Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

The new Truly Green Economy needs to be modeled after and embedded within the circular economy of nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.

by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Note: A fully illustrated and referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.

The linear economy and the circular economy

The world’s economy is on the brink of financial meltdown, thanks to the corrupt Wall Street money and banking system unleashed by deregulation in the 1970s and 1980s [1] (“Shut Down Wall Street!” SiS 53). Emerging from the ruins is a new socially accountable economy that can provide good jobs at living wages, and generate real wealth for people and communities, at least in the United States [2] (New Economy Now, SiS 53). But that is not enough, we need a truly green circular economy working with and within nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.

Until a few years ago, very few people would take green or circular economy seriously. Not anymore; governments and businesses are now outdoing environmental groups in claiming the green circular economy for themselves. So perhaps it is time to put down some goal posts to make sure we get there.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Food Shortages, Fungi, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Soil Salination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

A group of community-minded gardeners have turned a former Athens airport into a blooming vegetable plot, showing how Greece’s eroded soil holds the keys to a revival in farming and a way to buck the jobless trend.

by Beatrice Yannacopoulou. Article originally published on The Ecologist

All photographs courtesy: Dimitris.V.Geronikos

"If we want to survive on this land we must first help to heal the earth," said Nicolas Netién, agro-ecologist, teacher and co-creator of the NGO Permaculture Research Institute Hellas. He was talking to a group of some fifty people of all ages who had gathered for two days of workshops on self-sufficiency, how to self-organize, agro-ecology and composting. This small gathering was taking place on a beautifully sunny autumn day at the former Athens airport, Ellinikon.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development.

(IM)PERMANENCE film was noticed by the Sunday Times who featured our family in an article regarding "living fluidly".

by Richard Perkins

In case you didn’t catch the article in the Sunday Times last week, our family was featured in an article about living fluidly, how a generation of people are now forging new ways to interact to meet their needs in these uncertain times. To add to this I wished to further explain some of the design thinking behind developing poly-income streams, how and why I connect different aspects of my life together so there is functional interconnection with meeting various goals whilst moving me towards my highest visions and aspirations.

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Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute

The world’s farmers produced more grain in 2011 than ever before. Estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show the global grain harvest coming in at 2,295 million tons, up 53 million tons from the previous record in 2009. Consumption grew by 90 million tons over the same period to 2,280 million tons. Yet with global grain production actually falling short of consumption in 7 of the past 12 years, stocks remain worryingly low, leaving the world vulnerable to food price shocks.

Nearly half the calories consumed around the world come directly from grain, with grain-fed animal products making up part of the remainder. Three grains dominate the world harvest: wheat and rice, which are primarily eaten directly as food, and corn, which is largely used as a feedgrain for livestock. Wheat was the largest of the world’s grain harvests until the mid-1990s. Then corn production surged ahead in response to growing demand for grain-fed animal products and, more recently, for fuel ethanol. Despite a drop in the important U.S. harvest due mostly to high summer temperatures, global corn production hit 868 million tons in 2011, an all-time high. The harvests of wheat (689 million tons) and rice (461 million tons) were also records. (See Excel data.)

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Posted by & filed under Comedy Break, Consumerism, Economics, Society.

We don’t normally get into personal beauty products on this site, but I thought this product presentation on what to buy so you can feel good about yourself — with the bonus feature of making everyone else feel inferior compared to you — might be just the thing for some. As you’ll see, you can easily bypass the ‘traditional’, burdensome personal beauty methods of outdoor fresh-air exercise, organic food, clean water and guilt-free sleep with only one application.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Education, Society, Village Development.

We can teach philosophy by teaching gardening, but we cannot teach gardening by teaching philosophy. – Bill Mollison

The place of philosophy in Permaculture has always been a contentious subject and for very good reasons. The very identity and credibility of the design system of permaculture rests on its sound scientific underpinnings and foundations.

Through the definition of strict boundaries of what can and cannot be added to the body of the permaculture syllabus, it has managed to retain its intended focus, and therefore its effectiveness as a scientific design discipline.

If the relationship and connection of permaculture to philosophy is not clearly understood, we run the very real risk of destroying the integrity of the discipline of permaculture, by making inappropriate additions in the misguided endeavour to ‘make it all things to all people’.

