Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Education, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Anthea Hudson October 18, 2012
Water — without it life on earth could not exist and yet it is often treated with little care or respect, especially by more affluent communities. Clean drinking water is actually a valuable and diminishing resource, due to all the toxins that are carelessly allowed to make their way into our water systems.
These statistics about water may surprise you and give you a greater understanding about just how important it is that we protect water, especially our potable water.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water — however 97% of that water is the salt water of our oceans. That only leaves 3%, but 2% of that is frozen and only 0.5% is actually usable fresh water! Just 0.5% of all the water on Earth. Kinda brings the point home, doesn’t it?
As you can probably see, it is therefore vital that we help our children understand the value of water, the importance of protecting it and ways in which they can use it more sustainably.
Below are some ideas for introducing these concepts to your children… some of them quite a bit of fun, but with very important messages behind them.Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 11, 2012
If you want a little inspiration today, the following video about the excellent work going on in Todmorden, UK, should do the trick.
Compost, Conservation, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 4, 2012
The yard in winter, before work begins…
A great many people today are living in fear. The future looks uncertain, but bleak. Many cannot see a future at all. The post-WWII baby boomer generation, with their short-lived cheap energy era, have been largely calling the shots, shaping the world we have today. After the miseries of two world wars, they set a course for excess. They and their descendants have been spending profligately, borrowing resources and finances from their children and grandchildren — and the deficit has increased so rapidly that the present generation is already having to foot the bill. We’ve been living the dream, and living in a dream — seeking to live lifestyles without limits — and now it’s time to pay the piper, as it were. We’re discovering that we were the children and grandchildren that society was borrowing from.
Intro to ‘The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State’, Part II – Why the Language of the Commons Matters
Alternatives to Political Systems, DVDs/Books, People Systems, Village Development — by David Bollier October 3, 2012
The text below is the second half of the Introduction to the recently published anthology of essays, The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State (Levellers Press). The first half was posted yesterday. More about the book can be found at www.wealthofthecommons.org.
As the corruption of the market/state duopoly has deepened, our very language for identifying problems and imagining solutions has been compromised. The snares and deceptions embedded in our prevailing political language go very deep. Such dualisms as “public” and “private,” and “state” and “market,” and “nature and culture,” for example, are taken as self-evident. As heirs of Descartes, we are accustomed to differentiating “subjective” from “objective,” and “individual” from “collective” as polar opposites. But such polarities are lexical inheritances that are increasingly inapt as the two poles in reality blur into each other. And yet they continue to profoundly structure how we think about contemporary problems and what spectrum of solutions we regard as plausible.Comments (1)
Intro to ‘The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State’, Part I – The Commons as a Transformative State
Alternatives to Political Systems, DVDs/Books, People Systems, Village Development — by David Bollier
Below is the first half of the Introduction to our new anthology of essays, The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State, just published by Levellers Press. The Introduction is by me and Silke Helfrich, my co-editor and colleague on the Commons Strategies Group. Part II of the essay will be published in my next blog post. You can learn more about the book at its website, www.wealthofthecommons.org.
It has become increasingly clear that we are poised between an old world that no longer works and a new one struggling to be born. Surrounded by an archaic order of centralized hierarchies on the one hand and predatory markets on the other, presided over by a state committed to planet-destroying economic growth, people around the world are searching for alternatives. That is the message of various social conflicts all over the world — of the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy movement, and of countless social innovators on the Internet. People want to emancipate themselves not just from poverty and shrinking opportunities, but from governance systems that do not allow them meaningful voice and responsibility. This book is about how we can find the new paths to navigate this transition. It is about our future.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Ethical Investment, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Carla Noain October 2, 2012
Our mission of doing things right at Eco Ola extends beyond our partner farms and into the local community. In addition to sharing sustainable agriculture techniques with independent local farmers, we’ve also started our own, small-scale, microfinance endeavor.
