Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Village Development.

The prevalence of bicycles in a community is an indicator of our ability to provide affordable transportation, lower traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, increase mobility, and provide exercise to the world’s growing population. Bike-sharing programs are one way to get cycles to the masses.

In early 2014, some 600 cities in 52 countries host advanced bike-sharing programs, with a combined fleet of more than 570,000 bicycles.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Potable Water.

An estimated 1.2 million residents of Lima, Peru, lack running water (far from potable in any case) and rely on unregulated private companies who charge an outrageous US$10 per cubic meter. Other wealthier residents pay 20 times less for their tap water!

The University of Engineering and Technology of Peru (UTEC) took this situation to heart and came up with a billboard (it might be the only billboard I actually like) that produces about 100 liters of drinkable water daily. The ingenious system they invented traps Lima’s humidity (averaging 70%), reconverts it into water and after being filtrated, comes out running from a faucet – the first one many Peruvians have ever seen.

Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Plant Systems, Trees.

Well, the summer just past was interesting. Heat and drought were constant companions in all parts of the Australian continent other than the Northern Territory. Down in the south eastern corner of the continent the farm here had to deal with 10 days of temperatures exceeding 40°C (104°F) during January and February. At one point in early February a bush fire came closer here than I was comfortable with and I had to evacuate the area.

On a more positive note, over the past few years I have been experimenting with various edible and inedible plants and plant guilds to determine their suitability for this particular environment. The recent summer was an excellent test of those plants and now that the weather has turned cooler and the wet stuff has started falling from the sky again, I’ve been busily replicating the plants and plant guilds over an ever larger area.

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Posted by & filed under Waste Systems & Recycling.

Garden gnome in Nicaragua

Inspired by our experience volunteering on a farm in Ometepe Island in Nicaragua, my wife Emma and I became very excited about the prospect of reducing our personal waste. Totoco Farm and Totoco Eco-Lodge are both 100% waste-free zones, meaning every consumable that enters either stays or is recycled. What makes this achievement even more remarkable is that, in Nicaragua, recycling is basically nonexistent. So how does one go about reducing their waste to nada?

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres.

by Zaia Kendall

We just finished another PDC here at PRI Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia). Everyone was very happy with the course, the food, the people and the experience! (See student feedback page.) We had a big surprise for the students in our course, when Geoff Lawton came here and taught the first two days. Geoff, Nadia and the gorgeous Latifah kindly came to Maungaraeeda to lend their support to our growing organisation, as we are a PRI Master Plan site.

We became a PRI Master Plan site early 2012 on Geoff and Nadia’s suggestion, after visiting them at Zaytuna Farm. We believe our goals are very similar to those of the PRI, in wanting to further Permaculture education. With the help of PRI Australia, the number of students for our PDCs increased substantially, due to bigger exposure and by Tom now being an accredited PRI teacher. PRI Australia took us under their wing, making a huge difference to how people view us and our project "Maungaraeeda" (aboriginal for "Place of Food").

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Posted by & filed under Biofuels, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Village Development.

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, today called for the world’s food systems to be radically and democratically redesigned to ensure the human right to adequate food and freedom from hunger.

“The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. However, it will not be enough to refine the logic of our food systems – it must instead be reversed,” Mr. De Schutter stressed during the presentation of his final report (PDF) to the UN Human Rights Council after a six-year term as Special Rapporteur.

The expert warned that the current food systems are efficient only from the point of view of maximizing agribusiness profits. “At the local, national and international levels, the policy environment must urgently accommodate alternative, democratically-mandated visions,” he said.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it’s a collapse.

by Paul Kingsnorth

The results of half a century of debt-fuelled “growth” are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair.

To listen to a political leader at this moment in history is like sitting through a sermon by a priest who has lost his faith but is desperately trying not to admit it, even to himself. Watch Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Ed Miliband mouthing tough-guy platitudes to the party faithful. Listen to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy or George Papandreou pretending that all will be well in the eurozone. Study the expressions on the faces of Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about “growth” as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron’s worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.

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Posted by & filed under General.

In Part One of this series we introduced Holistic Management and went through the process of defining a whole under management. In Part Two we looked at articulating an Holistic Context for that whole under management, using VEG’s holistic context as an example. Now, in the third and final installment, we tackle the fine art of leaping back into the flow of life and…

Putting your Holistic Context to work

Fantastic, you think! I now have myself (or we have ourselves) a whiz-bang holistic context that captures what is most important to this or that whole I am part of managing. Let’s stick it up on the kitchen or staff-room wall and start enjoying its magical power to transform our lives.

Well, unfortunately it doesn’t work quite like that. As intimated above, articulating your holistic context is pretext to actually starting to get to the whole point and meaning of Holistic Management — namely, managing holistically. What the holistic context, and the discussion and clarification that happened during its formation, does, is give you a reference or anchor point that then guides decisions and actions. It is like you have now captured the ‘true north’ of your whole, and you can start managing the whole towards it. Let’s take a look at what that looks like, as well as a few other ways we have found our holistic context useful in managing our company.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism.

More and more couples world over are resisting large expensive marriages and are embracing the concept of eco-marriage with a conscious effort to reduce their environmental footprint.

Watch this video as the eco-conscious Tokyo couple Shigeru Komori and Tomoko Hoshino opt for a low carbon-emitting, socially responsible, energy efficient wedding celebration. Both are passionate about the environment and so practising their eco-philosophy on their wedding day was a true reflection of who they are and what is important to them.

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Desertification, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Our relationship with the earth changed fundamentally when we began practicing agriculture some ten thousand years ago. The transition from nomadic to settler life allowed for the evolution of great civilizations, and the growth of human cultures. Agriculture also made possible the increased rise in population, which in turn created the need for more agriculture, and the cyclical relationship between the two put a greater and greater strain on the environment. Civilizations fell when they exceeded the carrying capacity of their locale, or depleted their resource base, and others emerged elsewhere in their stead. However, for the most part the growth continued unhampered as human beings mined millions of years of energy storage. Then came the industrial revolution, followed a century or so later by the green revolution, allowing for greater exploitation of the earth’s resources.

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Posted by & filed under General.

From the moment that we really understand permaculture and what it is all about, we enter some kind of transition. Permaculture is not just what goes on in our gardens, rather it is what we brush our teeth with, every single thing we buy, everything we throw away and, in fact, what we do with every moment of the day.

It requires us to take personal responsibility and it informs how we live. Quite often it challenges major aspects of our existing lives and the pull to be working on the land and engaged in permaculture activities is immense. It makes it hard to be indoors and hard to be involved in activities that are not in line with permaculture principles.

The question on many ‘born again’ Permaculturist’s lips is: How can I make the transition from where I am now to where I want to be?

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