Shattered Green Dreams

Discussion in 'General chat' started by beauhugh, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. beauhugh

    beauhugh Guest

    Hi Folks

    Just a bit of whinge and here goes. I have just completed my 9 weeks course in permaculture (very basic i know) and I have tried to implement ways and means to help save water for instance but I have just received a water bill with an increase of $20 instead of a decrease!! How depressing. I mean at least for my effort they could have cut my water bills but instead increased it. What is the use of going to through all these efforts such collecting water, installing a new toilet system to find out that it has no impact financially but it has cost you more for your effort. What this tells me is that our society awards us in action or at least go with the flow rather than our efforts to help save the environment.

    Same with eating permaculture stuff. Its like this lifestyle is for the rich - Like for instance organic meat is like 5 times more expensive than the normal stuff you get at the supermarket.

    Anyone has any opinions?

    John,
    Sydney
     
  2. susann

    susann Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    HI - I'm an optimist. My experience is how you see things is how they appear.

    Regarding your water bill - have you checked to see if last year's water bill was the same? I know we use more water in winter than summer. And yes, organic meat is expensive - try shopping late at night on the wednesdays and the weekend - in my area all the organic meat gets reduced in price to sell before the use by date. Or just eat less meat! Or grow your own.

    Our budget is very small. Growing lettuce over winter has saved me heaps (last time I looked lettuce was $3-$4). Ive only just started my permaculture garden. I am aiming for 25% of my fruit and veg to come from the garden in the next year, 45% in the following year.

    I have never heard of Permaculture being a magic wand that makes life easier and cheaper. You have to work at it and work smart to save money and time as you go. If you live the by the ethics of permaculture new opportunities can arise and you might just starting looking for solutions rather than seeing problems.

    Perhaps you are just suffering from post-pdc depression. The enthusiasm of an inspired group can leave you feeling flat after you walk away...
     
  3. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    My permaculture greens cost cents.
    My permaculture tubers cost cents.
    My permaculture rabbit meat costs.... cents.
    My permaculture pork costs ...... cents.

    My permaculture alcohol, cigarettes, tyres, furniture, school fees, insurance etc ... cost dollars.

    You cannot assume that by being a permaculturist that somehow the $$$ cost will melt away. Consider, you cant keep doing the same thing, and expect the results to change. Our opinions may change, but unless our habits do. We are victims of 'doing the same thing'...

    cheers,
     
  4. barely run

    barely run Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    Hi John
    I can relate to your whinge....and I agree a bit of post PDC let down. It is always exciting and inspiring getting together with people with purpose and then when we go home it all seems too hard.
    Anyway i have been an enthusiastic but usually unsucessful gardener for years....various reasons work, time commitments and frequent moves but I continue on. This time I hope to be more sucessful but even over winter the return from my vegie patch is no where near my set up costs but hopefully spring summer will balance that cost (a one off) Buying organic food is a more expensive option and for some it's a real barrier but the prices at the supermarket are coming down due to consumer demand.I avoid processed food even when "organic" and try to stick to a mainly prepared from scratch food but again time, work, etc can put pressure on to use the convinence foods even though with a bit of practice and planning you can do much the same yourself.
    Stay in touch here online........it's where I come for some insiration. And check that water bill for time and litres used...it may just be the cost of water has increased
    Cheers
    Cathy
     
  5. JoanVL

    JoanVL Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    I'm a pensioner and have never been able to afford any courses....I rely on my organic gardening books and internet sites, and I adhere to the old wartime principles of my parents, such as 'make do and mend' and 'waste not want not'.

    I like to scavenge a bit for things to use in the garden, and have botched up a few water saving schemes, such as buckets for my kitchen waste water, and diverting the shower drainpipe into two 55 ltr cheap plastic storage containers. I also have an old beer brewing barrel under a leak in the roof gutter. I think your water bill would have been a lot more without your schemes - water prices might have risen. You could check your meter by looking at the reading, then filling a five litre bucket and checking it only went up by that amount.

    Gardening really does save money. I live in a heavy clay area, so have had to make a lot of compost for the garden beds. I find paw paw and passion fruit grow rally well here, as does silverbeet and lettuce. I'm struggling to groew lots of other veggies too. I have herbs for the kitchen and for medicinal use - herbs seem to tolerate my awful soil and lack of knowledge. My three chooks provide more than enough eggs for the two of us: I give some to friends. I do buy chook pellets, but weeds, such as plantain and dandelion-like weeds are 'free' food for them, and they don't need a lot of the pellets. Of course, the garden provides free organic food, because I can't afford organic meat either. I also buy only non-processed foods.

