Challenges of Choice

Even before permaculture vernacular had become commonplace to us, my wife Emma and I were active in our pursuit of living more in keeping with how we wanted to treat the planet, its animals, and our fellow humans. We were already ardent boycotters, believers in fair wages, in animal rights, in corporate responsibility. We signed petitions. We were vegans who mostly cooked from scratch. We even shopped locally, utilizing farmers’ […]

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The Problems with Corporations and Phantom Wealth

In the late 1800´s, corporations became people. It´s kind of hard to imagine Shell or Wal-Mart or other immensely large companies as a person that could be considered your neighbor, but for judicial and legal purposes, corporations have many of the same rights and protections as any ordinary person. Corporate personhood paved the way for mega-corporations to effectively govern the world. Of the world´s 100 largest economies, 51 of them […]

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The Mindset of Monoculture

Since the onset of the Industrial Revolution, it has been fairly easy to fall into the mindset of monoculture. The lure of big machines offering us power and control; making our lives easier in some senses, but more complicated in others; has led us into an all-encompassing embrace of the mindset and paradigm that made the modern-day world possible. For thousands of years, we collectively labored away at a lifestyle […]

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The Watson Wick Flush Toilet System

During a recent visit to a friend´s organic farm in Costa Rica, I made my way up the steps to his composting toilet system surrounded by bamboo posts and palm-thatched roofing. As I sat there listening to the birds, I noticed a small poster hanging on the door. It was a comic strip with two drawings. The first drawing showed two extraterrestrials staring into a toilet with question marks over […]

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Perennial Polycultures and the Richness of Diversity

The Way Nature Provides Imagine walking down a country road. On one side of the road, you see acres and acres of corn grown in neat rows. On the other side of the road stands an old-growth forest filled with towering trees and a thick underbrush. If you were to ask anyone which side of the road produced the most food, almost everyone would say that the cornfield is a […]

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33 Books That Have Enriched My Permaculture Life

There was a time, some years ago, in which I aspired to be a fiction writer, and in those years, I found inspiration in the words of authors who wrote fiction (Kurt Vonnegut and Tom Robbins are two that feel prominent). From there, I entered the world of travel writing, and I studied the works of people (Pico Iyer, Paul Theroux, Tim Cahill, Bill Bryson) prominent in that field. I […]

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Imagining A Better World: The Art Of Degrowth

We are living in an age of gross ecological overshoot – our demands on the planet far exceed what is sustainable. Wealth is extremely concentrated while billions go hungry. And with the world’s population heading toward 11 billion by the end of the century, something has to give. One response to these overlapping crises is degrowth. This movement argues that the developed regions of the world, including Australia, will need […]

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Black Maca, Mashua, and the Richness of Andean Tubers

For thousands of years, the ancient Incan empire developed a strong, resilient agriculture system that thrived even in the tough climate of the highlands of the Andes Mountains. One of the principles of their agricultural development was the diversification of different species that were well adapted to the local climatic conditions. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN considers the Andes region to be one of the […]

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A Primer on Raising Goats

Goats have gotten a reputation as one of the peskiest, most irritating, and bothersome farm animals. Images of “Billy” goats eating tin cans or tearing clothing off the line as it dries have been commonplace for several generations. While raising goats certainly does come with its own set of challenges, many of the supposed challenges to raising goats can be adequately dealt with through proper design that best utilizes the […]

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Exceptional Elderberries

Ah, elderberries, deliciously poisonous, yet good for you. The fruit you should eat…if you know what you’re eating. While they say all berries are edible, at least once, the berry of the Sambucus genus is indeed edible but MUST be cooked first to break down the cyanide-inducing glycoside. Why? Because, eating too much of the cyanide-inducing glycosides will cause a toxic buildup of cyanide (yes, that is poison) in the […]

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No-Till Farming for Healthier Soil and Lifestyles

Masanobu Fukuoka, the late Japanese farmer, developed a unique farming system he called “Natural Farming.” Trying to replicate what he saw in Nature, Fukuoka´s no till system allowed the soil to continually grow in fertility. Through the use of mulch and cover crops, this system effectively allows for continuous harvests of crop rotations, eliminates weeds and builds healthy top soil allowing for organic food production that is ecologically sustainable. Problems […]

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The Rainforest Information Centre

For more than a year the Rainforest Information Centre (RIC) has been struggling to prevent mining at our beloved Los Cedros Biological Reserve: In June of 2016 we found out that a mining concession had been surreptitiously handed to a Canadian mining company, although this was not announced by the Ecuadorean government until August of this year. Realizing this was part of a much larger problem, RIC started collaborating with […]

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