Posted by & filed under Bird Life, Livestock, Soil Erosion & Contamination.

by Good Life Permaculture

Despite having lead contaminated soils, Margaret has been able to apply good design to
integrate chickens into her garden.

You’re ready to get chickens, you’re totally pumped. And then you do some soil tests (just to be safe) and discover you have high levels of lead in your soil.


So what do you do — turn around, relinquish your hopes of having a feathered flock of your own and suppress the urge to cry? Wrong, you get informed, create a good design and work out a strategy, because there is always a way.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease.

Why are thousands of physicians advising patients to avoid eating GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) [1] and how did these high-risk foods get onto the market in the first place? The answers are disturbing, even shocking, but may help you get healthy and stay healthy.

Foods with added bacterial or viral genes were quietly slipped into your diet two decades ago. Using the excuse that GMOs weren’t that much different, the FDA didn’t require labels or even a single safety study from GMO makers like Monsanto. But a lawsuit forced the agency to release their files and the truth finally came out.

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Posted by & filed under Nuclear.

Finnish nuclear plant already vastly over budget and overdue has slowed almost to a halt, embroiled in dispute and with no end in sight; it augurs badly for UK’s bloated nuclear ambition.

by Prof. Peter Saunders

Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Finland.

The nuclear renaissance that never was

When the Finnish government agreed in 2005 to the construction of a new reactor on the Olkiluoto site in the far north of the country, this was the first nuclear power plant to be ordered in Western Europe for 15 years. Supporters of nuclear energy greeted it as the start of a ‘nuclear renaissance’. But things have not worked out as hoped. Olkuiluoto 3 was supposed to cost €3.2 bn and is now expected to cost almost three times as much. It was supposed to be in operation by 2009 but the date keeps being put forward. And relations between the Finnish power consortium Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) and the French construction firm Areva have been described by Areva’s Chief Operating Officer as one of the biggest conflicts in the history of the construction sector [1].

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Posted by & filed under Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Consumerism, Food Shortages, Markets & Outlets, Peak Oil, Village Development.

Local squash, like the ones pictured here, are frozen and consumed
through the winter by Farm to Table Co-Packers.

The families in my bioregion, the mid-Hudson Valley of New York (90 miles north of New York city), have been coping well with increasing food prices and sourcing food supplies as we face peak oil. This runs counter to the popular image circulating online showing families and the food they consume each week from all over the world, with US and other western families spending exorbitant amounts on packaged, processed and junk food. These communities are likely the most vulnerable as we face peak oil and rising prices as a result of sourcing foods over long distances. But the image of Americans eating junk, processed and packaged food is beginning to grow outdated. Since 2009, in response to the recession and climate change, my bioregion is undergoing a transition similar to the "Special Period" that Cuba had when they lost their fossil fuel dealer with the fall of the Soviet Union and everyone had to grow food.

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems, Nuclear.

by J. Matthew Roney, Earth Policy Institute

In China, wind power is leaving nuclear behind. Electricity output from China’s wind farms exceeded that from its nuclear plants for the first time in 2012, by a narrow margin. Then in 2013, wind pulled away — outdoing nuclear by 22 percent. The 135 terawatt-hours of Chinese wind-generated electricity in 2013 would be nearly enough to power New York State.

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Posted by & filed under Podcasts.

Malaysian radio station, BFM, spoke to Rhamis Kent, a Permaculture / Ecosystem Restoration Consultant and Educator, about the rapid growing interest in sustainable development and permaculture. Rhamis shares with us his experiences working on a number of different permaculture projects across the world from Somalia and Yemen to Jordan. He also discusses his hope to bring to the attention of the investment community an aspect of the emerging sustainable economy that has yet to be seriously considered for significant financial support.

Click on the play button below to listen to the conversation!

Interview with Rhamis Kent

Posted by & filed under Building, Demonstration Sites, Land.

Kris Holstrom’s off-grid permaculture farm at 9000 feet high is living proof that food can be grown nearly anywhere. Managing with a very short growing season and water constraints, she and her interns have created magic. Tour the sun-warmed, insulated greenhouse where greens are grown year-round. It’s home to a waterfall and pond with fish, trellises for grapes and seedlings, artwork for the soul, and mushrooms growing from straw. The outside garden offers herbs, berries and greens. Kris sees herself as a steward of the land, and delights in sharing it with kids and interns in a spirit of love and reciprocity.

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Markets & Outlets, Village Development.

Surplus citrus bounty gleaned by volunteers

In “Right Livelihood – How Can We All $upport One Another?”, author Carolyn Payne-Gemmell brought up some limitations of a traditional “veggie swap” that excluded the ability to purchase products with currency. And while I understand that one of the main ideas behind swaps is to build community, like Carolyn, I actually believe that swaps can severely limit community-building and right livelihood, even if unintentionally so. So the question becomes, is there a better way?

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Corrupt, irrational, destructive, counter-productive: this scarcely begins to describe our farming policy.

Soil erosion in a maize field.
Photo: Defra

Just as mad cow disease exposed us to horrors – feeding cattle on the carcasses of infected cattle – previously hidden in plain sight, so the recent floods have lifted the lid on the equally irrational treatment of the land. Just as BSE exposed dangerous levels of collusion between government and industry, so the floods have begun to expose similar cases of complicity and corruption. But we’ve heard so far just a fraction of the story.

I hope in this article to lift the lid a little further. The issues I’ve begun to investigate here – the corrupt practices and the irrationality of current policies – should unite both left and right in a demand for change. They should be as offensive to those who seek to curb public spending as they are to those who seek to defend it.

In July 2013, the British government imposed a £26,000 cap on the total benefits a household can receive. In the same month it was pursuing a different policy in urgent discussions in Brussels: fighting tooth and nail to prevent the imposition of a proposed cap precisely ten times that size (€300,000, or £260,000). The European Commission wanted this to be as much money as a single farmer could receive in subsidies(1). The British government was having none of it.

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