Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings, Village Development.

Sponsorship opportunity in permaculture: businesses, local groups, entrepreneurs, consultants & trainers.

Dear Permaculture Practitioners and Local Groups

National Permaculture Day (NPD) showcases the practices of permaculture to the public. Businesses and local groups show permaculture in action — through markets, demonstrations, ‘open houses and gardens’, and local events in city and country.

The day has run nationally for three years, supported first by individuals and local groups, and last year by a grant of $17,900 from the federal government. It is part of the developing move for a national presence for permaculture.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

As economies contract, a global popular uprising confronts power elites over access to the essentials of human existence. What are the underlying dynamics of the conflict, and how is it likely to play out?

by Richard Heinberg (Article originally published on

1. Prologue

As the world economy crashes against debt and resource limits, more and more countries are responding by attempting to salvage what are actually their most expendable features — corrupt, insolvent banks and bloated militaries — while leaving the majority of their people to languish in “austerity.” The result, predictably, is a global uprising. This current set of conditions and responses will lead, sooner or later, to social as well as economic upheaval — and a collapse of the support infrastructure on which billions depend for their very survival.

Nations could, in principle, forestall social collapse by providing the basics of existence (food, water, housing, medical care, family planning, education, employment for those able to work, and public safety) universally and in a way that could be sustained for some time, while paying for this by deliberately shrinking other features of society — starting with military and financial sectors — and by taxing the wealthy. The cost of covering the basics for everyone is within the means of most nations. Providing human necessities would not remove all fundamental problems now converging (climate change, resource depletion, and the need for fundamental economic reforms), but it would provide a platform of social stability and equity to give the world time to grapple with deeper, existential challenges.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants.

In this article I would like to share with you the transition Yotam and I went through from conventional hair care to a completely zero waste, home made, natural hair care regime.

I think this process is also a mirror to many other parallel transitions we have been doing in our lives on our way to sustainability, and that our society still needs to go through.

Any step you take on this path is blessed, but knowing that there is more that you can do can help in taking yourself further.

Here are the steps we’ve gone through:

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society.

Now it’s a straight fight with the billionaires and corporations.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

Shocking, fascinating, entirely unsurprising: the leaked documents, if authentic, confirm what we suspected but could not prove. The Heartland Institute, which has helped lead the war against climate science in the United States, is funded among others by tobacco firms, fossil fuel companies and one of the billionaire Koch brothers(1).

It appears to have followed the script written by a consultant to the Republican party, Frank Luntz, in 2002. “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”(2)

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Society.

What is happening in the world today and how can people help themselves, each other and the planet, so that the future will look bright again.

by Zaia Kendall

I would like to start off by saying how much I love Australia. The people are great, there is a lot of opportunity here for everyone and we have a lot of space and an enormous amount of wealth.

Unfortunately, this also means that people become complacent.

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Posted by & filed under Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Studies have already found Monsanto’s toxic herbicide Roundup in groundwater, in streams, and even in the rain and air of US agricultural areas. It’s been found in our blood and even crosses the placental barrier to enter our unborn fetuses. So are we surprised that a German university study has now found significant concentrations of Roundup’s main ingredient glyphosate in the urine of city dwellers?

Perhaps we should be surprised at the amount: all the samples had concentrations of glyphosate at 5 to 20 times the limit for drinking water.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Land.

It is with great excitement that RegenAG announces an upcoming series of Applied Watershed Restoration courses in NSW and QLD with acclaimed watershed restoration and erosion control expert Craig Sponholtz, of Dryland Solutions.

We’ve managed to haul Craig out to Australia for a couple of weeks to skill us up on some ground-breaking, doable techniques in erosion control and passive water harvesting, as first brought to prominence in ‘Let the Water do the Work’ by Bill Zeedyk.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, DVDs/Books, Education Centres, Village Development.

Gillian Leahy (a documentary maker) and Terry Leahy (permaculture researcher) are making a film about the Chikukwa project in Zimbabwe.

This is a feel good story out of Africa. For the last 20 years an amazing permaculture project has been working in Zimbabwe. Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques. Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, primary education and HIV management. Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements. Their degraded landscape has been turned into a lush paradise. This film shows how this has happened.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Society.

by Brigid Fitzgerald Reading, Earth Policy Institute

The global economy grew 3.8 percent in 2011, a drop from 5.2 percent in 2010. Economists had anticipated a slowdown, but this was even less growth than expected, thanks to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, unrest in oil-producing countries, the debt crisis in Europe, and a stagnating recovery in the United States. As richer economies struggle to recover from the financial crisis of 2008–09, poorer countries are facing high food prices and rising youth unemployment. Meanwhile, growing income inequality and environmental disruption are challenging conventional notions of economic health.

The total value of goods and services produced worldwide in 2011 was $77.2 trillion, twice as much as 20 years ago. The global economy expanded by an average of 4 percent each year in the decade leading up to the 2008 slowdown and the 2009 contraction. Industrial economies typically grew by about 3 percent annually in the 10 years before the recession but only 1.6 percent in 2011. Developing economies, which grew by an average of roughly 6 percent annually in the decade before the recession, grew by 6.2 percent last year.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Shortages, Health & Disease, Village Development.

USAID Permaculture Technical Brief
(580kb PDF)

The growing food crisis has struggled to stay in the headlines since being highlighted broadscale in the mainstream media back in 2008, but it moves apace regardless, and I can assure you it will continue to do so, likely at a frightening rate. A 2012 Save the Children report shares that "Half a billion children could grow up physically and mentally stunted over the next 15 years because they do not have enough to eat" (BBC).

With this in mind, it’s excellent news that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID — "the United States federal government agency primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid" Wikipedia) is moving to incorporate permaculture design into its aid work for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). They’ve just released a technical brief (right) to help expedite this.

From the document:

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change.

Misrepresenting climate science: Cherry-picking data for political purposes

The Heartland Institute, as many readers will know, has been at the centre of efforts to cloud the issues and science surrounding climate change for years now. (Before that, they were at the centre of efforts to cloud and discredit the science linking cigarettes to cancer.) Indeed, this self-styled ‘think tank’ receives millions of dollars of donations from fossil-fuel industries who, it seems, would pay virtually anything for climate change concerns to melt away, even while the arctic ice cap does the same. Registered as a non-profit, the Heartland Institute is the funneling point for huge sums of money which go directly into efforts to create doubts about man’s impact on global climate.

Although the motives of the Heartland Institute have always been tremendously clear to most, a Heartland insider has just ripped away their pretentious veil to reveal the inner workings of this think tank corporate lobbying firm.

Just to ensure the documents received by the DeSmogBlog team are safely scattered over many servers, I will also list Heartland’s documents here.

They make an interesting, and disturbing, read:

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

The GE Tree Company ArborGen has been given permission by the USDA to plant huge plantations of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees across seven states in the southern U.S. — Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and South Carolina. These states are very well-suited for eucalyptus culture, and varieties of eucalyptus have naturalized in other areas of the United States. Eucalyptus are also used extensively as ornamentals across the warmer parts of the States, creating many opportunities for genetic contamination.

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