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Paul Mobbs &
Mobbs' Environmental Investigations –

Work Archive:

Free Range Network

I've worked primarily with community groups for many years – mostly in the UK, but also in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. The materials produced from that work have relevance not just to the people who commissioned them, but many other communities too. For that reason I maintain an on-line archive of my work.

For details of the licensing restrictions on using these resources, see the Copyright and Sharing page.

Work Archive:
'Handouts' Index

Articles

Handouts

Internet Rights Toolkit

Free Range Network

General

Participating With Safety

Infographics

Media Coverage

Podcasts

Presentations

Ramblinactivist

Reports/Research

Themes

Video and Audio

Free Range Network handouts were produced around broad themes, each supporting workshops and educational activities run by the network.

The list below gives access to the 34 handouts from the Free Range Network. Each series is identified by a letter, and the list is arranged in alphabetical order. To jump to a particular section use the links below:


Free Range Network Handouts

inc image Free Range Sheet A1: Fracking, Do Something! – Action on unconventional gas

March 2013

As we reach the limits to growth the certainties that underpin the modern economic system are failing. As 'easy to produce' oil and gas deplete the energy industry is seeking more extreme fuel sources, from deep ocean drilling to tar sands. 'Unconventional gas' is a series of technologies that seek to get natural gas from hard to produce/unconventional sources of rock. This sheet looks at the legal and procedural issues related to the development of unconventional gas in the UK, and how the public can intercede at each stage in order to oppose these developments.

file icon HTML web page version
231.6 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
930.1 kilobytes

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873.2 kilobytes

file icon References/information PDF
126 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/1: Broken Windows with Stronger Fences

August 2003

Many people do not like the practices of large multinational corporations. Some work actively to campaign against such organisations, and change the system for something better. Why then do the majority of these people hand over control of their computers to a monopoly corporation, Microsoft, and pay large sums of money for the privilege of using insecure software?

file icon download resource PDF
101.1 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/2: Hijacking Green Energy

October 2003

We need to change how we use and produce energy in order to slow the impacts of climate change. 'Renewable energy' – energy sources that can be sourced from the environment perpetually – was the buzz word after the oil crisis of the early 1970s. In the 1990s, we went 'green', and green energy was promoted as the alternative for the environmentally conscious consumer. But now 'green' means something different – money. Have the mainstream environment groups lost the plot on energy? Are they compromised by their promotion of green energy into following the lead of the industry rather than promoting energy conservation ahead of production? And is green energy in the UK now dominated by the profits to be made from market subsidies?

file icon download resource PDF
189.5 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/3: Toxic shock! – my non-stick frying pan killed my budgie!!

November 2003

This is no joke. It's deadly serious – to budgies at least, and perhaps in the longer term humans too. There are a group of chemicals, per-fluoro-chemicals (PFCs), that are found in many products, and increasingly in human tissues. In the USA, where Teflon® is used in many products, a syndrome called teflon flu has been reported after people have been exposed to over-heated pots and pans. This is fatal to small birds. In the longer term, the build-up of these indestructible chemicals could damage our health too. Perhaps, like in the mines before safety lamps, the canary falling off its perch is a warning to us all.

file icon download resource PDF
59 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Bulletin 03/4: 'What does not kill them makes them stronger' – The Hazards of Anti-Bacterial Agents

December 2003

'Clean is good'. The rule that dominates our technological society. But is it really true? Are some of the products we use to make our homes clean making us sick instead? In particular, is the sale of 'anti-bacterial' agents – in cleaning solutions and even toothpaste – a positive hazard to our health? Does Triclosan clean us, or does it damage our health?

file icon download resource PDF
108.1 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Bulletin 04/1: Use Your Loaf! – The Problems With Industrial Bread

September 2004

In October 2004, the Baker's Federation in the UK will be holding its third British Bread Month. However, rather than celebrating the excellent bread produced by British craft bakers, it is in reality a large promotional exercise for industrial bread – a mass produced product that is reliant on various biochemical processes developed over the last forty years rather than on the skills of bakers developed over the last few centuries. So what, in reality, is industrial bread?

