Episode 622: Why fight nature?

Today, we talk about working against nature and ask an important question: why?


Today’s Sponsor: Paul Wheaton of Wheaton Labs and Permies.com

Paul Wheaton over at Wheaton Labs just released 16 hours of footage from his Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree innovators event. Using very little fuel, and producing next to no smoke, the folks down at the lab created a rocket sauna, cooktop, dehydrator, kiln, and a bunch of heater options for smaller spaces, and full-size homes. 

Check it out here:


This Week’s Livestream Schedule

Headed to Back to the Land Festival this weekend: Backtothelandfestival.com

Tales From The Prepper Pantry

  • Precooking for SRF & the Food Forest Event – Lots of MEAT
  • Transitioning out of the canning kitchen and back to winter drying and freeze drying
  • Assessing if there is enough tomato crop to do one more round of salsa

Frugality Tip From Margo

First tip when traveling, is bring your snacks and road food, sandwiches or whatever you eat.  This will save a lot of money on the road. I use re-usable ziploc bags to pack food up and I bring a half of a sponge and a small bottle of dish soap on the road to make sure I will be able to wash them no matter where we stay.

We keep a cooler in the car, I pre-freeze filtered water in 1 liter club soda bottles and use them in the cooler.  All of the places we stayed have a refrigerator with freezer and the water bottles get re-frozen to use in the cooler, and we had filtered water as a back up if we needed to drink it.

For two nights I had rented an air bnb way outside of any town (even further out than the holler) lol.  Once we got there the first night, we were not driving back 30 min to a store and then trying to find this place in the dark.  I had packed some shelf stable foods that I did not need any tools to open, just in case.  And I was able to make us dinner, saving time and money that night. 

Shopping Report for 9/18/2022

We made five stops on our typical Saturday shopping trip. Traffic was light, and I only saw a few face-diapers.

First stop was Dollar Tree. The store has a lot of inventory, but is beginning to look a little unkempt. The food aisles have a lot of viable stuff, but the health aisle has a lot of unusual things in place of some more typical items, that have not been restocked in some time. The drink coolers seem to have a better selection.

Next was a Mexican store for a few specialty items like a vanilla flavoring and a few plantains. I’ve never seen their shelves not full. I’ve not done any real price comparison, but they have quite the variety. I’ve also never seen any kind of unpleasantness in there like arguing or rudeness.

Hobby Lobby was next. Stock levels seemed good, with a lot of Fall junk in there now, but I did see a couple of empty islands; probably just re-organizing.

Home Depot was #4. The price of a 2x4x8 has dropped again, to $3.98. We grabbed some Miracle Gro for next year; they had plenty of it. They also had a lot more sunflower seeds for birds than the last time we were there. They’re more expensive, but there were at least three sizes, in big boxes. The quantities of common battery sizes like AA and AAA continue to drop. I’m glad I’ve switched to mostly rechargeable, but I’m going to order a few more. They have a LOT of solar lights in stock, much nicer than the cheap dollar store versions that are dim and barely make it through a season. They might be $6.xx, and I’m pretty sure they were at least twice if not three times that price earlier in the year. These make good guide lights; leave them outside during the day to charge, and bring them in at night.

Aldi was last. I don’t recall any notable changes from last week, in fact if anything, they were a little better stocked than they have been (this Aldi has never been bad). I even saw some frozen turkey breast, which has long been absent. They had plenty of flour, sugar, TP, and other staple items.

At my last fill on Friday, untainted regular gasoline was still $4.199/gallon.

Operation Independence

  • Business Trips

Main topic of today’s show: Why Fight Nature?

This morning while driving at 3:30am, I got to thinking about circadian rhythms. You see, with a very early flight ahead of me, I had to get up at 3 to be to the airport in time to depart. It is always an interesting thing to rise much earlier than usual – not the end of the world, but for me it leads to several days of recovery.

Naturally, the next thought was Daylight Savings time as we are about to go back to normal time in a little while. Did you know that during the transition into and out of DST, there is a measurable increase in heart attacks and car crashes? This is because we are ripping our bodies out of their established circadian rhythm – going against nature if you will. 

<thoughts on this>

As I Look around, we are not very successful when we go against nature. 

7 layers of a forest in Permaculture

Training dogs

Raising children

Why then, do we think it is a good idea to :darken” the earth to fight climate change? How does trying to force the atmosphere into submission have a hope of being successful? Have we learned nothing?

This fight against nature is something that technology-minded leaders come back to over and over. When we do it on a large scale, there are very real, negative impacts.

Mao and the sparrows 

So WHY go against nature in the environment, or in interactions with people around you. Would it not be better to seek to understand the realities of nature and go with those to impact better outcomes?

Which brings me to politics: A big problem in how governments and policy works is that it often goes against human nature.

>Humans rebel against being told what to do

>Humans will act selfishly (and that is not a bad thing)

>Humans are herd animals and flourish in communities (Like real ones)

>And, yes, humans are violent – we are – our nature is not al poetry and roses

How then would it look if we worked with nature in governing ourselves?

>Rather than issue black and white edicts for great area “problems”, we would find ways to incentivize positive outcomes (Tapping into selfish, tapping into the herd mentality) 

>>Point out that herd instincts make many of us get a selfish rush from helping our communities.

>Set up our culture and educational effort to empower people to find their purpose so that there are more people pouring energy into that and fewer people focused on being dicks

>Accept that there are a percentage of humans who are psychopaths and create system where they are disincentivized  to harm. 

Accept that there is no perfect.

With this mindset, working with nature, what else can we solve?

What about environmental concerns?

>Leaving the forest alone vs stewarding the forest (We are part of nature, therefore we are part of forests. We evolved together)

>Discovering parts of nature that can help us: Ivermectin as an anti parasitic. 

Some kid turned algae into some sort of plastic…?

Which makes me want to start asking more what if questions.

Let’s talk about Chlorophyl. And batteries. What if we figured out how to tap into the energy created in turning the sun into green stuff? What is all the plant around us ARE batteries? I mean in some ways, burning firewood for heat is in fact tapping into an energy store in plants. But what if there is a low-impact, chemical way to harness the forest around us? What would that do to our dependence on fossil fuels? And how would the world change with such a discovery? 

Think about it: our dollar is based on petroleum. In some ways, tapping into that energy store is tapping into nature – but is there a better way?

Guys, I know this idea sounds crazy and sci fi. But if you think about it – there must be many discoveries of this scale to be made. But we miss them if we focus on how to control nature rather than to work with it.

Which brings us full circle: working with nature is the whole foundation of permaculture as a design science. So much effort is put into mono cropping in the form of heavy equipment, and fighting pest pressure, and fungi, and so much more. The earth is poisoned in the interest of fighting the natural way things grow — in plant communities – almost as if diversity is part of nature’s plans. And we accept the notion that we can only feed the world if we abuse the soil and interfere with nature.

Yet is that really true? How come no one is challenging that notion? What would happen if we worked with nature to steward diversity of plants and animals, based on what is suited to different regions. And how should we measure success on such an undertaking? By pure number of calories produced, or by the quality of food outputs paired with building healthier soil?

We have been programmed to see things that are grey in black and white terms. While this simplification of the world can make it easier to get things organized and rally people around projects and causes, it comes at a cost. And a very damaging one at that: We have developed some pretty big blinders.

Why not find a way to see beyond them? Why not work with nature in our homestead designs, business set up, political efforts, environmental projects, cutting edge research, and, yes, in commercial food production?

Why fight nature?

Make it a great week!

GUYS! Don’t forget about the cookbook, Cook With What You Have by Nicole Sauce and Mama Sauce. 


Advisory Board