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the solutions are simple  RSS feed

 
master steward
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paul wheaton wrote:

For ten years people have given me advice on what I should do.   Doing all the things that have been suggested would take a hundred people ten years.   And then people are pissed that I didn't do the thing they suggested.  I can't carry this burden anymore.   Somebody else has to solve this.  Not me.  Probably somebody famous.  Probably somebody that knows how to connect to the masses.  


It looks like you got some help here. (I posted about this here, but I know you don't usually get time to check most of the threads)



Jay Lavery of Permaculture Inn in new York danced in his goat barn and got nearly 6.5 million views for permaculture in two weeks, as well as an article in Huffington Post mentioning his permaculture efforts. If he gets even bigger, maybe he'll even get on TV and be able to promote permaculture!
 
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Nicole, thanks for the video!  7 million plus views now for the permaculture farmer dancing in the barn...  don't know how many find out his place is called "Permaculture Inn" but it's got to be a lot.  I watched him dance and told my daughter (who wandered in, drawn by the lure of video playing) that he must be my age, he dances like we danced in the clubs in the late 80's.  Lo and behold, he is 50.  (I am 50.)  I'm touched that he dances to help him manage his back pain, status post multiple back surgeries.  Good on 'im!

Hey Paul, have you seen that your comment on the global warming video is now a "Highlighted Comment," which puts it on top of the comments section with its 82 thumbs up ( pssst, click the link and give it a thumbs up, people!!   ) even though the next one (with a political joke) has 590 thumbs up.  Currently there are 70 replies to Paul's highlighted comment, the first several are by Paul, in a sort of tweet-storm format.  If you feel so inclined, go and joint the comments stream in a supportive way.  I went up and distributed lots of thumbs (mostly up).
 
Julia Winter
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Belinda Roadley wrote:
My dad only started changing his mind about permaculture when he saw the benefits. Permaculturists were flourishing during downturns because of the diversity of their farm's offerings. Cattle ranchers were making more money per acre because they started doing rotational grazing. Keeping chickens didn't mean massive start-up costs because there were no sheds involved. Keylined fields were green during the arid summers when everyone else's pastures were going to dust.
Heck, even the little things made some difference. He saw how much more robust and healthy my baby chickens were when I kept them away from medicated feed. He believed they'd drop dead without it. Instead, they thrived. He constantly battled with a weed-ridden lawn. I told him to leave the lawn longer when mowing, and to stop herbicide use (and explained why). After the chicken thing, he gave it a go. His lawn has fewer weeds now than ever.

When people witness (or hear from enough friends/family who have witnessed) the benefits of permaculture, they generally agree the benefits are worthwhile. The exception to this is when they can't see a personal application. For example, it's easy for someone to switch from cage eggs to free-range eggs (thus we almost never see caged eggs in store anymore). It's not easy for a harried mother of five kids who works full-time to suddenly start feeding her family from her garden. It's not easy to convince a business man to stop using his deluxe gas stove and instead build a potentially hazardous DIY stove that requires something "as hippie as sticks" to fuel. (For the record, I love backyard gardening AND rocket stoves, just trying to provide the outside viewpoint).
Rather, the harried mother needs to experience amazing food that she just can't seem to find at the supermarket. She needs to have friends in her situation who grow amazing food for nearly zero effort. She needs to witness cost-effectiveness.
The business man needs to have a colleague who had his modern home architecturally designed and built using passive solar techniques. He needs to go to a pizza party where the hosts cook amazing food on their rocket-stove-fueled pizza oven.

Personally, I believe that the key to getting people to listen is to live what we teach, and do it successfully and in a modern context. Most people think that being green means living like bush people. They think it's unprofitable. They think it doesn't work. They think it's hard. The more things we accomplish in our own lives, the more others are able to see the benefits that apply to their personal situations. The goal is not to be a PSA commercial, but a living, breathing example of how AWESOME the alternative is.



