Where would you move?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by sz, Dec 20, 2006.

  1. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    All good points there Ladyboy. They do lead me to the conclusion that biting the bullet and attempting the sometimes problematic intentional communities, Permaculture designed ecovillages is the way to go... Jez here has talked about taking over old ghost towns and redesigning them as such to provide all the things a town needs in sustainable ways...
     
  2. Nathan Edwards

    Nathan Edwards Junior Member

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    Having done my Permaculture Design course with Max Lindegger in 92 at Crystal Waters in Maleny I would have to say I agree totally with you Richard. One day when I have sorted out my own property and worked out how to finance the operation I would very much like to be involved with some others in starting an intentional community. Crystal Waters was so fantastic then I would love to see it now after 14 years.
     
  3. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    I lived and worked half the week in Newstead for a while, and the other half in Melbourne. Here in Melbourne was constant noise and stimulation, up there, the most interesting conversations I had sober were down at the river with the fish, "come and bite, you bastards..." Talk about contrasts!

    Your Castlemaine is quite the contrast by itself. You've got yuppies with their tiny yappy dogs as substitutes for children, and people with their weekender places - Blackberry & Rabbit Farmers, I call 'em - and then strolling past that lot having their double-decaf light soy latte is some flannel-wearing canola or beef farmer with his mashed-up Akubra on, and then a few bored unemployed teenaged kids in a ute.

    Bloody good bookshop on that corner, though, that counts for a lot. And another one, I think on the way to Maryborough.
     
  4. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    I wonder if little yapping dogs as substitutes for children would work out to be ecologically sustainable if we employed it en masse as a means of setting limits to human population? :lol: Probably, eh?
     
  5. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    When it comes to the military's responsibilities to the environment other countries actually come over to Australia to see what policies are in place here and how they work. Australia has one of, if not the best, envrionmental policies in the world.

    Unfortunately the military is (obviously) harsh on the envrionment, but every miltary training area has an evrionmental officer, a civilian who's job it is to make sure any training stays within certain guidelines, and I for one would not dare to step outside of those guidelines as the consquences are swift!
     
  6. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    this may be almost true for aussie use - the do have an environmental officer - but here his main job is to make sure the civilians think the military take care of the environment and since they do NO monitoring of air emissions - NO soil tests and very lttle monitoring of water pollution I really do wonder just what the environemntal officer could possibly do :? but I have heard they are really big about no littering :lol: :lol: :lol:



    but when US forces use aussie ranges Australia signed up for a secret treaty back in July 2004 when then Defence Minister Robert Hill and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer signed with Rumsfeld and Powell. It is that secret treaty which is allowing the Americans to come here and do
    what they want - without so much as an environmental impact study
    being done before or after the exercises.


    see more https://www.peaceconvergence.com/environment.html

    frosty
     
  7. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    That's a good link, though the last paragraph in bold is a worry. Some people just can't understand that we don't live in a perfect world. Good if we did, but we don't.
     
  8. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    corny

    no matter what you think about militarism and australians training here WHY should the US be using australians unique environment for live training that they will not do in their own country because of the environmental damage ?

    I dont have links at the moment but the US has so polluted their own country it will take 100 years at $1 billion a year to clean it up

    and even the Aussie training they should not use pristine areas like Shoalwater bay or even train close to a capital city like they do here

    frosty
     
  9. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    Corn mate, each of us are 100% responsible for the world we live in. I think JP Satre said that, but I tend to agree... :lol:
     
  10. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    Very true Richard....very true.

    Unfortunately the world doesn't run solely on individualism. The problem you have when you put someone in charge is that you then have something/someone to complain about.

    Thankfully, life goes on.
     
  11. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    I'm sure those little yappy dogs would make excellent compost. :D

    Unfortunately, the sorts of people who want little yappy dogs as children-substitutes are very heavy consumers, and big wasters of energy and resources. One million yuppies with yappy dogs and no kids consume and waste and pollute more than one million Indians, even if those Indians have six kids each.

