Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 25, 2012
This is a must-watch video for all who need water (the rest of you are excused). I actually covered a lot of the material in the video in my Water Worries post, which I put together several years ago (but being one of the earliest posts on this site, when we had a far smaller audience, it barely got read, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t attract even a single comment). This is a critical topic, and I’m pleased to say that, as did my earlier article, this video doesn’t just point out the problems, but also has an holistic view of the situation, so it also directs one to what must, and must not, be done about it.Comments (7)
First Ever Long Term Study of Monsanto’s Roundup and Roundup Resistant Maize Brings Shocking Results
GMOs, Health & Disease — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 21, 2012
We, unfortunately, live in a world where the dollar is king. It takes priority over everything, and everyone — well, except for those few who possess a lot of them. Any attempt to regulate profit-centric industry is proclaimed as ‘communism’ and deemed an injustice and an obstacle to everything from economic prosperity to world peace. This thinking somehow concludes that market forces and self-interest are always working in our best interest. But they are not.Comments (24)
Land, Presentations/Demonstrations, Rehabilitation — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 20, 2012
On August 24, 2012 Skillset in partnership with Net Balance and ABC Rural presented FACETS 2012, a TEDx styled event that focused on key issues for regional Australia: Food, Agriculture, Climate, Energy, Topsoil and Sustainability.
FACETS 2012 consisted of 16 presentations of no more than 18 minutes each, delivered by passionate and informed people with the aim to empower people, build useful connections and bring about a positive change in our communities.
The FACETS 2012 hub event held at Skillset’s Flannery Centre in Bathurst NSW, was linked live to satellite events in regional locations across Australia, this ensured that FACETS 2012 initiated international, national and local conversations worth having.
Conservation, Land, Plant Systems, Podcasts, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Conservation, Structure, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 19, 2012
With the U.S. and other countries caught in unprecedented droughts, and arid areas of the world growing in tandem, this simple method for speeding revegetation at scale offers a lot of promise.
The barren, arid landscapes of the world are notoriously hard to revegetate. Indeed, the earth in these regions is usually very hard to describe as ’soil’. As vegetation dies off, the soil gets exposed to intense heat and evaporation, and any seeds that are present, or applied, are then unable to get the moisture they need to germinate and survive. With plant roots, organic matter and microorganisms no longer present in the soil, it rapidly loses any of the structure it once possessed. Soil erosion from rain events and harsh winds then easily undermine nature’s attempts at natural, progressive restoration, by sending any accumulated soil particles elsewhere, or out into the ocean.
Human intervention has been, in many cases, the driving force in starting this destructive cycle, and, as evidenced by the rapid advancement of desertification worldwide, it’s also clear that it will only be through human intervention that we can reverse it.Comments (10)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Education, Food Shortages, Health & Disease — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 14, 2012
Sri Lankan household
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has, of course, a lot of resources at its disposal. Unfortunately it’s been shown that those resources have not always been utilised in ways that actually assist the people they purport to want to help. I’d like to believe that this disconnect is just due to ecological ineptitude, rather than impure motives, but it’s impossible for me to tell, or judge, from the swivel chair I’m sitting in. If I got rich from coding DOS, I’m sure I might also come to consider ‘technology’ as being the answer to all things, and, after a lifetime in offices, would probably also have a very limited understanding of the great biological ‘operating system’ — the interdependencies found within our biosphere, and the productivity that can be found in harnessing those interdependencies, instead of ignoring and overriding them and continuing to try to force functions.
But, today I want to highlight a grant opportunity offered by the foundation. It is an opportunity to showcase sensible, appropriate, productive design systems not only to the African farmers who desperately need to find better ways of working, but also to Gates Foundation members themselves. I dare to dream that the vast resources of the foundation could begin to leverage the work of permaculturists, rather than continuing to finance the spread of unnecessary biotechnology, etc. I would encourage lucid and experienced permaculturists — particularly those with documented successes in places like Africa and India — to read through this grant offer, and to do us proud….Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 13, 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
This is an urgent call for support of the Marda Permaculture Farm, which is in dire need of financial support to bring it beyond day-to-day survival into a thriving, ecologically and economically sustainable farm and training center. At this time, its finances are at an all-time low, and immediate support is needed to maintain it until further funds are raised through produce sales and grants.
On a scanty budget of about $15,000 to $20,000 per year, the Marda Permaculture farm has hosted hundreds of international interns and volunteers, provided Permaculture Design Courses for nearly 50 local farmers, agricultural engineers, activists, and backyard gardeners, and about as many international students.
With support from local and international partners, the Marda Farm has transformed into a thriving model of all-organic local permaculture design featuring traditional Palestinian terraces, swales, a greenhouse, plant guilds, construction using natural building and recycled materials, an orchard, bees, chickens, pigeons, compost system, and much more. It is the only fully developed permaculture farm of its kind in the West Bank.Comments (5)
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
This video from ReasonTV covers ground we’ve covered before many times, but since little to nothing has changed on this front, we must necessarily persevere in getting the message across any way we can. Essentially, we need to stop incentivising ecological madness, waste, disease, and inequality through public subsidising of the largest agricultural criminals.
Current agricultural subsidies in the U.S. mean that agribusinesses are selling ‘food’ (in inverted commas, as much of it is genetically modified and nutrient deficient) at less than the cost of production. This is damaging to the environment, to U.S. small-scale farmers, the U.S. economy as a whole, and it is particularly hard on struggling small-scale farmers in two-thirds world countries, who watch ‘cheap’ food getting dumped on their doorsteps at prices they cannot compete with and which often see them leaving their land to take up residence in ever-growing city slums, as I outlined in detail in Orchestrating Famine – a Must-Read Backgrounder on the Food Crisis.
Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Fungi, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 10, 2012
Survival/Bushcraft Techniques — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 8, 2012
Editor’s preclude: Just as with climate change, where we’re finding ourselves having to move from prevention to mitigation, I think permaculturists, who major in prevention of environmental and economic collapse, also need to build some of their skills in outright survival. In the future laid out before us, we never know when basic survival techniques may become critical lifelines in difficult times or for when natural disasters strike. Given that our governments are not only a root cause of these situations, but they’re also wholly inadequate to assist us in times of desperate need, personal preparedness is an appropriate response. As such, I thought I’d put up a small, initial post on the topic of survival techniques, which I hope will be the first of many such articles posted to this site, not just from myself, but also from some of our many international readers who have far more knowledge and skills to share in this area than I do — some valuable to all, and some more specific to their own bioregions. Such articles can cover every aspect of basic survival, from identifying edible and medicinal plants and roots, to techniques for the speedy building of emergency shelters, to navigation skills and dealing with injuries, and so on. Please send such posts, with photos, to editor (at) permaculture.org.au
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
A friend here in central Europe invited me to head out of town a little to camp out under the stars. Over the last several months he has been taking some interest in survival techniques, and so I thought I’d take the opportunity to get out of my swivel chair, get a little break in nature, whilst also getting a little material to share with you. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!)
So, latish yesterday afternoon, we packed up our kit and walked about 6 or 7kms out of town, through farmer’s fields and into the forest.Comments (10)
Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems, Seeds, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 6, 2012
Regular readers will know we are doing what we can to support Vandana Shiva’s "Occupy the Seed" campaign, running between 2 — 16 October, 2012. This worthy "Seed Freedom Fortnight of Action" is a call to respect and liberate the world’s seeds and to maximise their diversity — their being the very basis of our existence, and an absolute wonder of biological ‘magic’ in their own right. On Wednesday September 5th, as an act of solidarity of purpose between the Permaculture Research Institute and Vandana Shiva’s Navdanya Network (an organisation that has to date successfully conserved more than 5000 crop varieties), Geoff and Vandana talked together on how we can recreate a more successful and healthy world through increased diversity, in contrast to the systematic biodiversity loss currently seen through the reductionist systems of Big Agri. Take a watch, and be sure to get involved!Comments (4)
GMOs, Seeds — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 5, 2012
Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 3, 2012
For 15 years, in the 1980s and early 1990s, John worked as a television journalist in China for CBS News, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI), and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF German Television). Over the years he had to do virtually every job in remote television production and gained some skills that were in demand.
As John grew in his work he was also observing China as it emerged from isolation and poverty. It was exhilarating to see China stand up but terrifying to consider the pollution and environmental implications of its rise. John would go to his office and think, "someone should really do something about the environment", but what he meant was "someone else". After some time he began to feel that his own attitude was part of the problem. If John was unwilling to change his life, why would anyone else? At this point he decided to found the "Environmental Education Media Project for China (EEMPC)" and to devote his energies to understanding and communicating about the environment and ecology. Since the mid-1990s, the EEMPC has distributed hundreds of existing films in China and John have made dozens of environmental and ecological films in China and around the world.
General — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 1, 2012
You haven’t been seeing so many posts of late, as I’ve been a little distracted, getting under the hood of this website to fix a few things.
Given the very international scope of our work, one of items I’ve checked off the things-to-do list is to switch our domain from permaculture.org.au over to www.permaculturenews.org.
Important: To help search engines recognise and index us properly, I’d be immensely grateful if the webmasters who are linking to us would be so kind as to edit those links, changing the web address to our new one: www.permaculturenews.org
When you do so, please remove mention of ‘Australia’ — i.e. change ‘Permaculture Research Institute of Australia’ to ‘The Permaculture Research Institute’.
And if you’re not linking to our site, why not do so? The more people can find us, the more we can network and support each other, the more knowledge and resources we can share, and the more projects we can see getting established!
Thanks to you all for all you’re doing in the world.Comments (9)
Biodiversity, Comedy Break, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 31, 2012
If we fail to change trajectory, then perhaps we should be re-engineering the root cause of our problem — ourselves?
It’s true that I’m well known for attacking the GMO industry, its industry financed scientists and their thus-incentivised reductionist ’science’. I’ve expressed many times that GMOs are a "solution looking for a problem". We know that GMOs are really only a bid to deal with symptoms of agricultural mismanagement, so they can perpetuate and capitalise on the temporarily highly profitable root cause (i.e. monocultures) of those symptoms. Without monocultures we would not need the many products that keep many an industry alive and many of us in employment (heavy machinery, oil, gasoline, pesticides, fertilisers, GMO seeds and the chemicals they require, etc.), but, with the present paradigm seemingly so entrenched, with our citizens and economic systems being painfully slow to change trajectory (with the industrial agriculture model still rapidly spreading its tentacles across the world’s landscapes), and it threatening our very survival as we begin to head deep into the peak oil era, I’ve had something of an epiphany….
Let me explain.Comments (15)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor August 28, 2012
Edible City is a feature-length documentary film that tells the stories of extraordinary people who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and do something truly revolutionary: grow local Good Food Systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient.