John Michael Greer introduced the concept that there exist a body of knowledge of appropriate technology he calls the Gaianomicon, fashioned after H. P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon.  Greer suggests searching for pieces of the Gaianomicon in books and magazines born out of the energy crises of the 1970s.  That is a fine suggestion, but much of this information is available on the Internet.  What is not assured is that the Internet will always be available, especially when the knowledge is most critical.  What follows is the results of my search for the Gaianomicon.  (As this is an ongoing search, this page may be updated frequently.)

Kindred projects:
Individual links:
Free eBook Libaries:


  1. Nice meeting you, John Michael, and all the other great people at Age of Limits. I got a lot out of the conference, hope you did too.

    I think the Gaianomicon is an interesting idea. Totally impractical to boil everything into one book, I am thinking about buying a particular book on beekeeping that is 550 pages, in the Gaianomicon, would bees get more than a paragraph? But it is a good thought exercise... what would go in such a book? What is the most valuable knowledge and wisdom we have related to the Earth?

  2. It was good meeting you too, and I immensely enjoyed the conference. You bring up a excellent point I failed to mention: the Gaianomicon would not be a single book, it would be a series of volumes that in print form would form a small library. Indeed, in just two links above, CD for Third World Development and Ye Olde Library, there is over 5 DVDs of information. So, if there is a book on beekeeping that is 550 pages (which does sound very interesting, does it just cover honeybees or does it include other species like orchard mason and bumblebees?), the Gaianomicon volume on beekeeping would likely be 250 to 1000 pages. What I would eliminate is the "fluff", like personal stories that do not convey much information. Also, the use of specialized language would be encouraged, with a glossary the size of an encyclopedia, so that terms would only be explained in one place, cutting out a lot of repetition.

    I agree it is a good thought exercise, and you have good questions there. If I were to try to bring it into the real world, I would basically do it as a cross between a publishing house and a book-of-the-month club. Each volume I would try to have as an authoritative reference on its topic. All the volumes would have a consistent style. I would do a limited printing for each volume, preferably in archival quality (leather cover, acid-free paper, gilt edge), although I could definitely see doing lesser quality if more people would get it. I could easily envision taking decades to run through the entire thing.

  3. Ok, that sounds more reasonable. I was thinking in terms of my understanding of the old books, anything ending in -nomicon was typically considered THE ONE authoritative book that held everything considered worth knowing. If we think of it as a library (as JMG alluded to in his Green Wizardry talk) then yes, a very worthwhile project. Rather than arguing about 'The Canon' we just build a darn good personal library and a decentralized societal library.

    Here is a link to the 'Western Canon' which is that list of books that best represent western culture and which (in theory) all educated people are supposed to have read. It can be a rather contentious topic in academia.

  4. Hello - Glad to find this site. I thought I may be the only one actually doing something about the Gaianomicon.

    My personal method includes both a physical library of books on various topics as well as a collection of information and articles downloaded from the Internet and printed out and put into notebooks. Both methods are works in progress, and will continue to be as long as I have access to the information and for the rest of my life. I intend to pass it on to my family's future generations.

    So far I have quite a collection of books on alternate forms of medicine, building shelters with alternative methods such as cob, hay bale, etc. I have books and articles on herbalism, gardening/small farming, and spirituality. Another section will deal with alternative forms of economy, focusing on the "Small Is Beautiful" method. And I am planning to gather together books/articles on forms of government.

    Part of my collection I call "The Culture of the Kitchen". That includes a notebook filled with useful charts, as well as discussions about food such as a section on the various forms of rice, peppers, meat and poultry. Along with this I am building a cookbook of recipes that are easy to make. Simple, easy to make foods. What some would call "peasant" cooking.

    A third area includes skills, such as sewing simple clothing, making shoes and sandals, building anything having to do with alternative power, such as solar ovens and dehydrators, small wind turbines, how to harness water for power,and building stills, both for water and alcohol. I include alcohol because 1) it is used in herbalism and medicine, and 2) alcohol is valuable for trade.

    Anyway, written out like this it looks like a lot of work, and so far it has been. But I had a lot of this started already. It has been a labor of love for me.

    Mr. Greer led me to a way of putting it all together so it works. I have been printing out his weekly lessons since his first post about "Merlin's Time"... Those fill three whole notebooks themselves.

    I am re-outfitting a defunct forum I have held for some time now, and opening it up to friends and family so that they too can have access to all of the information I have gleaned.

    My actually implementing what I have gathered is going to have to wait some. My husband is in the final states of liver failure, and until he passes (he is not a candidate for a transplant)I am fairly tied down.

    Looking forward to what you do here.


  5. Oh! I almost forgot. I didn't see the Free eBooks by Project Gutenberg web site in your lists. You can find that here: