Margaret Heffernan: The Dangers of “Willful Blindness” (TED Video)

Gayla Benefield was just doing her job — until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the U.S. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of "willful blindness" […]

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Abbottalypse Now

Tony Abbott intends to trash Australia on behalf of the super-rich. by George Monbiot His views have changed, but don’t expect Tony Abbott to acknowledge this, let alone apologise to Australians for misleading them. In 2009 he maintained that manmade climate change is “absolute crap”. Now he says “I think that climate change is real, humanity makes a contribution.” But he has merely switched from denying global warming to denying […]

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Trojan Horses, Recipes, and Permaculture

Trojanhorse

by Toby Hemenway The Transition movement seemed to catch fire right from the beginning, and I confess that its success made me, as a permaculturist, a bit envious. Here was a program for converting to a post-oil society, created by a permaculture teacher using permaculture principles, and it seemed to be becoming better known and more highly regarded than permaculture itself. Over a thousand towns have adopted Transition plans, national […]

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August 2013 Update for PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast

by Zaia Kendall The Earthworks course initiated the first week of August. As we were not undertaking a major Earthworks project on the property, everyone had a look at works already done on the property and a dam being dug elsewhere. Contour and surveying was taught and some practical experience had. The plants planted on the new swale were also looked at, and Tom explained the multiple purposes of the […]

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Of Apples and Earth Apples (Ireland)

by Ute Bohnsack August is a happy month, a time of abundance at the tail end of summer, the month that gives us the first apples and new potatoes. In Ireland ‘spuds’, somewhat more eloquently termed ‘pomme de terre’ by the French, are a staple food of course, but similarly apples to me are a staple I don’t like to be without. In my native German language they are generally […]

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Arracacha, The Perennial Root of the Andes

When I first moved to northern New South Wales to live and work at Zaytuna Farm as a nurseryman, I had to readjust my botanical eye to my new surroundings. What grew where and how? What were the predominant local natives? The commonly planted fruit trees? The commonly cultivated vegetables? Catching my eye almost immediately growing in the Zaytuna Farm ‘Urban Garden’ was a whole bed of lush green… something […]

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The Atacama Desert, Chile: the Driest Desert on Earth – Five Reasons Why

Atacama desert As a definition, a desert is a hot area of land that gets very little rain — not more than 200mm a year, where temperatures during the daytime can get as high as 55°C. At night, deserts cool down, sometimes even below 0°C. Most deserts lie between 15° and 35° north and south of the equator. They were created by air that rises over the equator and comes […]

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Pollinate Energy (Bangalore, India)

One of the major consequences of industrial agriculture is the steady flight of rural populations to urban centers. Economists have widely encouraged this mass movement of people as a sign of a developing economy ‘specializing’. We are seeing this trend in all majors cities in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Young men and women leave their villages and move to the city in search of better wages and lifestyle. Unfortunately, […]

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Obstinate Questionings

The Lake District’s bid for World Heritage status shows just what a mess conservation is in. by George Monbiot But for those obstinate questionings Of sense and outward things, Fallings from us, vanishings; Blank misgivings of a Creature Moving about in worlds not realised…. — William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality. It’s the most celebrated landscape in Britain. It’s the spiritual home of the Romantic movement. It’s the birthplace of […]

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Get Your Food from a Firehose

We have been delving into the dirty secret behind our food, which is that it comes from bacteria — primarily, with considerable assistance from a social network of fungi, nematodes, micro-arthropods and soil-dwelling microbes of various descriptions. Most people, asked what plants eat, answer something like, "sunlight, water and dirt." Water and sunlight play an important role, for sure, but what really counts is the life within the soil. This […]

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Using Gutter Waste as Compost for Your Garden

One chore that must be done a few times a year is cleaning out the gutters of our homes. Many of us dread this chore and might hire someone to clean the gutters and get rid of the waste without a second-thought; however, the accumulation of leaves and other organic material in gutters can actually be a rich source of nutrients for your plants. Decomposing organic material in your gutters […]

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Living Without a Fridge

by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne. I’ve been living without a fridge for the last three months — the winter months of Melbourne, Australia. Before you send me to the asylum, however, let me tell you about this experiment which produced several interesting, and I think important, surprises, related to energy consumption and lifestyle habits. […]

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