All of a sudden it’s been two months since I came back to Finland, so an update is in order. It’s customary to write a thoughtful and insightful post looking back on all the events since Day 1 a year and a half ago. I’m going to stray from that tradition though. Partly because I’m neither thoughtful nor insightful… but mainly because looking ahead has always felt more interesting. The future is more important than the past.
I will say though, that even after a couple months of spending time with family and friends, plus making some new friends, I don’t miss the road much yet. Not even when faced with the dark and cold Finnish winter. So my decision to take a break was correct. (By the way, I haven’t been taking photographs either, except for the last two at the end of the post from an overnight trip on Black Friday. The others are random unpublished photos.)
Instead I’ve continued to read up on permaculture and related topics under the umbrella of sustainable life. My interest has only increased. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Our current system of growing food is entirely unsustainable. We use 10 calories of fossil fuels to produce 1 calorie of food. The CO2 of this fuel of course ends up in the atmosphere, but it only gets worse from there. Tilling the fields for monoculture causes all kinds of problems. The nutrient-transferring fungal networks are destroyed, microbial life is killed, the soil’s capacity for holding rainwater is greatly reduced, nutrients disappear increasing the need for chemical fertilisers, crops are more susceptible to pathogens, biodiversity plummets, and the list goes on.
And for all this destructive and resource hungry tilling we pay a very significant price in climate change. When the soil’s organic material is lost, some of the carbon ends up in the ocean, and the rest in the air. Soil is supposed to be a carbon sink, and yet what we’re doing to it has caused it to release about 80 billion tons of carbon. To top it all off, this loss of organic material can eventually lead to desertification.
Not a great system overall.
All of this really needs to change. There’s a lot more to sustainable life than food production, but since it’s such a crucial first step, that’s the one that seems best to start with. I would love to learn and practice self-sufficiency with natural sustainable methods, and that is indeed the plan. As soon as I can find some suitable land.
That last detail has been the obstacle so far, especially with severe budget constraints. So I figured I’d ask you, dear readers, for tips! Tell me where I can find a cheap old cabin, farmhouse or other piece of land with at least some forest around. For sale, rent or other(?). Probably between 1-5 hectares, off grid and remote is fine. So far I’ve been searching in Finland only, but might consider interesting enough alternatives elsewhere.
Where would your dream location be for this kind of plan?