Saturday, December 27, 2008

Natural Irrigation

Since I currently live in California and without irrigation our "civilization" would perish, I am looking for fossil-fuel and supply-line free methods to be self-sufficient and sustainable.

I have been curious about other forms of piping that do not need metal or plastic, the obvious solution would be bamboo.

Bamboo grows wild here on the central coast and from what I understand there are many varieties that grow well in almost all conditions around the world! Yesterday I experimented with bamboo and was able to get some water flowing through a short 3 foot pipe I made! I had some troubles finding the right sizes and lengths that would work, but was a fun trial and error experience!

I found this site today and it has a similar technique to what I was using, but looks like it would work better. I was using smaller pieces of bamboo instead of a metal rod, but some of the bamboo was breaking and it would ruin the whole section. I found that younger, greener bamboo worked best as the "small" inside piece to break through the nodes. However, it was challenging to break through the nodes and I wished I had something stronger and sharper. Plus, the "hole" was not very big, maybe 1/2 inch, and if I had proper tools I could make this much bigger, such as this site allows you to do.


http://tilz.tearfund.org/Publications/Footsteps+41-50/Footsteps+45/Bamboo+water+pipes.htm


Only downside is that the pipes last for only 5 years - versus 15-20+ for plastic. And they have to be raised off the ground and that is secured with wood and some kind of twine/rope. Oh and the fact that you have to manufacture them! But, if we want to be off-grid and need to make our own piping, this is an option.

The other step is how to get the water into the pipes. From a pond, river or stream The best option I have found so far is the time tested the roman invention - the Archimedes screw. Which can be built with wood, sealed with resin (from wood), and powered by man power or a wooden windmill!

Those methods take water and lift it up, but ideally the water would be gravity fed into pipes. The permaculture preferred method is keyline design, which combines dams and swales on contour, but the unique method is how they design the pipes at the base of the dams, so just turning on the spigot will release water with pressure to go into your pipes or furrows (ditches) for flood irrigation.

Still the other option which I am exploring, is to choose drought-tolerant or less water intensive crops to grow. And/or choosing a new lifestyle, which could include hand watering earthen pots submerged in the ground which would slowly release the water to the surrounding plants. The main foods that need this are vegetables. Many Grains and Fruits can be grown with the rainfall that is stored in the soil. This may require that we have a large harvest and then preserve the food through the months that we cannot grow. Such as how people store food through the winter. This all depends on our diet of course. I will be working on this for the next few months, even years and will try to keep the blog updated!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rainwater Fed Hillside Orchard

This is what it's all about! Growing perennial food with no irrigation and coming back to eat when it is ready! Good tip on the gopher baskets. I'd add on growing a cover crop between trees to improve soil and add nitrogen before adding in herbs/insectaries etc. Also add in mulch creators (chop n drop) to grow mulch on site rather than carting it in!

"Chop 'n Drop" is common in food forest design - planting something - anything.. commonly a bush/tree.. its purpose is to grow and create organic material for mulch and also its roots dig up and mine minerals from the sub soil which then are deposited onto and helps build the topsoil as it's leaves and stems decompose!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Greening Eritrea

More greening of the desert, this method is using seawater, saltwater plants and aquaculture! Look at the power of what we can do when we work with nature... there ARE solutions! There IS another way!



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bio-Latrines


(click image for full view)

The bio-latrine uses anaerobic bacteria to transform human waste into fertilizer and gas suitable for uses like cooking, heating and lighting. This is a solution I'm looking into for rural living as a replacement for natural gas and sewer/septic system. Five people using the system daily can provide up to one hour of cooking fuel.


Read more here


Video here.

Mr. Phiri - The Man Who Farmed Water



One of the best designs for sustainability. This man from Zimbabwe designed his own system to sustain himself and his family, while his neighbors were (and still are) dependent on international aid for their survival.

Read and be inspired! This is from Brad Lancaster's book "Rainwater Harvesting Volume 1"

Read the story for free online here

KEY:

1. Granite dome
2. Unmortared stone walls
3. Reservoir
4. Fence with unmortared stone wall
5. Swale/terrace
6. Outdoor wash basin
7. Chickens and turkeys run freely in courtyard
8. Traditional round houses with thatched roofs
9. Main house with vine-covered cistern and ramada
10. Open ferro-cement cistern
11. Kraal--cattle and goats
12. Courtyard garden
13. Swale
14. Dirt road
15. Thatch grass and thick vegetation
16. Fruition pit in large swale
17. Crops
18. Dense grasses
19. Well with hand pump
20. Donkey pump
21. Open unmortared wells
22. Reeds and sugar cane
23. Dense banana grove

(Illustration by Silvia Rayces from a drawing by Brad Lancaster)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sepp Holzer: Farming with Nature

If it can can be done in the most remote regions of the alps in Austria, it can be done anywhere! Plant seeds, everywhere! Amazing! These are clips from fuller videos.

Sepp has 70 ponds on a complex food forested (30,000 fruit trees)100A landscape at 4000ft in the Alps of Austria with a 1000 ft elevation change from top to bottom of his site. He manages it mostly with pigs and a few highland cattle.

You can read Sepp's story from his book Rebel Farmer.

You're able to buy the film direct at www.ecofilm.de: Here's the current offer:
SEPP HOLZER´S PERMACULTURE
DVD WITH 3 FILMS
contains 3 films:
"Farming with Nature"
"Aquaculture"
"Terraces and Raised Beds"
DVD
PAL, 90min altogether
Price: EUR 35,00



Monday, December 1, 2008

Ocean currents can power the world

Or so the scientists say.. :) Using biomimicry, they emulated how fish swim to harness electricity in waters with slow currents and on the bottom of oceans and rivers so its out of the way of boats and fish. This is a good solution for our electricity needs, but we still have a liquid fuel problem - especially for growing and transporting our food! Buy local! Grow your own!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/renewableenergy/3535012/Ocean-currents-can-power-the-world-say-scientists.html

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seawater Greenhouse

With peak water at our doorstep and changing rainfall patterns from climate change and an ever growing population, we are going to need to be more creative with our water usage and watershed stewardship. One part of the puzzle is to find more water, obviously. This concept is remarkably simple and incredibly inspiring! The system uses sea water to cool and humidify the air and sunlight distills the water for use!

As long as the plastic can be recycled using renewable energy or durable bioplastics are used, this could really help us re green our coastal desert or semi-arid regions!

