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

The Bedouin of the Negev are an ancient people whose cultural history spans centuries, if not millennia. Historically, the Bedouin have been semi-nomadic pastoralists, who made the desert their own through a combination of dry-land farming of forage crops and cereals, rainwater harvesting and seasonal mobility: rotating their presence between their winter and summer grazing grounds. When water and forage ran short, they would move on to another place where they knew they could find what they needed – a cistern that would probably be full, an area where small shrubs would be abundant.

Like all people, everywhere, they created a complex cultural landscape through their activities: modifying the environment they lived in to suit their needs. Like all people, everywhere, they developed their own codes of conduct for sharing the resources upon which they depended among themselves, between different families and tribal groups. Grazing rights, water rights and rights of safe-passage were enshrined in cultural codes, tribal territories were known and respected (or disrespected at the peril of transgressors).

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Project Positions.

Bustan Qaraaqa is a community permaculture project in the Palestinian West Bank. The project consists of an experimental permaculture farm in the town of Beit Sahour close to the historic city of Bethlehem, and several community projects where staff and volunteers work together with Palestinian community groups and individuals to implement permaculture initiatives that have been tried and tested at the farm.

The project has been in operation for almost 4 years now, and as well as building a functioning and attractive permaculture centre for staff and volunteers to live in, we have built up a great network of local partners and become a local landmark in our host town.

In fact, things are going so well that we are feeling the need to extend our team to cope with the workload that we now have. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a cutting edge permaculture project in a fascinating country – ideal for anyone who wants to build up their practical experience.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

What: Extended Permaculture Design Course
When: The itinerary is based on weeks of 5 days where the weekends are free for advancing individual projects, rest or travel in Israel. Program starts on the 11th of March and ends on 15th of August 2012.
Where: The course and accommodations will take place at the Eco khan of Qasr A-Sir, a Bedouin village next to Dimona, Israel.

Vision for Bustan course:

This is going to be a very special permaculture course, that goes way beyond the remit of the normal 2 week intensive Permaculture Design Certificate. In the course of their 5 month stay in Qasr A-Sir, the participants will live and breathe permaculture; have time to absorb, process and discuss the information they are receiving; delve into the historic cultural journey of the human race; see examples of how ancient cultures dealt with their environmental problems and engage in the struggle of contemporary people to deal with theirs; and eventually actually design and implement some permaculture projects, leaving behind a legacy of enhanced sustainability and access to resources that will improve peoples’ quality of life in the host community, and gaining practical experience and know-how that they can take with them when they leave. This will not be just any course – this will be a life-changing experience.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Demonstration Sites.

I was visiting Byron Bay on my last Sunday off in conditions where we have had a large amount of rain and some very unsettled weather with lots of storms. With the winds from the north, the surf conditions where very messy and unfavorable, as also were the fishing conditions, the sea was really unsettled and a lot of fresh water was flowing into the ocean.

So, I instead took the opportunity to visit some of our project work and was fortunate to visit the Arts Factory Backpackers’ garden. This was installed during a permaculture urban landscape course, reference the links below:

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Posted by & filed under Education, Society.

This presentation makes a radical departure from many previous approaches to permaculture education in schools. It does not include gardens or design principles. Instead it considers the main purpose of schools — students learning — and the main factor that influences that purpose: the teacher. Most teachers feel overworked and are reluctant to add anything to what they consider an over-crowded curriculum. Most teachers have low ecological literacy and lack confidence to incorporate sustainability issues into their practice. For them, permaculture is just another multi-syllable, unfamiliar concept. It is the rare teacher who will embrace permaculture and run with it. Good on them!

But for the vast majority of teachers, more nuanced approaches are required for them to want to embrace some of the ideas surrounding permaculture. Those ideas include ethical decision making, applied science, sustainable living, and systems thinking. One strategy is to use permaculture design as the process for engaging teachers and students, not as a desired outcome. This presentation reports on two projects in which holistic, multi-layered approaches to permaculture were used to engage teachers and students in New Zealand Schools.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Society.

