15 February 2009

Sustainable Living Program

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Mr. Gamble teaches a renewable energy class at M.U.M.

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Driving a biodiesel powered bus on a field trip

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Solar oven demonstration in a permaculture class

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A student senior project: solar panels that track the sun at Abundance Ecovillage

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Students learn how to make cobb in a natural building workshop

Lonnie Gamble and the Application of Natural Law


Lonnie Gamble, Assistant Professor of Sustainable Living, is one of the most sought-after sustainability educators in the Midwest. As an electrical engineer, he has been interested in renewable energy since the 1980s. He has founded ten for-profit companies and two non-profits in the areas of telecommunications and renewable energy. His first energy business was in hydroelectric power, and he installed his first solar panels and wind generator in 1980. His other passion is permaculture, which led him to develop farms in Hawaii and in Iowa.

Naturally, Mr. Gamble’s many areas of expertise qualified him to be one of the founding faculty of the Sustainable Living Program at Maharishi University of Management. As a full-time professor, he teaches courses on energy, permaculture design, green building, and local economy. He also supervises many of the hands-on projects students build such as a biodiesel processor, a wind generator, and a solar electric car.

“I enjoyed the team-building aspect of the classes and getting something practical done,” says student Todd Ashelman, who participated in the wind generator project and several other ones. “Learning to work in a team is key to success in life.”

In addition to teaching at M.U.M., Mr. Gamble teaches at Grinnell College, Iowa, and speaks at conferences and seminars all over the country. He founded Abundance Ecovillage, a 15-acre, off-the-grid, sustainable development in Fairfield, and Big Green Summer, a summer educational internship program in sustainability. Mr. Gamble also lives what he teaches: his straw bale home is powered by wind and solar, he maintains an organic vegetable garden, and he runs his car on biodiesel.

“Mr. Gamble has years and years of experience in renewable energy,” says Mark Stimson, Sustainable Living faculty member. “He hasn’t paid an electric bill in 17 years. He always comes up with big and challenging projects for the students.”

As a board member of M.U.M.’s Green Trust, he contributes to the University's efforts to create a more sustainable campus. He also participates in student and faculty recruitment, and, due to his and his department’s efforts, the Sustainable Living Program prides itself as the largest and fastest growing undergraduate program at M.U.M. with 70 students currently enrolled.

Mr. Gamble attributes the success of the program to Maharishi’s work in shifting collective consciousness to be more in tune with Natural Law. “We at the Sustainable Living Program are the applied branch of that Natural Law,” he says.

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