Friday, October 13, 2017

Lack off Progressive Developments in Jamaica


A Facebook group I belong to posted a picture of the Half Way Tree Transport Centre and declared how progressive and modern it was. Many posters commented about how First World a building it is and it shows modern progress. It got me thinking about the concept of progressive development and how that concept has changed over time. I am not a person who thinks a big pretty building with curves is automatically modern and progress because I am not that shallow. Progressive Development is so much more than just bulldozing our green space and replacing it with some concrete and glass, in my mind that is anti-progress.


There was a time in human history during the Industrial Revolution when buildings with massive chimneys emitting millions of tons Carbon dioxide was also considered as progressive even though it blanketed the sky, turn cities grey and was killing the inhabitants of the city. That tells me the concept of progressive development involves so much more than concrete and glass. This is what happens when we allow corporations and greed to define what the concept of progressive development means.


The Half Way Tree Transport Centre is an impressive building as it presents itself when one enters the area but it is not a progressive building because progress development involves using our knowledge of what we know is affecting us, killing us and design and develop counteract these things. The Half Way Tree area was always a congested area but back in the days it was a much greener space, we had more trees in the area to absorb the carbon emissions and heat but today most of that greenspace is gone and all we have now are fumes, heat and humidity from the increase congested traffic.

High Line New York Greenway

Our development does not involve Nature and sustainability, for one we see nature and greenspace and backwards because we are trying so hard to recreate New York City thinking that it is the perfect example of progressive development and meanwhile New York City is trying to hard rollback its aggressive environmentally destructive development in order to let nature and greenspace back in.

4500 solar panels spread across the entire rooftop surface. This system on the car park rooftop is expected to offset 100% of the car park’s electricity consumption with excess power generated to be consumed within the main airport terminal. It will reduce the airport’s overall energy consumption and carbon emissions by close to 10 per cent.

How is the Half Way Tree Transport Centre progressive, what percentage of its energy consumption comes from green energy, how much solar panels does it have, how much kilowatt of solar energy does it generates, are there any wind turbines? How much of these buses are all-electric, zero-emission electric or clean energy buses? Was the Half Way Tree Transport Centre designed with sustainability in mind or the health of the people in it? That nice pretty roof that covers the transport centre could have served a much higher purpose other than to protect the people from the sun and the rain, it is reflecting a huge amount of the sun’s energy back into the atmosphere.

Hybrid Wind/Solar Power Generators

The Half Way Tree Transport Centre is an impressive building but it by no means represents progress, just like all our other developments. Take for example the massive Mcmansion of the Prime Minister Andre Holness surrounded by that massive wall making it into Holness Fortress and other developments like this. It was developed to impress with no concept of sustainability in mind. No desire to set an example of how modern progressive development should be done. These are colonial structures and represents the same concept of the old colonial great houses on the slave plantations.

Solar Power Transforms Parking Lots into Green Job Generators

Modern Humans knows that climate change is real and an issue affecting humanity. We understand the science behind it and the importance of Nature and the Environment to our survival. We have the technology to limit our use of fossil fuels, to preserve Environment and consume more green sustainable energy, so why is that not reflected in our development? Development is only modern and progressive if it takes into consideration the factors that are threatening our life on this planet and uses our scientific knowledge to protect humanity.

A MERE 20 OF THE ROLES TREES CAN PLAY IN PERMACULTURE DESIGN:
Permaculture, as the “perma” name suggests, is a movement towards permanent agricultural arrangements, ones which culturally value nutrition, systemic health, and sustainability over monetary wealth and materialism. Permaculture designs can be quite complex cycles for avoiding waste creation and maximizing productive efficiency.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Happiness through Contentment - The Retreat Phase

Peter's Rock, St Andrew Jamaica

I was having a deep philosophical conversation with my cousin Martin about life when my cousin said …“If I could live my life over again, then I would make the choice not to join this human rat race. I would have preferred to live the life of a hermit, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of today’s mad crazy world” …..

Modern Concept of Prosperity?

Despite all this hustle and bustle we are nothing but hamsters on a wheel, we really are like rats in a cage running round and round but going nowhere of any real importance. We are conditioned and engineered from birth to place great importance into things that are really not important for human existence.

This is what society says is important

I think my cousin and I have fallen out of love with this materialistic and mundane life of human existence. The fact is we were all born to die because from the day we were born, only death was certain. A fix point in time and space waiting for each and every one of us, which should make how we live and value life that much more important. Human life is very short in relation to and when compared to universal existence. There are trees living longer than most humans and a tortoise can live for 175 years however the average human lifespan is 79 years and most of us will not even live long enough to reach 75 much less 65.
The Natural World

A lot of unhappiness and anxiety in life comes about because of the trivial things we modern humans consider important and trying to control some things we really have no control over.