When a PDC turns from a certificate course into a journey of change.

When I first registered for my PDC there was a sense of excitement in what I would potentially learn and the new skills I would gain and be able to apply. As time got closer, the focus then turned to the final details of getting there and getting home afterwards. For me the trip there consisted of:

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

Drone warfare can be used to thwart democratic movements, anywhere.

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

The ancient Greeks, unlike the Jews or the Christians, invested their gods with human failings. Divine judgement, they believed, was neither flawless nor dispassionate; it was warped by lust, vengeance and self-interest. In the hands of Zeus, the thunderbolt was both an instrument of justice and a weapon of jealousy and revenge(1).

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Energy Systems, Potable Water.

We built a solar oven made out of cardboard, and showed the pygmies how to purify water through a solar disinfection unit (the SODIS System). We also showed them how to make a filter with a bucket full of sand, gravel and active carbon.

by Xavier Fux

Who said last days weren’t productive? Before leaving, we wanted to provide the pygmies with some very useful tools that can greatly simplify things for them:

  • Simple, easy-to-build solar ovens (to reduce the need for firewood and all the negative implications that come with it)
  • Sand-gravel-charcoal water filter (to clean the water from the 20,000L pond in order to use it for washing and other uses)
  • Solar disinfection system for water (to purify water from the 1000L tank)

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Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

by Janet Larsen and Sara Rasmussen

The global average temperature in 2011 was 14.52 degrees Celsius (58.14 degrees Fahrenheit). According to NASA scientists, this was the ninth warmest year in 132 years of recordkeeping, despite the cooling influence of the La Niña atmospheric and oceanic circulation pattern and relatively low solar irradiance. Since the 1970s, each subsequent decade has gotten hotter—and 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the twenty-first century.

Each year’s average temperature is determined by a number of factors, including solar activity and the status of the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon. But heat-trapping gases that have accumulated in the atmosphere, largely from the burning of fossil fuels, have become a dominant force, pushing the Earth’s climate out of its normal range. The planet is now close to 0.8 degrees Celsius warmer than it was a century ago. Hidden within annual averages and expected variability are startling instances of new temperature and rainfall records in many parts of the world—weather extremes that would once be considered anomalies but that now risk becoming the new norm as the Earth heats up.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Introduction

Back in 2008 I spent 6 weeks in Venezuela. I have a Venezuelan friend who believes as I do that permaculture could and should be a driving force for positive change. We both also believe that the Bolivarian Revolution, championed most famously by the charismatic and controversially colourful personality of Hugo Chavez, despite many serious ‘growing pains’, provides the most pragmatic model for the social transformation of humanity towards a truly just and ecologically sustainable world. Already tremendous social and political changes have taken place since Chavez was elected in 1998. Despite corporate media propaganda to the contrary, his government’s record of accomplishment is undeniable (particularly when contrasted with the dramatic economic and social decline of the so-called ‘developed’ nations and the disturbingly increasing deficit of democracy occurring in Europe and North America.)*

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

I admire the efforts of the permaculturists at the Occupy Wall Street camp, and I think, judging by his statement way back in 1983 (see below), that Bill would admire them also.

Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." — Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)

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

The weather forecasters used by the Daily Mail and other papers don’t appear to exist.

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


The talented line-up of weather forecasters at ‘Positive Weather Solutions’
Click for larger view

Earlier this month, I questioned the credentials of the alternative weather forecasters being used by the Daily Mail, the Express, the Telegraph and the Sun. I suggested that their qualifications were inadequate, their methods inscrutable and their results unreliable. I highlighted the work of two of these companies: Exacta Weather and Positive Weather Solutions (PWS).

Now the story has become more interesting: do the people from Positive Weather Solutions, making its forecasts and quoted in news articles, exist?

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