RE: More Green Party

From: altamira (
Date: Fri Jun 30 2000 - 18:40:13 MDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Damien Broderick
> Better still, of course, will be the (re)invention of local community and
> fresh, non-destructive, satisfying ways for people without wage-earning
> toil to spend their days. That's something I'd like to see more extropians
> and transhumanists thinking hard about. But maybe real solutions will have
> to bubble up emergently from within those moieties.

Along those lines I'd like to mention one of the few books I keep on the
shelf behind my desk, always close at hand: _Permaculture: A Practical
Guide for a Sustainable Future_ by Bill Mollison. I'm seeing on this list,
and many other places, highly intelligent people who can do a mind boggling
assortment of complex tasks but who appear not to know very much about
actually taking care of themselves. (please don't get mad at me for saying
this, I don't mean it as an insult)

I'd like to quote from Bill's book: "We know how to solve every food, clean
energy, and sensible shelter problem in every climate; we have already
invented and tested every necessary technique and technical device, and have
access to all the biological material that we could ever use.
        "The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or
applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and
simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy, and shelter is to
lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to
power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and
devise ways to help ourselves."

When he says we have every technology necessary he's not advocating that we
cease inventing new technologies. He's saying to USE WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE.
OK, I'm going to utter blasphemy: there is no need for agribusiness. The
reason I don't like most of the GE research that's going on right now is not
because I'm not fascinated by molecular genetics, not because I don't think
that much good could come from it, but rather because the direction being
taken is all wrong in most cases! The direction being taken is toward more
agribusiness and more centralized control of the food supply and less
control by the individual over his or her own life. If someone else is
controlling your food supply, they've got you by the huevos, no matter what
you call the system you're living under.

I've said this before, but since it's so far from what most of us are taught
to believe, I'll risk being boring by saying it again: growing your food
need not take more time than going to the grocery store and buying the food.
It takes far less time and energy over all to grow your food than to buy it
when you add in the cost of the farm equipment, the fuel to run it, the
farmer's time, the truck driver's time, the processor's time, etc. etc.
True, when you grow your food you have to take certain steps to prepare it,
but lots of fresh food can be palatable and digestible eaten raw, right off
the vine or bush. And you can get someone else to process some of the food
for you--my chickens, for example, turn termites and grubs into eggs and
meat, and they mostly run around fending for themselves--costs me very
little in time or effort to get my eggs & chicken meat.

Housing need not be elaborate to be comfortable. Wastes need not be wasted
and need not waste water. My toilet is a bucket underneath a board with a
hole in it, into which I toss a scoop of high-carbon material (like coarse
saw dust or partially decomposed dead leaves) after each use. I've seen
some pretty convincing research showing that the resulting thermophilic
decomposition is THE safest and cleanest way to handle human shit and pee.
And the cost to me for the toilet was around $2 for the bucket (the board I
got free out of someone's trash pile).

People make basic living WAAAY more complicated than it needs to be. Let me
emphasize that I'm NOT opposed to high tech. But I am greatly opposed to
inappropriate tech, whether it be high or low. Bill Mollison once said that
he considers the concept of "unemployment" to be obscene.


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