About Us: The Humans at Hawaii Organic Farm and Homestead. An Organic, Sustainable, Permaculture, Regenerative Living, Agroforestry, Agro-ecological Living, Simple, Deep Ecology and Sustainable Living Educational Project

Fellow Earthlings,,

Rick is one of the humans at Hawaii Organic Farm.

We are an off grid, eco-sustainable organic farmstead, that incorporates organic sustainable agroecology, permaculture, agroforestry, deep ecology and regenerative agriculture in order to live within the means/carrying capacity of the land and within the earth fair share ecofootprint, so that we can responsibly co- create/steward a more fair, peaceful, sustainable, and healthy planet. We live more simply so others (*human and other species”) can simply live.  Popai has evolved into a sustainable living and educational project..I’m an idealist and would like to live in a fair, sustainable, healthy planet where we are wise stewards and reawaken to our interdependency in the web of life, and the necessity of “care giving”/leaving/giving back (as opposed to being totalitarians/takers)..  Our industrial society is sustaining an unsustainable and ethically flawed civilization that is stealing from future generations abundance, resiliency and biodiversity and is causing genocide to 150 species a day creating the sixth wave of extinction to face life on this planet, but the first at the hands of human/man/womenkind.
The human volcano, the human tsunami,  is spewing and crashing on the Earth.  We seek to take only what we need and to live within the means of 3.5 acres available per person on the Earth, which is our Earth Fair Share amount of space to live within the carrying capacity of the biologically productive land and sea.  We say we want to live in a peaceful, fair, loving, healthy, and sustainable planet, but we can’t use destructive means to create construction ends; such ends can’t be some distant goal that we rhetorically strive for, but the means by which we arrive. We live more simply so others (human and non human species) can simply live. Unless we fairly share the Earth (25 billion productive acres/7 billion people=3.5 acres, to provide all of our needs (food, fiber, fertilizer, fodder, fuel, fencing, fineries, farm house, pharmacy, fun . . .) , there can never be, like our holiday cards say, “Peace on Earth and Good Will to All Men/People” and our world will experience more social, medical and environmental ills that we have to mitigate at spiraling costs to our pocketbook, health, society, and ecosystems.  . Bringing human stewardship of this planet into balance with available ecological terrestrial and oceanic resources, must be one of our highest priorities if we wish to stop stealing from our descendants inheritance and committing genocide and mass extinction; creating the 6th wave of extinctions to impact our planet.   as well as providing our economy (there is no economy without ecology) and national security (The idea of stewardship is a bit misconstrued since we don’t take care of the earth; actually the earth takes care of us).  3½ acres provides just food, modest shelter and a small amount of energy to cook food, (but does not include heating, air conditioning, transportation/fossil fuels for moving goods and people around via trucks, cars, boats, and planes; nor for cash crops/luxury foods such as: coffee, tea, chocolate, tobacco, sugar, oil crops [such as palm, soy and canola], corn/sugar cane, soy, palm oil{to produce biofuels to feed our gas tanks, candy/junk food, cosmetics, etc.] flowers, monocropped forests [such as eucalyptus which is used for syngas, biochar, biomass burning electrical generation, one time use paper items) and meat. I’m not talking about the amount of acreage ones house is on but the space needed to manufacture all of one’s needs  That means we have  to live simply and only require 3.5 acres to provide all of our needs for food, fiber, fuel, fodder, fineries, fencing, fun, pharmacy, and shelter. In order to live fairly we have to practice “willful restraint”, lower our standard of living/consumption, stop the use of dirty inappropriate technologies, reduce our human populations, and reduce our land space requirements from e.g. 25 acres per person in the U.S.