As a mother of two and co-running Eco Ola, I appreciate and understand the challenges of motherhood and putting food on the table. Mery, the wife of Rider, our Farm Manager, brought to my attention that a friend of hers, Ivone, was suffering hardships. Her husband had been out of work for over three-weeks, and she was looking for some financial help to jump start her stand in the Mazán market to support her family.Comments (2)
The Alchemy of Converting Economic Capital to Natural Capital: A Journey Into For-Profit Permaculture
Commercial Farm Projects, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Ethical Investment, Village Development — by Warren Brush September 26, 2012
Regenerative Earth Farms panorama
In early September 2012, Regenerative Earth Farms, a family inspired and held endeavor, was born with the close of escrow of its first farm investment as part of a strategy to help people convert their economic capital into regenerative natural capital and soil building efforts that contribute to community food resiliency, and social and ecological stability. Our first farm is ideally situated 2.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara, California and is in a unique sub-tropical/Mediterranean micro-climate for optimal growing. It is also near to an ideal consumer constituency to market the type of farm produce, added-value products and services from the farm’s multi-enterprises. How did this come about you might be asking yourself?Comments (10)
Aid Projects, Building, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Juan Pablo Martinez September 13, 2012
To be sure, buying a nice piece of land requires a lot of effort and a few happy accidents. Things have to happen ‘just right’ in order for you to acquire a highly valuable property with little cash and a lot of complications, but, who said it was going to be easy?
As with everything in this life, when you overcome great complications, you feel like you’ve accomplished a great thing, and tend to think that things afterwards will be easier. Most of the time, things go the other way: once you’ve proved to yourself that you can do great things, you’ll probably find an even greater challenge lying ahead, so you can prove again that you have more capabilities than you ever thought you had.
So, this has been the case with La Angostura project.Comments (8)
Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Education, Village Development — by Samuel Alexander September 10, 2012
Preamble by Samuel Alexander: As spring dawns (in Australia), symbolising new life, it brings me great pleasure to announce the publication of Mark Burch’s The Simplicity Exercises: A Sourcebook for Simplicity Exercises. This special issue from the Simplicity Institute takes us in a new direction, moving beyond the analytical stage of defending simplicity and criticising growth-based, consumer-orientated economies, toward the recognition that our primary task now lies in actively promoting alternative ways of living through education, not simply research and analysis. While it remains necessary to critically analyse the global situation and describe and experiment with alternative ways of looking at the world, perhaps the most important task before us all today is to continue experimenting with alternative ways of living and being, and in The Simplicity Exercises Mark Burch provides a guiding light. Living simply in a consumer society isn’t easy, but it just got easier.
As outlined further below, this text is made up of many "workshop" type exercises and thought experiments which individuals and groups can work through at their own pace and in their own way. It will be particularly valuable to educators, but in so far as we are all students of simplicity, this text will be of immense value even outside formal or informal educational settings. Please take some time to browse this text and get a feel for its depth and insight. Based on several decades of educational experience, this is truly a major contribution to the literature paving the way to a new world. I offer Mark my most sincere congratulations for this extraordinary achievement. The Simplicity Exercises just might be the most important educational text on the planet today.
I’ve posted the introductory pages below (footnotes excluded) and the full 200-page text is freely available here (1.5mb PDF).
The Simplicity Exercises: a Sourcebook for Simplicity Educators
by Mark A. Burch
It probably sounds strange that anyone would need to learn how to live simply. The phrases “voluntary simplicity” or “simple living”, given our history of consumer culture indoctrination, imply that there’s nothing to it. Anyone can do this. What’s to learn?Comments (1)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Ryan Harb September 4, 2012
What does a model sustainable campus actually look like?
A single action that sends a ripple effect into the
world. And each day we throw thousands of stones
into the vast sea around us.
Many people I talk with are well aware that we live in a time of enormous global transformation. It may feel scary or depressing at times, especially with the constant messages we receive from the media, education system, and our peers about the tragic state of the world. But it is also a time to be extremely hopeful and positive about the direction that we are heading.
