Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Occupying Permaculture

This post is by ApocalypseHub.com contributor Noel G.

Permaculture is less a system of rules and more a mindset. It consists of tried and tested environmental principles as well as taking an open, objective and critical mind to the problem at hand and seeking inclusive solutions; inclusive of all members of the relevant ecosystem as well as those that might be gainfully introduced. For the Occupy movement, this means finding new solutions to old problems.
     The Occupy movement has sprung up in defiance to and of everything. Everything that they, the members of the movement, see as being wrong with the economy and our culture. The corrupt nature of our politics and politicians, how they are inextricably linked to the powers that be within the banks, GMO's and other monolithic corporations, how this entire system is supported by a web of lawyers and lobbyists and how everyone else, the vast majority of the American people, the 99%, gets shafted by this system.
     Out of this mindset and the need for localized solutions to problems long handled by centralized ministries has been born the sustainability committees and their various projects. Glenn Hurrowitz, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a member of the Occupy DC’s sustainability committee, was bothered by the fact that the Wall Street occupation was using gasoline powered generators for their power needs. It struck him that a movement such as theirs should not be propping up the oil barons, but should be seeking to find solutions to more than the current financial woes. He took this idea to the General Assembly, which is the daily occupation meeting to which every occupier is invited. Solar Panels were agreed on, the money was raised and within a week they were installed beside the camp's media tent.    
     The Occupy Wall Street movement, in association with Time's Up!, a NY based not-for-profit 'direct-action environmental group', did away with their gas generators and now fill their energy needs with a pedal powered, deep cycle battery. More on this below.

They have also started serious recycling efforts, making a symbolic sustainability table entirely out of recycled materials.

They make their own pots and pans. They also have, in association with Mobile Design Labs created a system for recycling Greywater. Greywater is water that has been used for some purpose, such as doing dishes or bathing, and then discarded. It is not to be confused with Blackwater, which is sewage. Greywater makes up anywhere from 70% upwards of the water discarded by households, and can easily be captured and recycled, preventing contamination when it is mixed with Blackwater. The water is caught, filtered to remove chemicals and other contaminants and then used for various purposes, including watering the plants in and around the Occupations.
     This concept of sustainable living, not only as a necessity but as a further protest and an example of the world they, the occupiers, are seeking to build, has since spread to all the other movements. Solar panels and pedal bikes are being used to for various power purposes. Other sustainable initiatives such as community gardens, which this blog will have more on in other posts, are being adopted for food provision and as examples of true organic food production.  
     The Occupy movement has grown from its roots as a reaction to the financial malaise into an ongoing example of the kind of world its members would like to see created, complete with the kinds of democracy, sustainable technology and food production that they would like to see be at the center of this new world economy. They are a working example of how to not just protest what is wrong, but also how to suggest and implement measures encapsulating what they see as being right.

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