For more info visit http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com






Update: This article talks about how this concept is being combined with CSP (concentrated solar power).



"Both technologies work extremely well in hot, dry desert locations – CSP produces a lot of waste heat and we'd be able to use that to evaporate more seawater from the greenhouse," he said. "And CSP needs a supply of clean, demineralised water in order for the [electricity generating] turbines to function and to keep the mirrors at peak output. It just so happens the seawater greenhouse produces large quantities of this."

"the greenhouse produces more than five times the fresh water needed to water the plants inside so, in addition to producing water to clean the CSP mirrors, some of it can be released into the local environment. This can create a local microclimate just outside the greenhouses for hardier plants such as jatropha, an energy crop that can be turned into biofuel."


My opinion is that this tech is too expensive - money and resources. ~$110 million for 60 acres. Maybe they just need to see Geoff Lawton's greening the desert video to see how this can be done with permaculture using nature as the technology and relying on rainfall and swales instead.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Story of Stuff



I posted this video months ago but it was burried in another post. I believe it deserves its own place here on infopatriots. With so many subjects to cover on the concept of sustainability, its hard to know where to start. Especially when talking to someone who is new to the concept. This film is an easy, short (21min) animated film about the story of our "stuff" from start to finish and how this system cannot go on forever.

The end talks about creating a new system but leaves the options up to the viewer. At the time I was motivated by relocalization but over the last year all the solutions have lead me to permaculture. Which is about designing sustainability by using nature as a model, where we can replant our forests and create a "garden of eden" type foraging system for most of our food.

How about we let nature do most of the work of harvesting the resources, building the product, packaging the item, offering it to the consumer and dealing with the waste. Then we can have more time to relax and enjoy life and to be happy!

Nature's system is amazing, what kind of product can you buy that is made sustainably, comes in disposable packaging and comes with a technology ("a seed") that allows you to make more of that product on your own, for free, forever.

A friend of mine sent me a link to the Native American Iroquois. Their economy was a mix of hunter gatherer and horticulture (like permaculture). Read the link to learn more, but one things that really amazed me was the concept that land could only be owned if it was being used by the owner personally. So there was not a possiblity (like what we have today) where a small percentage of people own most of the land and wealth. Thomas Jefferson was inspired by their culture and borrowed many of their ideas for use in creating America.

Somewhere along the line we got lost and it's blatantly obvious now that this system is breaking down and is not going to last forever. It's inevitable that we must transition to sustainability. If we do make things, we should be designing them to last for as long as possible and that they are designed to be disassembled to be recycled (like cradle to cradle).

This system is still working because people choose to use it. We have the power to change and create a new system. Instead of buying new and disposable products we can choose to reuse, barter, trade or create new things ourselves!. A great film about the system is Zeitgeist 2: addendum.

If you care about sustainability and the future of mankind, I hope you choose to help move us in this direction. It starts with our own personal actions. We must be the change. If you want to help others, you can give (like for birthdays or holidays) the ability for others to be less reliant on the system. Examples are planting a fruit tree or berry bush. Or give them a spiritual book or website link to bring them to the consciousness of their actions and the power they have over them. Or simply to show them love, radiate the light from within by meditating and practicing unconditional love. See the good in all beings, everything has a purpose and everyone has the potential to be be anything they want to be. Encourage others to be happy and to follow what feels good and to trust their intition. Just look at the sunset or a flower to realize there is good in the world, and that we are lucky to be alive. We should be grateful for the chance that we have to be here. There is so much energy expended for us to simply be alive every day. Humans are very fragile and so is our planet.

The future is in our hands. The world will not change over night, but seed by seed, we plant the possiblity for a clean, healthy and abundant future.

Abraham: Go with the Flow!



A brilliant explanation of how and why to ride the wave of abundance. To live a life of joy and success, simply let go and go with the flow.

For more information about Abraham, check out Abraham-Hicks.com and/or my previous blog post.

Monday, November 3, 2008

British Forest Gardening

A tour of Robert Hart's 30 year old Food Forest in Britain. Inspired by Ghandi to create self sufficient democratic small communities.

Part1:

Part2:


A video tour of Plants for a Future creator Ken Fern's home and garden with lots of amazing plants to grow! Check out the Plants for a Future website for information and how to grow over 7000 useful plants!
Part1:

Part2:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Green Collar Economy



What a success story! If congress is giving out billions to wall street, how about giving some to those of us who are planting trees and "greening" our cities, along with the money to install solar/wind everywhere and money to fully develop other new tech like geothermal, etc.

Use the power of the law of attraction and help make it happen. Focus on a sustainable, prosperous and abundant future for all of humanity. Much Love.

For more info about the new book "Green Collar Economy", check out this link.

Also, (not that I support this idea, but it puts this into context) according to this link, if there was a one time 4% tax on the top 1% richest americans, we could have $700 billion! Imagine what we could do with that money if we invested it into sustainability!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bill Mollison: Temperate & Urban Permaculture Strategies

Here's some info that applies to more of North America: Urban and Temperate Strategies. This first video is in Davis, CA which has a similar climate to where I live and gives a good example of how we can better design our settlements for sustainability!

Urban Strategies (pt3):


The rest of the Urban Strategies. Pt1, Pt2, Pt4

Temperate Strategies:






Permaculture: Bill Mollison in the Tropics

More Bill Mollison Goodness. He talks about how in the 60s he tired of being an activist and found it was more effective to put his time into designing sustainable human settlements. I call this human habitat restoration! He invested 30 days onto his property to design and plant it and now it takes care of itself and he just forages and relaxes in his backyard for food! Be the change.

Bill Travels to Africa and India to catch up on his permaculture projects he started there, which have really flourished and now the locals are teaching eachother and the knowledge is spreading! Check out the biogas system in India where they use the gas to heat their food! We're going to have to think of alternatives to natural gas as it is not sustainable, and ways to process our waste. Biogas combines both, plus the "waste" becomes fertilizer! I love permaculture.







Monday, October 6, 2008

Permaculture Books

If you live on the west coast of North America and you would like to know what edible plants grow well and what they require and what they produce, check out this amazing book called "West Coast Food Forestry". It is available as a free download from the site as a pdf after you register but if you enjoy it please send at least $10 to the author Rain Tenaqiya. Her information is at the end of the book. The book even has a chart that shows which plants food is available during the year so you can plan for year-round abundance! Enjoy

Another book that really helped me out to learn the concept of permaculture and to apply it on the small home level was Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway. It is a little repetitive in its concepts but that just means you'll really know it when you're done with the book!

