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Reassessing the "reuse" part of the 3 rs

 
Jeff Mathias
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Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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From the Reassessing the "reuse" part of the 3 r's topic because we were getting quite off topic. Sorry! If the moderators can make this better please do or advise what we can do.

Jeff Mathias wrote:

I'm more interested in what people will do for a living as people become more frugal, rather than dreaming about a future in which people can somehow afford to buy hand-made shoes from their neighbor.
I am not sure what you are asking here with this statement. There will be much pain and suffering, hopefully we will have at least some systems in place to help minimize it. Hopefully people are realizing that this is coming and are educating themselves in a manner that they believe will help them and benefit others.





What systems are people putting in place to minimize the pain and suffering? Any suggestions about how people should educate themselves in a manner which will help them and benefit others?

I guess what I'm looking for is more concrete information about how people are transitioning from their previous consumerist way of life, what they did for a living before and what they're doing now. I guess I'm looking for more detailed information about how people are making this transition.

Jeff Mathias wrote:

Permaculture can be applied to each specific problem but it cannot be a safety net to a world gone mad. Permaculture can be one of the tools of transition though. Hopefully when the time comes there will be enough people with the knowledge and ability to help those needing to transition away from the useless economy that the pain can be minimized.



I'm asking for that help NOW, not in some fictional future.

Sorry for my awkward quoting and editing.

I think this discussion should probably be split off instead of clogging up this thread...


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------sorry i needed a reference point, I begin below -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I cannot speak to what systems are being put in place specifically, it is nearly impossible to assess each and every area, we each need to do that for our areas. I can tell you I have seen a local permaculture group holding free classes in many of the frugal areas (canning skills etc.), so it is a start and the best place to be frugal is to make the most of what you have. Very much like permaculture actually in that respect.

I can speak as to how people like you and I who are paying attention at least some of the time and believe if not down right expect things to not continue to be and work in the same manner they always have can get started:

First each of us needs to figure out what we love in regards to doing of things, living, making money,etc. Some people love math, some love gardening, some love finance; but only we as individuals can really ever figure out what we love. Watch this TED talk: Gary Vaynerchuk: Do what you love (no excuses!) link: http://www.ted.com/talks/gary_vaynerchuk_do_what_you_love_no_excuses.html This guy has it right!!! No excuses!!!

Next figure out what people need or what service that relates to what you love. Start doing that!!! If you aren't that good at it or don't know much about what you love that is where you start educating yourself. If you really love it you will be passionate about it, if you are passionate about it you will care about what you do. People see that and connect with that. They know H. Ludi Tyler and they know what she is passionate about, THOSE THINGS MATTER!!!

Look I am not suggesting you quit whatever you are doing, I am suggesting that if you see a future where whatever you are doing now to live, to make money to survive etc., may not one day be there, then you or anyone else needs to start thinking about that.
An example: As long a people keep dying; cemeteries and funeral directors and all the jobs related will always be there.... but it would be prudent to think about transitioning away from the related areas if suddenly a new break through meant after ten or so years of testing and research people never died again. Does that make any sense?

So figure out what you love!!! Most important!!!
Next figure out how to make money doing that. Except for a few purely evil things that come to mind that only a psychopath would actually love, everything else I come up with there is a niche open and waiting but it is only for the passionate, so DO WHAT YOU LOVE!!!
Okay so even I am starting to wonder about myself here... so ... If that isn't working out ask as many people as you can what they would pay or trade etc. for that relates to what you love. Then do that!!!

It is not about having the right skills for a perspective employer, it is about being your own boss. It is not about what jobs are available that I might do, it is about what do I love that I can get people to pay me for (sounds kind of bad, not meant that way). Of course this doesn't apply so much to people like accountants....however if they really love doing that work....there will always be a need for that work. If you are really living, making money,etc. doing what you love, you don't want to be hassled with those sorts of jobs...so eventually you will seek out people passionate about those things. Now you are not only your own boss but you employ (maybe just their services, not a real on the payroll employee anyway or not could go both ways actually I guess) another person who loves what they do and is hopefully as passionate about it as you are.

It is about loving what you do and why you do it so much that you no longer fear trying. People recognize that, people connect with and admire it and most of all people reward that.









