Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Drew Sullivan September 6, 2011
School children take part in Nendo Dango in Argentina´s Rio Negro Province, Patagonia.
As part of a reforestation program around Argentina´s Eco Capital, El Bolsón, 21 schools have transformed their assembly halls into assembly lines for the production of over 25,000 seed clay balls utilizing the ancient technique of Nendo Dango. The method, re-invented by the ´father of natural farming´, Masanobu Fukuoka, was taught to the people of El Bolsón 3 years ago when Panos Manikis, Fukuoka´s most learned disciple, came to hold a series of workshops. Today, led by an inspiring group of permaculture activists, the technique is being used to do more than just rejuvenate the 1,200 hectares of forest that was incinerated in a 3-day fire earlier this year.Comments (3)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Ethical Investment, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Maddy Harland August 18, 2011
Editor’s Note: At time of writing, Polly is on a speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand — check out dates and locations here.
Maddy Harland meets Polly Higgins, a barrister who is campaigning for the United Nations to adopt an additional crime against peace: Ecocide.
by Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture magazine – inspiration for sustainable living
In my two decades working for Permaculture magazine I have met many fascinating and wonderful human beings but my recent meeting with the barrister and campaigner, Polly Higgins, was a turning point. She prompted a leap in my understanding of the power of law and our collective capacity to change the world overnight. I had heard of Polly’s campaigning work but I had not fully realised the far-reaching potential of international law. Polly deftly stretched my worldview. Bear with me if the subject of ecocide sounds grim… the outcome of these meetings was utterly inspirational.
What is Ecocide?
There are already four international Crimes Against Peace: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. Polly says there is a missing 5th Crime Against Peace and that crime is Ecocide: the destruction of large areas of the environment and ecosystems. Obviously ecocide can be caused by severe weather events like tsunamis and volcanic eruptions, not directly attributable to specific human activity but there is another category: Ascertainable Ecocide. This is the destruction, damage or loss to the territory, caused by human activity – people, corporations, and nations. Activities such as nuclear testing, the exploitation of resources, mining practices like tar sands extraction, the dumping of harmful chemicals or the use of defoliants, the emission of pollutants or war. Examples of ascertainable ecocide affecting sizeable territories include:Comments (13)
Biodiversity, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 9, 2011
Looking for a transitional form of agriculture as we try to wean ourselves off fossil-fuel based farming systems into smaller scaled, localised and sustainable ways of providing for ourselves? Enter, alleycropping — the practice of planting rows of trees (ideally on contour) through fields to create alleys, or corridors, of alternating trees and ground crops.Comments (3)
The EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes all blame each other for smashing the last great fish stock. All are wrong.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a year, after which no one will ever eat fish again. Almost everywhere, fish stocks are collapsing through catastrophic mismanagement. But no one in the rich world has managed them as badly as the European Union.
So when the EU tells Iceland and the Faroes that they should engage in “responsible, modern fisheries management”(1), it’s like being lectured by Atilla the Hun on human rights. They could be forgiven for telling us to sod off until we’ve cleaned up our own mess. Unfortunately, this is just what they’ve done, with catastrophic results.Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 4, 2011
Most permaculturists are aware that in regards to food today, ‘organic’ can often mean little, or nothing at all. The video below proves that the name can actually mean even worse than nothing — as we see that the U.S.’s ‘Organic Trade Association’ is unlike anything their name suggests. Indeed, the words ‘Organic Trade Association’ appear to be merely a feel-good veil behind which Big Agri and Big Biotech are operating for their own interests, and to our detriment.
This is a pure tale of conflicts of interests with the OTA’s board members. True organics are a threat to the monoculture-, chemical- and fossil fuel-based agriculture corporates who now control most of the world’s food and seeds, and this video highlights the infiltration and subjugation of this perceived enemy by the same. If something is not done to quickly purge the OTA of non-organic interests, I suspect we’ll likely soon see GMOs being granted ‘organic’ certification — something Big Biotech has been pushing for for a while now. The U.S. public, and the members of the OTA itself, need to seriously consider what is, and what should be, the purposes of this organisation.
Organic spies find lies
Duration: 12 mins
If you’re after even more info on this topic, please watch the following as well. Boycotts ahoy!Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Earth Policy Institute August 3, 2011
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
The thin layer of topsoil that covers much of the earth’s land surface is the foundation of civilization. As long as soil erosion on cropland does not exceed new soil formation, all is well. But once it does, it leads to falling soil fertility and eventually to land abandonment. As countries lose their topsoil through overgrazing, overplowing, or deforestation, they eventually lose the capacity to feed themselves. Among those facing this problem are Lesotho, Haiti, Mongolia, and North Korea.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Terraces, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 26, 2011
Many of you will remember the inspiring and encouraging example of earth restoration found in the story of the Loess Plateau in China (see links at bottom). John Liu was the man heavily involved in this amazing and very large scale initiative. In this new video, below, you’ll see Mr. Liu turning his eyes toward Africa, where Rwanda is now the focus of an earnest bid to restore its degraded forests and farmland, whilst simultaneously improving the lives of the communities they host. You’ll see many excellent examples of holistic thinking in this short documentary.