Yes.  I do think that living well is an essential part of promoting permaculture.  How do we redefine what winning is?  Everybody thought electric cars were stupid golf carts for hippies until Elon Musk made an electric car that everybody wanted.  This is one way to change attitudes.  You need to choose what can work for you, learn it, do it well, and REVEL in your success.  The masses will see you, basking in your awesomeness and think "How do I get some of that?"
 
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I see similarities in the permaculture movement to the Linux movement.  Linux being an open source computer operating system software development as an alternative to the established and expensive for-profit Microsoft Windows that made Bill Gates, other Microsoft founders and other early investors so ridiculously wealthy.   The Linux developers wanted an OS that they could develop, use, and control themselves.  The Linux developers were not the inventors of open source but their efforts have popularized open source development far beyond operating systems into all types of application software and into hardware projects.   Many people are now posting all types of hardware designs into the commons for all people to use and improve upon.  In the early days the Linux people were chided that Linux would never come close to competing with Windows.  These same people just couldn’t understand the response they received from Linux enthusiast, that their goal was never to compete with Windows but to build an OS for themselves.  The point here is that the business establishment tried to impose a “merit/rating” system on the Linux community that the Linux community had no interest in.  As it is turning out Linux has worked its way into the Apple OS and is making a significant dent in the Windows market.

I look at permaculture as a Linux and Big-ag, Big-commodity, Big-chemical, Big-fertilizer and other associated big business as the Microsoft.  People may deride permaculture and you may get frustrated that it isn’t catching on fast enough but it has momentum and keeps moving forward.

It is becoming obvious to more and more people that our current business model is unsustainable.  It is not possible to put an infinite number of people/creatures on a finite planet.  I think permaculture has the right path.  I worry more about permaculture being co-opted by big corporations and big money than I do about the pace of it being accepted and practiced.
 
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You reached me, Paul.  I am nobody, but you reached me.  One person.  I shared with my wife and we are moving in the right direction now.  We are sharing with friends and family, however slowly that may be.

Don't fret over the masses.  They will come running when their system fails.
 
pollinator
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Paul - you have had a huge impact on this movement, worldwide. I am so grateful for everything you have done, and for everything I have learned and continue to learn.  Don't underestimate the power of reaching even one person.

That being said, I certainly hear your frustrations and burnout. I thought I could reach out to my neighbors in this remote African village, and help them improve their lives by teaching sustainable methods. Nobody wanted to hear me, so I said, let me prove it by example- and set to work improving our own little farm.  It is deep in the dry season, and we are still harvesting copious amounts of green leafy vegetables. But instead of saying, "wow, those methods really work," as I had hoped, they are saying its witchcraft.  Yes, I am serious. The locals would rather believe in witchcraft than permiculture design principles.  My garden is still green because I "witched" my vegetables, but that doesn't stop them from stealing them!

People are hard, but please don't give up!
 
Julia Winter
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Wow.  

Well, you've got ME saying wow!  I think it's hard to take instruction from outsiders (I'm guessing you're an outsider?), but if you can find one well rooted (ideally well liked) local who is interested in your success and you can show them how it's done, I feel like the information will start to spread virally.  Calling it witchcraft is the easy way out for people who don't want to hear there's a better way.

I can't help but think of "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." from Ghandi.  You look like you're getting nowhere until you are suddenly successful.  Keep at it!  Maybe you can talk to younger folk?  10 yr olds aren't as wary of new things as 30 yr olds can be.
 
Maureen Atsali
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Julia,
Yes I am an outsider, but my husband was born and raised in this village.  I don't want to deviate from the subject of this thread, I just wanted to illustrate that people in general are very hard to reach with new ideas, even when the "solutions" are right in front of you.  But your suggestion nailed my other clumsy point... Even if you can't reach the masses, reaching just a few, or even one right person could be the key to initiating a massive change.  

I love these forums, and please don't give up!
 
Julia Winter
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I love your tagline!
 
