A celebrated prophet of low-tech self-reliance and renewable energy finds sanctuary on Maui

By Gary C.W. Chun

Engineer Matthew Stein denies that he is a survivalist, but, instead, a practical, down-to-earth realist.

The Haiku, Maui, resident, who has made a name for himself with his independently published book “When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance & Planetary Survival,” moved from California with his environmentally friendly business EarthWorks International Design & Construction.

“I don’t feel great making money off of the misery in the world, but I was guided to this for a reason,” he said.

Stein said by phone from Maui on Tuesday that he just registered a new name for that business, now called Aloha Aina Builders. His firm uses innovative building methods and materials with low toxicity compared with the commonly used copper-arsenic treated lumber that, while termite resistant, is carcinogenic.

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