file icon download resource PDF
247 kilobytes



inc image Community-Linux Training Centre Project Documentation: First Year Project Update

October 2003

The Community–Linux Training Centre Project has been developed as a means of promoting the use of Gnu/Linux for education and training amongst community organisations and grassroots activists. This briefing outline the concepts behind the project, and the progress to date.

file icon download resource PDF
93.1 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Building Blocks Briefing 1: USB Mass Storage Devices

January 2004

Today many of the devices used with computers – such as digital cameras – store information. Most use the USB port to transfer this information to your computer. This briefing looks at how to read data from USB storage devices.

file icon download resource PDF
357.2 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Building Blocks Briefing 2: Getting to Grips With Grip

January 2004

Music CDs have been been around for a long time – but mechanical recording media like CDs are on their way out. Today most new recording devices record digitally, producing computer files as their output. But how do you convert all your old, expensive CDs? – with Grip.

file icon download resource PDF
311.9 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 0/A: Developing the Community–Linux Training Centre

January 2003

This first section provides an introduction to four differing views of the project - the history of the design, the objective of a 'community' Linux project, the financial aspects, and the potential uses of the CLTC system.

file icon download resource PDF
128.5 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 0/B: Designing the Community-Linux Training Centre System

January 2003

This section outlines the technical criteria behind the development of the CLTC system. In particular, it looks at the importance of specifying the design of the local area network in advance of setting-up/installing the hardware.

file icon download resource PDF
177.5 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 1/A: Linux Installation and Hardware Issues

January 2003

This sheet looks at the hardware issues relating to Linux installation – which are numerous and sometimes inconsistent. It looks at some of the issues that plague Linux installation, especially when using laptops, and how they were resolved within the setting-up of the Community-Linux Training Centre

file icon download resource PDF
82.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 1/B: Basic Installation of the CLTC's Server System

January 2003

This sheet looks at the basic installation and configuration of the CLTC's server. The configuration of services and the management of the server will be dealt with later in individual sheets. This sheet only considers the installation of the Linux distribution onto a laptop, and post-installation tasks to facilitate the installation of network services.

file icon download resource PDF
144.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 1/C: Installing the CLTC's Client Systems

January 2003

This sheet looks at the configuring the CLTC's client systems. There is no one way of doing this because different Linux distributions have slightly different methods of installation. They also organise the graphical desktop and some of the Linux configuration files slightly differently too. Therefore this sheet concentrates on the issues related to client installation, and the configuration of the various programs and network clients after installation.

file icon download resource PDF
162.1 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 2: Setting up DHCP, DNS and NFS on the CLTC Server

January 2003

This section deals with setting up some of the basic networking services: Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to assign IP addresses to client machines; a Domain Name Server (DNS) to run the name-space on the local network; and a Networked File System (NFS) to allow the clients to access a share of the server's disk space in common.

file icon download resource PDF
155.1 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 3: Installing the Internet Chat and News Servers

January 2003

This sheet looks at the configuration of the InterNet News (INN) and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) servers. These are probably the most complex of the servers on the CLTC system to set up for those with little experience of working with Linux. However, they both provide valuable services on the CLTC server to support training in the use of networks and communications systems.

file icon download resource PDF
88.5 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 4: Configuring the Sendmail Email Server and POP3 Access

January 2003

Email was the 'killer application' that made the Internet a viable technology. It is still the critical communications medium of the Internet today (as opposed to web sites, which are a one-way medium). Setting up email is therefore a priority for any networked training platform. This documentation sheet works through the process of setting up email on the CLTC. For this we use sendmail as the transport agent, and pop-3 as the delivery agent.

file icon download resource PDF
70.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 5: Configuring Remote Server Access

January 2003

This sheet looks at configuring the main report access protocols: remote access (using the rlogin, rsh and rcp commands), telnet and secure shell (SSH) for accessing the functions of the server, and file transfer protocol (FTP) for moving files on an off the server. These protocols can be very useful for maintaining a local network, but they are often used for the remote maintenance of rented servers. We therefore use these on the CLTC as a means of teaching server management.