So, the best way to tackle any contention about this subject is to examine the nature of permaculture itself as well as the nature of what we loosely define as philosophy, and the relationship between them. And that’s precisely what we’ll do!

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Energy Systems, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development.

Wandering tortillas

Even in backward mining communities, as late as the sixteenth century more than half the recorded days were holidays; while for Europe as a whole, the total number of holidays, including Sunday, came to 189, a number even greater than those enjoyed by Imperial Rome. Nothing more clearly indicates a surplus of food and human energy, if not material goods. Modern labor-saving devices have as yet done no better. — Lewis Mumford, Myth of the Machine : Technics and Human Development, 1967.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) Course:

Where: Maya Mountain Research Farm, Belize
When: Feb 20 – Mar 2, 2012
Instructors: Albert Bates, Andrew Leslie Phillips, Cliff Davis, Chris Nesbitt
Cost: US$1250 (including food and accommodation)

Advanced Design Course:

Where: Maya Mountain Research Farm, Belize
When: Mar 4 – 10, 2012
Jono Neiger, Eric Toensmeier and Chris Nesbitt
Cost: US$700 (including food and accommodation)

More Info: or info(at)

Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

This PDC will take place in Konso, south Ethiopia, from 13th – 25th February 2011, at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge. It will have a special focus on the application of Permaculture to communities in the developing world and low tech solutions to food establishment in rural and urban schools and communities drawing inspiration from established projects in a range of locations and climate zones around the country.

Facilitators: Tichafa Makovere and Alex McCausland
Dates: February 13th – 25th, 2012
Location: Konso, South Ethiopia
Venue: Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
Cost: US$650 ($500 for Ethiopians)
Includes: course fees, food and accommodation for the period of the course
Excludes: Transport, accommodation in Addis, travel insurance etc.

Documents You Will Need

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Posted by & filed under Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Seeds.

When you consider how seeds germinate in nature, it makes sense to sow our own seeds the same way.

In late summer, left to their own devices, seeds fall into the ground. They slowly get covered with leaves and other natural material ready to begin their long winter hibernation in the soil.

As the cold weather sets in and snow covers the ground, the seed toughens up and as spring sets in that little seed will emerge in its own good time, when conditions are perfect for it to start peeking above ground.

July through August (or, in the northern hemisphere, from December through January) is generally a ‘rest time’ for the annual gardener, so if you’re anxious to be ‘out there’ doing something, winter sowing is a perfect way to keep your green fingers active!

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books.

Some years ago Graham Burnett produced Permaculture: A Beginner’s Guide. It’s a nice 76-page introductory look a permaculture — a very readable booklet to get you looking at the world, and your garden, through the permaculture lens. It’s in no way a substantial, technical how-to type manual, but rather a good inspirational dose of permaculture principles with a broad smattering of practical examples of how to apply them. In short, it’s a great tool to get one started on the permaculture pathway.

One personal observation on a possible downside to this otherwise excellent perma-intro is that the illustrations tend to leave one thinking permaculture is only for a sub-culture of people: the hand-drawn illustrations are populated with unshaven punks, sloganned t-shirt anarchists, dreadlock-wearing ethnic minorities and suchlike. Even the cartoon guy demonstrating the composting toilet has to be stark naked. The December 2008 update of this book would have done well to replace these images with ones that didn’t tend to leave one feeling permaculture was just for the fringe elements of society. But it didn’t. Perhaps next time.

Anyway, I thought I’d provide a link to a freely available 24-page extract (3mb PDF) of the book that could be useful for those trying to explain permaculture to friends, family and colleagues.

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Seeds, Society, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development.

by Bob Nekrasov

I hear you comrade. ‘I want those acres and to start my food forest and have a permaculture demonstration Eden – but alas, I am a humble renter with big bloody dreams and typically uncreative landlords’.

As us ‘renters’ forlornly scan open fields and acres — seeing real estate listings of eroded soils sitting below beautiful key points — we are designing lush, abundant landscape in our minds and whinging about the price and how we could easily ‘turn this place into a self-sustaining paradise’. Well, at least I am! But, we can get caught in the dream trap — thinking we will start the big permaculture project when we get that dream plot of land. But it is really a void that needs to be filled. When you know how much good you can do you do feel a little crippled by renting a place where you feel you cannot do much. Having this deluded mindset a few years back I set out to figure out what I can do. Hooray!

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