Category: General

Australia’s Capacity for Pumped Hydro-Storage Could Support a Completely Renewable Power Grid Within 20 Years

A recent analysis conducted by the Australian National University (ANU) has revealed that the country has the potential to store up to 1,000 times more renewable energy than it would ever need. The study, which saw a team of researchers investigating tens of thousands of pumped hydro sites around Australia, offered significant insight into the country’s storage capacity. According to lead researcher Andrew Blakers, an engineering professor with ANU, at […]

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How Do You Use Urine?

Composting toilets are a great thing. They take what has become a problem in modern systems—human excrement—and make it into something useful: rich compost. Despite simple and effective ways of making composting toilets, humanure does still bring about some controversy with those who are worried about pathogens. Confident composters won’t hesitate to put a well-rotted humanure compost in vegetable gardens, whereas less trusting composters opt for applying it to fruit […]

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Mo’ Mulberry – The Essential Guide to All You Need to Know About Mulberry

Paul Alfrey from Balkan Ecology Project takes a close look at these incredible plants including how to grow them, the uses of Mulberry and growing Mulberry in polycultures, permaculture and agroforestry. Not many plants offer so much to the grower while demanding so little in return. A tree that requires so little attention and care, that even if there were an RSPP – Royal Society for the Protection of Plants […]

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Outstanding Onions

Onions (Allium cepa L.), being the most extensively cultivated species of the Allium genus, are a root crop that nearly everyone has heard about, seen, or eaten.  However, don’t let their perceived commonness lull you into thinking they’re uninteresting.  Onions are quite a fascinating garden vegetable that has some remarkable characteristics.      Onions of Olden Times It’s thought that for well over 7,000 years the onion has been consumed or […]

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Ethical Investment Harbors

Investing locally in Ethical Companies One of the defining characteristics of our modern day civilization is that our language has turned drastically Orwellian. In the world of finance and investing, we consider a “responsible” investor to be he or she who is able to maximize their returns through “making their money work for them.” The problem, however, is that the vast majority of people are anything but responsible with how […]

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Australian Farmers Benefit from the Use of Biosolids

The use of human biosolids to improve pastures has been catching on in New South Wales – to the point where demand for the resource from area farmers is outstripping Sydney Water’s available supply. Each year, the company reuses 100 per cent of biosolids produced, for a total of approximately 180,000 tonnes. “The soils on our farm are of poor quality and fragile, with low organic matter and poor structure […]

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The New Suburbanism

Many people in industrial societies live in the suburbs which are really neither city nor country living. Many people have openly criticized the suburban way of life as the apex of consumer lifestyle highly dependent on fossil fuel input. Suburban life is a sort of pseudo-rural life where affluent middle and upper-class people purchase land “in the country” in order to enjoy the tranquility of being close to nature and […]

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Questioning the Growth Economy

If you have ever driven through rural Kentucky or Ohio or Pennsylvania, chances are you have run across a horse drawn carriage with a group of people who appear to have emerged from the 1700´s. Many Amish and Mennonite communities still ardently and stubbornly maintain a pre-technological and pre-industrial lifestyle despite being surrounded by consumer capitalist civilization. For many observers, these simple, hardworking farm communities are like a living antique; […]

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What Defines Appropriate Technology?

Our Current Addiction to Technology If there is one defining aspect of our modern civilization it´s that we are a technological species. Compared to other organisms with whom we share this planet, we Homo sapiens aren´t exactly well adapted to long term survival. We have no coat of fur to keep us warm, we don´t have sharp teeth or claws to hunt with, and we´re extremely vulnerable to the elements […]

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Backhoes versus a Back and a Hoe: The Question of Machines in Permaculture

We have led several natural building workshops over the years, mostly focusing on building with cob. Usually, a pattern related to people´s energy levels and enthusiasm becomes apparent. The first day, people are excited and anxious to take their shoes off and start getting muddy. They want to cut the “theory” part short in order to get straight to the praxis of building with earth. After a day or two […]

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“Free” Fertilizer is Saving Rural Farmers

Revitalizing dead soil can be done in just one planting season, thanks to Shivansh farming. Rural farmers can use whatever materials are available to them to restore their livelihoods – lowering their costs and increasing their yields. The majority of the world’s poorest farmers use a nitrogen fertilizer called urea. The chemical was initially produced to serve industrial agriculture, but many small-scale farmers were swayed by the fertilizer’s promise of […]

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The Shower Tractor

No, not a diesel-powered agricultural behemoth with a bathroom behind the cabin. This is much simpler; a portable shower which can be easily moved to water the garden wherever it’s needed. Our small 1-acre property, which gets around 800mm rain each year, often benefits from a little extra water during dry spells. Some extra water will mean plants will continue growing which would otherwise become dried hay-like lifeless husks. Adding […]

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