I am currently reading and enjoying Roots Demystified by Robert Kourick and I plan to purchase and read his other book Designing and Maintaining your Edible Landscape Naturally.

The permaculture "bible" is Bill Mollison's "Permaculture: A designer's Manual" I have just purchased it and I'm sure it will become an invaluable resource.

Furthermore it is very important that we plan for our water source before we plant any plants. Learn to "plant" the water in the soil as this holds the largest quantity and it is where the roots can drink it, secondly use cisterns and ponds and the last resort should be dependence on municipal water! A great book to read is Harvesting Rainwater by Brad Lancaster which I am currently reading and it is very inspiring, especially about this African farmer who is self-sufficient and learned to capture his own water and grows his own food while his neighbors are dependent on international aid!

I do not know what the future holds for suburbia but I am trying to retrofit it to be more sustainable and each of these books is giving me ideas on how to do just that. We will not be able to grow all of our own food on our properties, but if we work together in the community we can share our abundance and reduce our dependency while increasing our resilience!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dimitry Orlov: Reinventing Collapse

If you have been following this blog over the past year, you would have received my dire warnings about our financial system and the unsustainable nature of our country. In the last 6months after I realized it was all inevitable, I have been making a conscious effort to focus on the positive solutions that we can make in our own lives. However, since I have been receiving and reading and hearing many panic stricken messages lately, especially about news about our government, I wanted to post these articles about what happened in USSR back in the 1980s.

Dimitry Orlov lived through the collapse of the USSR and has his wisdom to share. Most notably I learned from his experience about how it is important to stay calm and ignore what is going on at the federal level. We must be productive with our use of time by putting our efforts into what we can do in our local communities. It is very important we stay positive through these great times of uncertainty and put our focus upon what we do want!

It is time to build the foundation for sustainability. This means local currency, local food, local energy, local music, local government, local everything! Learn permaculture and start saving your seeds, plant seeds everywhere there is water or access to a drip-line, check out guerilla gardening. Learn how to capture rainwater and design your gardens to capture their own water to store it in the soil below. Learn as much as you can! :) (I suggest you spend some time on the history of blog posts here and please sign up for email updates!)

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/OriginalArticles/ThrivingPartOne.html
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/OriginalArticles/ThrivingPartTwo.html
http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/OriginalArticles/ThrivingPartThree.html

I have read the above three articles, but I have not read his book called "Reinventing Collapse", which may be worth checking out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bill Mollison: Repairing Dryland Systems

Wow, I love this guy more and more. Since I live in the West of the USA, I am mindful of the importance of water and the fact that we are living in a semi-arid desert completely dependent on irrigation for our survival.

The first part of this video shows 60 year old swales that were built in Arizona during the 30s in response to the dust-bowl and the topsoil being blown away from over-grazing and the clear cutting of forests. Our president at the time called for and created work crews of engineers and hydrologists to repair our country, this is the same type of consciousness we need today combined with the knowledge of permaculture and ecological thinking (whole systems thinking). Seeing these swales gives me so much confidence in their effectiveness. A little human effort can create the conditions for nature to naturally repair itself. They are so powerful that they can turn a desert into a forest, which was also shown in geoff lawtons example in Jordan.

As I drive around town I see work crews replacing sidewalks or putting up apartments and strip malls and big box stores, imagine the work we could do if we put those people into repairing the earth and working for sustainability. How about digging up the concrete and installing fruit and nut trees, and tearing up the strip malls and big box stores to plant gardens in the rich soil underneath? Maybe I'm too radical.

These days feel similar to how I felt in the late nineties when people looked at me funny when I tried to explain to them what the internet and e-mail were, and how important it was for them to check it out.

Watch and learn the wisdom of Bill Mollison and Permaculture.

Pt1:


Pt2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIelsCmdTA8

Pt3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGotaEnwqic&feature=related

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Your Backyard Farmer



I'm looking to do something like this in my area, combined with permaculture. It's the future!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Crash Course

A crash course on your money, the economy, oil supplies and how they are all connected and what that means for your future. I know we are all busy, but this is a serious concept that we must all understand. I promise you that it is worth your time and will help you understand the sense of urgency that many of us have. There is little time and much work to do, so let's get started!

http://www.chrismartenson.com/crashcourse

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Johnny Appleseed

As I'm working towards creating my vision of fruit and nut trees all around town offering an abundance of year-round food, I stumbled upon this great page with history on Johnny Appleseed that I never knew!

Side note: This link came from another blog who's author started it in 2004 preparing for a hard peak oil crash. His history reads as an amazing story! He bought land in a remote area and visited it in his off time to develop it, but has since realized there is too much work for one man and would prefer living in a small community (100ish) or live in a city - much like what I have realized over the past year, but I'd rather live in a small town than a big city. Or at least any city that has an established "green belt" where food can be grown in close proximity to where it is consumed.

Here's some inspiring quotes from the appleseed page, much of which is from Michael Pollan's 2001 book "The Botany of Desire". Turns out apples were used primarily to make hard cider which is very easy to make. It wasn't until after prohibition that apples were marketed as healthy and to be eaten as themselves.


"He was constantly on the move and had no fixed residence for his entire adult life. "

"He was of medium height, sinewy and large-boned, with dark hair down to his shoulders and bright blue eyes. He wore a coffee sack with holes for his arms and legs."

"His lifestyle and preferences were completely opposite the norms of frontier life. He was a vegetarian. He preferred to sleep outdoors and avoided towns and settlements. He thought it cruel to ride a horse, chop down a tree, or kill a rattlesnake."

"He was friendly with the Indians, bringing them medicinal plants. In turn, they treated him kindly and helped him on his way. "

"When he stayed with a family, he preached news "right fresh from Heaven," often the Sermon on the Mount, but many times adding his own ideas based on the writings of the Swedish theologian Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) [Who taught that we must learn how to treat eachother with charity aka unconditional love]. Chapman saw himself as planting not only seeds but the word of God.

