Risk Reduction and Priorities
As I explore this topic of permaculture, it occurred to me that in permaculture are the roots of being able to survive, even live well, if the infrastructure of our world was unavailable. Permaculture is all about self-reliance. The idea of being self-reliant with the ability to adapt to difficult situations is very appealing to me. This requires a solution-oriented mind set and the ability to plan and prepare for any contingency.
I discussed our efforts at permaculture here at my house last week. In the back of my mind I think that if the world went to hell in a handbasket, we would be able to take care of ourselves for a while. I think of how well we made it through the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. We were able to feed ourselves and address some of our comfort because we were prepared. We used our camping gear to cook. We had food stores and also a generator (yes energy is my biggest area of dependence). Because of our chicken coop, we had fresh eggs every day that we shared with our neighbors. Many of my neighbors, some with children, were not prepared to take care of their families.
In September of 2005, the city of Houston was evacuated due to Hurricane Rita. Unfortunately the traffic gridlock made for its own disaster. So many people packed clothes, computers, TVs and other items that were useless in their predicament. They needed the basics of life, food and water. Somehow, they didn’t consider the basics of life while packing for evacuation. So many planned poorly and had to depend on the city to deliver food and water to them as they ran out of gas sitting in the parking lot that I45 became in the gridlock of trying to get over 3 million people inland. Over 90 people died in the evacuation because of a lack of thoughtful preparedness or realistic view of what items should be a priority during a disaster.
Because of climate change, the warming atmosphere is holding onto more moisture. This led to an unprecedented hurricane season last summer. Hurricane Harvey dumped more water than any weather event in recorded history. The city was not prepared for such an event. Maria devastated Puerto Rico knocking out essential infrastructure that is still out today.
The foundational ideas of permaculture will help us make it through the environmental changes that are sure to happen. And, because sustainability is the core of permaculture, it has the possibility of mitigating the effects of these changes. Permaculture helps us assess our priorities in focusing on the basics of life and living.
I found a video of a Puerto Rico family that was practicing permaculture, sustainable living, before Hurricane Maria hit the island. They were able to feed not only themselves, but their neighbors as well in the aftermath of the disaster. Here is a link to the video. https://www.nbcnews.com/video/living-off-the-land-how-these-puerto-rican-farmers-survived-hurricane-maria-1191434819872
Here are some other helpful links.
Are you prepared?