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Food Plants - Perennial — by Craig Elevitch December 2, 2008
Perennial Leaf Vegetables
by Craig Elevitch (see bio at bottom), originally published in the Permaculture International Journal, #61 Dec-Feb 1997 page 31
There are two types of gardeners as I see it: the “master gardener” type who genuinely delights in the detailed tasks of garden management; and the “lazy” gardener who enjoys harvesting but who experiences other garden activities as drudgery. I belong to the latter category. For years I have been striving for the generous results of the master gardener without the continual effort. That’s what permaculture is about for me – abundant results for minimal effort.
The solution for me was to abandon the idea of building my garden around familiar annuals such as lettuce, spinach and peas. This happened when I learned about a whole group of perennial plants that have edible leaves, stems and often other parts. These are known as “perennial vegetables,” or “leaf spinaches.”Comments (4)
Aquaculture, Food Plants - Annual, Medicinal Plants — by Alanna Moore November 29, 2008
The Water Chestnut, Eleocharis dulcis, is a tropical/sub-tropical sedge that grows in water margins and bogs in many parts of India, South-East Asia, New Guinea, Northern Australia and Polynesia. It is an annual that has erect, narrow, tubular leaves (clums) half a metre to a metre tall. The plant spreads by a creeping rhizome which, through the summer months, produces additional sucker plants. The sweet corms are highly valued as a nutritious food. They are also used medicinally for a number of ailments, used either fresh, boiled or steeped in rice wine. The corms contain an antibiotic principle called ‘puchin’, which acts like penicillin, helping in immune functioning. The stems may be used for mulch, fodder, fruit and vegetable packaging, and crafts.Comments (4)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change — by George Monbiot November 26, 2008
The latest science suggests that preventing runaway climate change means total decarbonisation.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
George Bush is behaving like a furious defaulter whose home is about to be repossessed. Smashing the porcelain, ripping the doors off their hinges, he is determined that there will be nothing worth owning by the time the bastards kick him out. His midnight regulations, opening America’s wilderness to logging and mining, trashing pollution controls, tearing up conservation laws, will do almost as much damage in the last 60 days of his presidency as he achieved in the foregoing 3000(1).
His backers – among them the nastiest pollutocrats in America – are calling in their favours. But this last binge of vandalism is also the Bush presidency reduced to its essentials. Destruction is not an accidental product of its ideology. Destruction is the ideology. Neoconservatism is power expressed by showing that you can reduce any part of the world to rubble.Comments (2)
Building, Health & Disease — by Alanna Moore November 25, 2008
Extracted from: ‘Third Skin’ A. Vasella, Dip Arch., P.I.J. #14. ‘Biotechture’ S.Lesiuk, P.I.J.#8. ‘Biotectual Systems’ R. Doernach P.I.J. #7. International Institute for Building Biology and Ecology PO Box 387 Clearwater FL 34615 USA.
Edited by Alanna Moore
In the western, urban world the average person spends around 90% of their time indoors. Evidence is mounting to show that such prolonged exposure to modern building materials and architecture can be detrimental to health. There is now a growing ‘bio-house’ movement where only natural and renewable resources are used in building people friendly homes.
Biological architecture, originating from the German ‘baubiologie’ movement, addresses the ecological nature of building and the integral relationships between people and their built environment. Building biology makes for good preventative medicine. It aims to re-establish the lost balance between technology, culture and biology. The three should play an equal role in the building activity.Comments (0)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education Centres, News — by Nichole Ross November 23, 2008
Homeland Security. To the native people of the Hawaiian Islands, it’s more than just a buzzword thrown around by the Bush Administration to justify the creation of another branch of government. For Native Hawaiians, like many indigenous people around the world, the story is the same – foreign occupation resulting in loss of homelands and culture.
Traditional Hawaiian Gardening at Kapahu Farm on Maui (www.kipahulu.org)
In 1921, in an effort, led by Prince Kuhio Kalanianaole, to right these wrongs and help native Hawaiians reclaim their ties to the ‘aina (land), the United States Congress passed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The Act set aside 203,500 acres of public lands for those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood.Comments (0)
Economics, GMOs, Society — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho: Geneticist, Biophysicist and Director of the not-for-profit Institute of Science in Society.
The world’s biggest philanthropic foundation is reaping huge profits investing in companies responsible for causing the problems it tries to solve; its grant-giving is also doing more harm than good in undermining health and agricultural systems, distorting national and global priorities, and preventing the necessary paradigm change that could help secure the future of the planet.
Dark clouds over good works
|Bill & Melinda Gates, with Warren Buffet|
The Gates Foundation, the world’s largest, richest philanthropic organisation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000, and doubled in size by Warren Bufflett in 2006, is “dedicated to bringing innovations in health and learning to the global community” in order to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty. It is indeed famous for giving hundreds of millions to good causes.
But an investigative report published in the LA Times at the beginning of 2007 found that the Gates Foundation “reaps vast financial gains every year from investments that contravene its good works”. These investments go to companies responsible for causing the problems the Foundation tries to solve.Comments (1)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Financial Management — by George Monbiot November 21, 2008
John Maynard Keynes had the answer to the crisis we’re now facing; but it was blocked and then forgotten.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Delegations at Bretton Woods
Poor old Lord Keynes. The world’s press has spent the past week blackening his name. Not intentionally: most of the dunderheads reporting the G20 summit which took place over the weekend really do believe that he proposed and founded the International Monetary Fund. It’s one of those stories that passes unchecked from one journalist to another.
