Compost chickens

I’ve been thinking about feeding chickens with the compost pile, that’s why I got the chickens, and have a pretty compact layout that could be used in a small space. Instead of a tractor, as in Geoff Lawton’s video, it’d be a fixed thing, where the food scraps go in on one side and compost comes out the other.

Compost Chickens

The drawing shows the food coming in to the first area, where the compost pile is first made, and the chickens could roost above it, manuring it through the first week when they sleep. After a week it’d go to the next area, then the next, then the next, and then out of the enclosure.

So the procedure would be: get out the 4-week compost, move the 3-week one there, move the 2-week one, then the 1-week one, then build a new pile.

The whole thing could be enclosed properly to protect the chickens, but the divisions inside would only be about half a meter tall. Those divisions would keep the piles more or less separated, but the chickens would easily move between them.

Each division could be around 2×2 meters, so the whole thing would be 4×4 meters, plus access space on one side. It could be made smaller too, but this sounds decent enough for many, and good enough to start a conversation about it here.

Hydropower from buildings

 

Rainwater pipe

Last time I posted about hydropower, and now I wanted to touch on one less obvious application for it.

Normally one thinks about streams in the woods, or some such usual place for these micro-hydroelectric things, but this can even be used in cities.

Normally, only wind and solar are thought of when talking about natural power generation in cities. Yeah, there are also the plants that process waste and get methanol from trash, but those are not something most people can just purchase in a store and install in their home.

Most buildings have a pipe to run rain water from the roof down to the street or a drain. This pipe has a huge drop, and it’s a great place to put one of these turbines to generate some power. The higher the building, the more turbines you can fit. Since the turbine will slow the water down, you’d need to space them for the water to pick up enough speed again.

Yeah, it doesn’t rain all the time. Sun comes mostly daily, same with wind, but rain only has certain seasons. Still, it’s quite a lot of power that could be gotten from it, and would help assist with cooling/heating consumption, depending on the need.

It’s an alternative worth exploring, and a turbine as small as the one in the other post certainly makes it easier.

Super simple grey water system

 

I hate to waste water, my wife does too. She grew up in a town where water was really scarce during the dry season. Every drop counted.

Today the town has most of the water it needs, but waste is not good in any way. And every drop still counts, here and anywhere on the planet.

One way to save water is water reuse.

Grey water is waste water that doesn’t come from the toilet. It can be water from the shower, bath tub, dishwashing or laundry.

This can be used to flush the toilet. If the soap or detergent used is biodegradable, which it should be anyway to not contaminate, it can also be used to water the plants and lawn.

Grey water systems are usually a bit sophisticated because they may have some filtration and traps, and tubing and drip irrigation systems installed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some toilet makers have models where the cistern’s cover is a washing basin, so you wash your hands with the water that fills de cistern after you flush, and that grey water will be used in the next flush. There are kits to convert a normal toilet to this system, too.

A big source of grey water, and wasted water if not used, is the laundry machine. And it can really be a lot of water, even if you have a very efficient model. Well, I had an idea to stop wasting it and it didn’t require a big expense in tubing and plumbing or other devices.

I had a big plastic waste bin in a corner, which we weren’t using anymore, and put it to good use in this project. I placed it next to the laundry machine and stuck the draining hose into it. That’s it!

Now, after its wash or rinse cycles, the bin fills up with the water and we use small buckets to empty it, watering the plants around the house. We can also leave the water in the bin and use it to flush the toilet if we want to.

This same thing could be done with dish washing machines too. This is not complicated stuff at all.

We don’t feel so guilty about doing laundry now. :)

Feeding nature with plastic and other petro-stuff

 

Here’s an idea I’ve had for a while, but haven’t talked about much with anyone, although some time ago I wrote about how the oil spill could be cleaned leaving no chemical residues behind and actually enriching the soil. Now I’d like to talk about cleaning up plastic waste as well as other petrochemicals.

The approach mentioned for the spill could be used to clean up rivers where factories dump their stuff, and this could be aided introducing plants and clams that’d help the process too. Lands contaminated by machinery with stuff like fuels or oils, could be cleaned up with the mushroom as well.

Mr. Paul Stamets participated in a test to clean a land contaminated with fuels and oils and in this video he briefly explains what happened:

Now, how to apply that to plastics is what seems to be the problem. I don’t know if mushroom would grow on plastic, that’s doubtful, so it would need to be turned into something else to facilitate it, and I found a good simple way.

