How primitive could you live?

Discussion in 'Living on the Earth' started by RawAndNatural, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. RawAndNatural

    RawAndNatural Member

    Often when I'm thinking about building a dwelling someday, I wonder how primitive I could live. I tend to want to take things "all the way" so to speak. OK, I may be a bit obsessive compulsive, but I don't like living with contradictions. Sometimes, I feel that living with "green" technology that all had to be manufactured and shipped to me would be living as a hypocrite. You see, I feel that manufacturing and industrialization as a whole is not sustainable, and niether is agribusiness (huh, and I was in ag classes). To me, living as a gatherer is the only truly sustainable way. That is what nature intended, and if humans were in their place, the ecosytem would remain balanced.

    To answer my own question, I couldn't give up the Internet. I just don't have enough like minded people around me, and I need to communicate with others like me. I could hand wash clothes, and wash them less often. Also, I could possibly use only a cellar instead of a fridge (I don't drink milk, or use much dairy products at all). I could do witout lights, or a hot water heating system provided that I didn't have to attend school or a job, and therefore have to be bathed early and often.

    I'd want forks, spoons, knives, an axe, a scythe, bowls, cups, pots, pans, blankets, towels, candles, and a laptop with a wireless connection, and one solar panel to charge it.

    That's what I think, then I consider, "well, what about warm water". I reason, "burning wood isn't efficient, and puts out carbon dioxide, and uses trees". Then if I take on water heating, even passive, I want indoor plumbing. I think to myself, "yeah, it would be hard to do dishes and wash clothes in the winter, and how about bathing".

    So, in reality, I start off only wanting a bit of solar power for one laptop, with all else being "hand tool" type stuff, then before long, I'm wanting indoor plumbing, compact florescent lights, and a passive solar set up.

    Then, I worry that no woman would want to live with me without the indoor plumbing and lights. Huh, what about TV?
  2. skip CFL's and go straight to led lights.

    oh and I'm about on the same lines but I need hot water that stuff you mentionned is basically what I'll be starting out with, once I have land...
  3. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Using wood for heat, cooking and hot water is one of the very basic necessities for a sustainable lifestyle IMO. Wood burning can be very efficient and when sustainable forrestry practices are followed it is truly a renewable resource. Burning wood is part of the natural carbon cycle.


    As for the original question, I live fairly primative as it goes, or al least fairly sustainable. I do like my computer and CD player, but those and a rarely used TV/DVD player are really my only electic appliances. For over seven months a year they are run completely off of solar.

    I have hand tools for everthing I need, but I do admit I really like my chainsaw and Dewalt cordless tool set. I don't use much more that a couple of gallons of gasoline a year cutting wood and the Dewalt batteries are charged off of the solar system. I haven't gone to LED lighting for the house yet, but hope to check it out next fall.

    Lighting here is either a huge thing or nothing to worry about. For a few months each summer we don't use any lighting at all since the sun is out most of the time and even when it's set is only a few degrees below the horizon. During the winter, especially the month before and after solstice, it's just plain dark with only a couple of hours a day that lighting is not needed. During these times we will use kerosene lamps to subsidize the CF lighting powered by our 12 volt system.

    Anyway we still have a ways to go and more to try to get more sutainable.
  4. purple-moss

    purple-moss Member

    Exactly ....Wood is essentially stored solar energy......Plants and trees are one of the best solar collectors of energy out there ......self sustaining, self replicating and as a bi-product they make O2. They provide us with not only energy but material to make things and habitats for humans and animals to live in.

    One of the main problems with burning wood is the use of ineffient technology to combust it or lack of any tech at all (bonfires) great and simple piece of tech is the rocket stove comes in many shapes and styles and its simple tech means you can make it yourself. They can be used for cooking, heating water, or heating your shelter.

    rocket stove....

    PDF file.....

    rocket mass heater.....

    there is a lot of simple tech being developed out there for third world use.. a few simple google searches can bring up a great deal of tech that any one wanting to live more simply can use.....[​IMG]
  5. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Purple-Moss, cool links. I'm setting up and outdoor kitchen this summer and one of those rocket stoves looks like a great idea. In summer my house gets to hot using my indoor wood cookstove so I've been looking for an alternative to propane use.
  6. RawAndNatural

    RawAndNatural Member

    OK guys, you've opened my eyes to the fact that biofuels are carbon neutral, which is great.

    Have you heard of coppicing? It is a method of cutting trees, where in you leave the stump for new trunks to shoot up out of. Since the root system is large and established, the new trunks (multiple trunks) grow quicker than if the tree were starting off from a seed.
  7. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Yeah coppicing works for certain things. I harvest the diamond willow on my land for walking sticks. It looks like they will have about a seven year cycle. Once coppiced you have to go back and maintain them, to cut them when it's time.
  8. rawandnatural, you and i seem to be about on the same level :)
    i long to shed all the stupid "comforts" i live with now and live off the land like i was meant to do. i know id be so much happier living a simple, earth concious way of life that allowed me peace of mind.
    and i long to farm. i already have plenty of experience with livestock and im learning about gardening...
    heres a woman that would live that sort of life with a man like you! anyway, i hate indoor plumbing, i curse it everytime i flush the damn toilet ;)
  9. Go ask alice

    Go ask alice Member

    It sounds amazing, reading the post literally brought tears of happiness to my eyes, If you want to do it, do it I say =)
  10. Justyna

