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Closed Loop Systems

Captain's Log,
Long Island, NY.

One of the things we strive for in permaculture are closed loop systems. In a closed loop system the waste of one entity becomes the food of another. An example of this is our grey water system. Our system is very simple. We use a typical plastic storage tub that can be purchased at any department store. We have plumbed our kitchen sink which is our sole source of grey water under the bus and across so that it drops into the tub. We have also set up our tube garden so that when watered its water runs back into the grey water. Watering our garden is a primary function of our system. It is however a teaching tool as well. All, or nearly all, components on the bus of course serve more than one function. In the tub we have ornamental Lava rock. We use Lava rock because it is light weight and has a high surface area. Weight is always a concern on the bus. We also have placed a baffle in the middle of the tub. This is part of an old tub top cut to fit and caulked in place. We have also put some toy soldiers in the tub because they are fun.

The trick with gray water is to create residents time. The baffle keeps the water from sloshing back and forth. It must sink below the baffle to get to the other side. The rock provides a large surface area to cling the water. We have also introduced pond scum which contain micro-organism that eat waste. Once the water has reached a high enough level that it needs to be bled off it has been cleaned sufficiently for re-use. Because of how the system is plumbed the water is always re-cleaned and re-used.

The closed loop goes even further because it involves everything that lives on the bus. When we cook we not only create dirty dishes which are washed thus creating gray water, we also create food waste. That waste goes to feed both our chickens and our worms. The chickens provide us with eggs and serve as a teaching tool. The worms not only create compost but also create the worm castings we use combined with our gray water to feed our garden thus creating more food waste. Our dogs are also a part of the system. Because we have dogs we do not have a grease trap. The dogs serve that purpose. They pre-wash our plates removing grease which can be a challenge to deal with in a low water forum and that feeds the dogs calories we don't have to purchase which saves money. Money saved on dog food can go to other things. Our Aussie dog Sage helps keep watch on the chickens and herds them as we. She too stacks functions. Poco is 17, she is however very popular with kids and many others who are amazed that such and old dog is doing so well.

On a social level our permaculture and activist trainings all come together to create another closed loop. We live in an age where any attempts by citizens to gain independence from the corporate state is seen as a threat. In the last years food co-ops have been shut down as have Farmer's Markets. Once was viewed as quaint by the corporate state is now seen as a threat to the noose that has been placed around a free people's necks. Using a "threat" of disease coming into the country and spreading disease the government has passed the National Animal Identification System which does little to prevent a problem created by corporations which import all of the animals that come into the country but does create cost and compliance nightmares that small, local producers will be eliminated by. Google NAIS and see for yourself just how far the government, our government, is willing to go to protect giant corporations from consumer independence. AS long as we must beg corporations to provide our food, water, health, and education needs, we are slaves.

So, how do we use permaculture to create a social closed loop? We can use permaculture tools to grow good food, to provide clean water, and to build strong, vibrant communities of abundance. But, then we must defend them. If we don't the corp/state will simply use more and more oppressive legislation and its every growing security system to crush isolated, unprepared communities of abundance. Using the tools of social permaculture the Skills Tour teaches the skills needed to defend ourselves and our communities from Empire. Empire, wrapped in a flag and a designer label, is what we are dealing with. In order to survive, in fact to thrive, we must learn to use all the tools we have and the tools we can create in order to build and then defend our independence.

From grey water systems to non violent direct action. let all our knowledge, guile, and heart combine as one to create the closed loop of true freedom.

Donate On-line:
Go to: www.permibus.org
Click on: Donate

Donate by Mail:
Make checks payable to:
Delyla Wilson.
Send to :
150 Daly Ave.
Hamilton, MT. 59840

Captain, but not Leader,
Stan Wilson
Infrastructure Coordinator
Skills Tour
“Small wheels turn by the
flywheel and rod, big wheel
turns by the grace of God(dess)…”


Thank you very much for the mobile gray water loop tutorial. My aging doggie will be happy to hear that she's been involved in proto-permaculture all these years! Happy trails!

May 2010

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