by Tom Kendall, PRI Maungaraeeda
Tom Kendall talks about water management at the Permaculture Research Institute Maungaraeeda, Sunshine Coast, and answers water management related questions.
Time to move on from redefining the problems and concentrate on solutions already seeded on the ground.
by Prof Roger Leakey (lead author of a UN funded, 3-year, 400-scientist strong IAASTD report that showed that the globalised agricultural model is not working, and showing how returning to diverse, small-scale, localised agricultural systems can feed a growing population and mitigate climate change and other vulnerabilities).
Redefining problems without solutions
A multifunctional agricultural landscape
In Global Development Goals – Leaving No-one Behind , the United Nations Association of the United Kingdom (UNA-UK) presents a collection of articles by eminent people in important positions around the globe. Although this report identifies progress towards some Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it recognizes that success has been uneven. The principle achievement of the MDGs has been “shaping the international discourse and driving the allocation of resources towards key global development goals … with unprecedented political commitment and a strong consensus for tackling poverty and other development problems.” The report itself, however, makes rather depressing reading as it seems we are not really making huge progress in our efforts to address the big issues facing the world, especially with regard to the gap between rich and poor. Instead of identifying solutions, this booklet redefines the problems and we go from eight Millennium Development Goals to twelve Post-2015 Development Goals. It seems we still haven’t learnt that hunger, malnutrition, poverty and many of the other things on our ‘to-do wish list” are part of a bigger and inter-related complex of issues. Why?
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by James Alexander Arnfinsen
Our society is drunk, it is intoxicated on pursuing novelty, it is pursuing novelty at all costs, even at the cost of civilization itself. — Nikos Salingaros, from the interview
In this episode I have the delight of connecting with Nikos Salingaros, who is a Professor in Mathematics, an Urbanist and Architectural Theorist. He is originally from Greece, but lives now in San Antonio, USA. Nikos Salingaros has for many years collaborated with Christopher Alexander and in our conversation we explore what it takes to create buildings and environments that sustain life and which resonate with our most basic human needs. Why is it that so much of what has been built for the last 100 years seem to go against what we have consciously and unconsciously learned throughout our human history (not to mention our almost 2 million years of evolution!). How come we still create urban landscapes that are stress inducing? Why is it that most towns in the world will have numerous examples of buildings that are physically and emotionally unpleasant? Which factors have played a part in the erection of so many self referential buildings? (meaning buildings that don´t connect in appropriate ways to their surroundings or users). Given all these questions, what can we do to reclaim some of the sanity that was typically found in the more traditional ways of creating buildings and artifacts? How can we rediscover the wisdom that is embedded in marvelous buildings such as the Hagia Sophia or Taj Mahal, but doing so without copying the actual buildings themselves? This is precisely what Salingaros and Alexander have been working on and in the interview he explains some of the essential geometrical, mathematical and human factors that support the creation of wholesome buildings and environments.
Click on the play button below to listen to the interview:
Interview with Nikos Salingaros
This is Ms Poubelle Provocateur, the erotic disgrace of the human race. The glamour Goddess of Landfill. A psychedelic fragment of my alter ego. Sauntering, sexy, inviting, sassy, trashy, eternal ethereal pin-up, made of abandoned pieces and elements. She is my one woman waste protest, unified with the essence of rubbish, displaying the nightmare we create on lovely planet earth every day.
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Twenty years ago, Stefan Sobkowiak bought a commercial apple orchard with the intention of converting it to an organic orchard. He did just that, but eventually understood the limitations of the organic model originating from monoculture. He then decided to tear out most of the trees and replant in a way that would maximize biodiversity and yield while minimizing maintenance. Inspired by permaculture principles, the orchard now counts over 100 cultivars of apples, plus several types of plums, pears, cherries, and countless other fruits and vegetables.
Editor’s Note: This is a press release update to this recent post.
Developer of first commercialised GM food says debate isn’t over.
