So I'm eating my breakfast, it's a cool morning, rain is forecast. I hear a large truck pull up outside. It's from Lowes, on the flatbed is a project, a deck perhaps, maybe even a shade structure by the looks of the materials, the only thing missing is the labor. I'm struck with the realization that I still haven't built our shade structure, not even the grape arbor. I could have just specced it out and had all the arsenic laden pressure treated lumber delivered, put it up in a weekend. I didn't. I've been pondering ways to accomplish it in a sustainable manner. I'm getting better at the primary permaculture principle of "Long thoughtful observation". I've been drying bamboo and studying techniques for building with the plentiful, hard grass. I've been collecting urbanite, busted up concrete on it's way to the dump, to build the retaining walls and foundations with. Well, today I will get a start.
That's my urbanite pile behind the wood pile. I'd been picking it up piece by piece when I found it on the side of the road but this past Thursday I found a crew tearing out a driveway and arranged to divert one load from the landfill to my driveway. In fact, in this picture you can see, more instances of scavenging, the compost pile in the foreground (built mainly from grocery store waste, the frame is from timber found on the side of the road), the manure pile just past it on the left (scavenged from some folks with horses), the pine log terrace border (gleaned from a friends yard when they removed some beetlekill, I'll use much of the urbanite to shore this up as a drystone wall), the wood pile (found along the side of the road on trash day).
I might not be as quick but I'm sure my project will have a much lower impact than the one that just arrived on the back of the Lowes truck.
What have you done today to lower your impact?
We are washing away the foundations of our existence on every front. It is high time we move from crashing about on the planet like a bull in china shop and find a way to go forward with intent. We must find systems of living based on sustainability. The systems and tools exist, it is up to each of us to adopt them.
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- August 2010 at the Sustainable Living Project
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