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Groovy ScienceKnowledge, Innovation, and American Counterculture$
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David Kaiser and W. Patrick McCray

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226372884

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226373072.001.0001

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A Quest for Permanence: The Ecological Visioneering of John Todd and the New Alchemy Institute

A Quest for Permanence: The Ecological Visioneering of John Todd and the New Alchemy Institute

Chapter:
(p.142) 5 A Quest for Permanence: The Ecological Visioneering of John Todd and the New Alchemy Institute
Source:
Groovy Science
Author(s):

Henry Trim

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226373072.003.0005

This chapter examines the visioneering of John Todd and the New Alchemy Institute. In the 1970s this group of counterculture scientists and back to the land advocates founded their own scientific institute on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Merging scientific research with a compelling vision of a sustainable “space ship earth,” the Institute straddled the supposed boundary between NASA research and countercultural rebellion. Guided by their charismatic leader, Dr John Todd, the New Alchemists deftly drew financial and political support from the Canadian government and prestigious institutions while working closely with Stewart Brand and the appropriate technologists associated with the Whole Earth Catalog. The group used this support to build its iconic Arks and to pioneer green architecture and aquaponics on Cape Cod and Prince Edward Island. The work of Todd and his New Alchemists highlights the intimate relationship between advanced techno-science, countercultural visions of social transformation, and activist state which made the dizzying experimentation of the long 1970s possible.

Keywords:   New Alchemy Institute, John Todd, visioneering, ecology, spaceship earth, appropriate technology, aquaponics

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