Posted by & filed under Education, People Systems, Village Development.

Marcin Gerwin: It seems almost natural that when children reach the age of six or seven they go to school. The idea of compulsory schools seems obvious and it is rarely questioned. However, one may start to wonder if forcing children to learn is an effective way to provide education at all. We learn easier when we want to do it rather than when we are told to. Is it really necessary to make going to school obligatory by law?

Peter Gray: Compulsory schooling is not a good idea for education. It’s been a norm in most countries for more than a century (in some countries for more than two centuries), so everybody has been doing it for at least two or three generations. And when that happens you begin to think – well, that must be absolutely essential for development. We hardly know people who have developed without compulsory schooling and those people that we do know may be homeless for example and are unable to support themselves. Therefore we develop a cultural view that it must be essential for healthy development, for getting a job. But I think that’s mistaken and I have a lot of reasons for thinking that.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Big Food is trying to kill your right to know if the food you’re eating is genetically engineered.

With their anti-labeling allies, like Monsanto and Dow, the Grocery Manufacturers Association has teamed up with Koch brothers-backed Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas to introduce a federal bill that would deny your right to know.

The bill, which we’re calling the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act (DARK Act),” would:

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Posted by & filed under Building, Compost, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Newly completed composting toilet

This is an analysis of a humanure composting toilet designed and built at the Panya Project in Mae Taeng, Thailand. Humanure toilets are a very effective, easy, cheap method of creating a resource out of what our conventional society views as waste. A humanure composting toilet allows feces to break down into soil by adding sawdust to the chambers after each ‘use’. After six months of breaking down, the humanure transforms itself into fresh soil which can be used for the garden.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Health & Disease, Livestock, Society.

Some practical ideas about the meat industry

Spacious chicken houses — a stark minority (Photo by David Ashwanden)

In many countries, the state of the meat industry is fairly well publicised: poor conditions for animals (see for example 1, 2), strange and unnatural foods and medicines getting into our food chain (see for example 3; 4), unclear labelling (see for example 5), and mass industrialised butchery (see for example 6).

For many people these conditions are unacceptable; yet when it actually comes down to buying your meat it seems consumers feel that they have no choice but to go for the cheapest option. How can we re-align the quality of the animal products available for us with a price which reflects living costs?

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Land, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

With the fourth installment of ‘Permaculture in Latin America’, I invite you to take a look at a video on urban gardening in Haiti, and consider such initiatives in the context of the natural disasters that have besieged it constantly since 2010.

One of the first things I asked my PDC teacher about was if there was some sort of permaculture disaster relief program or group, since it seemed to make perfect sense with the ideals and theory I was learning. He told me that, at that moment in time, there wasn’t exactly an organized, international permanent effort, but that a lot of disaster relief work had been done in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Keystone PipeLIES Exposed (Duration: 23 minutes)

This film, produced by the Center for Media and Democracy, debunks the claims of proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline regarding jobs, energy security, gas prices, safety, and climate change. More information about this film and research project, "Keystone PipeLIES Exposed," at

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Health & Disease, Livestock, Society.

One day in Iowa I met a particular gentleman — and I use that term, gentleman, frankly, only because I am trying to be polite, for that is certainly not how I saw him at the time. He owned and ran what he called a “pork production facility.” I, on the other hand, would have called it a pig Auschwitz.

The conditions were brutal. The pigs were confined in cages that were barely larger than their own bodies, with the cages stacked on top of each other in tiers, three high. The sides and the bottoms of the cages were steel slats, so that excrement from the animals in the upper and middle tiers dropped through the slats on to the animals below.

The aforementioned owner of this nightmare weighed, I am sure, at least 240 pounds, but what was even more impressive about his appearance was that he seemed to be made out of concrete. His movements had all the fluidity and grace of a brick wall.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Conferences, Deforestation, Desertification, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease, News, Presentations/Demonstrations, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Get the truth about GMOs and dangerous chemicals — and how carbs, gluten, fat, and sugar affect your weight, energy, sleep and the planet. Watch online from anywhere in the world!

When it comes to food, we’re in big trouble.

The food supply is contaminated with hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, chemical cocktails, and neurotoxic pesticides. Even many so-called ‘natural’ foods are actually hazardous to your health.

Click here to learn about The 2014 Food Revolution Summit.

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems.

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

At the end of 2013, the wind farms installed in more than 85 countries had a combined generating capacity of 318,000 megawatts, which would be enough to meet the residential electricity needs of the European Union’s 506 million people. New data from the Global Wind Energy Council show that wind developers built 35,000 megawatts of new generating capacity worldwide in 2013. This was down from 45,000 megawatts installed in 2012 — marking only the second time in 25 years that installed capacity increased by less than it did the year before.

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