Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings.

Bill and Lisa Mollison about to go below sea level and into the
Dead Sea Valley, Jordan. Bill is, as you can see, particularly prepared.
Photo © Craig Mackintosh

Hello from Jordan! Many of you expressed interest in wanting to watch the IPC via live-streaming, and not a few of you were kind enough to contribute to our costs for facilitating this. Many thanks to those who did, it’s much appreciated indeed. If you were not amongst the donors, and you’re feeling able to do so, a little more help wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, I just thought I’d update you all now that I’m here, to let you know it looks good to go. I took my gear along, connected it all up, fiddled a bit, and it seems to be all working just as well here as it did when I tested it back home — except here I’ve also borrowed (and now tested) a wireless lapel microphone system to ensure the best audio. So, short of a power outage, an earthquake, the black plague or the cleaning guy tripping over our cables, you should all be able to check in and watch the speakers give their talks on Conference day (September 17), live as it happens.

Here are the details you need to watch:

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Education Centres, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

by Geraldine Quinlan, from Ireland, a new intern at the Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge in Ethiopia

1. Gocha

In the morning we visited Gocha Primary School. Before starting work together Tichafa gathered everyone in the classroom. He spoke about the importance of growing food for independence from food aid and eventually to sell at the market for profit whilst also taking environmental action for the school, the immediate community and finally the country. This would create an income for the school.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Conferences, Courses/Workshops, Podcasts, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings.

Margie Bushman & Wes Roe on Amazon boat tour, IPC8 Brazil

Here’s a great opportunity to get a bit of background and foreground on the International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC10), which is now imminent! Listen to the podcast below to hear Margie and Wes talk to Sustainable World Radio and give their experiences with past IPCs, and their hopes for the current and future IPC events. It’s an inspiring, upbeat conversation that makes me more fired up to go (it’ll be my first!), and I’m sure it’ll be the same for you. At the very least, if you can’t make it yourself, it’ll encourage you to watch via livestream or follow the blog posts on over the dates (between September 17-23 and even beyond).

Click play to hear the talk!

Sustainable World Radio Interviews Margie Bushman & Wes Roe on IPC10

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

Sahel Drought – worst of the 20th Century

I thought I’d supplement the previous post by George Monbiot by expanding a little on his mention of the Sahel drought and its cause. Being one of the worst environmental disasters of the last century, it’s certainly worth a little consideration. A million people were directly killed by the drought, which lasted a dozen years, from the late 1960s through to the early 1980s, and 50 million more were adversely affected in several countries in a wide swathe of sub-Saharan Africa.

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Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

Why is the government spending £1.6m on a geo-engineering experiment whose results can never be used?

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

It’s atmospheric liposuction: a retrospective fix for planetary over-indulgence. Geo-engineering, which means either sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere or trying to shield the planet from the sun’s heat, is an admission of failure, a failure to get to grips with climate change. Is it time to admit defeat and check ourselves into the clinic?

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees.

School children take part in Nendo Dango in Argentina´s Rio Negro Province, Patagonia.

As part of a reforestation program around Argentina´s Eco Capital, El Bolsón, 21 schools have transformed their assembly halls into assembly lines for the production of over 25,000 seed clay balls utilizing the ancient technique of Nendo Dango. The method, re-invented by the ´father of natural farming´, Masanobu Fukuoka, was taught to the people of El Bolsón 3 years ago when Panos Manikis, Fukuoka´s most learned disciple, came to hold a series of workshops. Today, led by an inspiring group of permaculture activists, the technique is being used to do more than just rejuvenate the 1,200 hectares of forest that was incinerated in a 3-day fire earlier this year.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease.

Do you care about GMOs in your food? Did you know that being “certified organic” does not guarantee the food is not contaminated with GMOs? Contamination has been found in certified organic foods since 2002. That’s not a typo, folks. It’s horrifying to see how long we’ve been a part of the largest experiment in human history.

