How much water, food, and fuel do you need. Addendum...
In this one talk, Allan Savory describes how there's this flood of rain in this region in Africa and the very next day the location is dry and dusty and looks like any other desert again... Water is not, and should not, be about quantity.
I'm reminded of the rocket mass heater that will do the same heating as the most expensive heaters but at about 5% of the amount of wood/fuel. So if you're talking about SOURCING fuel, FIRST you should have covered how to properly burn it. First things first. Otherwise you might have found a way to get twice as much fuel, or how to get it with half the effort, when you COULD have first implemented a way that USES 20 times less. Water is the same way.
Being ignorant before, the first things i picked up about water had to do with cool dams and hydraulic ram pumps. Yeah, they're still cool, but after a few years of gradually picking up bits and tidbits by permaculture experts it became clear that the best practices require no sourcing of water other than that already offered by nature. Like in the above example supplied by Allan Savory, there's usually enough water; the point is not to waste it. And when i'm talking waste, i'm talking about people and entire peoples that commonly waste 99% of the water nature throws their way. This is NOT a fringe issue in the least.
"How is this possible?", one might ask. How can peoples that suffer from drought and watch their children die from thirst and malnutrition not only waste water but so much of it? Well... for insights into WHY people do the insane things they do, you'll have to head towards the posts under PSYCHOLOGY. To learn about water and water management, read on here. Suffice to say that the experts can show you that things can usually be done dozens of times better than general practices suggest are possible.
Greening the Desert shows how one of the most arid regions in the world can be turned into an oasis by applying some basic permacultural principles. It doesn't take too much work, money, or education; all it takes is some real insight into how things work. What Greening the Desert really illustrates is that no matter how bad you think you have it, it's already been proven that situations that were even worse have been successfully healed.
So don't burn 20 times the amount of wood you need to by running a mainstream heater; don't eat 20 times what you need to by eating a mainstream diet; and don't use 20 times the amount of water you need by sourcing water by mainstream ways.
First things first.
And then that hydraulic ram pump really hits the mark; when you can get a trickle of water up somewhere but your knowledge of how to grow foods makes that trickle enough to sustain you, you have stacked your knowledge in a way that is life-altering. Then you can probably set up shop somewhere that would take anybody adhering to mainstream tactics a colossal dam to achieve as much. Then you don't need hundreds of thousands of bucks to build that dam or to bring in the water you require.
When people see the oasis Geoff Lawton designed in the desert in Jordan, i'm sure they're sure that those plants now thrive there because of some underground water reservoir or something. But there isn't. The only thing that came to that place previously covered with dust and rocks was Geoff Lawton. And anybody can accomplish the same, which is also to say that everything you accomplish won't be recognized for what it is. People will think that cheating or luck or great gobs of money were the cause. All that matters, though, is that anyone can build an oasis almost anywhere in the world, which in turn means that no one has to go out looking for prime real estate, nor that one has to be a millionaire to find a place to thrive. For survival situations it means that situations that are lethal to most people [like 99%+] are survivable when you don't live by the needs demanded by mainstream thinking.
Why do you feel safe when mankind has only proven to be able to survive 12,000 years at a stretch...? Be prepared for the next probable end: http://www.teomcrote.co.nf Security: Rhodesian Ridgeback; Animals: Scobies and rabbits; Diet: Born to Run; Religion: trust no one; my best posts/replies so far
As an ant you'd be right in the midst of everything and if you're as hard working as you sound you'll have the ability to earn money working on Paul's bounties. You'll have the chance to meet and work directly with a lot of permaculture innovators and leaders. You will be exposed to all facets of permaculture and natural living with a plot of land that you can use to experiment with your ideas (which will start to flow like the Amazon around all that innovation). If you decide you don't like it there's no long-term commitment other than those you might make while you're there; don't agree to watch someones animals over the winter then up and leave as soon as the people your supposed to help are gone. Other than that kind of moral obligation you can pick up and move on at any time and you're only out $800. If you do like it there it's my opinion that working your way to converting your ant plot to a Deep Roots plot.
I'm pretty sure that Paul would wholeheartedly agree that this would be the best route for you!
The one caution I would throw out there if you start to really consider this option is that if you're not really a self-motivated type then The Lab/Ant Village might not be the best fit. It's pretty free-form out there with lot's of room to do your own thing.
"Instead of Pay It Forward I prefer Plant It Forward" ~Howard Story / "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools." ~John Muir
Jack are you still with us? I would like to know what you've done and where you've been so far. We haven't heard from you since late June.
A wonderful thing about the forums is that the thread you started will be there, with your questions and our contributions and suggestions for anyone else who is on the verge of independence, and wants input, and it will be easy for them to find.
Even if we never hear from you again, your question was a gift to future people everywhere.
Namaste and happy adventuring
Best luck: satisfaction
Greatest curse, greed
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Wild Homesteading - Work with nature to grow food and start/build your homestead