Monday, February 14, 2011

Sustainability, Florida Green Roofs and Living Walls, Urban Permaculture - A Rambling Editorial

Sometimes I think I am truly evolved into a sustainability expert.

Then my eyes are opened and I wonder "why am I still so 'plastics' oriented?

Saw Palmetto 'Living Wall'

We are building a chicken coop.  The twelve Rhode Island Reds are about ready for the coop and I am about tired of them being in the kitchen.

The chicken coop is all wired in and ready to go except for the shade cloth I thought about hanging shadecloth over the nests and ends of the coop for relief from the hot Florida sun.

Plastic covered the wire frame to keep the rain out.

Saw Palmetto 'Green Roof' for Chicken Coop

Saw Palmetto Interior View Living Wall

Shade cloth is woven from petro-based chemicals and contributes to peak oil issues, and ultimately is expensive - costing about $200 to cover the coop.

However I ams so trained to think 'industrial'.

Amazingly, nature has presented me with numerous opportunities, year after year of my life to learn recycling and sustainability.

Something in my mind is programed to always say - 'Go to the Home Improvement store, Kevin! There is a plastic gadget you need for this project!".

I know I should recycle.  I think constantly about how the Green Roof Industry can move away from industrial plastic and complicated layer after of layer of 'things' on the roof just to grow plants.

And I have this 'plastics is better' concept drilled into my head s o often, I am almost fearful of exploring alternative methods and natural materials.  "Organic' and 'Natural' are a bad deal and at best will not last but a year or two then fail and create massive liability.  Best go with multiple layers of plastics.

It is as Krishnamurti says about requiring a 'mutation of the mind' to change, yet my mind is molded into channels of 'plastics' and 'petro-based products'.  In the rush to push what I believe to be very important for food supplies in the Urban Core - Green Roofs and Rooftop Permaculture - I fall trap to the 'petro-based systems.

Besides my Biology degree, I am trained as a lawyer and quite 'tort' alert and though I everyday hear negative and questionable comments from the industry about natural materials, I am more concerned about what I am doing with my plastic consumer mannerisms than I am about failure from natural materials.

You see, despite what I've been brainwashed with about how much better plastics are, I can look around and see green roofs and living walls and structures made from natural materials many years older than the relatively new 'plastics' based systems in vogue today.

The argument about natural material based systems requiring annual or periodic maintenance and replacement comes into mind.  However, all green roofs and living walls require  periodic maintenance.  I've yet to see a green roof or living wall be maintenance free - in fact many are maintenance intensive!

How do I change my plastic mindset?  Have I truly gone so far redemption is improbable?  Will it really take a major mutation of my thought process?  I think so.  We are hopelessly lost to plastics.

Unless we can step back, and as Khrishnamurti says:

"It is only when the totality of the mind is still, that the creative, the nameless comes into being."

My problem is I am too Type A, always too busy building a green something or other.  My mind can never be still and so will always probably be thinking first, 'Plastics!'  But I have learned to listen.

When talking about the chicken coop shadecloth Judy said simply, 'use Saw Palmetto - it is free, sustainable and will work better for not only is it providing shade but the insects attracted to it will provide food for the chickens!.'

We have lots of saw palmetto at the back of our lot.

Though not truly a green roof in the sense of living plants (though I could create a supportive argument :)) the living wall and green roof of saw palmetto is quite sustainable!  In fact, I never should have covered the coop with plastic in the first place - just used the saw palmetto.

Tell those gone on before us who used saw palmetto for centuries it is not an appropriate or traditional building material.  Unfortunately I doubt if there is a Saw Palmetto lobby in Washington to compete with the plastics lobby.

I think we've really gone too far with rampant disregard for nature.  May be too late for the major mutation to occur so we are working here and across the Urban Core with Green Roofs and Rooftop Permaculture to make as soft a landing pad as possible.......


Rebhans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay Rebhan said...

Great reflection, plastics has become a state of mind and takes stepping back to change this mentality. You know the saw palmetto looks better too! Nice post.