You’ll also learn of the praiseworthy work of Dr. Rene Haller, whose observational skills are highly adept at tailoring biological solutions towards rehabilitating the most degraded of lands.
Rwanda – Forests of Hope
Duration: 26 minutes
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Energy Systems, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Land, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by I-SIS July 20, 2011
Small integrated farms with off-grid renewable energy may be the perfect solution to the food and financial crisis while mitigating and adapting to climate change
A Sarvodaya villager sells a diverse range of organic produce roadside
– with more than 95% of it grown behind the stall, and by her own family
Photo © copyright Craig Mackintosh
In a Nutshell
An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Greenpeace July 15, 2011
What have Greenpeace done today?
Greenpeace activists have taken non-violent direct action to stop Australia’s environment and food supply from being contaminated by genetically modified wheat. The GM wheat that has been released across Australia has not been proven safe. It hasn’t been tested for toxic and allergic effects. All evidence shows that GM wheat cannot be contained; it will contaminate our food supply and the environment.
The Australian Government has refused to protect Australians from harm caused by the release of unsafe genetically modified wheat. GM organisms are living organisms that can multiply and cross-breed. They pose a threat of irreversible damage to Australia’s environment and our food supply. Greenpeace has taken action to prevent contamination of our food supply and environment.
Why is Greenpeace opposing research – isn’t research necessary to test the impact of GM?Comments (18)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Fish, Food Shortages — by George Monbiot July 12, 2011
Click for larger view
Courtesy: Marc Roberts
Have I just witnessed the beginning of the end of vertebrate ecology?
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom
Last year I began to wonder, this year doubt is seeping away, to be replaced with a rising fear. Could they really have done it? Could the fishing industry have achieved the remarkable feat of destroying the last great stock?Comments (14)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent July 9, 2011
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
I’d like to revisit a few points I brought up in a piece that appeared here at the PRI Australia website in April last year; “Things That Can’t Last Forever, and Things That Can: A Few Thoughts”.
I’d like to begin with the following premise:
Economics is a continuation of energy by different means.
Classical physics defines energy as the ability to do work. Money represents the ability to do work. Fossil fuels furnish the ability to do work — quite a great deal of it — and, for the moment, relatively cheaply when one accounts for the finite nature of its supply in relation to what it facilitates.Comments (6)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Food Forests, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 24, 2011
This video is from way back in 2004, so some of the political comments at the end are way out of date, but, that trivia aside, the rest of the video is one of the best presentations of holistic common sense I’ve heard in quite a while. I think many of you will find a lot of satisfaction in listening to David’s lucid observations on how natural systems work.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 10, 2011
They say if we don’t study history, we’re destined to repeat it. Many of you will be familiar with Jared Diamond and his work. Author of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Mr. Diamond has put a lot of energy into studying various cultures that have come, and, significantly, gone again. Amongst these is the example of Easter Island, where it appears that despite the islanders’ major resources being clearly in decline, they continued to use these resources for their own particular, peculiar economy — that being to make their giant Moai idols. Not only that, but, over time, as the resources needed to create them dwindled, the Moai statues only got larger. Their economy not only had to continue, but it had to grow — regardless of their context, and despite what should have been obvious consequences.
Some dispute the exact nature of the collapse of Easter Island, but what we do know is that pollen samples taken from the island show that it was once covered in forest, yet by the time Europeans arrived the island was treeless. There are no pollen traces dated beyond around 1650, around the same time the statues ceased being made. Surviving clans after this time, no longer able to create more competing statues, instead took to pushing over those of rival clans — until by 1868 all the Moai had been toppled, and many beheaded.Comments (12)
Biodiversity, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Fungi, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 8, 2011
Yesterday we were talking about the great need to transition our agriculture (and our culture for that matter) to be based in systems (or integrated) thinking, rather than the segregated, reductionist monoculture mind set we have today. There’s perhaps no better example of systems-based thinking in practice than a well developed biodiverse ‘forest garden’ (or what is called a food forest in many places). Along with our own Geoff Lawton, Martin Crawford of the UK’s Agroforestry Research Trust is one of the world’s best recognised practitioners of the art. The following video gives us a peek at his work.
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 7, 2011
In Melbourne, on April 5th and 6th, was held the National Sustainable Food Summit, where key Australian food and agriculture players and academics met to discuss the challenges and possible solutions for Australia’s increasingly vulnerable food security situation. Some of the talks were quite interesting.
The first video is where Julian Cribb (Adjunct Professor of Science Communication at the University of Technology Sydney and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)) boils some of the main issues facing us down into a short, understandable presentation. He gives a good overview of the problems — like that we’re in dire need of increasing food production right at a time where, due to our past and present activities, we’re seeing clear evidence that we’ll have to do so with less energy, less land, less water, less phosphorus and all whilst enduring an ever-more-erratic climate response. I’m not in full agreement with all of his solutions though — for example I’m not keen to start eating algae biomass grown in a tank…. But, I think that given the nature of the issues we are and will have to grapple with, I don’t blame him for coming to such conclusions. Indeed, if we don’t start implementing real, lasting solutions soon, then eating algae goop may become more attractive to me in the future than it does today…. (hence my personal sense of self-preservation leads me to expend my energies trying to promote permaculture!)
Julian Cribb: What are the future challenges to our food system?