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Myron Platte

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since Jan 28, 2020
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Recent posts by Myron Platte

To be perfectly honest, I'd go for it. These are early succession plants, and people often get freaked out because they're good at spreading. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I don't think that there's any ecological damage of significance to be had from introducing plants like the ones you mentioned, which fulfill good ecological functions.

Michael Cox wrote:I missed this thread first time round, but I think it presents a false dichotomy:


If you were asked to provide eg 1MW of additional electricity right now, the cheapest way to do it is with renewables. Wind and solar is currently cheapest to install and operate per MWhr of produced energy. All other forms of electricity production are more expensive to install and have much long lead times from planning to building to commissioning.

There is no path from the world we are in now, to a world where all energy is from nuclear sources. You would be asking those industries to invest in less cost effective technology. There are lots of (surmountable) engineering issues to resolve with grid scale renewables, but the bottom line is that new installations are nuclear/coal/gas infrastructure are going to be decreasing over the coming decades.

There are similar issues when considering biomass as a stand-alone heat source. There are fundamental limitations on massive national populations depending on biomass for heating and energy. In areas where it is plentiful and populations are sparse it can be great. But it simply cannot scale to high density urban population centres without massive environmental and human harms. It has already been pointed out that the logging industry has a non-trivial annual death rate. Massively expanding this in a world where biomass is used more extensively will lead to greater loss of life. Similarly, those logs need to be harvested in forested areas and transported to urban areas for use. Thousands more lorries on the roads, with implications for traffic accidents, urban air pollution etc… and this is before we even get to start burning the fuel in whatever stoves people are using. Large scale biomass burning - even in rocket stoves - will have an impact on air quality in urban areas.

The UK historically depended on wood for heating, but transitioned into coal during the industrial revolution. Deforestation was rife, and there were strict laws in place regulating who could take what timber. In the modern era, despite massive increases to population size and density, we have more total woodland in the UK than at any point for hundreds of years. switching to biomass would likely trigger an environmental disaster as deforestation runs wild.

My personal view is that hybrids will pretty much always be the queen forward. We burn wood because trees keep falling over on our land. If we don’t burn it, we have to do something else with it. It is a waste product for us being diverted to a higher purpose. That rationale cannot be applied universally.

Similarly, there

A few thoughts:
UNDESIGNED biomass energy production would indeed be a disaster. It must be designed. Cities generate a huge amount of biomass, in a form that is easy to extract energy from, both technologically and through plants.
Using less energy, through efficiency, is probably key. In permaculture terms, that means getting as much use as possible out of the energy as it travels from source to sink.
Above, I talked about wood gasifiers. What about skipping that part and going to 12 inch J-tube systems for heating apartment buildings and generating power? Maybe a soapstone mass for retaining heat around the intake end of the stirling engine? Willow grown using the leftovers from biogas production would be the main fuel.
No lumberjacks must die.
5 days ago
"They say" a lot  of things, unfortunately. I'm against nuclear because it's not clean and because of murphy's law, meltdowns are always possible, and wood is better and SO much cheaper, when properly burned. Imagine a small city of 200,000 people that has some smart regulations that conserve power without seriously affecting quality of life. Now imagine the river of sewage that those 200,000 people produce. Now imaging how much biogas can be produced from that sewage. Now imagine how many willow trees can be fertilized by the leftover sludge. Now imagine how many leaves and twigs from these coppiced willows can be fed to cattle. The sticks from coppicing can be gassified as well. Now the gas furnaces for apartment blocks (or even central city heating) can also run free piston stirling engines, each generating 100 KW of electricity. This is all possible, and we have all the technology. It just needs some scaling up.
1 week ago
Yes, Tristan. Good point. I wasn’t even thinking of contributing on, but of course that’s super valuable. Specifically, I think the keyto spreading permaculture is to go on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, Quora etc. and post thought-provoking permaculture segues. Reference everywhere convenient. This is especially amazing if we can coordinate this: have a thread where people post links to posts on various platforms that need to be upvoted and shared into relevance. We have enough people to do this. All we need to do is get organized.

