Confusing Needs: Creatively Use & Respond to Change

Needs or a path to your need? A thought provoking piece that is worth reading. 🙂

Permaculture in the Mallee

My partner barged into the bathroom, on a mission. He flung open the vanity drawers, grasping at the contents. He sighed when he couldn’t find what he was after. “Do you know where the scissors are?” Slightly perturbed that my relaxing morning shower had been interrupted, I bit back “Which scissors? Do you need to cut your finger nails, or..?” This wasn’t the right answer apparently. “I need to open the soy milk container” he mumbled on his way out of the bathroom, presumably to turn upside down a drawer elsewhere in the house.

He didn’t need scissors at all. He needed to open something.

We can be a misguided lot. We don’t need a lot of things we say we do. We don’t need a shovel. We need to dig a hole. We don’t need a car. We need to get ourselves and our things from one place to…

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12 thoughts on “Confusing Needs: Creatively Use & Respond to Change

  1. Thanks for sharing my post, Jessie. I thought it would go down well amongst the permaculture, simple living, and green community. We all seem to be open to the idea of thinking differently and questioning the norm.

    • Isn’t that what permaculture is in essence? Asking questions and questioning the conventional? What would nature do? Taking it back to basics?

      Reading your post really made me think about the “need” I have foremost at the moment. Thanks. 🙂

      • Absolutely. Some argue that it is a cult. I’m yet to meet anybody that abides or interacts with it that way. It’s anti-cult.

        I’m glad my post had a positive influence on your thinking. Even if it does open with a scene of me standing in the shower, participating in a domestic with which most can probably relate.

        • Name me someone who hasn’t had a similar exchange. Moment usually requiring privacy other half barges in after something. It’s all good. 😉

          A cult? Really? If anything it promotes isolation in some ways. I mean, if you’re truly self sufficient and nothing enters and nothing leaves…? I think if people don’t understand it and it’s an ideal, lifestyle and a group of people are into it then it must be a cult. Ah well, if it is then I am priveledged to be a member. 🙂 Now, let’s continue to preach to the “heathen masses”. 😉

  2. Lynda says:

    Good Read, food for thought.

  3. Linne says:

    I think one of the most important things we need to learn in this life is asking the right questions. Otherwise, we get nowhere. We could spend a lifetime looking for the scissors (or worse, trying to invent better scissors), instead of figuring out a way to open the carton. This applies to most everything we do, doesn’t it? Instead of figuring out how to make more money, we might ask what we need the money for, then work on ways to address those needs. Oh, wait, that’s what you permie cultists are doing now, right? Can I join? 😉

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head re money and that’s been, in a different version, the question being asked here.
      It’s like that joke (which may well be true – I don’t know) about the American scientists that spend millions of dollars to create a pen that could write in zero gravity for the astronauts. The Russians sent their astronauts to space with a pencil! 😉 The question “how to make a pen to write in space” was the wrong question. “How to write in space” was what they should have been asking.
      As for the cult, welcome sister! 😀

      • I like that example.

        Have you heard of the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge”, run by Gates Foundation a few years back? Rather than reiterate it, this is what I wrote in “My Permaculture Design: An Overview – Technology”:

        “One of the most inappropriate approaches to technology I have heard in a long time, was the Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge”. The challenge: “to develop “next-generation” toilets that will deliver safe and sustainable sanitation to the 2.5 billion people worldwide who don’t have it.” The winner of this travesty was the California Institute of Technology (CIT) who “received the $100,000 first prize for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity”. According to an article by the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, each unit could cost as much as $1,000US. Not to mention the $500,000US that has already been spent on research and development.

        For the cost of one of these toilet units I could comfortable build forty basic composting toilet units. The humanure they produce could then be composted down over a year or two and used to revitalise the soil and grow productive crops. But the CIT toilet produces electricity? So do solar panels. Solar is an established technology and is consequently cheap. The foundational research and development has already been done. I am sure if the prize money was spent on solar power for the communities to which the program was targeted, their needs would be met–$100,000US buys a lot of panels. To me, this challenge seemed to be more about having a bit of fun with high-technology than genuinely and appropriately addressing a real problem. Big, fast, and distant wins again.”

    • Great comment, Linne. What’s more, the lovely corporations are kind enough to offer a hand out of the problems we face. Or, if we’re too bored, offer us a new set of problems and the solutions at a price that cannot be refused.

      I like your point on money. The first thing I considered with my project was how I could manage by earning less. I soon realised, get rid of rent, and the trappings of middle-class life in the city, and life is very cheap indeed.

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