Posted by & filed under Society.

In this edition of Permaculture Around Latin America, we move north once more to learn about the strange but wonderful intersection between punk and permaculture. Take a look at this video titled ‘Permaculture Punks of Mexico City.’

I did some research and it looks like the Tierra Viva Collective is currently no longer active. This blog was the only thing I could find that linked to them, and they appear to have been active in the early 90s.

Regardless of this, there’s a lot to learn from these eco-punks. As a Latin American, I have seen trash and pollution comparable to what you see in the video. I sometimes get angry that so many people associate the ‘green’ movement with an elitist version that includes costly super foods grown in the third world, expensive practices and aesthetics, brands and luxuries. It’s very important to always be mindful that permaculture needs to take place in environments like what you see in the video. In places and setups like those, the results can be explosively positive. This video might be from the 90s, but the issues presented continue to be a real problem in most of Latin America. I believe that the intersections between permaculture and social work, anti-establishment, and anti-imperialism have a lot of un-explored potential.

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Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Fungi, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Natural resource exploitation affects almost every corner of the earth, and the extraction of crude oil is just one excessive example. However, when the most biodiverse region on Earth is forced to endure irresponsible drilling, the consequences are magnified. The Amazon Mycorenewal Project (AMP) is currently on the ground in Ecuador, witnessing this devastation first hand and working towards a solution.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Society.

By embracing their critics and colonising governments, corporations engineer a world of conformity and consumerism.

How do you engineer a bland, depoliticised world, a consensus built around consumption and endless growth, a dreamworld of materialism and debt and atomisation, in which all relations can be prefixed with a dollar sign, in which we cease to fight for change? You delegate your powers to companies whose profits depend on this model.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Glyphosate’s metal-chelating activity causes bioaccumulation of toxic metals in the body, resulting in an estimated 400 000 cases in Sri Lanka and 20 000 deaths.

by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

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

Sri Lanka is set to partially ban glyphosate-based herbicide use following a new peer-reviewed study linking it to a fatal chronic kidney disease epidemic badly affecting the country [1]. Kidney problems have been further documented in other global regions, prompting an earlier complete ban by El Salvador late last year [2]. A complete ban was initially proposed, but due to plantation sector representatives claiming a shortage of agricultural workers that would not sufficiently manage weeds without glyphosate, the government has now limited the ban to disease endemic areas [3]. Even Brazil, one of the largest growers of glyphosate-tolerant genetically modified (GM) crops has now filed a law suit by Federal Prosecutors to ban glyphosate along with 8 other dangerous pesticides [4]. It is becoming increasingly difficult for government regulators and glyphosate producers to justify the use of this herbicide when other nations are banning the chemical outright in order to protect their citizens.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

During the Earthship Building Course at the farm here in India last month, I taught what I called a ‘Permaculture Primer’. I had one afternoon to summarize my 12 years of self education, my 10-week Internship and PDC with Geoff Lawton at the PRI, and somehow explain what Permaculture is, what it can do and how one could get started and continue learning until either deciding to take a course or connect with existing Permaculture networks back home. I spoke for an hour or so, then we went out and started building and planting things.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Courses/Workshops.

Years ago, I was in India, half way through my Visa, wondering what to do and where to go. I was tired of the tourist trail and randomly googled ‘Earthship India’ and found exactly what I was looking for — a project in Tamil Nadu, building an Earthship for a fellow hoping to make a change toward a more sustainable lifestyle, starting with his home. Alex Leeor had chosen a beautiful place to build, at an organic farm just outside Kodai Kanal.

After a month of tire pounding, great food and countless interesting conversations with new friends, I was hired as the training coordinator (he probably felt that if he couldn’t get rid of me, he might as well make use of my enthusiasm). You can see Alex’s home here: Since he started, Alex has helped to teach and expose over 400 people to Earthship Biotecture principles.

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Posted by & filed under Deforestation, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination.

Humans, in this current form, have been around for about 100,000 years. Until agriculture went mainstream about 10,000 years ago, most cultures lived as hunter-gatherers, only making minor modifications to the plant communities growing around them. They relied predominantly on native, perennial plants and animals. The development of agriculture is typically referred to as the “Dawn of Civilization”, while Anglo-European folk history paints a narrative of life “in the bush” as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Thomas Hobbes). This “Modern Myth” of the indigenous savage is actually quite inaccurate to reality.

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Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

Water harvesting earthworks at the WMG Learning Lab capture water after a rain

For one day, we have the opportunity to vote for sustainable water practices. We have the opportunity to vote for living systems — the very systems that permaculture is based on. Your vote can help fund the slowing, sinking and spreading of sustainable water practices that have far-reaching benefits for communities around the world.

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Posted by & filed under Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Recently, I had the honor of attending a national conference on cover crops and soil health. The conference was held in Omaha, Nebraska on February 17th to the 19th, sponsored primarily by the Howard G Buffett foundation and SARE (Sustainable Agriculture and Research Education). The attendees represented university specialists, seed vendors, farmers, non-profit groups, and government organizations focused on how to improve the health of our nation’s soils.

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Posted by & filed under Biological Cleaning, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Plant Systems, Waste Water, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Banana circles can be used in tropical and sub-tropical areas to utilise waste water, run-off or overflow from rainwater tanks, and even urine waste from dry composting toilets.

It is possible to use other plants in a similar system, but bananas are an excellent choice as they are very heavy feeders and also need a lot of water to be productive. The fruit from banana palms is highly nutritious and so in developing countries banana circles are a great way to turn waste into a valuable food source for the whole family.

At Kesho Leo in Tanzania, banana circles are used as a part of our compost toilet and grey water systems.

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