Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Updates and Etc.




It's been quite a while since I've had a chance to write a bit, but have a quiet morning. The parents are here visiting and they did a great job of importing a nasty cold to my little oasis and it's quite the plague colony around here. Drinking coffee and bourbon and trying to cough up a lung but may as well write a bit at the moment.

Certainly over the last month or so I haven't been idle. While work has been very difficult due to the weather and rain in between the squalls I've managed to put together a shop and a greenhouse, which will greatly expand production around here even in the bad weather. It is really becoming quite the little homestead and things are more viable every day. The Hawaiian word for water is "wai" and interestingly for wealth it is "waiwai." If one is ready and in syncroniscity with the weather and island lifestyle, the rainy season is unquestionably a season of bounty. The growth out here in the uala and kalo is scarce to be believed.

It's interesting as I go along how things are discovered. The major discovery is the style of farming that is best suited to my area and climate, as well as its historic precident. There was at one point a significant agricultural tradition in the Hawaiian islands of upland mountain farming, especially of taro, in the style termed "waena" --meaning "admist the grassy clearings in the forest." Certainly interesting that instinctively I gravitate towards it, as it unquestionably is the most viable and sustainable of the various planting 
styles. Unfortunately, by and large, the style has been lost and again I find myself to a large degree reinventing the wheel. Still, it is exactly the kind of task that my temperment is best suited to--with heavy research and practical application hand in hand--and it reminds me a great deal of teaching myself to sail. Yeah, and I mean, really sail. And of course as most of you know, that meant without relying on engines. I still stand by the observation that sailing is sailing, and boating is boating. Boating isn't a crime, but calling yourself a sailor when you're a boater isn't too fair and one should know better. This has nothing to do with being an extremist or a purist or any of that. There are all sorts of things in human life that are either/or propositions. Either you are faithful to your partners or you're a cheat. Either you are honest or you are a thief. Either you are a sailor or you're a boater who sails when 
it's convienient. Of course, and again, as the atheist I am, I can't really say that being a thief, a cheat, or a boater necesarily makes you bad. If that's what you are go for it with your head held high. There's some integrity in that. Where it gets irritating to the rest of us when one is a hypocrite as well as a fake.

So let's talk about environmentalists and the "sustainability" movement.

When I mean that I'm striving for "sustainability" I mean exactly that. I mean sustainability as a measurable and objectively emperical quantity. I mean precisely that I'm attempting to live a lifestyle that definitavely does no ecological nor social harm, and is infinately perpetual. The social harm aspect is especially important, as if my lifestyle, if ecologically sustainable, is still so consumptive that it forces others through my acquisition of resources into lives of unsustainable deprivation--well, that's being a cheat. As has been discussed here at the moment we do indeed know what sort of land is availiable at the moment for 
each and everyone, and what our fair share of the earth's resources really is. It isn't a great deal, but it's all we have and any level of consumption above what is sustainable isn't sustainable. Period. Do you care about that? I do. A whole lot of other people claim to, but as far as I can see in the vast majority of cases this attitude is wholesale bullshit. Do you care? No one is going to make you care if you frankly don't. Still, as was the case with sailing--when one demonstrates the ability to reliably cruise port to port without relying on an engine--well, it make the nay sayers really look like asses--Certainly when one demonstrates real sustainablity it makes these "green" pretenders look like asses too. Don't give me any of that "change a lightbulb step in the right direction" horseshit. If you need to go west, taking pride in the fact that you walk very slowly east is nothing to brag about, even if you're walking very much slower than others. Especially when just the shortest distance to the east is an unthinkably dangerous abyss.

I am not there yet, but I'm getting very very close. I'm very certain that I'll be 100% carbon neutral by the end of the year, and carbon positive thereafter. All the ducks are in a row; all the pieces are there. At this point it is simply scale, and I need one more growth cycle in the taro and two in the sweet potatoes and I'm there. Measurable, uncontestably, by any sensible metric. Critique is invited. If you can find holes in my project, I'm more than eager to hear about them, in the same manner that I'd appreciate hearing the there was a hole in my boat. Again, I'm not only doing this because I'm compulsively ethical and really do care about the ecology and my personal integrity, but because the way things are going in the world it's going to save my ass. In the same manner that no matter how big a sailor you think you are, Posideon is the one who you'll need to turn your "final" into for grading--I'm afraid Gaia is going to be a real hardass when it comes to grading this final project in "ecology 100" and a lot of people are going to fail the course.

2 comments:

mrostron said...

I am imagining the smile on your face as you had another shot and penned the words "compulsively ethical" - a hard-ass with a sense of humor and a lack of hubris. Write on, as they say... I hope I can make it our there again soon.
Of course I thought of you while having a sail Sunday. Perry was out too. Your friend Mike "the boater".

Zachary Stowasser said...

I care.

jay, what should we do about toothbrushes (plastic)? Use sticks that we chew on to fray the fibers and then brush?

What about making our own tooth paste, do we need it? or just rub some sand on our teeth with our fingers once in a while? or eat fibrous foods?

I'm serious about trying to live as simply as I can, using natural products grown from my land or from my community. So that there can be a future for the next generation. I feel a bit screwed that my parents and grandparents raised me as a consumer. I'm ready to be a producer. I'm done taking. It's time to give back.