(going upwards of 31 acres as a result of biofuels) to 3.5  We are currently “seven planet planet living” when there is only one Earth, so in order to co create a fair, sustainable, and healthy planet we have to learn “One planet living”.   (If we allow 50% of the productive land for wildlife, as most conservation biologist deem acceptable for maintaining ecosystem services, then we are actually 14 planet living).  Globally, we are living off of nature’s principal six months out of the year (see “overshoot day”), instead of living off of her interest (i.e. if a tree grows 5 feet or a foot of water is added to an aquifer per year, that is all that is harvested). We started living off of mother nature’s principal in the 1980’s and have been accelerating the “ecodebt since. with fossil fuels/transportation/travel, meat consumption/factory farming,  using up land space for cash crops, lawns, generating toxins and “wastes” will not create harmony on this planet; there are now too many of us as a result of our breeding and “greeding”.  Our industrial society is a planetary plaque, a cancer,  with all of the social, medical and environmental  ills (war, crime, violence, drugs addiction, terrorism, have/have nots, cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, asthma, allergies, waste accumulation/pollution/toxins of our soil, water and air,  soil erosion,  compaction, salinization, desertification, soil impoverishment,  acidification of our oceans, 4 billion people suffer from water shortages,  6th wave of species extinction/biodiversity loss, 150 species going extinct daily, 35,000 people starving each day, climate change, acid rain on growth of plants, monocropping crops and disruption of predator/prey relationships, GMO genetic pollution, nutrient pollution and euthrophication of our rivers, lakes and oceans/dead zones,  human population bomb, etc.) and we accept, acquiesce, accommodate to  the side effects of our rapacious, “taker”  society, just like a frog who is placed in warm water and slowly brought up to a boil without a struggle.   The media run by 5 major corporations keep us numb and dumb.  Our educational system readies us for gainful employment in our rapacious industrial civilization; smart enough to run the machines but not to question the “plantation system/pyramid”.  Sometimes, we trip  and fall upon the truth, but we often just dust off the truth and go about our daily business as if nothing ever happened.   If we want to make a difference, then we have to stop being “sheeple” and looking at our neighbors in order to guide and align ourselves with the social norms, and instead align with the carrying capacity of the earth. The Ecofootprint developed by by Rees and Wackernagel in the late 1980’s serves as an objective/quantitative guidepost to know how to create balance and harmony on the Earth by aligning with the carrying capacity of the land and sea.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to our neighbors and look at the man/women in the mirror, and become the change we wish to see in the world.  Likewise,  If you want to have a great friend, then become that friend that you wish to have. . .   Why not be a great friend to the Earth; after all, she is the mother of us all and deserves to be embraced and supported with more than love, faith, words, or thanks.  We need to give back to her with more than thoughts and words so that we can maintain the abundance, biodiversity, resiliency that we inherited, as well as what we leave for future generations (7 generational thinking).

