Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Education, Ethical Investment, Society, Village Development — by Kenton Zerbin May 4, 2013
All photos © Craig Mackintosh
In my previous article I stressed how there is no sounder thing to invest in than a) Yourself and B) Community.
In this article I want to share some of the simple ways one can invest in oneself. For some this may translate and lead to finding meaning, a career and community — after all what we are ultimately talking about here is finding connection. For some this will serve as one more swift kick in the butt to get out the door and be the change you want to see in the world. No matter who you are, I hope you find this hopeful, inspiring and informative.
Options for investing in yourself:Comments (3)
Consumerism, Education, Society — by George Monbiot April 26, 2013
The case for banning advertisements aimed at children is overwhelming.
How many people believe this makes the world a better place? A company called TenNine has hung advertising hoardings in the corridors and common rooms of 750 British schools(1). Among its clients are Nike, Adidas, Orange, Tesco and Unilever(2). It boasts that its “high impact platform delivers right to the heart of the 11-18 year old market.”(3)
Other firms are closing in. Boomerang Media, which represents Sega, Atari, Virgin, Umbro and others, has persuaded schools to distribute Revlon perfume samples to their pupils(4). This campaign, it says, “was effectively linked into their PSHE and PE classes”. PSHE means personal, social, health and economic education, or “learning to live life well”(5). How the disbursement of perfume by teachers helps children to keep fit and live well is a mystery I will leave you to ponder.Comments (1)
Education — by Nelson Lebo April 12, 2013
by Nelson Lebo, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand
Some people describe permaculture as a system of science and ethics. While ethics guide permaculturists, it is the use of science to design and develop sustainable and regenerative systems that places them in a position to contribute to the improvement of science teaching and learning worldwide. Over the last four years, I have been researching a permaculture approach to junior secondary (years 9 and 10 in New Zealand) science, but my findings can be applied to all levels of schooling. Through the research process, I have identified five characteristics of permaculture that can be employed to engage students in transformative, relevant, and local learning experiences. Those characteristics are: permaculture thinking; permaculture techniques; permaculture properties; permaculture practitioners; and, the transformative nature of permaculture. This article explains the five characteristics and provides examples of how practicing permaculturists can partner with local science teachers in symbiotic relationships.Comments (2)
We’re rolling out a series of free videos from Geoff Lawton. The first video is about how Geoff Lawton got started in Permaculture and how he used it to transform his burnt out farm to abundance and what a little permaculture knowledge can do for you. This first video has been a terrific hit and has had thousands of views and over 1,800 comments.
The response has been truly phenomenal. See what you’ve been missing.Comments (18)
Education, Society — by George Monbiot January 30, 2013
The way we are governed is inexplicable – until you understand the upbringing of the elite.
Those whom the gods love die young: are they trying to tell me something? Due to an inexplicable discontinuity in space-time, on Sunday I turned 50. I have petitioned the relevant authorities, but there’s nothing they can do.
So I will use the occasion to try to explain the alien world from which I came. To understand how and why we are now governed as we are, you need to know something of that strange place.Comments (0)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education, Education Centres, Urban Projects — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 23, 2013
Watch the video above, and be inspired. I suspect that if many of our schools had been incorporating this kind of permaculture education over the last few decades, the world would today be in a far better situation, as many of the adults and young adults of the present generation would now already be eco-literate doers and changers. But, let’s not talk about what could have been, but instead do what we can to get permaculture education into a school near you….Comments (4)
Education, Society — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 9, 2013
Science co-opted by big business endangers society and stultifies the imagination on which the advancement of science depends; liberating science and the imagination is top priority for the survival of people and planet.
Science is central to every aspect of our everyday lives and our wellbeing, be it to do with climate change, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), nuclear energy, mobile telephony, or the tens of thousands of chemicals to which we are constantly exposed in our homes, workplace, and the general environment.
Science is also a force for innovation, and investing in science is indeed investing in wealth creation and the future.
Science, as much as the arts and humanities, needs to be thoroughly integrated into the social, cultural and political fabric of society; science-literacy is essential if we are to have a truly democratic society in which everyone can participate in making important decisions on science and science policies.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Education, Health & Disease, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 12, 2012
Editor’s Preamble: Despite the title, I’m no longer in Ladakh. Indeed, it was way back in August 2009 when I was there, so this article has been a long time coming (thanks to work on the WPN keeping me too busy, amongst other things!). I keep the ‘Letters from…’ part of the title to make my international reports easier to find.