    It's not really how many of us there are that matter, it's how much each consumes, and whether that consumption goes back into production to make it efficient. It's like for example the so-called food shortage; the world produces each year 650 million tonnes each of rice, wheat and corn. That's 1,950 million tonnes in all, and we have about 6,500 million people in the world today. That's 300kg of cereals per person annually, or 820 grammes each. That is more than enough energy and protein, with the balance of nutrients easily made up by fruits and vegetables, and the occasional bit of animal protein.

    However, about a third of the wheat, and two-thirds of the maize, though almost none of the rice, go to feeding livestock. That is, about half our grain goes to animals. Each tonne of cereals produces one-twelfth of a tonne of edible meat, though about one-eighth the overall energy and protein value. So the net result is that instead of the grain providing 100% the energy and protein, instead they grain and meat provide 50% the calories, and 67% the protein.

    That's just simple physics. When you convert energy from one form to another, some is lost. When you put petrol in the engine, some of the energy makes the car go, but most of it makes the car noisy and hot. When you put grain into livestock, some of the energy makes meat or milk which you can eat, but most of the energy goes to making the cow be able to stand up, or the pig be able to look desperately for earth to dig in his miserable concrete pen.

    So our taste for a nice burger causes a lot of waste an inefficiency. Still, even with that waste and inefficiency, other cereals like sorghum and barley, and fruits and vegetables, can easily make up to 100% of our needs.

    But it's not divided evenly. In the Western world we have an obesity problem; in the Third World, they have a famine problem. That people don't see the obvious connection always astounds me.

    Even so, in general the Third World is well able to feed itself. They cannot feed themselves and live in airconditioned apartments with dvd players, but they can feed themselves. The problem is not that they don't know how to feed themselves, but that civil wars drive them off it. Some of you may remember Live Aid, the big concert to feed the starving Ethiopians. At this time, Ethiopia was exporting grain to the Soviet Union in exchange for arms to fight rebels.

    The arms with which they fight these civil wars are not made in their own country; they're made in the developed West. Again, that people can't see the connection astounds me.

    So we sell them arms to fight civil wars which drive the people off the land and then they starve, and the profit we've made from selling them arms then has to be spent on giving grain to the Red Cross, and we wring our hands over their terrible fate, and say, "well, obviously they need to produce more grain! Here's some fertiliser and pesticide, oh and some GMO stuff, too. Hey, look at how many of those dark-skinned fellows there are, my my, they will use up all their resources, that's terrible, pass me that chardonnay would you? Let's go for a drive in my SUV and have a latte and discuss what we can do for these poor people wasting their environment like that, it's terrible."

    The solution, really, is for countries to keep to themselves, for towns to keep to themselves, and for people to strive for self-reliance. If you just plain leave people alone, often they'll manage all right. It's when we try to "help" them with guns, GMO or whatever that they come unstuck.

    If you are some Sierra Leonean woman hoeing her beans in the field, you don't really a little yappy dog. It's only the clueless yuppies who want that, and those are the enormous consumers.

    But yappy dogs really would make alright compost.
     
  12. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    Some yappy dogs can be pretty good at running down rats, and too many rats can really be a bastard when you're trying to grow food...

    Yeah, all your comments and arguments are well taken JimBob, but surely you would agree that there are too many people? What would you say is an ideal carrying capacity for the old girl?
     
  13. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    One of the things we should remember is the plenet will find a way to equalize the burden. I read "Collapse" a while a go (great book, BTW) and one of the things that was most striking was that many of the socieities that collapsed were at the stage we are at now: denial, high population densities, etc, however, with the added burden of our increased ability to consume, especially in industrialized countries, as Jim Bob pointed out so well, we are deeper in this than we would like to think.

    Famine, war, disease will all reduce the population, some, increasingly destructive weather patterns will also reuce the load. Look at Rwanda: most of the conflict was not about Hutus against Tutsis,m it was about seizing land. The Hutus massacred Hutus in areas where there were no Tutsis, and seized their land...