The human rat race is centred on hate, greed, self-importance, selfishness, a feeling of entitlement and pretentiousness. People pretending to achieve something that really means nothing in the grand scheme of things. The Human rat race is a tiring, never ending process that consumes the life of the person running it. Human life is so short, it really is and in our haste and determination to achieve what other people think we should achieve, humans have lost sight with what should really be important and what being alive should be all about, Happiness through Contentment.


For the most part people live for other people’s approval, which is so very sad and a pitiful way of existing. Even I was a victim of this concept of living for other people’s approval but consider the fact that we came into this world alone and we will leave this world alone, means we must live for our own approval first and by our own standards based on morals and values. Which is why each and every one of us must make sure that however we choose to live our lives, whatever we choose to do with our lives, it must be beneficial and fulfilling. Whatever we do in life must add to our contentment and to be content is to be happy and at peace with oneself and the world. If you find that the human rat race, the greed and materialism is beneficial, fulfilling and adds contentment and happiness to your lives then you have achieved your utopia because it is not for me to define what is contentment to you. For a lot of people war is contentment, death and destruction defines them. They are not happy unless they are excreting their dominance over others, determining who have the right to live and who must die. Happiness through Contentment cannot come at the expense of human life.
You are NOTHING unless you own this, useless and worthless!

The first phase of my life can best be described as climbing the corporate ladder, to impress upon others. It was characterized by the futile attempt at wealth accumulation, promotion and power and trying to live for other people’s approval. I was lucky enough to start my profession as a hobby which meant it was not something I had to do to make a living but something I enjoyed doing and spend many hours having fun doing it. My hobby that became my profession use to add value, meaning and purpose to my life as it gave me the opportunity to escape the real world and live in a virtual world.

Peek and Poke


My hobby have long since stopped being my hobby and became work, hard tiring mundane work. Living every second of the day trying to play catch up and putting out fires. For the most part this life was like trying to walk up an escalator that is going down, at times for every one step you take up, the down escalator of life would take you back down three steps. This life was almost round the clock stress, even when I was on vacation I was still connected to work, hooked into the system. I remember getting sick and was admitted to hospital, hooked up to IV and feeling poorly when my phone rang, it was the people from work who I thought was calling to check on my status but they were calling to have a work related conversation. This life was high stress and anxiety contributing to ill health and it was very addictive, I found myself wanting more and more of it.

Kill -9

My most fatal flaws is that I have a tendency of trying to control everything around me, I am a punctual planner and I try to take responsibility for things I have no control over. If we agreed to meet one day at 2 PM then I would arrive at 1:30 PM and if you arrived at 2:30 PM then you not only ruined the rest of my day but also my entire week as anger, frustration, stress and anxiety sets in, for some reason time was very important to me. After many years of living like this, the hobby that use to be fun became something I hated and wanted none of.

Happiness through Contentment – Retreat Phase

I am trying to disconnect myself from the cultural rat race of humanity and to me that means retreating from the materialistic greed and selfishness of everyday life. I am no longer fascinated with this type of human existence and I no longer trust humanity. So the more I separate myself from people in general and their system of hate, greed, stress and anxiety the more content I will be. Putting aside the complexity of everyday living and creating my own framework that affords me maximum contentment, comfort and happiness.

I am not an advocate of squatting and in fact I detest the very concept of capturing other people’s private property and claiming it as your own. But I know that if I was to squat then I would squat the right away on public/government land and be successful at it. It is not the fact that you are a squatter that is the problem but how you go about squatting which must depend on what you are trying to achieve from the concept.

Urban Squatting!

I cannot say that I understand the concept of rural to urban migration because I was born in an urban environment and lived all my life in the city and again it must be based on what the rural person is trying to achieve by moving to an urban environment. What I definitely Do Not understand and sometimes wonder, is why a person would leave the beautiful green, rural Jamaican countryside to squat in some of Jamaica’s harshest urban and most violent concrete ghettos. I equally do not even understand why a person who was born in the violent, murdering concrete ghetto, the dark inner city and underbelly of society would squat in that same violent concrete ghetto when the beautiful green, rural Jamaican countryside exist.


So the question is, what is it about the inner city, the violent concrete ghetto that makes it so attractive to squatters? For a person who is down on their luck, the harsh urban violent concrete ghettos is even more chaotic and dangerous but maybe it is the chaotic and dangerous nature of these environment that makes it so attractive to some people.

This much I know, if I was down on my luck, I know what I would do and if I was destitute and had no choice but to live a squatters existence then I know how I would live and I know where I would live and it would NOT be in some dysfunctional, violent, dark underbelly of society, a concrete jungle ghetto where music and gunshots blast every night. This type of setting does not promote “Livity” and positive holistic mindfulness.