    Justyna Member

    I live like this when I'm in the country. I take water from the well, wash myself in a bowl or just pour the water on me behind the barn, if I want to have hot water I have to bring the wood and make a fire, the same if I want to cook something - everything takes a lot of time, it's real hard work and you need to be patient. And I depend completely on the weather, if it gets real cold it can be very hard and unpleasent to live this way. I like it though- but only from time to time and only in the summer.
    I always wanted to try to live the way Thoreau lived by Walden pond...I'm a girl, I guess it's easier for a guy to live like this.
    Well, even Thoreau lived this way only for a year...I'm afraid that there is no return to real primitive...that's sad, but if you can't live without the internet how do you want to survive without much more basic things?
    But I hope you will make it, I wish you good luck!
  11. purple-moss

    purple-moss Member

    yeah i am kinda working on the same idea....i am planning on building one for my wok...
  12. purple-moss

    purple-moss Member

    you lived without alot ...yet you seam to have found a computer with internet:rolleyes:

    i guess its all about one ever said it was all or nothing [​IMG]
  13. Justyna

    Justyna Member

    But I'm not in the country now. When I'm there I don't have the internet. Yes, I can't live without computer, that's why I go to the country only for few weeks from time to time :) so I'm not radical in my choices. But maybe in the future...
  14. RawandNatural, you and I think alike. I am an all or nothing sort of person. I was considering living very simply but then I wondered about the indoor plumbing. And the heat. It gets in the triple digits here and I don't know if I can handle that without ac...and I need indoor plumbing cause while I can handle using waste as compost, I can't trudge outside in the dark in the middle of the night to pee...ya know? But I could deal with using other sources for light, cooking and's just that darned toilet....oh that, and when I have kids, I am not so sure the state won't try to say I need electricity and all that crap. I was planning on adopting and no one would give a kid to someone living in conditions they would consider to be on the level of poverty...whether it is by choice or not...
  15. dewaholic

    dewaholic Member

    I couldn't cut back on electricity, or anything that requires it. I couldn't go long without water to brush teeth or shower. I would hate to hand wash clothes & wait to hang dry. I hate camping. Unless there's a bathroom, with toilets, water, shower possibly.
  16. bookstoinfinity

    bookstoinfinity Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    hi y'all.
    this is my kind of topic. i have finally achieved an acceptable balance (to me) in my living situation.
    i am able to support myself by doing something i enjoy and feel good about. i live in an old frame farmhouse in a semi-rural area. i am 10 miles from good shopping(for necessities) and 50 miles from a major city. i bought my old farmhouse 15 years ago. i was able to pay cash for it, so no monthly payments, and taxes are really cheap.
    i have a solid livable house, a detached garage, 5 acres of very fertile soil (but overgrown with mesquite, i consider it wildlife habitat.) and a large stock tank full of bass and catfish (i dont fish, but i eat fish and if i get hungry, i only need walk 50 yards).
    ok, i do not garden or fish, but i could.
    i have electricity, internet, satelite tv, netflix.
    a longstanding dispute with the pirates at the local water utility has resulted in my seeking alternate water sources, which is now the most primitive aspect of my life. i no longer have water service, so i am catching rainwater, and buying drinking water. i plan to install a cistern system for rainwater, and also look into having potable water delivered in quantity.
    for someone who has lived alone for weeks at a time in the superstition mountains, surviving off the land, this is no great hardship.
    anyway, here is my hip lifestyle:
    i sell books on the internet. i also play chess and dominoes on my computer.
    i listen to blues and old rock and roll.
    i used to sell antiques, still dabble a bit. did shows and fleamarkets for 20 years, but now just online, unless i find a partner who would enjoy that. i do miss it.
    selling books also allows me to enjoy a tremendous variety of reading material, and i love to read.
    anyway, my life is considerably less primitive than it once was, but i had enough hardship and privation to suit me. nothing wrong with a few creature comforts.
    even Thoreau said "no man should be so poor he must sit on a pumpkin"
  17. Cornball1

    Cornball1 Member

    Just drop me off in the middle of nowhere and I'll be fine. (No deserts or artic though) Oh, can I have a dog for company?
  18. I long for many of the same things you all have mentioned in this thread... I feel like weather is the main thing that makes this difficult for me. If I lived in a more steady climate (which I plan to do), living more "primitively" (i.e. without some of the ridiculous luxuries that so many of us have, since we're all on the internet) would be easier. I would be able to grow my own crops and that would make a significant impact on the Earth, even just with the packaging garbage that I wouldn't be creating. Parts of me want to go all the way, with nothing, but another part of me feels like I could be very happy with voluntary simplicity... have the comforts like elecrticity and plumbing, but make efforts at being completely self-sustainable food wise, not driving anywhere, etc. It's definitely about making choices, and I totally agree with those that said it doesn't have to be all or nothing :) ...even small efforts can make a difference in the long run.

    Peace energy to all!
  19. hey all, what are you waiting for, that you can make the jump to a primitive lifestyle in a day. I say start making changes a little at a time. not only will you be doing good for the environment, you will be saving money and you will be adapting to the situation gradually. plus you can use the money saved to buy land and make it happen or use it to give back in other ways.

    I found out about this guy no impact man who is doing just that in the middle of NYC. he and his family are ramping down their impact and seeing how low they can go. and after a year will decide what changes they keep and what changes were too extreme. maybe something for people to consider.

    I hope more people post their stories!!!
  20. Seung-Hui Cho

    Seung-Hui Cho Banned

    to answer your question why not just live in a tent and only take necessary things into it, food, water, wood for fire. Start there. work up toward only having absolute necessary, no matches, just tinder box and straw for light fire. Then you must have a means to eat the food and cook etc etc etc etc. soon you will reach the place humans was about 1500 years ago

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