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community building

Appropriate Technology

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Appropriate Technology

The Uros people survived the ravenous Incan Empire, the murderous Spanish Conquistadors, and now face the unquenchable curiosity of global tourism. Somehow, through all of that, they have maintained a largely intact community, with many customs and traditions preserved (though they lost their original language some decades ago). They face the Peruvian government and the hordes of tourists with cautious welcome while striving to improve their security and stability in ways that make sense for their culture and way of life.

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A City Carved Out of the Jungle

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A City Carved Out of the Jungle

When Hiram Bingham slashed his way through the jungle to this place on July 24, 1911, he found two local families still living in the city. They were growing food in the terraces. As is the way of most “discovered by European stories,” he did not truly find Machu Picchu. He merely exposed it to the world. The locals knew, and kept the secret from the Spaniards for 500 years.

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Lost Valley

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Lost Valley

The corollary to urban/suburban life, at least for me, is that I find it hard to live sustainably in other ways. I must drive most places and there’s nowhere here for me to grow even a tiny fraction of what I might consume. I’m highly dependent on the grid—everything in my apartment is electric—and limited in how I might reduce my impact. The convenience of urban life is also the temptation of urban life—I am highly, highly dependent on Amazon delivery, far more than I have any reasonable need to be.

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Hoarding and Potlucks

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Hoarding and Potlucks

I got this composter for free. Now I'm going to convince my neighbors to give me their vegetable waste so I can turn it into sweet black gold.

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