file icon download resource PDF
112.2 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 6: Configuring the CLTC Web Server

January 2003

This sheet looks at the configuring the CLTC's web server; both the primary web server, and the configuration of virtual servers. It also considers the enabling of the various processing and scripting hooks, such as server includes, CGI, Perl and PHP, that will be used later to extend the functionality of the web applications used on the system.

file icon download resource PDF
120.6 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Documentation Sheet 7: Configuring the CLTC's Network Services

January 2003

This sheet looks at configuring the CLTC's network services. This involves setting up a networked printer to allow all the machines to share a single printer connected to the server. We then have the onerous task of setting up a 'Samba server' to allow Micro$oft Windows machines to connect to the Linux network (hell, we love Linux, but we have to lend a hand to those poor sods still beholding to the Micro$oft hegemony).

file icon download resource PDF
84.5 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 0: The GNU/Linux Operating System Explained

August 2002

This, rather wordy introduction to the Linux system is intended to provide background information on Linux, and what it is. It does not provide any practical guidance. Instead it conveys the theoretical concepts that will help you understand how the Linux operating system works.

file icon download resource PDF
48.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 1: Using The 'K' Desktop Environment − KDE

August 2002

This briefing deals with using graphical user interfaces (GUIs) − in particular the 'K' Desktop Environment (KDE) that is used within the Community−Linux Training Centre. The purpose of the briefing is to briefly outline the basics of using KDE as a gateway to the other functions of the CLTC system.

file icon download resource PDF
252.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 2: Remote Login to Another Linux System

August 2002

This briefing looks at remotely logging into another server − either on you local network, or somewhere else on the Internet. For most Internet users this is not an important issues. But for those who hire space on commercial servers it is often necessary.

file icon download resource PDF
54.8 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 3: Using Email

August 2002

This briefing looks at how email works, and how email can be practised on the Community Linux Training Centre. It also looks at some of the applications of email, such as lists.

file icon download resource PDF
204.9 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 4: IRC − Internet Relay Chat

August 2002

Most Internet services are one−to−one − but are disjointed in time between when messages are sent and received. Internet Relay Chat − IRC − is a 'real time' communications system between Internet users. For this reason it has special significance in the potential use of the Internet by society.

file icon download resource PDF
133.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Project Information Sheet 5: Using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to Move Data

August 2002

Moving information from a server to your computer is routine − for example reading a web page, or downloading your email. But sometimes you just want to move large chunks of data efficiently − without worrying about timing−out. You may also want to send data in the other direction − from your computer to the server. In both these cases File Transfer Protocol offers a simple means of moving data from A to B.

file icon download resource PDF
98 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Practice Briefing 1: The Gnu/Linux Operating System

December 2003

This, rather wordy introduction to the Linux system is intended to provide background information on Linux, and what it is. It does not provide any practical guidance. Instead it conveys the theoretical concepts that will help you understand how the Linux operating system works.

file icon download resource PDF
130.7 kilobytes



inc image CLTC Practice Briefing 2: Using Linux with Kids from 3 to 7 – an introduction

December 2004

Using computers with kids can be problematic. On Windows machines problems arise when they start fooling around with system files or don't respond appropriately to warning messages. By contrast, the greater security provided by Linux means kids can play, largely unsupervised, with little risk to the system. This briefing looks at various aspects of using Linux with kids – both in terms of software and playing with hardware.

file icon download resource PDF
1.1 megabytes



inc image Free Range Sheet E1: Peak Energy – The Limits to Oil and Gas Production

October 2008

The laws of physics make it clear that once we degrade the value of an energy resource we can never use it again. So it is with oil and natural gas; we are using the reserves far faster than new reserves are being discovered, and eventually we will run out. However, geological deposits of oil, gas and other minerals are not like the petrol tank of a car. We will not suddenly run out. Instead global production will reach a peak and then fall away. Recent studies suggest that this point may be sooner than most governments wish to believe is the case.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E2: Energy and Climate – Energy is the Problem, Not Carbon!

