Dj Wells

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since Apr 22, 2014
A licensed Professional Engineer working to bring Permaculture Design principles into Engineering professions, projects, and schools.  Member of Engineers Without Borders, helping to bring engineering expertise to anywhere in the world who needs it.
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Recent posts by Dj Wells

We build our roofs with the idea of simply keeping the house dry.  Usually they are made of linear planes.  What if we designed our roof to actually collect and move the water where we wanted it to go at a  collection point?  Something shaped more like a modified parabola.  Does any one understand what I'm getting at here?  Like the curved roofs in the orient, only slightly slanted in an interesting architectural manner, specifically for directing the run-off.  If I were more computer savvy, I'd upload a drawing somehow.
4 years ago
I'm having trouble downloading the MRH too. I've tried several times, one two different computers, and used Mozilla and Chrome, yet, when I try to open file, it says it's corrupted and can't be repaired...
I don't think it is any coincidence the same question was posed to me last week regarding one million dollars...!

I am SO glad you included the WHEELIE POOPER, because I am communicating with a professor of engineering at Narunya University in India to help design sanitation systems to be used there. I am proposing to use Permaculture Design principles as much as possible. Sadly, they are no longer allowing BUCKET latrines, and are making people pay (and take out loans if necessary) to build what ever is approved.:
"Construction of bucket latrines is not permitted in the rural areas. The existing bucket latrines, if any,
should be converted to sanitary latrines and the unit cost and sharing pattern shall be identical to that of
construction of individual house hold latrines."
This is very hard on the poor, especially since they are used to "open defecation" where ever....

While there is provision for an ecological approach, there is no "manually removing" allowed:

"Eco Sanitation structures that allow storage of human excreta and urine, for composting or converting
to usable and safe manure or fertiliser can be taken up under Total Sanitation Campaign. It should,
however, be ensured that it does not involve the practice of manually cleaning and removing human
excreta and is not in contravention of any existing provisions of law."

The last email I wrote I brought up the idea of a portable structure (I'm thinking on the lines of a chicken tractor idea?) so I was THRILLED to see you are thinking about this problem, too. This is a PRESSING problem in India, and elsewhere, so if we Permies can help develop a viable solution now, it could become a standard, perhaps globally. What do you think?
6 years ago
So, how DO you start a community?
6 years ago
Hi, I just posted something under the Homeschool Roll call that might be similar to what you are exploring. If you read it, I'd love to hear your input.
6 years ago
I looked into home schooling after hearing a program on the radio about it, when my son, who is now 32 yr., was two. I had to travel to Indiana, next door to Ohio, where I live, to find any one who was doing it at the time (1984). Like most things I get involved in, it was considered "fringe", "weird", and thought to be "illegal" to do so, when I began three years later. I home schooled my six children, on and off (due to family crises), and the older ones are doing very well. One is in college now on a completely funded "Honors scholarship" studying Computer Network Engineering, the other just graduated with the same degree, and a third is in graduate school for Art Therapy. Others are at home mothers raising my grandchildren (7 so far...). I am on my last one, my 15 yr. old daughter. I have learned that each child/student is different, so I could/should not use the same approach on each one, and even invested in different books and curriculum, depending on the student. One size does not fit all. I also learned that I was only a "facilitator" to nurturing what God has already put into them. I was released from the "burn-out" that commonly occurs among home-schoolers (especially beginning ones) when I learned who The Teacher really is. Home school has come a LONG way and everyone knows someone who is home schooling now. (The same for home birthing, which I also did). I hope to build a sustainable community that would include a Life Long Learning center, with a collection of wonderful resources, electronic and otherwise, studios, labs, production center, etc. etc. where education that is individually customized would be possible for everyone. I would base it on a co-operative home school model, where the parents are still the direct overseers of their children's education. What do you all think about that idea?
6 years ago
Greetings, Paul and all fellow Permies. I LOVE this site. Reading the comments, the array of topics, the podcasts, and the CREATIVITY has given me hope that we can make substantial change in our world. For the most part, I have sensed Permaculture to generally be arising from the grass roots level. It is heavily individualized. I'm not saying that is bad. I'm saying that this stuff is so good, I want to see it kicked into a bigger playing field. As a Professional Engineer, charged to "fix" many of the problems we have got ourselves into as a society with our modern lifestyle, I believe the "old way" of doing engineering (that helped to inadvertently get us into these problems) is not going to help us solve them. Spending big bucks (raising both rates and taxes) to do more of the same, bigger and faster, is NOT the answer. I am looking for Permaculture to bring NEW answers into the engineering profession and the projects that are tackled.

So here's one of the HUGE problems for us to brainstorm about:

I am a member of EWB- Engineers Without Borders. We go to all sorts of places to help solve problems for people who need our help, mainly in developing countries. The greatest need is in the area with the acrostic WASH-WAter, Sanitation, and Hygiene. Trying to transplant what we do in our "developed" country with our Western thinking is not going to bring any long term solutions. Why should we export our mistakes? That is why I am reaching out to the Permie community to see what kind of input and ideas we can assemble on this topic.

In Permaculture thinking, anytime we hear ourselves calling something a "WASTE" product, we need to go back to the drawing board and enlarge our design to transform it into a RESOURCE. Why are we flushing "waste" into our drinking water and using potable grade water to do it? What if we designed a WATERLESS sanitation system which captured nutrients to be used in a productive way? I say, "We went to the moon, we can DO this!" I'm not talking a simple latrine or singular composting toilet. I'm talking about a SYSTEM (great Permaculture word, right?) that would service many people. I see this system feeding into our broken agriculture system, which is one of the WORST POLLUTERS of our waterways, and changing two huge troubled areas at the same time.

So enough said for now, to "break the ice" on this topic. How many are brave enough to tackle this often "taboo" topic?

I'd like to hear David address foraging (and preparing) greens in the city/urban environment, please.
6 years ago
Hey David. Wishing you a wonderful time with all.
6 years ago