Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Land, Peak Oil, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Village Development.

This Korean tale of an ancient stream which got paved over to make a freeway, before becoming a nightmare of congestion and stress for inhabitants, and then being painstakingly restored, at great expense, back into a stream and pedestrian zone again, is an excellent case for permaculture observation, planning, ethics and design.

A little history on this:

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Posted by & filed under Land.

Have you got what it takes to create an award winning garden for under $1,500?

The ABC Gardening Australia Expo is looking for talented landscapers, garden designers or students to work within a $1500 budget to create a 3m x 6m garden. All successful applicants will have their garden on display for thousands of people to enjoy at the ABC Gardening Australia Expo.

First Prize: AU$3,000
Visitor’s Choice: AU$1,800

Categories are:

  • Vegetable/Edible/Sustainable
  • Courtyard/Inner City/Outdoor Room
  • Waterwise

Please note: The prize money is not per category. There is only 1 overall prize and 1 visitors choice award.

The deadline is July 29, so be quick!

Click here to find out more and to enter (950kb PDF).

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Energy Systems, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Land, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Small integrated farms with off-grid renewable energy may be the perfect solution to the food and financial crisis while mitigating and adapting to climate change

by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Note: A fully referenced and illustrated version of this report is posted on ISIS members’ website and also available for download here.

A Sarvodaya villager sells a diverse range of organic produce roadside
– with more than 95% of it grown behind the stall, and by her own family

Photo © copyright Craig Mackintosh

In a Nutshell

An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate.

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

To prevent climate breakdown, we need to declare most of the fossil fuels in the earth’s crust off-limits.

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

Rejoice, the boom is back! After a drought of investment, last week BP announced that it was spending £3bn to redevelop fields in the deep waters to the west of Shetland. The government was delighted: this shows, it says, that its policies are working. It promised to “continue to work alongside oil and gas companies to support growth and jobs in the UK.”(1)

Great. But hold on a minute, didn’t the government tell us, just two days before, that its priority is to decarbonise the economy?(2) Well it depends who you’re talking to, and at which point in the cycle of crashing contradictions you catch them.

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Posted by & filed under Dams, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Land, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

by Tamera, Portugal

The Tamera water landscape is a model and an educational project for natural water management and the renaturation of damaged landscapes all over the world and a basis for forestation, horticulture and agriculture in regions threatened by desertification. It is a globally adaptable model which can be applied in all regions in various appropriate forms.

Southern Portugal is threatened by rapid desertification. Forest fires, summer droughts and the loss of biodiversity are symptoms of a widespread loss of valuable land. The vegetation is threatened. Cork oaks and pine trees die in large numbers because the soil, leeched by excessive grazing and poor agricultural practices has lost its capacity to retain water. Erosion washes away fertile soil and what’s left dries up. Simultaneously there is flooding and water damage due to strong winter rainfalls every spring. Desertification and flooding are symptoms of one problem: incorrect water management caused by industrial agriculture, over-grazing, monoculture forestry and deforestation. Portugal´s average rainfall is similar to that of central Europe — yet the desert seems to grow right before our eyes.

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

The government and the industry promised that they had dealt with aminopyralid poisoning. They haven’t.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom. Pictures and captions from John Mason.

This image shows sunflowers that began life at the same time. On the right,
a bed which was free of this particular manure; on the left,
a bed which had the manure added.

Growing food, for reasons I haven’t quite got to the bottom of, is an intensely emotional process. The satisfaction I get from harvesting a good crop bears no relationship to any value that crop possesses. I take more pride in my fruit and vegetables than in any of the work I do. When the slugs mow down my seedlings, or my watering system fails, or blight knackers my tomatoes, it throws me into a depression which sometimes last for days.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Land, News, Peak Oil, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development.

This is by-law madness, and it’ll have to change…. I rather blatantly encourage everyone to disregard dumb rules like this which would stop you from increasing your resiliency and demonstrating better use of your lawn space. The more of us who rebel against absurdity, the easier it becomes to legalise sustainability. I just hope you’ll be smart enough to ensure that your lawn-liberation is done whilst keeping aesthetic standards high as well (i.e. don’t give people justifiable reason to complain!). Julie Bass’ nice tidy veggie planters, which you’ll see in the videos below, are a good example, and only reflect all the more poorly on the neighbours who have complained and the local government who are obviously wholly ignorant of where we presently stand in history….

Vegetables are most definitely suitable!

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, General, Insects.

Not too many permaculturists have to deal with problems as potentially destructive, and even deadly, as elephants. But, I have met some of these people in my travels (see here and here). For those around the world grappling with this oversized issue, here is some potential help born of good permaculture system observation:

A simple fence made from wood, wire and beehives can deter elephants from raiding farmers’ crops.

A pilot study in Kenya has shown that such fences reduce the number of raids by elephants by almost half.

The work is the culmination of previous research which showed elephants are naturally scared of African honey bees.

A much larger trial is now under way in the hope the fences will provide an elegant solution to years of conflict between elephants and farmers. — BBC

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Energy Systems, Peak Oil, Society.

This 1-hour documentary shares the history of how General Motors deliberately swindled the U.S. public out of a superior, healthier public transport system — so as to replace the then-popular electric street cars with their own products: cars, buses and trucks. This deceit and selfishness has landed the American public in its current ultra-vulnerable position, where they: despite having only 4% of the world’s population are consuming 25% of the world’s oil; must endure hours of each day in oft-gridlocked traffic; and must even see their sons shot to pieces fighting far-flung wars over resources. Thanks GM.

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Land, Village Development.

The most frequently asked question of me lately has been about this past October’s flood and its long-term impact on Quail Springs’ work to demonstrate sustainable living practices. Looking to Nature for insight, my response uses the metaphor of a snake losing its skin. At first, the snake may be shocked and confused by such a drastic change beyond its control, but eventually realizes the skin underneath is vibrant, healthy and a better fit for its growing body. Similarly, we now see this flood was a gift in numerous ways and a source of rebirth.

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