October 2008

The world is warming, and almost certainly the human species is responsible for this. However, the public debate on climate change tends to focus on the "problem" of greenhouse gas emissions. In reality, for developed nations like the UK most of those emissions are the direct result of energy use. If we continue to treat the symptoms – the greenhouse gases – as the problem then we will engage in what is termed (in medicine) a "palliative response"; we'll cure some of the symptoms, but we won't cure the root problem. Instead we must focus on the problem of "energy" rather than "carbon" as it is our absurd use of energy, and our reliance on the use of fossil fuels, that is the root cause of climate change.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E3: Energy in the UK – Putting consumption into perspective

October 2008

As well as looking at energy consumption within the UK it's also important to look at how the UK compares to other states – in order to give some scale to the situation in the UK. This sheet looks at energy trends in the UK compared to other states, and how energy use in the UK has changed in the past, and how it might change in the future.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E4: Renewable Energy – The Potential and the Limitations

October 2008

As oil and gas production go into decline, and as climate change makes the use of coal untenable, renewable energy sources will be the only long-term option. But the fact is that renewable energy sources will never provide the same amount of energy that we are using today. For this reason, in developing our use of renewable energy, it is important that this fact is accepted and that we plan the introduction of renewable energy systems as part of a programme of energy descent.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E5: Nuclear Power – Why Nuclear isn't an Energy Solution

October 2008

Governments around the world are reviving nuclear power – and the fact that they're promoting such an unpopular form of energy production should be an indicator of the seriousness of our current situation! Nuclear power does not address the energy depletion problem. The resource constraints mean that nuclear is only a limited, short-term fix, with a long-term toxic legacy.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E6: Homes and Efficiency – Understanding How We Use Energy

October 2008

Judging by the media, we might think that the greatest energy offender in the UK was our homes. This isn't the case. Our homes do account for a small, but significant, part of national energy consumption, but if we are to adapt to Peak Energy we must be able to see the scale of household consumption into the context of total consumption, and then work to reduce it in the future.

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file icon References/information PDF



inc image Free Range Sheet E7: Resources and Waste – Addressing Consumption and Waste

October 2008

Waste and recycling is an energy issue; It takes energy to create the resources we routinely buy and dispose of every day. If we handle waste badly it's not just a source of pollution and nuisance, it's a waste of energy and resources. We have to mange waste according its value as a resource, and a sink of energy that must be avoided, not merely as a "problem" that we have to get rid of.

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inc image Free Range Sheet E8: Energy, Food and Agriculture – The importance, and costs, of food security

October 2008

There is only one source of energy that is essential to the humans; it's not coal, oil or natural gas – it's food! This briefing looks at the importance of food, our dependence upon cheap fossil fuels for its production, and how Peak Energy threatens our increasingly technological food supply.

file icon HTML web page version
38 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
154.9 kilobytes

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150.7 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet E9: Energy Delusions – The Trade in Pseudo-Solutions

October 2008

Members of the Energy Beyond Oil Project have been talking with different community groups for over 5 years. Over this time we've heard many "solutions" to the problems raised, and to be fair, we've looked into most of them to try and work them into the narrative of the Project. Most of these solutions, for want of a better term, are complete rubbish! Here's why.

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14 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet E10: Energy and Transport – Re-designing our need to get around

October 2008

Although transport is the average individual's third largest use of energy (after food and housing), the transport sector is the largest user of energy in the UK economy. Peak Oil will hit the transport sector first, and hardest. This briefing looks at how energy depletion will affect our transport system and the underlying problems with our demand for transport today.

file icon HTML web page version
30.7 kilobytes

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151.6 kilobytes

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141.6 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet E11: Fracking and Coalbed Methane – Unconventional gas in the UK

October 2011

When gas fracking and other "unconventional" energy resources are discussed in the media the focus is usually on the technology used to produced the energy, or the impact this might have on the environment. In fact, the significant feature of the exploitation of unconventional energy resources is that our present energy situation is so precarious that companies and governments consider these valid energy sources; public interest demands that this aspect of the problem be examined. Unconventional energy resources are being developed to supplement existing fossil fuel resources, but arguably, due to their lower energy return and high ecological impacts, they exacerbate the energy crisis by giving a false sense of energy security.