Swedenborg's doctrine is appreciative of humane values. Everything on earth corresponds directly to something in the afterlife, so the natural world and the spiritual (or mystic) world are intimately interwoven. The key to righteous living is to do good without looking for recompense. To study and love nature promotes one's spiritual growth. An apple tree in bloom is both a natural process and a "living sermon from God." "

"The same landscape his countrymen treated as hostile and heathen, to be conquered, Chapman saw as beneficent. In his eyes, even the lowliest worm glowed with divine purpose."

"He enjoyed the company of Indians and children. Pollan says, "He moved easily between the societies of the settlers and the Native Americans, even when the two were at war. His ability to freely cross borders that other people believed to be fixed and unbreachable between the red world and the white, between wilderness and civilization, even between this world and the next was one of the hallmarks of his character and probably the thing that most confounded people about the man, both then and now.""

Friday, September 12, 2008

The End Of Suburbia



This film really put the whole American system into perspective for me and like many others for the first time, I truly "got it". Our way of life is on an un-sustainable path with dire consequences if we wait for others to fix the problems and do not act ourselves.

The film discusses the history of suburbia and the economic growth that was fueled by access to cheap oil. It also talks about the peaking of natural gas (soon as well) and the history of the 70s farming revolution which greatly increased food yields by being dependent on nitrogen fertilizer which is made from natural gas and gas/diesel to harvest,process and transport the food to market.

Essential viewing for anyone in North America. Disclaimer: This film is from 2005, so their perspectives on solutions are a little dated and pessimistic, but the unprecedented severity of the problem in human history is still the same. The future is not written in stone, is up to us to create it! The sooner we prepare for the transition and create a vision of abundance for the future, the better our lives will be!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The amazing power of Algae

I've been getting a lot of emails about algae recently. This video first in particular about a closed loop bio-reactor which the man proclaims could fuel all of the US with a small area in new mexico!. I'm not sure of the validity of that claim but depending on the source of energy making the algae (hopefully renewable), it could definitely be a piece of the puzzle to transition to a sustainable world.

A quick youtube search brought up a few more inventive uses. Such as using exhaust from power plants (natural gas and coal) to create algae and then to use that algae for other uses, such as creating bio-diesel, ethanol, health food, paper, bio-plastic, animal feed or hydrogen! Plus, the algae reduces pollution by 80%!

Not sure of the EROI on these technologies but I like the direction that we're going. In nature there is no waste, one system's waste is another's fuel. We need to start valuing our waste stream and start re-using it! It's too valuable to throw things away to the air or the landfill! For example, I'm now keeping my plastic bags and washing and drying them inside out for re-use. Works well clipped on to a clothes line outside. And saving food in sealable containers (aka tupperware) so we don't use any throw away plastic wrap or aluminum foil!





Friday, September 5, 2008

Carrot Mob: Make it Rain!


Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo.

Everyone needs to buy things. But we tend not to spend our money in a socially organized way. So Carrotmob, a new environmental advocacy group, had an idea: what if those seeking the same kind of product got together, pooled their dollars, and used them to collectively support local companies that were also doing the most to save energy and help the environment? Watch what happened when Carrotmob pulled a big crowd together to spend a lot of money at the local liquor store with the strongest environmental commitment.

We have the power. There are more of US than THEM.

This is why I believe in the power of the Transition Towns approach. Which says we can have a BETTER future, if we start now and work TOGETHER!!! We need to be POSITIVE. We need to approach this from a SALES perspective. No one is motivated by getting LESS. People will do things if they think they will get MORE!

Lets get through this by creating Abundance! And we could have party and aBUNdance as Brad Lancaster would suggest!

For more info visit CarrotMob's Site.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mini-Cow


The Times Online reports on the Dexter cattle breed, “the world’s most efficient, cutest and tastiest cows."

For between £200 and £2,000, people can buy a cow that stands no taller than a large German shepherd dog, gives 16 pints of milk a day that can be drunk unpasteurised, keeps the grass “mown” and will be a family pet for years before ending up in the freezer.

The Dexter, a mountain breed from Ireland, is perfect for cattle-keeping on a small scale, but other breeds are being artificially created to compete with it, including the Mini-Hereford and the Lowline Angus, which has been developed by the Australian government to stand no more than 39in high but produce 70% of the steak of a cow twice its size. The Dexter originated in the south of Ireland in the 1800s as an ideal “cottager’s cow”, producing enough milk for the house, and a calf a year.

Today’s mini-cattleman follows a similar pattern, choosing to keep a single “house cow”, collecting the milk each day and using artificial insemination to produce one calf annually for meat. Many people start with one cow and let it produce a calf before sending it to slaughter at the age of two, when the meat is at its most tender and high in healthy omega3 fats.

Just right for the garden: a mini-cow (from Arbroath)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Container City



Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

David Blume: Alcohol can be a Gas

The real deal on ethanol from permaculturist David Blume (Santa Cruz, CA). His information really opened my eyes and clarified a lot of disinfo about biofuels. Ethanol can be grown from crops in the desert and sea (not places where we grow food). David has given me much hope for the future and proposed some good business ideas, such as local fuel co-ops. I bought his book and dvd!

Short interview can be found here, look for the video link.

Below is an extended 1 hour interview with Peak Moment:
Part1:


Part2:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bill Mollison: Permaculture



1989 Documentary about the Bill Mollison and his development of permaculture and food forests. Bill is entertaining and inspiring! I like how nature is being used as the technology that we rely on. By understanding how nature works, we can play god and design our own systems! If we are patient we can create abundance with very little effort! Plant the water, plant the seeds and watch it grow!

If this excites you, watch the global gardener series with Bill Mollison where he travels the world and shows permaculture examples in all regions of the world.

Here is the series on Dryland Systems.

Here is the series on Tropics.

Here are the series on Urban and Temperate locations.


Also, a great written interview with Bill can be found here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Permaculture: Greening the Desert with Swales

Flat, Salted Earth in the middle east turned into productive land using swales and permaculture techniqes:



More on Swales:



For further info, get a copy of Geoff Lawton's DVD "Harvesting Water - The Permaculture Way."

Community Solution: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba went through an artificial "peak oil" transformation. Collectively they lost 20lbs and now they grow 80% of their food organically close to home and in urban centers. They've transformed into a local economy: Re-localization in action!

This is a must see film for anyone concerned about the post carbon future. The moral of this story is that if we can come together as a community, learn to live with less "stuff", and learn to grow our own food. We'll be ok. Of course here in the USA we will have a different story to tell, hopefully with some great eco-tech to help us along, but we still will need to relocalize and if Cuba can do it, we can do it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Compost Tea in Alaska

The proof of the effectiveness of Compost Tea is in this video. Prepare to be blown away!



