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)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Society, Village Development — by Kenneth Gronbjerg
Editor’s Note: For background on the FRESH project ("the world’s wildest supermarket"), please see this previous post.
From: Sepp Holzer’s Permakultur, Leopold Stocker Verlag, 2008
Danish food revolutionaries take matters into their own hands in order to do what needs to be done — without funding, permits and other bureaucratic fumblings.
In this article, I will answer the following questions:
- What is FRESH? What kind of people are in the movement? What is it doing?
- How is FRESH doing (or planning to do) what it does?
- How is FRESH progressing?
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Robert Cork March 9, 2012
Just outside of Arusha, Tanzania, is ‘Kesho Leo’– a sustainable home for vulnerable women and children operated by FoodWaterShelter. The principles of permaculture underpin the daily lives of the Kesho Leo residents. It is currently the home of seven families, each headed by a Tanzanian mama who cares for up to five children, including orphans. In addition to the daily essentials, Kesho Leo provides the many other aspects that a ‘home’ needs; access to family and social support, access to education and health, and very importantly – access to community.
Permaculture meeting the needs of the Kesho Leo residents
Revolving around the community and education aspects of Kesho Leo are the permaculture systems that strive to provide all of the food, water and energy needs of the residents. Basic needs of water, sanitation and power are provided through rainwater harvesting, innovative batch compost toilet systems, and solar power.Comments (7)
Community Projects, Energy Systems, Markets & Outlets, Processing & Food Preservation, Village Development, peak oil — by Anthea Hudson
Peak Moment host Janaia Donaldson joins Fulvio Casali, Kathy Pelish and Alex Tokar, co-founders of the Salish Sea Trading Cooperative, on the deck of the sailboat Soliton, docked in Ballard, near Seattle, Washington.
The Salish Sea Trading Cooperative have teamed up with Nash’s organic produce in Sequim, where twice a month they arrive by sailboat, to collect the produce, before heading back to Ballard for distribution to the local community through their CSA scheme.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Irrigation, Potable Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Warren Brush March 8, 2012
In a land of contrast, mystery and years of imperialism, a small village of over 300 people on the edge of the Kalahari in Namibia germinated a new permaculture resiliency project in January of 2012. In talking with the headman of the village, he shared that their people, the San Bushmen, have lived in harmony with the land as hunter gatherers for eons. They are often cited as the first peoples of Africa and very likely all of humanity may have descended from their ranks many millennia ago.
The village elder sadly shared that colonialism has destroyed the San migratory way of life — a hunter gatherer tradition that was sustainable for thousands of years. He told us that they were no longer allowed to roam freely and trophy hunters destroyed the vast herds of game that formed their principal supply of food. Both Black and White farmers alike built up huge herds of cattle that destroyed the ecology of the Kalahari and subsequently the foods that had been their staple diet. They soon found they had to work for the farmers to be able to feed their families and hence a cycle of poverty and separation from their cultural roots ensued.Comments (6)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Food Shortages, Plant Systems, Village Development, peak oil — by Anthea Hudson March 7, 2012
Building, Community Projects, Consumerism, Economics, Land, Society, Village Development — by David Bollier
I have been asked to address what the commons might have to say about urban spaces and urban life. The short answer is, a lot!
First, the language of the commons helps us assert a moral entitlement to public spaces again. It lets us challenge the unholy alliance of politicians, developers and professional architects and planners, and insist that city spaces serve our needs as ordinary people. This means, first of all, that commercial considerations cannot crowd out vital common purposes – as we see when the market or authoritarians take over.Comments (0)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education, Education Centres, News, Society, Urban Projects — by Ryan Harb
We did it everyone! It is now official. The UMass Permaculture team will be heading to the White House on March 15! This has been an amazing and inspiring week to see the voting results unfold and be in the center of it all. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support you’ve provided us with.
I’d like to share some reflections for how this week has been for me personally.Comments (7)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Urban Projects — by Ryan Harb March 3, 2012
Further to the last post on our UMass Amherst Permaculture project potentially being spotlighted by the White House and MTV, here’s the latest — we were leading the race but another project unexpectedly gained 20,000 votes today and has taken over first place due to their project being featured in USA Today. We are thus making a big final push to get permaculture back on top and I think we can do it!