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Not a suggestion-

Paul, I was in an apartment a year ago ready to wither away into a stoned coma of apathy and depression, as Im very aware and concerned of local/global enviro issues. Your short vids caught me on youtube, and hugelkultur blew my mind. I bought your 'casts and Sepps books and all the breadcrumbs I was offered. I quit fucking around, quit buying garbage and complaining, saved and took a PDC. Last month I moved out of my ivory tower and onto a farm - in order to go full speed Permaculture, full time.

Thats your fault, my man. And I fucking LOVE you for it! You've unquestionably changed the direction of my life, and Ive got a number of friends on the same rails. You may not be overshadowing the political insanity of current day, but consider Sepp's influence on the world. He doesnt exactly grace the television often, nor is his name exactly a household word.... but that dude is a legend in life, and legends dont often sputter out and fade into oblivion.
That includes you too, milord!  
 
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I got behind on a few ... hundred thousand emails ....  and noticed that there were posts in this thread that I had not yet read.  


I started this thread in an attempt to fire people up and mayber persuade 20 people to post more often about this stuff.    It looks like it turned into a bit of a love-in instead.  Which is nice.  


Earlier today I was told that there are some people at this pdc that really think I'm an awful person.  Not sure why such a person would want to come to a pdc where I play such a large role.  And then later I needed to stand my ground while hashing out a topic with a very good friend.   I've gotten pretty used to thousands of people hating me, so it isn't such a big deal when two or three more announce their loathing.   But hashing out a difficult topic with a very good friend is a thousand times more painful.  

And then I stumbled onto this gem of a thread.  I think I need to bookmark it and come back and read it a few more times when things are tough.  

Thanks lovely people!   And thanks to those of you sharing your stories about the things you learned here have influenced many others!



 
paul wheaton
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I just noticed this.   And somebody mentioned one of my solutions!   Anybody on reddit wanna upvote?

https://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/comments/7n6og1/my_electricity_bill_came_out_insanely_high_cant/


 
paul wheaton
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Well, I guess getting 3 upvotes is way better than getting zero.   I know that I put in one - so maybe our peeps added 2?

 
paul wheaton
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Ernie is angry.   He says that he was told that if he built a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to his door.  The rocket mass heater seriously solves so many global problems, but the path between the world and ernie's door is relatively disused.  

Why?

Anything about regulation and insurance are a bit weak.  If the world was keen on rocket mass heaters, the regulation and insurance would follow.  And, besides, there are plenty of homes where insurance and regulation don't matter.  And for years people would smoke the illegal weed.  Further, why are lawmakers and policy makers so keen on stupid shit, but they are not paving the way for rocket mass heaters?

We've made building them pretty easy.  

My best guess is "the tesla roadster effect".  Before the tesla roadster, people were sure that electric cars were slow, ugly and for short range only.   And now tesla is doing the solar roof stuff.  I suppose we need some sort of national company that will build rocket mass heaters professionally in homes?  And that company might have a big PR department and lobbyists?




 
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paul wheaton wrote:Ernie is angry.   He says that he was told that if he built a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to his door.  The rocket mass heater seriously solves so many global problems, but the path between the world and ernie's door is relatively disused.  

Why?

Anything about regulation and insurance are a bit weak.  If the world was keen on rocket mass heaters, the regulation and insurance would follow.  And, besides, there are plenty of homes where insurance and regulation don't matter.  And for years people would smoke the illegal weed.  Further, why are lawmakers and policy makers so keen on stupid shit, but they are not paving the way for rocket mass heaters?

We've made building them pretty easy.  

My best guess is "the tesla roadster effect".  Before the tesla roadster, people were sure that electric cars were slow, ugly and for short range only.   And now tesla is doing the solar roof stuff.  I suppose we need some sort of national company that will build rocket mass heaters professionally in homes?  And that company might have a big PR department and lobbyists?



Paul, I think this is the stumbling block. I've been researching and experimenting with compost and solar heat for years now, and since spending more time on Permies in the past few months, I added all the Rocket stuff into the mix (bought the books, read them twice, backed the Rocket Oven Kickstarter...and I think with the oven, there's gonna be some forward movement towards wider adoption (low-skill DIY build, portable/movable, ease of use).