P.S. There is another business opportunity right there, did you catch it?I just noticed it: A person who truly loved simply helping other people could start a business helping people figure out what they love and how to get started doing that.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks, Jeff. I guess I would be interested in what you are doing, your own self, so I can learn from your example. I'm "weary of theory" and want the cold hard facts of what people are actually DOING. People on this messageboard, not some people somewhere. How people on this messageboard have transitioned or are transitioning away from consumerist way of life to a permaculturist way of life. What they used to do for a living and what they do now.

 
tel jetson
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I started farming for a living when I was 19 years old. after a few years of that (or maybe it was only a few hours), I started understanding how wasteful farming can be: of fuel, of soil, of human effort. the folks I worked for are ecologically-minded and did try to reduce the negative impacts of their practices, but they were stuck with a whole lot of infrastructure and equipment that pointed toward one way of doing things.

so, while I was still farming for other folks, I started planting things and working on various projects when I got the chance at my grandparents' place. the idea being that I wanted to try to find some better ways to grow food and live. did that for maybe five or six years to give myself a head start when it came time to actually retire from farming, and start farming. that move came last summer.

I guess making the switch from farming to more responsible farming might not be particularly instructive here, especially since most folks don't have family land available at minimal expense. maybe the applicable part from my experience is that it pays to plan ahead and get started while a previous career is still intact. start small and build on success rather than throw caution to the wind and jump in whole hog.

if a person is already unemployed, that is, of course, a whole different story. I've got some ideas about that, too, but no concrete experience.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks tel, are you making a living by your new way of life?
 
tel jetson
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:Are you making a living by your new way of life, tel?


I am. and I can't say that my life changed that much outside of my work. the biggest change is probably moving from a big city to a small town. but I've always been fairly stingy and not particularly interested in the latest consumer goods. I work more hours now, but it's on things that I choose and feel good about. I do commute a whole hell of a lot less: fifteen minute bicycle ride each way compared to two hours on buses and bikes each way previously (though it was only thirty-five minutes on a bicycle when I started that job).

I'm certainly not getting rich, though. at least not in cash. my plans do involve earning a bit more money in the future, but not a lot. my involvement in the money economy is reluctant, but it's necessary for the time being. so I guess it's not a living that most people would be comfortable with. I'm well below the federal poverty line, for instance. but my life feels pretty nice.
 
nancy sutton
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This may not be what you are looking for, but two people who post here and have escaped the rat race are Ran Prieur (eponymous website and Jacob of 'early retirement extreme'. They planned ahead. My husband and I are retired, and have always lived very frugally, having been both raised by single mothers with little moola -- a good education in itself I have always been fascinated by self-sufficiency, DIY, the natural world, etc., and can now dig in deeply. I agree with those who believe that in the future, skill, tools and land will be most valuable. Plus, we'll have to add community building (not my specialty).... i.e., learning how to get along - mob . But it might be fun! (See 'The Age of Empathy", "A Paradise Built in Hell", et al)

(Mark Twin said " The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation." But I think he died deeply in debt.)




 
Burra Maluca
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I'm more interested in what people will do for a living as people become more frugal, rather than dreaming about a future in which people can somehow afford to buy hand-made shoes from their neighbor.


I'm not sure people *will* be buying shoes - they'll be making their own or doing without. From what I can make out, most people in my village only started to buy shoes around 40 years ago. I'll see if I can discreetly find out what they used to do about foot protection before that. I suspect they either went barefoot or made up leather 'booties', but I'm not sure.

Also, shoes don't seem to wear out so much unless you walk on ashpalt/hard-top roads. At least, the soles don't. Maybe the stitching on hand made stuff would need replacing if you spend your time pottering around in damp grass.
 
Fred Morgan
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It is about loving what you do and why you do it so much that you no longer fear trying. People recognize that, people connect with and admire it and most of all people reward that.


Not to be mean or rude but, what you are saying is that if you selfishly go after what you love to do, others will unselfishly reward you for doing this. Never seen this happen, except in the case of wealthy parents and their children. I personally love to just hike through forest, without a care in the world. There are very few jobs for that. Even a forest ranger has to accomplish something, I checked.

I took a different path, I learned to love doing what people needed and working in areas that I was able to do, though the job itself was what most people would have hated. It is similar to what we have to do in our permaculture, I have to go out and spread compost, though it isn't what I would normally love to do, but I have learned to enjoy the trudge up the hill with sacks of composted sheep manure, sawdust, etc, being grateful that it is free. People reward you very well when you meet THEIR needs, not yours.

What do I love to do? Take care of my wife, provide a future for my family, provide good jobs for those around me, and have some free time to pursue knowledge. How I achieve that is called work, and anything that moves me forward on my real goals is enjoyable.
 
