Solutions for Self-Reliance

What I Found Interesting This Week – 28 April 2013


I spent a good portion of this week foodscaping my home.

What is foodscaping?  It’s the act of creating a landscape that produces food.

I’ve found it to be both fun and challenging.  In fact, it’s proven to be such a rich topic of exploration that I’m writing a report on it (it should be out next month).

In the meantime, here’s what I found interesting this week.

Natural Disasters

A good reason to become resilient is that natural disasters are on the rise (mostly due to climate change).

Not only are the number of natural disasters increasing (mostly storms), the number of people impacted as well as the costs are growing quickly (see below, click to enlarge).

Intl Database of Natural DisastersCosts of Disasters

Is there a silver lining?  Yes.  The data also shows that fewer people are dying from these disasters.

This data implies that natural disasters are becoming more about frequent economic loss than loss of life.

The best way to mitigate this type of danger is to produce more locally and network for the rest. That way, your economic well-being isn’t dependent on your location.  Fortunately, this strategy is exactly what we’re learning about here, on this site.

DIY Solar Tracker

Solar panels are substantially more efficient if they face the sun.  Unfortunately, solar tracking equipment is more expensive than it’s worth.

Of course, there are DIY options.  Here’s a way to use old bicycle wheels and an LED light sensor to build your own solar tracker.

Bike Wheel Solar

I’m surprised that someone doesn’t smooth out kinks on this approach and productize it.

Flexible Raised Beds

Here’s a way to get started with gardening quickly.

It’s a raised bed made of fabric (woven polypropylene that’s both very strong and UV resistant).  It’s also something you can sew yourself (thanks for that Niall).

Fabric Bed

Kim (a reader) found that her long bed, like the one above, lost structural integrity when the sides bowed.  This can be addressed by connecting the long sides together using an interior strap.

A Living Air Filter

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a bit about how plants can clean the toxic chemicals found in the air in almost every home.  Here’s another way to look at it.

In the US alone, people buy 14.5 million air purifiers and filtering systems a year!  That’s nuts.  Imagine 14.5 million rubber plants, ferns, and other living filters being installed instead.

Rubber plants

I’m back to my foodscaping.  I have some blueberry bushes to plant.

If you have any recommendations on other fruiting bushes to plant with them, I’m all ears.




JR Small

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