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Blog series by daltxguy consisting of 17 parts so far

Part 1: Introduction

03-10-2012 01:57 AM by daltxguy | 6 comments »

For the past year, I have experimented with ‘tiny house’ living. It was not exactly a Thoreau experience ( although for those who have read Walden Pond, Thoreau’s experience was not exactly the Thoreau experience we all believe it to be) but they were experiments in living more simply, with less stuff, in a smaller space, with less power, less technology, doing more by hand and experiments in growing my own food in different climates, different spaces. From May...

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Part 2: Sustainability

03-10-2012 03:07 AM by daltxguy | 4 comments »

The discussion has to start with sustainability. If we are to be more sustainable, we better understand the term, what it means and how to assess whether something is sustainable or not. Is it the same thing as being green? My definition of sustainable: A balanced system of consumption and production which can be maintained in perpetuity without degradation of the environment. perpetuity = approx 2 billion years until the sun goes supernova or some other calamitous event wipes us ...

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Part 3: Green vs sustainable

03-11-2012 12:53 AM by daltxguy | 9 comments »

The term ‘green’ has been bantied about quite a bit for some time now. It seems overnight, products have been relabelled green touting their credentials but appearing unchanged except for some new labelling with the words ‘green’ or ‘eco’ in it and lots more green ink added to the label.Indeed the words green and sustainable are sometimes interchanged. All of this adds to the confusion about whether something is a better product or, like most advertisin...

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Part 4: Energy and Renewables

03-13-2012 04:38 AM by daltxguy | 5 comments »

There’s a lot to be said about energy but I won’t try to cover it all here. I’ll just talk briefly about how we got here with regards to energy usage, why it is unsustainable and what things we must consider. In the next blog I’ll discuss Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) specifically since that is the energy system I have had the most experience with and the one which is most suitable for my current situation. So called progress and development has been tied to the availabi...

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Part 5: Solar PV

03-14-2012 02:44 AM by daltxguy | 4 comments »

One of the things which is critical for my being able to live remotely is the availability of power ( and internet). This is because I work in technology, from home and the internet is my vital link to work. Producing energy requires equipment. My choice of solar photovoltaic ( PV) panels for producing electricity is neither the cheapest form of energy nor the most sustainable. However, it is the one most suited for my location. The choices I looked at are solar PV, wind, hydroelec...

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Part 6: Grey Water Systems

03-14-2012 04:04 AM by daltxguy | 4 comments »

I’ve thought and researched about grey water systems a bit and I can say a few things about what I have learned but in the end, my own grey water system has turned out to be very simple. But it is no less valid than more complex systems. What is grey water? It’s any ‘waste’ water other than that used to flush toilets. This means water from showering, washing your hands, washing clothes, dishes and anything else that goes down your sink Hauling water with my SUV ...

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Part 7: Composting toilets

03-15-2012 02:36 AM by daltxguy | 2 comments »

In the last blog I talked about saving water or reusing grey water – the dirtied water after laundry, washing, showers, etc – everything except toilets. Toilet water ( not like Eau de Toilette) is called black water. Avoiding black water is the best way to deal with it since treating black water is even more complex than grey water – but essentially if you have a grey water treatment system, treating black water consists of a few additional steps and a longer process...

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Part 8: Cooking with Less

03-15-2012 04:22 AM by daltxguy | 4 comments »

This is a wide ranging topic and one which I am sure I have heaps more to learn about but I thought I would share some of what I do to use less fossil fuels or electricity when cooking and some of the things I would still like to explore or ideas I have heard about which I have not yet tried but which I think, can be useful additions to the repertoire of options to make the most of the energy we have. Firstly, I would suggest to invest in some very good pots which heat up evenly and quick...

