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how to change the world - triple emphasis on "how" and what one person can do

 
author and steward
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three things - the first two are not doing so good

thing 1: Be angry at bad guys.  It's a rigged playing field, but with enough people pushing hard enough all at once, there will be change.  Brute force against the bad guys.  It is a difficult path, but if we can get 100 million people to get to work we can do it.


thing 2: Sacrifice.  If enough people suffer, the power will be stripped from the bad guys.  It is a difficult path, but if we can get 100 million people to get to work we can do it.


thing 3:  Viral luxuriance.  All of the advantages of "thing 2" but the opposite of sacrifice.  This is what I advocate.  Come up with a solution that is so good that it saves people money and/or adds a lot of luxuriance to their life.   The people that want change seek the change so they can get the end result and they happen to get the other benefits too.  People that are less motivated by the global change angle, make the change for the direct benefits.    It is an easy path, but if we can get 100 million people to get to work we can do it.


thing 3.1:  Heat.  In a cold climate, 65% of one person's energy consumption involves heat.  The solutions must be to make people luxuriantly warm while saving them a lot of money.

thing 3.1.1:  Microheaters to heat the people instead of the whole house.  This cuts the heating bill by 90%.  Do as much or as little as you want.  More

thing 3.1.2:  Rocket mass heaters.  This cuts the heating bill by 98%.  A wood burning contraption you can build.  Compared with a conventional wood stove, it heats with one tenth the wood and one thousandth the smoke.  Overview / forum / FAQ

thing 3.1.3:  Wofati to use the heat from the summer to heat a home in winter.   Still a bit experimental, but promising.  Overview / forum / allerton abbey


thing 3.2:  Less poison in our environment.  Cancer and other ailments go to the top of this list.   Better air, water and food.  Every solution needs to add immediate gratification (luxury) while saving money.   A few big things combined with a lot of little things.

thing 3.2.1:  Pooless - eliminate the use of soap and shampoo in the shower.  After a week, people report that they feel cleaner, smell better and have better skin and hair.  They can also sleep in an extra five minutes every morning, save money on the product and this is the #1 way to reduce the hot water bill.  Plus less toxic gick being smeared on their bodies has resulted in thousands of people experiencing the end to chronic ailments.

thing 3.2.2:  Clean with cleaners you can eat.

thing 3.2.3:  Permaculture gardening.


thing 3.3:  Food. 50% of our petroleum footprint and 35% of our carbon footprint is tied to our food.

thing 3.3.1:  Grow a garden.

thing 3.3.1:  An apple a day.  When you eat an apple, put the seeds in your pocket. Plant the seeds when you see a spot. An apple a day could result in cutting your carbon footprint 100 tons per year.


...  I gotta run away for a moment, but maybe folks can make suggestions about what more to add to this list that I started.  Community needs a spot on the list ...



...  this is the bit that inspired me to write this:

Many people have told me that I am the most evil person in the world because the things I advocate are the same things that big oil advocates:  blame the consumer rather than blame big oil.  Effort is distracted from the true enemy as people go plant gardens instead of join the fight against big oil.

I like to think that if these ideas do go viral, as I hope they will, then the total amount of money going to big oil and big whatever will dramatically shrink.  So rather than fight big oil directly while continuing to give them mountains of money - simply take their money away.  I think most people don't see a way to take their money away.  I hope to paint a picture full of so much luxury and money savings that millions of people will will gradually transition to a better life and, along the way, find that they no longer want to commute to a workee job - and they just end up going to a grocery store or restaurant less often.  That they know few people with cancer and ailments.  It won't be perfect, but it will be better.   And I think it has a better chance of success than the political fight, or the sacrifice.

 
pollinator
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One thing that continues to amaze me is the decadence of home grown meals. Talk about luxury! 5 star dining that leaves you feeling physically and spiritually  nourished. And usually at a cost that is comparable to the cheapest fast.food options
 
steward
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I tried to think of more and fill the list out some more. I'm sure I'm missing a ton! It'd be neat to have links for each of these, too!


thing 3.1:  Heat.

thing 3.1.4: Incandescent light Light is better for your eyes, helps with your circadian rhythm, heats your house, and requires less energy to produce the lightbulb. Incandecent better than LED

thing 3.1.5: use a clothesline and wash in cold water Instead of heating your clothes dry in the dryer, hang them outside on a nice day--they'll be dried naturally, and sanitized in the proceeds. Use cold water to wash most clothes.  

