Solar Swadeshi: handmade electricy

a treehugger commenter has proposed a remarkable concept on his blog: just as Gandhi would spin yarn for an hour a day, practicing "swadishi- that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote." we should be practicing solar swadeshi, generating electricity for our immediate surroundings.

Gmoke's proposition: Gandhi was a middle-aged man when he first asked his wife Kasturba to teach him to use the spinning wheel. Once he had mastered the wheel, he practiced spinning every day for the rest of his life. Home-spinning became a symbol for independence and self-reliance throughout India under his encouragement and direction.

Gandhi would spin for an hour each day, usually producing a hundred yards of thread, and helped develop a simple spinning wheel (charkha) that allowed many to do the same. He believed that spinning was the foundation of non-violence. I believe this type of practical labor has to be the core of any sustainable ecological action.

We need a solar swadeshi, an ecological practice on a daily basis that allows us to live within our solar income. Gandhi used the charkha, the spinning wheel. What would be an ecological charkha, a solar charkha? I suggest a hand cranked, pedalled, or treadled dynamo. Work it for 30 minutes a day and generate watts and watts of electrical power for your own use or to put back into the grid for the benefit of others. Solar swadeshi. Hand-made electricity. 21st century khadi cloth. Real electrical power to the people. True energy independence with minimum waste, at least in terms of generation. Doing what Gandhi did with cloth but now with electricity.

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