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)
Compost, Conservation, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Irrigation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting — by Leigh Glenn January 19, 2012
The Kniskerns’ yard is a sustainable smorgasbord
Over a period of less than 10 years, James and Mary Kniskern transformed their sod-based lawn into a vibrant, blooming habitat that not only reduces their impact on the land but also rewards them with a bounty of edible plants as well as honey-producing bees.
The fifth of an acre where James and Mary Kniskern live in Arnold [Maryland, USA] was about what you’d expect for a suburban dwelling: grass, azaleas, daffodils in the spring, pachysandras year-round. As you’d expect, it required the drone of a mower and sweat non-equity to keep it in shape.
“I didn’t like to mow,” says James.
But what was the alternative?
Less than a decade later, the Kniskerns are living the alternative. Their yard is like none other on their block. It’s the eco-gardener’s version of The Limbo Song. The how low can you go? part involves occasional weeding, plenty of harvesting… and no mowing.
Before the Kniskerns headed down the wood-chipped path to zero grass, they considered buying into an eco-village, so they visited several throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Each had its quirks, but what they really didn’t care for was the landscaping, which was not as tidy as what they were used to.
“It looked ugly,” James says.
But their desire to reduce their impact on the land propelled them.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Bio-regional Organisations, Community Projects, Consumerism, Development & Property Trusts, Economics, Land, People Systems, Plant Systems, Society, Village Development — by David Bollier January 16, 2012
Rarely have I read an essay that knits together some very different commons with such wisdom and depth. Joline Blais’ 2006 essay, “Indigenous Domain: Pilgrims, Permaculture and Perl,” is a wonderfully insightful analysis that reveals the underlying unity and logic of commons principles. Her piece appeared in Intelligent Agent (vol. 6, no. 2), published by the Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts.
Blais’ essay is valuable because it speaks to the rift that is said to separate commons based on natural resources and those of cyberspace. The segregation of those two classes of commons has always bothered me. There are of course significant differences between managing depletable natural resources and managing cheap and limitless stores of digital information. Yet it has always struck me that the two great tribes of commoners have much more in common than not, and should be in closer consultation with each other.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Building, Community Projects, Eco-Villages, Education, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor
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
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 13, 2012
The new Truly Green Economy needs to be modeled after and embedded within the circular economy of nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
The linear economy and the circular economy
The world’s economy is on the brink of financial meltdown, thanks to the corrupt Wall Street money and banking system unleashed by deregulation in the 1970s and 1980s  (“Shut Down Wall Street!” SiS 53). Emerging from the ruins is a new socially accountable economy that can provide good jobs at living wages, and generate real wealth for people and communities, at least in the United States  (New Economy Now, SiS 53). But that is not enough, we need a truly green circular economy working with and within nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
Until a few years ago, very few people would take green or circular economy seriously. Not anymore; governments and businesses are now outdoing environmental groups in claiming the green circular economy for themselves. So perhaps it is time to put down some goal posts to make sure we get there.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Economics, Food Shortages, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Salination, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Beatrice Yannacopoulou
A group of community-minded gardeners have turned a former Athens airport into a blooming vegetable plot, showing how Greece’s eroded soil holds the keys to a revival in farming and a way to buck the jobless trend.
by Beatrice Yannacopoulou. Article originally published on The Ecologist
All photographs courtesy: Dimitris.V.Geronikos
"If we want to survive on this land we must first help to heal the earth," said Nicolas Netién, agro-ecologist, teacher and co-creator of the NGO Permaculture Research Institute Hellas. He was talking to a group of some fifty people of all ages who had gathered for two days of workshops on self-sufficiency, how to self-organize, agro-ecology and composting. This small gathering was taking place on a beautifully sunny autumn day at the former Athens airport, Ellinikon.Comments (3)
Consumerism, Economics, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development — by Richard Perkins January 12, 2012
(IM)PERMANENCE film was noticed by the Sunday Times who featured our family in an article regarding "living fluidly".
In case you didn’t catch the article in the Sunday Times last week, our family was featured in an article about living fluidly, how a generation of people are now forging new ways to interact to meet their needs in these uncertain times. To add to this I wished to further explain some of the design thinking behind developing poly-income streams, how and why I connect different aspects of my life together so there is functional interconnection with meeting various goals whilst moving me towards my highest visions and aspirations.Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops, Education, Society, Village Development — by Angelo Eliades January 11, 2012
We can teach philosophy by teaching gardening, but we cannot teach gardening by teaching philosophy. – Bill Mollison
The place of philosophy in Permaculture has always been a contentious subject and for very good reasons. The very identity and credibility of the design system of permaculture rests on its sound scientific underpinnings and foundations.