thing 3.2:  Less poison in our environment.

thing 3.2.4: Wear natural fibres Natural fibres require less energy to produce than non-natural fibres. They breath better, are compostable, and do not create microplastics with each wash. Buying well-made natural fabrics will last longer and be easier to mend, too. Clothes are polluting our oceans

thing 3.2.5: Buy clothing and items at thrift stores and garage sales Save money, keep things out landfills, and don't get laden with plastic wrapping and packaging that's on store-bought items. You'll often get much higher quality items than you can get in big box stores.

thing 3.2.6: Go Zero (or reduced) Waste Need less (or no!) trash service because you no longer have wrappers and packaging to throw away. Tips for how to shop zero waste

thing 3.2.7: Bike or walk when possible Get exercise, build community talking to those you pass, enjoy the scenery, and save money. And use a lot less fossil fuels!

thing 3.2.8: Have more of the stuff you need to do be within walking/biking distance Work from home, have a thriving community of people nearby that produce the things you need and want.



thing 3.4:  Cooling.

thing 3.4.1: Plant deciduous trees or vines on the south and west sides of your house[/b] cooling shade in the summer. Added bonus: have the trees/vines produce food for you!

thing 3.4.2: Open windows at night Use cross ventilation to cool down your house during the night, and bring in fresh air. Close up the windows during the day to keep the cool air in. Use white/reflective curtains or window shutters to keep the house cool during the day.



thing 3.5:  Community.

thing 3.5.1: more people living under one roof without stabbing each other

thing 3.5.1: trade/barter

thing 3.5.2: replace petroleum with people
 
Nicole Alderman
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adding more:


thing 3.1:  Heat.

thing 3.1.6: heat the person, not the place incandescent light-bulb above, space heater nearby, cozy blankets and sweaters. Heat you and where you are, rather than keeping the whole house at 72 degrees F. https://richsoil.com/electric-heat.jsp

thing 3.1.7: insulate with curtains keep the cold out by using wool or other thick curtaing.

thing 3.1.8: better home insulation

thing 3.1.8: heat by baking cook your food at home, rather than buying take out. https://permies.com/t/62284/ways-save-winter-heating


thing 3.2:  Less poison in our environment.

thing 3.2.9: natural make-up and hair dye or don't use any at all! https://permies.com/t/56923/personal-care/purity/natural-beauty

thing 3.2.10: washable menstrual products switch to the cup or to washable pads. Or, buy 100% natural (compostible) pads and/or tampons.  https://permies.com/t/37417/personal-care/purity/shark-week-pads-tampons-cups


thing 3.4:  Cooling.

thing 3.4.3: reflective shades and curtains reflect the sun and help insulate by using light/reflective curtains/shade/blinds.

thing 3.4.4: overhangs, covered porches Shade your windows and house by adding overhangs and covered porches.

thing 3:4:5: loose fitting clothing dress in clothes that will help you stay cool.

thing 3.4.6: earth sheltered buildings: like the wofati! Use the cool of winter to keep your house cool in the summer.


[b]thing 3.5:  Community.


thing 3.5.4: shop local  support your local community, barter/buy/trade food and items with your neighbors.

thing 3.6.5: share permaculture online and with your friends[b] share knowledge and build each other up.


[b]thing 3.6:  Food.


thing 3.6.1: permaculture gardens grow your own food beyond organically

thing 3.6.2: trade food within your neighbor super local food. Even better if you never have to get in a car to get the food, and your neighbors are within walking/riding distance.

thing 3.6.3: low-energy cooking haybox cookers, pressure cooker/Instant Pots, solar ovens

thing 3.6.4: cook with sticks from your yard utilize highy efficient wood-powered rocket stoves and ovens. Cook your food with sticks form your property.


thing 3.7:  Money.

thing 3.7.1: build residual income streams

thing 3.7.2: work from home no need to waste time and energy driving too and from work--work from home!

thing 3.7.3: vote with your wallet buy items, food, and services from company and people who support your values.

thing 3.7.4: Gert live the life of a permaculture millionare--need less money because you are able to provide more for yourself, have a thriving local community to sell/trade with. Need less of the stuff that sucks your soul and wallet.

thing 3.7.5: SKIP the rat race gain the experience and knowledge that would make a retiring farmer wish to give his/her land to you.

thing 3.7.6 Extreme Early Retirement work extra hard and save a larger percentage of your money (by cutting expenses and unneeded purchases) so that you can retire early.