Livity is the Rastafarian concept of righteous, ever-living living. Its essence is the realization that an energy or life-force, conferred by Almighty Jah (God), exists within, and flows through, all people and all living things. This energy is the presence of Jah living within us, and is often expressed in Rastafarian vocabulary as "I and I", where the first "I" refers to the Almighty, the second "I" for oneself. A primary goal in Rastafarian meditation is maintaining awareness of I and I. “


I am not a Rastafarian or a believer in any almighty, I am not religious but I can relate to the concept of Livity within the natural world. There is a bigger concept to squatting than just jacking up somewhere, anywhere, on the side of some gully bank or in some violent concrete ghetto dodging bullets. Squatting can be a fulfilling way of life when viewed through the concept of permaculture, an organic way of living as one with nature and the natural world.


Off-the-grid is a system and lifestyle designed to help people function without the support of municipal water supply, sewer, natural gas, electrical power grid, or similar utility services while living in a self-sufficient manner. This concept can also be extended to living off society’s grid or framework, away from the hottie-hottie limelight of life.


Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems. Before a person can reconstruct their life, a person must go through a process of deconstruction, breaking down life and the concept of living, down to its essential requirements for living. We need to identify the basics of what we need to live, to be content and to be happy, removing all the trivial wants and materialism.

Permaculture, as the “perma” name suggests, is a movement towards permanent agricultural arrangements, ones which culturally value nutrition, systemic health, and sustainability over monetary wealth and materialism. Permaculture designs can be quite complex cycles for avoiding waste creation and maximizing productive efficiency.

My Stream

My concept of squatting would be to find a nice quiet rural part of Jamaica that is full of natural resources where I can incorporate the concepts of permaculture and off-the-grid making it both beneficial and fulfilling to my daily life. There was a time in Jamaica when most Jamaicans had no choice but to live off the Grid because there was no grid to live off. No electricity to light peoples home so they lived by lamp lights and bottle torches. No running water into our homes so we either go to the river or the central community standpipes to fill drums of water for storage. There was a time in Jamaica when people had no mega supermarkets full of imported goods. Back then people had to use whatever land space they had to produce food for their daily needs. My grandmother on my mother side was one such person, at one time she had no electricity, no running water and it was then that I learned a lot from her, her creativity of living off the grid and incorporating permaculture into her daily live even when those names did not exist.

Egg laying Hen

My grandmother did not let the small plot of land around her house go to waste. She could not afford to, so she utilized as much of that land as she possible could and I was there every step of the way to observe and to help her. At the centre of our farming world was the chickens and it was my job to make sure the chicken coop was cleaned, chickens watered, fed, eggs collected and fighting birds kept apart. Having chickens really helped to reduce my grandmother’s grocery bills. This represented meat on the table and eggs for breakfast and was also a source of income as eggs and chicken was for sale. I remember once my grandmother did not have any money to buy feed for the chickens, she walked over to a certain tree at the side of the house, pulled down a branch full of green leafs and gave it to the chickens who picked every single leaf off that branch and any insects that was on that branch. The other aspect of farming I really love was planting food crops, putting seeds in the ground and waiting for them to germinate, seeing young plants breaking through the soil was always very exciting to me.
The standpipe is like the office watercooler

My grandmother’s backyard garden also included Bananas, Callaloo, tomatoes, pepper, yam, sugar cane, gungo peas, cerasee, scallion, mint just to name a few. The banana plant was the most amazing to me, it’s a very giving plant not only does it give you bananas but it also gives you several young suckers from which to start planting again and before you know it we had to give away young Banana suckers to our neighbours. On many occasions our neighbours would wake us by knocking at the gate asking for Callaloo or a chicken to buy. My grandmother could feed herself three square meals a day from her plot of land and sustained this lifestyle for a very long time, she had everything working like clockwork and could overcome even some natural disasters.


Education Centres Teaching how to Live Off-The-Grid:


Bill Mollison,Geoff Lawton Permaculture Design Courses

Believe it or not there are people out there in the world teaching people how to squat, how to live rough and off the Grid, how to take their lives back from a society that have lost its way. There are schools teaching how to live as one with nature and the natural world and how to apply the concept of Permaculture to help with off the Grid living, while disconnecting from dysfunctional mainstream society. Homesteading Classes for Self-Sufficiency, gives students the opportunity to learn skills to live off the land, practice self-sufficiency and eventually get off the grid. Empowering people to live in collaboration with the Earth and her natural cycles.

Woodford Market Garden Farm
For this to be successful one would have to fundamentally change one's outlook on life. One would have to prioritize what is and is not important to one’s existence. A person would have to find comfort in a simpler way of life, one where they give up the material trappings of modern world which is not required for everyday living.

