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William Powers: Twelve by Twelve

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Date and time
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Critically acclaimed author and activist William Powers discusses his experiences escaping from society, chronicled in his new book, *Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream*. Why would a successful American physician choose to live in a twelve-foot-by-twelve-foot cabin without running water or electricity? To find out, William Powers visited Dr. Jackie Benton in rural North Carolina. No Name Creek gurgled through Benton’s permaculture farm, and she stroked honeybees’ wings as she shared her wildcrafter philosophy of living on a planet in crisis. Powers, just back from a decade of international aid work, then accepted Benton’s offer to stay at the cabin for a season while she traveled. There, he befriended her eclectic neighbors—organic farmers, biofuel brewers, eco-developers—and discovered a sustainable but imperiled way of life. In the pages of *Twelve by Twelve*, Powers not only explores this small patch of community but draws on his international experiences with other pockets of resistance. This tale of Powers’s struggle for a meaningful life with a smaller footprint proposes a paradigm shift to an elusive “Soft World” with clues to personal happiness and global healing.

William Powers is the author of two critically acclaimed books. His Liberia memoir, *Blue Clay People: Seasons on Africa's Fragile Edge* received a *Publishers Weekly* starred review and *Whispering in the Giant's Ear: A Frontline Chronicle from Bolivia's War on Globalization* has been featured on NPR's *Fresh Air* with Terry Gross and in *Newsweek*. For over a decade Powers has led development aid and conservation initiatives in Latin America, Africa, and Washington DC. His essays on global issues have appeared in the *New York Times*, *Washington Post*, *Slate*, *The Sun*, and the *International Herald Tribune*, and have been syndicated to three hundred newspapers around the world. He has appeared on NPR's *Living on Earth*, *Fresh Air*, *The Leonard Lopate Show*, *West Coast Live*, *Left Jab*, and *World Vision Report*, as well as on local public television stations and *Book TV*.