Yes he is in Alaska with more sunlight, so our results will be different but there is something to be learned here! I will be doing this in my gardens in the near future! The book, The Soil Food Web, has information on how to make compost tea and why it is effective.

Geoff Lawton: Creating A Food Forest

UPDATE: The DVD is now available, its inspiring to say the least. Organize a house party and show the DVD, lets create forests everywhere, as forests increase rainfall and improve soil life and create micro climates for us to then plant food below them, planting natives to establish the land first and then coming after to plant in the understory is another idea. Plant seeds everywhere! :) :)

Permaculture.org.au has a DVD coming out showing how to create a food forest, the permaculture way! This clip shows how they have a no-dig garden with integrated pest management! Exciting! Great stuff on their site as well, I'm bookmarking it!







Monday, July 28, 2008

Air Cars aka CAT (Compressed Air Technology)

Compressed air cars! Of course, the air is not the fuel, but an energy storage, like a battery. Compressed air can be made from electricity when charging at home or a station or using by using gasoline to charge on board as you drive. The current technology goes 93 miles using their compressed air tanks, the gasoline version goes 848 miles on an 8gallon tank which is 106mpg! The technology is still being developed so these numbers are subject to change and are expected to improve!

For city driving, this technology makes sense. There is also a small truck version, I'd love to see these being used to haul compost to gardens or fresh fruits and veggies to local farmers markets, distributors and restaurants!

MDI from France is the inventor of this technology and their idea for distribution is to license the technology around the world so the cars are produced locally. Tata Motors, the largest car manufacturer in India recently licensed the technology for all of India for $30 million! I'm not sure how the US distribution will shape up but they are looking for investors. A web search brings up ZPI advertising the air car in the USA and is advertising an optimistic date of shipment around 2010!



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Path to Freedom



This family from Pasadena, CA is an inspiration!! They grow most of their own food among other things in a traditional sized suburban home. Ever since I found out about them in 2004 (after learning about peak oil), I have been working to catch up to their accomplishments!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Solar Power Village

What an amazing group of inventions! The one that really stood out was the way they harness energy above the green house from solar thermal and turn it into oil to cook and generate energy was amazing! Also building a greenhouse type shelter and then having the house inside of that, along with this really amazing harder-yet-flexible-thin-concrete material!!

They are also helping to recreate this tech around the world to allow people to be autonomous and to live outside the centralized energy and thus political and corporate tyranny!

More info: http://www.solarpowervillage.info/

Their story:





Mike Strizki and Johnny Depp's Island



*sarcasm* This truly great American who said. Fuck reducing demand. I'll just increase supply. *end sarcasm* has a really expensive yet thorough system he built for his home in New Jersey. Now Johnny Depp hired him to build it on his own island. !!! wow

Mike is using propane tanks to store hydrogen made from electrolysis from solar and a fuel cell to generate heat and electricity in the winter along with geothermal as well. While this is not a realistic solution for us regular folk, it is something.

Energy storage really is the missing link right now. I'm still waiting for the EEStor technology.

More info over at the amazingly awesome Ecogeek.

Eeres a video of mike's new jersey system:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Book Review: The Soil Food Web


"Teaming with Microbes, A Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web" - Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis [Timber Press]

No one fertilizes an old growth forest. Neither does anyone till, dig, rake or weed it either.

The Soil Food Web is another universe of life that takes place naturally, without our help. However, when we follow traditional gardening advice, we get in the way of nature and thus, we work harder, not smarter.

This book explains the what, who, when, where and why that takes place unseen to the naked eye under our feet. There is a magical symbiosis taking place that has been intuitively known for years but now can be scientifically proven.

It makes a strong case for relying simply on compost, mulch and water, and no more digging and tilling every season. I like this idea, it follows the mindset of simple living and follows nature as a guide. With this knowledge we can help enhance the natural processes that take place to improve our soil and its fertility and thus the life and food that grows from it.

This book does handle complex subjects but is written for the average gardener to understand. It will give you a sense of excitement knowing your actions are helping to keep the magic alive below your feet!

Friday, July 18, 2008

We can solve it



Yes! If we want it badly enough, we can have it! Let us begin this great transition away from fossil fuels! What do we want??? Wake up!

*update* - TheOilDrum.com has a post on the feasibility of this plan.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Robert Newman's History of Oil



A very funny and entertaining hybrid-standup/acting routine on the history of oil. I guarantee you'll learn a few things and laugh while you're at it!

Pedal Powered Car



Some humor..

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Water Cars

Water is not a fuel, but an energy carrier. Water contains Hydrogen. Hydrogen can be burned in our existing combustible engines. There are inventors working around the world to find efficient ways to release the hydrogen from water. Here is a sample of videos that I have found online.

For those who say water is not efficient and batteries are better. How long do batteries last? What about the materials and possible limits to their widespread adoption? Are they really sustainable? And what about having to build new electric motors and new cars? I'd like to see a way for us to keep our existing infrastructure without throwing it away... I believe water is a good battery and it will be a matter of time until we hit a great breakthrough.

Daniel Dingel:


This is a great story of guy from the Philippines who made a water car conversion 30 years ago. His technology was stopped from the IMF / Worldbank - more reason to get off this debt money system that allows the rich bankers to control our lives. I think he should get over his need for a patent and release the technology free to us online.

Stanley Meyer Pt1:


Stanley Meyer Pt2:


Stanley Meyer's water car from the 90's. He mysteriously died before his technology was to go public and after he had offers from oil companies. His technology generates hydrogen on demand using an advanced form of electrolysis (electricity splits the bonds). The difference is that he uses frequencies to help break apart the H2O bonds.

Ravi's Stanley Meyer replication:


Stanley Meyer's technology was leaked to the public and now many hobbyists are making them in their garages! The last news I heard is that they can generate the hydrogen, but they are having problems with it lasting for a long time or getting the right amounts produced. We'll have to wait and see!! Patience! :)

Burning salt water:


Florida inventor is using radio waves to break apart H2O in salt water and shows that it is burning. This technology uses a lot of energy to burn the water, but it is an example of what is possible.

Japanese Water Car:


Japanese company Genepax has created a water powered car, as reported recently on reuters. The car is electric and the energy is generated through hydrogen from water. There is some speculation of what kind of materials are used to generate the hydrogen, let's hope they are cheap and abundant.

