Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Energy Systems, Irrigation, Potable Water, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Beavers and wasps can build their own homes… — Michael Reynolds


Modern Earthships are shelters built to sustain their occupants by providing energy, water, and waste management through the use of passive systems. They have been designed to meet the rigorous criteria that are found in the building codes of so many western governments. While these modern Earthships are quite pleasing structures, they owe their heritage to a series of evolutions Michael Reynolds developed over a 40+ year period in remote lands surrounding Taos, New Mexico in the United States of America. While experimenting with recycled materials for construction, a design known as “the hut” was born of earth-rammed tires, aluminum cans, cement, and some metal framing. It is an ultra light house in every sense, except physically.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Social Gatherings, Village Development.

When: 9 — 11 March 2012, starting on the evening of March 9
Where: Hamilton Public School, corner of Tudor Steet and Steel Street, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Theme: "Transitioning to connected communities, localised fair economies and sustainable lifestyles."

Please put this event in your diaries, and ‘like’ us at!/FairShareFestival

In this second and expanded festival we will explore issues related to social justice, sustainability, innovative social enterprises and strong resilient communities through panel discussions, interactive workshops, and engaging debates.


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

Some of you may remember our call-out for donation support for Victor Monroy (see paragraphs below the video here), an organic agricultural engineer who is director of a large orphanage in Rwanda. Well, a couple of you kindly donated to help get Victor along to a PDC taught by PRI PDC Teacher, Warren Brush, in neighbouring Kenya. I need to mention that another NGO, who Victor is writing to below, subsequently offered to cover the whole amount for Victor, which meant Victor received a little more than he needed! (And PRI Kenya received the full course fee rather than the half-rate they generously offered.) Victor’s message below is therefore just as much for those of you who donated on this site. Given partial duplication of support for Victor with this, we (the PRI) have made the executive decision to request that Victor keeps the $275 excess as extra support for the orphanage he directs and to help him implement some of the extra knowledge he gained with his PDC participation. I trust that this is as our site donors would have it. Thanks to you once more.

Watch the video below to get an idea of Victor’s work, and you can read Victor’s letter of thanks below that.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Education, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

by Nikos A. Salingaros, The University of Texas at San Antonio


This essay presents desirable social functioning as basically a matter of free individual decision. I discuss two basic polarities: Left versus Right, and P2P (Peer-to-Peer) versus Global-mass-society. Each polarity takes certain distinctions and concerns as key to understanding political life. A self-organizing P2P society is driven by individuality, publicly-shared patterns, and common culture based on shared loves; whereas Global-mass-society is based upon groupthink, expertise, and glitzy consumerism, and is run by a small group of intertwined political, economic, and knowledge elites. These two polarities Left/Right, and P2P/Global-mass-society are split in their basic attitudes towards the past, towards authority, and towards religion. I argue that the concerns that have divided Left from Right are less important now than formerly, and that the P2P/Global-mass-society polarity is a better way to understand many important issues today. I then propose that the concerns that have motivated both Left and Right suggest the possibility of enlisting both on the side of P2P. We can overcome the traditional Left/Right distinctions in the name of a new political humanism.

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Food Shortages, Peak Oil, Society.

What: Nichole Foss talk on the present and future crises
Where: The Channon Community Hall, near Lismore, NSW, Australia (and a stone’s throw from the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm)
When: 10th of February, starting at 5.30 pm
Cost?: Donation at door

Nicole M. Foss is co-editor of The Automatic Earth (TAE), where she writes under the name Stoneleigh. She and her writing partner have been chronicling and interpreting the on-going credit crunch as the most pressing aspect of our current multi-faceted predicament. The site integrates finance, energy, environment, psychology, population and real politick in order to explain why we find ourselves in a state of crisis and what we can do about it. Prior to the establishment of TAE, she was editor of The Oil Drum Canada, where she wrote on peak oil and finance.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Insects, Working Animals.

by Anthony Andrist

Go to the bee, thou poet: consider her ways and be wise.
— George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

Looking for simplicity and compatibility between styles, we moved next towards a top-bar design. Essentially, it is a wooden bar placed horizontally across the width of the hive and has a starter strip of foundation comb or a wax bead along the centre to encourage the bees to build comb. The bar can be flat on the bottom, have a notch along the centre to place a wax strip, a semi-circle, a triangle or even a comb footprint, to give the bees a starting point. The bars are set side by side across the top of the hive and can be any length. Most bars are between 3.175 to 3.5cm wide and from 40 to 50cm long.