It involves heating the plastic to melt and boil it without burning it, apparently. I’ve seen other machines to process tyres and plastics in such a way before using pyrolysis, but were way bigger, the machine in the above video is more portable.

He’s obviously making it simpler to operate and usable inside closed spaces, but the technology is as old as coal making from wood, so you don’t need computers to control it, especially if you don’t care to get very refined results as he is. It’s basically a pressure cooker with a bubbler. Implementing this techonology doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Plastics don’t even need to be pre-sorted.

All I’ve seen so far had the intention of making more fuel off the waste, not food. You’ll notice when he sets the oil on fire to prove it is oil, how dirty it burns. It doesn’t solve contamination, it’s just in another form. We need to work with nature.

Oyster mushroom in compost

Oyster mushroom in compost

I haven’t seen someone make the connection between this technology and composting the product with mushrooms yet. It is very likely that the mushrooms can take care of the solids resulting from this process too, so the oil and solids could be mixed before inoculation.

This is a solution that could help clean up water and land. Landfills could be turned from a waste heap into several feet of rich top soil. The plastic trash in the oceans could be collected into large ships with this technology on board, processing the waste as it sails, going back to land only to empty its bowels to enrich the soil in the coasts.

We can clean up all this mess in a short time with some good willing people and organizations.

The best oil spill cleanup solution

 

If you weren’t hibernating underground these past days, you most probably heard about the oil spill. You can count on the oil idiots to screw up the world a little more. And then you have other people trying all these hard, expensive, and ineffective “solutions”! Looks like they’re more into making spending money with all the expensive stuff, than actually putting an end to the nightmare.

Gulf oil spill from orbit

Gulf oil spill from orbit

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably wanted to see that mess cleaned up soon… I’ve read up on this and have found what I consider to be the best solution yet!

Why? Because it’d be cheap to deploy, effective to get the oil off the water without messing up the coast or killing the sea life and it’d also take care of the oil composting it!

A couple or so years ago I read a post that talked about a cleanup project that used hair mats to pick up the oil. “This is great” I thought, because it worked well to pick it up. Problem was, it’d not scale well. You’d need a hell lot of hair to clean that black shit spreading in the Gulf. And a lot of work to actually do the cleanup.

Enter these guys who recently demonstrated a similar solution to the above, but with a much more abundant material: hay!

Now, that’s a nice solution right there! Simple, cheap, effective. Gather all the hay you can (watch the needles!) and throw it to the wind off the shore! Load ships with it and scatter it offshore. Spread it between the coast and the blot. Do it around it as well. Let the hay pick up the thing, the oil sticks to surfaces fast. Hay provides lots of surface to stick to. And hay floats, as does the oil. Let the waves do the rest.

Now, what do you do with that oily hay afterward? Some would say “burn it”… yeah, as if we needed more of that crap up in the air. Others would say “recover the oil” and have it burnt later, too. I say enrich the earth with it. That way, instead of a half-solution, you’d have a complete one in the eyes of nature, albeit not so much in those of the oil pushers.

How can you turn that thing into food for nature, though? Mushrooms. No, not that kind! No, I didn’t have any before writing this post, either.

Remember the hair mats thing mentioned earlier? Well, what they did after picking up the oil was grow mushrooms on them. Oyster mushrooms, it said. Have them absorb all the oil and after about 12 weeks, compost them!

Oyster mushroom

Oyster mushroom

Actually, I read that these mushrooms have even been found growing on the dry skull of a dead whale in the 19th century. That seems to prove that those mushrooms wouldn’t have much problem growing on that oily hay even if it came from salt water.

I wonder if the hay could be sprayed some spores before deployment. The mushroom may even start growing on them while still floating!

I can’t think of a better solution for this mess right now. What about you? Share your thoughts leaving a comment. But if nothing else, spread the word, share this post. We need as many as possible aware of this solution, especially near the coastline close to the problem.

Lots of great men and women with land and tons of hay would be overly glad to give trucks of the stuff to fix this. Hell, their coasts will be a damn mess if they don’t, and I’m sure they don’t want to just sit waiting for others to spend their taxes and still not solve it!

