and power your shelter with more renewable energy sources? Today is the day for you! In this classroom-focused unit, we’ll discuss how to bring renewable energy options into your home, and how to design passive heating and cooling systems.


Day 4: Energy Options 2

Key Topics: Solar Energy, Wind Energy, Batteries


We’ll continue Day 3’s discussion of renewable energy with a renewed focus on specific options. The first half of the day will focus on working with solar, including a hands-on demonstration of solar systems. The second half of the day will provide overviews of the battery systems necessary for thriving off-grid and a primer on wind energy.


Day 5: Food Self-Sufficiency

Key Topics: Passive Hydroponics, Gardening


It’s already the last day! We’ll wrap up the week with a focus on food. A hands-on overview of indoor hydroponic gardening will complement lectures and tours focusing on gardening and green spaces for all levels of experience.  


Day 6: Move out!


What’s Included:


  • All instruction, materials and tools. All participants will also receive a copy of the course curriculum so that they can carry everything they learn back home with them!

  • Evening tours and activities. On most instructional days, participants are invited to reconvene after dinner for an evening tour, film viewing, or other activity to supplement the day’s instruction.

  • Lunch will be provided for all participants for each day of instruction. Registrants’ dietary restrictions will be taken into account.  

  • ​​Access to all sorts of desert adventures! For residential participants, the Bunkhouse will be available for move-in starting at noon on July 15, leaving a full weekend before classes start for participants to enjoy their surroundings. The Community Rebuilds campus is nestled in the heart of Moab, UT, with Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Dead Horse Point State Park, and more all less than an hour’s drive from town. Each day’s instruction ends with plenty of time to take advantage of Moab’s plethora of beautiful landscapes, rich histories, and all sorts of outdoor recreation as the hot summer day cools down into the evening.

  • (Residential participants only) Housing in our two-story straw bale Bunkhouse! We offer single or double occupancy room options. The Bunkhouse is fully furnished and outfitted with washers/dryers, full communal kitchen and living room, and 5 bathrooms. The kitchen is stocked with breakfast essentials including coffee/tea, eggs, oatmeal, and toast, as well as basic cooking appliances. The grocery store is just around the corner, and residential participants are welcome to full use of the kitchen.


Pricing and Registration Options:

Residential Passes: 

Single Occupancy Room: $1200*  

Double Occupancy Room: $900*  


Non-Residential (Local) Pass: $450*  


Day Pass: $100*  


*Note: If you would like to pay through PayPal, rates are slightly higher to account for processing fees. Please add 3% to all PayPal payments:

Single Occupancy: $1236  | Double Occupancy: $927 | Non-Residential: $463.50 | Day Pass: $103 


How to Register:

Use the form below to save your spot for this course.  Note: Your registration will not be considered complete until we have received your payment.

How to Pay: 

Payment is accepted in cash, check, or through PayPal. 


*Note: If you would like to pay through PayPal, rates are slightly higher to account for processing fees. Please add 3% to all PayPal payments:

Single Occupancy: $1236 | Double Occupancy: $927 | Non-Residential: $463.50 | Day Pass: $103 

Click the according Buy Now button below to pay for the course and confirm your spot. 

*Note: If purchasing multiple passes, you may have to pay for each individually as PayPal does not offer a "quantity" option. If you would like to avoid this process, submit your total payment via out "Donate" section in the Contribute tab above.


If you would like to mail us your payment, please send to:


Community Rebuilds

150 S 200 E

Moab, UT 84532


Make sure you note your name and ticket types with all payments! (EX: Jane Doe, $200 for 2 day passes)


Residential Passes

Single Occupancy:

Double Occupancy:


Non-Residential (Local) Pass:

Day Pass:



Registration Guidelines:

  • All participants must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the course on July 17, 2022.

  • All residential participants must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Community Rebuilds uses the CDC’s guidelines for full vaccination, which currently is defined as having received the full primary series and one booster shot. 

  • All participants must sign a release and waiver of liability in order to participate in hands-on activities. 

  • Registration will not be considered complete until we have received your payment and proof of vaccination (for residential participants).


Meet Your Instructor:


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Dan Chiras is an esteemed author and educator in the world of self-sufficiency and sustainability. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and has taught various courses in environmental sciences and sustainability at the University of Colorado in Denver, the University of Washington, and Colorado College. Dan has published 40 books and nearly 400 articles, including his best-selling books The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy, The Solar House, The Natural House, and Power from the Sun. His most recent works include The Chinese Greenhouse, Grow Lettuce in Your Living Room, and Kratom: Things You Need to Know to Use it Safely. In his free time, Dan pursues his passions for gardening, canoeing, angling, camping, mountain biking, songwriting, and reading. He and his wife Linda live on a 60-acre farm in Missouri where they grow much of their own food, drive an electric car powered by solar energy, put up food, and much more. 

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