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Posted by & filed under Fencing, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Trees.

A few hints and tips for dealing with these unique Australian characters

by Carolyn Payne

Kangaroo come on to the property every evening to drink

The 34 acre site that is now the home of Mudlark Permaculture is an open grassland strip 250 metres wide and 500 metres long, set between native Australian bush land and a 280 metre diameter artificially created wetland.

The land was considered so poor by its previous owner that it had not been fenced or stocked for 30 years. The only things to graze this land for years have been a few rabbits, hares, the odd wallaby and around 100 kangaroo.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation.

Many have heard of EM mixtures, sold worldwide with cultures of effective microorganisms, that due to their symbiotic relationships with each other can benefit the microorganisms’ ecosystem in our soils, compost piles and toilets. They are known to boost yield and speed the composting process and are sold worldwide for their positive effect.

You can read more about the commercial brands of EM and the process of their discovery by Dr.Teruo Higa from Japan in Wikipedia.

There are three types of microbial life that come together to form the mixture. It is not a certain strain of microbes that holds the key, but rather the combination of the different groups that gives the positive effect we are looking for.

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Posted by & filed under Fermenting, Processing & Food Preservation, Recipes.

Mashing cooked soybeans

It is now the middle of winter here in Japan and time again to make another year’s supply of miso. The deep flavour of miso soup (misoshiru) remains for many in Japan a daily dish. Traditionally the first meal of the day consisted of a steaming bowl of miso soup, a bowl of rice, and a selection of pickled vegetables. It is an excellent breakfast that will likely see a resurgence with the demise of industrialized agriculture and global food transportation.

The current trend for bread breakfasts (fluffy, sweet, white bread), the wheat for which is mostly imported, is occurring at a time when Japanese farmers are receiving subsidies to grow less rice! The health cost of this dietary shift will, no doubt, also soon become apparent. The simple diet of whole grains, fermented beans – in the form of miso, shoyu (soy sauce) and natto – vegetables, seaweeds, fish and very small quantities of meat has served the Japanese well for hundreds of years. The Japanese have the longest life expectancy of any nation in the world and, most importantly, in general remain in good health well into their final years.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books.

As an offering to the planetary permaculture movement we have created a workbook of permaculture worksheets. This educational tool kit will help support your learning and teaching practice.

In the spirit of a genuine love for permaculture education and in gratitude to the world community, this new learning tool is intended to help heal and empower our relationship with ourselves, the Earth and each other. The Gaiacraft Permaculture Workbook shares a collection of universal handouts which string together a larger body of teachings from Bill Mollison, Rosemary Morrow, Geoff Lawton, David Holmgren and Toby Hemenway. It’s edited in collaboration by the Gaiacraft team; Delvin Solkinson, Lunaya Shekinah, Jacob Aman, Tamara Griffiths and Ali Ma. This is a unique and practical addition to your understanding and practice of permaculture.

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Posted by & filed under Land, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

Carbon pirates bury black gold… so future generations will be richer. – John Rogers

Biochar is being promoted as the soil saving miracle of the century promising outrageously high yields of crops as well as removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The first video ‘The Promise of Biochar’ explains what biochar is, how valuable it is and how the Amazonian Indians used it to enhance fertility of the soil and promote carbon sequestration.

200 year old Brazilian soil [Terra Preta] which has been treated in this way was found to be ultra fertile and bio-diverse even centuries later. Also shown is an in-field experiment comparing the vast increase in crop production through using biochar techniques versus slash/burn or mineral fertilizer methods.

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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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