Natural AC: Five plants that can dehumidify for free



Tillandsia Royalty Free Stock Images

I’ve been looking around for natural methods to combat humidity for those days when the air-conditioner fails….or in places where it isn’t used.

For instance, AC isn’t as popular in Europe as it is in the United States.

That’s for a variety of reasons – including greater environmental awareness, better built homes, and popular fear of illness from constant exposure to cold air. Many Europeans think  air-conditioning makes you sick.

[Read this American tourist’s AC-induced cultural-shock in France.]

AC is also a lot of maintenance and expense.

So, finding a way to get humidity down without becoming dependent on a complicated mechanical device has got to be attractive to anyone with a survivalist bent.

There are several well-known natural methods to reduce humidity, but they still take quite a bit of effort and not all the ingredients are easy to come by in developing countries.

One of them requires hanging cheese-cloth (or gunny, burlap, or jute) bags of rock-salt from the ceiling, with buckets beneath to catch the water as it drips down.

Rock-salt is a desiccant, which means it extracts the moisture from the air until it is water-logged itself.

If you’ve ever had a salt-shaker that got clogged on humid days, you know how that works.

By the way, the solution to moisture in salt-shakers is simple – throw in a few grains of raw rice. They’ll absorb moisture in the shaker and keep your salt dry.

If rock-salt (salt with large crystals) is unavailable where you live, you can also spread table-salt in pans and leave them on counters or shelves. Table salt will absorb some atmospheric moisture until it’s too wet do absorb any more.  After the salt becomes water-logged, it can still be heated, dried, and reused.

Other dehumidifiers include baking soda , silica, and charcoal briquets. They do well as desiccators, but they’re not cheap in many places and they need to be replenished…or, in the case of silica, heated for reuse.

I’ve never tried salt or silica this way, so I don’t know if it actually has an appreciable effect on the humidity inside a house that’s worth the effort and clutter of pans and bags all over the place.

A simpler and more aesthetic method would be to grow indoor plants that absorb humidity.

At first, this seems counter-intuitive, because most plants add to the moisture content of the air.

If you live in an arid area, humidifying plants can be very useful.

That’s besides all the other proven benefits of house plants – purifying the air, improving mental focus and general health, speeding up healing, and making it easier for you to breathe.

Still,  there are a few plants that reduce humidity or at least balance it. has a list of five “plant dehumidifiers” that are easily grown indoors:

1. The Peace Lily, which needs watering just once a week and sucks in moisture from the air the rest of the time.

2. The Reed Palm, which also purifies the air.

3. English Ivy, which you can hang from the ceiling out of your way, where it will reduce humidity and take care of airborne mold.

4. Boston Fern, which balances the humidity in the air, in addition to reducing it.

5. Tillandsia (also known as air-plant), which doesn’t even need a root system to absorb water an nutrients from the atmosphere.

The catch to this list is that when I researched the names of plants that add to humidity indoors, three names on this list –  the peace lily, the English Ivy, and the Boston fern – showed up on the list of humidifiers as well.

So, if humidity is a severe problem where you live, it might be better to just stick with the Reed plant  (one of the most useful plants in permaculture) and Tillandsia.

Tillandsia, a type of bromeliad, needs no soil and very little watering and can be mounted on cork, wood, wire, twigs, on a shelf or wall cabinet.

A Reader Writes About Going Off-grid

I got a note this afternoon about an old article, “Getting off  the grid”:

Ms. Rajiva,
Your article Getting Off the Grid was excellent. I like your suggestion to
start letting go of things you can do without first. It is how I’ve
progressed and seems like a more natural path to getting off the grid.
Thank you for sharing your insight.

Thank you, A.B.   I’m replying here, because I’ve decided it’s not wise to reply to people I don’t know a bit, on my email.

Letting go of anything always sounds difficult when it’s proposed to you theoretically. When you run up against it in the course of living, it’s not that hard.

How many people worry about trivial blemishes in their appearance. And then cancer strikes and suddenly they don’t care about anything but getting the pain to stop.

People throw tantrums about a rearrangement of their office furniture, and then they’re fired and have to get used to a trailer or a basement apartment.

Instead of waiting for fate to take something away from you, just figure out what you can release on your own.  It hurts less when you do it yourself.

Gender Wars: A Word To The Wise

Comment at A Voice Of

“If men were all that into how women look, why does she think that 99,9% of the men on the planet will shy away from the question: ‘Does this dress make my ass look fat?’
Besides the trouble you might get into if you actually dared answer the question truthfully, I find it really hard to believe that men give a rat’s ass to begin with. On a very basic level men will look at a woman and go:
‘Is she young and fertile?’
‘Ok, she will do.’
All you have to do is look at all the fat, bleached and self-centered women out there, that are some man’s wife, to prove this point.

If women spend half the amount of time they spend in front of the mirror, trivializing over petty details about their looks, on actually having sex with us, and doing something serious about what’s going on on the inside, there would be no shortage in men loving them.”


Blog comments are often more enlightening than the blogs themselves. Digging around for more information about the crime of battery-acid throwing, common in some parts of Asia including India, I came across a masculinist blog, on which I found this gem of a comment.

I call it a gem, because although it’s ill-tempered and unfair (we women do spend time on fixing our “insides”), it manages to say more in one paragraph, intentionally and unintentionally, than many an essay in ten.

A truth that is uncomfortable to many women is that sex is more important to men than it is to women (we’re talking averages and generalities).

Despite all the media hype, beyond a few attributes signifying youth and health (which are both important for fertility),  a high level of beauty is simply not needed for male sexual and emotional engagement, as even men readily admit.