file icon HTML web page version
163.5 kilobytes

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file icon References/information PDF
126.1 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet F1:

October 2008

Wild food is an increasingly popular issue, being perceived as either a 'free' source of food or something that we can enjoy as a form of 'gastro-recreation'. From the work of John Seymour and Richard Mabey in the 70's, to the more recent TV programmes of Ray Mears and Bear Grylls, food foraging is promoted as an improving outdoor activity. But this approach often misses one of the most important points – wild food isn't an end in itself, but it's something that we can integrate into our existing food sourcing and preparation activity to add diversity and character to our diet.

file icon HTML web page version
26.9 kilobytes

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134.4 kilobytes

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inc image The Free Range Do-It-Yourself 'Feral' Stick-Fire Cooking Grate

14/06/2017

Cooking outdoors is a fun skill to learn to expand your ecological awareness and personal resilience. Cook well outdoors from fresh or foraged food, and you can cook well anywhere. Problem is, where do you find the 'ecologically sound'/fossil-fuel free kit? The Free Range Stick-Fire Cooking Grate is a small, light-weight, trestle-style cooking grate designed to burn small sticks which, with a few tools and components, you can easily build yourself.

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3.3 megabytes

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1.2 megabytes



inc image Free Range Sheet J1: Thinking Outside the Cage – An introduction to Free/Open Source Philosophy

March 2009

"Microsoft Windows is what makes your computer work". People who learn to use computers at school or in the workplace may believe that most computers require Microsoft's Windows system to work, but this is not true. Windows, and it's latest incarnation Vista, might be what the mainstream computer media talk about but there are other options – and best of all, some of these options are completely free!

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inc image Free Range Sheet J2: The Gnu/Linux System – The alternative to proprietary computer systems

March 2009

From the point of view of Windows users, where you don't necessarily have to understand what you're doing to make the machine work, Gnu/Linux can seem a complicated and difficult thing to get your head around. In reality, whilst you might have to become a little more "involved" in using your computer, the benefits – especially better security, lower costs and far less vulnerability to viruses – will outweigh the costs of learning to use a different system.

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402.3 kilobytes

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338.5 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet J3: The CLTC System – The making of a free, recycled training platform

March 2009

The origin of the CLTC project was the development of a mobile computer training platform for community groups – The Community-Linux Training Centre. Although that system has now worn out and has ceased to function, the ideas created through its design, development and use continue to influence the recent research work of the Free Range CLTC Project.

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362.5 kilobytes

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1.9 megabytes

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1.8 megabytes



inc image Free Range Sheet J4: Upgrading Old Computers – Recycling old technology with Gnu/Linux

March 2009

The computer world is obsessed with the utterly non-ecological trends of "bigger", "faster", and "newer"; much of the world's computer equipment is discarded not because it is broken, but because of the development of larger, more bloated software that requires faster computers to run it. This unit looks at the alternative option – recycling and upgrading old computer equipment to give it new uses.

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inc image Free Range Sheet O1: The Great Outdoors – Learning the skills of energy descent

September 2008

The problem with changing to a lower-resource pattern of living is that today we are immersed in a high resource lifestyle that makes it difficult to imagine how we could live with less, or see what skills we might require to live more simply. But there is an easy way that most people can get around the distractions of our everyday life in order to learn the skills of simplicity – go camping!

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inc image Free Range Sheet O2: Tents and Shelter – The kit to reside comfortably outdoors

September 2008

The most important element of living outdoors is having the right kind of shelter: a waterproof layer – the tent – and an insulating layer to let to sleep comfortably – your bedding. It's also important to organise these elements in a way that's simple and functional. This unit examines how and what to put together to enable you to live comfortably outdoors.

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inc image Free Range Sheet O3: Heat and Fire – Camp fires, stoves and cooking

September 2008

Fire was one of the human species first and most devastating inventions (at least until the plough came along). Fire is a most useful means of converting the stored chemical energy of wood into useful heat energy, but in today's technological society, with predominantly gas and electric heating in our homes, people have lost the skill to use fire safely and have even come to fear it. This unit examines the issue around camp stoves, camp fires, and providing sources of heat.

