Rainwater charges down a gully that has formed over time outside the western fence of the property. Water arrives at the small catchment pond shown to the left of G1, which actually acts as a gully plug. From here it is encouraged to flow into the main pond. When that is full, the excess flows either into the just referred trench, or let out to flow into the village’s large irrigation tank about a kilometer away.
The trench has two purposes: one, it acts as a holding place for water so that it may percolate down instead of racing away and two, it acts to impede the speed of the racing surface water. To empower it in the second task, a line of vetiver has been planted on the western edge of the trench. In about six months – well before the monsoon- a green dense vetiver speed bump may be expected to have formed. That should prevent the trench from silting up.
On Feb 13, the JCB ran all day shifting earth. I stayed overnight at the site and resuming the next morning, we completed the trench digging. On Feb 19, vetiver was planted along the 500′ run of the trench. For this a shallow run was scooped out and filled with rotted manure. Vetiver was planted 2 tillers each into 5″ deep holes spaced 6″ apart. The first few weeks call for generous watering. Within two weeks new shoots show up and watering may be progressively reduced.
With water security somewhat assured by the integrated plan, it will soon be time to start growing some grains for food. A small area has been reserved to make a beginning. Jumping further ahead of the gun, work was also begun for a common kitchen, which will cook the food grown here. Of that more in a later article.
On Jan 29 and on a earlier date, we planted almost 300 plants of various kinds. Among these were coconut, guava; mango, amla, teak, tamarind, lemon, jack, bamboo and quite a few trees planted just for their fragrance.
Reserved for final and special mention are the 60 or so Pongamia Pinnata that I have planted, whose seeds contain a non-edible oil that can be used raw or processed into biodiesel, as a liquid fuel in diesel engines. The diesel substitute that will become available from pointReturn in about six years, will be used for the project’s own tractor and van. Pongamia lives on for 80 years and grows in lands where few other trees will grow. It requires little water and is not browsed by cattle. Not by accident is the land at pointReturn an abandoned lot; it was a deliberate decision not to site the project in cultivated lands. On pointReturn’s lands no crops or trees have been cultivated in living memory. These are the facts and circumstances, using which I will argue the case for biodiesel, addressing its critics, notably George Monbiot.
First a look at what is Peak Oil and why some believe it may have arrived at our doorsteps. WikiPedia succinctly describes Peak Oil thus: “Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum production is reached, after which the rate of production enters its terminal decline.” And the ‘point in time’ was predicted by M King Hubbert, the originator of the Peak Oil Theory, to be between the years 2000 and 2025, say 2015.