I came to Ladakh with the purpose of profiling positive solutions for the Sustainable (R)evolution book project (still a work-in-progress, for those wondering), but quickly discovered that the kind of ‘development’ I found in Ladakh was more suitable to profile for another kind of book instead — one steeped in lessons gleaned from mistakes, rather than one focussed on shining examples of solutions in action…. This is another reason I haven’t written this article until today….
A Ladakhi woman and her barley.
What’s wrong with this picture? Read on to find out….
All photos copyright © Craig Mackintosh
High up in the Himalayas, in India’s disputed and militarised northernmost state, Jammu & Kashmir, lies the sparsely populated region of Ladakh (map). It is one of the highest inhabited places on the planet, and also one of the driest. One of Ladakh’s claims to fame is that it hosts the highest drivable road in the world — where it crosses the Ladakh Range at 5578 metres. And, despite its high altitude, the dryness ensures the upper parts of the region barely see snow cover over the long, cold winter months.
Sometimes known as ‘Little Tibet’ (the ancient Ladakhi dynasties came from a Tibetan lineage), Ladakh is a worthy subject for permaculture discussion, as despite its inhospitable terrain and cold-arid desert climate, the Ladakhi people, historically, not only survived amidst their high altitude elements, they had actually improved the landscape over centuries of habitation and agricultural use, whilst living in (mostly) peaceful habitation with each other.Comments (19)
Education, Society — by George Monbiot November 21, 2012
There’s a second environmental crisis, just as potent as the first.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
“One woe doth tread upon another’s heel, So fast they follow”(1). That radical green pressure group PriceWaterhouseCoopers warns that even if the current rate of global decarbonisation were to double, we would still be on course for six degrees of warming by the end of the century(2). Confining the rise to two degrees requires a sixfold reduction in carbon intensity: far beyond the scope of current policies.
A new report shows that the UK has lost 20% of its breeding birds since 1966: once-common species such as willow tits, lesser spotted woodpeckers and turtle doves have all but collapsed; even house sparrows have fallen by two-thirds(3). Ash dieback is just one of many terrifying plant diseases, mostly spread by trade. They now threaten our oaks, pines and chestnuts(4,5).
So where are the marches, the occupations, the urgent demands for change? While the surveys show that the great majority would like to see the living planet protected(6,7), few are prepared to take action. This, I think, reflects a second environmental crisis: the removal of children from the natural world. The young people we might have expected to lead the defence of nature have less and less to do with it.Comments (1)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Education, People Systems, Presentations/Demonstrations, Village Development — by Lee Frankel-Goldwater October 18, 2012
Final Project for the Master of Arts in Environmental Conservation Education, NYU, Submitted August, 2011
by Lee Frankel-Goldwater
Click to download (300kb PDF)
The system of Permaculture design is an appropriate and well-defined model for teaching and implementing the goals of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). When the United Nations declared the years from 2005-2014 to be a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), the field of ESD was launched into a period of heightened global awareness and growth. Through a comparison of the core principles of Permaculture and ESD, thereby weaving the two systems together, it is hoped that the benefits of applying Permaculture towards the goals of the DESD can be made clear.
Permaculture is a conjunction of the words ‘permanent’ and ‘culture’, a point that hints at its founding principles. It is mainly a design system that, through the careful observation of nature, seeks to combine traditional wisdom with modern ecological knowledge to aid in the development of sustainable human habitats. It was developed in the global environmental context of the 1970’s to be a compact, dynamic system of thought, drawing on a wide variety of design techniques, that could be easily taught and applied to any climate or cultural setting.(1) In the time since its founding, Permaculture has been refined and has become a highly regarded system with many potential applications for addressing critical, present day issues related to sustainability and education.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Education, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Anthea Hudson
Water — without it life on earth could not exist and yet it is often treated with little care or respect, especially by more affluent communities. Clean drinking water is actually a valuable and diminishing resource, due to all the toxins that are carelessly allowed to make their way into our water systems.
These statistics about water may surprise you and give you a greater understanding about just how important it is that we protect water, especially our potable water.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water — however 97% of that water is the salt water of our oceans. That only leaves 3%, but 2% of that is frozen and only 0.5% is actually usable fresh water! Just 0.5% of all the water on Earth. Kinda brings the point home, doesn’t it?
As you can probably see, it is therefore vital that we help our children understand the value of water, the importance of protecting it and ways in which they can use it more sustainably.