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inc image Free Range Sheet O4: Water – Finding, purification and storage

September 2008

Clean and reasonably sterile water is important to living outdoors, and finding more of it is essential after a couple of days. We can go hungry for a few days, but a day or two without water can make us very ill. This unit looks at how we can carry find, purify and store water.

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67.2 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet O5: Food – THE most important energy resource

September 2008

If you want to keep walking or cycling then you need the right fuel. Traditionally camp food has been viewed as basic – beans and sausages, or reconstituted dried food from a packet. The fact is that you can carry and cook many of the types of food that you might eat at home, and in this way the restricted scope of camping can be a great tutor for cooking more efficiently in the home.

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55 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet O6: Mind Your Waste – Dealing with your 'leftovers'

February 2009

If you listened to some politicians we might believe that waste is inevitable – some consider it so inevitable that they look upon it as an energy resource! In fact, waste is just something that has no apparent use and so we discard it to avoid lugging it around with us. When camping or backpacking we can take very simple steps to either avoid the need to dispose of waste, or deal with it in a way that causes no harm.

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27.5 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet O7: Travelling Light – Going mobile with your kit

September 2008

To begin with, when you're learning the basics of living outdoors, you might not want to travel with your camping kit. However, the main benefit of being able to live comfortably with very little is that you can pack up your stuff and move, enabling you to go from place to place or just tour around a small area. This unit looks at a few of the things you need to know.

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inc image Free Range Sheet O8: Light and Power – Using micro-power systems outdoors

September 2008

There are a lot of good things about technology: being able to make light at the flick of a switch is one; getting information and entertainment over the radio is another. This unit looks at how we can generate, store and use electricity outdoors using very small-scale micro-power systems.

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55.7 kilobytes

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369.2 kilobytes

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inc image Free Range Sheet O9: The Great Indoors – 'Camping' at Home in Emergencies

September 2008

Britain's oil and gas reserves are shrinking and we are importing evermore energy. Our power stations are ageing and becoming more unreliable. One of the first features of the stress that the global peak in oil and gas supplies will cause is a greater unreliability of our large energy grids during periods of high demand. The knock on of this could be the disruption of the 'just in time' systems that deliver the food and goods we buy from shops. In this last unit we arrive at the final purpose of The Great Outdoors initiative – using outdoor skills to live more comfortably at home when the power and/or gas supply goes off.

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inc image Free Range Sheet O10: The Wilderness Effect – The Psychology of being 'outside'

September 2008

The past nine units of this series have looked at the practical benefits of learning to live outdoors. Now we look at a wholly different issue – psychology. Recent evidence shows that living outdoors "in nature" makes you feel better, and has been shown to help those with mental health problems. More importantly, by coming into closer contact with the natural world we can find the space to slow down from the pace of technological society, and in these circumstances perhaps we can more easily visualise our slower, simpler, low-energy future lifestyle.

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file icon Colour PDF version
436.6 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
436.4 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet O11: Map and Compass – Learning navigation and way-finding

September 2009

When static camping, navigation is usually not such an issue – you just find the camp site; but if you really want to experience "travelling light" then you need to leave the tarmac behind and head off into the wilderness. If you want to travel out into the wilds confidently, and come back again safely, then map reading and compass navigation is an essential skill to learn.

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77.2 kilobytes

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265 kilobytes

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624.5 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet O12: Improvisation – Making shelters, stoves and fun

December 2010

The most important skill we can learn in our everyday lives is improvisation – solving immediate problems with what's available around us using our past experience as a guide. The problem with trying to plan and organise is that external circumstances can disrupt your ideally conceived solutions; through improvisation we can move on and work around problems as they arise.

