Rebuilding civilization in North America

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Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:12 am

Cheap land is available for people to build a new community away from the capitalist, materialist mess of North America. This is esp. true if we pool our resources. Very inexpensive land is available in the West but most of that land is in the desert or the high desert and would require considerable commitment to create a liveable community for more than a few rugged individuals. This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee. Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.

Other options are available as well. One of them includes simply renting a large house in a metropolitan suburb although this option means that one is still dependant upon the current financial system as a wage slave.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby edearl » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:04 am

kirtu wrote:Cheap land is available for people to build a new community away from the capitalist, materialist mess of North America. This is esp. true if we pool our resources. Very inexpensive land is available in the West but most of that land is in the desert or the high desert and would require considerable commitment to create a liveable community for more than a few rugged individuals. This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee. Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.

Other options are available as well. One of them includes simply renting a large house in a metropolitan suburb although this option means that one is still dependant upon the current financial system as a wage slave.

Kirt


Building materials are a frequently a big expense, in addition to land. An Earthship home might be the least expensive materials cost, but they are labor intensive to build. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship and links therein. Earthship homes are designed to be off-grid and Eco-friendly. In some ways they are similar to adobe houses, and are therefore well suited to high desert areas. While they do not conform to standard building codes, they are modern homes with all the conveniences in spite of the fact they require almost no energy to heat and cool, especially in a high desert climate. Living in one should be very inexpensive.

A feature of Earthship buildings is their use of solar and/or wind power generation, which increases initial cost but pays for itself in about ten years. In essence, you pay for 30-40 years of electricity up-front as part of the expense of the building. The same is true for other utilities, but electricity probably has the longest payback period.

My main concern about the American high desert, is that scientists predict a substantial drought for western central part of the US. My guess is that New Mexico would be easier to get a building permit than anywhere else in the USA, because their inventor, architect Mike Reynolds, is based in NM near Taos. On the other hand, Earthship homes have been build in many climates.

See:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku6xVcIEwyY/,
http://www.earthship.org/,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthship/,
http://www.amazon.com/GARBAGE-WARRIOR-M ... 001CB96LK/,
and links therein.
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Sönam » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:05 am

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Malcolm » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:09 pm

kirtu wrote: This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee.



Believe it or not, it is also illegal in most Western states.

Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.


The greatest ongoing cost of building a sustaintable community is not land, it is labor. Combine that with the rising costs of fuel, and you have a combination that makes it very hard to succeed in building an intentional community.

What we are basically talking about is switching back to a nineteenth century economy (localized) where wood is your primary energy source, supplemented by oil, with human and animal labor as your primary labor force. In order to make this community work, you will have become largely proficient in providing the majority of your own food. This means convertible husbandry. Thus, you will need to build a manure factory. If you have 30 acres of arable land, you will need to maintain a herd of fifteen cows (one cow produces enough manure every year to fertilize two acres), manure ponds, etc. In other words, you will need to become an expert in composting manure. You will need to do this to maintain the fertility and health of your land. You will need to learn (if you don't already know) how best to can, preserve and otherwise maintain your summer and fall harvests for the winter, as well as feed your animals through the winter. And you will need a lot of committed people who are willing to live on just food and lodging to help you out in the howling wilderness we call "post-industrial" civlization. Most communes, or whatever you want to call it, fail because they do not adequately understand how to farm. In short, if you really want to make this work, you will have to become a farmer.

Good luck! Really, I mean it.

N
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby edearl » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:19 pm

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee.



Believe it or not, it is also illegal in most Western states.

N


Earthishp homes do harvest rainwater as their only source of water, and according to the earthship.org website, they have been built in all 50 states. Essentially, all the fresh water we use, whether from aquifers, rivers and lakes, is rainwater or snow melt--regardless of local laws.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Malcolm » Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:23 pm

edearl wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee.



Believe it or not, it is also illegal in most Western states.

N


Earthishp homes do harvest rainwater as their only source of water, and according to the earthship.org website, they have been built in all 50 states. Essentially, all the fresh water we use, whether from aquifers, rivers and lakes, is rainwater or snow melt--regardless of local laws.

