Alternatives to Political Systems, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 20, 2012
Kotare Village surrounds, west of Wairoa, in the Hawkes Bay region of
New Zealand’s North Island
All photographs © Craig Mackintosh
The industrial revolution, coupled with its move towards privatisation of land and resources and its focus on capitalisation, has had effects which can be somewhat imperceptible when viewed over only a decade or so, but which become pronounced and dramatic when viewed since its inception until now. While the industrial revolution has brought not a few benefits — to some at least — it has also brought a host of significant negatives. The most obvious of these negatives, of course, is that the human race is, rather efficiently, bringing itself face to face with a potential complete meltdown of planetary biological systems, or, at least, with dangerously abrupt changes to them. But looking deeper at the problems of environmental collapse, we should quickly discern that our crisis is less about environmental systems than it is about people systems — the invisible structures that frame and facilitate the fulfillment of our needs, our ambitions and the form, and subsequent result, of the economic activity that comes from these.
In other words, our myriad crises find their source in a crisis of culture.Comments (11)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, People Systems, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Pietro Zucchetti March 22, 2012
This is an interview with Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Town movement founded in Totnes, United Kingdom. The interview is about what Transition Towns mean, and how he came up with this idea as a permaculture teacher. The interview also covers how is this concept important now, during the present global crisis, and how the Transition Town movement can get involved in educating people to cope with a future in energy descent, which is starting not tomorrow, but right now! It ends with his prediction for the near future.
Duration: 23 minutes
Eco-Villages, Land, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Keveen Gabet March 21, 2012
Filling tyres with trash bricks
We recently spent a month volunteering in Indonesia, on the beautiful and luxurious island of Samosir. We lent our hands to a small but emerging eco-village situated right on the shore of Lake Toba. At Eco-Village Samosir there are many projects underway, from mulching around the 3,000 newly planted trees to creating a food forest to feed the growing number of volunteers.
During our visit, we noticed that a major cause for action in Silimalombu (population: 200) was waste management and recycling. Granted this is a national issue, world wide even, but I guess for us it was more an in-your-face issue to tackle as the image of an eco-village doesn’t usually exist with a litter mentality. The community decided to ‘cope’ with the myriads of plastic bags and other garbage by supplying each home with waste bins and adding receptacles here and there in which they later burn their trash. So although the quaint village appears clean and tidy, the kids, dogs and local fishermen pay the price by inhaling toxic fumes twice a week. Not everyone has adopted the ‘dump and burn’ approach; some simply hide all their trash on the slopes of the lake, where, to this day, few people can see.Comments (17)
Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, People Systems, Village Development — by Keveen Gabet March 12, 2012
This micro-documentary about the Konohana Family Farm will take you to the heart of a successful intentional community flourishing about three hours from Tokyo. Their farm was established on the foothills of Mount Fuji, about 18 years ago, by a handful of people who sought an alternative lifestyle. They knew almost nothing about sustainable living practices, eco-villages or permaculture.Comments (0)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by David Bollier March 10, 2012
The following is an adaptation of my notes for my talk at the Occupy Wall Street “Making Worlds” conference on February 16-18, 2012.
I am so pleased that the Occupy and Commons movements are finding each other and starting a new conversation. Occupy is an incredible force for change. It has a bracing vision, a deeply principled philosophy, and an independent, risk-taking spirit that is unusual in American political life. There are many challenges for Occupy, however, as it tries to imagine new ways to move forward and grow. I’d like to suggest how the commons framing and language may be strategically important by surveying the international scene of commons activism, which is remarkably robust. There is a lot is going on — but I won’t presume to be comprehensive; my apologies for any significant omissions.
Let me start by giving a brief speculation about why people from so many backgrounds are embracing the commons. First of all, it is a way for people to assert the integrity of their existing communities, or to try to reclaim that integrity. The commons also provides a way to assert a moral relationship to certain resources and people that are endangered by market forces. It’s a way of saying, “That _________ (water, air, software code, cultural tradition) belongs to me. It is part of my life and identity.”
Many people are embracing the commons, too, because it provides a powerful critique of neoliberal capitalism. But it is much more than that. It is a pro-active set of alternatives that work. And therefore it provides a positive, constructive scaffolding for practical alternatives to the prevailing market economy and corrupt political process. But the commons is still more than this. It is not just a policy critique or political philosophy, but equally a distinctive worldview, language and social ethic.Comments (19)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Millo Magnocavallo February 11, 2012
I have seen a possibility and a lot of factors that are working in favor of this possibility, so it has motivated me to start working on my idea. It’s about collaboratively re-occupying and regenerating abandoned rural land, starting here, where I am in Portugal. Since I know of no other cases of this here in Portugal I will be starting with my own land as a lead case study, lead example or pilot project for lack of a better term. I am currently in the process of investigating this further, but let me explain the idea….Comments (36)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Village Development — by Theron Beaudreau January 26, 2012
In a rural village at the Southwest corner of the Isaan Plateau, just over an hour drive south of Thailand’s second largest city, Korat, a band of tenacious permaculturalists have just arrived at the site of their new home.
