Biodiversity, Economics — by George Monbiot February 13, 2013
How the government betrayed its promises to protect our seas.
If the European Union decides to ban fishing boats from discarding the edible fish they catch, it’ll land the British government in a spot of bother. It’s been using the discards issue as its excuse for justifying overfishing.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Plant Systems, Trees — by Angelo Eliades February 12, 2013
Hearing Geoff Lawton speak about the effectiveness of natural pest control in food forests during my PDC studies is what originally prompted me to design and build a backyard food forest garden. Nature taking care of pests in the garden? It sounded too good to believe, and coming from a science background, I just had to test the concept out. After all, any good science can be replicated!
Four years later, after working out how to scale down a food forest into an urban backyard, and going through the designing, building, documenting and weighing of all produce, I inadvertently had created Melbourne’s first demonstration urban food forest and a proof of concept experiment that had more far-reaching outcomes than I first envisaged. Hundreds of people visit the garden each year to see it first hand and learn how it all works. Even our local government has taken a liking to the concept of permaculture and I’m often hired by them to present on the topics of permaculture and sustainable gardening to an equally interested general public. I put it down to a good teacher!
The garden productivity has been fantastic, and has been increasing steadily from year to year, but what has been even more impressive is how the garden I first designed has become a living ecosystem that has taken on a life of its own. Geoff warned us that would happen! With passing time, the system has increased in stability and resilience and the pests have clearly reduced. I would like to share some observations in this article which clearly demonstrate the proof of concept of natural pest control in food forests.Comments (17)
Biodiversity, Insects, Plant Systems — by Elspeth Brock February 11, 2013
Bee Friendly Planting Guide (8mb PDF)
I just came across an excellent new resource for beekeepers. It is published by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and entitled Bee Friendly — a planting guide for European honey bees and Australian native pollinators.
It contains over 300 pages of information on bee forage plants for Australia, for urban open space, private gardens and farms with a climate specific plant selection. The sections on street scapes is an excellent resource for people in urban areas who want to improve local biodiversity and not just plant street trees for aesthetics. It gives specific recommendations on species of eucalypt, tea tree, hakea and grevillea for bees — great if you only have room for one tree or want to plant out a native section of a farm.
There are a few plant surprises for me, such as Pig Face, a succulent native ground cover that will grow on tough slopes and verges, and gives you an excuse to include flowers in your permaculture garden — daisies, Zinnia, Coreopsis and Californian lilac are named as excellent bee fodders. Oregano, peppermint, lemon balm and rosemary are amongst other herbs listed as most beneficial to bees.
What’s best is it’s downloadable for free.
- How to Revive the Honeybee
- How to Attract Beneficial Predators & Pollinators
- Colony Collapse Disorder – a Moment for Reflection
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Fish, Food Shortages — by Earth Policy Institute February 4, 2013
by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute
The fish near the bottom of the aquatic food chain are often overlooked, but they are vital to healthy oceans and estuaries. Collectively known as forage fish, these species—including sardines, anchovies, herrings, and shrimp-like crustaceans called krill—feed on plankton and become food themselves for larger fish, seabirds, and marine mammals. Historically, people have eaten many of these fish, too, of course. But as demand for animal protein has soared over the last half-century, more and more forage fish have been caught to feed livestock and farmed fish instead of being eaten by people directly. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that current fishing levels are dangerously high—both for the forage fish themselves and for the predators and industries that depend on them.Comments (1)
Ladbroke’s is offering odds on fish populations collapsing; the government is shortening them.
I’ve come across some odd ways to make a living, but few as strange as this. The gambling company Ladbrokes has been offering odds on the conservation status of various fish species. Until last night it was taking bets on mackerel; recently it has encouraged people to punt on the survival prospects of stocks of yellow fin tuna, swordfish and haddock. You can, if you wish, gamble on extinction.
It’ll be a while before I put my money on the recovery of any species in British waters.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease — by Gerald Anderson January 25, 2013
This is a good summary of what Vandana Shiva talks about lately. Even if you think you’ve heard it all before, I think this is a excellent one to watch and share.
Forbes Magazine called Vandana Shiva one of the seven most influential women in the world. A noted philosopher, scientist and author, Dr. Shiva addressed a full house at Coady International Institute at StFX University on the theme of food justice. — YouTube
Further watching:Comments (3)
Biodiversity — by George Monbiot January 22, 2013
In both Russia and Canada a bloodbath of wolves is now taking place.