And it’s not just them, it’ll affect us all if this isn’t fixed. It’s all the one same planet we live on, and what happens in one place, will have an effect somewhere else. And if this is fixed there, it’ll also have an effect elsewhere with this problem. Have this solution spread through the web like that oil on the water.

Click the share button of your choice and lets solve this mess! :D

The Cove movie may not be good enough

 

A few days ago I posted some thoughts on The Cove Movie in my Facebook profile and shared it with some friends to spread the word.

One of them, an American living in Japan, didn’t like the documentary. I would have thought he’d want to share it with his Japanese contacts in order to raise awareness, but that wasn’t the case. He was actually upset. I think we had a good conversation that I’d like others to read as well, but I won’t share his identity.

Here’s what he said after I sent him the link to the movie’s page:

Problem is Japan isn’t the only country whaling and killing dolphins. Other countries in northern Europe do it too. Japan is just an easier target for waste-of-time/money groups like Sea Shepherd and Green Peace. If you’re going to pick on Japan, pick on the other countries doing the same thing too I say.

I didn’t agree with that, really, and so I told him:

Oh, man, you know how I love Japan. I’m not picking on it. I am aware of how nice Japanese people are! It’s not “Japan”, it’s just a little group of people in a town there, and that’s what that movie focuses on.

I know there is more going on elsewhere, and it is my hope to do something about them all, I want this planet to be much better for every living thing, but one takes these things on one at a time. This time I found this movie and wanted to pass it on.

I can’t go there to do something physical, but I have communication. Knowledge is very powerful, but the Japanese are not aware of what goes on in that place, because they’re not told. I know how good people the Japanese are and that they’d disapprove it if they were aware, and all my intention when I tagged you with this, was to tell you so that you could tell others there.

I know that if someone showed me something wrong going on in my country, hidden from people so it’s not protested against, I would, at the very least, tell people around me to create awareness of the issue. This would open the door to eventually stop that activity.

To which he had a few more things to say:

Another reason the Cove pissed me off was their practices in making it. Lying to the people of Taiji and other officials who appeared in the film telling they were not there to portray the town in a negative light.

Also, bringing that chick from Heroes (the cheerleader one) to tag along with the camera crew when she had no business doing it. What, cause she’s a surfer and loves dolphins? Using her fame from Heroes (a show I choose to no longer support) to spread the word about a town in Japan that everyone watching this movie can never really know anything about because they are not a part of the community and they’re only seeing one side that the filmmakers chose to show.

What, was she there to save the “cute little dolphins” (as she was quoted for putting it). Why doesn’t she go save the cute little kangaroos and koalas getting killed while she’s at it? At the end of the day, I felt like she wouldn’t have gotten on the camera crew if it were shooting in some little town in Iceland, but that the Japanese are seen as weak and feeble so they are easier targets and she thought they could save the dolphins.

I’m not saying the oikomi technique of killing dolphins that the people in the village in Wakayama prefecture have been doing since the 1600s isn’t cruel to animals, but then what about the genocide of kangaroos and koalas down in Australia? Or more comparatively, what about traditional spear fishing by the Native American Indians in North America? Or better yet, “There are some countries that eat cows, and there are other countries that eat whales or dolphins,” said Yutaka Aoki, fisheries division director at the Foreign Ministry. “A film about slaughtering cows or pigs might also be unwelcome to workers in that industry.” I agree with Ms. Aoki.

I think the people in Taiji were used as an example to push an agenda that however noble it may be, the techniques the filmmakers used were sneaky and unethical, not to mention bringing the cheerleader chick from heroes on board to get more teens interested was a cheap shot. You don’t see any cute cheerleaders going out to save some cows, when the systemized slaughter of cattle across the world is happening every second. And back to the koala/kangaroo killing. Mass killing for population control? Isn’t killing animals just killing animals at the end of the day?

I don’t agree with places like Sea World either. In fact I went to a sea park last summer and did my best to smile my way through it cause [my girlfriend] was having fun but meanwhile I was thinking to myself how miserable the animals must have been. Knowledge is power, and internet communication is a great tool for spreading the word, but the thing about Japan is they are not eating dolphin or whale everyday. [My girlfriend] has never eaten whale in her life. And the Japanese know about Taiji village. They just choose to let it practice its tradition without interfering.

