Alternatives to Political Systems, Community Projects, Consumerism, Markets & Outlets, Society, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 11, 2012
If you want a little inspiration today, the following video about the excellent work going on in Todmorden, UK, should do the trick.
Society — by George Monbiot October 10, 2012
Imperialism did almost as much harm to the ruling nations as it did to their subject peoples.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Mau Mau suspects are held in Nairobi at a Special Effort Camp in 1952.
Over the gates of Auschwitz were the words “Work Makes You Free”. Over the gates of the Solovetsky camp in Lenin’s gulag: “Through Labour – Freedom!”. Over the gates of the Ngenya detention camp, run by the British in Kenya: “Labour and Freedom”(1). Dehumanisation appears to follow an almost inexorable course.
Last week, three elderly Kenyans established the right to sue the British government for the torture they suffered – castration, beating and rape – in the Kikuyu detention camps it ran in the 1950s(2).Comments (3)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, People Systems, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 8, 2012
With the presidential race in full swing in the U.S., I thought this graphic would make a good ‘cartoon of the week’, highlighting the futility of thinking that changing from one corporate-run government to another corporate run government will make much of a difference.
Oh, and for those who are thinking to do their posterior a favour, by switching from the left boot to try out the impact of the right boot, this article is also rather illuminating….
A poem from Wendell Berry, the farmer, poet, writer and philosopher, is appropriate in this context, I think:Comments (1)
Compost, Conservation, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Harvesting, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 4, 2012
The yard in winter, before work begins…
A great many people today are living in fear. The future looks uncertain, but bleak. Many cannot see a future at all. The post-WWII baby boomer generation, with their short-lived cheap energy era, have been largely calling the shots, shaping the world we have today. After the miseries of two world wars, they set a course for excess. They and their descendants have been spending profligately, borrowing resources and finances from their children and grandchildren — and the deficit has increased so rapidly that the present generation is already having to foot the bill. We’ve been living the dream, and living in a dream — seeking to live lifestyles without limits — and now it’s time to pay the piper, as it were. We’re discovering that we were the children and grandchildren that society was borrowing from.
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor October 3, 2012
From May 30 — June 1, 2012, the 10th ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas) meeting took place. This year it was held in Vienna, Austria. I haven’t had time to check out all of these presentations yet, but want to ensure you’re all aware they’re available to watch as you have time. Not having watched them all, I put the videos below up in no particular order, except for a little influence from intuition perhaps. If you’re not familiar with the Peak Oil topic (is there anyone left in this camp?), you might want to read some previous posts I’ve done on the topic: here, here, here and here for example.
Nate Hagens – Navigating through a Room full of Elephants
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Ethical Investment, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Carla Noain October 2, 2012
Our mission of doing things right at Eco Ola extends beyond our partner farms and into the local community. In addition to sharing sustainable agriculture techniques with independent local farmers, we’ve also started our own, small-scale, microfinance endeavor.
As a mother of two and co-running Eco Ola, I appreciate and understand the challenges of motherhood and putting food on the table. Mery, the wife of Rider, our Farm Manager, brought to my attention that a friend of hers, Ivone, was suffering hardships. Her husband had been out of work for over three-weeks, and she was looking for some financial help to jump start her stand in the Mazán market to support her family.Comments (2)
Radical Simplicity and the Middle-Class – Exploring the Lifestyle Implications of a ‘Great Disruption’
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society, peak oil — by Samuel Alexander September 28, 2012
by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.
One of many ‘Hoovervilles’ during the Great Depression
How would the ordinary middle-class consumer – I should say middle-class citizen – deal with a lifestyle of radical simplicity? By radical simplicity I essentially mean a very low but biophysically sufficient material standard of living, a form of life that will be described in more detail below. In this essay I want to suggest that radical simplicity would not be as bad as it might first seem, provided we were ready for it and wisely negotiated its arrival, both as individuals and as communities. Indeed, I am tempted to suggest that radical simplicity is exactly what consumer cultures need to shake themselves awake from their comfortable slumber; that radical simplicity would be in our own, immediate, self-interests. In this essay, however, I will only defend the more modest thesis that radical simplicity simply would not be that bad. Establishing that thesis should be challenging enough.Comments (10)
Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Society — by Alex Martin September 26, 2012
Some time back, in the 1960s, someone had the brilliant idea to introduce Nile Perch into Lake Victoria. The voracious predator soon went to work eating everything, until there was not much left in the entire lake but Nile Perch and crocodiles.