    I am not a pessimist, but if population levels continue to increase, and if we continue to pump carbon into the atmosphere, eventually there will be cataclysmic changes, and there will be humans who survive, and the human race will move on...

    Maybe it won't happen. I am rereading "Natural Capitalism" by Lovins and Lovins and Hawken, which is full of ways that business can become more efficient, saving the planet and making more money doing so. A very upbeat book when considering the subject matter.

    Anyway, the original question was where would you move if you could, and I wouldn't move. I like it right here, but, if I had to move? If Belize was overrun by Guatemala (who claims Belize is parft of Guatemala)? then I would move to another tropical location, because that is what I know, tropical life, except that most tropical places are either fairly messed up with poverty and dysfunctional governments and high crime, or too expensive. The Virgin Islands are supposed to be quite beautiful.... and I could sell this place for top dollar, and then buy myself a postage stamp of land in the Virgin SIlands, and grow a few cabbages, and a few trees....

    Maybe North Queensland? Despite some of what has been said here, Australia still looks pretty good in comparison to other places....

    So, maybe some other tropical place, if I left here, which I am not planning on, or... maybe... Spain. Spain is beautiful, much of the country is agrarian. It is a highly literate country, with excellent food, and it is relatively "cheap" compared to the rest of the EU.....
     
  14. sz

    sz Junior Member

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    Sorry for the slow response to my own thread!

    Holidays + holiday travel + the fact that 2/3 of the time the forum site's IP does not resolve properly for me have made it hard to keep up with the replies.

    ----

    Ladyboy, 9andalf, Jez - it sounds like we've all either been through this process or are at least thinking along similar lines, albeit with different sets of criteria. (Ladyboy - congrats on finding your spot! I can only hope that we manage to work out as concrete a set of criteria as you did, and with similarly successful results.)

    9andalf - I, too, worry about staying in the USA, for reasons ranging from geopolitical to cultural. I'd rather raise any children we have away from the massive consumerist mentality that is killing the ecosystem and will bring us down as well. I really don't want to live next door to a big city. Even if nothing catastrophic ever happens, your home will lie directly in the path of eventual annexation and environmental destruction. And yes, I am looking worldwide. Australia is on my list - although I still don't know nearly enough about it. Climate? I wish I could be with Richard and have bananas and coconuts. I love the tropics! But there are lots of other factors which are at least as important. I will certainly read about the places you list. Of them, I have only visited Vancouver Island, which was quite beautiful and a relatively benign (if cool) climate, but I believe to be quite expensive. I would think the Alaskan panhandle might be cheaper, and still relatively mild for the latitude, but would probably be more difficult in terms of food production due to year-round chill.

    Jez - You have hit the nail on the head. If we can find a place where we can purchase useable land cheaply, we will be able to escape the burden of a heavy mortgage and be free to spend more of our time building a homestead instead of fattening the bank.

    I freely admit that the 5 criteria I listed are a wishlist, and I do not expect every one of them to be perfectly satisfied. I'm hoping that we'll find a "best fit" that we can be happy with. Of the 5 criteria:

    (1) - affordable land

    Must be satisfied, or we can't even get started.

    (5) - relative political stability/social tolerance

    Also needs to be satisfied for my peace of mind.

    (2) - Permaculture-friendly area
    (3) - Outside sources of income
    (4) - Good land/climate

    Are all very much desireables, but also probably the factors of greatest flexibility. For example, I'm quite open to the possibility of adapting to, say, the Sonoran desert, with ~10-12 inches of rain a year, using water catchment and conservation techniques to deal with that limitation. I'm also open to living someplace where we're the only people living the way we are, so long as the legal code and the social climate is not actively hostile to our efforts. I want to spend more time in the garden and building a house and less time fighting legal battles over the fact that my house may be made out of mud and straw and not have a building contractor coming anywhere near it.

