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Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting — by Owen Hablutzel May 3, 2013
Though too often vilified, both ‘cows’ and ‘plows’ have proven to be among our most effective and available tools for restoring healthy ecological and eco-agricultural systems in our landscapes. Bucking the trend in conservation that has denounced these tools from early on was Aldo Leopold – perhaps best known for his influential Land Ethic from 1948. In his earlier, groundbreaking book about working with ecosystems and wildlife, Game Management (1933), his preface made the visionary but provocative claim that “Game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it — ax, plow, cow, fire, and gun.”Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres — by Serena Aurora May 2, 2013
In El Salvador Mauricio and Gloria have bought an abandoned Hare Krishna complex. With this they have created something very special. They are growing an organic garden and teaching children from their local community about living sustainably, as well as English. This project has the opportunity to create such a positive impact on the local community, by keeping the children off the streets and giving them something to be passionate about and keeping them in touch with nature. They invite volunteers from all over the world to come and help them by sharing their skills.
This film, which I shot in March 2013, is created to show the amazing work Gloria and Mauricio have accomplished and to make other people aware of this superb project. I stayed with them for a week and had a truly amazing time. I would recommend this experience to anyone.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Economics, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot
Amazingly, the UK government has not defined the precautionary principle and appears to have no idea what it is.
Here’s something remarkable I stumbled across while researching my column on Monday, but did not have room to include. I hope you’ll agree that it is worth sharing.
I was trying to understand the context for the new chief scientist’s cavalier treatment of scientific evidence, in an article he wrote opposing a European ban on neonicotinoid pesticides. These are the toxins which, several studies suggest, could be partly responsible for the rapid decline in bees and other pollinators.Comments (1)
GMOs, Health & Disease — by I-SIS
Small double-stranded RNA (dsRNAs) that aim to interfere with specific gene expression are increasingly used to create GM crops; unfortunately they have many off-target effects and can also interfere with gene expression in all animals exposed to the crops.
Genetic modification by RNA interference
Most commercially grown genetically modified (GM) crops are engineered to produce foreign proteins, but new ones are increasingly engineered to produce RNA of a special kind – double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) – that aims to interfere with the expression of a specific gene, usually to silence the gene  (Table 1).
Table 1 GM crops with dsRNA commercially approved or in the approval pipeline
|Flav Savr tomato||Monsanto||Withdrawn from market|
|High oleic acid soybean lines G94-1, G94-19 and G168||Monsanto||FSANZ*
Withdrawn from market
|New Leaf Y and New Leaf Plus Potato||Dupont Pioneer||FSANZ* approved 2001
Withdrawn from market
|High oleic acid soybean lind DP-305423-1||Dupont Pioneer||FSAMZ* approved 2010|
|Herbicde tolerant, high oleic acid soybean Line MON87705||Monsanto||approved 2011|
|Golden mosaic virus resistant pinto bean||Embrapa*||Brazil
|Papaya ringspot virus resistant papaya||Hawaii University||USA
1996, Canada 2003, Japan
|Altered grain starch wheat||CSIRO*||Approved for field trials & feeding experiment|
*CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
*Embrapa Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
*FSANZ Food Standards Australia New Zealand
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Economics, Society — by Aldo Leopold May 1, 2013
Aldo Leopold (1887-1948)
When god-like Odysseus returned from the wars in Troy, he hanged all on one rope a dozen slave-girls of his household whom he suspected of misbehavior during his absence. This hanging involved no question of propriety. The girls were property. The disposal of property was then, as now, a matter of expediency, not of right and wrong. Concepts of right and wrong were not lacking from Odysseus’ Greece: witness the fidelity of his wife through the long years before at last his black galleys clove the wine-dark seas for home. The ethical structure of that day covered wives, but had not yet been extended to human chattels. During the three thousand years which have since elapsed, ethical criteria have been extended to many fields of conduct, with corresponding shrinkages in those judged by expediency only.Comments (2)
Off the coast of Honduras, on a small island called Utila, lives a guy called Shane. Shane has broken away from all the social restraints and has built his own house. He is now building his own garden. However he is doing it slightly different from most people — he uses cardboard boxes! This short film talks about Shane’s key concepts and tips on permaculture.Comments (5)
This article is an excerpt from my forthcoming book Carbon Farming: A Global Toolkit for Stabilizing the Climate with Tree Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices, and is part of a series promoting my kickstarter campaign to raise funds with which to complete the book.
Breadfruit is a remarkable staple starch that grows on trees. This species should
be much more widely grown in the humid tropics. It represents a fully-developed
perennial staple crop. Photo Wikimedia Commons.
Staple fruits provide starch, protein, and fats from fresh fruits. This is a marvelous category of perennial foods and offers much promise in sequestering carbon. Sadly for those of us in cold climates, not even one of our perennial fruits are high enough in starch, protein, or fat to make the cut. In fact almost all of these are for humid tropical climates – probably because it takes a lot of sunlight and water to produce that much food value. My source for the data here is Janick and Paull’s remarkable Encyclopedia of Fruits and Nuts, with some help from Lost Crops of Africa Volume III, Plant Resources of Southeast Asia, and Useful Plants of Neotropical Origin. I’ll profile additional species in the book.
These ’superfruits’ can and should play an important role in carbon-sequestering agriculture, agroforestry, and productive reforestation efforts.Comments (11)
Biodiversity, Health & Disease, Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by George Monbiot April 30, 2013
How government science advisers misrepresent science.
What happens to people when they become government science advisers? Are their children taken hostage? Is a dossier of compromising photographs kept, ready to send to the Sun if they step out of line?Comments (4)
I’ve been advancing my guerilla gardening efforts recently, with a significant new raised bed now beautifying my nature strip, as seen in the picture at right. I thought in this post I could provide a brief overview of how to build a cheap raised bed, either for use on your nature strip or in your front or back yards. This overview might seem a bit basic for the handy builders among you, so I direct this post to those who are beginning their journey into guerilla gardening and urban agriculture.
I was moved to write this post after attending an environmental festival recently where raised beds like the one I have built were priced between $800 and $1000! Mine cost considerably less than $100, including the soil and plants, and that’ll pay for itself soon enough. I also earned the joy of construction, making me doubly well off. Below I describe the method for building a raised garden bed that is two boards high, which provides good depth.Comments (8)
Consumerism, Economics, Ethical Investment, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Kenton Zerbin April 29, 2013
Maximum security, maximum return. Who doesn’t want that? In a world of uncertainty and change, more than a few people are reconsidering where it is they want their money.
I grew up being encouraged to save and invest in savings. The two are not the same thing. To invest in savings is to invest in money itself. To put your money into money… such a strange idea. But in a civilization bent on growth, how can your money not grow as well? It really isn’t a bad idea if you have faith that growth never ends….Comments (4)
Biological Cleaning, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Sheri Menelli
I’m so blown away by the work of John Todd. He works on a huge scale cleaning horrendous toxins out of water. I suspect he knows a bit about permaculture. I saw Bill Mollison’s book listed on one of his websites.
Above is a video that I think gives amazing insight on using plants (and even snails) to clean toxins from water.Comments (2)
Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.Comments (2)
Courses/Workshops — by Nick Burtner April 27, 2013
OMG! That is internet speak for Oh My Goodness! The first day at the internship was something no one could prepare me for: the open air, the cattle, the horses, chickens, food forests, pasture, correctly built structures that harmonize with the sun, swales, ponds, dams, and embarking on a journey and communal living with people from all over the world. “A far cry from my native North East Texas – and I am so grateful!” was what I thought while setting up my tent in the middle of this small shire in The Channon, NSW, Australia. I was to call this truly awesome place my home for the next 10 weeks.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Salah Hammad April 26, 2013
It’s spring time for the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project (aka "Greening the Desert – the Sequel"), the lowest place on earth (400 metres below sea level) and one of the hottest and driest, and our trees and gardens are full of produce. During the internship that was held at the project in November 2012 the students worked on installing a new irrigation system that has obviously made a big difference!Comments (7)
by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute
Politicians, lobbyists, and tourists alike can ride bicycles along a specially marked lane between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, part of the 115 miles of bicycle lanes and paths that now crisscross Washington, DC. In Copenhagen, commuters can ride to work following a “green wave” of signal lights timed for bikers. Residents in China’s “happiest city,” Hangzhou, can move easily from public transit onto physically separated bike tracks that have been carved out of the vast majority of roadways. And on any given Sunday in Mexico City, some 15,000 cyclists join together on a circuit of major thoroughfares closed to motorized traffic. What is even more exciting is that in each of these locations, people can jump right into cycling without even owning a bicycle. Welcome to the era of the Bike Share.Comments (1)