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The Furrow, Farm Facts and Fancies reports that electric bug zappers operated outdoors may be doing more harm than good in reducing mosquito problems.
A University of Tennessee study found that only 31 per cent of 14,000 insects collected from a bug zapper were biting insects. About half were non-biting aquatic insects and 14 per cent were beneficial insects that attack pests.
“From this study we estimate that as many as 350 billion non-target insects are destroyed each year by these traps,” said Gene Burgess, a Tennessee entomologist.
“Because so many predators and parasites are killed, the traps may actually be protecting mosquitoes and other pests. The zappers are of greater value indoors where you don’t want insects of any sort.”Comments (0)
Comedy Break — by Marc Roberts December 22, 2008
Click for full view (Courtesy: Throbgoblins)
Christmas brings the fortieth anniversary of the first image of Earth Rising – an image that (should have) transformed the way we, as a species, conceptualise ourselves.
Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books — by Ecofilms December 19, 2008
Wanted. Permaculture Translators – People fluent in another language willing to donate some time to translate from a supplied English text transcript of The Permaculture for Beginners DVD into their chosen language. The supplied Word document will be between 40 to 60 pages so if you are up to the challenge, we’d be grateful for your contribution. This is not a simple or easy task to complete in one sitting, so please, only reply if you are fluent in your preferred language, are motivated, self-disciplined and prepared to complete the task and deliver the document within a fixed deadline. This is very important.Comments (18)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Society — by George Monbiot December 18, 2008
Why does the UK retain a handful of colonies? To destroy the world’s taxation systems.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
If you want to know why Britain has never completed the process of decolonisation, look at two lists side by side. One is the official register of tax havens, compiled by the OECD(1). The other is the list of British overseas territories and crown dependencies(2). Over a quarter of the world’s tax havens are British property. More than half of Britain’s colonial territories and dependencies are tax havens. Strip out Antarctica, the military bases and the scarcely-habited rocks and atolls, and of the 11 remaining properties, only the Falkland Islands is not a recognised haven. The obvious conclusion is that Britain retains these colonies for one purpose: to help banks, corporations and the ultra-rich to avoid tax.Comments (2)
Global Dimming, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 17, 2008
Have you heard the expression ‘Global Dimming’ yet? The documentary embedded in this post examines the phenomenon, but, in brief, I’ll endeavour to give a rough heads up on the topic. It’s yet further evidence that our dangerous habit of underestimating the complexities of natural systems will surely backfire on us, and in direct proportion to our tinkering with the same.Comments (2)
Courses/Workshops, DVDs/Books, Developments, News — by Ecofilms December 16, 2008
Editor’s Note: Our creative video genius, Frank Gapinski, gives us an update on the work of Flashtoonz
Coming in 2009 is the DVD we’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Permaculture for Beginners is the fundamental introduction to the Permaculture Design Certificate Course. Its the 72 hour Course boiled down to just over 90 minutes with all the essential points covered. If you are interested in doing the full PDC and want to know more about it – then this DVD introduces the course in a nutshell.
More than just a classroom lecture – each point is covered in practical detail with on the field examples. If you’re new to Permaculture and don’t know where to begin – then this DVD reveals the PDC in all its glory by one of the best, most experienced teachers on the planet – Geoff Lawton. Geoff has taught the course in over 27 different countries.
He’s currently in Iran before travelling to Morocco and then back to Australia in January. Geoff is pretty excited about this title as its a way to introduce a whole new generation of people to Permaculture. The project was scheduled to begin in November but we had another DVD on the boil that needed completion. 2009 should be an interesting year for Permaculture people around the globe.
Harvesting Water has been translated for the Chinese market and other language translations are in the works. We got some big plans and some very exciting fresh films to reveal before the 2009 is done.
More details to come in the following weeks.
