To Create a Sustainable City, We Must Re-Engineer our Thinking

| 9/21/2018 9:35:00 AM


Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, I did not have an immediate knowledge of where our food and water came from.  I turned on the faucet for water, plugged cords into the wall for electricity, and went to the store for food. Yes, my city had been engineered for me, and I was just mindlessly playing my role.

At a young age, I felt that there was something wrong with my ignorance. Even worse, no one else seemed to be aware of our unawareness.  Everything came from somewhere else.  One salvation for me was that my mother grew up on a farm, and would tell tales of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl where many people had no food, and some starved to death. My mother’s family were poor by most standards, but they had 51 acres in rural Ohio and they fed themselves and many others. My mother’s stories inspired me to become an ethno-botanist, and to learn about how all plants were used in the past. 

Though I did not pursue the path of “urban planning,” I realized that I had many choices within the framework of my suburban life where I could ecologically engineer my life.

Personal Choices

My first teenage forays were into backyard urban gardening and raising chickens in a tiny space.  I didn’t want to be dependent on commercial fertilizers and bug-sprays, so I learned the ages-old methods of agricultural, methods that people today call “organic” or “perma-culture.”  I learned that anyone could indeed produce at least some of their food in the least amount of space. 

Even in my late teenage years, I had critics who told me it was not practical to grow foods without artificial fertilizers and pesticides.  Really?  I followed the path of Fusuoka and his “One Straw Revolution,” and the Rodale family, and insisted on growing everything with nothing artificial. I learned to keep down the bug population with natural methods that had been practiced world-wide for millennia.  I knew that the so-called Green Revolution, based as it was on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides was partly a fraud, and was not sustainable into the future centuries.

9/22/2018 3:33:42 PM

There is great need for this knowledge. I have been trying to increase my nonreliance on big agra, big pharma and the like for many years now. Jay Seymour

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