Follow by Email

StatCounter

Monday, December 10, 2012

Technology yes, permission no



We have the technology to set up low impact sustainable communities. What we don't have is official permission.

We have the tools: water catchment, organic gardens, permaculture, alternative energy, rocket stoves, composting toilets, and so on. What we don't have is permission to implement solutions.

How many of us live in places where something as simple and useful as a clothesline is banned? Solar panels are not allowed on people's roofs, never mind a small windmill. People have actually been arrested for catching and using rainwater off their roofs. Imagine if someone would do something really radical like eliminate their sewer service and go with composting toilets and a home graywater system. The horror.

Rural living is usually a bit more free about those things than city living. When I wanted solar electric power, I just put up a pole in the yard and mounted panels. Try that in the city. It's a bit harder. There are people who stealthy do things without permission. Solar panels are quietly put up on buildings. Edible plants are sown in city parks. Abandoned buildings get turned into workshops and play areas. Of course, should the authorities take offense, it all gets taken away or destroyed.

Even after a disaster like hurricane Sandy, the authorities destroyed people's self help initiatives. Rocket stoves that had been safely providing heat and cooking were taken apart. Volunteer feeding stations were closed down. Makeshift shelters were destroyed. The government hates competition.

All these rules and regulations may have made some sort of sense during good times. When anyone who wanted to work could afford the basics of life. The rules were not too burdensome. A proper functioning economy was able to provide for people's needs. The economic conditions have changed, but the rules haven't. The government may not function at the level of actually providing the needed services, but it's ability to enforce rules still exists.

It's the worse of both worlds. The old ways are dying, yet they still have enough life to keep their replacement from being born. Maybe a little more chaos would be a good thing. At least it would wipe the slate clean.

In the mean time, we practice our arts. Some of us live in the country or in towns with fewer outdated rules. Others practice our arts in secret, hoping to not get caught. There are those who live mobile lives. If the rule enforcers are a problem, they move on. It could be done in a good sized sailboat or an RV. People also live mobile lives in canoes and on bicycles. Attitude is more important than income.

We have knowledge and skills. Food, shelter, clothing, safety and community can be provided without Big Brother and the Nanny State. That's one of the reasons I think we'll do better than the Powers that Be expect us to. More and more of us can do things for ourselves. We aren't going to just roll over and die.

-Sixbears

28 comments:

  1. It's your second-to-last paragraph that is key. They can squash any one of those. It's the diversity of strategies that they are absolutely incapable of stopping. That also maximizes the chances of someone surviving, no matter what catastrophe befalls us. (Okay, if the Earth gets swallowed by a black hole, nothing we do really matters, but short of something that drastic....)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Short of the black hole diaster, we stand a fair chance.

      Delete
  2. My main gripe about living in the city is the massive number of rules and regs. In some areas here in Houston, you can't fly an American flag in your own yard or even garden!

    Hopefully I'll be back in the country sooner rather than later! I have to survive the 21st of December first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good luck with getting back in the country. I know it's where your heart is.

      Delete
  3. The first thing is to start thinking for ones self.
    Second thing is to open the mind to the possibilities.
    Thirdly is to actually do something.
    Fourth, reap the benefits.
    Recently, I went looking for easier ways to build free transportation. My trike project. As of today I'm ready to power a pickup truck with water. So now I'm in the market for a jeep pickup or station wagon. With a 4.0 HO motor and standard transmission. I failed many times before I accidentally found out the key. pulse width modulation on a daisy chain of individual cells. All of it is made with widely obtainable materials. There are some losses at the battery end, about a 1% loss over time. So the addition to some solar battery chargers made up the difference. I can now state with confidence that it can be done and is not rocket science. Almost all of it is off the shelf open source tech. I'm looking forward now to more testing on the cells uptime.
    Added to your list above, it's a winner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks to people like you sharing on the Internet, once it works for one person, it can work for everyone.

      Delete
  4. "The old ways are dying, yet they still have enough life to keep their replacement from being born." - I don't mean to seem sacrilegious, but when I read that line, I thought of King Harrod and "Rachel weeping for her children," all to no avail. Good post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I imagine you're kidding about the clothesline and the solar panels not being allowed on the roof and people getting arrested for catching rainwater... go on, tell me because what you've said is completely unbelievable... If you say it's true Sixbears, while I'll believe you, I won't believe you... no bureaucrats and city bylaws could be that insane... could they?
    Tell me it isn't so. Please!
    And rocket stoves had to be taken apart?
    Wow! No wonder you people are getting ready for some sort of apocalypse...
    Sounds like your friends in local government are your worst enemies... time for open season on them and a good culling is what I'd suggest.
    If I may be so bold as to suggest that.
    But I could just as easily mind my own business...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly, all true. Thankfully, not where I live. It's to keep silly ideas like that away that I go vote in the local elections.