Fred Morgan
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Burra Maluca wrote:
I'm more interested in what people will do for a living as people become more frugal, rather than dreaming about a future in which people can somehow afford to buy hand-made shoes from their neighbor.


I'm not sure people *will* be buying shoes - they'll be making their own or doing without. From what I can make out, most people in my village only started to buy shoes around 40 years ago. I'll see if I can discreetly find out what they used to do about foot protection before that. I suspect they either went barefoot or made up leather 'booties', but I'm not sure.

Also, shoes don't seem to wear out so much unless you walk on ashpalt/hard-top roads. At least, the soles don't. Maybe the stitching on hand made stuff would need replacing if you spend your time pottering around in damp grass.


I think the switch over started when people could watch TV instead of making what they need or wanted. It has become a bit of a rat race, you watch TV, and besides throwing away HOURS of time, your head is filled with all the things you don't have that now you want, and of course, it has to be the latest style.

What can we do know? Perhaps get rid of all televisions?
 
Fred Morgan
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In all honesty, the secret I have found to success (and we would be successful by most people's standards) is to control outgo. To explain, how much you make is not nearly as critical as how much you spend. Just like in your garden, it doesn't matter if you dump huge amounts of fertilizer, if it all just washes away in the rain. You first have to stop the flow of nutrients, then you can add whatever you want. Isn't that one of the secrets of permaculture? As our systems mature, we learn that inputs can be reduced.

It is the same in life. Once a month, go through your budget (you have a budget, right?) and see what you can cut. NEVER look at the bottom line, for what more you can spend. Nope, look at it from a point of view how much you can save, reinvest, or perhaps, work less.

The other thing is to read old books about how life was, so you can see what assumptions we now have about what things you have to have. Much of advertisement is trying to get people to fear small probabilities. A good example is that people fear riding their bike to work, though statistically, they are more likely to die from being sedentary, than being hit by a car while commuting. But of course, we have all heard of someone who was hit, so we live in fear (till we learn better)

When I was a kid, I rode my bike to school, ten miles away, on a 4 lane highway. I used to walk it sometimes too. Now, in the USA, in that part of the country, people are afraid to let their kids walk to school half a mile away. So, they kids are safe from being snatched, but are going to die early from being obese. Which one is more probable?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Fred Morgan wrote:
Not to be mean or rude but, what you are saying is that if you selfishly go after what you love to do, others will unselfishly reward you for doing this.


If I love turning out unnecessary doodads and people love buying them, and I go into the cranking out doodads business, I don't see how that helps me or anyone else transition away from consumerism! My comments weren't meant to start a conversation about selfishness or unselfishness - or success - but about how most (at least in the US) people's livelihoods are based on the production and consumption of unnecessary things, and how do we as individuals and as a society transition away from that consumerist way of life to a permacultural way of life.

I personally love what I do for a living, though sometimes I get a little tired of certain aspects of it, but I can't pretend that just because I love it it is in some way not entirely consumerist.
 
Fred Morgan
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The only way to change is education, which is fighting an uphill battle against advertisement. As was seen with cigarettes, advertisement trumps all the warnings you want to put out there. It is called propaganda, and until we can educate people, I doubt much will work.

But, there is some hope, life is a great educator, and perhaps, just perhaps, people will learn during this time. We will see.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think in addition to educating people not to be consumerists, we need to be considering how to help people find a way of earning a living which does not require consumerism. That's my main point; that most people's jobs (at least in the US) require a consumerist society, because most people don't do anything necessary to the basics of life. And if we successfully educate everyone to not be consumerist, or we're forced to stop being consumerists by circumstance (peak oil, for instance), how will people make a living? How can we as individuals and as a society transition to a different way of life? How can permaculture help in this transition?

 
Sandra Ellane
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I think it's hard to change that consumerist mentality, unfortunately it's become synonomous with what it means to be American (remember the president's advice to the nation when 9/11 happened-- 'just keep spending'). It's ingrained, I think due to a big machine of thought- corporations, PACs, big $$$. Universities teach that this is the only model that works, even as almost every industrialized nation on the planet suffers recession and economic default.

Ironically my post comes after I open my browser and go to a news site only to be inundated with glaring Get-Your-Black-Friday-Deals-Now!!! site redirects
 
Sandra Ellane
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Ok, since my last post had such a downer of a tone, I want to post something more positive. I'm looking into the feasability of raising chickens in the city and came across a little business here. They have an acre of land and raise chickens and do some gardening. They sell eggs and live chickens, and they hold workshops to teach others how to kill and dress the birds, as well as many other subjects.