We live in a time when there are an unprecedented number of non-for-profit and for-profit organizations whose central mission is ecological, social, financial, and cultural regeneration. More people are working to heal the Earth and our human-designed systems than ever before in the history of the planet. There is more money and energy being directed into remediation and positive transformation every single day, and this trend is only speeding up. Countless individuals and groups from all over are ‘waking up’ and beginning to shift their ways. How can you not be hopeful?Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Village Development — by Greg Knibbs August 28, 2012
Greg Knibbs, from Edge 5 Permaculture, has been working with John O’Reilly from Committee Assist, Australia, since 2009 as a casual advisor on its Development Aid Project which started with the implementation at Rainbow Ridge, Mailisita, Tanzania. Greg was instrumental in introducing permaculture in West Africa, Ghana and helping with the birth of the Ghana Permaculture Institute, and also teaching permaculture from 1997 in the Philippines. Greg also helped to set up Permaculture Action Asia, a non-government (NGO), non-profit organization dedicated to spreading permaculture.
The AIDS epidemic has had a devastating effect on families globally. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, there are in excess of 13 million children orphaned by AIDS. Committee Assist aims to teach and develop sustainable methods, knowledge and skills in local communities to better address this epidemic. The focus is working with local communities so they are better able to care for all their children — orphans and abandoned children too.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
Edible City is a feature-length documentary film that tells the stories of extraordinary people who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and do something truly revolutionary: grow local Good Food Systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient.
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Surveying, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Melissa Andrews August 23, 2012
Olive trees stand the test of time in Palestine
All images © Christopher List Photography
It was a brisk, rather harried morning when my husband, photographer Christopher List, and I set off on a trip to delve deeper into the relatively unheard of phenomenon of permaculture.
It felt like only yesterday when we’d announced to friends and family that were were going to Palestine, to study a 14-day intensive permaculture course. After discovering some of the principles of permaculture on a recent trip to SA, I knew we were in for a gruelling, yet worthwhile experience.Comments (4)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, DVDs/Books, Education, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Seeds, Society, Trees, Village Development — by Navdanya International August 20, 2012
The Manifesto on the Future of Seeds outlines ways and means to strengthen and accelerate the movement toward sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, biodiversity and agricultural diversity and help defend the rights of farmers to save, share, use and improve seeds, as well as to enhance our collective capacity to adapt to the hazards and uncertainties of environmental and economic change.
The Manifesto on the Future of Food develops in detail principles on which to base the transition to a sustainable food and agricultural system as outlined in the Florence Declaration on the Global Rights to Food. Most importantly it sets out practical vision, ideas and programs toward ensuring that food and agriculture become more socially and ecologically sustainable, more accessible, and toward putting food quality, food safety and public health above corporate profits.
The Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security highlights the need to change to a productive model that minimizes the system’s vulnerability to external shocks and hazards and that contributes sustainably to mitigating the effects of climate change, based on a strong multifunctionality able to maximize the role of agriculture as a service of the ecosystem and as a tool to strengthen such system, and that guarantees family farming a pivotal role in a new system of production.
The Manifesto on the Future of Knowledge Systems: knowledge sovereignty for a healthy planet makes evident that the multiple crises that face humanity today — the financial implosion and economic collapse, climate chaos and the energy and food crises — are rooted in a reductionist, fragmented and mechanical way of thinking, with the world being equated to a huge machine, free to be manipulated and improved at will. A new way of thinking is vital for the return to a balanced and healthy planet, one based on sustainability, resilience and equity. Some of the themes addressed include: corporate control of science and the merging of knowledge and power; the commercialization of knowledge and biopiracy; the need to integrate traditional and indigenous cultural knowledge with independent science.Comments (2)
Report on Implementation Activities in Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary Schools in July 2012 (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting, Seeds, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland August 17, 2012
In May 2012 we ran a PDC at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge on which we trained four local teachers, along with other participants, two from each of two local schools in Konso, South Ethiopia, where we are based. The selected teachers from the two schools, Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary, are science teachers responsible for the schools’ environmental clubs. During the training they produced permaculture designs for their school compounds, which they have gone on to begin implementing with their school communities.Comments (2)