Below are some ideas for introducing these concepts to your children… some of them quite a bit of fun, but with very important messages behind them.Comments (4)
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)
Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Education, Village Development — by Samuel Alexander September 10, 2012
Preamble by Samuel Alexander: As spring dawns (in Australia), symbolising new life, it brings me great pleasure to announce the publication of Mark Burch’s The Simplicity Exercises: A Sourcebook for Simplicity Exercises. This special issue from the Simplicity Institute takes us in a new direction, moving beyond the analytical stage of defending simplicity and criticising growth-based, consumer-orientated economies, toward the recognition that our primary task now lies in actively promoting alternative ways of living through education, not simply research and analysis. While it remains necessary to critically analyse the global situation and describe and experiment with alternative ways of looking at the world, perhaps the most important task before us all today is to continue experimenting with alternative ways of living and being, and in The Simplicity Exercises Mark Burch provides a guiding light. Living simply in a consumer society isn’t easy, but it just got easier.
As outlined further below, this text is made up of many "workshop" type exercises and thought experiments which individuals and groups can work through at their own pace and in their own way. It will be particularly valuable to educators, but in so far as we are all students of simplicity, this text will be of immense value even outside formal or informal educational settings. Please take some time to browse this text and get a feel for its depth and insight. Based on several decades of educational experience, this is truly a major contribution to the literature paving the way to a new world. I offer Mark my most sincere congratulations for this extraordinary achievement. The Simplicity Exercises just might be the most important educational text on the planet today.
I’ve posted the introductory pages below (footnotes excluded) and the full 200-page text is freely available here (1.5mb PDF).
The Simplicity Exercises: a Sourcebook for Simplicity Educators
by Mark A. Burch
It probably sounds strange that anyone would need to learn how to live simply. The phrases “voluntary simplicity” or “simple living”, given our history of consumer culture indoctrination, imply that there’s nothing to it. Anyone can do this. What’s to learn?Comments (1)
Courses/Workshops, Education — by Theron Beaudreau September 5, 2012
Permaculture is such a hugely broad and challenging subject to teach. But it doesn’t have to be hard work. We can make permaculture education fun and interactive!
How many of us have ever felt challenged by attempting to sum up permaculture into a 30 second ‘elevator speech’? What about a thirty minute talk? One hour? It seems like the longer you have to talk about permaculture the easier it gets. Perhaps that is because permaculture covers such a wide verity of disciplines and subjects that the elevator speech just can’t do it justice. But, try keeping that up for a full 72-hour PDC and, it doesn’t matter how many subjects you are able to cover, how knowledgeable you are, or how much depth you are able to go into on any particular topic, if all you do is talk… you’ll have lost the audience, and with it the opportunity to inspire, before you’ve even begun to get to the good bits.
Teaching permaculture should never be a chore for either the student or the teacher. And believe me if you have never tried, talking for 6 – 8 hours a day about anything is just plain hard work. I recommend taking a break from all that hard work and exercise a little permaculture design on your permaculture design course.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, DVDs/Books, Education, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, GMOs, Health & Disease, Medicinal Plants, Seeds, Society, Trees, Village Development — by Navdanya International August 20, 2012
The Manifesto on the Future of Seeds outlines ways and means to strengthen and accelerate the movement toward sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, biodiversity and agricultural diversity and help defend the rights of farmers to save, share, use and improve seeds, as well as to enhance our collective capacity to adapt to the hazards and uncertainties of environmental and economic change.
The Manifesto on the Future of Food develops in detail principles on which to base the transition to a sustainable food and agricultural system as outlined in the Florence Declaration on the Global Rights to Food. Most importantly it sets out practical vision, ideas and programs toward ensuring that food and agriculture become more socially and ecologically sustainable, more accessible, and toward putting food quality, food safety and public health above corporate profits.
The Manifesto on Climate Change and the Future of Food Security highlights the need to change to a productive model that minimizes the system’s vulnerability to external shocks and hazards and that contributes sustainably to mitigating the effects of climate change, based on a strong multifunctionality able to maximize the role of agriculture as a service of the ecosystem and as a tool to strengthen such system, and that guarantees family farming a pivotal role in a new system of production.
The Manifesto on the Future of Knowledge Systems: knowledge sovereignty for a healthy planet makes evident that the multiple crises that face humanity today — the financial implosion and economic collapse, climate chaos and the energy and food crises — are rooted in a reductionist, fragmented and mechanical way of thinking, with the world being equated to a huge machine, free to be manipulated and improved at will. A new way of thinking is vital for the return to a balanced and healthy planet, one based on sustainability, resilience and equity. Some of the themes addressed include: corporate control of science and the merging of knowledge and power; the commercialization of knowledge and biopiracy; the need to integrate traditional and indigenous cultural knowledge with independent science.Comments (2)