So, there's an example of making a living without trying to hock stuff that people don't really need. Also, it seems that they are probably content with making 'enough' and not to get crazy rich.

Most business sites stress that to be successful in business you have to grow, grow, grow. I guess if there is an upside to the recession it's that it's giving us a chance to see that hyper-consumerism isn't all it's made out to be.
 
tel jetson
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
Fred Morgan wrote:
Not to be mean or rude but, what you are saying is that if you selfishly go after what you love to do, others will unselfishly reward you for doing this.


If I love turning out unnecessary doodads and people love buying them, and I go into the cranking out doodads business, I don't see how that helps me or anyone else transition away from consumerism! My comments weren't meant to start a conversation about selfishness or unselfishness - or success - but about how most (at least in the US) people's livelihoods are based on the production and consumption of unnecessary things, and how do we as individuals and as a society transition away from that consumerist way of life to a permacultural way of life.

I personally love what I do for a living, though sometimes I get a little tired of certain aspects of it, but I can't pretend that just because I love it it is in some way not entirely consumerist.


I think I mentioned this in the thread that spawned this one, but I don't know many folks who are advocating that we only produce and use what is absolutely necessary to life. just enough to survive does not sound like a good game plan to me. it actually sounds pretty terrible. the change that needs to happen is how and where we produce those things that aren't strictly necessary, or are even purely recreational or luxury goods. many of those things aren't intrinsically bad, but the way they're presently produced and distributed causes all sorts of trouble.

more to say, but chores are calling...
 
Fred Morgan
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Oh well, perhaps if people delayed gratification and didn't have loans, the only people unemployed would be bankers...
 
Brenda Groth
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Ludi, I'm not making a living off permaculture or food forest at this time, as I'm redoing areas I lost when we had a house fire and when my son moved a house on our property where I had my food forest garden and a small ash/aspen woods. I lost a nearly mature food forest and semi mature woodland to clear for Joel's house which was a dissappointment but we had promised to give him land. The demo for the house fire, and new house 40' back, removed a number of trees, shrubs and perennials as well, so it was start over.

At this point I am about 4 years into growing some of the fruit trees, 3 years into others and several nut trees, and the last two years we have added more baby trees, shrubs etc. So there isn't really much to see. I had large hugel beds and woodchip paths (which grew morel mushrooms, cool) and had bearing size apples, peaches, cherries, and pear guilds..they are all gone now..they were where Joel's house sits.

It was a difficult 5 years from the housefire to now, but we are getting a hand on the starting over..some apples are bearing, most aren't, some pears should bear next year and maybe some of the cherries, most aren't..rebuilding the soil in the new area is a real challenge, as it was a hardpan overused conventional garden area from before we were on the land, previous celery farm...so we are trying to break up hardpan with comfrey, horseradish, rhubarb and other deep rooted plants as well as the trees, and trying to find enough mulching material to build some decent soil..difficult to find materials around here as there is a cogen plant that burns sawdust, woodchips, etc..and all the hay and rye straw we could buy have gotten very expensive..we have no domestic farm animals other than 2 cats..but we do get some well spread free manure from our deer, bear and rabbit visitors as well as wild birds, turkeys, etc.

I wish I could help you with more info on more mature permie stuff, but as I'm starting over I have less to offer.
 
Danielle Favor
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Just a few stray thoughts -- I like to make stuff -- quilting is my current passion, but I also like taking old, junky furniture and giving it a new life with decorative painting and some TLC. I have made baskets from pine needles, knitted, crocheted, etc. These are hobbies -- I keep or give away most of what I do -- but I could make money if I needed to. If push comes to shove, my husband would probably have the more marketable skills -- he is a very talented handy man and can fix most anything. The field of alternative health care (everything from herbalist to reiki practioner) is viable now and likely to gain in importance. Transportation is another field that will likely transition -- think horses, sailboats, bicycle repair shops -- cater to those who want recreation in the here and now and be essential in the future.
 
Fred Morgan
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Here is one solution, not for the world, but for individuals. I have lands, and they are in five locations. I we live on one of them, but we could easily support people on all the other locations. Currently, two of them have homes, the rest, there is a building and it keeps the rain out and it is adequate for caretakers here (considered better than average, since we fixed them up). There is land that is available to use as well.

I need caretakers, currently I pay for them, but I would prefer not to since that requires cash outlay and honestly, is often a thorn in my side. If it were the right person, I could make a deal for watching over our property for having a place, rent free, to live, indefinitely.

