SUSTAINABILITY

 

sustainable solutions

Hi, I thought I’d give you some insights into sustainability and share some of the things I’ve researched on the internet. Currently, I’m hoping to start a Square Foot Garden with a great Community Centre soon and will share that with you when I do.

If you have a video or page you’d like to share please let me know

What does sustainability even mean?

A CIRCULAR BASED ECONOMY

Using less energy to produce goods with a longer service life which remain under brand ownership and returned for recycling makes a lot of sense to me.

Q: HOW PRECIOUS IS OUR WATER?
A: WITHOUT FRESH WATER THERE IS NO LIFE

Those of us who are lucky enough to have easy access to clean drinking water often overlook just how precious it is.

There are several major things we can do as individuals to ease the pressure on this planet’s water supplies.

Harvest rainwater and store it: a 1 cubic meter container equals 1000 ltrs
Reuse greywater: you can fit a pump or a simple gravity fed pipe to take the water from your shower and washing machine and divert it to fruit trees or greenhouse in your backyard. You can also filter it and feed it into a fishpond
You can use water from your fishpond to feed your plants or aquaponic system
Either use a low flush or a no flush toilet (UDDT)
500,000 people in rural and urban Norway now use UDDT sustainable sanitation
Note A: using chemical fertilisers poisons the groundwater
Note B: the best fertiliser in the world is free; it’s called NPK (your urine)                    a slow gravel water filter is a cheap and effective means of purifying water

GYO with SFG grow your own organic vegetables in raised bed gardens

Here’s a simple video on raised bed square foot gardens. Why are you wasting precious time, space and energy on that pretty lawn? You could be / should be / better be growing your own food!
Not only do you get to eat fresh, organic produce that you know is pesticide free, a SFG uses 70% less water than conventional methods AND it wasn’t flown in a thousand miles to get your local shop. Nowadays, with this no dig, weed free system you could even make your garden at standing height – NO BENDING OVER!
It’s also a great fun, bonding exercise for friends and neighbours. I’m just getting this going in Singapore as a community thing and will let you know how that goes.

THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG?

COMPOSTING
For composting we use two types of carbon
Green carbon, such as scrap vegetables or animal wastes
Brown carbon, such sawdust, leaves (anything plant that once lived)

On my composting & gardening page you will find tons of stuff and answers to questions you didn’t even know you had!

In this video the lady is using a specially made kitchen compost container, when in fact you don’t need to go to so much expense. Simply keeping your kitchen compost collector covered with damp brown organics will do the trick

An important point she made – landfills

The US throw out 40 percent of fresh fish, 23 percent of eggs, and 20 percent of milk, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
In total, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that in 2010 the US wasted 33 million tons of food. That’s roughly a ton of food per person. Image a law was passed that banned the dumping of veg waste into municipal systems. Now imagine what a lovely, rich, organic garden compost you would have! Starting to come together as a system, isn’t it.
Grow your own organic: Eat your own organic: Compost your own organic:
Use less water and be healthier!
BIO CHAR
I am just finding out about Bio Char, pyrolasis and gasifiers and it’s looking like wonderful news. Using a retort gasifier burns of gasses in wood and creates low energy carbon with can be activated and used in the garden or can be used as a clean burning fuel. The toxic fumes have all been burned off and burned up in the gasifier. That 33 million ton of wasted food could be efficiently turned into active bio char and put back into the (long deprived) earth – it grows huge crops that don’t require herbicides. It could also be aerobically composted and mixed with the bio char to create terra preta – wonderful  news for farmers!

I’m also looking into rocket stoves for rural areas, but more on that later.

Here is one video discussing bio char / terra preta that will give you a very good idea of what it is and why we should use it

It is my wish/dream/hope/prayer that there are eventually no more lands fills and that we only have recycle centres. There is enough material on the surface of this planet never to have to dig for ‘stuff’ ever again. There is nothing we can’t recycle!
(yeah – but how about tyres – you can’t recycle tyres – can you?)
Check this out

CAN I MAKE MY OWN BIO CHAR? Check this out

For sustainable building check out my kabook-i page and the gardening page

HELPING HAND

 

 

HALLER: guerilla farming

 

 

 

click to view the video

 

Guerrilla Farming – Haller Style:

I was overjoyed to find the Haller site. What they are doing is true to the heart of what the kabook-i method creates; a cycle of life that has a beneficial impact on the environment and the community as a whole.

Haller’s urban slum garden brings their innovative farming techniques from a rural to an urban environment. They show communities cheap, simple ways to produce food, purify water and use sustainable energy in a very confined space. Their urban slum garden model can be applied worldwide to help people improve the health and livelihoods of impoverished societies.

The opportunity to improve the lives of poorer communities is often there, right before your eyes, but just as often overlooked (can’t see the wood for the trees)

Take water for example, during the rainy season the land floods, then the water drains away. Come the dry season and there is no water. Women have to walk, often up to 20km a day, to collect water; this, of course, is a terrible burden. The solution could be as simple as digging a hole and lining it with heavy-duty bin bags. One cubic metre equals 1000 litres of water. One person requires a minimum of two litres drinking water a day; you do the math. There are a number of water purification systems available for that stored water such as SODIS which Haller are using, and the “slow sand filter” method. Digging for, and using pathogen rich ground water or river water is the number one contributor to ill health and infant mortality in developing countries.

Using the raised bed, no-dig garden method, or Square Foot Gardening, uses 70% less water that conventional farming, can be done by a household in a small space, often using discarded items such as bags, buckets or bread baskets, cuts out transport, supplies fresh vegetables daily … the list goes on. And once again, it’s about recycling, because people can produce and save seeds and compost leftover leaves etc which becomes …

Organic humus; it’s great to see that Haller have composting and/or vermiculture (worms) at the heart of their system. Mixing brown and green carbons such as sawdust and vegetable scraps quickly creates compost that creates organic, non toxic humus in which you grow healthy vegetables that don’t negatively impact the environment with chemicals such as pesticides. There urban gardens also produce natural, health giving herbs and medicines such a Aloe Vera. These are cheap and readily available medicines for a community that would otherwise not be able to afford them.

Another innovation I loved was their biogas system. Families in developing countries often have respiratory problems due to cooking on open wood fires in their hut.

By using waste products they can produce enough biogas to cook cleanly indoors; a huge health improvement.

Please take the time to check out their site HERE , where you can find out more on solar energy, aquaponics and living walls.

IN ADDITION here is another great guerrilla farming initiative; the most exciting sustainable food project in Chicago in recent history. Hiding in an abandoned former meatpacking warehouse on the South Side, The Plant might just change the way we think about food production in cities.

The Plant 1400 West 46th street Chicago is an old packing plant converted state art  hydroponic farm  fish

The Plant at 1400 West 46th street in Chicago is an old packing plant converted to a state of the art hydroponic farm, fish farm, brewery, baking center, and will use zero energy when it is finished. Director John Edel inspects herbs being grown in hydroponics on the lower level: Tuesday, January 8, 2013. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

HELPING HAND