Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 9, 2009
Consumerism, Economics, News, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 4, 2009
Photo credit: Ed Kashi
The video below was originally displayed on wiwavshell.org – the website for the plaintiffs filing a law suit against the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell – but was removed by court order after legal motions were filed by the multinational. Thanks to YouTube, however, the video has a new lease of life and has at time of typing been viewed over 65,000 times since being uploaded two weeks ago. It’s a decent introduction to the atrocities committed by the corporation in collusion with the Nigerian government and its military, spotlighting their determined efforts to put down a peaceful and popular movement by the citizens of Nigeria against the violent, corporate control and destruction of their lives, land and resources.Comments (3)
Compost, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Kym Kruse May 14, 2009
by Kym Kruse, of Free Range Permaculture
Next time you go to throw that banana peel in the bin, stop and think about the environmental impact that action has. As with most things these days, we are quickly running out of landfill space. More than 50% of all household waste, from vegetable scraps to garden waste, can be recycled or composted. By doing this you can not only help your own bank account, but also help the environment by reducing landfill contamination and greenhouse gases.
When organic matter in landfill breaks down it does so anaerobically, meaning without oxygen. This occurs because landfill is compressed, which squeezes out all the oxygen. Anaerobic decomposition produces acids which when mixed with items such as plastic creates a toxic mix called leachate. This poison then leaches into the ground water and from there it’s a short trip to our waterways. Harmful greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide are also produced, which contribute to our climate change problems. All of that, just for throwing a banana peel in the bin? The answer is yes, but the other question is “What do we do about it?” The answer to that is simple.Comments (1)
Animal Housing, Consumerism, Health & Disease, Livestock, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 29, 2009
If you wonder what it’s like in and around the world’s largest pig production empire, please read this. And if you don’t wonder what it’s like in and around the world’s largest pig production empire, please read it anyway. It’s very well written, and extremely enlightening.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 24, 2009Comments (3)
Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute
by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
In the May issue of Scientific American, Lester Brown discusses how food shortages could be the weak link that brings down civilization. In this feature article, “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?” Brown reveals that the biggest threat to global political stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse. Those crises are brought on by rising demand and ever worsening environmental degradation.
“In the twentieth century, dramatic rises in grain prices resulted from poor harvests. They were event driven and short-lived,” Brown says. “In contrast, the recent escalation in world grain prices is trend-driven, making it unlikely to reverse the rise in food prices without a reversal in the trends themselves.”
Demand side trends include the addition of more than 70 million people to the global population each year, 4 billion people moving up the food chain—consuming more grain-intensive meat, milk, and eggs—and the massive diversion of U.S. grain to fuel ethanol distilleries. On the supply side, the trends include falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures. Higher temperatures lower grain yields. They also melt the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan plateau whose ice melt sustains the major rivers and irrigation systems of China and India during the dry seasons. Without a massive intervention to reverse these three environmental trends, Brown argues, more and more states will fail, ultimately threatening civilization itself.
In the article, Brown discusses measures to reverse the trends. “Among other steps,” he says, “it will take a massive restructuring of the world energy economy similar in scale and urgency to the wartime restructuring of the U.S. industrial economy in 1942.”Comments (1)
Conferences, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, News, Population, Presentations/Demonstrations, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute April 21, 2009
Teleconference: Thursday, April 23, 11:00 AM EDT
Environmental Analyst Lester Brown: How Food Shortages Could Bring Down Civilization
Washington, DC — On Thursday, April 23, 2009, at 11 a.m. EDT, environmental analyst Lester Brown will discuss how food shortages could be the weak link that brings down civilization. In an article featured in the May issue of Scientific American, Brown reveals that the biggest threat to global political stability is the potential for food crises in poor countries to cause government collapse. Those crises are brought on by rising demand and ever worsening environmental degradation.Comments Off
Comedy Break, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Marc Roberts April 20, 2009
Click for full view
The Huffington Post posts this, by Lise van Susteran, on Moral Obligation.
Fred Pearce, on consuming vs population. Did I post this already?
I just saw this – Ian Tomlinson’s death at the G20 demonstrations now being treated as possible manslaughter.Comments Off
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
French illustrator and printmaker Gustave Doré shows the
squalid conditions in London, England created for the urban
labouring classes by the Industrial Revolution
From the very beginning proponents of the industrial revolution looked upon nature as a pirate might look upon a defenseless gold-laden ship – as easy pickings. A long term view of stewardship gave way to the short term mindset of a plunderer.Comments Off
Biodiversity, Demonstration Sites, Developments, GMOs, News, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor April 17, 2009
Recently I shared how Michelle Obama was planning to plant a garden on the White House lawn – thrilling the many people that lobbied for them to do exactly that. Later we learned that, as we dearly hoped, the garden would be organic.
