Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Earth Banks, Education Centres, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Swales, Terraces, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 7, 2011
I’m adding the following clips as a positive supplement to the preceding post. I think it’s important to see that positive work is happening, and that GMOs are not only not needed, but they are a definite threat to these excellent efforts. Permaculturists working, or intending to work, in Kenya could potentially find ways to network with organisations like these, and to offer extra design tools to further strengthen their efforts.
The first video is from the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), who look to be doing some great on-the-ground work to educate and transform Kenyan communities and help them return to more resilient, affordable and healthy agricultural and community systems.
This second clip, from The Haller Foundation, will be especially appreciated by permaculturists — it’s a fantastic video show-casing some excellent permaculture action, also in Kenya:Comments (4)
Consumerism, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society — by Earth Policy Institute July 6, 2011
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Heat waves clearly can destroy crop harvests. The world saw high heat decimate Russian wheat in 2010. Crop ecologists have found that each 1-degree-Celsius rise in temperature above the optimum can reduce grain harvests by 10 percent. But the indirect effects of higher temperatures on our food supply are no less serious.Comments (24)
Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Society, peak oil — by Isabell Shipard
Planting a garden with food potential is one of the most valuable things we can do. Will we always have a free country with unlimited food supply? Could a major calamity or drought affect the supply and the price of food? Could rolling strikes disrupt electricity, water, telephone, transport and other amenities to shops and our homes… and how would no petrol affect every household? We need to encourage one another to be as self sufficient as possible… now… in our gardens, as this is the most nutritious fresh food… and is the cheapest way to live in these times of rising prices. Growing our own food is very satisfying as well as beneficial to our health and well-being.
Australia has truly been a ‘lucky country’ — plentiful food, running water in our homes, sewerage systems which take away our wastes, comfort and luxuries in our homes. We truly are blessed. However, it may not always be this way in the future. Would families be prepared if a catastrophic disaster struck?Comments (6)
Conservation, Consumerism, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation — by Mari Korhonen June 29, 2011
I’ve been exploring the world of edible weeds, and so found a new layer of bounty in the garden!
Edible weeds from left to right: Fireweed shoots, young galeopsis,
lamb’s quarter, chickweed, thistle shoots peeled, and corn spurry.
Things in the garden even way up here in Finland are well on their way now, including many plants that most gardeners would condemn as weeds, or things to get rid of. For me a bed full of weeds has become a salad bar, and weeding has gotten a fresh new perspective to it!Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Economics, Education Centres, Financial Management, Food Shortages, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
Warning — graphic protest content
The bad news:
Police have fired tear gas in running battles with stone-throwing youths in Athens, where a 48-hour general strike is being held against a parliamentary vote on tough austerity measures.
Thousands of protesters have gathered outside parliament in the capital where public transport has ground to a halt.
PM George Papandreou has said that only his 28bn-euro (£25bn) austerity plan would get Greece back on its feet.
If the package is not approved, Greece could run out of money within weeks. — BBC
I can certainly appreciate why the people are protesting. The situation is similar to what we’re seeing in Spain at the moment — which is yet another country on the brink of implosion. Here’s what protesters there had to say recently:Comments (15)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Food Shortages, People Systems, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
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)
While the Murray-Darling Basin Authority apparently struggles to find even a paltry 7,600 gigalitres of water in its increasingly compromised attempt to restore the nation’s most vital and productive river system, a new report reveals Australia to be the world’s largest nett exporter of virtual water in crop, livestock and industrial products; exported virtual water being that consumed to create produce for export.Comments (5)
Food Shortages, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle — by Earth Policy Institute June 8, 2011
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Nile River Irrigation in Egypt
A new scramble for Africa is under way. As global food prices rise and exporters reduce shipments of commodities, countries that rely on imported grain are panicking. Affluent countries like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, China and India have descended on fertile plains across the African continent, acquiring huge tracts of land to produce wheat, rice and corn for consumption back home.
Some of these land acquisitions are enormous. South Korea, which imports 70 percent of its grain, has acquired 1.7 million acres in Sudan to grow wheat—an area twice the size of Rhode Island. In Ethiopia, a Saudi firm has leased 25,000 acres to grow rice, with the option of expanding this to 750,000 acres. And India has leased several hundred thousand acres there to grow corn, rice and other crops.
These land grabs shrink the food supply in famine-prone African nations and anger local farmers, who see their governments selling their ancestral lands to foreigners. They also pose a grave threat to Africa’s newest democracy: Egypt.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Fungi, Land, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
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)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Ethical Investment, Food Shortages, People Systems, Project Positions, Society, Village Development — by Steve Grace May 27, 2011
Interns at PRI’s Zaytuna Farm
There are few things in this life as disturbing as the suffering of another human being. Perhaps one might be the fact that we the privileged have become so desensitised to it, so selfishly removed into our own little worlds of such great importance. Is it not the responsibility of the privileged to ensure the basic elements of survival are provided for those less fortunate than ourselves? How can we continue to spoil ourselves with riches, when the knowledge of another’s pain is so obviously clear?Comments (6)
Economics, Food Shortages, Population, Society — by Earth Policy Institute May 16, 2011
by Brigid Fitzgerald Reading, Earth Policy Institute
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
As the world continues to add close to 80 million people each year, high population growth is running up against the limits of our finite planet, threatening global economic and political stability. To stay within the bounds of the earth’s natural resources, the world’s population will have to stabilize.Comments (11)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Urban Projects, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Rob Avis May 13, 2011
by Rob Avis
If you’ve been following permaculture, then you’ve probably been hearing about Permablitz – the transformation of lawns into productive, abundant landscapes. (For those of you in our region, here in Canada, check out this site.)
You may be thinking: why food? Why not lawns?Comments (20)