I’m sorry if my reply is coming off as angry at you personally. I’m not angry at you, my friend. I’m angry at the makers of this film using the people in Taiji instead of going after other places in the world that are also killing dolphins. If you’re going to go after one country doing it, go after them all and change the movie name to “Coves”.

And I had my own thoughts to say about those comments:

Thank you for your reply, my friend. I can understand your position and appreciate you sharing it. I know it’s not personal against me, so don’t worry about that. I, personally, have a different opinion regarding some of the points you bring up and will share them with you below, hoping you’ll understand I’m not attacking you either.

I have no idea who the cheerleader of Heroes is,I don’t watch TV. Was it one of the surfers? Yeah, it wasn’t needed to bring such a person, but celebrities are usually used for causes they support, that’s not really new to this documentary and I don’t particularly object to that practice as long as the celebrity actually supports the cause.

Regarding the cow rebuttal that some use, I disagree with that to an extent, because cows people eat are not in the wild, they are raised. And not more cows than the ones raised are eaten. On the other hand, hunted wild animals, especially when done in large numbers, tend to face extinction, because they aren’t reproducing fast enough to compensate the hunting. So they’re not equal things to be used as an argument like that. And, if it is true that dolphin meat is sold disguised under other labels (other fish), then that could mean that they are hunting way more than people actually buys. So, what’s the point killing so many?

Another reason I disagree with that practice is that dolphin meat has toxic levels of mercury because of industrial contamination in the past decades. So the only valid reason to hunt them, which would be to eat them, is not good even in low quantities. Especially not telling people the real problem with that. Even a couple of Taiji officials were against having children fed that meat in school lunches because they know the problems.

But one important problem, which is probably the one that brought the film maker to that place in particular, is the cruelty of the method they use. Here’s an article I found regarding this, which I like the way it was put http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/09/more-news-from-taiji-70-dolphins-released-and-quote-drops.php

Regarding the point where you say why aren’t other places mentioned, or other bad practices, one can’t expect a documentary to cover every single thing that’s wrong with this planet, can one? Focusing just on dolphin hunting, you know as a film-maker the budget issue, and can’t expect the guy to have enough to travel all over the world with team and equipment and then try to fit everything in a single movie. For whatever reason he chose Taiji, I doubt it was to pick on Japan. That doesn’t mean dolphins aren’t hunted elsewhere, but I don’t think he said that either. He’s trying to raise awareness of the problems with dolphin meat and captivity, which will help reduce the practice all over the world.

I don’t agree that because it happens elsewhere as well, then it shouldn’t be told. Is it wrong that China Blue showed the working conditions there and not in every other country were workers are being abused? Was it wrong that Bowling for Columbine showed the problem there, while violence with guns happens in other places of the world as well? Is it wrong that Erin Brockovich focused on Hinkley, California, when the contamination problems are rampant around the world? I think that raising awareness, even if showing a particular example, helps reduce the power that such an activity has elsewhere as well.

I’m truly sorry that this particular film found such a problem to be in Japan, which has issues as any country. Even if I love it, I can’t say there’s no such problem. Partly because I like Japan, is that I want that problem to be solved.

I understand that Taiji has that tradition, but it just may be one of those traditions that aren’t good. Toxicity levels have raised in the recent past, which changes the situation a bit compared to the times when the tradition started. Also, I’m sure that it originally started to supply the locals, not the country or internationally, so I doubt the numbers were high before or that it was done every day for half a year. Just because it’s been tradition doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be reviewed.

I can understand that you feel the methods to film the movie were hidden. Well, they had to be, they tried to film openly and were not permitted. If there’s nothing wrong with their practice, what is there to hide about it? Why hide? Well, the film shows why, even if they had to hide the cameras to do achieve it. It’s not like they hurt anyone or misrepresented the facts or touched up the images to make them worse. They show what they shot, don’t they?

You mention whaling as well, which I also disagree with, but the film is not about that, mostly dolphins as far as I could tell. And I’m aware that you living there, having friends from outside Japan, this is not the first time someone mentioned this to you and that you’re probably pretty tired of having this mentioned already. I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you, really.

And I really didn’t, but I understand him. Actually, I wondered about the effectiveness of the movie to stop this activity and I just found a review that puts it in words quite well. I agreed very much with the opinion of this video blogger (an Australian living in Japan too) and wanted to share it here to finish this post.

What’s your opinion? Please share this post and leave a comment.