[permaculture] Energy-Energy Policy-Bioregional Design-The Sustainability of Biofuels.US.FL

Kenneth Benway ken at arcadiandesign.org
Fri Jun 15 18:36:57 EDT 2007

(Topic was: The sustainability of Biofuels)

To me all of the conversation about biofuel relates to energy policy.
In Florida, the "sunshine state," looking for solar energy systems is
like looking for a needle in a haystack. It is insane.
We have to look at the whole when designing energy policies and
strategies, which in turn drives our choices, in my view.

Solar should meet nearly 100% of Florida's energy needs. Currently, we
have but a small fraction of energy coming from solar power. There are
so many areas that need improvement it is mind boggling to me at times.

The first approach must to be to address land use parameters based on
the 6 basic permaculture land use zones, zero thru five. This sets the
framework that drives everything else. Our intent should always be to
create a balanced ecosystem.
All land use parameters should be driven by the size, geography,
watershed, population density and a host of other characteristics in the
context of a specific bioregion.

As we approach this large scale permaculture design problem we start to
see patterns emerge. Patterns of flow, for example like electrical power
generation, distribution and consumption, the location of our collective
zone zero or zone one's throughout a bioregion, or patterns of
population density reveal to us important information as we engage the
design process. We have patterns emerge that have huge amounts of energy
consumed in the river of transportation as well as its many tributaries
and streams.

It is the ongoing process of thoughtful careful observation, reflection
and taking action with regard to all components in the whole that will
be our guide post along the way.
Through a thoughtful design process that involves all individuals within
a community or bioregion in a cooperative way, I think we might be
amazed at what can be accomplished. 

All of this takes us back to a conversation regarding biofuels. 
How we meet our energy needs has as more to do with consumption than the
insane effort to focus on the supply economics that insure no
possibility of a sustainable system.

What the Florida Bioregion needs, and all bioregions as well, is a sound
permaculture design, period.
I cannot speak for other bioregions but for us here in the "sunshine
state" solar is the way to go. Multi modal transportation systems using
electric motors when appropriate coupled with Photo Voltaic generation
systems will go a long way towards reducing our need for any internal
combustion powered, process intensive, unsustainable energy source for

I welcome your feedback and comments,
Ken Benway
Arcadian Design
St Petersburg Fl

-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Kai Vido
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 3:17 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: [permaculture] The Sustainability of Biofuels

I agree with all your points. I think recycling waste cooking oil is a
great idea (I'll soon be running my VW Jetta on fryer oil), but the
ecological problems with large-scale production of any biofuels
outweigh the short-term benefits. All it may do is buy a few more years
of "Happy Motoring" (see James Howard Kunstler's writings) at an
accelerated rate of resource depletion. 

Agriculture systems, transportation systems and many others will need
to be restructured in a major way in the coming decade. Used wisely,
biofuels and many other energy alternatives can help cushion the fall
of the resource-squandering culture we live in, but we need to start
"making other arrangements":


Adopting a Permaculture system is a great way to start!

Kai Vido

--- lbsaltzman at aol.com wrote:

> I certainly think what they did to this person stinks. But I want to
> raise a question about his or her actions. Is buying oil for a car
> that is meant as human food actually sustainable and a good idea? It
> is one thing to use recycled cooking oil and it is another thing to
> use new cooking oil.  I am somewhat dubious about growing fuel crops
> altogether.  With time and effort perhaps this can be done
> sustainably on land not well suited to crops, but the way we are
> going all that is happening is that food prices are being driven up
> and rain forests are being cut down to feed cars not people.

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