Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gaps in my thinking

Several of the books I've read recently have made me think about my plans for local sustainability in a new light.  The books pointed out some assumptions in my planning that will leave big gaps in the systems.

My goal has been to develop a way of living that meets all of our basic needs from local resources in a sustainable way.  Those basic needs are food, water, and energy.

Here are just a few of the gaps

Food production
  • my system uses unheated hoop houses to extend the growing season throughout the year.  These hoop houses are covered with PLASTIC.  The functional life of the plastic is maybe 5 years.  It's not local, renewable, sustainable, nor is it something I can reasonably learn to make my self. 
  • seeds - many of the seeds I have been using are hybrids.  I can't save seeds from what they produce and expect any kind of  good results.
  • poultry -none of the hens I have now get broody.  If I want to increase my flock from local stock I have to incubate the eggs my self. 
  • Fencing - All my fence is plastic (made in Germany I think...). Functional life maybe 5 years.
  • Food storage - We use the freezer (see energy) and we can a lot.  But all our canning uses flats to seal the jars.  I don't keep that many on hand.  I don't know how to make them.  None of the jars we use now will work without them.

  • All my energy plans (solar, wind, micro-hydro, steam, etc) require storage.  The generation systems are fairly long lived and mostly repairable (except solar which is a mystery to me...) but the batteries don't last long, are made from non-renewables, and are highly toxic.
  • Even my wood heat and possible power generation is presently resting on the back of my gas powered chainsaws.  They don't work all that well without gas...

  • Most of my current water system travels through or is stored in PLASTIC.
  • Most of my water system plans involve some sort of electric powered pump with a battery as part of the system.
The list goes on and on.  I don't intend to be a Luddite, but I do need to address some of these gaps.  Another gap I noticed was the information gap.  If the world changes even a little bit information will be hard to find.  So much is available on the net right now, but crash the grid and it is all inaccessible.  Building a library with the information needed to maintain and create the systems needed to meet your basic needs is important too. 

Medical information, supplies, and skills were another gap pointed out in my reading that I haven't even begun to think about.

What are the gaps in your systems?
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