Where to begin…
Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Every magazine cover in the check out line features “Ten tips to ‘Go Green’”. Every store sells compact florescent light bulbs. Reducing your carbon footprint and eating locally is “all the rage”. Walmart, whose economy is larger than most countries on Earth, has even gone “Organic”. I’ll save the debate on the merit and impact of this phenomenon instead to point out a simple truth… whatever the benefits, the point is being missed.
Sustainable. Green. Organic. I do believe the pioneers of these movements in large part got it. But is it inevitable in a capitalistic society that once something catches on and becomes trendy, it gets reduced, watered down, and lost in the transaction of dollars? Are Power Bars with 30 ingredients really “natural”? Does factory farmed “organic” milk benefit you, the cows, or the environment? Do people really consider these new multi-million dollar “eco-friendly” mansions sustainable? The examples could go on and on.
The marketplace is an entity where we can perhaps purchase more time, certainly not salvation. There is a universal law that must be rediscovered in the process, and it is of my opinion that it won’t happen within consumer culture, no matter how “green”. It is not open for debate and cannot be packaged and sold. Despite what civilization says about it, humans are ecological beings in an ecological system and simply cannot be separated from such, whatever we think or do.
A fundamental change in our cultural understanding and whole world view is absolutely going to happen, one way or another. What is perhaps yet to be determined is whether this change will come as a result of a mass awakening of our modern species, or by some collapse that will be much more painful for our descendants than the former option.
It is within that context that my family and I are trying to apply these principals. And it is with this knowledge that I join the discussion on this blog.
Introductions can be boring and cliché, so I’ll make this quick. I am a graduate of two community colleges, one of which gave me a degree in Natural Resources Conservation. My wife engineers fuel cells and is the type of woman who asks for a worm bin for her birthday. I am the type of guy who has chosen to stay home with our two toddlers and embark upon a primitive (read “time tested”) method of home education commonly referred to in modern times as “unschooling”.
I’m not a fan of how this culture views soil or children, two things I hold very dear.
And we just bought a house right outside the city line on an overlooked dead end street surrounded by an 800 acre city park. And it has a yard; a rather large, unlandscaped yard. A yard that we vow will not be degraded by being kept a grass farm, the likes of which are of the most toxic and largest wasteful agricultural sector in this country.
It is not a lawn. It is an ecosystem. And ecosystems contain countless interconnected components, one of which is food production.
Permaculture teaches that sustainable human settlements will only be achieved by mimicking and submitting to the structure and interrelationships found in natural communities.
This is the holistic approach that so many others stop short of.
So the unfolding of this site of ours, our little urban homestead, is our new project and this blog is where we will document our efforts. So check back soon and see how things are coming along.