Permaculture Realized Podcast Episode 4, Water Issues, Drought in Brazil, and Growing a New Future with Kat Curtis
Episode 4, Water Issues, Drought in Brazil, and Growing a New Future with Kat Curtis:
Todays episode focuses on water. A broad topic for sure, but a pretty important one since basically all life forms depend on access to clean water to survive. As you probably know, our bodies are 60% water. Water is vital for lubricating our joints, flushing out toxins and waste, and transporting vital nutrients to all of our cells.
This process is a major concern, and area of study for today’s guest, Kat Curtis. Kat is a graduate student at the University of Michigan and co-author of the book, “Choose Your Health: 16 Steps Toward a Higher Health IQ” She has been spending the past year studying water security in Brazil, and has some important finding to share with us.
There is only a few days left to support Kat’s crowdfunding campaign, “The Coloring Book to Grow a New Future” Please take a look and make a contribution to raise awareness of water issues in Brazil, and encourage creative solutions.
I love how Kat paints the full picture of the situation in Brazil; the good, the bad, and the ugly, without any sugar-coating. And yet she still has a lot of optimism for the future.
There were a number of strategies she outlined in response to the water crises. One is limiting water usage by living within your local resource means. IE: don’t put a veggie farm in the desert. Another is restoring healthy forests and ecosystems which help recharge the aquifers. Of course it’s important to Protect existing forests and water ways. Promote policies that prevent practices that contaminate our waters like Fracking. And support local sustainable agriculture that prioritizes soil health.
When you’re designing your own site, there are a few useful concepts from permaculture that help make the most of water. The first idea is to identify your water sources; rain and precipitation, run-off, and underground water. Then plan how to catch and store this water so it doesn’t just run away off-site. This could include, rainwater catchment tanks and cisterns, contructed ponds, swales, and keyline trenches, shading the ground with mulch or tree-cover to reduce evaporation, and even simply building more topsoil, because soil is the cheapest way to store a large amount of water. Once you have the water on your site, get as many uses out of it as you can before it leaves the site.
As a case example, there are some experimental houses in Taos, New Mexico called Earthships that are designed to capture all their water off their roof, and store it in an underground cistern. This water is first used in sinks and showers. Then the water from those drains flows through indoor plant beds where it waters vegetables, fruits, and other plants and in the process, geting naturally cleaned and filtered. Then the water makes it way into the toilet where it get a final use to transport human waste. Or should I say, humanure?
When the water finally does leave your site, it should be clean. So there are now designs for constructed wetlands that can completely filter and clean this wastewater or “black water” as it’s called, using wetland plants. Finally returning the cleaned water to the hydrologic cycle.
Don’t forget to check out Kat’s Indiegogo campaign, there’s only a few days left to make it a reality! Look up “The Coloring Book to Grow a New Future by Kathryn Curtis” on Indiegogo or google.
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Thanks again, for listening in. There’s much more to come on the Permaculture Realized Podcast.