Obstinate Questionings

The Lake District’s bid for World Heritage status shows just what a mess conservation is in. by George Monbiot But for those obstinate questionings Of sense and outward things, Fallings from us, vanishings; Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realised…. — William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality. It’s the most celebrated landscape in Britain. It’s the spiritual home of the Romantic movement. It’s the birthplace of […]

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Get Your Food from a Firehose

We have been delving into the dirty secret behind our food, which is that it comes from bacteria — primarily, with considerable assistance from a social network of fungi, nematodes, micro-arthropods and soil-dwelling microbes of various descriptions. Most people, asked what plants eat, answer something like, "sunlight, water and dirt." Water and sunlight play an important role, for sure, but what really counts is the life within the soil. This […]

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Using Gutter Waste as Compost for Your Garden

One chore that must be done a few times a year is cleaning out the gutters of our homes. Many of us dread this chore and might hire someone to clean the gutters and get rid of the waste without a second-thought; however, the accumulation of leaves and other organic material in gutters can actually be a rich source of nutrients for your plants. Decomposing organic material in your gutters […]

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Living Without a Fridge

by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. I’ve been living without a fridge for the last three months — the winter months of Melbourne, Australia. Before you send me to the asylum, however, let me tell you about this experiment which produced several interesting, and I think important, surprises, related to energy consumption and lifestyle habits. […]

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Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

//www.youtube.com/embed/c0KYU2j0TM4 In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

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Winter at Tata Kaitawa, 2013 (New Zealand)

by Yvonne Collin Misty winter morning in the valley What winter? Have we had one and it has slipped by without making a noise? We have had a few cold and wet days here in the bush and the occasional frost after a clear night, but not like the winters we are used to having. We live in a deep valley, one of two valleys that meet at the bottom, […]

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Permaculture is Weaving Magic! (Maharashtra, India)

by Jyoti Deshpande, Chaitraban It has been almost three years, and, as Toby Hemenway says, the magic is happening! The trees are yielding shiny tasty food, the variety of weeds on the land is slowly reducing, the soil is a darker colour now and there are tons and tons of predatory insects patrolling the site.

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U.S. Bike-Sharing Fleet More than Doubles in 2013

by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute The opening of the San Francisco Bay Area bike share on August 29, 2013, brings the combined fleet of shared bikes in the United States above 18,000, more than a doubling since the start of the year. The United States is now home to 34 modern bike-sharing programs that allow riders to easily make short trips on two wheels without having to own a […]

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Volunteering as Education in Transition

We are no doubt living in an era of unprecedented opportunity for change in our economies and our cultural structures. While sometimes change lags where an outdated momentum remains, in many cases we’re seeing a speedy shift in the way people define their education and careers. Gap years are starting to become research sabbaticals for people preferring to complete their education at the University of Life. We’re making a transition, […]

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Maximum Yield Cropping System (MYCS)

There are many economic, social and environmental benefits to be gained by increasing the current yield from existing food production areas, including increased employment, food production and community food security, and most important, the prevention of clearing more forests for food production. Natural ecosystem services are essential for human existence, providing life support functions such as water and oxygen — and they are the models from which we can design […]

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Paradise Lost

Many of us who have been paying attention to the state of the world over the last half century have now begun to realize with growing horror that the progressive deterioration we have been tracking shows no signs of resolution. In fact, to some of us it looks as though there is no way to resolve this deepening crisis. The end of the track is in sight. The planetary factory […]

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Problem: Pollution — Solution: Biogas

In this polluted world there is good news. We can create energy from some of our waste! by Zaia Kendall, PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast Creating the biogas biodigester dome in our May 2013 Biodigester Course Debates about CSG (Coal Seam Gas) mining (otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’) are ongoing. There is also talk about highly contaminated human manure polluting water with oestrogens, prozac and other hormones, drugs and […]

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