Land, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Serena Aurora May 1, 2013
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)
Biological Cleaning, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Sheri Menelli April 29, 2013
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)
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge: Kitchen Grey-Water System Report of Implementation and Design Update (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland March 30, 2013
As most of us know, grey water is a term used to refer to “waste” water that has been used once in any domestic system except for toilets (which is referred to as black water). However grey water from the kitchen may be considered as “dark grey” water on account of the fact that it tends to contain a lot more fats and protein from the grease and grime that comes off pots and pans than say shower outflow water which is quite dilute. If you let kitchen grey water sit around it quickly goes rancid and doesn’t smell a lot different from sewage. The grey water coming out of our kitchen also has some pretty nasty detergents in it (Ajax) and we can’t really get hold of anything more eco out here in Ethiopia. Initially we tried putting this grey water directly into an infiltration pit, but that didn’t work very well as it tended to fill up and start to reek and kill the surrounding plants, especially in the rainy season.Comments (3)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Building, Compost, Livestock, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Rick Pickett March 20, 2013
Rehabilitating degraded land in the Peruvian Amazon requires utilizing many tools in ecological agriculture’s arsenal. We use a mix of sea kelp, calcium solutions, organic fertilizers, and rock phosphate to add nutrients to our sacha inchi and mocambo polycultures.
One fertilizing solution we were without on the farm when I arrived was the mighty worm bin.* Vermiculture, or vermicompost, is a low-tech, organic method of using the digestive capacity of redworms (Eisenia fetida) to recycle animal and kitchen wastes into solid and/or liquid organic fertilizers. The worms may also be used as a high-protein feed for poultry. Some enterprising farmers also get into the business of selling the worms, castings and/or teas.Comments (5)
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) Turns Problem into Solution With Composting Toilets (Haiti)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Rehabilitation, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 3, 2013
A few months ago I shared a three minute video from John D. Liu of the EEMP about the work of SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) — an organisation that’s doing great work in Haiti to improve sanitation in a sustainable and affordable way, whilst simultaneously turning the problem (human waste) into a solution (improving agricultural production whilst reducing the incidence of diseases like cholera). John has just sent me the latest edit from his video work on the impoverished island nation, so below you’ll find an extended look at the work of SOIL, and its context. This video makes an excellent follow-up to the article we just posted a couple of days ago: Recycling Animal and Human Dung is the Key to Sustainable Farming.
Compost, Conservation, Health & Disease, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Kris De Decker March 1, 2013
© Kris De Decker, low-tech magazine (edited by Shameez Joubert)
© Illustrations in red & black: Diego Marmolejo
Flushing the water closet is handy, but it wreaks ecological havoc, deprives agricultural soils of essential nutrients and makes food production dependent on fossil fuels.
For 4,000 years, human excrements and urine were considered extremely valuable trade products in China, Korea and Japan. Human dung was transported over specially designed canal networks by boats.
Thanks to the application of human "waste" products as fertilizers to agricultural fields, the East managed to feed a large population without polluting their drinking water. Meanwhile, cities in medieval Europe turned into open sewers. The concept was modernized in late 19th century Holland, with Charles Liernur’s sophisticated vacuum sewer system.Comments (5)
Building, Eco-Villages, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Marcin Gerwin January 30, 2013
Marcin Gerwin: In many cities there are problems with traffic jams. The streets are clogged with cars and as a response mayors build new roads or widen the streets. Old buildings are demolished to make way for new lanes so that a highway running through the middle of the city could be built. Would you say that this is the right way forward?Comments (0)
Conservation, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Samuel Alexander December 19, 2012
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
Introducing my post-electric washing machine, which I call the Deindustrial 2020. It’s of the future, not the past – although it does look rather like the old-style, Medieval 1450. It was made for only $2.
As you should be able to see from the picture, the Deindustrial 2020 is made up of two hi-tech elements, a black plastic tub (which I salvaged from the side of the road), and an old crutch (which I purchased for $2 from the tip-shop). With these two pieces of technology I was able to construct a post-electric washing machine, which functions perfectly and doesn’t use any fossil fuels in operation. You could probably find appropriate materials around the house or in the shed.Comments (14)
Consumerism, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Keveen Gabet December 17, 2012
I’m not sure there is a real cure against the insanity that consumerism has reached, but what I’m sure of (well, almost) is that we can be a little smarter (and conscious) in dealing with packaging the goods we don’t always need. Granted, I wish people would buy less in the first place… or at least repair, re-use, recycle, or repurpose.
It’s a global plague. Mountains of plastic bags, styrofoam and cardboard are accumulating in landfills while people continue buying more. The bad news is that it will continue. The good news is that some people are racking their brains to do something about it.
Here are two innovative ideas that principally target this phenomenon: packaging.Comments (3)
Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Tim Barker November 23, 2012
by Tim Barker
The basic unit, minus the rocket stove and piping
In my last post, I showed a picture of a wood powered water heater, so now we’ll roll up our sleeves and get into how this was designed. But first a warning! Boiling water is easy to do, but boiling water in a closed container and not blowing yourself up is much trickier — in fact I’ve heard it said that there is the equivalent of a stick of dynamite in 500 grams of boiling water! So if you blow yourself up, be it on your own head. Having said that, I have spent a fair bit of time creating a design that is simple to build, safe and efficient.Comments (16)
Aquaculture, Building, Demonstration Sites, Energy Systems, Fish, Land, Retrofitting, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Harvesting — by Rene Michalak November 6, 2012
The "MEGGA-watt" Project (Micro-Energy Generating Garage Assembly) is a demonstration / prototype to turn everyday detached garages from simple storage units (aka ‘car-holes’) into food-growing and energy-generating systems using permaculture design.
The basic concept is to partner a garage with an attached greenhouse and renewable energy to create sustainable 4-season growing systems with minimal fossil fuel input that serves both practical and recreational purposes.
Owners of a MEGGA can then customize how they want the system to function — what they want to grow and how they want to grow it.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Material, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland October 25, 2012
Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, 2012. Your tuition fees directly support this important educational aid work.
The Hafto Solar Community Water Project site project is a solar powered water supply facility for the surrounding community of Hafto in the Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia. The project was planned and implemented by a German NGO called DWC and is owned and run by a local NGO called SMART. The facility supplies water to about 1500 surrounding community members within an approximate 1km radius. There is a small charge for the water of about 0.01 Ethiopian Birr per liter (1$=18Birr) which covers the running costs of the project. The community members currently come to the site with donkeys to collect the water in jerry-cans which they take home for use.Comments (3)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Land, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Dan Palmer October 17, 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
The Site-Specific Design Problem
The problem was how do you drain a duck pond in a way that
- directs the overflow to the same exit pipe as when you drain it totally
- doesn’t involve reaching your hand to the bottom of a pond full of duck poo
- lets you easily drain out every last millimetre of sludge, and
- lets you refill the pond without having to wait around to turn the tap off when it’s full.
Below is the design in which this conundrum arose. The duck pond is just above the tank in the lower left (under an apricot) and the infiltration path/trench it feeds is the worm-like thing curving up and around under the fruit trees….Comments (1)
Aquaculture, Compost, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Surveying, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Richard Perkins September 15, 2012
A reflection following a great time finding solutions for dryland water management in Portugal
I’m enjoying working on a job connecting up extensive irrigation in the mountains of Extremadura, Spain, and relaxing for a couple of days after a successful and effective Dryland Water Management intensive at the budding Permaculture Institute, Vale De Lama, near Lagos in the South of Portugal.
This week we have been looking at all aspects of water design, focusing mostly on this varied site where all manner of interventions are necessary to halt the onslaught of the desertification process and regenerate the diverse mixed polycultures and rich soils that had a biological diversity comparative to more tropical regions at one time.
Something that is clear after working so intensively with integrative and regenerative systems design around the globe in different climate zones is that most places I turn up at have been degraded heavily and the localized cultural approach and ecological understanding is often limited by familiarization with the current conditions and often destructive agricultural practices.Comments (7)
Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Rick Pickett September 8, 2012
Building soil fertility in the humid tropics is a difficult project. Not only because the soil itself is thin, but due to the fact that below the fertile surface of leaf litter, rotting trees and decaying organic matter is a mineral and nutrient deficient zone of usually acidic clays called oxisols or, less commonly, utisols. With up to 90% of tropical forest biomass living within the plants and organic matter and only a paltry 10% occurring in the actual soil, protection and cultivation of soil is extremely important in sustaining fertility.
For many of our farm partners, like Federico, we’re rehabilitating slashed-and-burned lands that have been heavily leached of nutrients or are lacking the balance of minerals needed to allow plants access to important nutrients like phosphorous. One technique used extensively in tropical climates to take advantage of oxisols is the heavy application of lime or calcium carbonate to raise the soil pH and begin improving the soil structure and mineral availability for plants.
We would love to pump multiple metric tons of lime or calcium into the soil, but our distant location from traditional sources and concerns about mineral extraction practices makes large-scale delivery undesirable. But, our plants need their calcium. What to do?Comments (8)