The number of scientists, physicians and legal experts who have signed the group statement, “No scientific consensus on GMO safety” has climbed to 230 in just over a week – and it’s still growing.
The number of initial signatories stood at almost 100 on the day the statement was released, 21 October. It has more than doubled since.
A recent signatory is Dr Belinda Martineau, former member of the Michelmore Lab at the UC Davis Genome Center, University of California, who helped commercialise the world’s first GM whole food, the Flavr Savr tomato. Dr Martineau said:
I wholeheartedly support this thorough, thoughtful and professional statement describing the lack of scientific consensus on the safety of genetically engineered (GM/GE) crops and other GM/GE organisms (also referred to as GMOs). Society’s debate over how best to utilize the powerful technology of genetic engineering is clearly not over. For its supporters to assume it is, is little more than wishful thinking.
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It all began with my visit to Australia last September and visiting Crystal Waters eco-village and then streaming through many videos and articles on permaculture put out by permaculturenews.org. Those videos and the articles inspired me to visit the Panya Project and do a course in December 2012 and a PDC in May 2013.
It further inspired me to visit many permaculture sites before I returned to Bangalore, India where I live.
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by Daniel Halsey
The database is working very well and I encourage all permaculture designers to try it out. Especially the spreadsheet download. Let me know if you would like free access for a time to try it out.
The Natural Capital™ Plant Database is a repository of plant information for ecological design. Our partner designers have combined the best sources of plant research and documentation in order to provide the highest integrity for a wide variety of users. Whether you are a first-time gardener or an experienced permaculture designer, we hope you find the information you need to take your knowledge of plants and ecological systems to the next level. We use citations from multiple sources and provide detail on plant characteristics, tolerances and behaviors, ecological functions, human uses, concerns, and plant associates.
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Val and Eli take us on a tour of their permagarden in Jacksonville FL. They have created a wonderful, natural space filled with self-sustaining fruits, vegetables, herbs, medicines, colors, water, fragrances, and wildlife… at their fingertips.
And below, Val and Eli continue to harvest the organic riches of their food forest and now cut back their garden to nourish their fruit trees with natural, free fertilizers. No artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and gas-operated machines are ever used! To suit your particular time constraints, the video below is shown in a short and long version.
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How about building bonfires without the old sofas and painted boards?
by George Monbiot
“Bonfire Night Kills Whales” is the sort of headline that gives environmentalists a bad name. But the facts can’t be helped, even if the messengers must be shot for sounding like killjoys.
Most communities have festivals of subversion, in which the rules by which they live for the rest of the year – placid, ordered and obedient – are upended in a marvellous explosion of chaos. Without these festivals – May Day, Holi, Carnival, the Day of the Dead, Hallowe’en and Guy Fawkes Night are examples – we would all go slightly mad. Or madder.
There is no better antidote to the extreme civilisation which afflicts us than burning things and blowing things up. I’m all for it. Though with certain qualifications.
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by Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans arrived in North America, but they did not soon catch on as a crop. For 150 years or so the soybean languished as a curiosity in gardens. 1
Then in the late 1920s, a market for soybean oil began to develop, moving the soybean from the garden to the field. During the 1930s, soybean production in the United States climbed from 400,000 tons to over 2 million tons. And as growth in the demand for the oil gained momentum, soybean production jumped to over 8 million tons in 1950. 2
During the 1940s and early 1950s, the soybean crop was harvested and crushed primarily for the 20 percent of the bean that was oil. Then during the 1950s, the demand for meat, milk, and eggs climbed. With little new grassland to support expanding beef and dairy herds, farmers started feeding their animals more grain supplemented with soybean meal in order to produce more beef and milk. Farmers were already relying heavily on grain to produce pork, poultry, and eggs. By 1960 soybean meal had become the primary product of soybean crushing and oil the secondary one. For the first time, the value of the meal exceeded that of the oil, an early sign of things to come in the changing role of the soybean. 3
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