    Income is the toughest question, and the one I am spending a lot of time thinking about. Every area will have its own possibilities. At the moment, I am mainly trying to think about my own abilities and how I can creatively use them to bring in a sustaining trickle of income with a minimal time investment while we bootstrap ourselves into a homestead. I have no ambitions of being rich; I merely acknowledge that it's virtually impossible in the modern world to own property and not have any income (to pay land taxes, if nothing else). I never heard of a government letting you barter chickens for land taxes. But this isn't really part of the original question.

    Jim Bob - undoubtedly we could reduce our cost of living by making more frugal choices in our expenditures, even though we are already living much
    more cheaply than our similarly-paid peers. It is still mathematically NOT possible, however, for us to reduce our expenditures enough that one of us could quit his/her job. And doing so would more than ever guarantee that we would be stuck for close to the full 30 years of this mortgage, and that the working partner would be burning his/her life and time out in service of this, a sacrifice acceptable to neither of us. In hindsight, perhaps we might have chosen to continue to rent rather than buy. We made what seemed to be the best decision at the time, and were at a different stage in our life journey at that point.

    ---

    The more I read my earlier posts and the response, the more I suspect I know the kind of place I am most looking for. Whether I will find it, and where it might be - I don't know yet.

    I am looking for a backwater - a place with depressed land values and little industry that is far enough away from major urban centers and commerce that it is unlikely to suffer serious development in my lifetime. I do enjoy a few appurtences of "civilization" such as good bookstores, but I can live with a several hour drive on a monthly / semi-monthly basis to visit a large city for such. If the backwater has a healthy population of other "crazies" such as us - refugees from what modern civilization considers a "normal" lifestyle - then so much the better; we'll at least have some interesting neighbors! We'll figure out some way to make ends meet and enjoy providing for our own basic needs frugally. I like warm (hot) weather and the types of edible plants that grow well in the tropics/subtropics, so that's another, more minor, consideration. I'm sure my wife could make a few additions from her own mental list. Hopefully, as we travel, we will come to know more first-hand about some of the places that look good on paper.

    Thanks for the responses! It's been thought-provoking reading. If anyone has some good suggestions for internet-accessible materials (such as the CIA worldbook) for research, please post them.

    sz
     
  15. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    GO the Bolivarian revolution!
     
  16. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    I mean to say, central and south america may well end up being more politically stable and socially equitable than the rest of the americas, if Mr Chavez has anything to do with it and current trends in the USA continue... Christopher might have some salient perspective on this.
     
  17. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Richard, Venezuela is a paradox. It is rich beyond imagination, beautiful land, warm people, a vibrant country, great roads, mountains, hot lowlands, snow packed peaks, coffee, cacao (I was there to look at cacao), and crushing pverty, a cowed press, but vocal street (lots of critics and Chavistas). I arrived the day of the election on a week long consultancy to look at cacao, and then the whole country went crazy for two days!

    I like what Chavez has done in the region. He has spent millions to assist countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Belize, offering a counter balance to regional hegemony... but... I wouldn't want to live in Venezuela. Despite all the oil wealth, and the "redistribution" of assets, there is a huge underclass and endemic poverty, and the crime rate is quite high.

    The murder rate in Venezuela is the highest in the Americas. If you cut Caracas out of the equation, it is not so high, but crime is a significant factor. All of the Venezuelans I know have been robbed at some point, often at gun point, and we got robbed by the army at a checkpoint (USD40)..... so... the Bolivarian revolution, such as it is, still has a way to go...

    I do look forward to seeing what Mr. Chavez does in the next 6 years. If he continues to share his countries extensive oil wealth in the region, that will help his neighbors. If he doesn't spend more in Venezuela, there will be a backlash and any progress he may have made will be reversed.
     
  18. Jez

    Jez Junior Member

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    There's plenty of tropical locations to be had at a reasonable to very cheap price in Australia sz...well worth checking it out.

