One of the major
concerns about an alternative infrastructure is that of health care.
The good news it that for the most part this would be taken care of
by healthy foods and a lifestyle that required a little physical
activity. These would both be the natural results of locally
sustainable living. Consider the following excerpt which I copied
directly off the internet:
(Aug. 12, 2009) — Four healthy lifestyle factors—never
smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and
following a healthy diet—together appear to be associated with
as much as an 80 percent reduction in the risk of developing the most
common and deadly chronic diseases, according to a report in the
August 10/24 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine
, one of
the JAMA/Archives journals.”
On another site I read that diabetes could be
reduced 89% by lifestyle change alone. I am personally no paragon of
healthy behavior (to me, the four basic food groups are caffeine,
sugar, salt, and fat). I'm too lazy to work out as much as I should,
and am sure I would benefit immensely from a lifestyle that required
me to walk a few blocks every day and deprived me of ready access to
every stupid thing I feel like eating.
Another reason I
would benefit from a close-knit micro-community is that although I
don't want to become an expert in alternative medicine, I wish I was
close to someone who was. This also goes for agriculture, nutrition,
communication, and numerous other specialties. I personally prefer
physical sciences, which seem to be intimidating to others. These
also allow me to work alone, and as a social retard it suits me well.
The reality is however, that I need to have my space invaded, I need
to be needed by others, and I have been gifted in things that others
need – as have we all. This brings up a very important health
issue: Our mental and emotional health is interrelated with our
physical health, and must not be ignored. A local interdependence of
physical specialties would force people to interact and thereby
broaden the social skills and health of us all.
1 Sanitation, Health
construction in the Colorado Rockies (twelve hours a day and six days
per week) I was camping next to a stream. I would dig a hole as deep
as my arm could reach, kick in a little dirt after each usage, and
finally fill in the last six inches. Each hole served as a latrine
for at least two or three weeks. There were no smells, no insects,
and the posture itself was more natural to the human body than that
of our porcelain-padded cultures.
Studies show that
under such conditions aerobic bacteria eliminate pathogens and odors
in the material itself with in a very few months, leaving clean and
valuable compost. I would suggest that trees would be the optimum
beneficiaries of such activities in that there would be less
probability of later excavations nearby. Theoretically it wouldn’t
matter after a few months – but still.
Pit toilets are
pretty standard throughout most of the developing world, but we need
to work on this one. At the very least, such systems should be
designed so they could be conveniently pumped when necessary.
recycling would reduce all waste to useful components. There would be
a limited amount of storage for items or substances with no known
value or ability to recycle, until such time as quantities and
technology made them useful.
In spite of the
advantages of composting systems, a phase 3 lifestyle would doubtless
demand a sewer system, and its ultimate layout should be designed in
from the outset.
It may be practical
to have such a system dedicated to human wastes alone, with
grey-water systems run separately. It might further be practical to
have the individual household systems perform initial composting, but
be periodically flushed to a centralized plant. This could save an
immense amount of water. Some cultural adjustments may be required in
all this, but these concepts should be explored.
Sewage itself would
be reduced to fertilizers, fuels, and petrochemical replacement
compounds. This may seem somewhat repugnant and difficult to imagine,
but even with existing technologies the digestion of solid wastes can
be complete, odor-free, and completely sanitary.
Beyond this, existing
land-fills would eventually become valuable mining resources for the
various materials from all over the globe that have been accumulating
for a century or more.
did an experiment for a couple of weeks in which I bathed using two
gallons of solar heated water diluted to a usable temperature with
cold water. I was very surprised to find that this was more than
enough for a good bath and rinse.
was merely intended to demonstrate comfortable sanitation with a
small amount of solar-heated water, also proved that water a couple
inches deep can provide a very thorough bath.
haven't tried this yet, but I would expect that a limited amount of
laundry could be done in this same unit.
a 4'x 8' base frame of a pre-fab panel shelter, I framed a 24" x
36" box with a gently sloping bottom of 3/4" plywood. When
fitted with a drain, and lined with a rubberized roof-coating, the
4'x 8' shelter had a bath tub. Now of course I had to test it before
I could write about it: I discovered that although 24" x 36"
is large enough for a 6' x 170 lbs man, it's also small enough that
the bath gets shared with nearby walls etc.
very practical variation of this pan it to simply buy a plastic
trough designed for mixing cement, from your local building-supply
store. This way you can bathe out on your front lawn and leave your
try however was using this
system inside a 16’ dome while camping. It was very pleasant to
enjoy hot baths from solar and camp-stove heated water in the late
afternoons after a day of tourism and play. Lessons from these
experiments could be scaled to virtually any level of existence.
The first line of
defense against bug-infestation would be in construction techniques
Tightly sealed and
caulked joints limit access to almost anything. Such practices should
be employed at every phase of construction.
Structures built off
the ground on pillars allow limited access to crawlers, and if the
pillars themselves are exposed to light and air, they would also
offer free access to crawler-eaters such as mice and reptiles.
Spiders such as the
brown recluse and black widow consume cockroaches, and although you
may prefer the roaches, the spiders at least will not infest your
it's like the crackle of mosquitoes as they enter the high-voltage
grid of a U.V. lamp on a patio, but there's a certain satisfaction in
not being totally helpless against invading swarms, without using bug
a child I remember -- I think it was my grandfather – setting
up this fairly simple screen box that protected our picnic from at
least some of the flies.
box is set over some bait, about 3/4" above the surface. A
percentage of the flies, after their final meal, travel upward
through the holes along the ridge in the center of the box, and never
find their way out. I was told that it would be even more
effective if the top surface was made of glass.
scaled-down version of this I plan to try when the need arises would
be simply a wide-mouth jar with an inverted cone of screen inside.
Somehow, despite best
efforts, insects sometimes find a way. If you had a portable device
that could blast high-temperature steam into cracks and crannies, you
could effectively rid yourself of the problem without poisoning the
Creosote is a product
condensed from heated wood, and contains all kinds of nasty things
that can seal cracks and preserve wood. This is the stuff you see on
wooden telephone poles and railroad ties, that limits destruction by
bugs and birds. Such compounds could be produced by a technique
described in “Petrochemical Replacement.”
This is a field I
know nothing about. I only perceive that I have been my healthiest
and most creative in periods when I was intimate with a garden and
daily sampling things picked seconds before consumption. This may all
be in my head, but such was my impression.
I suspect that people
knowledgeable in such things have a repertoire of herbs they can grow
that do help. I would love to see such an expert in action, and to
see the results first hand.
I generally go to
doctors when I have problems, but am chronically reluctant to take
the drugs and pain-killers they prescribe; I am also too forgetful to
stick with vitamins – hypocrisy no doubt.
I do have to confess
however that I have witnessed and experienced dramatic healings in
the name of Jesus, and in intellectual responsibility I cannot ignore