Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surviving Lazy

Outside has the story of elite marathoners attempting to run down an antelope to verify a belief that men could run down the fastest animals on the planet. What the runners are really proving is how brain-dead stupid people can be. If ancient hunters had frivolously wasted energy simply running down a wild animal, we wouldn't be here.

The best way of surviving is to be reasonably lazy. Whether you are expending fossil fuel energy with machinery or animal energy with work animals or your own back, the less you use, the less you have to replace. In a survival or subsistence situation, avoid activities that are not a net energy gain whenever possible. You can also exchange the word "energy" for "money" or "resources". Don't expend resources where you are not getting back at least as much as you put in.

Humans turned to agriculture because it is lazier and more efficient that constantly roaming as hunter/gatherers. Horses, on the grasslands of the Great Plains, coupled with the presence of huge bison herds enabled the Plains Indians to survive and prosper. The horses could take advantage of the grazing while greatly reducing the expenditures of human energy required. Bison were a massive reservoir of food energy for the human hunters, as well as being a source of clothing and tools.

I like raised beds for gardening because I spend less time and energy cultivating and maintaining. In the same way, fruit trees, stawberries, blackberries, and grapes all provide high-energy food sources with a relatively low investment of energy. Livestock and poultry can make better, less energy-intensive use of marginal lands for grazing than can be gained from cultivation.

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