In Just Ten Minutes a Day...
'Can I have a minute of your time?' Have you ever heard those words from a stranger, probably holding a clipboard, on the street? Did you stop for a minute or walk by more quickly? I consider my time precious and often walk past. In 'Harvest the Rain' author Nate Downey boldly asks for 10 minutes of your time every day to spend on catching, directing and using rainwater. After reading his book I'm not sure he asked for enough.
Permaculture is a concept that is both simple and complex. Briefly, 'Permaculture is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that are modeled on the relationships found in natural ecologies.' While that is a servicable definition of permaculture, it barely touches upon the complexity of interactions between people, structures, sun, soil, water and plants. Building an understanding of permaculture takes time and study and 'Harvest the Rain' is an effective primer.
Permaculture is necessarily local. Sun, soil and rain influence which plants grow well and where. Water, or the lack of, is one of the largest constraints on permaculture in the Southwest. 'Harvest the Rain' makes frequent use of local examples of permaculture and rain harvesting provided by the people and places in and around Santa Fe, NM. It is these creative and local examples of water capture and use that make 'Harvest the Rain' such an interesting and personal book to read.
I heartily recommend reading 'Harvest the Rain'. I also suggest digesting the information and stories for a few days or weeks and then re-reading it. Permaculture and rain harvesting are easy concepts to grasp, but challenging to do well as I have discovered in my own yard. Fortunately, we can start small and simply. By gradually investing time and thought into water harvesting and permaculture techniques we can gradually green our homes and lives. I think that is easily worth 10 or more minutes a day of my time.
Wikipedia - Permaculture
Wikipedia - Rainwater harvesting