A person would put what money they had into something besides buying a home. They could graze animals between the trees in the forest (sheep work very well for this - it is what we do), have a couple of horses, and all the chickens, pigs, etc they could stand. Plenty of space for permaculture, we aren't talking a few acres either, and it is the best of the land, since in Costa Rica, plantations of wood can't use around waterways.

Lots of fruit trees already in the plantations, and more could be planted. Fish in the rivers, and easy of building almost anything, since we heavy equipment.

I might ask the person be neighborly and share some of their excess they grow, and we would do the same.

The hang up of course is, like Paul here, I am the dictator. I like to say I am a benevolent one and can be reasoned with and really don't like to control people, but I am the steward of all the lands we own and I take that seriously.

If a person really wanted to and paid all expenses, eventually we could make a deal for where they live for them to buy.

This is a way to get started, without a lot of capital. And, all of these properties are incredibly beautiful, and part of permanent reforestation, though we do harvest wood, but it is never clear cut and is moving to a natural, permanent forest (with selective harvest)
 
Fred Morgan
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By the way, sometimes I wonder if I am one of the few people who are making a living off permaculture, as in producing enough to live on, sustainably using interconnections to make it happen, with very little work. Our income stream is from plantation wood which is the nursery for a more permanent forest. The cleaners between the trees when the trees are large is small livestock (sheep and calves) with a few horses. Those taking care of the lifestock, prune and remove some of the invasive brush, and plant rare species to replace what is harvested, though we have huge amounts of self seeded trees as well, we hand select for the very best.

We are always planting things like cacao (think chocolate), bananas, plantains, and lots and lots of fruit, because honestly, it helps the plantations, and provides another crop. We have unlimited fertilizer, due to putting the sheep in a fold every night - 140 sheep make a lot of poop, I figure we have 1 large sack, every day. Having a mill, we have an amazing amount of sawdust and wood shavings. We can easily produce a full truck load (think 6 ton truck) a week, which we sell to local chicken farms, dairies, etc, or exchange for dirty (i.e. after they have used it).

We also have a large fish pond, full of catfish, who feed on the waste of sheep and cattle. They sell for 6 dollars a pound on the local market. I could probably make more on catfish than sheep, honestly. Raise the sheep to feed the catfish, and sell the catfish.

We probably have thousands of fruit trees - who knows? They self seed here.

Sort of like sepp holzer, I was doing it, and didn't know that is what it was called. It just seemed logical to me to be thrifty and observant.

My opinion, life is like permaculture (no big surprise), it takes a bit to get going, but then, it is amazing how easy it becomes to support yourself. One issue is that we have broken down the family in the North, and so a young person starting off, starts with very little, besides debt. It used to not be this way.
 
Jeff Mathias
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Fred Morgan wrote:
Not to be mean or rude but, what you are saying is that if you selfishly go after what you love to do, others will unselfishly reward you for doing this.

Hi Fred,

To be clear I wrote nothing like this. The above is purely your creation from the words I wrote.


A couple of examples to help expand what I am talking about:

Look people don't buy tomatoes from the guy who is just dilligently doing his job to pay the bills, people will of course if that is the only choice. But if the same tomatoes grown in the same manner in the same area are priced at the same price; the majority of the people will buy from the person who is passionate about growing and selling them. It is in our nature to want to connect with others, espically people who are passionate about what they do.

One more: The best teachers are always the ones who love what they do. Because they love it they spend the extra time and effort to be better teachers. They are constantly connecting and discussing, constantly learning and adjusting; being a teacher for them doesn't stop when the bell rings; this is passion in doing what you love. This also does not automatically mean they love teaching; some love children, some love passing on knowelge etc. On the other end the worst teachers are there to collect a pay check, they have done what was asked of them in the manner prescribed and go home at the end of the day without another thought to teaching until tomorrow comes.

The last one: Ever seen a hand made knife(could be any tool) made by a person who had to make one for a paycheck vs the same style made by someone who loves making one? There simply is no comparison.
I personally love to just hike through forest, without a care in the world. There are very few jobs for that.

I think you missed this part of what I wrote: It is not about having the right skills for a perspective employer, it is about being your own boss. It is not about what jobs are available that I might do, it is about what do I love that I can get people to pay me for (sounds kind of bad, not meant that way).