    In a continent bigger than Europe with only a bit over 20 million people, there's still a lot of 'out of the way' places where you can pick up land at a bargain or very affordable price. We're in the tropics ATM, but hopefully moving further inland soon (still in the tropics) when our house here sells...the area we are moving to there are ~1000 people in an area of ~10,000 square kilometres and land is very affordable - as it is for much of northern or inland Queensland.

    In the more isolated places (even then you're really only 4-5hrs or much less drive or a train ride to an international airport or major city) you don't find much land for sale on the internet or through agents...you really have to go there or know somebody because things mostly sell locally by word of mouth.
     
  19. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    Thanks for the comments Christopher. I think if I was going to move anywhere in Central America I would start out at your place anyway. Not in a hurry to emigrate to Venezuela just yet... But it is pretty interesting what is going down there.
    I haven't read his book, "Pirates of the Caribbean; Axis of Hope" but have heard a few talks by Tariq Ali lately where he champions Hugo quite a lot.
    Jez, 5 hours of driving in a post peak oil world is a lot of driving, isn't it? Trains will have to be the go, eh?
     
  20. Jim Bob

    Jim Bob Junior Member

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    The carrying capacity of the planet depends on what kind of lifestyle we want. If we all want to live like Bill Gates, okay, maybe about 3,000. If we all want to live like the average middle-classed American or Aussie, probably a hundred million or so. Like the average Ghanan labourer, 12 billion, no worries. It's like asking, "How long can $1,000 feed you, if you buy all your food." In Ghana, two years. In a restaurant in Sydney, one week. It's a question of what sort of lifestyle you're leading.

    I don't think there are too many people in terms of the environment. A hundred Amish families have less negative polluting impact on the environment than one family living in some upper-class inner city apartment.

    Not population, but population density affects the quality of life in other ways. If you want rats to fight, you put them in a cage too small for both of them. That's why cities almost always have higher crime rates than country areas. There are just more people to argue with, and it's harder to get away from someone who annoys you! And a high population density puts more strain on various infrastructure. If you put ten houses on a block, that's the sewerage of 22 people to deal with; put a couple of apartment buldings there, that's the sewerage of 220 people... usually through the same pipe systems.

    When you've a low population density, you can afford to be a bit sloppy about things, be wasteful. There's plenty of give in the system, it'll recover, your impact is small relatively speaking. But a high population density, and you've less give. So the block of ten houses, if one day there's a storm, the sewerage system can handle the extra water. But a block of apartment buildings, that storm - well, the system's already strained, so you get street floods.
    Well, there's no question that whatever we do or don't do, the human race will survive, and things will be sorted out for the better in the end.

    But there is a question as to how much chaos and misery we'll have along the way. So for example WWII. Once the Soviet Union joined the war, or at the latest when the USA joined, there was no question that the allies would win. It was certain. What wasn't known was how long it'd take, or how much death and misery there'd be along the way to victory. So the aim was not just to win, but to win with the least death and misery.

    It's the same principle here. Sure, if systems collapse and 3 billion people die, things will get sorted out. But hey, I'd rather that didn't happen, and really it doesn't have to. The change is inevitable - but the chaos and misery are, largely, avoidable.

    Now, as to what is likely to happen, well the oil supply is really going to start pinching in about 2015-20, and I'm inclined to think that a lot of the Western world will end up going something like Cuba. We'll have more oppressive governments, lower wages, a less industrialised lifestyle, and more food and other stuff grown in our cities. I think a few places like the north of the USA, a good part of Japan and urban Australia, will fail to adjust very well at all, giving us more crime and misery, and poor old Africa won't notice the difference. Without oil revenue places like Saudi Arabia will turn into Somalias, failed states, utter chaos.

    Population control's not the key. It's lifestyle, consumption level. Our consumption is going to drop a heap when the oil supply starts pinching. That'll be relatively sudden and painful. I'd rather we reduced it gradually than got suddenly hit with it one day, that's less painful.

    Someone should split the relevant posts off into another thread, this is way off-topic.
     

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