Please take three seconds to vote here — make your vote for "UMASS Amherst Permaculture Initiative – Ryan Harb, University of Massachusetts at Amherst"
Please also note:Comments (5)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Land, News, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Andrew Beard March 1, 2012
In the Beacon Hill community of Seattle a revolutionary community garden is being developed to feed her people. The Beacon Food Forest is transforming a previously unused piece of public land into a vibrant food forest filled with hundreds of different varieties of edible plants, fruits and nuts. The seven acre plot uses perennial crops and sustainable methods rooted in permaculture to create a source of food available to all.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Deforestation, Developments, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Elin Lindhagen February 28, 2012
FMNR workshop, Feb 2012, Kenya
Rusinga Island is situated in Lake Victoria in the Western parts of Kenya. It is known for its prehistoric findings of primate fossils dating from 17 million years ago and for being the birthplace of the famously assassinated Kenyan politician, Tom Mboya, whose scholarship fund enabled Barack Obama’s father to study abroad. Not too many years ago it was still known to be a beautiful forested island, rich in unique bird species and with access to great fishing. Today the island is considered a vulnerable ecosystem with marginal agricultural land, leading one author to call it ‘one of the driest and most environmentally marginal agricultural zones in the region’(1).
Rapid population growth in the 1980s led to intensified pressure on natural resources such as trees and fish. At the same time, other communities started coming into Rusinga’s fishing waters to exploit the fish resources. Fish stocks started declining and the fishermen of Rusinga were forced to start looking for other ways of making an income. Many turned to agriculture but the Luo’s on Rusinga were traditionally fishermen, not farmers. Trees were cut down to make houses for a growing population, firewood to feed an increasing number of hungry stomachs and charcoal to make an income. Within a generation, what was once a richly forested island had become bare — suffering increasing droughts, soil erosion and crop failures due to the loss of trees.Comments (1)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Food Shortages, Land, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Wyan Carter
My partner and I have recently bought a house in Melbourne. I’m proud to say that we have deliberately avoided any pressure to buy a large house; our entire property is 170 square metres, and at least half of that is garden. I realise that’s not tiny, but it’s plenty smaller than places owned by a number of my friends and family. One of my cousins has recently built a house on a block of land, and his house alone would swallow our entire property three times over.
But as proud as I am of our small house mentality, I’ve started to realise that this does put some serious constraints on our ability to be independent and self-sufficient. Personally I’ve never been that committed to the dream of being self-sufficient on a good sized, rural block; I’d much rather be community-sufficient within a city suburb. But I don’t want to be vulnerable to crises and shocks, and growing food, fibre and fuel yourself is a big part of reducing that vulnerability.Comments (2)
Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Education, Education Centres, News, Urban Projects — by Ryan Harb February 25, 2012
I’ve got some incredible news to share with you! The permaculture initiative that I facilitate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA) has been selected by the White House as a finalist for the Campus Champions of Change Challenge award! This means we are in the final round and the general public is now voting for which teams will get a trip to the White House (judges selected 15 projects from more than 1000 applications!) The top 5 winners also get featured on a television program called ‘The Deans List’ on MTV.
Imagine the potential this has! This is by far the most important thing that I can be doing for the world right now — I truly feel that in my heart.
We have only 1 week to tally as many votes as we can – voting ends Saturday, March 3 at 11:59PM est (New York time!) Here’s a short description about the student group that I oversee, and how to vote:Comments (21)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Richard Higgins February 23, 2012
In January 2010 Richard Higgins, founder and CEO of Well End Permaculture International, arrived at the epicentre of the Haiti earthquake in Port au Prince.
We sat the visiting NGOs down to lunch just to the left of this picture
(see next picture, below). Each double pallet contained 1,200 fresh
human wastes and nobody had any idea they were there
After arrival in Haiti I presented my researched technology at various WASH cluster meetings at the UN information site, near the airport. After the third presentation — made before the meetings had started, I was spotted by the regional director for Water and Sanitation for Latin America of the NGO giant CRS (Catholic Relief Services).
One week later I began work in a contracted position to set up a pilot project at the Sainte Marie Community Convent for the remediation of the toilet waste and other refugee camp generated wastes, into fertilizer, for 200 people.Comments (5)
Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Social Gatherings, Village Development — by Penny Pyett February 22, 2012
Sponsorship opportunity in permaculture: businesses, local groups, entrepreneurs, consultants & trainers.
Dear Permaculture Practitioners and Local Groups
National Permaculture Day (NPD) showcases the practices of permaculture to the public. Businesses and local groups show permaculture in action — through markets, demonstrations, ‘open houses and gardens’, and local events in city and country.
The day has run nationally for three years, supported first by individuals and local groups, and last year by a grant of $17,900 from the federal government. It is part of the developing move for a national presence for permaculture.Comments (1)