(See here and here and even here (Naomi Wolf: “The Beauty Myth,” Anchor, 1992), although Wolf’s other contentions are controversial and not something I want to bring into this blog post.

Then, what is important for male sexual engagement?

Evidently, the opposite of female self-involvement.

That would be a woman’s awareness of the needs, thoughts, and feelings of people around her.

Something your neighborhood padre would be happy to celebrate.

Women concerned about the raging gender-wars should chew on that.

Maybe Shakespeare was onto something, after all.

First US State Recognizes Jury Nullification

When New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed HB 146 into law on June 18, the Granite State became the first in the nation to enact a measure explicitly recognizing and protecting the indispensable right of jury nullification.

New Hampshire’s jury nullification law reads, in relevant part: “In all criminal proceedings the court shall permit the defense to inform the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relation to the facts in controversy.”

There is nothing novel about the principle and practice of jury nullification, which dictates that citizen juries have the right and authority to rule both on the facts of a case, and the validity of a given law. This is widely recognized in judicial precedents in both American history and in Anglo-Saxon common law dating back to the Magna Carta (or earlier). At the time of the American founding it was well and widely understood that the power of citizen juries — both grand and petit — was plenary, and that their chief function was to force the government to prove its case against a defendant — and the validity of the law in question.

In contemporary America, however, trial by jury has been all but abolished in practice. Reviewing recent Supreme Court rulings, legal commentator Adam Liptak of the New York Times observes that in its just-completed term, the High Court “has turned its attention away from criminal trials, which are vanishingly rare, and toward the real world of criminal justice, in which plea bargains are the norm and harsh sentences commonplace.” (Emphasis added.)

The fact that the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers, which is supposedly sacrosanct, has become all but extinct illustrates the extent to which the U.S. “justice” system has become Sovietized.

After the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, the jury system — which had been established under Czar Alexander II in 1864 — was abolished and replaced with “People’s Courts” composed of a judge and a panel of two to six Party-appointed “assessors” who heard all of the evidence and decided all questions of both fact and law. The assessors “became known as `nodders’ for simply nodding in agreement with the judge,” wrote federal Judge John C. Coughenour in an article published by the Seattle University Law Review. “People’s assessors virtually always agreed with judges; acquittals were virtually nonexistent…. [U]nlike our adversarial system, the Soviet inquisitorial criminal justice system neither prioritized nor emphasized the rights of individual defendants, but instead paid homage to the interests of the state.”

One very telling measure of the Regime’s fear of citizen juries — especially those informed of their right to nullify unjust laws — is found in the efforts expended by prosecutors to prevent cases from going to trial.

In his 1998 book (co-written with Lawrence M. Stratton) The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts points out that “the vast majority of felony cases are settled with a plea bargain….” Many, perhaps most, “felonies” today involve no offenses against persons or property, no criminal intent, and are usually a product of an opportunistic prosecutor’s malicious creativity in confecting a criminal offense.

It is common for prosecutors to multiply charges as a way of terrorizing an innocent defendant into accepting a plea. Very rarely do we see a defendant with the means to defend himself in such circumstances. For the average citizen who finds himself targeted by an ambitious prosecutor, a plea bargain usually seems like the only relatively palatable alternative to the expense of a trial and the possibility of a long time in prison. At the bargaining table, “I’m all in” for the prosecutor means that, should he lose, he would sacrifice a little prestige, with the taxpayers absorbing all of the expenses; the defendant stands to lose everything and faces the prospect of utter ruin.

This is why so many innocent people are willing to deal. For the State, the most attractive feature of such arrangements is the fact that it keeps such cases away from juries. And we’re left with a “justice” apparatus that functions, in the words of legal scholar John Langbein, like “the ancient system of judicial torture,” which relied on self-incrimination through duress, rather than conviction on the basis of sound evidence.”

A Tribute To Ayn Rand And The Spirit Of America

A Tribute to Ayn Rand

I posted this in 2008 and I’m reposting it from PopModal today because it seems to be corrupted on my blog and the youtube version has vanished

Projwal Shreshta  compiled the quotations from “Atlas Shrugged” and the music, which is Divano, by Era.

From “Atlas Shrugged”:

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”

“What is morality, she asked.
Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, and courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price. ”

“The view that man was ever to be drawn by some vision of the unattainable shining ahead, doomed ever to aspire, but not to achieve, my life and my values could not bring me to that.”

“I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.”

“I take no pride in hopeless longing; I wouldn’t hold a stillborn aspiration. I’d want to have it, to make it, to live it.”

“I do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and I do not live in chronic dread of disaster. It is no happiness, but suffering that I consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that I regard as the abnormal exception in Human Life.”

“Every form of happiness is one, every desire is driven by the same motor.- by our love for a single value, for the highest potentiality of  our own existence — and every achievement is an expression of it.

“Every man builds his world in his own image; he has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice. If he abdicates his power, he abdicates the status of man, and the grinding chaos of the irrational is what he achieves as his sphere of existence—by his own choice.”

“Morality is judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, and integrity to stand by it at any price.”

“Joy is the goal of existence, and joy is not to be stumbled upon, but to be achieved, and the act of treason is to let its vision drown in the swamp of the moment’s torture.”

“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.”

“I am. Therefore I’ll think.”

“The choice–the dedication to one’s highest potential–is made by accepting the fact that the noblest act you have ever performed is the act of your mind in the process of grasping that two and two make four.”

“There was no meaning in motors or factories; that their only meaning is in man’s enjoyment of his life, which they served – and that my swelling admiration at the sight of achievement was for the man from which it came.”

“For the power and the radiant vision within him which had seen the earth as a place of enjoyment and had known that the work of achieving one’s happiness was the purpose the sanction and the meaning of life.”

More quotations listed conveniently here: