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Geoff Lawton’s latest video is one of my favourite films on his site — mainly because it reminds me of a quote I read as a kid and never forgot: “A garden without water is like a meal without wine.” In a well stocked pond, you can grab a fish anytime you like and behold its beauty in the process.
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What? Why would anyone want to tunnel back into school? Well, I have no idea, but in the past six years have I have been investigating how to build living tunnels in school grounds and gardens and have learned a thing or two about willow tunneling.
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A fully referenced version of this paper is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.
The world is running short of phosphate ore for chemical fertilizers; recovering phosphate from waste and reducing phosphate use in phosphate rich countries can alleviate the shortage and simultaneously prevent environmental pollution.
by Prof Joe Cummins
Phosphorus a limiting nutrient
Earth seems to be growing sicker every year along with threats to global food security. One threat that has been widely ignored is the diminished availability of phosphorous fertilization for crops due to rapidly declining sources of the ore used to produce the fertilizer and rising prices for the fertilizer. Countries across the world fall into three groups: the rich phosphate fertilizer users, the phosphate poor that suffer from food shortages due to low food crop production and even human disease from phosphorous deficiency and the inability to purchase expensive phosphate fertilizer, and the few remaining countries that are rapidly mining out phosphate ore . Organizations dealing with crop yield in Africa tend to focus on introducing varieties with increased yield in optimum soil fertility but such varieties do not do well in the vast areas lacking nutrients such as phosphate . Phosphorous is a limiting nutrient for humanity. Phosphorous is key to the storage of genetic information in DNA and RNA; it plays a crucial role in cell membranes and in practically all energy transactions through ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and other organic phosphate molecules. Phosphates are ubiquitous in life chemistry as they are involved in just about every function .
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All photos by David Ashwanden
When interacting with any animal it is important to develop a certain kind of presence, or focus; and goats are no exception. Having also worked with chickens, dogs, donkeys, horses, pigs, rabbits and sheep I have noticed that the same techniques are necessary to deal with all; although all are different as well.
In many ways the only way that you can develop this focus is by being with the animals and experimenting for yourself. But there are some guidelines which could be of use; and I shall endeavour to outline a few below based on my time as a goatherd.
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I thought PermacultureNews readers might be inspired by some of the work Planting Justice and the Insight Garden Program are doing in our prison system to teach permaculture ethics and practices. Here is a video about a recent project at San Quentin State Prison, CA.
The Planting Justice team worked with Beth Waitkus and the Insight Garden Program to build four raised beds on the grounds of the H-Unit at San Quentin State Prison — one of the only sanctioned vegetable gardens in California. Over four days, men enrolled in the Insight Garden Program helped break up asphalt on the prison grounds to make way for the new vegetable garden and put in some much-needed hard work on the construction of the perimeter fence, filling the beds with over 10 yards of compost, mulching the area surrounding the beds, and planting them up with young vegetables and herbs.
The author with Star
Photos: Erik Klockemann
Ever since the rise of the combustion engine, horses have had less and less utility on the modern farm. Anything a horse can do, a tractor, car or ATV can do and many will argue that they can do it faster and better. So the existence of the horse in our modern world has mostly dwindled to a romantic symbol. Now horses are trained for horse shows, rides on the beach and mock rodeos. So why keep horses?
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The contest is joined. On one side there is the near-unanimous conclusion of thousands of active climate scientists throughout the world: the global climate is changing and human technology is the primary cause. From the other side we are told that “climate change” is at worst a “hoax” or at least a normal and natural phenomenon not significantly affected by human activity. This position is endorsed by right-wing media, almost all congressional Republicans, and a few bought-off “scientists” (“biostitutes”) lavishly funded by fossil fuel industries.
So how do you deal with a “denier” willing to engage you in a debate?
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by Emily E. Adams, Earth Policy Institute
The amount of Arctic sea ice has plummeted in recent decades — a bold manifestation of the rise in temperature resulting from the rapid increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. After staying below 300 parts per million (ppm) for some 800,000 years, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere skyrocketed as humans started burning more and more fossil fuels. In 2013, atmospheric CO2 averaged 396 ppm.
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Editor’s Note: Dear Readers, please support Steve Marsh. If Steve wins his upcoming courtroom battle it could set a legal precedent with wonderful consequences. I dream of the day where any farmer who wishes to grow GMOs will be required to protect their neighbour’s crops from contamination by doing so under a giant plexiglass dome….
I am writing to ask you all to join us in a Twitter storm organised in support of organic farmer Steve Marsh, who is going to court on the 10th of February this year to protect his right to grow GM-free crops. It is a landmark case and a world’s first where an organic farmer is suing a GM farmer for compensation due to GM contamination. The court ruling will help to determine who is responsible when GM contamination occurs and this is an issue of high concern globally.
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by Samuel Alexander and Jonathan Rutherford, Simplicity institute report 14a, 2014
Evidence continues to mount that industrial civilisation, driven by a destructive and insatiable growth imperative, is chronically unsustainable, as well as being grossly unjust. The global economy is in ecological overshoot, currently consuming resources and emitting waste at rates the planet cannot possibly sustain (Global Footprint Network 2013). Peak oil is but the most prominent example of a more general situation of looming resource scarcity (Klare, 2012), with high oil prices having a debilitating effect on the oil-dependent economies which are seemingly dependent on cheap oil to maintain historic rates of growth (Heinberg, 2011). At the same time, great multitudes around the globe live lives of material destitution, representing a vast, marginalised segment of humanity that justifiably seeks to expand its economic capacities in some form (World Bank, 2008). Biodiversity continues to be devastated by deforestation and other forms of habitat destruction (United Nations, 2010), while the global development agenda seems to be aiming to provide an expanding global population with the high-impact material affluence enjoyed by the richest parts of the world (Hamilton, 2003). This is despite evidence crying out that the universalisation of affluence is environmentally unsupportable (Smith and Positano, 2010; Turner, 2012) and not even a reliable path to happiness (Lane, 2001; Alexander, 2012a). Most worrying of all, perhaps, is the increasingly robust body of climate science indicating the magnitude of the global predicament (IPCC, 2013). According to the Climate Tracker Initiative (2013: 4), the world could exceed its ‘carbon budget’ in around 18 years, essentially locking us into a future that is at least 2 degrees warmer, and threatening us with 4 degrees or more. It is unclear to what extent civilisation as we know it is compatible with runaway climate change. And still, almost without exception, all nations on the planet – including or especially the richest ones – continue to seek GDP growth without limit, as if the cause of these problems could somehow provide the solution. If once it was hoped that technology and science were going to be able decouple economic activity from ecological impact, such a position is no longer credible (Huesemann and Huesemann, 2011). Technology simply cannot provide any escape from the fact that there are biophysical limits to growth. Despite decades of extraordinary technological advance, which it is was promised would lighten the ecological burden of our economies, global energy and resource consumption continues to grow, exacerbated by a growing population, but which is primarily a function of the growth-orientated values that lie at the heart of global capitalism (Turner, 2012).
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