The History of the Yurt - Chapter 2
Spring came and I was ready to make the move so I pitched my tent outside and began taking the octagon apart. To my dismay a robin had built a nest under the eave and had hatched baby chicks. I built a platform on top of a pole, moved the nest and hoped for the best. It took about an hour for the mother to find the nest and she went right back to caring for the young.
The object of the web site is to shed light on the concept of throughput and this concept is the main thread throughout the building of this house. Since the Earth’s resources are limited we can use a pie as an analogy. Let’s say there are 10 people in a room and there is a pie on the table to be shared. Let’s say two of the people are hungry and between them they eat a third of the pie leaving two thirds left for the remaining eight people. Three others scramble to get their fair share and eat another third leaving one third for the last five. Here is where things get really interesting because there seems to be at least fifty people in the hall right outside the doorway that just found out there is a pie to be shared.
- EROEI or energy return on energy invested at first is relatively low but increases with time (refer to* below). We can broaden this concept to include all resources, not just energy. For example, when considering the mining of iron ore the easiest deposits have already been mined. We are now digging deeper requiring larger more complex machinery (more steel-throughput). EROEI has been listed first because this single concept increases the resources of all the other categories, without increasing the outcome. If we had two buildings that are in every way exactly the same and one is built today and the other is built five years from now, the second building will require more total resources because of EROEI.
- The increase of the global population increases the total resources needed to maintain this expansion. There are many countries that are now trying to modernize increasing resource demand. In the analogy these are represented as the 50 people in the hallway that just found out about the pie.
- In the US the infrastructure (roads, bridges, electrical grid, etc.) was built many years ago and now needs an upgrade, while many parts of the world are just beginning to build their infrastructure.
- In many cities schools are literally falling apart and need to be rebuilt. Education must also deal with jobs and training which may become obsolete.
- Health includes hospitals and care services. Today’s medical innovations have extended lifespans, increasing the need for elderly care.
- The pollution category includes climate change as well as the decline in ocean health and smog or ozone layer reduction. This category’s need for resources is increasing rapidly to combat the obvious wildfires, droughts, floods ,etc. as well as the not so obvious increase in production of hats, sunglasses and sunblock to protect our skin from the sun.
- Our global culture has strived to provide a higher standard of living for our children requiring more resources per capita.
- The carbon or organic material in the soil provides the base for microbial life. Living soil requires less external inputs such as fertilizer or irrigation and globally we have loss much of our soil’s carbon, mostly from agro-business practices.
- The military’s objective is to protect the national interests, including the resources that make the system work. As resources decline the role of the military will rise to compete for these resources.
- Much of our industrial society is guided by computers which are subject to hacking. More resources will be needed to combat this threat.
*EROEI (energy return on energy return) considers the total amount of energy that is needed to obtain the usable energy. As stated, EROEI increases over time. For example, when conventional oil was first discovered it took one gallon of oil to obtain over 100 gallons of usable oil. As wells dried up and new ones had to be drilled at greater distances, were deeper, and in hard to get to areas the energy costs went up. Today we get only 10 gallons of usable oil for every gallon invested. This decrease in usable oil is happening at the same time that demand increases.
If this is all true then why are gas prices falling to all-time lows in January of 2015? Stay tuned.
Once again I moved my tent outside and began taking the house apart. What a project. I had a Geo Tracker with a trailer and every day I went to school, I stopped at the new building site which happened to be on the way and I dropped off a load of pieces of the house.
When all of the pieces were over at Andy and Marianne’s, friends of mine gathered and helped assemble the octagon. The summer went by quickly and by fall I was once again ‘ready for winter’.
I would often look out of the window and watch Marianne’s sheep gently grazing in the field that surrounded the straw bale structure. One day I came home from teaching to find that the gently grazing sheep decided it was much easier to graze the house and had eaten a hole through the wall! Now the house started to really look interesting as I leaned metal roofing against the outside wall along with boards and anything else that would block the sheep from eating my home! All I could think of is how excited I was of my plan of renting land and building a movable house and wondering why everyone wasn’t doing this.
As the winter progressed it became, as usual, bitterly cold. For straw bales to have their insulating effect the bales need to have clay plaster on both sides of the wall stopping the outside air from entering the house. Since I planned to move the house one more time to land that I owned I did not plaster the walls and yes, it became cold inside. I raised the bed off the floor taking advantage of rising heat so there was one place warmer than the rest of the house.
It was the next year that Mary and I became a couple. We started a garden at the school and spent time in the garden, riding bicycles, and working on the yurt. When winter came the house was warmer, however on cold nights it still could be chilly. Mary had a warm apartment and it was difficult to explain how great it is staying in the octagon. As winter, once again passed by, we started to look for land to purchase and by spring we found it.