If, as she has threatened, Brigitte Bardot moves to Russia in protest at the treatment of animals in France, she’s in for a major shock.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Food Shortages — by Noah Sabich January 15, 2013
The placement of your feet on the wooden boards is essential; frequent use and infrequent maintenance have rendered the steep stairwell a treacherous walkway down to the docks. This is the port of Iquitos, Peru. It is a central location that gives access to the tributaries of the Amazon River. Its odor betrays its neglect. Interfluvial commerce and a growing population in the city of Iquitos have staged its waters to become the designated waste cistern. It marinates disease.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Seeds — by Laura Thabet January 14, 2013
Last October, in the run-up towards World Food Day, a seed bombing event was co-organized in Cairo in collaboration with Nawaya. Nawaya is a start-up social enterprise focusing on agriculture as a core driver for rural development — but not just any agricultural system. Nawaya specifically promotes ecological farming practices whereby Egyptian rural communities become stewards of their local environment and agro-ecological resources. This is a long process of awareness-raising and marketing to change farming practices. Consumer ignorance and apathy to what is available has lead people to choose Chinese big white garlic cloves over the small purplish highly potent Egyptian variety.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Food Plants - Annual, Food Shortages, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute January 9, 2013
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Where was once pristine Amazon rainforest, soybean harvesters
march across the landscape instead
Global demand for soybeans has soared in recent decades, with China leading the race. Nearly 60 percent of all soybeans entering international trade today go to China, making it far and away the world’s largest importer.
The soybean was domesticated some 3,000 years ago by farmers in eastern China. But it wasn’t until well after World War II that the crop gained agricultural prominence, enabling it to join wheat, rice, and corn as one of the world’s four leading crops.
This rise in the demand for soybeans reflected the discovery by animal nutritionists that combining 1 part soybean meal with 4 parts grain, usually corn, in feed rations would sharply boost the efficiency with which livestock and poultry converted grain into animal protein. As China’s appetite for meat, milk, and eggs has soared, so too has its use of soybean meal. And since nearly half the world’s pigs are in China, the lion’s share of soy use is in pig feed. Its fast-growing poultry industry is also dependent on soybean meal. In addition, China now uses large quantities of soy in feed for farmed fish.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Society — by E. Ray Gard January 8, 2013
The more I learn about permaculture, the more I learn about the potential for not only stability in our food and water systems, but abundance. When I see the sharp difference between the future that permaculture offers and the future of scarcity that our current path seems to lead to, I have to wonder what is wrong with society’s perspective in general that it wouldn’t be searching desperately for an alternative path, like permaculture.
The video above might be part of the explanation for warped perceptions in the scientific community about the real differences between the natural world that we are destroying and the abundant world that we could reclaim.
These two quotes touch on the talk, but the video explains them more fully.
We transform the world, but we don’t remember it. We adjust our baseline to the new level, and we don’t recall what was there. — Daniel Pauly
Before an animal becomes extinct, it becomes rare. So you don’t lose abundant animals. You always lose rare animals. — Daniel Pauly
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Geoff Lawton January 7, 2013
- A Farm for the Future (BBC video)
- The Rodale Institute’s 30-Year Farming Systems Trial Report
- Biodiverse Systems are More Productive
- The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide
- Orchestrating Famine – a Must-Read Backgrounder on the Food Crisis
- Food Futures Now – Feeding People & Place Without Fossil Fuels
- The Looming Food Crisis and the ‘Food 2030′ Report
- The Story of Soil
- A ‘New’ Discovery – Soluble Nitrogen Destroys Soil Carbon
- Which Came First – Pests, or Pesticides?
- Soil – Our Financial Institution
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot
2012 was the worst year for the environment in living memory.
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half century.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 17, 2012
We often only begin to understand the importance of nutrient- and water-cycling when they don’t — when they don’t cycle, that is. When ecosystems fail, when the hydrological cycle gets broken, when soils degrade faster than they build, the consequence is desertification. Already a full 25% of the planet’s land surface area (about 3.6 billion hectares) is desertified, and, worldwide, we’re adding to this enormous figure at a rate of 12 million hectares annually. And this rate is increasing.
More than ever before, we now understand the mechanisms behind desertification. Even just one lifetime ago we thought we were too small, and the world too large, for us to have any real effect on planetary functions, but that has all changed. Today we know that we are having a profoundly negative impact on the earth’s systems — those systems upon which all life, and all economic activity, depend — and we’re also learning that reversing that impact is a lot harder, and a lot more time-consuming and expensive, than preventative measures to avoid it in the first place.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 10, 2012
As permaculturists, we have a great many solutions for the water crisis. From water harvesting to reed bed grey water systems, to watershed rehabilitation, there are common sense approaches to holistically restore eco-system services, rehydrate our landscapes and stabilise water flows and the climate. In the video above, however, we come face to face with forces that can undo the work of thousands of enthusiastic permaculturists with a few signatures on a market based, industrial contract.
We need to know the enemy if we’re to defeat it.Comments (1)