But there’s always an upside to these things, isn’t there? According to Wikipedia, "The fish’s introduction to Lake Victoria, while ecologically negative, has stimulated the establishment of large fishing companies there. In 2003, Nile perch earned 169 million euro in sales to the EU. Another income is the sport fishing tourism in the region of Uganda and Tanzania which aim to catch this fish." Funny how ecological negatives can be so economically positive, eh?
This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World Bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. — DarwinsNightmare.com
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 25, 2012
This is a must-watch video for all who need water (the rest of you are excused). I actually covered a lot of the material in the video in my Water Worries post, which I put together several years ago (but being one of the earliest posts on this site, when we had a far smaller audience, it barely got read, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t attract even a single comment). This is a critical topic, and I’m pleased to say that, as did my earlier article, this video doesn’t just point out the problems, but also has an holistic view of the situation, so it also directs one to what must, and must not, be done about it.Comments (7)
Consumerism, GMOs, Health & Disease, Society — by Alex Martin September 17, 2012
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Society — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 13, 2012
This video from ReasonTV covers ground we’ve covered before many times, but since little to nothing has changed on this front, we must necessarily persevere in getting the message across any way we can. Essentially, we need to stop incentivising ecological madness, waste, disease, and inequality through public subsidising of the largest agricultural criminals.
Current agricultural subsidies in the U.S. mean that agribusinesses are selling ‘food’ (in inverted commas, as much of it is genetically modified and nutrient deficient) at less than the cost of production. This is damaging to the environment, to U.S. small-scale farmers, the U.S. economy as a whole, and it is particularly hard on struggling small-scale farmers in two-thirds world countries, who watch ‘cheap’ food getting dumped on their doorsteps at prices they cannot compete with and which often see them leaving their land to take up residence in ever-growing city slums, as I outlined in detail in Orchestrating Famine – a Must-Read Backgrounder on the Food Crisis.
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, People Systems, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Maddy Harland September 11, 2012
Originally published on www.permaculture.co.uk
Polly Higgins, Lawyer for the Earth, is the founder of the campaign to make Ecocide the 5th international Crime Against Peace. Here she gives the latest update on the Ecocide Campaign, and sends a personal message to all permaculture people.
Please support Polly and her team to close the door once and for all to Ecocide.
"Setting the Stage for a More Peaceful Planet" — What Does the Ecocide Campaign Attempt to Achieve?
"Our cycle of damage and destruction is spiralling onwards and upwards with increasing speed. This is Ecocide. The impacts are enormous and over a very short period of time we can see the consequences. Morally we know now that causing mass damage and destruction is wrong. This is why I am calling on the United Nations to make Ecocide an international crime." This is Polly Higgins, speaking about her wish to introduce Ecocide as the 5th international Crime Against Peace, in order to close the door once and for all to mass damage and destruction.
Remarkably, causing mass damage and destruction, whether it be through tar sands extraction, nuclear testing or logging, is not a crime. Named ‘one of the world’s most unreasonable people’, Polly has refused to accept this current situation, and speaks on platforms across the world; to UN Ambassadors, governments, lawyers and anyone who can help seed out her message.Comments (0)
Jump to 12:20 to skip introductions
As said in the introduction to this lecture held in spring 2011, Christopher Alexander has started a fire that keeps on burning, spread by the ‘wind’ throughout the world. But in the wake of this fire there’s no ash, but only beauty and true living structure. As in the new cosmology of Alexander, matter is not inert anymore — it has spirit, revealed in the field of centers. This means that beauty is seen as a fact of the wholeness found in nature and the universe.
