A Prosperous Descent – Telling new stories as the old book closes

A Prosperous Descent - Telling new stories as the old book closes

OVER THE LAST two centuries in the West, we have been telling ourselves that economic growth is the most direct path to prosperity, that the good life implies material affluence, and that technology and ‘free markets’ will be able to solve most of our social and environmental problems. In recent decades, we have even attempted to impose this story on the entire globe, arrogantly declaring the end of history.

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Living Simply in a Tiny Off Grid Cabin

Living Simply in a Tiny Off Grid Cabin

Tom, Sarah, and their daughter Neesa all live in a tiny 20sqm off grid cabin on a property on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. Instead of paying rent, they share the work of looking after the land with the owners and both families share in the farm’s abundant produce.

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5 Plants to get you back on the Fair Dinkum Track

Coastal Banksia (photo courtesy of Rexness)

In a recent article by John Newton and Paul Ashton from the University of Technology Sydney, the question is raised as to whether or not one can call oneself a true member of their nation, or even bioregion if they have not partaken of it’s indigenous fare. This question I’ve found particularly pressing, and one that seems a little too hard to swallow (pun intended) as the answer feels like […]

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Abundance from Small Spaces


It’s all about habitat. If you create the right habitat, you get what you need. I often ask people, “What is the biggest predator in this garden?” The answer, of course, is “us” because that’s what it’s designed for. Before we were farmers, we were hunter-gatherers. What the word ‘forest’ (from the Anglo-Norman) means is not ‘trees’ at all, but ‘the king’s hunting ground.’ So, what we are doing in creating forest gardens is to get ourselves back as close as we can to being hunter-gatherers: less work, more harvest, no pollution, making the system as self-fertile as possible, recycling wastes into nutrients, and entirely dependent on the best nuclear reactor of all—the sun, and on the rain (or other precipitation) and wind cycles which are driven by the sun’s energy.

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20 Garden Hacks for the Quirky and Pragmatic Permaculturalist

Garden Hacks for the Quirky and Pragmatic Permaculturalist

There is a new term—hack—spinning wildly on the World Wide Web, and I’ve resisted it. I grew up in a time where a hack was someone who did a crappy job, so transitioning into the new definition has been an arduous process for me. But, words evolve, and times change. I don’t want to be the guy standing in the way, so for those of you only now stumbling on […]

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Storing Heat Underground in a Geosolar System

2015-10-20-Geosolar-trench - feat

As an engineer and permaculture designer living in a cold-climate, I am particularly fascinated with the interplay between thermodynamics and design and with capturing “waste” energy and finding novel, inexpensive and efficient ways to store and/or recapture and re-use it. One of these such systems, is geothermal storage. In late 2015, our consulting company, Adaptive Habitat, was hired to design and install a geosolar heat collection system just north of […]

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How to Sustainably Manage Agriculture?

Earthworms and soil in hand

Agriculture will always be here no matter what era it is and no matter the technological advancements. But the question will be about if we can apply sustainable practices in our individual farms. Farmers always need to increase yield, reduce input, and get more harvests without worrying about later consequences of some farming practices. The best way to sustainably manage agriculture is to use the bio-organics system. It imitates nature […]

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Podcast – the contrast between sustainable forestry and planning law – a live case

Podcast - the contrast between sustainable forestry and planning law - a live case

You buy land, you invest your money, time, sweat, blood, and tears. You engage your community. You find niche opportunities to get paid for your investment. You build resiliency in the soil, you battle people who have no idea what you do. There is a visible disconnect between people who are the pioneers of modern land husbandry, and those who wield delegated power to read rule books written by people […]

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Minimum Intervention


How Close to Do Nothing Can You Get?

One of the most attractive principles in Permaculture is minimum intervention. The idea that you can be more productive by doing less has many attractions. If we can get higher yields by working less, we also consume less energy and produce less waste.

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Making Biogas is Easy

Bio Energy

Methane is a versatile, sustainable gas that can be used to perform everyday tasks like heating water and cooking food with surprising simplicity. Unfortunately producing it and using it at home may seem messy, but below we have a simple DIY instruction on making a biogas digester. All grazing animals have bacteria that are needed for creating methane in their guts, with cows being the most efficient creators of the […]

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Causing Biological Invasion with the Click of a Mouse

Causing Biological Invasion with the Click of Mouse 01

Every country is under invasion, not from extra-terrestrial organisms but by native plants from other continents. The case of Switzerland is one such classical example. Long ago Goldenrod, Himalayan balsam and Chinese windmill palm were introduced as ornamental plants and at some point having ‘escaped’ into the wild, they are now threatening the native flora. The main cause of such biological invasions is global trade, which from the last two […]

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Permaculture at Taman Pertanian


The idea behind incorporating permaculture is to show people a site that integrates permaculture demonstration with recreational activities. This mix will be necessary so that people who want to learn and see permaculture working in the tropics can come to this site as a demonstration site. At the same time the site caters for recreational activities that attract different crowds and traps them!

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