 
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paul wheaton wrote:
thing 3:  Viral luxuriance.  All of the advantages of "thing 2" but the opposite of sacrifice.  This is what I advocate.  Come up with a solution that is so good that it saves people money and/or adds a lot of luxuriance to their life.  


^^ Exactly this ^^  A thousand apples.  Show people how it benefits THEM.  Permaculture has to be open and attractive to everyone for it to spread outside what is often perceived as a marginal/fringe crowd. By focusing on how someone can better their own life, who wouldn't want to adapt at least some of the principles?  Even if each person did only one thing, can you imagine the difference?

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

Nicole wrote:thing 3.1.5: use a clothesline and wash in cold water Instead of heating your clothes dry in the dryer, hang them outside on a nice day--they'll be dried naturally, and sanitized in the proceeds. Use cold water to wash most clothes.  


We don't have enough nice days :-), but I learned that clothes that are lightly soiled (slight body odor, something spilled on them, etc), I don't even use soap.  The action of the washer cleans them.  Now, for my husband's stinky gym clothes, that's another situation.  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Julie Harris wrote:
We don't have enough nice days :-), but I learned that clothes that are lightly soiled (slight body odor, something spilled on them, etc), I don't even use soap.  The action of the washer cleans them.  Now, for my husband's stinky gym clothes, that's another situation.  



Not nearly enough nice days! I can't dry outside if it's after the fall equinox and before the spring equinox. It's just to dark and damp that nothing dries out there. But, from the beginning of spring to the end of summer, I seize every sunny day to dry as much outside as I can!
 
pollinator
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Hand wash in cold water with no/minimal soap and air dry (in the shade) and your clothes will last 10 times longer.  
 
gardener
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Julie Harris wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
thing 3:  Viral luxuriance.  All of the advantages of "thing 2" but the opposite of sacrifice.  This is what I advocate.  Come up with a solution that is so good that it saves people money and/or adds a lot of luxuriance to their life.  


^^ Exactly this ^^  A thousand apples.  Show people how it benefits THEM.  Permaculture has to be open and attractive to everyone for it to spread outside what is often perceived as a marginal/fringe crowd.



Some of the things listed above sound great for the environment, but I'm missing how they relate to "luxuriance." How can I show people that some of these things benefit them? Saving a few dollars here and there isn't enough for many people that I know, especially when there's a convenience factor to overcome. It requires learning new things and changing habits, neither of which provide the immediate gratification that many want to see.

A few ideas. I'd love to see more, too!

Thing 3.3.1 Grow a garden
Benefit -- Most food TASTES so much better fresh from the garden. I didn't like asparagus, beets, radishes, or a number of other veggies until I tried them freshly picked.
Benefit #2 -- You can try a wider variety. Grocery stores are limited to what transports well, lasts on their shelves, and sells. Growing your own opens up lots of new food adventures!

Thing 3.2 Have less poisons in our environment.
Benefit - Less suffering for those who are sensitive to synthetic chemicals. I've seen story after story of people who can't visit family, can't go in crowded places, can't go shopping in person, etc. because of the abundance of perfumes, hairsprays, fabric softeners, air fresheners, and other scented junk. Most people aren't even aware of how many synthetic scents they wear each day.

Thing 3.2.2 Clean with cleaners you can eat.
Benefit - Less concern about toddlers and kids getting into toxic chemicals. I joined some online mom groups recently, and chemicals in the home is a big concern that gets mentioned.

Thing 3.2.4 Wear natural fibers
Benefit - Smell better! I don't remember which thread it was, but it was mentioned that synthetic fibers make armpit odor worse.

Thing 3.2.10 Washable or natural menstrual products
Benefit - Many women say their periods are much less painful after ditching tampons and chemically processed pads.
 
Nikki Roche
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I mulled this over a bit and realized how much I was talking about myself and not just "other people." I don't feel like I have the mental capacity to make all of the changes that I want to make. I'm overwhelmed and easily fall for convenience or how I've always done things. I make the changes that seem to make the biggest impact for me and my baby, not the environment.

For example, I had every intention of cloth diapering my baby. But family refused to change cloth diapers, and my postpartum recovery demanded all of the help I could get. I also didn't feel up to adding anything to myself, like washing extra loads or going through the learning curve of cloth diapers. I have some guilt every time we empty the trash, but the convenience makes up for it. I think we have fewer diapers, since we're doing part-time elimination communication, so I accept it as a temporary evil.

