Saturday, 26 March 2022

Against the Traffic

Under the circumstances, cars should not be allowed.  That's a ridiculous statement, but I stand by it.  If you find it disgusting (rather than, say, eccentrically intruiging) allow me to take the edge off.  Fossil-fuel powered cars should not be allowed.  Electric vehicles are permissible.  For people who genuinely have no other option but to travel, for the time being, using a fossil-fuel powered vehicle, for reasons of health or disability, exceptions can also be made.  The emergency services can continue to operate to allow for a smooth transition to environmentally harmless forms of transportation.  These are insignificantly small proportions of the driving population, as are people already using electric vehicles.  So: individual ownership and use of fossil-fuel powered vehicles for almost everyone, in almost all situations, must stop.  It must stop immediately.

I said "under the circumstances".  What circumstances?  Well, it goes by many names.  All of these have become familar, and many contain the word "climate".  Emergency.  Catastrophe.  Crisis.  Collapse.  The imminent point of no return, past which the systematic feedback loops of human-induced climatic disruption compound on each other, resulting in a planet so hostile to human life as to be barely worth living on, and perhaps even total human exctinction in the not-too-distant (and definitively foreseeable) futurue.

Now I'm anticipating here a state of affairs beyond "the worst case scenario" of RCP8.5, under which we reach a global average temperate increase of 4.4 degrees celsius by 2100 but where human life on this planet, in some miserable form or other, still exists.  This may or may not come to pass but as the saying goes; expect the worst, hope for the best.  Whatever happens, things are going to get worse before they get better.  That's all I have to say about that for now.  The circumstances are dire, and genuinely radical action is needed.  Individual lifestyle changes are not enough.  Mass protest and civil disobedience is not enough.  Democratically determined, compromise-limited, electorally palatable legislative evolution is not enough.  Actual and immediate change is required.  

A world without cars, without even what we now recognise as roads, would be objectively better than the world we have now.  Where roads once were, transit lines would now connect one area to another, in whatever form and quantity the landscape and the population requires: trams, trains, monorails, underground systems, all powered by renewable-emmission free energy (solar, wind, perhaps nuclear, and all being well, soon enough, fusion).  To get from wherever you are to wherever you need to be, you will walk for no more than five minutes and wait at a station no more than two.  Your journey will be quiet, comfortable and free.  Traffic jams will no longer exist.  No more road rage.  No more hit and runs.  No more petrol stations.  No more petrol at all (and therefore no more price spikes or shortages).  Because no more cars.  Nothing less radical than this interests me.

Friday, 22 October 2021

The Experiment Worked




I feel like a lot of good things are happening at the moment.  Yes, I know we live in very dark times and the world is hurtling towards total ecological catastrophe in most of our lifetimes but sometimes it's worth pretending none of that matters and embracing the absurdly small pleasures of your own immediate experience.  For example: the experiment worked.  I left a kale plant in the soil for the second year of its natural life, and it rewarded me with an abundance of seeds.  Here are some pictures of the plant's progress from spring through to summer, up to the point I was ready to harvest said abundance:





Flowers become seed pods, and seed pods fill with seeds.  The plant eventually droops under its own weight, the pods turn from green to brown and begin to split open, and that's when you know they're ready for collection.  It's astonishing how many seeds you get from a single plant, that grew itself from a single seed.  Thousands of them.  Plants really want to make sure they survive through the generations.  More perhaps the humans do, which perhaps is why the have, and will outlive us.  Probably.






Related posts

Kale Experiments
Breakfast Smoothie Love

 

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Thursday, 18 March 2021

Kale Experiments



Many brassicas are biennials, and that includes kale, and I like kale.  If you're biennial, that means you take two years to complete your life cycle: one to grow edible leaves - in the case of cabbages - and one to produce seeds. With kale being a hardy plant as well, I thought I'd let mine do their thing through the winter, to see what they might get up to in their old age. Allotmentiers don't seem to do that sort of thing very much. I don't really know why.





Here's a close-up of one of my curly kale stalks, one year old. It's sprouting all over the place. This makes me happy, and I hope it makes you happy too. What if it goes to seed and produces new edible leaves? That would be truly wonderful.





While last year's leaves have been eaten away, underneath, new life emerges. If things go according to plan, I'll never need to buy kale seeds again.






Related posts

Back on the Allotment
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Sunday, 14 March 2021

Back on the #Allotment



I declare spring.


My blackcurrant bush concurs.  I'm cultivating patience this year, trying my bestest not to make the classic gardener's mistake of sowing everything all at once, far too early, at the first glimpse of spring.  That being said, it now really is mid-March, so yesterday afternoon I had a good old clear out of plantable space and sowed some kale (cavolo nero) and peas.


I love how rich and healthy the soil seems to have become.  I wonder sometimes if it's too heavy on compost and too light on just plain old soil, but then I remember that worms exist.  Thank you, worms.  My plants love you, and so do I.



It's not much to look at just yet, but I'm hoping this is the year I transform the plot into a "low work" sort of a place, upping the proportion of perennial and easy to maintain plants - herbs, comfrey, lavender, soft fruit, purple fantasy - things I can propagate and sell to cover the meager cost of the plot (£40 a year) and use whatever profit it yields to do more of the same.  I achieved this last year, making a tidy £56 and change from selling cuttings on Facebook marketplace.  Looking forward to more of the same this year.  It's a mini-permaculture project I never seem to get round to blogging about, but briefly, the idea is for the allotment itself to be a self-sustaining "closed loop" system, materially and financially.  If I can cover the cost of the rent each year and not bring in any more plants or seeds from outside unless I can acquire them for free or use profits from things sold that have been grown on the plot itself, then that's job done.  It's a challenge, and a joy.

My happiest harvest over the winter was an extremely satisfying 7kg of Jerusalem artichokes, a few bags of which I gave away to colleagues, and the rest of which I pickled.  If you've ever wondered what three half-gallon jars of pickled Jerusalem artichokes look like, wonder no longer because they look like this:


I've eaten maybe a third to a half of one jar since pickling just before Christmas, which by my reckoning affords me a year-round supply of crunchy snack fodder.

Plenty to look forward to.









Related posts



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