What is keeping me busy these days

Posted on October 24, 2019 in farm

You make plans, then life happens.

I've been working on Zentropi on and off, it is a piece of software that I plan to work on for a while. The plan was to start up a new company to bring this software to public, however the current trends in the industry make me uncomfortable about releasing a minimum-viable-product that promises to help you automate your life.

There are several good projects that tackle parts of the problem i wish to solve for myself and more often than not, having multiple connected devices around the house is a threat to one's privacy and network security.

That isn't a good enough reason to not build the software - I've been rewriting the core over and over again, trying to do so in one session. And some 30+ rewrites later, I'm confident that it is indeed possible to write something that can be understood by another person in one evening.

That's all well and good, but I'm yet to be convinced that it is secure enough to let it control things around my home. Unless I'm convinced, there is no going ahead.

In the meanwhile, I have been reading up about the climate crisis that's looming large over our planet. The first time i heard of "global warming" was in school. I even made a science project around the topic, dreaming of India in 2020 - all industries running on clean energy, with forest cover increased over the years and a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle for citizens.

As the years have passed and I'm now a grown adult, all I see around me is the exact opposite! Forests have been reducing, pollution has only gone up and biodiversity has taken a nosedive. All thanks to one species - us, the smartest of them all.

I suffered in my own head, feeling helpless over the state of things until I realized I cannot continue down that path. If I wanted something to be done, it was up to me to do what I could. I'm at a very interesting stage in life - in my mid 30s, single, have some money, not tied to any place, and have time on my side - even as the ecosystem we take for granted is running out of time, fast.

The obvious thing then was to throw out everything I was doing and take the path to conserve whatever biodiversity I can and hold the space for future generations who will need seeds and soil microbes to restore what generations before them have destroyed. To provide habitat to insects that are being wiped off the face of this planet with indiscriminate use of deadly chemicals. To demonstrate to myself and others that we can make a difference.

But how much can one person really do?

First, I needed to calm my anxiety around basic things, like will I be able to feed my family, provide livable conditions to my loved ones and have the resources to lead a decent life as the climate descends into a death spiral.

I looked for a place far from cities, where industrialization will be slow to reach, where humans have not yet overpowered nature, where I can help conserve what's left. I admire the people who inspired me, who have spent decades restoring lands. But I chose to work on land that is already in a good shape.

It immediately gave me confidence that even if everything else fails, I should at least be able to grow my own food. Once that fear is managed, I can save seeds from the forest around me. And as i learn to grow food and native species of plants and trees without poisoning the soil, it becomes a habitat for more insects, birds and animals. If that's successful, i might be able to convince more people to follow this path.

So here I am, in a new place, surrounded by nature, listening to frogs and insects as i type this, less afraid, not helpless and looking forward to the next phase - learning the ways of nature towards abundance of food and biodiversity.

I've had one season of growing a few vegetables, learned a bunch of things already and preparing to scale up farming. I still have two years worth buffer where I can experiment and learn how not to damage the soil but build the soil as I work on it. Before I exhaust the buffer, I'll figure ways to earn from this enterprise. It is a scary path to take, with more unknowns than I've ever dealt with. But what's the point of being privileged if one doesn't use it for good?

I'm curious how things unfold here onward, and will keep posting updates on this blog as i go along. Coming from the startup world, where you are encouraged to move fast, it is a challenge to slow down and work with the pace decided by nature.

It is another challenge to stop intellectualizing and simply soak in how nature works by spending time outdoors, in the fields and the forest. However the insights and aha moments are worth it.

I cannot wait to share all the things I am learning (and unlearning), stay tuned and contact me if you have questions or tips :)