But I think the RMH (and the oven) has to get out of the full-on DIY sphere if there's going to be any real traction. The people building nearly ALL of the homes, are installing UL rated, off the shelf, everyone knows what this is and how to use it, set the thermostat (now on your iphone), heating equipment, there is no choice for them. As for the homeowner, a woodstove, gas-log, etc. are their only choices to add-on.

If there was a modular system for the RMH bench, and a designed combustion unit in kit or "shippable" form, that any mason capable of building a fireplace and chimney could build instead... and it had a UL rating to satisfy insurance companies, depts. of sadness, etc...
Then a builder or home-owner/buyer could make a layout like they were choosing cabinets, place an order, get it shipped in on pallets, and assemble as per instructions.
It would cost more than the current DIY method with local/free material, but the fuel cost savings payback is so fast!

I feel like the choice to heat with wood, especially in a metro/suburban area is sorta like "oh, you're pretty committed... isn't that a lot of work?" and a bit unusual. Then explaining the RMH is that on steriods! Explaining to a homeowner that "no, really, this thing is awesome, you should install one", then you just spend a few weeks explaining it to the Inspector of Sadness, so you can install one, as for getting it insured...? It's a bit much of an ask for most folks.

There needs to be a level 2 option.
 
pollinator
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Kenneth Elwell wrote:
If there was a modular system for the RMH bench, and a designed combustion unit in kit or "shippable" form, that any mason capable of building a fireplace and chimney could build instead... and it had a UL rating to satisfy insurance companies, depts. of sadness, etc...
Then a builder or home-owner/buyer could make a layout like they were choosing cabinets, place an order, get it shipped in on pallets, and assemble as per instructions.
It would cost more than the current DIY method with local/free material, but the fuel cost savings payback is so fast!
There needs to be a level 2 option.


Someone is working on it.
 
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paul wheaton wrote: All of this stuff is not all that profound.   It seems extremely simple and freakishly obvious.  I am baffled that I seem to be the lone voice on this stuff.   Why can't somebody famous steal these thoughts and get it into millions of brains.  They can have all the credit.  I don't need credit - but I am about to to pop because such simple and obvious stuff doesn't seem to be getting any traction anywhere.  



My turn to add to the love-in.  This forum is awesome.  Really awesome.  Best forum out there by far for permaculture type stuff, not to mention a ton of great discussions for diy stuff, self-sufficient stuff.  I am gradually replacing more and more of my news reading time with permies time.  I have no friends who are into permaculture so when I visit permies, I feel less alone.  Thank you so much for creating this wonderful place where we can come together to learn and to support each other.

Along with less news time, more and more lately, my heroes are no longer the Michael Jordans or Tom Brady's of the world, but people like John D. Liu, Geoff Lawton, Pat Battle (Living Web Farms), Joel Salatin, Alan Savory, Gabe Brown, Richard Perkins, Young-sang Cho, Elaine Ingham, Bryant Redhawk, and of course paul wheaton.  Also, he's not hardcore permaculture, but John Kohler from GrowingYourGreens was my gateway drug toward permies.  His enthusiasm for gardening and growing your own food helped lead me down the path.  

The most emotional moment for me was when I watched Lessons of the Loess Plateau.  That was the day I realized hope is not lost.   I could take action and do my part.  Aside from various gardening projects, I went completely zero air conditioning this year!  We don't need rocket mass heaters in SoCal but the passive solar chimney effect from opening ground and attic windows was good enough to save hundreds of dollars on AC, and was pretty comfortable to boot.  To think in previous years I thought setting the AC at 78 was doing good.  I shake my head at my foolishness.  

I also do my best to spread the permie message to my circle of friends and family.  Recently I was at a family gathering, and was shocked to find my little cousin knew what permaculture is.  Apparently she has friends that wwoof.  So the message is slowly leaking out there, and people like me, who have no direct connection to this philosophy, and previously lived a life of wanton consumerism, are finding our way here.  Because of permies.com, I can spend hours per day perusing permaculture discussions and thinking of the next project I can do.  Eventually the dream is to tackle things at farm scale.  
 
