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?
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Christian Shearer June 2, 2011
The Malungon area of the Sarangani province, located in the southern region of The Philippines, was once one of the richest forests in the world. Today the remaining old growth exists in small, fragmented stands which remain vulnerable to illegal deforestation and degradation. Frequently ignored, these last remaining areas are a vital core habitat for a wide range of fauna and flora. This forest has also been, for at least 2000 years, the centerpiece of the culture and lifestyle of the Blaan and Tagakaulo indigenous peoples.Comments (4)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Cate Faehrmann May 25, 2011
Editor’s Note: When preparing the recent post on the International Day for Biological Diversity, perhaps I should have gone to the state forests of the Pillaga in NSW Australia to take photos instead? As you all should know, energy is becoming a major worldwide problem. With all the low-hanging energy fruit having already been plucked, we’re now looking to mop up remaining dregs in all the very worst places. Below you’ll hear yet another sad tale of the lengths we will go to get our next fix.
Eastern Star Gas has applied for approval under both state and federal regulations to develop a massive coal seam gas field of around 550 gas wells in the State Forests of The Pilliga. Commonly known as the ‘Pilliga Scrub’, this unique woodland is near Narrabri in northern NSW. The gas project is set to clear over 2,400 hectares of native vegetation and will forever change the landscape of the Pilliga.
The Pilliga Scrub is a highly significant area in terms of the state’s biodiversity. It is known to be the largest continuous remnant of semi-arid woodland in temperate New South Wales and contains many threatened animal and plant species such as the Pilliga Mouse, Black-striped Wallaby and South-eastern Long-eared Bat.
Black-striped Wallaby, a mostly nocturnal animal under threat from
land clearing, and now, coal seam gas.
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 24, 2011
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
Since 1992, every May 22 has been the International Day for Biological Diversity. It’s a UN attempt to raise awareness of the importance of biological diversity to our lives and our future. So, did you notice anything different about this past Sunday? Did you wake up in the morning and hop out of bed with the distinct feeling that the day was something special?Comments (6)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 8, 2011
Watch the full episode.
In this PBS-produced video, with actor and philanthropist Matt Damon narrating, Lester Brown gives a good overview of some of the current issues we face as a race. He connects the dots between the world’s rapidly melting glaciers, extreme weather events, and resource depletion, etc., and what it will mean to world food harvests, and the economic and social implications of wealthier countries outbidding poorer nation states for a share of these diminishing harvests, and water and energy supplies. Two of the key words he uses are ‘failing states’, a relatively new term that is quickly gaining in ‘popularity’ as we watch the present chain reaction of events occurring today.
Lester asks the question "How many failing states will it take before we see civilization itself fail?"Comments (4)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Swales, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 28, 2011
The Permaculture Research Institute USA has partnered with Sust`ainable Molokai to embark on the bold mission of permeating the Hawaiian Islands with permaculture goodness. Traditional Hawaiian agricultural systems, before the arrival of Europeans, were ingenious and sustainable. Indeed, their ahupua`a systems, known as high island ‘Ohana’ systems to permaculturists, are one of the few truly sustainable agricultural systems ever known — an awesome legacy that should instill pride and purpose in modern-day islanders. Unfortunately, the last century, in particular, is seeing multiple major threats to the island state’s unique ecology — soil erosion, biodiversity loss, and Hawaii has become Big Biotech’s GMO test capital of the world (see video at very bottom of post).
But permaculturists are fighting back, as you’ll see:
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
We’ve run posts on Alan Savory’s Holistic Management a few times (here, here and here for example), but for those who can’t get enough, here’s another for good measure. This is a 1-hour lecture given in Dublin at the end of 2009. It’s well worth a listen.
Allan Savory argued that while livestock may be part of the problem, they can also be an important part of the solution. He has demonstrated time and again in Africa, Australia and North and South America that, properly managed, they are essential to land restoration. With the right techniques, plant growth is lusher, the water table is higher, wildlife thrives, soil carbon increases and, surprisingly, perhaps four times as many cattle can be kept.
