Category: Energy Systems

Permaculture in the Bahamas

At the same time as the 36-inch snow storm hit the East Coast of the US in early February, 2013, I found myself standing on an island in the Bahamas. With no way to ‘escape’ I decided to accept my situation and make the best of it. I had been invited to speak at a Peace Symposium hosted by the Sivananda Yoga Retreat located on Paradise Island just north of […]

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The Three Legs of the Integrated Permaculture Design Stool

by Rob Avis I woke up this morning with a realization — nothing I didn’t already know in principle, just a clearer understanding of how certain principles fit together to create good design. My epiphany was visualizing integrated design as a three-legged stool which requires all three legs to make a stable seat/design. The three legs of the design stool are The Elements (food forest, roof, solar panel) The Placement […]

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Pollinate Energy (Bangalore, India)

One of the major consequences of industrial agriculture is the steady flight of rural populations to urban centers. Economists have widely encouraged this mass movement of people as a sign of a developing economy ‘specializing’. We are seeing this trend in all majors cities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Young men and women leave their villages and move to the city in search of better wages and lifestyle. Unfortunately, […]

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Living Without a Fridge

by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. I’ve been living without a fridge for the last three months — the winter months of Melbourne, Australia. Before you send me to the asylum, however, let me tell you about this experiment which produced several interesting, and I think important, surprises, related to energy consumption and lifestyle habits. […]

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Problem: Pollution — Solution: Biogas

In this polluted world there is good news. We can create energy from some of our waste! by Zaia Kendall, PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast Creating the biogas biodigester dome in our May 2013 Biodigester Course Debates about CSG (Coal Seam Gas) mining (otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’) are ongoing. There is also talk about highly contaminated human manure polluting water with oestrogens, prozac and other hormones, drugs and […]

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Dezhou Solar City (China)

For one day only we were able to make a stop in Dezhou, one of China’s famed ‘Solar Cities.’ As a bright and cheery advertisement explained, "Just like the Silicon Valley, this is the Solar Valley." The ad was remarkable for several reasons. First, China’s economic development plan of copying hallmark Western institutions was essentially nicely summarized in that simple slogan. Second, the peppy poster instilled in me images of […]

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Growing a Wild Garden

The following is adapted and extracted from the book – The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka (1978). Upon investigatiion, my garden seemed to have just as many insects as in the surrounding fields, which had been sprayed countless times with a variety of deadly chemicals. But the populations of harmful insects were a lot less in my garden, and beneficial (predatory) insects were present in far higher numbers. I realized […]

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Creating the Alternative Tour, First Stop: Solar Living Institute – Soaking Up Some Rays of Inspiration

For background on this series, please see: Creating the Alternative Tour – Intro by Mo Lohre & William Redwine Brakes begin failing in Mendocino Range By the time we reached the Solar Living Institute (SLI), north of San Francisco in Mendocino County, we had only been on tour for less than 24 hours and already had learned some crucial lessons. We realized quickly that everything to do with living in […]

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Pistols at Dawn

A three-year, £100 bet on solar power has matured. Who won? by George Monbiot The UK — a solar powerhouse…? Summer solstice. At dawn. What better time could there be for resolving a duel, albeit one not fought with flintlocks? The time is of my choosing, as the other party, though he accepted the challenge, would not agree terms. It is appropriate in another sense too, as this is the […]

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How to Build a Rocket Stove Mass Water Heater

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With deforestation still moving ahead apace, dealing with the global demand for fuel wood is critical. Life without heat and hot water would be very unpleasant. Life without trees is impossible and to satiate our hunger for heat, richly biodiverse forests are being replaced with ‘sterile’ monoculture tree plantations which give rise to tree diseases and other ecological vulnerabilities. The pressure for fuel wood is on in most parts of […]

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Coppiced Nitrogen-Fixing Firewood Species of the World

Coppice-planting

This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book. Coppiced firewood species trial at ECHO These firewood species grow rapidly, fix nitrogen, and re-sprout (coppice) quickly after cutting. All have high-quality firewood. They are thus […]

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PRI Sunshine Coast – Biogas Project Update, March 2013

On the 18th of March we started our biogas project. This project involves making a bio-digester which will turn manure into methane gas for cooking and other energy needs. An update on a previous post, by Zaia Kendall Outline of the bio-digester Tom had to re-do some fencing and clear the site for the bio-digester. He calculated that with the amount of manure we are getting (around 30kg per day), […]

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