:namaste:



You won't find disagreement from me about your basic premise, however:

http://www.hcn.org/issues/40.18/a-good- ... ay-with-it

As I said...
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://atikosha.org
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Sönam » Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:37 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.


The greatest ongoing cost of building a sustaintable community is not land, it is labor. Combine that with the rising costs of fuel, and you have a combination that makes it very hard to succeed in building an intentional community.

What we are basically talking about is switching back to a nineteenth century economy (localized) where wood is your primary energy source, supplemented by oil, with human and animal labor as your primary labor force. In order to make this community work, you will have become largely proficient in providing the majority of your own food. This means convertible husbandry. Thus, you will need to build a manure factory. If you have 30 acres of arable land, you will need to maintain a herd of fifteen cows (one cow produces enough manure every year to fertilize two acres), manure ponds, etc. In other words, you will need to become an expert in composting manure. You will need to do this to maintain the fertility and health of your land. You will need to learn (if you don't already know) how best to can, preserve and otherwise maintain your summer and fall harvests for the winter, as well as feed your animals through the winter. And you will need a lot of committed people who are willing to live on just food and lodging to help you out in the howling wilderness we call "post-industrial" civlization. Most communes, or whatever you want to call it, fail because they do not adequately understand how to farm. In short, if you really want to make this work, you will have to become a farmer.

Good luck! Really, I mean it.

N


You could do it with less means, you can first reduce your need to a much lower level and you can concentrate more on what is already given, pills, plants and so on, then you can have a complement with self growing foods. I have some very little experience, and you do not need to go on to farming (cows and so on). Of course you have to have a place wich is not only desertic.

Sönam
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby edearl » Sun Oct 09, 2011 6:31 pm

Namdrol wrote:
edearl wrote:
Namdrol wrote:...
Believe it or not, it (harvesting rainwater) is also illegal in most Western states.
N

Earthishp homes do harvest rainwater as their only source of water, and according to the earthship.org website, they have been built in all 50 states. Essentially, all the fresh water we use, whether from aquifers, rivers and lakes, is rainwater or snow melt--regardless of local laws.
:namaste:


You won't find disagreement from me about your basic premise, however:

http://www.hcn.org/issues/40.18/a-good- ... ay-with-it

As I said...


I believed you. Earthship homes have had zoning problems before. However, in NM Mike Reynolds has considerable experience working with the state legislature to overcome zoning laws. He actually lost his license to practice architecture for a while, but has since been reinstated and heralded as a visionary. I don't know the exact position of the law in NM, but he does and also knows how to work with the law to build his Eco-friendly homes.

Zoning and building codes are well intentioned, but sometimes inane and inflexible.
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Kyosan » Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:00 pm

kirtu wrote:Cheap land is available for people to build a new community away from the capitalist, materialist mess of North America. This is esp. true if we pool our resources. Very inexpensive land is available in the West but most of that land is in the desert or the high desert and would require considerable commitment to create a liveable community for more than a few rugged individuals. This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee. Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.

Other options are available as well. One of them includes simply renting a large house in a metropolitan suburb although this option means that one is still dependant upon the current financial system as a wage slave.

Kirt

Food is also an important consideration. Where do you plan to get your food from? I live in a desert and can say that because of the rainfall, soil (basic), and temperatures here it's difficult or impossible to raise many crops. I personally would avoid any areas that are coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) hot spots, especially if I planned to be working with soil. Many people get it and it's not serious, but it can be very nasty or even fatal.
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby Kyosan » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:56 am

Sönam wrote:

You could do it with less means, you can first reduce your need to a much lower level and you can concentrate more on what is already given, pills, plants and so on, then you can have a complement with self growing foods. I have some very little experience, and you do not need to go on to farming (cows and so on). Of course you have to have a place wich is not only desertic.

Sönam

As you say, cows are not needed. Green manure (mostly fast growing legumes) can be used.

I agree with Namdrol that if you want to really be independent, you need to become farmers.

I think it might be easier to do this in the tropics because food can be grown year round and you don't need to worry about storage as much. Also, you won't be freezing your butt off during the winter. You can have a simple shelter that doesn't require heating or cooling.

In a place where there is higher rainfall it's easier to collect enough rain water and you probably won't have to irrigate your plants.