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542.9 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
632.5 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
632.5 kilobytes

file icon References/information PDF
90.1 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.1 – plain sheet PDF
16.4 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.2 – symmetric ridge PDF
24.7 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.3 – asymmetric ridge PDF
27.8 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.4 – one pole ridge PDF
40 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.5 – pyramid open PDF
52.3 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.6 – pyramid closed PDF
49.3 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.7 – foresters tent PDF
67 kilobytes

file icon 'print and practice' tarp sheet no.8 – baker tent PDF
69.3 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.1: Beyond the Throw-away Battery

October 2003

Save money using rechargeable batteries and using main power supplies for portable equipment – and in the process save waste an pollution.

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74 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.2: Switching to Low Energy Lights

October 2003

Changing your light bulbs saves energy and can cut your electricity bill.

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61.7 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.3: Buying Collectively

October 2003

Developing a network of contacts to buy goods collectively to save money and improve choice

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67.7 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.4: Protesting in Public

October 2003

A guide to the procedures and legal pitfalls of demonstrating or taking action in support of campaigns

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159 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.5: Grow Your Own Food

October 2003

With a few basic ideas for establishing 'own-grown' methods to produce your own food at low cost, this guide looks at the basic requirements for growing food, and considers some of the options for how you might be able to do so. The aim of the guide is not to tell you how to grow food. There are plenty of books around that already do that. Instead, it looks at some of the issues you need to consider before embarking on 'own-grown' gardening.

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111.7 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Practice Guide No.6: Use Your Loaf – Bake Your Own!

September 2004

Can you trust the bread you buy to be wholesome and not to cause you health problems? As with so many other of the industrialised foods we buy today – like eggs, beef and chicken – it now appears that the development of industrial bread might be storing up health problems for the future. The simplest solution... bake your own!

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192.7 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet Q1: Intellectual Privateers – Intellectual property rights in the "digital age"

April 2009

The scope of intellectual property rights – both the powers used to prosecute infringement and the level of harassment that many people receive to pay to use "intellectual property" – has grown in tandem with the mass adoption of the Internet. In the digital domain the rights given to the holders of intellectual property rights represent a modern equivalent of the rights given to privateers during the early phases of Western colonialism five hundred years ago, and as a result our own rights to produce, copy and distribute information are diminished. In this paper we look at this process, and at the effect this has on the "information commons".

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66.9 kilobytes

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342 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
332.1 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet Q2: Britain's Secretive Police Force – Politicising the Policing of Public Expression in an Era of Economic Change

April 2009

The role of NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU – private organisations that are exercising public functions in relation to policing policy – can be seen from two extreme points of view: groups working on policy and in a policing support role to protect the public; or, under the guise of countering "extremism", developing policies to crack down on campaigning groups in a way that could be seen as the kernel of what could eventually become a truly "secret" police force. This report examines what NETCU, WECTU and NPOIU are, and poses the question as to whether private organisations working unaccountably outside of the mainstream police service are compatible with the operation of a free, open and accountable society.

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1.9 megabytes



inc image Free Range Sheet S1: Limits to Growth – Why the Only Solution is "Less"

October 2008

The Laws of Thermodynamics cannot be changed – if we don't have the energy we need we are unable to carry out the work we want to. Consequently, as we face a peak in global energy supply, there is only one realistic option: We have to use "less" energy, and consume "less" resources.

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35.5 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
153.9 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
152.1 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet S2: Transformation – Change your Consciousness

October 2008

The lesson we must draw from energy depletion is the need for a change in lifestyle, not a change of energy supplier. That's a very personal process of how we re-arrange our homes, our work and our lives. It begins by working on your "head space", because you must be able to understand and commit to the process of change if you are going to achieve long-term changes in your life in the face of great difficulties. But it's also important to network with others, and in particular, to press the urgency for change within your own social networks.

file icon HTML web page version
14.9 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
77.3 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
77.2 kilobytes



inc image Free Range Sheet S3: Simplicity Solutions – Why "less" can mean "more"

October 2008

Peak Energy will affect all our lives, but it is only one in a number of trends that are converging to make life difficult; debt, housing costs and climate change will also negatively affect our lives over the next two or three decades. There is a solution that is able to address many of these problems, but in today's "modern" society it's considered too extreme to advocate: voluntary simplicity.