Biodiversity, Courses/Workshops, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Social Gatherings, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Elaine Codling March 21, 2011
This is a training exercise that can be done with groups of around 20-25 people of all ages. Feel free to use, expand, or elaborate on it in anyway. Follow the activity with a discussion about climate as it relates to permaculture design.
- Poor Farmer
- Summer Wind
- Winter Wind
- Shade Tree
- Bamboo [X 3 or more]
- Willows [X 3 or more]
- Food Forest [X 4 or more]
Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Livestock, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 7, 2011
This common sense, holistic approach is indeed worth sharing.
With this competition, we’re seeking to reverse the trend of online ads being aggressively forced on users. We want to nurture ads so good you choose to watch. On TED.com, ads run after our talks, not before. This means they can run longer than the TV-standard 30 seconds. And that’s the key! In 2-3 minutes, there’s enough time to really tell a story, share an idea, make an authentic human connection, become unforgettable. Instead of ambush, they offer pleasurable, intelligent engagement. — TED.com
Congratulations to Allan Savory!
See also: Holistic Management
Further Reading:Comments (5)
The Need for Sustainable Agriculture – It’s So Obvious and Inevitable That Even The UN Has To Admit It
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Rhamis Kent February 25, 2011
Editor’s Note: Quite some time ago, I shared the big 400-scientist-strong IAASTD worldwide study that concluded that small scale, localised, ecological agriculture was an imperative we cannot afford to ignore any more. The post was titled The Food Crisis: “A Perfect Storm” – and How to Turn the Tide. If you missed it, do check it out, and if you’re already conversant in the multiple crises we’re dealing with, then simply jump to the ‘The Solutions’ section. Now, halfway through 2010, whilst I had my head down, working on a tool to help fast track the aforementioned solution — www.permacultureglobal.com — yet another study shares the same holistic, science-based vision. Read on.
The great need to stop burning out our soils, wasting precious water, and polluting both, is no longer open to dispute. A rapid transition to sustainable methods of agriculture simply needs to be implemented on a massive scale — and it needs to be done yesterday.
This is the great task of our age.
"Agroecology outperforms large-scale industrial farming for global food security," says UN expert. — The United Nations Office at Geneva
In the aforementioned article (first reported 22 June 2010), UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Professor Olivier De Schutter "makes an airtight case for a global policy shift toward agroecological production."Comments (1)
Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Global Warming/Climate Change, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Trees — by Albert Bates February 9, 2011
by Albert Bates
Getting to the Maya Mountain Research Farm in southern Belize is its own wild side adventure. You can fly or bus to Punta Gorda Town on the coast and then bus or taxi up to San Pedro Columbia, a little village in the highlands of the Maya Mountains that is a jumping off point for river travel.
Toledo, with a population of 27,000, is the least globalized and most rustic district in Belize. The pyramid city of Lubaantun, near San Pedro Colombia, is a late classic Mayan ceremonial and commerce center where the famous crystal skull was found by the teenage daughter of archaeologist F.A. Mitchell-Hedges in 1926. The many small villages scattered at the edges of forests and along rivers look nearly the same today as they looked in 1926, 1826, or 1726.
From San Pedro, a boy with a dugout “dory” cedar canoe poles you up river past Lubaantun for two miles until you reach the shallow bend with the tall stands of bamboo on the starboard shore.Comments (3)
Comedy Break, Consumerism, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Marc Roberts February 2, 2011
Courtesy: Marc Roberts
Alternatives to Political Systems, Deforestation, Economics, People Systems, Village Development — by George Monbiot
The sale of England’s state forests is a chance to do something interesting. It’s being squandered.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom
It took the previous Conservative government 13 years to propose a sell-off as unpopular as this one. The privatisation of the railways was opposed by 85% of British voters(1), and helped to derail John Major’s administration in 1997. Cameron’s plan to flog the public forest estate, presented to the nation after eight months in office, is opposed by 84% of the public(2). So much for his brilliant political instincts. And yet, stupid and destructive as this sell-off promises to be, it’s just a stone’s throw from something really interesting.Comments (4)