Over the course of the next year, infrastructure will be erected, community and teaching spaces will be established and a traditional corn and rice farm will undergo a dramatic metamorphosis. The work here has already begun… and I’d like to take you along for the ride!Comments (14)
Community Projects, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Deforestation, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Gabions, Irrigation, Land, People Systems, Processing & Food Preservation, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Dan Smith January 21, 2012
A certain coal-strewn road in Madrid, New Mexico
— the remnants of a now defunct railway.
Alternately barren and spectacular, the southwest United States has piqued the imagination of Americans and people across the world for generations. The site of gold rushes, Native American homelands, and a culture of lawlessness that has yet to fade completely, much of the land was degraded and destroyed long before Hollywood discovered how to cash in on retelling stories from its checkered past. Films may glorify the breadth and scope of the iconic terrain, but the essence and character of the Southwest ecology has been drastically altered; it little resembles what it once was.Comments (6)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Education, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 16, 2012
Join John Hardy on a tour of the Green School, his off-the-grid school in Bali that teaches kids how to build, garden, create (and get into college). The centerpiece of campus is the spiraling Heart of School, perhaps the world’s largest freestanding bamboo building. — Ted.com
Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Albert Bates January 13, 2012
Former stockbroker Brian Bankston now calls himself the “Keyline Cowboy” after a carbon farming course at The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center transformed his life. He quit his job, bought a keyline plow and compost tea brewer, and moved to The Farm.
For the past 10 years or so, the land management decisions of The Farm (a 40-year-old intentional community on 1750 acres in rural Tennessee, pop. ~200) have been informed by permaculture. Permaculture was influential in the design and early curricula of The Farm’s Ecovillage Training Center in 1994, and since many, if not all, of the community’s residents have now been exposed to it, it is not surprising to learn that a number of people serving on various village committees, as well some in public office in the surrounding county, have Permaculture Design certificates.
Our relationship with permaculture traces back to our connection to Bill Mollison, one of permaculture’s founders, who received the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” in the year after we did. RLA winners are a gregarious lot and gather from time to time to swap tales, so we have been fortunate to share such meetings with Bill over the past 30 years. We are also fortunate to have had the influence of an erstwhile neighbor, Peter Bane, who for many years published the quarterly Permaculture Activist from his former home in Primm Springs, Tennessee.
Today, as a permaculture instructor, I travel to many of the convergences of the movement and have come to know many practitioners. Our Farm team has taught permaculture courses on six continents and in 27 countries now, so it would only be surprising if The Farm did not have permaculture going on.Comments (5)
Community Projects, Development & Property Trusts, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Village Development — by Bob Corker December 24, 2011
To confidently face the many challenges that the future holds for us, we need new models for living lightly on Earth and for building resilience into our communities.
We can’t expect that we can merely change our intentions and the existing economic, physical and social structures will magically serve our new intentions with ‘green’ add-ons.
Design follows intention.
We are challenged to dream new dreams and to have the courage to manifest those dreams; crafting them in the spirit with which they were dreamed. This is the challenge of our time. “We are the ones we have been waiting for”.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Irrigation, Land, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Monika Goforth October 1, 2011
by Monika Goforth and Terry Leahy, University of Newcastle, Australia
To use permaculture lingo, Chikukwa can be described as a real edge, both in terms of ecology, culture and language, and the edge effect has certainly produced something rich. The community here has a sense of being both somewhat innocent and progressive at the same time. It is as if they skipped the industrialized phase and went straight into becoming a sustainable community. — Lindhagen 2010
This shot shows how the Chikukwa lands looked in the early nineties,
bare hillsides and soil erosion, with the consequence in poor nutrition.
This picture shows a small section of the Chikukwa clan lands as they are now.
The houses nestled among orchards, the bunds with vetiver grass in the
cropping fields and the extensive woodlots are all typical of this design strategy.
The Chikukwa Ecological Land Trust (CELUCT) is a unique community permaculture organisation in the Chimanimani district of Zimbabwe. Set in the highlands bordering Mozambique, the region is heavily populated and has suffered from deforestation, serious erosion and soil degradation since the area was named a Tribal Trust Land in the colonial era. In this setting, the Chikukwa community has developed a successful permaculture program involving around 8,000 farmers in what Chan (2010) calls “one of the largest and relatively unknown permaculture sites in the world.” So, how did a remote Zimbabwean farming community learn and implement permaculture techniques? What have been the effects?Comments (20)
Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 27, 2011
Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement, gives a great TED Talk.
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Community Projects, Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Energy Systems, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Land, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by I-SIS July 20, 2011
Small integrated farms with off-grid renewable energy may be the perfect solution to the food and financial crisis while mitigating and adapting to climate change
A Sarvodaya villager sells a diverse range of organic produce roadside
– with more than 95% of it grown behind the stall, and by her own family
Photo © copyright Craig Mackintosh
In a Nutshell
An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate.Comments (1)
Consumerism, Eco-Villages, Economics, Society, Village Development — by Cecilia Macaulay July 7, 2011
Knife shaperner photo by Cecilia
This itinerant knife sharpener does the rounds every few months in my neighbourhood in Tokyo.Comments (7)