What Sustains Me

7 Apr

The food, water, electricity and shelter that keeps me alive I don’t contribute to at all. I am so disconnected from my own sustainability. I turn on the faucet and there’s water. I plug something in and there’s electricity. I go to the store and buy food. If I leave the faucet and lights on and leave for a week they’ll still be on when I get back. I don’t have to worry about running out. That bothers me.

These are not the fruits of my labor but the labor of others. I want to know what it takes to power a light bulb for a day. I know how electricity works, I could draw you a diagram and I understand it intellectually. But what about harnessing the power to make those light bulbs burn? Is it something I can create by myself? Why (over)pay a company that puts money in the pockets of people I’ve never met to do all these things? Each hour enough sunlight hits the earth to power the world for year. When you get outside of our seriously polluted ozone and study the sun itself it radiates more energy every second than has been consumed by the entire world since the beginning of time. Wnd we use almost none of it. why?

Solar panels use to be super expensive. They still are but nothing like they use to be. If one is willing to make panels themselves  (and that a BIG if for most people) and consumes very little energy  (another BIG if) you can generate all your own power from DIY panels and a well regulated battery system. My first project in self-sustainability solar power wise will be to research and make a mini solar panel to run my laptop off of and go to the beach to work for a day to test it out. You can buy solar laptop bags or a mini panel specifically for this purpose but that kinda takes all the fun out of it.

In terms of food…I’ll stick to buying it all for now. Making solar panels seems so much easier to me than remembering to water a plant everyday and put it in the right sunlight. Trust me…I’ve killed many a green thing. But I may put in some hours at a community garden. That way I know my efforts wont be in vain.

The same for the home I live in. I designed my first complete home at age 11. A simple 7th grade school project turned into complete blueprints drawn to scale of a 4K sq ft home complete with 2 self-contained units, one on either end for both my parents complete with their own independent entrance, full kitchen, elevator. The blueprints also included a glass-enclosed atrium off the back with a mechanical roof that opened up and a winding river style pool that traveled between the plants and trees. A home that big in Hollywood would be easily priced at 8 figures. Only in recent years have I rekindled my love for designing homes but they’ve been minimalist in design, have contemporary finishes, use recycled and sustainable materials.

I figure building a tiny house would be a fun challenge that would actually make a profound impact on my finances. The trick is in the design since it’s such a small space you do have to plan carefully…and I’m great at planning.

Okay enough with the talk. Some of these are easy to put into practice, others will take time, here are the changes I am implementing TODAY.

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