Life gives you Carrot… So Make Carrot Juice:
Human beings need three basic things to survive, Food, Water and Shelter after that almost everything else is a luxury. Jamaica is perfect for Agriculture Production, our land is green and lush, our soil fertile and we have more than adequate water supply if managed properly. We have frequent tropical rain fall and flowing rivers and streams that is full of life and constant tropical sunshine that feeds our rich, natural resources. I am convinced that the natural law of comparative advantage is on our side and if applied properly we can create a sustainable food system and a sustainable way of life. With the right imagination and innovation we can grow enough food to feed our population for a long time to come.

But In Jamaica food is really NOT our problem, big screen TV, massive big houses and expensive cars with non stop nightly merriment and all the materialistic trappings of modern life is our problem. Jamaicans do not want to just live, Jamaicans want to live big and large over the top lifestyles drinking Hennessy Pure White Cognac from the bottle. Jamaicans are no longer content with the simplicity of life. It is this inability to be content, to live within our means that drives most of the problems we face today as a nation, consumed by greed and a sense of entitlement.


Jamaican Herbalist Kukuwa Abba discusses the healing abilities and economic potential of the wild herbs and plants of Jamaica. Follow Kukuwa as she demonstrates the environmental necessity of preserving the wild growing herbs of spectacular Portland, Jamaica.

If I was to squat then I would embrace the land, nature and the natural world. I would squat on lands located in the Beautiful open ranges of the fertile Jamaican countryside within the various hill and valleys. I would find a nice piece of uninhabited land, somewhere green and lush with fertile soil so I could farm my own food. Food is easy to grow in Jamaica and I must be able to feed myself at least three square meals per day from my captured land.

Woodford Market Garden Farm(DN), Peter's Rock, St. Andrew

Jamaica is also a country where food grows wild all over the countryside. There are food growing wild all around Jamaica but we are conditioned to no longer utilize the food around us. People prefer to plant flowers or concrete their yards instead of growing food. In many cases Jamaicans travel to the supermarkets to spend money on food that is already growing wild all over the countryside, dropping to the ground decaying.

Woodford Market Garden Farm, Peter's Rock, St. Andrew

It often amazes me as I look into the valleys and mountain sides just how much food is growing wild for the picking, they exist free in nature and so I would need a location that allows me to forage for wild food without trespassing. There are people in other countries teaching people how to forage from the land, how to identify the various edible, medicinal plants, to find plants that will sustain life but in Jamaica that use to be easy.

Peaceful  

If I was to squat then I would squat in the Beautiful rural Jamaican countryside not too far from a fresh water source, a river or a stream and I also hope not too far from the sea. Living close to the river and sea is not only a source of water but also a source for food, a rich source of protein. I would farm my piece of squatted land and fish from the rivers and seas which I hope is not too far from where I build myself a shelter from mainly recycled material if I was to squat. Building an adequate shelter should not be much a problem in Jamaica except one would be, like most people vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricanes.

Woodford Market Garden Farm, Peter's Rock, St. Andrew

If I grow too much food or catch too much food from the rivers and seas then maybe I could trade the excess for some of the other things needed. If I could not live near a river for fresh water then I would explore digging and tapping a well on the land.

Modern Well

If I was to Squat but I will not squat, I do not have to squat but in this phase of my life I would like to dedicate myself to finding a nice piece of fertile land, preferable up in the hills of St. Andrew in the Blue Mountains overlooking Kingston and the Caribbean Sea where I can put in place my concept of “Livity, Off-The-Grid, Permaculture” life. Where I could plant a variety of food crops, have some chickens, some rabbits and bees trying to create a sustainable food system. I was lucky enough some years ago to buy couple acres of farmland in St. Mary which will be incorporated into my sustainable food production.

 A lot of Jamaicans no longer see any value in simple sustainable lifestyle, they know the price of everything and the true value of nothing. If they are happy running the treadmill of modern life then more power to them but this person is trying to get off that exhausting treadmill, it is making me unhappy and sick. Whenever I communicate the next phase of my life to some of my friends they would laugh and belittle it, some even try to discourage me, constantly being told what I cannot do. Not everyone wants you to live your life on your terms, some declare that it would be impossible for me to give up simple materialistic things, do farming as a way of living first not as a business but I believe they are expressing their own fears. Everyday I get up I am convinced more and more that I want to, need to disconnect myself from mainstream society. Everyday I get up it feels like this modern society is trying to kill me, suck the very life force from me.

I figured we would only have to come down our Mountain about once a month or once every two months is the implementation is better than expected.

The life I want to live is not for everybody but I know based on the limits of human existence that I am not long for this world, none of us really are. Which is why it is becoming so important for me to live what little life I have left on my terms. That of disconnecting myself from materialistic mainstream nature of modern life and limit human contacts to a minimum. Trying to carve out my own space and time bubble in the universe.