Plastic Pillow Stuffing

Posted by & filed under General.

Trash happens. It just does. And, our job as concerned world citizens, responsible for ourselves and the impact we are all individually making on the planet, is to figure out how to deal with that garbage in a sensible way. When all is said and done, we should be leaving the world in better condition than we found it, not in heaping piles of toxic waste.

The truth of the matter is that, aside from a few progressive countries, governments are still falling very short of providing us with a sustainable solution to the issue of trash. Until they do, we’ll have to take it upon ourselves to make things right. Luckily, we are an innovative bunch with our eyes open and our minds tuned in.

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Posted by & filed under Community, General.

When teaching permaculture I often start out by doing a giant problems mind map. I ask students to brainstorm all of the major “problems” they see in the world to reflect on what brought them to study permaculture. Nine times out of ten the idea of overpopulation as a root “problem” in the world comes up.

Overpopulation describes a situation where there are too many people for the amount of resources available. It puts the blame of the environmental crisis on the sheer number of people on the planet.

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Posted by & filed under General.

A 20-year journey as a student of Geoff Lawton.

“You can only change things within yourself first, and then you can only change things locally. Things only ever change on a local level – Geoff Lawton, Costa Rica, 1996”

My Permaculture story starts with Geoff Lawton at a Permaculture Design Course (PDC ) while I was traveling in Guatemala in the mid-1990’s. I was a disillusioned recent graduate of Industrial Engineering, and it seemed our design priorities were mass production, maximized revenue and minimized labor requirements, with no consideration of natural capital. I took a trip to find my old friend Sean Herndon who had been living in Guatemala. He had heard of a visiting teacher from Australia, and together we sat in on the course that would change my life.

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A dried-up riverbed in Haiti's southern peninsula

Posted by & filed under General, Plants, Seeds.

For the past year, I have had the privilege of working with grassroots organizations in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on issues of food security, urban gardening, and environmental protection. I have seen first-hand the Haitian spirit of ‘konbit’, an untranslatable word referring to the coming-together of a community to work for a common goal. I have seen people with no funding from aid organizations or the government, with only the resources available to the very poor, pull together to start urban gardens, to plant trees, to clean up trash, and to take care of their environment. And I have seen them succeed in the face of all obstacles.

The environmental situation in Haiti is dire. It is one of the most deforested countries in the world. Haiti’s deforestation problem was born at the same time as the nation itself. After winning independence from the French in 1804, the new republic was forced to pay ‘reparations’ to France for the loss of their colony. This is a unique and inexplicable episode in history – the only time the victorious army has paid reparations to the loser. The newborn economy, with no trade partners, couldn’t pay in cash – estimated at $21 billion in modern terms – so much of it was paid in kind as timber.

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bee colony colapse

Posted by & filed under Animals, General.

In 2015 the bees are still dying in masses. Which at first seems not very important until you realize that one third of all food humans consume would disappear with them. Millions could starve. The foes bees face are truly horrifying – some are a direct consequence of human greed. We need to help our small buzzing friends or we will face extremely unpleasant consequences.

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IMG_6132 ingrid pullen photography  copy_Fotor

Posted by & filed under General.

With increased urbanization and demographic shift from rural to urban areas, more and more people are getting alienated from nature. At the same time, with each passing year, the number of people taking medication or visiting psychiatrist due to depression, mood disorder and other mental illness is on a steep rise. Is there a link between our mental health and nature? If so, how does nature influence an individual’s mood and emotion? Is it the ultimate prescription for depression?

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Posted by & filed under General.

Environmental awareness, industries working more and more towards it with passing time.

With progress related to the industrial sector comes one thing for sure, a more degrading environment. Our advancement has always affected the nature adversely but the trend has changed majorly in the last decade and the population has become more inclined towards the environment protection. The degradation has finally changed the outlook of the society towards the environment not only the government, its also the industries and common people that have taken steps towards improving the condition of nature. One plus point is that we came into the light before it was too dark and still there is a ray of hope to save the Mother Nature.

Industrialization has been the most important movement for mankind and no matter what, it has given a lot to the society, but like it is said that for one good cause one has to pay a price, unfortunately here the price was degradation of nature. The knowledge and also the zest to protect the environment have increased considerably within this small span of 20 years. The companies and industries have to follow a certain norms in order to exist in a particular environment. Government has had a strict look out to the issue and has changed many laws and regulations in order to maintain a sustainable growth that has a limited adverse effect to the environment.

