Monday, April 19, 2010

What can be learnt from the Iceland Volcano?

One of the key ideas in permaculture is to make sure that you do not rely on only a single source for your power, water and goods - a way of being prepared for changes in the availablity of all these resources.   This principle links in closely with the ideas of Transistion Towns and how we might survive peak oil.  The video below is a great introduction to the transition town movement.

Time and time again we see nature setting challenges for us as a world, nation or local community to overcome.  Currently the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland has grounded the vast majority of airplane travel in an out of Europe and the UK.  On a more local level there are floods associated with the melting of glaciers by the volcano and lots of falling ash.  We have over the last decade or so seen the effects on communities of hurricanes, cyclones, bushfires and tsunamis.

It is times like this that we often consider how we would cope if a similar event occured in our local area. 
  • How would you cope with no power for a week or two?
  • Can you heat or cool your house without grid power or gas?
  • What if fresh food supplies to your area stopped?
  • What alternate drinking water supplies do you have?
  • What alternatives do you have for cooking or keeping perishable foods?
  • One we do not think about much is - how would we cope if our local sewrage processing failed?
I know that I have limited food in a vegie garden, chooks in the back yard, we have a rainwater tank, a sun oven and an outside BBQ (with an empty gas bottle at the moment).  We have solar panels on our roof but these feed into the grid and I believe if there is no power into our house if the grid is down.  Other than that we have a supply of beeswax and candles - but I am not sure how long would these last?

Through my permaculture course we are exploring alternative ways to decrease our reliance external supplies such as power, water, sewerage and supermarket food.

What have you done to prepare for such events? Do you have a disaster mangement plan?

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