When I was a teen, I carried a copy of the Whole Earth Catalog around like it was The Good Book, because, for me, it was. Feeling like I lived in a world I didn’t like, didn’t understand, and had no control over, here was a world where you could re-think and re-do everything, literally from the ground up, from building you own home, growing your own food, generating your own energy, governing your own community. These DIY ideas became my lifeline, my way out of small (Southern) town USA.
One of the stars in the Whole Earth sky was builder Lloyd Khan. I devoured his Shelter series of books, done in the same basic style and format as the Catalogs. They still live on my bookshelf today, next to my collection of Whole Earth Catalogs.
Via Lloyd’s Instagram account, I learned this morning of a 7-minute mini-doc that was done about him in 2009. It’s a nice encapsulation of the Whole Earth mindset and Lloyd’s contribution to it. In it, he disparages that doing things yourself has fallen out of favor. This was more so the case in 2009, I think. Thanks to the maker movement, Make: magazine, Maker Faire, etc., that has changed, at least somewhat.
[On a person note: I was a contributor to the Millenium Whole Earth Catalog in 1994. I did the Robotics and Street Tech sections. I cannot describe how this felt. It’s sort of how I imagine musicians feel who grow up idolizing bands like The Beatles and then find themselves, later in life, working with one of them.]