The Big 9 Solutions for Restoring Our Future Now

In order to thrive on one planet, we need to transition toward solutions (to serious problems) that address all of the Big 9 categories below in an integrated way. There are a few folks trying to do just that, including Willie Smits in Borneo and Tamera in Portugal (see this post for more Life Designers). See this excellent video by Geoff Lawton, a permaculture expert and teacher.

(1) Shelter/Homes: The Art of Shelter

(2) Water & Food (food is central for civilization)

  • Food production should change from mono-culture industrial agricultural systems that produce nutrient-impoverished foods that require huge chemical and fuel inputs while destroying soil to permaculture-like systems that can produce similar amounts of food that are nutrient-dense and restore the soil while sequestering atmospheric carbon
    • Saving the Soil. There are 60 years left of farmable soil remaining if status quo practices continue (source at 1:30). Role of soil health in sequestering greenhouse gasses (video); importance of microbial activity for organic matter (New Hampshire study). Biochar burn technology. The Green Power House in Montana, created by Michael Smith, is a closed-loop (!) system that uses landfill-destined wood waste to produce biochar and a revolutionary algae-based fertilizer that can restore 400 years of naturally-produced soil in about 4-5 months (see the documentary, The Need To Grow). Inputs are biomass, sunlight, and carbon dioxide. Outputs include electricity for 100 homes and dozens of green houses (as a by-product), biofuel, food, and heat. The heat and COis used to grow algae which then produces methane that helps power the system.
    •  Seeds. Diversity is key. Monsanto-style patents and mono-seed futures are good for a few short-term profits (like many monopolies) but the opposite of what we need.
    • Permaculture: designing regenerative, polyculture food forests and integrated animal systems that nurture the soil by increasing organic matter, sequestering carbon, and preventing desertification and erosion. Keyline Design.
    • Holistic Management (Allan Savory’s 2013 TED Talk & companion book): grazing animals to reverse and prevent desertification
    • Joel Salatin style animal management at Polyface Farm (see his books)
    • The importance of fencing: sustainable and inexpensive options include collecting that old brush and forming it into a fence (see this post at
    • Mushrooms (anything by Paul Stamets at Fungi Perfecti)
    • Hunting, Fishing, Tracking, Trapping, Foraging (Wild Edibles)
    • Permaculture you-pick orchard by Stefan Sobkowiak (see his great DVD for a packaged system that can be used as a model, a recipe, or an inspiration)
    • Forest (and community) Regeneration (Willie Smits). 80% of precipitation can occur as condensation, chiefly water collecting on trees (Geoff Lawton: Permaculture Voices 1 Keynote)
  • For the healfh of your body and the planet, mostly plant-based diets are key, a fact emphasized by a 27-year global study on diet published in 2019 (CNN article).
  • Food Preservation & Storage
  • Weather stations for your land
  • Aquifers are drying up. Desertification is occurring. Soil and trees are critical for reversing these trends.

(3) Fuel: Heat, Cooking, Cooling, & Power

(4) Social Technologies: Solutions require cooperation. Cooperation requires systems (e.g., visions and process) that minimize disagreements/increase compatibility, and attract (and train) people who are willing and able to try to disagree skillfully

(5) Tools

(6) Medicine (see Ben Falk’s book)

(7) Fiber (see this dialog on

(8) Fun & A Little Luxury

(9) Resilience & Security
















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