Government has made separate industrial sectors in order to not only protect the residential areas from excessive pollution but also to give the industries an environment in which they can sustain and grow fast with all the amenities required in close vicinity. Previously the industries were all set up haphazardly and there was no major law of guidance that could govern the industries to limit the degradation of environment. There is a clear movement that can be seen as industries work in order to improve the quality of life of the workers and also give back to the environment by either planting trees or doing something that can compensate for the damage that happens because of effluents or while acquiring the raw materials.

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Home Garden in Bogota

Posted by & filed under Design, General, Why Permaculture?.

We never see it coming. In the beginning, there is all the excitement, seedlings going into the carefully groomed garden bed. We’ve enriched the soil the best we can, an assortment of legumes and compost. We’ve played the game right with a thick, organic coating of mulch so that the soil stays lively, airy, and moist. We’ve intercropped, designed with symbiotic relationships in mind, knowing that as our plants grow up their neighbors will be good ones, figurative friends. We plan that garden bed out meticulously, and there is little doubt that it’ll work.

It does. And, for the first couple of weeks or a month, we venture out to see that garden tucked in the back corner of the lawn. We pluck the weeds with resolve and tend to any needs our little plants might have: stakes, wind protection, a bit of compost, some more mulch, perhaps a sprinkling of water after a few days of drought. And, the slowly, our interest wanes. One afternoon we can’t be bothered to walk all the way out there. The next week, we barely make it for a visit. Soon, the weeds have taken over, the garden’s production is hardly being capitalized on, and all that energy – from us, and nature – is not what was once intended.

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Posted by & filed under Design, Earthworks & Earth Resources, General, Land, Surveying, Swales.

We are making early progress on our 320-acre Missouri permaculture-farm project (Jordan Rubin’s Heal the Planet Farm). Last fall, a local dozer operator was brought in to dig the first swales. It was a small dozer but it did a respectable job and did the work in a relatively short period of time compared to an excavator. See the blog post with video here.

Before we brought the dozer back in this spring, Kevin, a long-time farmer in the area who is also Jordan’s lead farmer on this project, suggested that we simply try the 135hp farm tractor with it’s 8-foot tilting scraper blade to see what kind of swales it would cut. It certainly seemed worth trying though I’d never seen it done before.

Adam and I headed out early one morning with the laser level and marked off about a mile of swales with white-wire flags. When Kevin arrived later in the morning with the tractor all he had to do was adjust the angle of the blade, drop it down, and start running. He ran three passes on every swale we had marked and did it all in about 60 minutes!

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Events, Resources & News, General.

The course will be held at beautiful Bear Roots Farm in South Barre Vermont. This 87 acre farm is comprised of the farm house multiple barns and support buildings, 50 acres of open pasture and 37 acres of rolling hills and forest. There are views to the east of Spruce Peak and lovely private camping areas.

Bear Roots farm is a year-round, certified-organic, vegetable farm in their second year of operation as an organic CSA. In 2015 they will be developing a master plan to transition this former VT dairy to a resilient, perennial system, which will build soil, create clean water and provide diverse yield.

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chopping axe

Posted by & filed under General, Why Permaculture?.

With many economic, agricultural, and water systems in crisis, it makes sense to develop self-sufficiency. Throughout human history, individuals and communities provided basic needs for themselves. Over the last 100 years, the basic necessities have been consigned to centralized institutions. The majority of the world’s population are now dependent on monolithic systems for their water, food, heat, and medicine. When these systems fail, the masses will be unable to meet their basic needs. To thrive when a global or personal crisis strikes, you need to create resilient systems that allow the fulfilment of basic needs.

Water is the essential building block for developing self-sufficiency. Often overlooked, water is needed sustain human life and nourish crops and livestock. In the present, there is increasing water insecurity. Droughts and poor water management have led to scarcity of our most precious resource. Given recent trends, municipal water sources will become more unreliable, especially in dry, arid climates. Companies like Nestle have expressed desire to further privatize water. If Nestle gets its way, we will all be paying for water like we do for oil. Now is the time cut the cord of municipal and corporate water supplies.

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