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Part 9: Long distance wifi

03-15-2012 02:23 PM by daltxguy | 5 comments »

This seems like the most unrelated topic and to some degree, it is – but allow me to explain and make a connection ( literally) to sustainable living and gardening ( this, I’ve got to see, you are thinking!) I now live in a place which would normally be considered unfeasible for human habitation because it has no access to water, power, communications..and yet this place is the one which is the most suitable for growing gardens, using wood as fuel, growing a food forest, gr...

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Part 10: Sustainability Workshop

03-16-2012 01:18 PM by daltxguy | 16 comments »

On Friday 16 March, I conducted a Sustainability Workshop at the Murchison Public Library in Murchison, New Zealand. I had 12 people attend, which in a town of 600 people is a significant number. The discussion continued on well after the allotted time until the library closing at 4pm ( presentation started at 2pm) The split in ages was probably slightly towards the younger crowd but not greatly so. A good discussion ensued. If nothing else, there seems to be a greater awareness and int...

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Part 11: Food sustainability

04-26-2012 12:38 PM by daltxguy | 2 comments »

I found this excellent source of interviews and stories about food, sustainable living and the interrelationship between the two. http://cookingupastory.com/ A good place to start is this 3-part interview series with environmental activist Vandana Shiva on the future of food: Part 1:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vi1FTCzDSck&feature=relmfu Part 2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVlJqwft9I8&feature=relmfu Part 3:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQDqEUd53YQ&feature=fvwp...

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Part 12: Twenty years of warning wasted

05-08-2012 11:05 PM by daltxguy | 7 comments »

The world was alerted to global warming several decades ago by a document signed by 1700 of the world’s leading scientists and the majority of all nobel laureates in science at the time.1992 World Scientists' Warning to Humanity It stated in simple terms that human activities, if unchecked were dooming the ability of humans to live on this planet and gave many tangible actions to take to avert the disaster – giving us about 1 or 2 decades before it was too late. Uh oh! The t...

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Part 13: The Man Who Planted Trees

09-01-2012 05:13 PM by daltxguy | 3 comments »

You can watch the award winning animated story of Elzeard Bouffier and his singlehanded transformation of a desolate landscape in Alps en Provence during the first half of the 20th century here:http://www.moviesfoundonline.com/man_who_planted_trees.php Plot spoiler- this is not a true story but if we all planted a few trees, the results would be just as hopeful.

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Part 14: Peak Phosphorus, Peak Potassium: Peak Fertilizer- Learn to compost or perish

12-04-2012 03:33 PM by daltxguy | 15 comments »

Are We Heading Toward Peak Fertilizer?—By Tom Philpott| Wed Nov. 28, 2012 3:03 AM PST91http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/11/are-we-heading-toward-peak-fertilizer You’ve heard of peak oil—the idea that the globe’s easy-to-get-to petroleum reserves are largely cashed, and most of what’s left is the hard stuff, buried in deep-sea deposits or tar sands. But what about peak phosphorus and potassium? These elements form two-thirds of the holy agricultural triumvirate...

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Part 16: Tree Crops

04-27-2013 06:02 AM by daltxguy | 11 comments »

As I reestablish myself on a new continent, I’m excited to finally find myself in a place where a book like “Tree Crops—A Permanent Agriculture”by J. Russell Smith (published in 1920’s and this link downloads it free ) is applicable (because of the variety of trees available and the suitability of the climate) Much of what J Russel Smith wrote about in 1920 is still valid today,nearly 100 years later. We are still experiencing large amounts of soil loss each ye...

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Part 17: Post Walden Experience

07-29-2013 06:22 PM by daltxguy | 8 comments »

1 year on from my Walden experience of living off-grid in 100 sq ft for 1 year in 2 countries, 2 continents, 2 hemispheres, I have returned to living in a house. The experience influenced my choice of house and it is a modest 1500 sqft, which is still too large but was the smallest I could find at the time. Houses have gotten larger and nothing under 50 years old seems small. But what I have retained from the experience? what have I discarded as impractical? Thoreau spent 2 years...

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