WHAT IS GETTING OFF THE GRID ?
What does getting off the grid mean? Well in a nut-shell or an acorn-shell if you prefer, getting off the grid means breaking your dependence from the grid of fossil fuels, chemically treated water and being the only link in your food chain as well as fostering a lifestyle of natural cycles that minimizes your footprint in the world by living green. It does not mean being hold up in a cabin in the mountains with a crazy beard and a shot gun waiting for "the man" to flush you out. That is "OFF YOUR ROCKER" not off the grid. Living off the grid doesn't mean taking a vow of poverty either, there are many ways to make a living and enjoy all of life's creature comforts off the grid, you learn to do more with less. Its all about energy and how we use it. There are many alternatives available to us that reduce the industrial foot print such as Bio-gases and bio-energy and bio-heat and natural building materials like cob and straw. Solar and wind power literally suck energy out of thin air and a small garden plot will help reduce fossil fuel consumption spent to bring things to market as well as allow you to see what is going into the soil. Living off grid, permaculture and symbiosis are all, well, they're symbiotic of each other. The possibilities are endless with both old and new technologies afforded to us in this day and age.
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature he finds it is attached to the rest of the world.” – John Muir
LIVING OFF THE GRID
The grid- How did we get this energy and what was the effect of the cause. Was the amount of energy spent getting this energy greater then the actual energy that we got in the long run, and what are the repercussions of that spent energy in the sense of burnt carbons or the depletion of natural resources and the calories spent. Over 75% of the electricity provided in the U.S. is from fossil fuels and the chances are that that carrot on your dinner table had to travel over 400 miles through a fossil fuel combustion system to get to you. So what do we do about this? Well we make our own electricity from the sun, we drill our own fresh water wells and make rain gathering systems to grow and raise our own food that we will recycle back into methane to cook our food and heat our water and warm our houses with no outside influences. This is what being off the grid means, creating your own self sustaining system. You don't even have to leave the city to do it, Perm-urban-culture is just as important if not more so then farm life. Now not everybody can just pull up and out of their grid-dependent lifestyles but you can do little things that will help move you towards it. These are some of the things we will discuss here as well as more hard core changes and choices of freedoms as we move towards a permacultred world together.
The Morality of Money is the price of humanity. ~Robert Paul.
What is permaculture?
Permacultre is a system of living with nature and its natural process symbiotically. It was first coined by its creators Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. The word stems from the two words Permanent and Agriculture, the philosophy is that of a sustainable permanent ecology that is literally a self contained living system that promotes itself from start to finish. This is what the earth does naturally but humans tend to get in its way. The hole idea is enormous but it can be broken down into smaller cycles such as this, the chicken eats the worm and poops it out and it becomes fertilizer where grass grows and the worm eats the grass and the chicken eats the worm. This is permaculture at its basic cycle, but from there other cycles take part like someone eats the chicken to gain protein to have strength to till the garden to grow the grass to feed the cow that poops in the field and that turns into fertilizer that makes the grass grow that the worm eats and then the chicken eats the worm, and then more cycles start over again and that is what the permacultre life style is all about, the balance and observation of these cycles that happen naturally and promoting them, so don't kill the worms because they are "icky" they play an important roll in the cycle. Food and fertilizer are the same thing, they're just at different stages in their cycle. The process gets deeper from there where you start to plant things together that help promote each other like planting a larger plant with a smaller one that does better in the shade of the larger plant but also produces more nitrogen for the larger plant. Garden plots are rotated yearly where nutrient taking vegetation is replaced with nutrient giving vegetation.
Things like corn and greens suck the nutrients out of the soil where as plants like soy beans and sun flowers replace it. These are the types of cycles that are brought together to form a permaculture system. When done properly a system can thrive and flourish with abundance. Whole systems of hill side orchards and aquatics and vegetation can be tied together to raise fish and grow fruits and vegetables and capture water for irrigation. Water that is at the bottom of the hill where the fish are raised is high in nitrogen from fish living in the water. To much nitrogen is not good for the fish so it is pumped to the top of the hill (with a solar pump) to irrigate the garden and orchard that uses the nitrogen, there by filtering it out of the water as it makes it way back down the hill to the fish pond filled with nutrients from the garden and orchard that the fish there then thrive on producing more nitrogen. Along the way you can plant parsley and carrots together, the parsley will help to repel carrot flies and other vegetation eating bugs. Are you seeing the bigger picture? its about balance, symbiosis and self sustenance, things working together to further the cycles and produce advantages for everything concerned that they would not necessarily have under other conditions. The rule of thumb in permaculture is that everything should have three uses.
The worm (1) tills the land irrigating it as it, (2) creates soil and finally (3) feeds the chicken. Commercial farming doesn't recognize this process and they are forced to pour chemicals and other things on the land in order to get it to produce unnaturally because it is dead now from years of abuse and over growing, they took and took and took for so long and never gave back in order to make a profit, but at what cost is that profit really made?
Watch this desert get greened.
You need three things to live, Energy, Shelter and Food.
The more symbiotic and efficient you can make these three things the better your quality of life will be.
Way back in the day some farmers realized that they were loosing at least 15 to 30% of their yield to crows eating in their fields. So they went to the state and convinced them that the crows had to go. The state started paying a .12 cent bounty for the crows and soon all the crows were gone. A couple of seasons went by and the farmers were happy with their yield until one year when they started to realize that their crops were being eaten alive from the inside out. They had been infested with insects and rodents and they lost up to 60% percent and more of their crops do to this infestation. It was because the crows weren't there to control the insect and rodent population. Long story short the state had to pay .25 cents a head to get the crows back. They disrupted the natural system of the symbiotic relationship between the crows and the crops and the insects that were all working together. What's the moral of this story: "Pay the crow".
Permaculture is considered by experts as the future for humanity.
"It is possible to create paradise on earth, under any conditions. There are no natural disasters, human disasters only. Drought, floods and fires are caused by generations of people who have lost their contact with nature. In order to correct the mistakes of the past major steps have to be given and we must learn to communicate again with the nature. Correct the mistakes of the past, enabling the symbiosis created by the reciprocal actions, let nature work, restore the natural cycles".
- Sepp Holzer