Welcome back to our next installment of the Seeds of Tao Podcast! This week we have a fantastic, super-knowledgeable guest with us, Jorge Eduardo Acevedo Pallares, who is a climate change and sustainability consultant. In the episode, Jorge shares his awesome permaculture journey from Mexico to Australia and through projects he’s undertaken, such as building a house out of clay and local waste products. So inspiring! If you’d like to check out more about what he has going on, check out the following…
In this week’s episode, Jorge and Josh spent a lot of time talking about traditional vs. natural home building. Just like Jorge, we’ve spent a lot of time in this realm, in the trenches with the research and studies, and cruelly aware of the negative impact modern homes have on the environment. Most of the time when we’re looking to buy or build a home, we’re really focused on the monetary cost. However, even more than the monetary cost is the environmental cost of creating that home. Obviously, this is more at the forefront if you’re looking to build a home. But traditional homes these days add to the plague of deforestation, pollution from concrete production, fossil fuel use and processing for fiberglass insulation and roof shingles, among others. The environmental costs of traditional homes are steep, to say the least. And more often than not, the homes are designed, as Jorge points out, to stand alone as an individual unit rather than part of an environment.
One of the beautiful aspects of permaculture is that we design living spaces that interact and grow with their environment. Jorge points out that rather than designing houses by themselves on pieces of paper essentially in a “bubble,” we should design it like we would a garden space, with tools like a sector and zone analysis. These tools help us to integrate our home into the environment, and provide for less adjustment on our end to maintain the house. If we orient the house correctly and provide necessary windbreaks, we reduce our energy costs. If we catch rainwater off our roofs and shape our land to collect and hold rain more efficiently, we save money on our water bill. The more we work with nature rather than against it, the less expensive our home becomes to build and maintain.
We should also take this consideration into account when looking at the materials to actually build our homes with. The more local we can get the better, and the less processed the better as well. In the episode Jorge shared how he built much of his house with super local materials like glass bottles from local dance clubs and bars, requiring no extra environmental footprint on his account. A big aspect of his success with local and discarded materials was the size of the home he chose to build. Today our society really struggles with inflating their house size in order to make them feel like they have “enough.”
Jorge brings up this extremely important point that we live in a society that never has enough. Everyone is suffering from a bad case of a scarcity mindset. We are constantly fighting tooth and nail for MORE…. more time, more money, more space, more things, more fun, more excitement….
And yet the search brings us up lacking because we’re never able to be satisfied in this search. Rather, if we can foster an abundance mindset, full of gratitude, and disconnected from social and cultural expectations of what we “should” have, in this way we can create a life that is truly fulfilling. Jorge mentions this movement of minimalism, or essentialism, and how important living a simple life is. But if we have a life so cluttered, how do we possibly cut back on everything and still have enough to fulfill our basic necessary needs?
In the podcast episode, Jorge shares his journey towards “less” and how important creating multi-functionality is to this movement of essentialism. This is the lifestyle where you need your items to be generalists, rather than specialists. Think about it in terms of stacking functions in the food forest, everything has multiple jobs.
This reminds me of when Josh and I took our two little kids and moved from our 1800 sq ft home into a 320 sq ft Airstream trailer. We had to get really good at essentialism REALLY fast. All of a sudden I was faced with the serious challenge of shrinking our kitchen items. As a LOVER of food, cooking, baking, and entertaining, this was a little painful. But when you only have so much space, you get really good at figuring out what can serve multiple functions and what you can do without. Obviously, we kept a lot of our pot and pans because of their usefulness, but there went the rice cooker, the slow cooker, the waffle iron… Even still, almost 10 years later we don’t have a kitchen full of specialty kitchen appliances, I don’t even have an electric hand mixer because once I got rid of it my little hand beater worked enough that I couldn’t really justify getting an electric one again. Interesting how that works, isn’t it? Once you get rid of things, you find that what you once thought as necessary becomes replaceable, or even unnecessary.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Seeds of Tao Podcast, feel free to share your journey beyond sustainability below in the comments or continue the conversation in our free Community, full of people just like you seeking to create a more regenerative life.
Also, check out this week's Seed of the Week where we're sharing how to apply the 12 permaculture principles to your personal life!
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