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Old 05-29-2008, 09:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Culture Change for Survival

It's easy to bitch about higher prices for fuel, food, and everything. It's easy to expect the new President, etc. to kiss it and make everything better, but the reality is that we require a sea change... from the grass-roots level to head off what promises to be a very ugly future.

I invite you to throw out suggested problems and solutions for discussion. I'll start.

Locally grown food is a win from several angles. Lower costs for transportation and storage. Fresher = more nutritious usually.

Many cities have blighted urban areas with either condemned housing, or vacent lots. For those that aren't toxic (like old manufacturing sites, or former dry cleaners, gas stations), clear the sites where necessary, and (1) donate some to community gardens (2) offer tax incentives to small coops or farmers to start small produce gardens.

You can grow a lot of food on 1/2 acre. Community gardens already thrive in a lot of cities and mostly just need land to expand. Balance those with small farmers willing to grow food close to where it will be sold.

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Old 05-29-2008, 10:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Jenn and I are planning on moving into a smaller place down town, and becoming a one-car family. So much of our space is just currently being used to store crap we'll never use again. Anyone want to buy some of Jenn's art or my old collectables?

I've also been focusing on minimizing our energy bill, by minimizing the number of "24/7" appliances running and putting various devices on timers. We've also gone energy efficient when we buy new appliances, having replaced our heater and refrigerator. We've also made our house much more energy efficient - when we redid our siding, we had the house wrapped, and got a layered roof put on.

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Old 05-29-2008, 10:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've been recycling more, and making much more of an effort to not let food go to rot in my fridge. I planted a small garden this year and included a few vegetables. Next year I will do more. I've been making more of an effort to attend the Farmer's Markets in the area and buy locally grown produce. Also making an effort not to buy like, cherries in December and that sort of thing.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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We've got a great recycling program in our area as well. We can now recycle all paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass. We put out our recycling every week, and have cut down to only putting out a single garbage can every-other week.

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Old 05-29-2008, 11:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I walk and bike a lot. I only take the car when I really have to.

I don't buy stuff that is over-packaged (more wrapping paper than actual content? I'll pass, thanks).

Our recycling program is also quite nice. It's not collected -- we have to bring our garbage to recycling points, but they've put enough of them around that it's not a hassle.
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Old 05-29-2008, 01:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We have gone green for most things, like our cleaning products and personal care items. All of our lightbulbs have been replaced with compact fluorescents. We have consolidated all our entertainment to one room so we don't have to cool or heat the rest of the house. We have gone to a one vehicle family (a flexifuel van). We use a clothing share with family members and friends (passing along used clothing for children) and accepting those as well. We buy in bulk and keep our pantry and freezer well stocked. We have a food storage system in place. Currently we have 3 months worth but are adding more as time goes on. We have also joined a buying club to reduce dependence on large chain stores. In the future we will be joining a CSA (community supported agricuture) to have a pick up point for locally grown fruits and veggies.
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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my family is currently in the middle of our plan to be moved completely off grid within the next 5-6 years. designs are being drawn up for a load-bearing, straw bale home with integrated cistern, gray water filtration system, four-season organic garden, mulching toilets, wind and solar power with bio-diesel backup generator, etc.

partly to take some load off of an overstressed grid/planet.

partly because i just want a peaceful, quiet life as a farmer.

(and a place for a hammock and a homebrew shed. )
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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my family is currently in the middle of our plan to be moved completely off grid within the next 5-6 years. designs are being drawn up for a load-bearing, straw bale home with integrated cistern, gray water filtration system, four-season organic garden, mulching toilets, wind and solar power with bio-diesel backup generator, etc.

partly to take some load off of an overstressed grid/planet.

partly because i just want a peaceful, quiet life as a farmer.

(and a place for a hammock and a homebrew shed. )
Nice. I'm curious, how many folks are in your family? What kind of neighbors would integrate well with your future lifestyle - from a barter point of view.
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Since most of my client work involves international travel, I sold my car a long time back. When home I mostly walk and sometimes take public transit.

Every now and then I fantasize about buying one of those useless rump pieces of land and planting a microhome on it.

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Old 05-29-2008, 03:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've regressed. After not having a car for nearly 20 years, I had to buy a MINI Cooper (yes, had too - they are tooo cute!). Granted, it's not a Hummer, but owning any car in NYC doesn't make much environmental or economic sense.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:27 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Nice. I'm curious, how many folks are in your family? What kind of neighbors would integrate well with your future lifestyle - from a barter point of view.
there are three of us (so far) in my family. one other family of three has shown interest, being close friends of mine for years. (although, i believe i am going to need a running system before they'll fully commit.)

what i'm looking for, to start, is between 40-60 acres of land. the key is going to be getting the garden up and producing. a portion of it will go directly towards feeding our family (or families, depending), after which whatever else we produce will be traded, or offered at a farmer's market. there is a very rich farming culture in our area. so, while we will have a couple of cows for milk, we won't be raising animals for slaughter. it may seem quite foreign to city folks, but it is not uncommon around here to trade produce for meat, staples and whatever else you may need.

in addition, when i go back to school in the fall, i'll be working on a degree in electrical engineering, with an emphasis on alternative energy (wind and solar). i fully intending on trading my services, helping folks build DIY, off grid power solutions for whatever they can offer.

we still have a lot of planning ahead, but our goal isn't at all unattainable, nor particularly difficult. yes, some sacrifices will have to be made. however, while some may see having to mulch their crapper as a sacrifice, i see it as giving something positive back to the planet.
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Old 05-29-2008, 03:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Actually, there are biodiesel Hummers out there.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:01 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I live very close to work. I try to hold down my electricity and water use, and I am on the electric plan that is supposed to come from wind turbines in the Gulf of Mexico. This summer I hope to move to Portland, which has good transit, and I'll be sure to find a place very close to the transit, since my job will be too. More often, I'm eating simpler, more basic foods, which are cheaper but also mean less packaging.
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Old 05-29-2008, 10:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I really like the planting over urban blight idea. Off and on over the past few decades I've heard talk of community gardens, but I'm not quite crunchy enough to get involved in one.

I don't drive. I walk, ride my bike, or take the train. I suppose I will drive if I can ever get time off to get my car tags renewed, but then only to the grocery store.

It's already in the 80's where I am and I have yet to turn on my air conditioning. I spent all of last summer without one simply because I could get no one to come out and repair it, and there are a lot of elderly in my neighborhood (more elderly than me that is) who needed repairs more than me.

My biggest energy footprint comes from this computer in front of me and all the servers somewhere that keep track of my SL inventory.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:41 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Man, this whole thread is sooo "white":

#18 Awareness « Stuff White People Like
#6 Organic Food « Stuff White People Like
#64 Recycling « Stuff White People Like
#60 Toyota Prius « Stuff White People Like
#5 Farmers Markets « Stuff White People Like
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/02/10/61-bicycles/

Last edited by Tussilago; 06-02-2008 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Culture change is an immense tool. Fashion controls the destiny of everything. The fashion to be green needs to properly understood on a cultural level.

Take growing 6 tomato plants, you will get at least one pound of tomatoes a week for ten weeks. To get ten pounds of tomatoes in all after ten weeks. To get the same through the supermarket means the goods have to travel through the distribution system ten times (once a week) and you to drive or walk and buy ten times.

The ones you grew required only the carbon in the food you used to carry them one bucket of water a week.

The supermarket distribution averages 500 miles travelled, (the supermarkets don't like releasing actual data), each pound of tomatoes.

Culture suggests all so 1.3 billion westeners times the CO2 saved is an immense sum of carbon.

Little changes by many of us would make a big difference
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