Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Land, Peak Oil, Social Gatherings, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development.

by John Shiel

Photo © Craig Mackintosh

There are 2 ways to run a PermaBlitz (building a Permaculture community garden or backyard food garden in one day): coordinated by your local Permaculture club (you receive help with garden design, getting people to your house, and you are covered by their liability insurance), or where a group of friends just have a working bee and look after themselves. Not all Permaculture clubs run Permablitzes.

I am the Vice-Chair of Permaculture Hunter which promotes sustainable and healthy lifestyles in the Australian Hunter region (warm temperate/sub-tropical) and promotes the social and economic aspects of Permaculture. We hold monthly PermaBlitzes to build food gardens in 1 day (takes a few weeks to design, plan and get materials onsite), and members who help with 6 days of Blitzes etc. can get their own Blitz designed and coordinated.

We think it is imperative to encourage more food gardens with the looming oil/fossil fuel shortage which is leading to escalating food prices (mechanisation on the farm, pesticides, fertilisers, transport, refrigeration), and we can provide the templates, some design help, and some coordination for groups to start up.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, People Systems, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings, Society, Village Development.

Warren Brush presents at the Tenth International Permaculture Conference
(IPC10), Amman, Jordan, September 2011
Photograph © Craig Mackintosh

I consider it a privilege to be a friend of Warren Brush, and it’s been a pleasure to see his rapid development in all things Permaculture. In his presentation at the IPC10 (Amman, Jordan, September 2011) Warren took on the topic of peacemaking — in his trademark style of very interesting storytelling, using examples from nature to teach us lessons and including examples from his experiences with indigenous peoples, and from conflict zones in Africa.

All in all you should find this a very worthy watch. Please click play below (and stay tuned for the message below the video!):

Read more »

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

A new road-building programme will drain money from essential services.

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

The money has run out, or so we keep being told. There are no funds left for any but essential projects: the frontline services and the capital spending which cannot be deferred. Councils in particular are desperate for cash: so desperate that they are having to cut everything from libraries to residential care homes, Sure Start centres to Citizens’ Advice Bureaux. Every month they have to make horrible decisions whose consequences will damage people’s lives.

So why are these same cash-strapped councils now intending, alongside central government, to spend £897m on new roads, some of which were first proposed decades ago, but which were deemed unnecessary even when cash was abundant? And why is the government minded to approve this spending?

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Compost, Demonstration Sites, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Land, News, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

The Rodale Institute’s 30-year
Farming Systems Trial report
(1.3mb PDF)

The Rodale Institute has been, for a full 30 years now, conducting a long-term comparative Farming Systems Trial. Starting in 1981, when it was already abundantly clear that industrialising nature was creating far more problems than it solved, the Rodale Institute began documented research comparing organically fertilised fields and conventionally fertilised fields on its 330 acre farm in Pennsylvania, USA.

It’s the longest running comparative study of its kind in the world.

In time for their trial’s 30-year anniversary, the institute has put out a report outlining its documented observations. You can download this report via the link at right.

This report is one of several well-researched reports that have come out in recent years, including the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Failure to Yield report (which proves GMOs do not perform as claimed) and the IAASTD’s 400-scientist-strong, 3-year worldwide study (which concluded we need to quickly transition back to relocalised, diverse, agroecological methods).

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Population, Society.

by Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute

For almost as long as I can remember we have been saying that the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s people, consumes a third or more of the earth’s resources. That was true. It is no longer true. Today China consumes more basic resources than the United States does.

Among the key commodities such as grain, meat, oil, coal, and steel, China consumes more of each than the United States except for oil, where the United States still has a wide (though narrowing) lead. China uses a quarter more grain than the United States. Its meat consumption is double that of the United States. It uses three times as much coal and four times as much steel.

These numbers reflect national consumption, but what would happen if consumption per person in China were to catch up to that of the United States? If we assume conservatively that China’s economy slows from the 11 percent annual growth of recent years to 8 percent, then in 2035 income per person in China will reach the current U.S. level.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease.

by The Cornicopia Institute

A revelatory report released by The Cornucopia Institute, an organic industry watchdog, has stirred controversy in the natural foods marketing arena by highlighting abusive marketing practices by some of the nation’s largest breakfast cereal manufacturers. In some cases, companies such as Kellogg’s, Quaker Oats (PepsiCo), Barbara’s Bakery and Whole Foods Market are selling products contaminated with toxic agrichemicals and Monsanto’s genetically engineered organisms while promoting them as “natural.”

The new report, Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label—A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle (PDF) explores this growing trend of marketing conventional foods as “natural” to lure health-conscious and eco-conscious consumers and their shopping dollars.

Unlike the organic label, no government agency, certification group, or other independent entity defines the term “natural” on processed food packages or ensures that the claim has merit.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Energy Systems.

This is the concluding article in the series A Solar Powered Life which looks at the various issues, compromises and components of an off-grid (standalone) solar power system. In previous articles I have written about the individual components in this system, but in this article I’ll explain how all of these components are connected. It’s also worth reflecting on the question of why a standalone solar power system would be of interest to permaculturalists, so we’ll take a look at that also.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under GMOs.

by Jeffrey M. Smith, Institute for Responsible Technology

After more than 40,000 votes on 139 designs, here is the winning design chosen by Threadless – and we love it! It makes people laugh, tells a story, raises questions, and starts a conversation.

Wear it for GMO rallies! Buy them as holiday gifts! Give one to your favorite teacher!

The Institute for Responsible Technology Facebook t-shirt contest photo gallery:

Take a picture of yourself in this winning design and upload it to our Facebook page!

Our gratitude and thanks!:

So many talented designers entered, we can’t thank you enough for your energy and passion!

Our work:

Threadless donates 25% of each sale to the Non-GMO Campaign of The Institute for Responsible Technology.

Purchase Now!

Thanks for your support!

Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Village Development.

Editor’s Note: For background on this report, see Paul’s previous post.

On the 1st August 2011 the Permaculture Network Ghana undertook a project in collaboration with Harvesters Mission at Alhassan Akuraa, which includes a food forest establishment, nursery establishment, paddock systems, soil treatment and the likes.

Alhassan Akuraa is a village located in the Brong Ahafo region and it shares the boundary with the northern Black Volta region. It has a population of about five hundred. Of the five hundred, 50% are into fishing, 40% farming and the remaining 10% other trades.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Peak Oil, People Systems, Society.

If this analysis is correct, a Great Depression is all but inevitable.

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

I stumbled out into the autumn sunshine, figures ricocheting around in my head, still trying to absorb what I had heard. I felt as if I had just attended a funeral: a funeral at which all of us got buried. I cannot claim to have understood everything in the lecture: Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu Theory and the 41-line differential equation were approximately 15.8 metres over my head(1). But the points I grasped were clear enough. We’re stuffed: stuffed to a degree that scarcely anyone yet appreciates.

Read more »