Here is a forum where some of the members are doing exactly this in the tropics (the Puna area of the Big Island of Hawaii). If you like sweet potatoes, taro, bananas, citrus, pineapple, passion fruit, avocados and greens this might be for you. I'm not sure what the land prices are but think it's probably possible to get 3 acres for $10,000 US, something like that, at higher elevations (in Fern Forest where jaywfitz lives). You can ask them at the forum, they would know.

http://sensiblesimplicity.lefora.com/

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Last edited by Kyosan on Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby LastLegend » Mon Oct 10, 2011 2:02 am

All depend on conditions. A seed will not become a plant without the conditions of soil, water, sunlight, and temperature.

Until then wishful thinking
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:39 am

edearl wrote:Building materials are a frequently a big expense, in addition to land. An Earthship home might be the least expensive materials cost, but they are labor intensive to build.


I've been taking a look at Earthships for a while but their cost of construction can be unexpectedly high because old tires have become expensive (although not everywhere apparently and there is a kind of 2 ton tire brick that I read about that was given away in one case - several of these tire bricks were used to create the load bearing walls for this particular Earthship).

I plan to help build an Earthship in the coming year so I have some hands on experience.


My main concern about the American high desert, is that scientists predict a substantial drought for western central part of the US.


I wasn't aware of that. You mean a drought from climactic causes and not the increasing lack of water in the West due to higher demand on aquifer and river sources?

Thanks!

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:41 am

Sönam wrote:Image

I'll remember me my young years ...


Curiously my ex wants me to buy a trailer ..... he is sceptical about me living in a tipi or a house I built myself.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:54 am

Namdrol wrote:
kirtu wrote: This isn't impossible of course but harvesting water from precipitation may not be everyone's cup of tee.



Believe it or not, it is also illegal in most Western states.


This was mentioned to me by a person from Colorado within the past few weeks. I have to take a closer look at this. I have been estimating water harvests based on climate profiles of available land so this is a pretty important issue if I buy land in the West.

Some inexpensive land in mild climates such as Maine, New York, and some of the mid-West is available. There may be land available in Canada as well.


The greatest ongoing cost of building a sustaintable community is not land, it is labor. Combine that with the rising costs of fuel, and you have a combination that makes it very hard to succeed in building an intentional community.
[/quote]

That is true. I am thinking we can begin as a tipi community in late spring and gradually build common and personal housing. As for fuel, most of that will be solar, wind and biomass. In order to not waste resources this has to be planned meticulously.

However other people have succeeded in this endeavour. In fact it built America.

What we are basically talking about is switching back to a nineteenth century economy (localized) where wood is your primary energy source, supplemented by oil, with human and animal labor as your primary labor force.


I would NOT want to shift to wood as fuel except as necessary. Generally wood isn't that efficient as a fuel and we can't really glen enough fallen wood for a long period of time in most places. I am talking about utilizing appropriate technology to leverage warm and toasty social reinvention.

In order to make this community work, you will have become largely proficient in providing the majority of your own food. This means convertible husbandry.


That's true. I would like to harness hydroponics. However that probably excludes most desert regions unless we bring in tankers (a la the closed ecosystem experiment in the 90's).
However I don't think we need husbandry.

Most communes, or whatever you want to call it, fail because they do not adequately understand how to farm. In short, if you really want to make this work, you will have to become a farmer.


Well that's a fact ....

Good luck! Really, I mean it.


Thanks!

Kirt
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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 3:58 am



OH NO! Utah is one of those states! I was looking at land near Modena, Utah in the beautiful Escalante Desert.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:03 am

Sönam wrote:You could do it with less means, you can first reduce your need to a much lower level and you can concentrate more on what is already given, pills, plants and so on, then you can have a complement with self growing foods. I have some very little experience, and you do not need to go on to farming (cows and so on).


This is the general plan ...

Of course you have to have a place wich is not only desertic.


Actually Sonam deserts have lots of resources, The right areas in the high deserts are overflowing with usable resources although you have to know how to use them. You can even use many areas in hot deserts as long as you plan carefully over years.

Kirt

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:12 am

Kyosan wrote:Food is also an important consideration. Where do you plan to get your food from?


Initially from packaged sources (MRE's, camping food, etc.). But long term from hydroponic farms.