Beauty is the manifestation of secret natural laws, which otherwise would have been hidden from us forever. — Goethe
These natural laws are not so secret anymore. Though Alexander in the beginning of his lecture says he has only taken the first initial steps toward our understanding of living structure, I believe in the end it will turn out that these steps were gigantic. If we survive as a civilization, something we can only do if we start creating living structures, not as something added on, but as the very core of a new civilization where nature and culture are one.Comments (4)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Nuclear, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Polly Higgins September 8, 2012
Editor’s Note: We’ve covered a little of Polly Higgin’s important work before (see here and here). If you’re not already familiar with Polly’s work, I would strongly encourage you to check out the web pages and videos linked to below, as well as our aforementioned pieces. Permaculturists dream of whole earth restoration, but our efforts, whilst essential, are, if I may, largely piecemeal. The reason for this is that for every positive step someone makes, an industry or government does, or allows, something significantly more destructive to take place that more than overshadows it. We will never break out of this destructive cycle unless we make environmental destruction illegal, and hold the people responsible accountable. As you are able, please support Polly’s work. If you cannot donate, please at least do what you can to share and circulate this page.
I have something I would like to share with you. Today myself and my team have reached zero. The pot is now bare and our funding resources are in urgent need of replenishing. In the past year your donations of over £200,000 funded my and my team’s work; we planted some incredible seeds in the run up to the Rio Earth Summit. Out of that we have had some wonderful successes; in the past year alone we have held a mock Ecocide Trial in the UK Supreme Court, the University of London launched their Ecocide Project, I have travelled to countries and spoken on many platforms,I launched my second book Earth is our Business, I have been awarded Overall Champion by the PEA awards, I have started a training programme for others to learn how to become a Voice for the Earth and I have submitted a concept paper, Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity to all government’s around the world. All this has been done with the help of your money and without it none of this would have been at all possible.
Yesterday we held an emergency meeting; despite the enormous efforts of our fundraiser over the past few months we have been unable to raise more than a few thousand pounds. We are looking squarely at the future and we see enormous opportunity to take forward all that I have already achieved; just think how close we are to making this law a reality.
Everything we do is governed by permaculture ethics; people care, earth care and fair share. Ecocides occur when we take far more than our fair share, which affects both our people and our Earth. To ensure we live within our planetary limits, a law of Ecocide creates a legal framework that can ensure we all live in peaceful enjoyment.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Society — by George Monbiot September 5, 2012
Editor’s Note: When I’ve put posts like the following up in the past, some people have commented expressing their dissatisfaction for such articles being on a permaculture site (see here and here, for example). But, I make no apologies for putting this material up, as it directly relates to the People Care ethic permaculturists purport to subscribe to. If I put up posts criticising the centralised, unethical decision-making, and world-impacting work of Monsanto, for example, people don’t mind. But it’s strange to me that people don’t want to hear any criticism of, or calls for justice for, the centralised unethical decision-making and world-impacting work of political ‘leaders’ who work outside and above the laws they’re so quick to apply to the people below them, for crimes far less significant. If George Bush didn’t have the support of Tony Blair for his illegal actions, up to a million lives may have been spared. Permaculture principles call for a more decentralised, more participatory political system, and one based on ethics. The situation that gave cause for such articles as the one below, shows the urgent need for such an improved system. I yearn for the day when our ‘leaders’ actually serve humanity, rather than manipulate it for their own purposes. When an African leader does what George Bush and Tony Blair did, it’s categorised as despotism, but leaders of the supposedly ‘civilised’ countries of the UK and the USA are excused for the same. Such injustice directly converts those who have endured the blunt end of it into enemies and even ‘terrorists’. You may not care to see justice done, but I can assure you there are a great many men, women and children in Iraq — people who have lost family members, limbs and livelihoods — who would mourn such callous disinterest.
The prospect of a trial for Tony Blair now starts to look more plausible
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
For years it seems impregnable, then suddenly the citadel collapses. An ideology, a fact, a regime appears fixed, unshakeable, almost geological. Then an inch of mortar falls, and the stonework begins to slide. Something of this kind happened over the weekend.
When Desmond Tutu wrote that Tony Blair should be treading the path to the Hague, he de-normalised what Blair has done(1). Tutu broke the protocol of power – the implicit accord between those who flit from one grand meeting to another – and named his crime. I expect that Blair will never recover from it.Comments (8)