“We cannot hope to create a sustainable culture with any but sustainable souls.”
~ Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 1: The Problem of Civilization
For most people in Western societies and increasingly more people from non-Western too, life has become a series of “warehouses”: we put our children in warehouses (we call them childcares or schools), we live, work, shop and entertain in warehouses (cookie-cut houses we never own, gigantic buildings, malls, supermarkets, mass-produced entertainment) and we put our elders in warehouses to age, get sick and die (we call them daycares or retirement houses). And all for what? To get a “better life” , which in our society means more, newer and bigger stuff (more, bigger and newer houses, cars, appliances, toys, clothes, furniture, travels that mean nothing, parties that mean nothing, food that doesn’t taste and doesn’t nurture and so on…
And because more, bigger and newer leaves us empty, we set out to get even more, faster, bigger and newer…
I know people who have so many CDs that have played each only once, but they continue buying…children who are given gifts that are used once and then go to the closet forever, clothes that are used once, and people who have rooms full of shoes…
“Stuff” consumes energy and uses resources, many of them non-renewable: from mining the raw materials to make it, transporting them, processing the “thing” (whatever it is), using it and disposing of it (many times after a few uses). The same happens with services that require using and moving things around, such as travelling, restaurants and so on.
When we talk about Energy Descent Action Plans, they can apply to one individual, a household, a workplace, institution or whole community. EDAP are about living sustainably and leaving resources and energy for future generations and other peoples around the world. EDAPs are part of Permaculture because they are based in the three ethics: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share.
I started my and my family EDAP about two years ago, but it is now, that I’m preparing for my own Permaculture journey, that I’m starting to become more serious about it.
My first steps consisted on the usual: I stopped using the dishwasher and started the two-sink method, use the dryer only for big items, switched to cloth napkins, reuse old clothes for cleaning, changed bulbs, put on a sweater in winter, etc.
What else is needed?
The first step is to take inventory: watch what you currently have and use and how you use it. The components of a good EDAP are the reduction of:
The tricks to do the above are based on creativity and teamwork: you won’t come up with all the solutions and ideas, you need to meet others, read, share and talk. And you need to try out different approaches to find the one that works for your special circumstances and time.
These steps may help:
My own EDAP is far from perfect: I still have tons of “stuff” at home that I don’t know how it got there or how to dispose of. I still buy more things that I need or whose origin or processing is dark for me and I still use lots of energy and resources. But at least I have started.
“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
~ Bill Mollison
Category: Community Resources, Debt Management, Energy Descent Action Plan, Financial Independence, Food Preservation, Food Security, Life Choices, No Waste Living, Permaculture, Reflections on an unsustainable world, Resilience, Resilient Living and Choices, Simply Living, Social Justice, Sustainable Living, Transition