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25.4 kilobytes

file icon Colour PDF version
117 kilobytes

file icon Greyscale 'print/photocopy' PDF version
116.8 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project Report 1: Selecting Operating Systems for and Upgrading Older Computers

September 2003

Computer systems are designed, produced and marketed to have a limited operational life. Although the hardware may last four or five years before total failure, the software used on it may only be supported for two to three years. When regenerating any computer equipment, it is important to select the right operating system to avoid problems with usability of the system. This report looks at the issues in installing software on older equipment.

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212.9 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project Report 2: Networking Computer Systems Using Ethernet

September 2003

A computer on its own is a useful typewriter, or a games console. But the true value of a computer system doesn't present itself until you connect it to other computers to enable communication and resource sharing. This report looks at the issue of connecting systems together using a 'local area network', or 'LAN'. It explains the concepts behind a LAN, and outlines how to set one up using trash. tech and the Gnu/Linux operating system.

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216.5 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project Report 3: Setting Up Mail Forwarding Lists With KMail

October 2003

KMail is a moderately lightweight email client that works well under both the KDE and Gnome desktops. But it also has very good mail filtering functions. These can be manipulated to forward mail automatically each time your mail is checked. So making KMail function as a small email list server.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
194.7 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Case Study' No.1: A Gnu/Linux Laptop for a Community Recycling Organisation

March 2005

This first case study from the SSP project dives straight in the deep end – installing a Gnu/Linux system on a recycled laptop. This report outlines some of the problems inherent to installing a Linux­based laptop, and ideas for installing a system specifically for use in a small community group.

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1 megabytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Junk Ideas' No.1: Swappable Hard Drives for Backing-up

February 2003

Old hard disks are easy to come by. In the mid-1990s people thought 300 or 600 megabyte hard disks provided massive storage capacity. Today they are relatively useless on most operating systems (Slackware Linux excepted). This sheet looks at putting all these old disks to a practical use as bulk storage devices. For older hard disk the storage capacity is relatively similar to CD-Rs, but perhaps more expensive if you buy the drives. But when using recent, large capacity, hard disks you can achieve storage capacities that are cheaper per gigabyte than DVD-R discs.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
247.3 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Junk Ideas' 2: Ethernet Cable Tester

November 2003

Making Ethernet cables is easy, when you have the tool to crimp the connectors. But even then, you can't always be sure that the connector has been properly connected to the cable. Commercial network cable testers can cost £60 or more. Here's an idea for a simple cable tester that cost under £20 if you, or someone handy with a soldering iron, makes it from scratch.

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1 megabytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Junk Ideas' 3: The Tech2 L200 Variable Voltage Regulator

November 2003

Power is a problem. You always need it, but you don't always have a mains supply. So this regulator, originally designed as part of the Tech2 festival in 2002, was developed to solve the problem. It is able to regulate the variable voltage from a battery down to a constant voltage – for powering equipment like laptops.

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839.6 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Junk Ideas' No.4: Uses for Useless Computer Hardware #1 – PC Cases

February 2004

When old computers get too old what can you do with all that old junk? One of the big problems are the cases of computers and other equipment. They're bulky, and although the steel ones can be sent for recycling, the plastic ones tend to get landfilled, or worse, incinerated. So here's an idea for re­use.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
246.6 kilobytes



inc image Salvage Server Project 'Junk Ideas' No.5: ELV Dummy Load for Power Supply Testing

January 2005

You build a mains or renewable energy power supply for a laptop or other sensitive device, plug it in, turn it on and BANG – smoke comes from the power supply, laptop, or both! Here's a junk idea to avoid making such an expensive mistake.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
1.1 megabytes



inc image "If the answer's wind turbines, someone asked the wrong question"

November 2003

How far is the vision of renewable energy presented to us by campaign groups a reality? To put it another way, are the activities of the mainstream environmental pressure groups to promote sustainable energy compromised by their need to promote it? And do these groups, and political leaders, really address the most important issue? – in 10 years oil will be running out.

file icon click to download Paul Mobbs/MEI resource
1 megabytes