Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sometimes low-tech is better

I like technology. I use it, I study it, and I rely on it.

As humanity becomes ever more reliant on technology for employment, agriculture, communications, transportation, healthcare, finance, government, and many other facets of modern life, I believe that those who understand the inner workings of technology will eventually hold the world by the balls, figuratively speaking, and dominate the future.

Progressively, we are forgetting how to grow our own grain and produce, how to hunt and butcher our own meat, how to cut down trees for lumber and firewood. We are forgetting how to make our own cooking vessels out of clay. We are forgetting how to forge and cast our own iron, and how to do make our own gunpowder from scratch.

If the recent 8.9 magnitude Japanese earthquake and resulting tsunami has taught me anything, is that nature can and will destroy anything in its path. When I saw images of entire towns being swept away by the waves, empty supermarket shelves, and scenes of devastation in towns where thousands of people went missing in the span of a few minutes, I began to think about the element of environmental risk in my own life.

Tough I am fortunate to live in an area where earthquakes and tornadoes are rare events, I do realize that I am completely dependent on food grown hundreds of miles from my home, and products manufactured on the other side of the world. For the past few days, I have been obsessing over the idea of stockpiling rice, beans, flour, quinoa, sugar, salt, and purified drinking water. I am also thinking about starting live batches of yeast (both baker's and brewer's yeast strains), and planting vegetable seeds in indoor planters (well out of reach of hungry dogs and curious cats).

I am considering clearing some trees off my land and planting a small field where I could grow wheat, barley and oats. I don't think quinoa would grow well in my climate, but I would be willing to try that as well.

And last but not least, I should probably replace my propane boiler with an outdoor wood boiler to supply heat and hot water to my home. I already own several acres of woodland, so I know I can grow my own firewood sustainably, and a wind turbine with a few solar panels would be a nice addition.

My bookshelf is filling up with wilderness medicine books, and my first aid kit weighs as much as a grown adult.

Perhaps I am over-prepared. But tell that to the unfortunate residents of Kesennuma, Japan.

1 comment:

  1. come see the LAST!