Many things with permaculture seem to require I build something, which requires the time, energy, and know-how, or buy pre-built, which requires a good chunk of money up front as well as research on the best options. At the very least, it requires a change in habits and decision making, which just aren't happening quickly when I'm overwhelmed and sleep deprived. So while permaculture principles will save time, money, etc. in the future, I'm realizing how often I reach for immediate and short-term results. I could definitely go for luxuriant and convenient, but I'm not seeing that in many of the options.

I didn't save the link that I got this quote from, but it's certainly accurate for me.

People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. “Here’s what our product can do” and “Here’s what you can do with our product” sound similar, but they are completely different approaches.”

 
paul wheaton
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I love this graphic



In the end, if you care, you do the things you can do.  
 
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Here's a nice little ditty for tomorrow's Throw Back Thursday play list.  Paul Wheaton presenting 72 Bricks
 
paul wheaton
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bump
 
pollinator
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Honestly, I've had good luck with pies, jams and relish.

My black raspberry bushes are on the edge of our property and I've been selling pies of them and some other fruits to the guys in that business. Both have started planting berry bushes and trees on their properties.

Homemade relish and chutney got the couple across the street to put in a kitchen garden.

A sour cherry pie was a welcoming gift to the new neighbors on the other side and now they are asking for info and how to handle their volunteer mulberries and have already put in some rhubarb plants.

Many of the easier permaculture fruits around here aren't commercially available, or really expensive, so letting people sample how good they can be gets them really excited. ( the present spiking food prices here is also helping)

I've always been a believer in sharing good recipes so this method is a bit harder for those people who feel the need to keep "secret" recipes.
 
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Dian Green wrote:... now they are asking for info and how to handle their volunteer mulberries ...

Apparently the new leaves are human edible. I admit I haven't tested mine, as our spring weather was weird and I didn't want to take strength from the plants. Mulberries are a bit marginal here, but they actually seem to be having a good year. Getting people interested in less common foods is great, because these foods are less likely to be produced as a monoculture.
 
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Paul: Big Fan. Preach On.

In (large) part because of what I have read here over the years, I moved my family to a smallish but established co-op on 100 acres hidden deep in the Madawaska woods. We lucked out in that a 20-year-old homemade building needed caretakers and internal politics in these groups being what it is, a bunch of people had just left and few had stepped up to take their place.

By established agreement the community uses many of the aforementioned techniques to reduce waste and consumption -- there are only three showers on the property, most people use them once a week or less. No flush toilets; in-place compost and humanure outhouse systems only. There are three giant deer-fenced community gardens, several smaller "private" gardens, mature if scattered food forest elements everywhere.

We just dug out the original (constructed) pond so it flows better and makes an ideal swimming hole. Put a new green roof on the communal root cellar I have posted about before. Lots of different structures, some round wood, some milled. We often rent a wood mill to deal with falls in the winter; there's a big pile of boards under tin in the woods that I raid regularly. Many overt permaculture advocates here and nearby. I think three folk with completed PDCs on campus (plus a couple of gifted construction and electronics people and my eclectic and pristinely uncertified self).

All wood-heated buildings (no RMHs yet) with (occasional) propane cookstoves. Chickens, goats, bees, and now a few pigs for land clearance experiments and hopefully bacon. Lots of deer and wild turkeys we have agreed not to hunt, but easily could if the trucks stopped delivering.

And it is paradise here. The food is amazing. The air is wine. My children spent hours today frolicking with baby goats under overgrown apple trees. Mushrooms jump out from under my feet. Needful things are tucked in every corner, or can be borrowed from a neighbour. My partner sells flowers and special-diet-conscious baked goods at market and through local sales co-ops. I work from home and throw all my money into (bulk whole) food and renting this prime (but still cheeeep) space. Spent a couple hundred bucks on good shoes and boots this year but not a lot else.

I can feel decades of damage from city living slowly healing. Like rolling back the telomeres.

I am amazed that hordes of people aren't beating down our twisty driveway to get in here. Of course it's work and of course it takes some adaptation, but it is hard to overstate how almost everything is so much better here than in any city I have occupied or visited.

If you think The Politics of Communal Living is fraught, try living in an apartment building. Or managed condos. Or working in any workplace ever.

OK so the internet sucks; we raised a 80' tower this Spring. We're going to source our own relay for broadband and reduce EM exposures at the same time (better angles, they tell me). In the meantime, I have an excuse for not being on-call-at-cellphone-notice-at-every-moment. And we can still stream a little TV or even fire up the projection screen for movie night if we feel the need.

