Posted by & filed under Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings.

What: 11th European Permaculture Convergence (EUPC)
When: August 1st – 5th, 2012
Where: Escherode/Kassel, Germany

Dear activist-friends in Europe

The website for registration is online and we invite you to check the key note speakers, lectures and workshops already listed. This program will grow step by step as soon as people register and send us their proposals for participation.

We are sending our call to come and join the European Permaculture Convergence from 1st – 5th August 2012 in Escherode/Kassel, Germany: NOW – Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.

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

by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute

U.S. meat consumption has peaked. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show that meat eating across the country fell from the 2004 high point of 184 pounds (83 kilograms) per person to 171 pounds in 2011. Early estimates for 2012 project a further reduction in American meat eating to 166 pounds, making for a 10 percent drop over the eight-year period. For a society that lives high on the food chain, this new trend could signal the end of meat’s mealtime dominance.

Total U.S. meat consumption peaked in 2007 at 55 billion pounds and has fallen each year since. In 2012, consumption is expected to drop to 52 billion pounds, the lowest level in more than a decade.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Irrigation, Potable Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Harvesting.

In a land of contrast, mystery and years of imperialism, a small village of over 300 people on the edge of the Kalahari in Namibia germinated a new permaculture resiliency project in January of 2012. In talking with the headman of the village, he shared that their people, the San Bushmen, have lived in harmony with the land as hunter gatherers for eons. They are often cited as the first peoples of Africa and very likely all of humanity may have descended from their ranks many millennia ago.

The village elder sadly shared that colonialism has destroyed the San migratory way of life — a hunter gatherer tradition that was sustainable for thousands of years. He told us that they were no longer allowed to roam freely and trophy hunters destroyed the vast herds of game that formed their principal supply of food. Both Black and White farmers alike built up huge herds of cattle that destroyed the ecology of the Kalahari and subsequently the foods that had been their staple diet. They soon found they had to work for the farmers to be able to feed their families and hence a cycle of poverty and separation from their cultural roots ensued.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Soil Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling.

This is no ordinary worm farm: it is a fun project to do with the kids, it works like the best of farms, it looks fantastic and… it doesn’t cost any money!

Here’s how to make it:

1. Get three polystyrene boxes from your local fish shop / market / green grocer. The boxes should all be of the same size, stackable, in good condition, and preferably white (mine were printed; it wasn’t the end of the world, just required a little extra work). One of them needs to have a lid.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Economics, Land, Society, Village Development.

by David Bollier

I have been asked to address what the commons might have to say about urban spaces and urban life. The short answer is, a lot!

First, the language of the commons helps us assert a moral entitlement to public spaces again. It lets us challenge the unholy alliance of politicians, developers and professional architects and planners, and insist that city spaces serve our needs as ordinary people. This means, first of all, that commercial considerations cannot crowd out vital common purposes – as we see when the market or authoritarians take over.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education, Education Centres, News, Society, Urban Projects.

We did it everyone! It is now official. The UMass Permaculture team will be heading to the White House on March 15! This has been an amazing and inspiring week to see the voting results unfold and be in the center of it all. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support you’ve provided us with.

I’d like to share some reflections for how this week has been for me personally.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Education, Food Plants - Annual, Medicinal Plants, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

Pizza making with home grown produce

Gardening can be an invaluable tool for helping children explore all kinds of things — from chemistry to botany, healthy eating to interactions within a natural system. It also promotes a connection with the earth and an understanding of where food comes from and what is involved in producing it.

Kids love to eat what they have grown, so why not combine that with another kid’s favourite — pizza! Let your children try growing all of their favourite veggie pizza toppings.

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

Ayn Rand’s ideas have become the Marxism of the new right.

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

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the post-war world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

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Posted by & filed under Land, Livestock, Podcasts, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Salination, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Zaytuna Farm – Photo © Craig Mackintosh

In the middle of Winter 2011, Trades Hall in Melbourne hosted a debate between the environmental impacts of an omnivorous diet vs. a vegetarian diet. Evan Young, Permaculture Consultant and former Intern and Staff Member of PRI Australia argued in favour of an omnivorous diet, citing many examples both from nature and modern farming techniques that use the natural pattern. These techniques enhance the environment while providing nutritionally dense foods. The debate was recorded by local 3CR Community Radio show "Food Fight" and they later aired some extracts on their programme — the audio of which is below.

Click play to hear the talk!

3CR 'Food Fight' Show Excerpts Evan Young on Omnivorous Diet

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Livestock, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development.

A report on deer in the Scottish Highlands is a sycophantic paean to Balmorality and landed power.

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

A remnant of the ancient Caledonian Forest, Scotland

I’ve read too many daft reports in the course of this job, but I don’t remember any as self-defeating as this. This morning the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association launches its study on the economic importance of red deer to Scotland’s rural economy*. It succeeds in demonstrating the opposite of what it sets out to prove.

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