Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pathway to Permaculture

Short Version

TED Talks: Marcin Jakubowski
->Global Village Construction Set/Open Source Ecology
->Perennial Agriculture
->"Edible Forest Garden" "permaculture" - what the heck is this?
->Amazon kindle store, search "permaculture"
->Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway
->Read it in two sittings
->HOOKED!

Longer Version

I'm a software engineer with a black thumb. My wife and I barely kept a weed-lawn alive when we lived in Dallas, and now our (rental) NYC apartment has exactly zero outdoor space (no balcony, no fire escape, no roof deck, and for some reason the building management frowns on sticking things out the 33rd-floor windows). Why would I be interested in permaculture?

Partly the answer is a resounding "i dunno."

This stuff resonates with me, and I want to learn more. Maybe because it is so far divorced from my life, maybe because I fear that the human race is rushing lemming-like (I know it was a Disneyhoax, but I still like the image) towards resource exhaustion, and maybe because the bees keep dying, the desert keeps getting bigger and the coral keeps shrinking.

Since I'm a software geek, the open-source aspect of the GVCS appeals to me - it feels like we are doing the right thing in harnessing the resources of our energy-rich, high-technology society to design simplicity, durability and maintainability for machines that can keep us going through peak oil and beyond. It would exciting to replicate the technologies in the GVCS and help iron out the bugs, but two problems:

  1. No space for even a tractor (see above, NYC apartment)

  2. Not handy


The second is the less solvable problem - all of my construction experience came from building theatrical sets in high school and college, so I'm very skilled at quickly creating things that have a planned lifespan of 2-3 weeks.

On the other hand, while the OSE folks are focused on the first several bits of key hardware, there's a lot of stuff on their waiting list, and the food supply looked like an interesting one. That's the understatement of the year. I'm reading, listening, surfing, and watching kinda non-stop. On the plus side, my wife is interested in sustainability, and she's remarkably tolerant of my current need to over-share.

This stuff is way cool.

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