    Don't give up hope - if nothing else, my garden keeps me sane - well, sort of....
     
  6. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    g'day john,

    paying good money out for a course not necessary at all, all that is needed is maybe read molleson's intro/ to pc (got it on the shelf read some of it once haven't opened it since), it's easy enough, a 2 day intro to tafe course convinced me it was all based on common knowledge and common sense.

    anyhow enough already, you don't say if you are in rural or suburbia, in a house or a unit? but here are some of the things we do to conserve or better manage water:

    1.. we have a rain water tank of substantial size and some 44gal plastic drums to capture rain water also, the tank supplies all the home needs, and the drums get used for clothes washing (using a twin tub washer the best water mangement 3 loads per fill, and making our own laundry gel).

    2.. we use 2 buckets in the showers, and bale all bath water into buckets.

    3.. all grey water gets used, not much goes to the sewerage, it goes to gardens, trees and potted plants, as well as is used to flush toilet solids(never flush urine, hardly ever need to use fresh water), my wee water gets used on the gardens. we wash our dishes in a basin and this water goes to gardens etc.,. as does the rinse water we accumulate between dish washing, this gets added to my wee for vege's only.

    len
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    Did you do a water audit before and after? Have a look at Rosemary Morrow's book (the latest edition, you can get it at a library if you can't buy one), there's some really good stuff in there about water.

    btw I don't think permaculture says you have to buy expensive organic meat ;) It more likely says look at what meat resources are available to you, and what ethical and/or sustainability decisions do you want to make about that given your particular situation?
     
  8. Loris

    Loris Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    Its a bit of a Sydney or the bush issue with the hope that the lifestyle will help. If you are in a position that you have a bit of land where the inputs are very small and you are water self sufficient and you have fruit, veges, eggs and meat from the chooks/ goats/ sheep you are living very tight indeed. If you are trying to sort of retrofit a suburban lifestyle, well thats good and you are probably not spending any more on your permaculture hobby than if you were keen on golf.

    So keep going because that means you will keep learning but consider how you might broaden your options to include a real life style change. So remember, its a great hobby and well worth the effort. If you are looking for it to stack up financially you may need to really invest in the process.
     
  9. gemjill

    gemjill Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    G'day

    My understanding is that permaculture isn't about buying organic meat and veg it's about producing it to whatever degree one is able given the resources they have.
    And consuming with small local businesses/producers rather than just organic food that's been shipped in.
    More about becoming more independent from the energy or water providers, so that when the going gets really tough you can rely on your own resources of water, energy and food.
    I don't think 'brownie points' for 'doing the right thing' really occurs in life very much, sad to say, and the water you buy isn't going to be getting any cheaper, you may well yet be glad for your efforts.
    Lots of small steps working toward the same goal, it does all make a difference.
    cheers
     
  10. Sonya

    Sonya Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    It takes a while for the systems to kick into place though.

    This winter we have eaten pretty much 100% all our fresh food from the garden. I think I've only bought organic brown onions but I could have easily just used spring onions instead. We buy bread and milk and some organic meat, plus rice, grains, pasta etc. We've also got our seed saving happening now too, so that will save us a lot next year and subsequent years.

    We've been in our place three years. We are fully on rain water and our electricity bill has just come down to $90 after installing a solar HWS (which cost us and so will the 1kW pv system we have on order). But through my permie networks I heard about a project where you only pay $950 for a system, so that has saved us a few thousands dollars.

    As for fuel - I changed my job after my PDC and now work from home, which saves a lot of fuel, clothes, food and coffee!

    Just consuming less 'stuff' takes a while. Give it time and see what happens.

    Cheers,
    Sonya
     
  11. Burra Maluca

    Burra Maluca Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    If you've implemented water saving techniques and your bill has still gone up $20, I dread to think how much you would have spent without them...
     
  12. sunnyslopes

    sunnyslopes Junior Member

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    Re: Shattered Green Dreams

    Hello Beauhugh,

    It's been a while since you posted this topic. Can you give us an update? I am very curious to find out if you are still discouraged.
     

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