Monthly Archives: May 2009

The book of Self-Sufficiency

Self-SufficiencyIn my last Amazon parcel I got the book with the largest name I know: “The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers“. It’s really amusing! It shows you all kind of farm related techniques, from sowing plants to building gates, from butchering a cow to installing wind mills. Moreover the illustrations are beautiful and useful at the same time. But the most interesting part for me, apart from the plant related stuff, is the lessons of philosophy that it contains. Let me quote some pseudo-random sentences:

(about sowing tomatoes)

The most luxurious tomatoes I ever saw growing were on the overspill of a sewage works, which leads one to think that it would be better to eat the seed before we plant it.

(about grapes)

I grew ninety outdoor vines there and got plenty of grapes. The pheasants ate all grapes but I ate all pheasants, so that was all right.

(his dry toilet)

The flush toilet is one of the greatest sins of modern man. (…) It is a remarkably expensive way to pollute fresh drinking water, while at the same time wasting the very nutrients that are essential to maintain fertility in the soil. One pull of the lever and the waste becomes somebody else’s problem.

(about clothes)

(During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit) we saw the citizens’ groups from all over the planet wearing ethnic clothing, or cheap T-shirts and shorts, whilst the government delegations and the like wore smart suits and ties. Of course they could only do this in their own artificial world of air-conditioned hotels, cars, and conference centres. Out in the tropical heat of Brazil, the suit and tie are about as sensible as wearing an Aran sweater in a sauna. The suit and tie have, of course, become the uniform of the merchants of greed.

Some of our modern behaviours are totally against nature. But the worst part is that people don’t realize it, or think that doing ecological stuff is totally uncomfortable. If you have never travelled to a poor country, or to a out-of-civilization place, you will never understand how difficult and costly are some things that you consume or directly spoil in your urban life. Anyway, if speaking about modern life is just too boring for you, at least do this: plant a tree, and look at it everyday… this will change your mind.