Through the definition of strict boundaries of what can and cannot be added to the body of the permaculture syllabus, it has managed to retain its intended focus, and therefore its effectiveness as a scientific design discipline.
If the relationship and connection of permaculture to philosophy is not clearly understood, we run the very real risk of destroying the integrity of the discipline of permaculture, by making inappropriate additions in the misguided endeavour to ‘make it all things to all people’.
So, the best way to tackle any contention about this subject is to examine the nature of permaculture itself as well as the nature of what we loosely define as philosophy, and the relationship between them. And that’s precisely what we’ll do!Comments (15)
Even in backward mining communities, as late as the sixteenth century more than half the recorded days were holidays; while for Europe as a whole, the total number of holidays, including Sunday, came to 189, a number even greater than those enjoyed by Imperial Rome. Nothing more clearly indicates a surplus of food and human energy, if not material goods. Modern labor-saving devices have as yet done no better. — Lewis Mumford, Myth of the Machine : Technics and Human Development, 1967.
Community Projects, Food Forests, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Seeds, Society, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Bob Nekrasov January 6, 2012
by Bob Nekrasov
I hear you comrade. ‘I want those acres and to start my food forest and have a permaculture demonstration Eden – but alas, I am a humble renter with big bloody dreams and typically uncreative landlords’.
As us ‘renters’ forlornly scan open fields and acres — seeing real estate listings of eroded soils sitting below beautiful key points — we are designing lush, abundant landscape in our minds and whinging about the price and how we could easily ‘turn this place into a self-sustaining paradise’. Well, at least I am! But, we can get caught in the dream trap — thinking we will start the big permaculture project when we get that dream plot of land. But it is really a void that needs to be filled. When you know how much good you can do you do feel a little crippled by renting a place where you feel you cannot do much. Having this deluded mindset a few years back I set out to figure out what I can do. Hooray!Comments (21)
Aid Projects, Building, Courses/Workshops, Village Development — by Samuel Bonello January 4, 2012
The view flying into Tarim
The country of Yemen has not been featured much on the PRI blog page. It has only been mentioned briefly in some articles discussing water shortages in the region and it has made the list of exotic destinations to apply knowledge gained in a PRI Aid Workers course. I think this is about to change.
The last days in Tarim, Yemen have uncovered a real treasure of permaculture potential. I anticipate that natural building techniques, still widely used in Yemen, will no longer be the only reason for Yemen to be on the permaculture map.Comments (12)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Troy Ansley January 2, 2012
The heroes and heroines of history’s past are so well-known they need not be mentioned. Lesser known and perhaps more integral, however, are the countless individuals whose stories remain untold and hidden by history. “Orlando Permaculture” is a documentary of the latter modern-day individuals. It is a story of a community of people who have read cover to cover the “story of pattern recognition in a sea of apparent chaos” of which Troy Ansley, speaks. They have also repeatedly heard the story modern culture sells them on how the world operates, and decided they would like to write a new, yet somehow ancient story of their own. A story of community, integrity, true sustainability and new beginnings. A story of belonging.
The film, “Orlando Permaculture,” poignantly reveals that great movements are birthed in the dreams of those who desire more, and molded between the hands of those who reach out to one another and to the land. Through visiting a variety of different people within the city of Orlando, the film and portrayals serve to inspire, enlighten and engage your heart & mind to dream of a more colorful and living world in which all are welcome. This is a world of possibilities, togetherness, and balance. Indicative of the subject matter, Ansley weaves a beautiful fabric of sound and image to ornately clothe this emerging community whose story otherwise might remain hidden by history. Listen to this story, dear viewer, so that you might share it and likewise reach out your hand and mold it with us. — Richard G. Powell December 20th, 2011 Orlando, FL
Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 24, 2011
I just want to express my gratitude to all our readers and supporters who have contributed in various ways over the last year. What a year it has been! We’ve seen the launch of the Worldwide Permaculture Network, with your support — which now enables us to see who is doing what, and where, and even how they’re doing it. We saw the Tenth International Permaculture Conference & Convergence (IPC10) come and go, and by all accounts it was a great success. And most importantly, we’ve done our darndest to help permaculture individuals and projects in some of the world’s neediest places. We even restarted the PDC Teacher registry, so students can have choice in the quality of instruction and to protect the integrity/reputation of permaculture as we move forward into the next few challenging years.Comments (8)
Community Projects, Development & Property Trusts, Eco-Villages, People Systems, Village Development — by Bob Corker
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)