Your example of hiking was quite interesting to me as I have an uncle who has made a living doing pretty much exactly this. You suggest there are very few jobs for someone who likes hiking, and while certainly there are very few jobs for that if a person is simply looking for someone to employ them to hike, however if one was were truly passionate about hiking and wanted to get paid to do something related; then like my uncle one could in fact stop looking for jobs that have to do with hiking and start creating jobs for themselves that revolve around hiking. This is doing what you love and are passionate about.

Here is a quote from sepp holzer's recent book that I thought applied:
"It is important to do exactly what makes you happy, piques your interest and encourages your thirst for knowledge. Then work will not feel like a chore and success will follow naturally."

 
Jeff Mathias
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:Thanks, Jeff. I guess I would be interested in what you are doing, your own self, so I can learn from your example. I'm "weary of theory" and want the cold hard facts of what people are actually DOING. People on this messageboard, not some people somewhere. How people on this messageboard have transitioned or are transitioning away from consumerist way of life to a permaculturist way of life. What they used to do for a living and what they do now.


Hi Ludi,

Learning by example is really better reserved for specific skills and functions. Unless you are me my example would not really benefit you. The thing is my facts most likely are not your facts nor are my passions most likely yours. Where I am, where I started at and what I started with are all appropriate to my situation only. Everyone can only begin with where they are and with what they have. The theory is important because it has been distilled down into something understandable but not refined so deeply that one gets caughts up in what someone else did to achieve it. It is much like Permaculture in that respect; You can read the Design Manual and know all the tools, and even have experience in the use of many of the tools. But you would never set out and simply start at page one and do things step by step as you move through the book to your property. Everything in the Design Manual has been proven to work and be effective but nobody expects it all to work all the time in all situations, doesn't mean we throw the book out but we choose and adapt what is appropriate to our situation.

As Fred mentions he has a good system working for him in his area, but you couldn't write down all of Fred's facts as you put it and try doing what he does in say Nebraska or even in most parts of the US. It simply would not work for both cultural reasons and climactic ones as well as a few others, but something can certainly be applied to your situation, that is the part we have to figure out for ourselves. Even when all the facts seem to be the same, quite often the results end up different simply for the difference in the people doing them.

I am sorry, I reread what I have written above and it does not feel to me that I have been able address what you are looking for here.
 
Dennis Mitchell
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Jeff Mathias wrote:
Fred Morgan wrote:
Not to be mean or rude but, what you are saying is that if you selfishly go after what you love to do, others will unselfishly reward you for doing this.

Hi Fred,

To be clear I wrote nothing like this. The above is purely your creation from the words I wrote.


A couple of examples to help expand what I am talking about:

Look people don't buy tomatoes from the guy who is just dilligently doing his job to pay the bills, people will of course if that is the only choice. But if the same tomatoes grown in the same manner in the same area are priced at the same price; the majority of the people will buy from the person who is passionate about growing and selling them. It is in our nature to want to connect with others, espically people who are passionate about what they do.

One more: The best teachers are always the ones who love what they do. Because they love it they spend the extra time and effort to be better teachers. They are constantly connecting and discussing, constantly learning and adjusting; being a teacher for them doesn't stop when the bell rings; this is passion in doing what you love. This also does not automatically mean they love teaching; some love children, some love passing on knowelge etc. On the other end the worst teachers are there to collect a pay check, they have done what was asked of them in the manner prescribed and go home at the end of the day without another thought to teaching until tomorrow comes.

The last one: Ever seen a hand made knife(could be any tool) made by a person who had to make one for a paycheck vs the same style made by someone who loves making one? There simply is no comparison.
I personally love to just hike through forest, without a care in the world. There are very few jobs for that.

I think you missed this part of what I wrote: It is not about having the right skills for a perspective employer, it is about being your own boss. It is not about what jobs are available that I might do, it is about what do I love that I can get people to pay me for (sounds kind of bad, not meant that way).

Your example of hiking was quite interesting to me as I have an uncle who has made a living doing pretty much exactly this. You suggest there are very few jobs for someone who likes hiking, and while certainly there are very few jobs for that if a person is simply looking for someone to employ them to hike, however if one was were truly passionate about hiking and wanted to get paid to do something related; then like my uncle one could in fact stop looking for jobs that have to do with hiking and start creating jobs for themselves that revolve around hiking. This is doing what you love and are passionate about.

Here is a quote from sepp holzer's recent book that I thought applied:
"It is important to do exactly what makes you happy, piques your interest and encourages your thirst for knowledge. Then work will not feel like a chore and success will follow naturally."