The truth is more interesting. At the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, John Maynard Keynes put forward a much better idea. After it was thrown out, Geoffrey Crowther – then the editor of the Economist magazine – warned that “Lord Keynes was right … the world will bitterly regret the fact that his arguments were rejected.”(1) But the world does not regret it, for almost everyone – the Economist included – has forgotten what he proposed.Comments (1)
Food Plants - Perennial, Gabions, Land, Plant Systems, Trees — by Bill Mollison November 19, 2008
Whether it is an issue of conserving water of using suitable plant species, thriving in a desert environment is a masterful act of management. Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison has spent time in many of the world’s arid regions and here shares his observations on surviving in some of them.
Building Abundance into Sandy Deserts
Why should we garden, when there are so many mongongo trees in the world? – !Kung tribesman
The mongongo tree (Ricinidendrin rautenii) grows in great groves on the crests of sand dunes in Africa’s Kalahari desert. It is a deciduous tree with two sexes. One in every 12 trees in a grove must be male to pollinate the females.Comments (6)
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"War-torn" is such a compact description, isn’t it. It leaves out the economics and the politics and the machinations of great powers, and concentrates on the trauma in the here and now, as though it had sprung fully formed upon an innocent world.
So we watch the seizing of an oil tanker by desperate men from a failed state – whose climate and conditions get crueler by the year – and we imagine that it is not a portent of things to come, but an aberration in an otherwise purposeful, perfectible world. We choose not to look down the path from whence this monster came.Comments (0)
Building, Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Robyn Francis November 18, 2008
The practical ‘down-to-earth’ farmer, gardener and layperson will often find the theories surrounding ecology and energy very heavy going, if not downright confusing. What I would like to do is offer some practical perspectives on how we can use resources responsibly.
Energy, in a holistic sense, involves much more than electricity and the use of fossil fuels, although these are certainly central to the energy issue. In permaculture design, energy and resource management are virtually synonymous and it is often difficult, if not impossible, to separate the two.Comments (0)
Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 17, 2008
The IEA World Energy Outlook reports get more accurate every year – by 2030 it’ll be spot on.
Disclaimer: As the title should indicate, don’t read this post if you’re of a delicate disposition.
The International Energy Agency has just released the latest incarnation of its annual ‘World Energy Outlook‘ report – the 2008 edition. Please stand for a moment of mock-reverence.
Thank you. Please be seated.
For those not familiar, the IEA releases an annual report, making reasonably detailed projections of expected energy supplies and demands for the nations of the world. It breaks these total energy forecasts down into its various sources (oil, coal, natural gas, renewables, etc.), and looks at expected economic growth trends for different countries and sectors and their impacts on energy consumption. The last several editions have covered the period from publication to the year 2030, and they have also factored in a few different scenarios to roughly cover policy changes that could occur throughout the period to give policymakers an idea of potential outcomes.
It is certainly a worthwhile endeavour – you could say critical, actually. If only they did it well.Comments (4)
Global Warming/Climate Change — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 15, 2008
I’ve often expressed my concern (here & here for example) that scientists, and, in particular, the politicians that have the greatest power to incentivise change in the world, have been rather arbitrary in settling on a politically correct (read – economically barely palatable) target of reining in the world’s emissions just shy of 450 parts per million (ppm: that’s 450 parts of CO2 for every million parts of atmosphere). 450 ppm would be a 60% increase in CO2 concentration over pre-industrial levels (approx. 280 ppm), and this was accepted by many — even if uncomfortably in some quarters — as the point where we would hit the red zone on our climate system’s tachometer.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Project Positions — by Brett Bell November 14, 2008
With an acre of land to work with, could you develop a sustainable demonstration garden for a health centre to teach its HIV positive clients about nutrition and gardening practices to maximize their land’s potential?Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
A recently released study, the largest of its kind, examines the root causes of, and solutions for, a food crisis that will likely get much worse before it gets better — and that will never get better if we continue with business as usual
No, not because I don’t have enough food to eat, but because I’m too busy typing and too lazy to walk to the refrigerator. How I wish it were this simple for the people I keep reading about.Comments (4)
Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 13, 2008
Full Report (5mb PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
2-Page Consumer Summary (PDF)
Press Release (PDF)
Nutrient levels in food supply eroded by pursuit of high yields
When we sit down to a meal of supermarket-bought produce, we like to think we’re getting a reasonable cross-section of the body’s nutrient requirements, but studies are showing that our chemical intensive monocrop farming systems are not delivering the vital ’secondary nutrients’ that our ancestors enjoyed. Plants ‘flourishing’ on fast, soluble chemical fertilisers get ‘lazy’ and do not develop the deep, healthy root systems that pull additional elements out of the soil. In addition, the soil micro-organisms that break down organic matter and minerals to feed to plant roots are being slaughtered through chemical bombardment and violent mechanised manipulation of their environment.
Essentially, we’re getting robbed, and having to pay for it in reduced health/vitality/longevity and increased medical bills.Comments (1)