ITM: Plastic Filter Technology:

This company created a plastic filter that would allow the splitting of water to hydrogen. Their hope is to have the hydrogen generated at home, so there is no need for fueling stations. Freedom!

Water Vapor + Hydrogen = Steam Powered Van:

Another variation, this uses compressed hydrogen mixed with water vapour to combust in the engine. There is no mention how or where the compressed hydrogen comes from though.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Resonated Rice



Wow! Keep your hand on the volume knob, you may want to turn it down as the video moves forward. This is an amazing display of the patterns created from frequencies that some would describe as sacred geometry. Wow. This brings up all sorts of ideas about patterns in the universe. Music and sound sure are magical!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Abraham: The Law of Attraction

For those of you who have seen the secret or know about the law of attraction, the teachings of abraham are a major source of the information, plus more knowledge about the laws of the universe. Abraham was featured on the original secret, a tv series in australia. Abraham was not in the DVD release that went mainstream (oprah, etc). The secret only teaches a small part of "the secret", leaving many more secrets!!!

Abraham teaches the full rules of this game of life, so we can truly have whatever we want. They say we are all eternal beings here at this time in physical form because it is a time of great awakening and we were eager to be here to participate. Their overall message is that life is good, and if you focus on joy, you will receive joy. (The law of attraction)

I listened to their special subjects volume 1 CDs (recorded in 1988) borrowed from a friend, but you can listen to the first cd online for free or have them send you one for free to check out. It'll blow your mind. You can also check out their own youtube videos, but its a good idea to hear the intro to get an idea what they are all about and where the information is coming from (the non-physical dimension - where we go when we leave the earth).

I also read a book called Testimony of Light by Helen Greaves that was written in 1968 by Helen and her long time friend in life Sister Frances Banks a fellow nun who died and gave messages back to Helen from the otherside! They also talk about the law of attraction and how our thoughts are instant without the buffer of time.

So I see one of the purposes in life is to learn to control our minds to focus upon what we want. As Abraham says, we have two emotions - those that feel good and those that feel bad. If we follow what feels good, we will be guided to what we want. I like to think of this as my intuition, which I now have a better idea about where it comes from!

So here we are in 2008 and I no longer fear any death or anything about the future even though I am aware of all the problems. I am now taking time out of teach day to relax and clear my conscious mind to relax and get closer to my intuition. Then I think about what I want and when I get a strong emotion, I go for it and life is full of energy, joy and beauty!

Much love to everyone and let us positively co-create our future together on this leading edge of creation here on earth!!!

WWJB: What would jesus buy?



Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse (the end of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt.)


I just got around to watching this film! It's really funny and entertaining :) The above preview will give you a good idea what it's all about... :)

Update: Full film below!

The Seven-Day Weekend



from karmatube


Ricardo Semler built a company that breaks all the rules. He encourages his employees to play hooky, tells them not to bother with growth plans. Workers choose their own salaries, set their own hours, and have no job titles. Ridiculous? Inefficient? A recipe for chaos? Perhaps. But over the past six years, Semler's company has increased its revenue from $35 million to $212 million. And with over 3,000 employees, it has virtually no turnover! Here's an interview with this maverick--and author of the best-selling book, The Seven-Day Weekend.


I also really like his attitude toward schools - it is very similar to mine. Children (and adults) learn when we want to. We can't force people to learn or do anything if we want to be effective and not waste most of our time. I would like to see more independent study in schools, with teachers being there more as mentors to guide students. I think teaching how to read, write and basic math are important, but above that, we should be giving students opportunities to be hands on in the community. Let us give children the opportunity to learn real skills that apply to their teachings, not just memorizing formulas that will be forgotten shortly after the test is given.

Do we want to teach kids to blindly follow authority or do we want to teach them how to think independently and critically? We are freedom seeking beings who are here to learn and create new diverse thought. If we are to have a prosperous sustainable future, we must trust eachother and allow eachother to be independent and have a part and a responsibility in everything we do.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Peak Oil is expanding into mass consciousness

Ben Stein has an article in the new york times about oil, check out his solutions to maintaining the american lifestyle... coal to oil and drilling on the coasts !

Also, my local paper, the Tribune has an article on Peak Oil this sunday (reprinted from the Associated Press). It's been on CNBC often and also Kunstler was on CNN with Glenn Beck. Even President Bush (who does a great Dr. Evil impression) is talking about limits to world oil supply, even though he doesn't come out and mention the words peak oil. Atleast Bush gave us the straight talk of two options. Increase supply or reduce demand by changing our lifestye, which is a breath of fresh air compared to his boss, Dick Cheney who said "The American lifestyle is non-negotiable".

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R), who created a peak oil resolution in congress, thinks of our oil reserves such as ANWR as "money in the bank" and doesn't want us to waste it. But now with oil at $135, he now supports drilling in ANWR, but only if the profits fund renewable energies. Maybe that is a good compromise. But, what if we didn't need to drill in ANWR, and we instead chose efficiency as a short term solution? How about instead of getting your food shipped from 1500 miles away, maybe buy locally instead. Carpool and double your cars gas mileage. Walk and ride your bike, get some exercise, get to know your community and lose some weight in the process.

Please, let us realize how precious this resource is and to use it wisely? We need to use these resources to transition to a clean, sustainable new energy economy. Let's not forever ruin our beautiful backyard and waste the last reserves of oil for short term gain. It's time to grow up and think about the long term consequences to our actions. Being shortsighted is what has gotten us into this mess. We've known about peak oil for decades and nothing has been done. It's time to think about sustainability.

And maybe it's time to listen to our wise and fearless leader of the free world? Maybe we should take his advice to think about changing our lifestyle to reduce demand and dependence on oil. Maybe Bush is on to something, after all, his crawford ranch IS off the grid....

So, let us use the law of attraction and imagine a world without oil. The solutions are out there. Which is probably better for another post or website, but the most exciting one to me is to retrofit our existing investment! There are ways to convert existing cars to run hydrogen and ways to make hydrogen from water and solar power!! We can do this!!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1977: President Carter's advice


In 1970, when U.S. oil production peaked, instead of being energy independent, the U.S. became increasingly dependent on foreign oil.

President Carter warned us of this dependence and outlined a plan to solve this unprecedented problem. Unfortunately he never mentioned the words "peak oil," or the fact that the US had peaked a few years earlier and the world would eventually peak as well.