David Wieland wrote:

Myron Platte wrote: There are some evil people out there, and rocket mass heaters are a major gateway to permaculture, which is the nemesis of the plans of these unnamed evil people. (Not being political. Just pro-human.)

While I agree that there are some evil people (anti-humans), I can't see how they could regard permaculture as a threat. I've gardened organically since the mid-1970s and subscribed to Organic Gardening magazine for years but wasn't even aware of permaculture until the last decade. I'm pretty sure that it's still a fringe endeavour in the big scheme of things.

It’s still fringe thanks to the efforts of these people paying trolls to suppress world-saving information on platforms like reddit. If not for the active attacks, permaculture would already have taken over. This is not to say that we should give up! On the contrary, we simply need to understand that at this point, we are fighting an information war, and that we need to put some effort into it. Paul is doing a lot, but one guy can only do so much. If everyone on permies did 1% of what Paul does to infect minds with permaculture, we could probably win the information war fairly quickly. Why? Because trolls have to be paid. But we are true believers. We are information warriors who never retreat. But that’s only true once we know it’s true, once we realize that this. Is. War. Overwhelm the trolls. Make one video, one informative comment, one meme every week, month, or year. Make some commitment and stick to it. That’s my 2 cents.

David Wieland wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:I feel like i stand up to help people, only to get flooded with misinformation.  So I patiently try to help people, one at a time - responding kindly to correct the misinformation ....

A corporate troll is to persuade the observer that their employer's message is good and others messages are not good.

I'm sure that it's clear to all permies that being helpful is your primary motivation. It's also obvious from your description of the negative pile-on that you're being trolled. But I can't think of any reason for commercial/corporate actors to be involved, because I can't fathom why they could see you as real competition. I think the trolls' motivation is similar to that of outrage mobbing on social media -- mischievous,  and worse, group action bolstered with schadenfreude. In other words, the bane of (anti-)social media. Proclaiming misinformation is part of their fun.

It really isn't that simple. I'm surprised that more people here don't think this yet (it's probably because everyone here is so nice and focused on doing cool things): there are bad people who hate humanity, and hate the earth, and they disguise this hate as love. Permaculture and doing cool stuff instead of getting angry at bad guys is extremely powerful, and the corporations and evil people are scared shit that permaculture, and especially free energy like RMH's will catch on and kill their plans for world domination... a very different kind of world domination than that which we talk about on these forums.

David Wieland wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:
I start with the thought of "why don't more people know about rocket mass heaters?"  And now it is clear.  It is a threat to the profits of ...  somebody.  Somebody really big.

The trolling blowout you described is disturbing. Do you know of others who have experienced such a thing? It certainly sounds organized -- but by whom?

It doesn't seem plausible to me that any corporate "competition" would feel threatened enough to bother. It's puzzling, but I wonder if the troll storm was a test of a nefarious tactic for disrupting a social media platform and you were just a random target.

Oil companies, Gas companies, ALL energy companies, every corporation who has a vested interest in keeping people thinking that the planet is in immediate danger and eating bugs, etc. is the only way to save ourselves. There are some evil people out there, and rocket mass heaters are a major gateway to permaculture, which is the nemesis of the plans of these unnamed evil people. (Not being political. Just pro-human.)

Andrew McDonald wrote:Instead of taking on more livestock which will demand yet more time and resources to shelter water and feed, look into JADAM a Korean natural farming technique complete with home made natural pesticides. Time is the biggest investment in this system. Try it!

Does the system provide duck meat and eggs? Is it 90% automated? How much work does it take? Does it produce duck manure? Does it weed gardens without having to bend over? Natural pesticides are still pesticides, and they don’t digest the things they kill. I don’t want to invest time in depriving myself of wondrous duck meat.
4 weeks ago

Michael Moreken wrote:All plastic is made from oil, So it usually takes many lifetimes to break down.

Yes. That’s why we need to use specifically selected biology to do it faster.
1 month ago

This is awesome. What are some ways to make systems that work with these things? I’m thinking a fungal-bacterial decomposition bin and a waxworm decomposition bin could be parallel systems that complement each other. Community scale? Industrial scale?
1 month ago