Gettin' 'er done!

SUBHEAD: We are still going to the Eleele Big Save every week, however our purchases have greatly decreased.

By Juan Wilson on 27 July 2015 for Island Breath -

Image above: This could be you. A photo of The Eden Project in Cornwall England is a polyculture design using principles of permaculture. From (

Tackling Renewable Energy
When you read the details of a program to reduce CO2 emissions by increasing the use of renewable energy sources (using the wind or sun) its usually framed as some percentage by some time in the future. Various "progressives" have made varying prognostications of this kind '25% renewable energy in 25 years".

In the last few days presidential hopeful  Hillary Clinton has proposed reaching 33% renewable energy by 2027. Her means of getting this result is for a seven-fold increase in installed solar-voltaic panel capacity in the next twelve years. You know her numbers are right because there are so many petroleum donators surrounding her.

But my take on these hollow promises is that if we get to a measurable amount of renewable energy by some time before extinction is knocking on our door it will be the only energy available for most of us. In other words, if we see likely see 25% renewable energy in the next generation it will be accompanied by a 3/4 drop in our consumption of fossil fuel energy.

That means that you may have some lights on at night, and be able to listen to some music charge that laptop - but you won't have the capacity to charge your electric car and run that central home AC unit or even operate that 25 cubic foot refrigerator and 18 cubic foot freezer 24/7/365.

And that is the solution to our energy "problem" - A WHOLE LOT LESS OF IT.

Tackling Obesity - Diabetes - Heart Disease
Here in Hawaii we are now importing 90% of the food we eat. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are a major problem. The fix is simple, but painful, in that it means a lot of work here at home. Like energy, we will largely have only that which we produce right here. That would mean reversing the numbers and growing 90% of our own food.

We would be healthier and could export some fraction of what we grow for trade ingoods we cannot produce. Cash crops that can survive a slow boat to China might include coffee, macadamia nuts, cacao, coconuts and marijuana - among other things.

And that is the solution to our imported food "problem" - A WHOLE LOT LESS OF IT.

One thing I've learned after writing predictions for several years is that I fairly consistently think the future has arrived before it does (that is if that future ever does arrive). A weather vane spun by faint breezes that might only be the swirling eddies around some nearby obstruction and not a sign of a coming storm.

Tackling Unemployment and Low Wages
The reason unemployment and low wages are a problem is that today people need money to live. Without a job that makes money you can't eat of have shelter. At the time of the Civil War 90% of Americans lived on farms.

Most Americans were self employed and didn't need wages. They had all the food and shelter that they could maintain. Some money was needed for tools, notions, sundries and an occasional hard candy, but you could always make some cash growing a little tobacco, or having a needed craft or skill.

One solution to unemployment and low wages is to reduce debt. Get rid of the new Ford 350 truck, the iPhone and DishTV and that's over $100 you don't have to bring home every week. That is one part-time low-paying job you won't have to show up for.

But on top of that get to a place where you can live like a farmer or (at least for a while) a farmhand. And by farm I'm not talking about a 1,000 acre corn farm. What you want is a small organic farm with a wide variety of food growing and lots of tasks to do. Full time employment guaranteed.

There is not a whole lot of time to get set, so if your haven't already started this journey work your way into the graces of an older farmer. What ever it takes. And being poor is fine if you don't need money.

And that is the solution to our employment and money needs - A WHOLE LOT LESS OF IT.

We're all farmers now
A bit over a year ago I wrote an article titled "Ebbing the Blog". In it I wrote:
As we increase our self-reliance I realize that it really becomes a full time job. And that's how it was for thousands of years before agriculture and industrialization. And so it will be again.

I hope to spend more time in our gardens trying to make healthy food as well as trying to make the place around us thrive with plants, insects, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and even the occasional mammal.

I'll keep working on the site to keep it useful, but more time needs to be spent elsewhere.
And to a degree I have followed my own advise. My wife Linda and I are focusing more on self reliance. We cut off electricity from KIUC and even took the meter and wiring off the house. Besides County Water we have three other sources. A ditch behind our house supplies a taro field on DLNR land, we have a shallow well with a 500 gallon storage tank filled by a solar powered pump and we have a 1,000 gallon rainwater catchment system.

We are growing and processing more of our own food. We have chickens that cover our egg needs (and occasionally meat needs). And at least until everybody has free-range organic eggs in their back yards the surplus our chickens produce is a "cash" crop.

We are still going to the Eleele Big Save every week, however our purchases have greatly decreased. If we had to live off of what we grow we might get by. You always have too much of one thing. And you might be able to trade some of that with someone who might have too much of something else. Trading networks close to home are vital. 

That thing about "processing" is increasingly important. Fresh fruit and vegetables spoil quickly.

So we have learned to roast macadamia nuts in the sun and freeze one pound bags; we've learned to pickle/ferment chayote, cabbage and other vegetables; we've sun dried squash and toasted their seeds. We've been making pepper water and hot sauces from habanero and Hawaiian pepper plants and for the last few years we've been harvesting cassava and cutting the large roots down to fist size and boil them then we freeze the chunks in quart bags for use as a substitution for potatoes;  we're doing the same with harvested taro. We have not mastered our breadfruit processing yet.

I especially appreciate the fruit and vegetables that start easy, require no maintenance, deliver produce for and extended period and can reproduce with little help. In that category here in Hanapepe Valley that includes: Papaya, chayote, squash, cassava (yucca), lilikoi (passion fruit).

Plants with longer development time that deliver important food products are breadfruit; macadamia nut; lemon; lime; mango; avacado; and lichee. Because of bunchy lead virus contamination we have had difficulty with apple bananas and more success with plantain.

Much of the message of "Ebbing the Blog" was reiterated in the recent "Building the Garden of Eden".

That's where I intend to live.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Building the Garden of Eden 5/25/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Ebbing the Blog 5/9/14
Ea O Ka Aina: The New Game 10/11/13
Ea O Ka Aina: The Titanic or Noah's Ark 3/4/12
Ea O Ka Aina: The Hero's Way 1/13/12
Ea O Ka Aina: Here's the Deal 7/5/09
Ea O Ka Aina: The American Century 12/31/08
Island Breath: Our Impending Journey Nears 8/24/07
Island Breath: The Garden of Eden 4/18/07 


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