Lots of LEDs here, Paul, sorry. I guess for the low voltage draw on the solar system. (I didn't install them.)

Living here and skipping the rat race is still the better choice, on every front. Find a place and leap if you haven't yet.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:

Dian Green wrote:... now they are asking for info and how to handle their volunteer mulberries ...

Apparently the new leaves are human edible. I admit I haven't tested mine, as our spring weather was weird and I didn't want to take strength from the plants. Mulberries are a bit marginal here, but they actually seem to be having a good year. Getting people interested in less common foods is great, because these foods are less likely to be produced as a monoculture.



Mulberry leaves are edible, here in Korea they are used as famine food, I use them as rabbit forage. They grow like weeds(zone 7) so there's almost enough to supply my ravenous bunnies. Koreans typically prepare foraged greens by blanching them and seasoning them. I have yet to try eating the mulberry leaves myself. Choose young leaves, older ones are usually lacy from bug nibbling.

Mulberries are a very useful tree and one I'll be planting when I get my new farm. They produce black berries that are somewhat tasty and make a decent vinegar. Large tender heart shaped leaves are edible by most, they grow quick like willow trees so could be used for quick wood or brush supply. Very hardy here in zone 7. White mulberries can feed silk worms which can produce fibre and larvae for fowl.
 
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ATTENTION; every bit of Paul's endeavors have merit - granted, but HOLD for to really change the world we need to radically change the global government process, so that the governors are bonded students of one world governance, and all dedicated to enact what they learned in Governance University - working TOGETHER.

Then the world's populace, 90% of who loathe war, eco pollution, inequality, poverty, and species extinction - to name a few of today's woes, need to be alerted to the fact that there is an entirely new world coming as the governance students graduate to be elected to their nation's top leadership positiosn. This is HUGE NEWS, never before presented to the planet and it obviously goes totally viral via all manner of books, pod casts, websites, news room mania and even volunteer boots on the desert and jungle grounds.

It is totally unstoppable as virtually everyone is wonderfully and delightfully turned on to creating finally an intelligent cadre of learned dudes and dudettes working together to produce this small but doable miracle of CHANGE. You may think that the f powers that be can stop this? Not with the tidal wave of population support...nope.

A pipe dream? Ok...sure, but it is time to get going - time to present this energy and support it in any and every way we can.

Model is available, still in nascent draft stage - so give it a break as you study it and come back with creative suggestions to make it better, and above all, get this shared via all your contacts - www.jaguarambassadorsgang.org ... ENJOY!

(ANYONE wanting to volunteer energies of dissemination (contacting Poli Sci teachers for class presentation, newsrooms, influencers, adoptors etc etc) can get in touch with me via tranquilco@gmail.com) Thanks to one and all who meditatively support this revolutionary energy and applause it if even just in their thought energy, yay!
 
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On those cloth diapers - it's probably too late, but there was once a thing called a "diaper liner" which you put in the cloth diaper. If the baby peed, you put everything through the laundry and used them again. If the baby pooped, probably you threw the liner away with the poop, and had an easy time washing the diaper.
 
pollinator
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I really like the emphasis on what one person can do.
 Something that hasn't been directly mentioned is learning how to treat, illness and injuries and childbirth naturally. There is soooo much around us no matter what part of the world we are on that can be used. I have been learning and learning and learning and learning. As I learn I have opportunities to use what I have learned. As a former volunteer medical first responder with a small rural fire department, and former certified nurse aide and trained medical tech ,through which I learned how to do lots of basic care of others, I have had more and more desire to move away from hospital based medical care. There is so much good which comes out of looking at all the opportunities to treat without focusing on a hospital as the goal post.
So far this year some of my opportunities include: I stopped a growing allergic reaction on a foot with bruised plantain, healed a dog bite starting to get infected with st. John's wort oil, healed cat bites and scratches with salt, delivered a baby and got the mother snuggled down and nursing when the midwife didn't make it in time, treated throat and lung irritation with herb teas.
 The encouragement on here is invaluable!!
 
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There are some great ideas in this thread! What about if one person got an annonymous donation of $500, 000? How could that one person spend it to make a difference in the world? Paul, Katie and Jay brainstorm ideas in podcast #45.

https://permies.com/wiki/228642/Podcast-Struggling-big-spend-Part#1971241
 
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133 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permaculture-design-course.com/
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