My experience is different. I tried and tried to build furniture. It was my passion. I closed down 6 galleries/stores in ten years. I "wasted" thousands of dollars and just as many hours. Those stores were people doing what they "loved". Smart, well financed, hard working, they all "failed". I finely did to. Reality doesn't always fit with how we think the world works.
 
Deb Stephens
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I would like to throw one more wrinkle into this very interesting conversation. It has often occurred to me that I (or rather "we" since my husband and I share these qualities) could get by happily with almost nothing-- save a dry, relatively warm shelter when needed, and enough food and water to keep from starving or dying of thirst, (basically living a hunter/gather lifestyle) except for one insurmountable problem -- we must have a certain amount of CASH on a regular basis to exist in the 21st century. The modern world simply will not tolerate the paradox of hunter/gathers who own property. It deals with us by imposing taxes and requiring car insurance, or compliance with codes, etc. -- continually forcing us back into the mainstream, like it or no, or face having our property taken away.

I'm not talking abount significant amounts -- not in our case, at least. We live an extremely green & frugal footprint already, and whenever we find ourselves short of cash for necessary items or expenses, we always look around to see what we can do without -- NEVER at how we can make more money to get more stuff. We actually need only about $400 per/month for all our household expenses save some food and veterinary care for our animals. If we did not have so many animals (all rescues from abusive and neglectful situations by the way) requiring cash expenditure on a regular basis, we could even reduce our monthly outlay to somewhere around $200 per month (and only need that regularly for 4 things -- my thyroid medication -- without which I would die within a year or so -- truck insurance / upkeep (plus gas) and tax payments on our land). We can easily raise or wild-forage all the food we consume, and the few personal items and clothing/shoes, etc. we purchase on rare occasion are from second-hand shops and worn until they have more holes than fabric before being ripped apart to make rugs or rags. But... a certain amount of money is, and always will be, essential in this era we live in. We MUST have a way to get it. Uncle Sam simply does not care that you don't use your vehicle except for a monthly trip to town 15 miles away for animal feed or that you do not support the trillion dollar wars -- you still have to help pay for the highway and the missles. So you do something to get the cash to pay Uncle Sam.

And of course, there is always going to be the threat of a catastrophic medical bill (for us or our animals) or a vehicle repair, or fixing a hole in the roof, etc. You can't know what may come up, so it is wise to have at least a little bit of cash laid by.

So... what it comes down to is that some of us would prefer to do without or barter for the few things we need, but the rest of the world isn't playing the game our way. Sometimes nothing else will do except to spend the almighty dollar. It is simply impossible, in this day and age, to BE the natural lifestyle advocating, self-sustaining purists our primitive ancestors were. We have to submit to at least a degree of consumerism (both buying and selling) in order to survive in both worlds simultaneously. The alternative is to divest ourselves of property completely and become beggars or nomads. No having the cake and eating it too.

 
Tyler Ludens
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I think a lot depends on where one lives. Many places the only fee one is required to pay civilization is property tax. Plenty of places don't have building restrictions, codes, etc. There's no requirement to own a car. Even "mandatory health insurance" isn't really mandatory. I think most of the restrictions we feel are self-imposed. For my part, nobody has ever prevented me from doing anything. Maybe it's just because I haven't tried to do much, but you know, that's my own fault, not somebody else's.

I know of a guy in Idaho, I think it is, who lives on his own land by subsistence. He makes his living by various odd jobs and selling stuff he grows. He decided it was a little too much trouble to grow tomatoes to sell, though it was lucrative, so he quit doing that. He doesn't have a car, electricity, etc. He walks into town to use the library computers, which is how I know of him from his posts on messageboards. His example proves it can be done.
 
Deb Stephens
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:I think a lot depends on where one lives. Many places the only fee one is required to pay civilization is property tax. Plenty of places don't have building restrictions, codes, etc. There's no requirement to own a car. Even "mandatory health insurance" isn't really mandatory. I think most of the restrictions we feel are self-imposed. For my part, nobody has ever prevented me from doing anything. Maybe it's just because I haven't tried to do much, but you know, that's my own fault, not somebody else's.

I know of a guy in Idaho, I think it is, who lives on his own land by subsistence. He makes his living by various odd jobs and selling stuff he grows. He decided it was a little too much trouble to grow tomatoes to sell, though it was lucrative, so he quit doing that. He doesn't have a car, electricity, etc. He walks into town to use the library computers, which is how I know of him from his posts on messageboards. His example proves it can be done.




