Wonder Weeds

PIJ #63, June-Aug 1997 by Linda Woodrow How to harvest weeds for their best nutrients Sometimes gardening seems to me like alchemy. Organic material that is of no value to us is converted into organic material of high value, and, like alchemy, the process seems almost magic. Soil micro-organisms and plants do the converting, but they can’t do it without something to convert. The role of humans is to set […]

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Maldivian Homegardens – A stable farming system in a fragile environment

PIJ #58, Mar – May 1996 By Dr Danny Hunter Editor’s Note: This decade-old article spotlights local indigenous knowledge found in the Maldives – a land today threatened by rising seas. The Maldive Islands have the unfortunate title of having the lowest highest point in the world – only 2.3 metres. The atolls of the Maldives represent a delicate and unique ecosystem that is highly sensitive to changes resulting from […]

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The Gospel of Consumption

It’s with a degree of dark fascination I watch as the current financial crisis brings substantial funding to the same people who’ve been instrumental in bringing it upon us – and who’ve single handedly manipulated and destroyed the local economies of dozens of countries (see this backgrounder on the food crisis for example). The cartoon featured here is one of my favourites from the wizard enviro-cartoonist Marc Roberts, and works […]

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Drumstick Tree

by Isabell Shipard. For more plant info, check out Isabell’s excellent books in our book section. Photo credit: Melanie Brown Also known as Horseradish Tree, Marango Tree, Murunga, Kelor, Shobhanjan, Ben Tree and Moringa Tree. Moringa oleifera syn. M. pterygosperma F. Moringaceae Description: A handsome, multi-purpose, small legume tree, 3-8 metres tall, fast growing and drought hardy, with a shady, leaf canopy of very attractive tripinnate ferny foliage, making its […]

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Plastic Fetish

by George Monbiot – journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist Do you remember that unspeakably naff designer accessory, I’m Not A Plastic Bag? The “design”, by Anya Hindmarch, involved thinking up the gauchest slogan ever contrived then printing it on a white shopping bag of the kind old ladies used in the 1960s. Tens of thousands were sold, at mind-boggling prices. More to the point, does anyone still […]

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The Carob

PIJ #58, March-May 1996 by Frances Lang Carob, or St John’s Bread, is known in the botanical world as Ceratonia siliqua from the Caesalpiniaceae family. It is a small to medium sized, long-lived evergreen tree with dense foliage. Leaves are glossy, green, round and leathery, new growth is bronze coloured. Trees are single sexed and so will need a male and female tree to produce pods. One male tree can […]

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More Nails in Satire’s Coffin

Click for full view Courtesy: Throbgoblins Truth is far stranger and dumber than fiction. Noel Lynch brought the Tesco idiocy to my attention thus: Today’s Guardian has a half page advert for TESCO. It is headed ‘Turn lights into flights’. It shows a low energy light bulb and says that if you buy it you can get a clubcard voucher that you can turn into 60 Airmiles. So save a […]

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Shrinking Forests: The Many Costs

by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute In early December 2004, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo “ordered the military and police to crack down on illegal logging, after flash floods and landslides, triggered by rampant deforestation, killed nearly 340 people,” according to news reports. Fifteen years earlier, in 1989, the government of Thailand announced a nationwide ban on tree cutting following severe flooding and the heavy loss of life in […]

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Choice and Prosperity

Click for full view Courtesy: Throbgoblins It’s a conundrum, isn’t it? Development and climate change. Such a dilemma – convoluted and labyrinthine, loaded and provocative. Whilst India pushes for escape from endemic poverty by pursuing a Nano for everyone, its islands start to disappear, as do its neighbours. The result of success will be failure. Hmm. Tricky. Plenty of arguments to be had there. Good job we’re all totally focused […]

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The Future of Oil Prices

As Matt Simmons points out: oil is not just another commodity. For industrial societies oil is as basic as food and water. That’s why the price of oil cannot go up very high after the production of oil peaks. Economic logic suggests that if demand is high and supply is low then prices will skyrocket. However, there are goods for which the prices cannot be set by the interplay of […]

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Homegrown Revolution

Most of you will be familiar with the fantastic work of the Dervaes family, with their little ‘urban homestead’ in California. They are truly blazing a ‘path to freedom’ that we can all aspire to and follow – producing enormous quantities of food in a sustainable way on a handkerchief-sized plot of land just metres from a Los Angeles freeway. The family recently put together a short DVD for a […]

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