Editor’s Note: This pains me. I took a PDC at Quail Springs in August 2008. The Quail Springs team are amongst some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and the work they’re doing is just plain awesome – pioneering research that all of society can benefit from. Please support the team at this challenging moment.
We wanted to share with all of you that we’ve just come through two days of major flooding that have altered the face of Quail Springs. First of all, we are so grateful that no one was hurt or lost. This is a huge blessing for which we are all thankful.
Beginning on Friday, October 1st, we had a storm that dropped a little over 2" of rain in about an hour that caused extreme channel flooding that ripped out our lower gabion, silted up our larger swales and caused damage to about 10% of the garden. We wish that this was the extent of the damage yet mother nature had another story to share with us.
I had the honour of previewing the Worldwide Permaculture Network people/projects database to the 10th Australasian Permaculture Convergence (APC 10) with Geoff last week. During the breaks, with coffee and cookie in hand, I met some really wonderful people.
I’d heard about the work of many of these people and felt like I already knew some of them yet I still didn’t know their story.
So in keeping with the theme of the people and projects database I made a few short videos asking some of the people I met who they were and what their permaculture story was. First up, meet Rosemary Morrow.
Welcome to round eleven of our (normally!) Weekly Linkfest, where we share the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain interesting from what we’ve seen this week.
I would greatly appreciate readers getting involved in this weekly linkfest. Please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a summary sentence outlining the key point of each link) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet.
A big thank you to Øyvind for his contributions to this week’s linkfest!
Off we go:
Good News (coz we all need it):
Good Monsanto news! Worries about birth defects have affected their stocks. Lets hope the real news on all their activities continues to erode their value on the market.
This is a design for a balcony in my flat. I was inspired by Bill Mollison in the Global gardener video series in the urban permaculture section. Although someone could argue that can be part of my zone zero design, actually it is physically outside my flat. It is an open air extension of zone zero and mostly it required a different approach in designing, as you can see if you compare the two designs.
Our critical examination of libertarianism has left us with some provocative questions, the responses to which will serve as a summary of these essays.
Copyright 2010 by Ernest Partridge. Published here with permission of the author.
Is a Well-Ordered Society a Free Gift?
The libertarian regards a morally well-ordered society as a free gift, to which nothing is owed for its maintenance. Accordingly, they argue against the liberals that redistribution of wealth, care for the weak and unfortunate, support of education, the arts and the environment, the promotion of civic pride – none of these is required of the citizen. Presumably, all these will be cared for “spontaneously” as each individual goes about his or her private business. True, private donations to charities and private organizations that aid these unfortunates and support these amenities are morally praiseworthy, but they cannot legitimately be supported by required tax assessments. To do so, the libertarians argue, would constitute involuntary appropriation of private property – in a word, “theft.”
In reply, the liberal cites an additional concept in John Locke’s political writings, conveniently overlooked by libertarian theorists; this is the concept of the social contract. Contract theorists such as Locke, and the contemporary liberal moral philosopher, John Rawls, point out that secure possession of the rights of life, liberty and property, and the orderly functioning of the free market, are only possible in what John Rawls calls a “well ordered society.” Such a society exists he writes:
Remember the A Call to Large Scale Earth Healing and Lessons from the Loess Plateau post? It was an uber-encouraging look into one of the world’s largest, fastest and most successful earth healing implementations I’ve ever seen. Via the video below (more watchable than the one shared in the previous article) you can take another look, and also learn about similar projects happening in Ethiopia and Rwanda.
To watch a lower-bandwidth version of the film, de-select the “HD” button on right-hand side of the playbar.
Comfrey (Symphytum spp.) has been cultivated and valued by many cultures for almost 2500 years. A native to Europe and Asia, the comfrey plant with which most are familiar, Symphytum officinale, has been used as a blood coagulant, a treatment for maladies of the lung, and as a poultice to aid in the healing of wounds and broken bones. Consumed as a tea, comfrey is said to treat a variety of internal ailments by various folk medicine traditions.
The word comfrey is Latin in origin and means "to grow together”. Though research has recently linked the consumption of comfrey with liver damage in mice, thus halting the development of comfrey as a modern food crop, the plant was once widely grown for its medicinal, food and forage value. Today it is still valued for its use in salves and other topical skin preparations and for its use as animal fodder and fertilizer.
Permaculture is about design, observing nature and working with it. When we built our home we faced it north (southern hemisphere), learnt about various building mediums and settled on recycled double brick for the heat transfer. We looked at our energy flows and have the vegetables growing near the kitchen and where the children play as that’s where I travel most frequently. The chook shed, well that’s adjoining the orchard so the chooks can forage through out the day and clean up insect pests.
So when it came to school and our children we observed them also and considered what natural behaviour is for them. Children are naturally curious, learn through play and do not want to be separated from their families at a young age. Placing them into a school situation is far from natural. Children learn about maths because maths is a part of our world. They learn about reading and writing because they get to the stage where they see a point in it and want to be about to decode it. They learn about their world because they have time to explore it, have their parents at hand to answer questions, help them find out and guide their progress.
Going to your first Permaculture Convergence can be a funny thing to experience. For a start, as we were checking in at the resort where we were staying just outside Cairns, my wife nudged me and quietly pointed out the number of grey haired old men with white beards hanging around the lobby.
APC10 Gala Dinner
“Bill Mollison look-a-likes!” I whispered to her. Jane had never met the co-founder of Permaculture and was keen to be introduced to him. Later that evening she spots another one and says to me, “I’m pretty sure that’s the real Bill Mollison who was just checking in.”
“No. I’m pretty sure thats a fake one.” I replied.
As you know, we’re excited about the permaculture fast-tracking potential of the new Worldwide Permaculture Network database. I’ve just created a ChipIn, as you can see, to make it easy for others to contribute to this humanity-saving network that will help us all collaborate far better than we have to date.
Please consider adding the widget to your own website if you have one. Just click on the ‘copy’ tab on the widget to get the html code for pasting into your site, or click here to customise the widget and get platform-specific code.
After initial beta launch, we’ll be taking the best suggestions for development (there’s a feedback form within the new site) and working them into the system as we can afford. You can help us make it all it should be by contributing yourself and asking others in the permaculture community to do likewise.
The PRI has spent many thousands of dollars on this so far, as a gift to the permaculture community. We’ve seen a great deal of enthusiasm for this ‘facebook for permaculture’ – now’s your chance to express that enthusiasm in a very practical way! All assistance much appreciated.
Copyright 2010 by Ernest Partridge. Published here with permission of the author.
I think you can spend your money more wisely than the federal government can. – George W. Bush
Those exertions of the natural liberty of a few individuals, which might endanger the security of the whole society, are, and ought to be, restrained by the laws of all governments. – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations
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.