Yes, I realize that no one "makes" you own a car or buy anything that you do not want to buy, but that was not really my point. I only meant to point out that today we must bow to certain societal constraint if we CHOOSE to own land and homestead it. The only truly free people are nomadic hunter/gatherers (ideally without animals), and in this country, in this century, there are few places (if any) where one can pursue that lifestyle without running afoul of the law or facing the wrong end of an irate landowner's shotgun. The irony is that while we strive to be completely self-sustaining, we are setting ourselves up to be part of a system that requires us to literally "buy into it". Property ownership gives us a measure of security over our lives and allows us to make greener choices, but it also forces us to follow at least a few rules we may not have chosen to follow if given the freedom to decline.

I don't want to pay taxes (and I certainly don't want those I do pay to go to many of the programs they ultimately fund) but its either that or lose my property and potentially face jail time. I also really do not want to own a vehicle!!! My husband and I have frequently played the what if game with vehicle-less scenarios, but for us -- given our distance from even a small town -- and our animals, who are unfortunately, still dependent upon the system for much of their food and medical care -- we simply have to keep one. (Incidentally, when we lived in a city, we did not own a vehicle, but either walked or took a bus wherever we needed to go.) Our compromise here is that we maintain only one, older vehicle and we use it for prescribed trips only. We never joy ride or go out just to be doing something. Our truck is a farm truck used to pick up supplies, haul wood or rocks as needed and nothing else. It is merely a tool that helps us to live a sustainable lifestyle. I still find myself open-jawed when I hear other people talk about their $30,000 and $40,000 vehicles in hushed whispers (as if they were worshipping at some sort of shrine). We didn't pay that much for our land! My viewpoint on all vehicles is that they are meant to get you from point A to point B and to be useful for getting other things the same distance. Period. I just can't wrap my mind around the concept of a vehicle as status symbol. But I digress...

As to living sustainably. I think it is time we looked at the definition of that word. It gets bandied about a lot, but the meaning seems to change with the viewpoint of the user. For example, your friend in Idaho. Even though he grows food and walks to town to use the library, and has no electricity, he is probably not wearing shoes or clothing he made himself after first killing an animal and tanning a hide, or growing cotton and spinning and weaving the cloth. He probably purchased his shoes and clothes. And how did he do that? He SOLD a product to someone else in exchange for --- guess what? -- CASH. So, is he truly self-sustaining or is he at least partially dependent upon the system?

Don't get me wrong. I admire and respect anyone who is working that hard to get away from this consumer system. It is our #1 goal in life to be free of it entirely and you would be hard-pressed to find people who live more completely away from the rat race and the whole consumer paradigm as my husband and I do, but I am realistic about it. I recognize that until I can personally learn and execute all of the offices and trades of a traditional village, I will probably always be dependent upon someone or something to a certain degree to provide that good or service to me. I can do a lot of things and I can take care of myself better than most, but I still do not know how to turn flax into woven cloth for example. (I'm working on it.) I would still prefer to wear manufactured shoes (even thrift store bargain ones) over those I make myself -- although I have actually produced a few prototypes that show real promise, and making all my own footwear is a goal I intend to accomplish this year.

We do have electricity, but it is minimal and used only to power two laptops, about 1/2 a dozen CFL bulbs, one radio and the occassional power tool when doing major building around the place. For most carpentry work we use (and prefer) hand tools. Also (almost forgot) our well pump uses electricity, but we recently purchased a solar powered pump to eliminate that drain on the system and we plan to install it in the spring. The ultimate goal is 100% non-electric usage, but we already consume less than 80% of the electricity used by a sampling of 100 of our neighbors who use 40% less than the next 100 users sampled in our area -- that's according to a report we obtained from our electric co-op. What it comes down to is we use so little electricity that they only charge us the minimal monthly service fee -- which is still for more electricity than we actually consume.

Anyway, I need to get to work, so I will stop for now, but I think you will understand my point.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Deb Stephens wrote: I only meant to point out that today we must bow to certain societal constraint if we CHOOSE to own land and homestead it.


Yes, I agree with that point.

I've never argued people can or should live separate from any other people, which seems to be a point you're arguing for some reason. I'm not sure what a lot of your arguments are about, actually.

 
Deb Stephens
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H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I've never argued people can or should live separate from any other people, which seems to be a point you're arguing for some reason. I'm not sure what a lot of your arguments are about, actually.


No, that is not the point I am making (though it may be a small part of it). If you show me specifically what you do not understand, I can try to explain it more simply. Otherwise, I don't know how I can help you.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Never mind.


 
You can thank my dental hygienist for my untimely aliveness. So tiny:
2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs
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