I live in a desert and can say that because of the rainfall, soil (basic), and temperatures here it's difficult or impossible to raise many crops.


I know (I used to live for a while in El Paso and lived as a kid for a while near Fort Worth). However it appears that 5 acres are sufficient for a family of five, in this case with husbandry, but also on the East Coast. I have to take a close look at the possibility of hydroponics and rain harvesting in arid regions. Just north of El Paso on the road to Las Cruces there was some farming but this was supported by irrigation. However in Israel that used to not be an option (not in the same way - they did use irrigation but using a low flow approach).

I personally would avoid any areas that are coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) hot spots, especially if I planned to be working with soil. Many people get it and it's not serious, but it can be very nasty or even fatal.


This is the first time I have even heard of this. I'll check it out. Curious that I never heard of it in California but I wasn't ever on a farm in Cali.

Thanks!

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:22 am

I grew up partly in Hawaii, on Oahu.

Kyosan wrote:I think it might be easier to do this in the tropics because food can be grown year round and you don't need to worry about storage as much. Also, you won't be freezing your butt off during the winter. You can have a simple shelter that doesn't require heating or cooling.


People on Oahu can get cold in the winter because it rains for three months, sometimes day and night. Simple shelter is fine but in the old days people lit fires in the winter for sure. After living there a while temps in the 60's become cold. Cooling isn't needed on Oahu although one section of the island is a de facto desert. I don't know the temperature profiles of the other islands.

Here is a forum where some of the members are doing exactly this in the tropics (the Puna area of the Big Island of Hawaii). If you like sweet potatoes, taro, bananas, citrus, pineapple, passion fruit, avocados and greens this might be for you. I'm not sure what the land prices are but think it's probably possible to get 3 acres for $10,000 US, something like that, at higher elevations (in Fern Forest where jaywfitz lives). You can ask them at the forum, they would know.

http://sensiblesimplicity.lefora.com/


Thanks! I'll check this out. I rejected Hawaii in the past because land is really only available on the Big Island and this means potentially dealing with volcanoes and historically tsunami.

However over the past 50 yrs people have homesteaded on every one of the eight main islands except Kahoolawe (a Hawaiian holy island that until recently was used as a bombing range) so this is of course doable there.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby edearl » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:49 am

Earthship homes do not rely on external fuel. Although, most have some source of heat for emergency use. Moreover, they all have green areas inside the house for growing plants that can be edible. However, one would need more food than the house produces.

Estimates vary on how much land is required to feed an adult for a year, but 1000 square meters is in the ball park. However, raising farm animals increases land needs by as much as ten times. Vegan living is most efficient. Rather than raising farm animals for fertilizer, in many places one can build bat roosts and collect their droppings. Water availability is likely to be the biggest problem in the future.

All over the world, glaciers are melting, and they provide water for billions of people to survive. This may cause major rivers around the world to dry up during dry seasons, and IMO will mean the world population will decrease. The book, "The Limits to Growth" and its successors predict about half of the world's population will die off by year 2100. Building a sustainable monastery or village in North America is a great idea, but water may be a big challenge.

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Re: Rebuilding civilization in North America

Postby kirtu » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:09 am

edearl wrote:Earthship homes do not rely on external fuel.


Good point.

Estimates vary on how much land is required to feed an adult for a year, but 1000 square meters is in the ball park.


That's too much. We had a little less than that on my extended family's horse farm in Ohio and it was the primary source of food for at least four people during the Depression although they weren't vegan. It fed people at family reunions until the land was sold in the early 80's. We ate many, many bowls of corn, peas and various berries over many years at these reunions.

The book, "The Limits to Growth" and its successors predict about half of the world's population will die off by year 2100.


"The Limits to Growth" was incorrect in details primarily because of agricultural advancements (although the sources of some of these advancements is problematic). If it weren't for climate change we wouldn't be in bad shape as a species for quite a while.

Building a sustainable monastery or village in North America is a great idea, but water may be a big challenge.


It could be that water will be a challenge. But on the East Coast we can legitimately store large quantities of water and possibly in arid areas as well storing liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Have to see if this really pays off though as the energy and infrastructure costs could be prohibitive. An artificial aquifer might be the way to go.

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