There is however some great advice and wisdom here that we can learn from, I hope our next president can step up to the plate and really tell us the truth like Carter did.

In a televised televised speech on April 18, 1977, Carter said:

Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you about a problem unprecedented in our history. With the exception of preventing war, this is the greatest challenge our country will face during our lifetimes. The energy crisis has not yet overwhelmed us, but it will if we do not act quickly.

...The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative
may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength
and our power as a nation.

Our decision about energy will test the character of the American people and the ability of the President and the Congress to govern. This difficult effort will be the "moral equivalent of war" -- except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy.


After our second oil crisis in 1979, President Carter told us the truth and proposed goals for energy independence in his 1979 speech "Crisis of Confidence":

Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny.

In little more than two decades we've gone from a position of energy independence to one in which almost half the oil we use comes from foreign countries, at prices that are going through the roof. Our excessive dependence on OPEC has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. This is the direct cause of the long lines which have made millions of you spend aggravating hours waiting for gasoline. It's a cause of the increased inflation and unemployment that we now face. This intolerable dependence on foreign oil threatens our economic independence and the very security of our nation. The energy crisis is real. It is worldwide. It is a clear and present danger to our nation. These are facts and we simply must face them.

I am tonight setting a clear goal for the energy policy of the United States. Beginning this moment, this nation will never use more foreign oil than we did in 1977 -- never. From now on, every new addition to our demand for energy will be met from our own production and our own conservation

...To give us energy security, I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel -- from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun.

I propose the creation of an energy security corporation to lead this effort to replace 2-1/2 million barrels of imported oil per day by 1990. The corporation I will issue up to $5 billion in energy bonds, and I especially want them to be in small denominations so that average Americans can invest directly in America's energy security.

Just as a similar synthetic rubber corporation helped us win World War II, so will we mobilize American determination and ability to win the energy war. Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20 percent of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.

These efforts will cost money, a lot of money, and that is why Congress must enact the windfall profits tax without delay. It will be money well spent. Unlike the billions of dollars that we ship to foreign countries to pay for foreign oil, these funds will be paid by Americans to Americans. These funds will go to fight, not to increase, inflation and unemployment.

And I'm asking you for your good and for your nation's security to take no unnecessary trips, to use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, to park your car one extra day per week, to obey the speed limit, and to set your thermostats to save fuel. Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense -- I tell you it is an act of patriotism.

You know we can do it. We have the natural resources. We have more oil in our shale alone than several Saudi Arabias. We have more coal than any nation on Earth. We have the world's highest level of technology. We have the most skilled work force, with innovative genius, and I firmly believe that we have the national will to win this war.

I do not promise you that this struggle for freedom will be easy. I do not promise a quick way out of our nation's problems, when the truth is that the only way out is an all-out effort. What I do promise you is that I will lead our fight, and I will enforce fairness in our struggle, and I will ensure honesty. And above all, I will act. We can manage the short-term shortages more effectively and we will, but there are no short-term solutions to our long-range problems. There is simply no way to avoid sacrifice.


Also in the same speech he asks us to take a look at our way of life:


In a nation that was proud of hard work, strong families, close-knit communities, and our faith in God, too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption. Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we've discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We've learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.

The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years. Two-thirds of our people do not even vote. The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world.

We remember when the phrase "sound as a dollar" was an expression of absolute dependability, until ten years of inflation began to shrink our dollar and our savings. We believed that our nation's resources were limitless until 1973, when we had to face a growing dependence on foreign oil.

These wounds are still very deep. They have never been healed. Looking for a way out of this crisis, our people have turned to the Federal government and found it isolated from the mainstream of our nation's life. Washington, D.C., has become an island. The gap between our citizens and our government has never been so wide. The people are looking for honest answers, not easy answers; clear leadership, not false claims and evasiveness and politics as usual.


In closing his speech he asks us to look to our achievements to realize we can solve this problem!:

First of all, we must face the truth, and then we can change our course. We simply must have faith in each other, faith in our ability to govern ourselves, and faith in the future of this nation. Restoring that faith and that confidence to America is now the most important task we face. It is a true challenge of this generation of Americans.

One of the visitors to Camp David last week put it this way: "We've got to stop crying and start sweating, stop talking and start walking, stop cursing and start praying. The strength we need will not come from the White House, but from every house in America."

We know the strength of America. We are strong. We can regain our unity. We can regain our confidence. We are the heirs of generations who survived threats much more powerful and awesome than those that challenge us now. Our fathers and mothers were strong men and women who shaped a new society during the Great Depression, who fought world wars, and who carved out a new charter of peace for the world.

We ourselves are the same Americans who just ten years ago put a man on the Moon. We are the generation that dedicated our society to the pursuit of human rights and equality. And we are the generation that will win the war on the energy problem and in that process rebuild the unity and confidence of America.

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fluoride

Fluoride in toothpaste = Good
Fluoride in water = Bad (and ineffective!)

If you live in North America your water is probably fluoridated. A toxic byproduct of the aluminum industry is being put in your water to supposedly help your teeth from decay. While fluoride does have an effect on tooth decay, it is only when it touches your teeth. So fluoride in toothpaste is effective, fluoride in water is not. Plus fluoride is harmful when ingested. If you read the label on the back of your toothpaste they warn that you call poison control if you ingest it!

Most of Europe has already stopped using fluoride in their water and many studies have shown no positive effects from fluoride in water with many possible negative effects - such as spots on the teeth, inhibiting the thyroid (metabolism/energy) and lowering IQ.

The fluoride action network is a great resource with many doctors and dentists and other professionals signing on to stop fluoridation worldwide. Here is a list of who has signed on to date.

• 241 PhD's (includes DSc, Doctor of Science)
• 223 Dentists (DDS, DMD, BDS)
• 212 MD's (includes MBBS)
• 207 DC's (Doctor of Chiropractic)
• 202 Nurses (RN, BSN, ARNP, APRN, LNC)
• 95 ND's (Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)
• 46 Lawyers (JD and LLB)
• 32 RDHs (Registered Dental Hygienist and RDHAP)
• 29 Acupuncturists (LAc - Licensed Acupuncturist, and, MAc -Master Acupuncturist)
• 28 Pharmacists (Pharm.D, B. Pharm, DPh, RPH)
• 18 DO's (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
• 10 Veterinarians (DMV, VMD, BVMS)

One professional dentist made a short video talking about his story of 30 yrs of experience in dentistry and recommending fluoride. But after reading the studies and learning the facts, he now opposes fluoride in tap water.



