Living on the Earth by Alicia Bay Laurel


A Spirit Weavers favorite!

Alicia Bay Laurel’s iconic Living on the Earth is finally back in print in a 50th anniversary edition. This book hit the homesteading, back-to-earth crowd like a whirlwind in the early 1970s, and its elemental wisdom hasn’t diminished over the decades since. (Also, newly released is Alicia Bay Laurel’s classic Being of the Sun; ISBN 1635619858.)

Widely acclaimed by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the Village Voice and the Whole Earth Catalog—which stated “this may be the best book in the catalog”—Living on the Earth gives guidance on a plethora of subjects from backpacking, making soap, canning and drying food, making herbal medicines, organic gardening, first aid, weaving, homemade natural dyes, making and tuning musical instruments, and making clothing patterns, to home birth and outdoor cremation.

But the book is not simply a rural home reference manual. It has been studied for decades in universities as an insider’s account of the utopian back-to-the-land movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s – the seed from which today’s worldwide ecovillage movement continues to grow.

The book teaches, as much through Alicia’s drawings and meandering cursive script as through her words, that a peaceful and abundant society is possible when human beings live as one with nature instead attempting to dominate it.

The degree to which this message has not been heeded is evident in today’s escalating calamities of climate change, industrial pollution and endless war.

Living on the Earth is also a seminal book design with a recognizable (and much imitated) illustration, handwriting and graphic design style. It is not only one of a very few US bestsellers to remain popular internationally for five decades, but also one of an extremely small number that were created by a teenager.

As the Whole Earth Catalog concluded: “This is a book for people. If you are a person, it is for you.”

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