Every time we add our own labour to a product or perform a service we expend energy and increase the overall entropy of the environment. Every time we exchange money for product or service, the legal tender we use represents payment for previous energy that we expended. Money, after all, is nothing more than stored energy credits. – Jeremy Rifkin, Entropy: A New World View, New York: Viking Press, 1980
Money can be anything that people in a community will accept as carrying on its basic functions, which are to provide a unit of value, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. Throughout history many different forms of money have been created with a number of forms being used simultaneously within the same community. Each form has various advantages and disadvantages. These need to be reassessed with modern technology and in the context of the objective of creating for individual communities an autonomous banking and monetary system.
Historically, units of value have been defined in terms of the weight of a given commodity of specified quality. Ideally, the commodity selected as a unit of value should also provide a stable value over time. As scarcity creates value and abundance reduces value, we need to select a commodity, the availability of which remains relatively stable in relation to all the other goods and services traded for money in the community. This requirement is described as the quantity theory of money. Simple stated this theory says that, other things being equal, prices will vary directly in proportion to the quantity of money in circulation.
Think again before you reach into your pocket to give; the money you donate to feed starving children may actually be prolonging war in places like Darfur and Somalia, says Dutch journalist Linda Polman. Darfur is ruled by quite a sophisticated military regime which charges aid organizations for every move they are allowed to make in Darfur. “For every single person that works for aid organizations, for every single kilo of rice, aid organizations are forced to pay what they call, ‘taxes,’” she tells Big Think. “So the military regime there is actually cashing in on a lot of aid organizations for quite large amount of money. That money goes towards the war effort of the military regime of Darfur and is actually being used for the ethnic cleansing and the genocide taking place in Darfur.”
Permaculture is a connecting system between disciplines and elements in a matrix of design, and swales are a mainframe element. The efficiency of swales is that they can interrupt water surface flow high in a landscape where it is then infiltrated relatively quickly, on contour, and moves incredibly slowly through the landscape soil and subsoil profiles. This becomes a great advantage to the potential productivity of any property, especially a property that is designed to be diverse and interactive with many ecosystem elements. When you design a property this way, a mainframe approach as a consultant designer is:
As the 21st Century begins as the Age of Drought, we look at three places–Florida, China, and Nevada–where dryness has gone big. In Florida, the world’s most famous swamp, the Everglades, has been turning into a salt flat. In China, vast problems with water pollution have been compounded in some areas by problems of having no water. And Nevada’s Lake Mead, once the largest reservoir in the world, now is given a 50% chance of drying up completely in the next dozen years.
Geoff Lawton’s Permaculture Soils DVD is now shipping. A special thanks go out to all the people that pre-ordered this disk and waited patiently for their DVD to arrive. If you haven’t received them already, your DVDs are now in the mail and will arrive very shortly.
We had a few issues with transport delays which were outside our control but supplies are now all fixed and flowing normally.
The DVD starts with a short introduction to modern industrial chemical fertilisers (NPK) and how monoculture has destroyed the bio-diversity of many living soils.
Geoff seeks to redress this problem through adopting Permaculture management systems, showing you a number of techniques you can use to redress this imbalance.
With probably the most comprehensive instruction on compost creation, using animation and various manures and inoculums, Geoff spends the first 30 minutes explaining the composting process and shows you ways to reintroduce rich bio-diverse organisms back into your soil that feed the plants and actively help build soil. Whether you want to favour tree plantations like food forest systems or green leafy vegetable crops, Geoff will show ways to create the right kind of compost.
Part two of the DVD focuses on building a Permaculture Kitchen garden using small animal systems like worms, ducks and chickens to return nutrients back to the soil.
Part three takes us into broader pasture management techniques from using cattle and chickens together, cell grazing techniques and re-mineralization strategies for pasture management.
The DVD also explains ways to turbo charge larger main crop gardens using biological compost teas. Every step is explained in Geoff’s unique hands-on approach, right in the field.
About two months ago, Charles Walters, editor for Acres, USA, asked if I might not get interviews with Bill Mollison and Masanobu Fukuoka for future use in his paper. Both were to be speakers at The 2nd International Permaculture Conference, August 8-10 at the Evergreen State College, in Olympia.
This turned out to be a working conference, with more than 60 other presenters from all corners of the world. Masanobu Fukuoka is the author of The One-Straw Revolution (Rodale Press) and several other texts on natural farming. Many in the world now consider him the Master Farmer of Japan. I will share this interview with you in a later issue of HMR. Both these interviews, and the conference as a whole were “events,” and well worth the time.
After several decades of rapid rise in world grain yields, it is now becoming more difficult to raise land productivity fast enough to keep up with the demands of a growing, increasingly affluent, population. From 1950 to 1990, world grainland productivity increased by 2.2 percent per year, but from 1990 until 2009 it went up by only 1.3 percent annually. Despite some impressive local advances, the global loss of momentum in expanding food production is forcing us to think more seriously about reducing demand by stabilizing population, moving down the food chain, and reducing the use of grain to fuel cars.
One of the key components of Plan B, the Earth Policy Institute’s ambitious strategy to save civilization, is to halt world population growth at no more than 8 billion by 2040. This will require an all-out population education effort to help people everywhere understand how fast the relationship between us and our natural support systems is deteriorating. It also means that we need a crash program to get reproductive health care and birth control services to the more than 200 million women today who want to plan their families but lack access to the means to do so.
It’s been a long time coming, but the uber-significant Peak Oil issue has finally started to infiltrate the corridors of power. What they’ll do with this information remains to be seen….
There is no reason for optimism. — Dr. James Schlesinger (former Secretary of Defence and the U.S.’s first Secretary of Energy)
I made mention recently of the leaked German Military Peak Oil study (German PDF here, key points summarised in English here) which looked at the Peak Oil issue from a national security standpoint. Now the New Zealand government has created their own study — releasing it publicly, rather than forcing some conscientious and concerned person to have to sneak it out the back door.
The summary findings of the study are almost word-for-word with what I wrote a long time ago (here and here for example).
For some time now I’ve been anxious to get a worm composting system for our kitchen scraps to turn our “waste” into a valuable resource – soil! Inspired by some pretty neat worm systems that I found on the web, I set out to design something that would work very well, yet could be built with scrap or easily available material.
Curious what goes on at the PRI Zaytuna Farm? If you live close to the farm, or are passing by, you're welcome to book yourself on a farm tour (Wednesdays at 10am only). Contact the farm manager and we'll see you soon.
We will take a minimum of 3 people at $35 p/p (groups of less than 3 adults are $50 p/p). Large groups please call to discuss pricing (at least 48 hours prior required). If you would like to eat lunch with us, please state this at the time of booking. Lunch is an additional $5 for students under 13 years and adults $20 each.