When the ego/id is the captain of the ship (instead of being a crew member), it seeks fun/pleasure/ short term, more instant gratification and focuses on themselves, their own survival at the expense of others and escape through power, money, sex, drugs, romance, travel, consumerism/materialism, religious fervor, sports, and other addictions, to deal with their existential boredom, pain, uncertainties, emptiness and despair, and the result is the grand scale “trashing” of the Earth. So many people care about our future and mother earth/the environment in their head, heart and guts (superficial ecology “feel good green” perhaps smaller ecofootprint) but few in their arms and legs, teeth, and spine . It takes knowledge/know how, discipline/willful restraint, and education/activism to restore the abundance, resiliency, and biodiversity we inherited and to live within the earth fair share footprint and carrying capacity of the planet.

 

There are too many hands removed in our stratified society to feel the pain directly; we use the glue without having to kill the horse, so we keep ravaging/depreciating our ecosystems and we look to the mean/norm of our peers to find our “balance” rather than looking to define “balance” according to what the ecosystems can bear. If we truly want to thrive, be the change we wish to see in the world, to restore the abundance, resiliency, and biodiversity that we inherited, then we have to lead with our higher, wiser, “golden rule practicing” self and not our clever/ego/id/personality.

 

I am 59 years old.  I’m currently on sabbatical from working as an emergency room physician on the north side of the island in Kohala where I worked since 1989  I’m writing a book on co-creating and stewarding a fair, responsible, healthy and sustainable planet.  We have been “care-giving” (not caretaking) this land for the past 27 years.  I’ve changed my focus from taking the pulse of individuals to taking the pulse of the planet. I am a lacto-ovo vegetarians and enjoy producing our vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs and milk on the land.  I’ve built all the structures on this property over a decade, on my days off duty from the emergency room.  Popai has organic gardens and a fruit and nut orchard that contain most tropical, edible food producing trees, 45 egg laying hens, 11 milking does 1 buck goat, a goat barn, an 800 square foot garage “The Reservoir Resort), a 20×40 cabin (Beverly’s Barn), a yurt shaped ferro cement cottage (The Yurt) (20×20)and the main house The Hip House.

I spend our time caring for the land and animals, and like to spend my spare time bicycling, weight lifting, snorkeling, dancing, and singing.  I play the guitar, recorder, harmonica and drums.  I  entertain myself mostly at home, and use a bike for transportation.

Our goal is to leave as small of a footprint on the earth as possible by living a simple, ecologically sustainable, fair responsible and healthy lifestyle. We feel that we have to live simple so that others can simply live.  Our planet is full of our kind and using seven-fourteen planets worth of resources.  We would have to reduce our consumption to 1/7-1/14 of our current use to live within the means of one planet.  We are practicing “one planet living” We aspire to become the change we wish to see in the world.  We seem to have a compulsion of non complacency, of never being satisfied for long.  We climb one mountain after another, seemingly insatiable.

“I want to experience all that life has to offer” We need to change our paradigm to “ask not what the earth can do for us but what can we do for the earth”.

“I have to have things/experiences to look forward to”