      Delete
  6. Phyllis (N/W Jersey)December 10, 2012 at 5:20 AM

    If you live in an urban area you are watched over and regulated to death. You must conform to the rules set up by power hungry officials or else. So glad we moved to the country - wasn't easy, but we did it. It's difficult for the younger working generation to make the move because of the highly regulated price of fuel that they would need to get to work. And even if they did, some of them wouldn't even know what a clothespin is used for...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on your escape.

      For a number of years my wife had a high paying job 50 miles away. She drove a waste veggie oil burning old Mercedes 240D. Saved us a bundle and she loved that old car.

      Delete
  7. I once lived in an area where the "Homeowners" Association sent me some rules, one of which was no clothesline. Although I never needed to put one up I would have if I'd wanted to. I didn't feel the association had any legal power. Glad I don't live in that area anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HOAs are evil. They tend to be run by busy bodies who want power over their neighbors.

      Delete
  8. Its amazing how many city ordinances are written up because of 'visual concerns'. My Mom was asked to get rid of her 1977 Ford Thunderbird that has been retired underneath her car port at home because ITS VISIBLE FROM THE STREET! It isn't taken apart or rusting to oblivion, she just loves that car and doesn't want to part with it. Whats wrong with that ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing is wrong with it. That's the point. I'm glad in the the country. Sometimes there's a lot of weird things at my house that can be seen from the road. With all the projects I play around with, there's something odd to look at almost every day.

      Delete
  9. Sixbear the reason those actions of self reliance are against the rules/laws is.If people like that became common and the rest saw the savings think of the people in goverment that will be marginalized or the billions of dollars in revenue offical would lose from their budgets.Who the hell do they think they are to control their own lives.the great F,D.R. destroyed farms and self reliance so factorys had more drone workers and gov took the place of family.WHoops didnt mean to rant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rant away!

      Somehow I'm not going to cry a tear for the regulator types who lose their jobs.

      Delete
  10. All this nonsense in The Land Of The Free... I guess you're free to do what you want only if the authorities with dubious intelligence allow it within their rules... I must say it's all very hard to believe even though the rules wouldn't apply in every state... would they?
    Would you know and could you be bothered telling me how and why someone could be arrested for collecting rainwater from their roof. I've seen people threatened with prison for growing vegetables in their front garden...
    A crazy world Sixbears, you and your lovely wife are so much better off living in the woods...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The state of Colorado claims that rain is supposed to go into their ground water reserves.

      In the US, things vary a lot by state. For example is almost impossible to get a concealed carry pistol permit in New York. Next door in Vermont, a permit isn't even needed to carry.

      The counties, cities and towns have their own laws.

      Delete
  11. Great post and great comments, can't add anything here.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The worst areas for rules aren't the true cities but suburban developments with Homeowners' Associations. You can sue or vote to change laws, but if you buy a house and sign a Homeowners Associations Agreement, you are kinda screwed.

    I work in densely settled urban areas and see lots more solar panels and bicycles there than back home in the burbs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HOAs are evil and they are everywhere. Avoid them like the plague.

      If you want to put panels on your house, just do it. Your neighbors have more to hide than you do. :)

      Delete
  13. As we speak ,I am battling our homeowners association over my "pet hens". We have a group called hensfouth. As the association has appropriated 20,000 USD for court costs to sue us(with our own dues). We have banded together and got our own lawyer. The fight is on. I actually have four acres which is concidered horse property. But chickens? No way! Reminds me of a line from a song. If I had a rocket launcher.........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an amazing waste of resources the HOA is expending against a few birds. Four acres is a pretty decent sized piece of land. You should be able to do pretty much what you want.

      If I'd want chickens on my land, I'd just get them, and I've only got 2 acres.

      I remember a fight downstate over a zoning issue. I think the neighbors were blocking a small private shooting range. They stopped him, but he discovered his land was zoned for pigs. Yep, he got a lot of pigs and put them right next to his neighbors. Talk about winning the battle and losing the war.

      Delete
  14. Great post and great comments too. Few things anger me more than being told I need permission to take care of myself in any way I see fit. But I'm lucky (smart?) enough to live in an area where people still have a strong pioneering spirit. I will grow whatever food or raise whatever animals I want so that I can eat. And I'll build whatever shelter I damned-well want too. I sometimes think of my great grandfather who rode his horse from Oklahoma to Saskatchewan to set up his homestead. It would have been laughable in those days to think you would need permission to build your own shelter on your own land. Now people are fined for doing things to take care of themselves? We have plenty of technology but we certainly don't have much progress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your last sentence sums it all up: technology but little progress.

      Delete