It’s already clear that the climate talks in December will go nowhere – so what do we do?
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom
The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December’s climate summit in Mexico is that some delegates might stay awake during the meetings. When talks fail once, as they did in Copenhagen, governments lose interest. They don’t want to be associated with failure, they don’t want to pour time and energy into a broken process. Nine years after the world trade negotiations moved to Mexico after failing in Qatar, they remain in diplomatic limbo. Nothing in the preparations for the climate talks suggests any other outcome.
A meeting in China at the beginning of October is supposed to clear the way for Cancun(1). The hosts have already made it clear that it’s going nowhere: there are, a top Chinese climate change official explains, still “huge differences between developed and developing countries”(2). Everyone blames everyone else for the failure at Copenhagen. Everyone insists that everyone else should move.
Editor’s Note: This post is a good reminder to ensure you take good before, during and after photos as you implement projects! Case studies like this become an awesome portfolio for yourselves, and help people to see the practical potential in permaculture. It can be totally inspiring, and help get people moving on the ground!
Case Study – Noela’s Garden, as installed by Geoff and Nadia Lawton
This is a story about a garden that Nadia and I were asked to establish in 2006. It’s a very small space – the area is 95m2. A friend of a friend asked if we could get involved to help to design and implement a garden. Nadia had only recently arrived in Australia and I wanted her and I to put a garden in together as a ‘start to finish’ job so she could get a feel for how we establish small space gardens in Australia, as she already had experience in small space gardening in Jordan.
Copyright 2010 by Ernest Partridge. Published here with permission of the author.
Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings. – William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
Place a few fruit flies in a bottle with a layer of honey at the bottom, and they will quickly multiply to an enormous number, and then, just as quickly, die off to the very last, poisoned by their wastes. Similarly, add a few yeast cells to grape juice, seal the bottle, and the cells will consume the sugar and turn it into alcohol. When the alcohol rises to 12.5% it will kill off all the yeast, and the wine will be ready for the table.
Fruit flies and yeast in a bottle are embarked upon suicidal endeavors. They can’t help it. They don’t know any better, lacking the cognitive equipment to “know” anything at all.
Human beings, we are told, are different. Humans can utilize their accumulated knowledge, evaluate evidence and apply reason, and with these skills and accomplishments they can imagine alternative futures and choose among them to their advantage.
The view from Tao’s Center. It is end of April and the pastures are already
dry and barren. Only oleander and villas grow here easily.
One year has passed since my Permaculture Design Course in Melbourne, taught by Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton. At the first day of the course, I clearly remember Geoff saying to our 84-strong group that this course would change our lives. It certainly changed mine. One year later, here I am, back in my homeland, Greece, after several years of absence, fully engaged in a permaculture project in Tao’s Center, on Paros island in the Cyclades.
The Permaculture Research Institute’s Jordan work has been put forward to receive the Humanitarian Water & Food Award for its work to create water conserving, food producing, environment and diversity restoring habitable space in some of the harshest environments on the planet, and for educating people on the ground in how to do this for themselves.
This work is looked at in the following posts and videos:
The award coordinators have notified us that we are now amongst the finalists. If we win, there would be a cash award we can use to help progress our efforts at establishing educational, demonstration (‘Master Plan‘) sites worldwide, and there will be opportunities for us to connect with donors eager to support this kind of root-cause restoration work. Hopefully there’d be a good bit of permaculture-focussed media attention as well.
Wish us luck!
Note: A big thanks goes to Allie Godfrey, Hilary Gibson, and Matthew Salkeld, all students of our July 11 PDC, for taking the initiative to write the submission for the PRI.
We have the world’s best product to sell, a holistic life. Still, it’s not for sale, it’s for free. This is of course good news, because it means it’s achievable for everyone. But there is a catch too, because when something is for free, there is no money to earn in selling it (although some still try). This is why the multinational companies don’t use a single dollar from their billions of dollars spent on marketing every year, on selling the world’s best product. So here your help is desperately needed, in becoming a living marketer for the holistic life of permaculture. Let’s become professional marketers of permaculture. Let’s make people feel “greedy” to enter “the life zone” of permaculture. Let’s make our governments feel “greedy” to enter the top of the Happy Planet Index!
See this video with Nic Marks from TED Global and get inspired:
I’ve been catching babies as an obstetrician for a good while now, but only learning about permaculture for the past two years. Like many, I have discovered permaculture from the perspective of someone wanting tips about how to grow a few edible plants in my backyard, but have discovered that it is so much more. As I have read my way through whatever information I can get my hands on I have seen reference to home birth as fitting into the general concept of permaculture (eg David Holmgren’s Permaculture Flower) and have been thinking about why that might be.
Let me make some up front declarations first, so as not to confuse or mislead. I work in a hospital setting. My babies were born in a hospital. I have never been to a home birth either as a care provider or a support person. But I do provide “backup” for women who choose home birth and their midwives, and enjoy being able to do this. I am good friends with a handful of women who are skilled home birth midwives. So while I can’t profess a personal or professional expertise, I do think I have a passable understanding of some of the issues.
There’s been a word or two in my ear that I may be presenting myself as nothing more than a meat-and-sugar eating beast on these cooking posts and that I’ve been neglecting my veggies. And it’s simply not true. Between the early morning offal fry-ups and the late night crème caramel indulgences, I cook and eat all sorts of things….
I first encountered the concept of using unglazed clay vessels for sub-surface irrigation in Bill Mollison’s “The Global Gardener” film series. Mollison comments that the technique might be, to paraphrase, “the most efficient irrigation system in the world.” More recently I noted with interest that the fine folks at Path to Freedom were employing these clay pots for some of their raised beds, which led me to wonder about how I might experiment with them as a potential sub-surface irrigation system. Here’s what I found….
I’m not a scholarly man and I have no vision to come up with any new theories, what I hope is to get a glimpse of the understanding of the world held by many greater thinkers. But why is it so important for me to get this understanding when I’m just a simple man? It started a few years ago when I wanted to build a nest for myself and my beloved wife. Unfortunately, what should have become an expression of our lives and our unification with the universe, became like being sucked into a black hole, losing all energy and trust in society.
The developer would of course say that it was something wrong with me; as would the people of the bureaucracy. But could it be a problem somewhere else? Could it be that what happened with me was a healthy reaction against sick structures in society? After I came to know Christopher Alexander I see this as a possibility:
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.