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Going all the way back to the simple solutions at the beginning of the thread and how hard it is to reach people on a mass scale with them. Sometimes even one-on-one it’s incredibly slow, but working better than you think.

paul wheaton wrote:replace your teflon pans with cast iron or stainless steel. That stuff is really bad.



The eldercare process for my mother in law was a fifteen year miserable affair  that ended with us in her house, broke (and my wife broken) amid the old lady’s hoarder hoard of ancient worthless junk. Getting back to rational possessions has been a journey.

Early on we surveyed the kitchenware as part of a conversation about what to toss and what I should be looking to replace with nice items from garage sales. Lots of aluminum pots and “tin pans” (thin steel stuff) went. We saved some decent Revereware and similar; I was authorized to procure more. As for the collection of vile deteriorating “nonstick” frying pans, we triaged it, or biaged it; the worst went, but much was kept. When I offered to replace it all with cast iron, I got told “oh, no, mom has several nice cast iron pans around here somewhere...” {vague arm gesture at what was, in the moment, a genuinely dispiriting mess} “...but I like these better.”  “You know the chemicals that come off those aren’t good for us?” “Yeah, but I got bigger things to worry about.” (This was true.) “OK, but promise me I can just throw them away the instant they start to flake off into your food.” (Prenegotiate your victories...) “OK...”

I don’t do much frying. She does a lot. There’s one semi-useable stainless steel fry pan I can tolerate. After a year, half her shitty pans were flaky and gone. After two, she’s getting short of frying pans. I was *expecting* her to start buying new nonstick. But to my delight...

The other morning I got up. House smelled funny. Found her already up.

“I couldn’t sleep. Got up to make an egg sandwich. Got tired of my pans. Decided to pull out all of mom’s cast iron and reseason it. I’ve been wanting my muffin pan anyway...”

And just like that, we’ve got three cast iron frying pans on the stove with the prettiest 100-year-old season you could beg for. Not perfect; a few tool marks, some ancient crust stratas where earlier seasoning layers were broken decades before. I can maybe see why an old woman with sore joints put them aside, but they are still a dream.  I may have to start frying again.

My point, and I do have one, is that even the simplest of these solutions can take a ridiculous amount of time to sell to even one person. But messaging effort you think fell on deaf ears months or years ago can sometimes germinate unexpectedly. Does that ever happen with mass messaging? I think/hope it can/might.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Well, I guess getting 3 upvotes is way better than getting zero.   I know that I put in one - so maybe our peeps added 2?


I just now found this thread. I'm not sure what Reddit is, although it does sound familiar.  I'll follow that link and see where it gets me.
{edit] that is a large thread, can you tell me what I'm looking for?
Thank you Paul for everything positive you do for this old world.
Brian
 
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Hi Mr. Paul Wheaton.

I understand what he says, because something very similar happens to me.

I encourage myself to give my opinion because I have thoroughly meditated
on what you express.

And I share with you in case it serves you, the conclusion I'm reaching, soft,
slow:

The information we have to offer, is not to reach the masses, it is to reach
those who are looking for that information TO USE IT.

I give an example:

Civilization as we know it, is in its last death throes.

The ambition that governs the planet has no limits, but the planet does.

That is the main cause.

Therefore, in the near future, the only ones that will survive, will be those
that are able from now on, to produce HOW MINIMUM they consume.

Those who know how to do it, and who are already in a place where
producing food is possible.

And ALREADY know how to be frugal, be happy having little, in short:
What you propose.

Congratulations and thanks for that.

I greet you from Argentina

Please excuse the errors that could be in the language, because I am
translating by software.
 
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We still have the Sonora and Sahara deserts.
 
Everybody's invited. Except this tiny ad:
Self-Sufficiency in MO -- 10 acres of Eden, looking for a renter who can utilize and appreciate it.
https://permies.com/t/95939/Sufficiency-MO-acres-Eden-renter
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