On top of this, the First Lady also named chef Sam Kass to head the White House Food Initiative. Mr Kass happens to have a good understanding of what we and our children should be ingesting. This is all great press for chemical-free agriculture and food.
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 30, 2009
In his twenty minute talk, Willie Smits (a Dutch forestry scientist who emigrated to Indonesia 20 years ago to help the country grow trees) explains how a chance encounter with a dying baby Orangutan changed the direction of his work – culminating not only in his creating the biggest orangutan rehabilitation center in the world, but also in restoring large tracts of rainforest in a community-based endeavour that is bringing work and prosperity to the people too.
The word ‘Permaculture’ is never mentioned in the following TED presentation, but the project that is the subject of this talk certainly contains many elements of Permaculture design. Among the spectacular results of the project is a documented cooling in local climate, increased cloud cover and rainfall, and a rapid increase in biodiversity of flora and fauna.Comments (6)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by George Monbiot
The debate over biochar hots up.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Reading their responses, I realise that it was unfair of me to include James Lovelock and Jim Hansen on the list of those who have been suckered by the charleaders. Their position is more nuanced than I made out. Chris Goodall, to his credit, has accepted that he was too bullish about the technology. The points he makes in its defence seem fair and well-reasoned.
On the other hand, I wasn’t harsh enough about Peter Read. In his response column today he uses the kind of development rhetoric that I thought had died out with the Indonesian transmigration programme.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot March 25, 2009
Here comes the latest utopian catastrophe: the plan to solve climate change with biochar
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Whenever you hear the word miracle, you know there’s trouble just around the corner. But however many times they lead to disappointment or disaster, the newspapers never tire of promoting miracle cures, miracle crops, miracle fuels and miracle financial instruments. We have a bottomless ability to disregard the laws of economics, biology and thermodynamics when we encounter a simple solution to complex problems. So welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the new miracle. It’s a low-carbon regime for the planet which makes the Atkins Diet look healthy: woodchips with everything.
Biomass is suddenly the universal answer to our climate and energy problems. Its advocates claim that it will become the primary source of the world’s heating fuel, electricity, road transport fuel (cellulosic ethanol) and aviation fuel (bio-kerosene). Few people stop to wonder how the planet can accommodate these demands and still produce food and preserve wild places. Now an even crazier use of woodchips is being promoted everywhere (including in the Guardian(1)). The great green miracle works like this: we turn the planet’s surface into charcoal.Comments (5)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Dams, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, Limonia, Rehabilitation, Roads, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Surveying, Swales, Terraces, Water Harvesting — by Darren Doherty March 16, 2009
‘Soil, Water & Carbon for Every Farm’ – Building Soils, Harvesting Rainwater, Storing Carbon
by Abe Collins & Darren Doherty
Keyline Design was first developed by the great Australian, P.A. Yeomans (1904-1984), in the late 1940s & 50s initially as a practical response to the unpredictable rainfall regime he found on his new property, ‘Nevallan’, to the west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Soil Conservation, as developed by the US Army Corp of Engineers was the predominant practice of the time and for a time Yeomans was influenced by this, though soon found some deficiencies with the pattern of water flow its application expressed. Yeomans went on to devote the rest of his life to the promotion, research and development of Keyline Design and in doing so was labelled by Permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison as "…one of Australia’s greatest patriots… ".
Influenced by the likes of prominent organic agriculture figures in Andre Voison, Friend Sykes, Newman Turner & Louis Bromfield (among many others!) Yeomans has been attributed with being the 1st person to accelerate soil formation through the stacking of methods, overturning the myth that it took 1,000 years to create an inch of topsoil. Yeomans proclaimed that "…the landman’s job is not so much to conserve soil as it is to develop soil, to improve his soil and to make it more fertile than it ever was…".Comments Off
Aid Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Developments, Earth Banks, Gabions, Land, News, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Swales, Trees, Water Harvesting — by Geoff Lawton February 24, 2009
Editor’s Note: Iran has been making headlines in the media a great deal over the last few years. Here’s a side to the story you don’t normally get to hear, as experienced by our own Geoff Lawton.
We are applying Permaculture techniques to restore the landscape
in the hottest place on the planet
In December 2008 it was our great pleasure and honour to be invited to Iran to work for the Forest Rangeland Watershed Management Organisation, originally formed in 1928 (see Word doc on their work here). We were working with different departments of the organisation, like the Sand Dune Fixation Department that was formed in 1958 for the Bureau of Desert Affairs. All of this falls under the central government’s main organisation of Jihad Agriculture Ministry. We were invited to teach a 10-day Permaculture course focusing mainly on desert rehabilitation.Comments (10)