My mom always said that people need to always have things to look forward to in order to be happy.  If we had 1 billion people instead of 7 billion people, we could enjoy my mom’s paradigm.  Unfortunately, we passed the 1 billion human mark in 1850 at the onset of industrial era.  It is an important practice to be grateful and satiated with less, sacralize the ordinary day and to have what we need rather than greed, and to want what we have.  Need to learn to arrive, be grateful, practice present moment consciousness (the real road to happiness and contentment, once we have food, water, shelter, warmth) and not strive for “more” and invest our energies in getting ahead and climbing a pyramid of self illusion and civilization collapse. The treasure/holy grail  is not something out there but is always under our feet, where ever we stand.  As Ghandi said, “The world provides enough to satisfy everyman’s need, but not everyman’s greed.  Blaise Pascal said  “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.”   Perhaps we need to meditate more, need less material goods and learn to be satiated in order to allow survival on this planet or allow famine, war, disease to depopulate the planet of our specie (unfortunately we are destroying other beings before ourselves now).    I vote for the former.   Perhaps we can fill the hole in our soul, the bottomless pit of needs and wants with deep intimacy, community, dance and sing, and live in villages that are eco sustainable in order to preserve the land that we now dominate, and could “caregive” for millions of generations.  So many of us are addicted to the pleasure of travel, to widen our horizons.  For our planet to survive , as we know it, we need to  practice being grateful, satiated, and happy.  There is no way to joy,  peace or  happiness, since joy, peace and happiness  is the way.  We need to realize this and practice daily  commitment to contentment and respect for the mother of us all, and to know that it isn’t the new car or travel that makes us happy, it is just a vehicle to make a shift in our attitude, our mindfulness, to re-awaken, to be reminded, to understand that happiness is generated internally.   Do you know how far it is from the East to the West?  Just a shift!  “As Proust said, “The greatest joy of discovery is not seeing new landscapes but seeing with new eyes.  It doesn’t hurt to live in Hawaii and enjoy seeing pristine landscapes.  But as our human populations expand, each of us wanting more  power, money, sex, comforts, leisure, and conveniences, it fuels the use of cheap, brown, toxic, inappropriate technologies such as single passenger vehicle  transportation, large houses with climate control, and lots of electronic power consuming toys.  As a result, our precious landscapes with their awesome flora,and fauna are under siege and declining, and our corporations that provide our jobs, pensions,  tax revenue for our government, political contributions for our elected officials have a strangle hold on our ecosystems and human lifestyles/fashion/media. Human developmental pressures to be put more land” to the plow” to create more space for human activities (logging, extraction of minerals, farming, power) and settlements  is the major cause of the sixth wave of extinction to effect this planet.  Each day 150 species undergo genocide; never again to belong and keep the web of life strong.  Each of us is our country are using 120 slaves worth of kilocalories per day in order to live our harried lives.  Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, only used 50 slaves to cruise the Nile.  Meanwhile the media keeps us focused on our day to day survival, wants and needs and we forget that our very lifestyle is devastating the planet.  Our scientists have made incredible discoveries as to the problems we are facing, describing the mechanisms in detail, but our civilization has a grand gap between what we know and our actions.  The most erudite still live “the good life” and sustain the unsustainable lifestyle.that is destroying the planet’s eco lifesupport systems.  They still drive single passenger vehicles and live in climate controlled homes and are surrounded by a society where people/sheeple expect “more” gifts, jewelry, fashion, comforts, poiwer, money, leisure, sex, electronic gadgets, technological solutions that mitigate every problem we create.  An ounce of prevention creates a pound of cure, but prevention doesn’t usually cost so much, while mitigation expands businesses and costs more to live.  Unfortunately, the higher the standard of living, the more we need to be happy,  the more the “world bank” i.e. mother nature, the mother of us all,  is depreciated.  For example, our “disease care system” is fed by our most destructive industry on the planet, agriculture.  Wilderness is put to the plow in eco destructive ways to grow inferior food crops but also to grow cash crops, biofuel, and junk foods.  Our junk foods that are created from oil, salt and sugar,are combined with  other ingredients to make addictive, highly palatable foods that promote culturiogenic/lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, arteriosclerosis to the heart and brain, and cancer.  We then have to become dependent on a disease care system to mitigate the damage done, instead of preventing it in the first place.  The real problem is the more we require to live, to maintain our standard of living, to try to use our wealth to regain our health,  the more our ecosystems decline since we have exceeded the carrying capacity of the earth or its’ ability to sustain populations of all beings for generations.  Besides health comes from the “farm” not the “pharmacy”.  So if we need to spend more money to take care of ourselves, to be happy, or see therapists, doctors, etc. then the ultimate payer is mother nature who has to give up her wealth/health in order to take care of us since our greeds for “more” material goods and services, human numbers and cheap inappropriate, polluting technologies our destoying our home the only planet we can inhabit.  IIt is not only our home but home to other beings. Although we humans can now dominate mother nature, it is not our right since we didn’t create it. We convert precious forests, rivers, minerals, fossil fuels, mountains into things that we find are more useful and satisfying for our immediate gratification or  id/ego”needs” .  Imagine burning millions of years of decomposing plants and animals as fossil fuel in a couple of hundred years. Consider robbing future generations of this valuable material, that can be used in a myriad of ways for: one time use plastic containers, medications that are taken to mitigate body abusive habits, single passenger vehicle trips, synthetic fertilizer, heating and cooling huge air spaces, instead of putting on a jacket or shedding excessive pounds, clothes, and drinking more water, ,electricity to keep our electronic toys on even when we are not using them.  We forget, ignore, deny that 35,000 people starve everyday, despite the fact that there is more than enough kilocalories available but much of it in the form of grain and soybeans are used to feed livestock, so rich nations/people can eat more meat.  Our society that lives beyond what we need, so called gteed, creates more of the haves and have nots, along with all of the social and environmental ills.  Although we humans can  now dominate mother nature, it is not our right since we didn’t create it.

