Fracking for Shale Gas

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Energy Systems, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here. Shale gas could be a useful stop-gap substitute for more conventional fossil fuels on our way towards fully green renewable energies, but health and environmental risks including pollution to ground water remain to be addressed…. Read more »

Compost Toilets in Haiti

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

A student I had recently in my short course in California sent me a link to an award-winning NGO working in Haiti called SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — a nonprofit working within the country performing truly beneficial work, utilizing compost toilets to deal with the perennial problem of waste management. In the following clip… Read more »

New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilizations

Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food. Food… Read more »

Ridge to Valley – a Holistic Watershed Perspective

Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Swales, Terraces, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

This excellent little 20-minute video does a great job of covering the basics of watershed management and landscape rehydration. You won’t hear the words ‘permaculture’ or ‘swales’ once, but it’s clear that both are in use here, to great effect. If we can get these simple but profound concepts driven into social consciousness, and applied… Read more »

Water Not Fit to Drink

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

From pathogens, biological drugs, illicit drugs to arsenic, by Prof Joe Cummins A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here. An intact forest ecosystem protects and supplies the watershed Photo © Craig Mackintosh Unpolluted healthy drinking water is a right not a privilege…. Read more »

China’s Rising Soybean Consumption Reshaping Western Agriculture

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Food Plants - Annual, Food Shortages, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

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… Read more »

Food MythBusters – Do We Really Need Industrial Agriculture to Feed the World? (video)

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Further Reading: 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… Read more »

Line in the Sand (Video)

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

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… Read more »

Letters from Ladakh – Culture Demolition in Fast Forward

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Education, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Preamble: Despite the title, I’m no longer in Ladakh. Indeed, it was way back in August 2009 when I was there, so this article has been a long time coming (thanks to work on the WPN keeping me too busy, amongst other things!). I keep the ‘Letters from…’ part of the title to make… Read more »

Cleaning House the Permaculture Way

Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Urban Projects, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

In permaculture design we look at the inputs and outputs of various components, and try to connect things to each other so that the supply from one thing meets the demand of another. We can grow our own food, and thus meet the nutritional needs of the family, and the organic waste is looped back… Read more »