For the first time, the International Energy Agency has produced a date for peak oil. And it’s not reassuring.
by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist
Can you think of a major threat for which the British government does not prepare? It employs an army of civil servants, spooks and consultants to assess the chances of terrorist attacks, financial collapse, floods, epidemics, even asteroid strikes, and to work out what it should do if they happen. But there is one hazard about which it appears intensely relaxed. It has never conducted its own assessment of the state of global oil supplies and the possibility that one day they might peak and then go into decline.Comments (0)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Musical Interlude, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 15, 2008Comments (0)
Demonstration Sites, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Seeds, Urban Projects — by Ezanee Cooper
Ezanee Cooper gives us some excellent updates on progress with ‘Project Thoreau‘. Use the comments form below to share your knowledge and help develop Ezanee’s plot, or to ask questions that might help you develop your own.
Project Thoreau –September / October 2008 Update
The garden has undergone a bit of a revamp. The bean patch was tidied up to reduce the number of hiding places for slugs and snails, beer traps were established, and the area more heavily mulched. The compost bin was relocated, and a potato patch has been established in its place. This was set up by digging in 10 retaining wall bricks into a square, and filling it with the compost from my bin together with dirt obtained from my sister’s place. Some old potatoes were then planted in, and the vines have already begun to shoot.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Comedy Break — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 14, 2008Comments (5)
Reprinted with permission from the Permaculture International Journal" (PIJ) #61 Dec – Feb 1997 page 17
Butterflies inhabit the earth for weeks at the most. Their existence is fragile but enormously important to the earth, from which many of their species are disappearing. Claire Hagen Dole enters their world to explain how we can create butterfly havens that enrich the planet and bring beauty to our gardens.
Photography: Craig Mackintosh
Have you ever noticed a colourful swallowtail butterfly gliding through the boughs of your apple tree? Have you watched a Painted Lady sipping nectar from a blackberry blossom. Like the industrious honeybee, these enchanting creatures are also pollinating blossoms as they move from plant to plant.
Throughout history, butterflies have been a subject of fascination; in some cultures, they’ve been equated with the human soul. Indeed, except for a few over wintering species, most adult butterflies inhabit the earth for a mere few days or weeks. Invite them into your garden; focus your gaze on their incredible journey from egg to larva to chrysalis (pupa) to winged adult. These life stages are so different that early naturalists thought they represented different animals.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees — by PIJ December 10, 2008
Reprinted with permission from the "Permaculture International Journal" (PIJ) (No. 61,
The world’s striving for racial tolerance doesn’t always extend to plants.
A key criticism of permaculture’s approach to building sustainable organic systems has been its perceived willingness to favour the introduction of exotic species.
Is it better to build systems that include exotics or should reforestation aim only to replace what has been taken away?
Is a rampant exotic a weed, or nature’s most effective first aid treatment?
It is a philosophical divide which has sparked heated debate within the permaculture community and strained relationships between groups that have otherwise much in common.Comments (2)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 7, 2008
Peer pressure, national pride, and
legal mandates worked together
against the common evil
It’s an unusual title, I know – but bear with me.
If you were to personify global warming, to literally morph it into some kind of effigy – something you could tie to a stake in the town square, and throw cabbages, or rocks at – what would the guy look like?
I guess the degree of grotesquery in your visualisation would largely depend on where in the world you live, and to what extent this ‘person’ has adversely influenced your life, although in some ways it could be easy to conjure an image of one of last century’s most notorious, infamous villains – Adolf Hitler. Couldn’t it?Comments (2)
Podcasts — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 5, 2008
Michael Mackenzie, from ABC Rural Radio’s ‘Bush Telegraph‘ segment, recently spoke with Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton about Permaculture. You can listen to the clip in its entirety here (16 min, 7.5mb MP3). To download the file, simply right-click on the link and choose ‘Save Link As’ (Firefox) or ‘Save Target As’ (Internet Explorer).
When asked if he thought Permaculture would go very far when he was first starting to lay the foundations in the 1970s, Bill’s reponse was the only answer that can realistically be given: "Yes". As he went on to say, the world is heading into trouble, and there really isn’t another viable escape route. Sooner or later Permaculture must become the all-absorbing theme for humanity, or else….
The sooner world leaders begin to realise this, and the sooner the world’s citizenry demand it, the less painful the transition.Comments (2)