We are practicing living a lifestyle that attempts to live within the carrying capacity of the land so we don’t have to look to fight “wars for more” to maintain the American way of life, acquire, colonize, globalize, imperialize any others land in order to live. We are looking to educate people to live a life worth living for all beings that we share the planet with, and in ways that live within the carrying capacity of the land, while following the golden rule (rather than the rule of gold; those with the most gold rule). We are living in interesting times when mother nature is colliding with father greed,  which is creating grand scale havoc on all beings lives.  This could be a great opportunity to create grand scale positive shifts.  As a Zen proverb says, “Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening, no doubt, no awakening”  The world we live in collectively depends on the responsible contributions that each of us makes; it is only as good as each one of us makes it.  As Margaret Mead, acclaimed anthropologist said.  “Never doubt that a small group of dedicated individuals can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”  The Dalai Lama: says ‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”    So don’t allow despair, denial, depression, and distractions from making the changes in yourself that you wish to see in the world, or you become part of the problem by default.  Become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  We can a become part of the solution and  take full responsibility for our actions by first remind ourselves each day that everyday we have an impact, a footprint, that collectively and immediately,  we can change the world, and secondly and most importantly to take action in every aspect of our life.   When you feel overwhelmed by the problems we face . . .  “God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.”  Start with the man/women in the mirror.  Popai is a sanctuary to live and practice becoming the change that is needed to help heal this world.  We aspire to live a life that focuses on the solutions that enable responsible stewardship and a peaceful, fair, healthy, sustainable planet for all beings

Chris has been here since July of 2007

Hello my name is Chris Schneider. I first came to Popai in 2007 with the simply stated goal of material independence. I worked as a hospital transporter for a year or so before moving so I knew I could push and carry things about but didn’t have much of a bead on how to go about winning true sovereignty. So I sought out and found an honest and respectable teacher in the most tropical place I could get to without a passport.
To abbreviate Rick somewhat, I hope for the best for all (species) involved and I am willing to do – or not do – what it takes to make that happen.
I like to get up early, put an edge on my tools, and go about feeding Popai as best as I can. My workday is quiet and repetitive but I am never bored. Frankly I live like a monk on most days. Except on Sundays ironically on which I live like a monkey. On a bicycle. There are ample opportunities for animalistic interludes in the Puna district but buzzing about the orchard and working with the goats and chickens is usually enough for me. But on Sunday mornings there is an Ecstatic Dance at the yoga retreat 11 miles down the coast, to which I relish pedaling with a heavyweight homegrown picnic in tow. I took up brewing last year to preserve excess fruit so I usually have a growler of ginger beer. And having earned my stripes and pulling my weight at Popai,  I have the privilege of being able to bring a cool half gallon of goat milk latte to wow the hippies with. Music, dancing, and sharing food comprise my idea of community. I tend to alienate people when I voice my extreme concern for our precious little planet so I usually just go about my badass homesteader way. There is a no talk policy at the dance anyhow.
I love this scene. I am a shiny example of how thrilling a >1 planet lifestyle can be (sans jet travel, the elephant in the yurt) . There is much left for me to master in life and it has taken several years and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears for me to be where I am now but I feel it’s worth it.
Well not a lot of blood thankfully. And Rick is a good doctor. He can stitch someone up with one eye closed. (Homestead story ain’t got time to get into it here.) And he covers Neil Young quite nicely.
As far as my original goal goes, for well over a year I haven’t used refrigeration; have eschewed propane and done all my cooking on a Grover rocket stove (thanks John), and I have obtained all my food from home and from our neighbor Clive’s farm where I work 8 to 10 hours a week. I buy salt, although I could use sea vegetables or go grab a bucket of sea water, and I buy organic coffee, sugar, chocolate and vanilla, although I have no excuse to do so seeing as all those crops grow abundantly in Hawaii. Someday…

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The information contained in this site represents what we have done with our education, the land we caregive, our lives to help make a fair, sustainable, responsible, and healthy life for all beings.

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