And to know the real story behind fluoride and how this toxic byproduct became added to our water, check out the video "The Fluoride Deception" (29minutes):



The most effective method at removing Fluoride from your tap water is through Reverse Osmosis. I suggest getting a Zero-Waste system as regular systems waste anywhere from 3 to 5+ gallons of water for each gallon of drinking water. The Zero-Waste systems put the waste water back into your hot water pipe. Check out the Watts Premier Zero-Waste ($330 through Costco)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Our Daily Bread

This is an old film about the Great Depression. Filmed in Paso Robles, CA (near where I live). It tells a story of hardship and the necessity of going back to the land and the struggles and solutions through building community and working together! Heart Warming!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

53 MPB (Miles Per Burrito)

With gas at $4 a gallon and rising and food shortages we are going to be forced to learn how to conserve our resources! Ethanol from corn is not a sustainable solution to peak oil!! We need to relocalize our lifestyle and start reducing our dependence on our automobiles!

An important first step would be to buy your fruits and veggies as locally as possible, support your farmers market! Plus you'll be getting much tastier and healthier food than conventionally grown produce pumped full of NPK and lacking trace minerals and other nutrients. And you will be supporting your local economy and keeping jobs in your area. And if you bike there, you will be getting some exercise and being much more efficient!

Here is some creative bicycle advocacy to show just how much more energy efficient it is to ride a bike than drive a car or even walk! :)



Btw, for really awesome urban bikes, check out Breezer Bikes (Invented by Joe Breeze, the guy who invented the mountain bike and now wants more urban use of bikes, I've ridden one they are so awesome!)



This post below was borrowed from the awesome EcoGeek! - http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1445/:


I just noticed this post about some rather clever bike-advocacy shirts at Carectomy and thought to myself "53 Miles per Burrito is a really excellent slogan...but it's also a really excellent point." The question becomes...is the human body actually more efficient than an automobile and, if so...why?

A little bit of research tells us that riding a light-weight bicycle consumes about 35 calories per mile. Walking consumes about 100 calories per mile and is, of course, considerably slower.

Driving a car ends up consuming 1,800 calories per mile. This sure makes one think twice about biofuel, doesn't it?

I try to eat about 2,000 calories per day. If that food was converted to biofuel (as most of it could, since most of it is carbohydrates) it would drive a car less than a mile. But if I use it to bike, I could go 57 miles!

So the question remains, how many miles can I extract from a burrito. Well? You may be surprised to discover this, but a Chipotle burrito with beef, beans, cheese, sour cream and guacamole, comes in at an astounding 1,300 calories. Bust a gut with one of those and you'll find enough energy to travel 37 miles. If it were gasoline instead of a burrito, those same calories wouldn't even get you a full mile.

So why is the human body so much more efficient than automobiles?

It turns out that they aren't that much more efficient. Car engines aren't superbly efficient, that's for sure. But what's much more inefficient is the fact that 95% of the net weight of a car is car...only 5% is the driver. With a bike, the equation is shifted significantly toward the weight of the driver, not the vehicle. Only 65 of the 1800 calories used to move the car are used to move the driver. The rest is used to move the doors and the roof and the airbags and the cup holders around with you.

But still, bicycling comes out on top. Our bodies turn out to be almost two times better at converting calories to motion than cars.

Sometimes, if you want to see some powerful environmental technology, you don't have to look any further than your big beefy quadriceps.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Richard Heinberg: Peak Everything + Solutions

Richard Heinberg is amazing. He's the author of many books with his latest "Peak Everything" (Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, Uranium, Population, Food, Water, Economy, etc)

Richard is now working with Post Carbon Institute (Producers of The End of Suburbia) and has been instrumental in getting Peak Oil resolutions passed in cities in Northern California. From his experience he now knows many different avenues for solutions.







Richard's Peak Everything Presentation:
Part1:

Part2:

Part3:

Part4:

Part5:

Part6:



In his recent museletter he talks from his experience that he's learned the most effective form of change will come from the grassroots, not only from awareness but in people actually changing themselves and their actions.

But, the grassroots can't be the only solution as there are bigger problems that can only be solved through government intervention, such as what happened during WW2 with the victory gardens. The problem currently is that government is still primarily interested in working for economic growth and even though they say they care, nothing significant is being done. He suggests an alternative approach through Disaster Management by which he calls "Resilient Communities" (read more from his Museletter). [Update: The new movement that is growing rapidly around the world is Transition Towns, which I am part of in my local community - check it out!]

Richard's latest talk has been summarized and posted at Energybulletin.net. It quickly lists the problems that we will be facing and the actual solutions and lessons learned that are taking place now to prepare ahead. Highly recommended reading!

Quote:

There are historic examples of crisis equals opportunity, for example in Cuba, there were these organic agronomists who'd been promoting eco-agriculture for years before the crisis, but no-one listened. They'd been developing strategies and at that point of survival crisis they were called in to redesign Cuba's food system. If they hadn't already been working on it, they would not have survived. This got Richard to thinking we need to be doing this — formulating a plan that can be implemented in a crisis situation.


So - Don't wait for others to change or the government to be proactive. Start changing now. I've been getting my garden together, learning as much as I can about organic methods for improving soils by composting, fertilizing and growing beneficial crops. I'm going to be riding my bike to the farmers market and the local co-op to eat primarily local and seasonal foods. Do whatever you can to learn to live with less and learn as much as you can about the basics of life. Get out of debt and reduce your expenses as the economy continues to decline and prices for food and energy skyrocket.

Richard's way ahead of the game and is practicing what he preaches as well!! In this 25minute peak moment tv episode he gives a tour of his home with his partner. Here's the summary:

Tour Janet and Richard’s quarter acre for an example of what’s possible in suburbia. Their front yard of edible plants also provides habitat for birds and insects. The backyard radiates out from an herb and kitchen garden to vegetable beds and containers; 25 fruit and nut trees; and a restful Zen garden. Near a future pond is a “three sisters” spiral of corn, beans and squashes. Check out their rainwater catchment barrels system, solar ovens, grid-tied photovoltaics with backup batteries, a low-energy house, solar-heated garden room, and a comfortable “summer palace” of natural & salvaged materials.