Let the food companies you support know you don’t want GMOs in your food. Write them a sample letter, like the one below. If you are in the US or Canada, suggest food companies become a part of the Non-GMO Project.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Project Positions, Urban Projects.

In June, students underwent the PRI’s first Urban Landscape Design Course which aimed at formulating the skills required to successfully transfer the theoretical knowledge of Permaculture into a professional, efficient and effective small business operation. The course was an intensive 5-day, 12hr per day immersion into the world of professional consultancy and project management. The course offered students hands-on experience with a design project, building skills that can be translated into other areas such as aid work or paid work in either urban or rural environments, or even taking away the practical experience to better develop your own place.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Trees.

The 3-day Food Forest Workshop at the PRI’s Zaytuna Farm, starting September 21st, is drawing near. Book now to secure your place.

This Black Sapote (sometimes called chocolate pudding fruit) sits in a pool
of light coming through foliage of surrounding support species

One of the main concepts of Permaculture is that of growing perennial plant poly-cultures that don’t require planting every year and provide for many of our needs such as food, fiber and fuel. This is a more regenerative approach that builds soil, instead of destroying it through repeated cultivation, and saves us from so much hard work.

By applying ecological principles through design we can assemble the species from which we wish to obtain a yield in a way that mimics nature so the system is productive, resilient and beautiful. Each different plant in the system fills a role and a niche and leaves little space for ‘weeds’. Productive vines, trees, shrubs, tubers, herbs and ground covers are all assembled as if they were a natural forest.

Put simply, it’s a food forest or forest garden.

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Posted by & filed under Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Plant Systems, Trees.

A newly-planted section of bananas, papayas, and citrus on this organic
fruit farm near Siem Reap, Cambodia.

As I’ve wandered around southeast Asia for the last 10 months I’ve kept my eye out for interesting farming techniques among the locals, but have mostly been disappointed.

Whatever ancestral knowledge of organic, integrated agriculture that may have existed seems to have declined or been lost entirely among the general population of Indonesia, Thailand, and Laos in the last few decades as cheap chemical fertilizers and pesticides have become increasingly prevalent.

When I arrived in Cambodia, though, the story was different. The country is decades behind its neighbors in terms of development because of the famous purges of the Kymer Rouge and years of civil war.

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

Peak Oil: Security policy implications
of scarce resources
Download PDF (1.77mb)

In previous articles (here and here) we’ve linked to the German language version of a study recently undertaken by the German military on the topic of peak oil, and we also linked to a couple of English summary-only translations as well. Now we can link you to a full English translation!

It’s great that this landmark document is being made more accessible.

It’s quite a fascinating analysis, where you can begin to envision some of the oft-not-discussed implications of peak oil — like how oil can be used by producer states as a weapon to enforce their particular ideologies and/or political and economic agendas on oil-dependent states. Current allegiances between nations may be broken up and reshuffled as politicians prioritise good relationships with oil-rich countries, no matter what those countries might be doing in other areas. Hypocrisy can become the new norm, as authoritarian regimes get empty for-show lectures on human rights on the one hand, whilst being mollified and propped up with oil dollars on the other.

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Posted by & filed under Energy Systems, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

It looks as if the UK government is allowing shale gas fracking companies to regulate themselves.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

Before the government approves a new industrial process in the UK it must have ensured that it won’t harm either people or the environment. Mustn’t it? That’s what any sane person would expect. Any sane person would be wrong.

One year ago, a company called Cuadrilla Resources began drilling exploratory shafts into the rock at Preese Hall near Blackpool, in north-west England, to begin the UK’s first experiments with extracting gas trapped in formations of shale. The process – called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and drilling fluids at high pressure into the rock, to split it apart and release the natural gas it contains. In June Cuadrilla temporarily suspended its operations as a result of two small earthquakes in the area, which might have been caused by the fracking. The experiment is likely to resume soon. Cuadrilla has also started exploratory drilling at two other sites in the region.

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