Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 10, 2012
As permaculturists, we have a great many solutions for the water crisis. From water harvesting to reed bed grey water systems, to watershed rehabilitation, there are common sense approaches to holistically restore eco-system services, rehydrate our landscapes and stabilise water flows and the climate. In the video above, however, we come face to face with forces that can undo the work of thousands of enthusiastic permaculturists with a few signatures on a market based, industrial contract.
We need to know the enemy if we’re to defeat it.Comments (1)
Compost, Fungi, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure — by Oyvind Holmstad December 7, 2012
Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination — by Oyvind Holmstad December 6, 2012
Further Reading:Comments (2)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor December 3, 2012
Click to download (2.7mb PDF)
At bottom of my article GM Crops, Pesticides and the Poor I had made four previous ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops‘ reports available for download. As you’ll see in the subtitle for each of the afore-linked reports, each of these excellent reports, created by Friends of the Earth International, have their own specific niche angle on the GMO issue. Today I publish (overdue I know) their latest report, the subtitle of which is "An Industry Build on Myths". This report goes into detail to expose the GM industry hyperbole broadcast about their ‘products’.
This annual report analyses major new developments regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in various regions around the world, including new evidence and testimony from our member groups. In this 2011 edition, we focus particularly on pesticide use, increasing public and legal opposition to GMOs, and the biotech industry’s move into breeding and attempting to release genetically modified animals.
Further Reading:Comments (1)
Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Jason Gerhardt November 27, 2012
The author scopes out an oyster reef in Pamlico Sound, NC
Photo Credit: Jason Gerhardt
Being a resident of the dryland Western US, I should probably be thinking more about wildfire and drought than storm surge and coastal erosion, but for some reason, I’ve been drawn to the shoreline recently. As I have yet to come across any significant permaculture analysis or design strategy for barrier islands and associated coasts, most of this discussion is drawn from applying permaculture design thinking to other research. My hope is that this article will inspire others to develop and contribute more specific permaculture content for such important ecosystems and communities.
As large hurricanes continually batter the Eastern coast of the United States, causing catastrophic damage and human suffering, it is time to think about how permaculture design applies to human communities in such environments. From 100-year floods to wildland fire to coastal superstorms, modern infrastructure is proving to be insufficiently designed to deal with such destructive forces of nature. As permaculture designers, we attempt to work with nature, harmonizing what we design with natural forces, while using those forces as a resource, patterning after them, pacifying them, or deflecting them.
The inherent nature of barrier islands and associated coastline is one of rapid and constant change — literally a foundation of shifting sands. Constant disturbance is perhaps the antithesis of permaculture (permanent-culture), so the question must be asked: how does permaculture apply in a place like this? Do we attempt to create greater stability or do we work with the changing nature of the place? Or, do we suggest that people shouldn’t be living in such places at all?Comments (4)
Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 22, 2012
The dust-bowl era of the ‘dirty thirties’ was the worst man-made environmental disaster in U.S. history, and one of the worst in the world. If you take into account the short time-frame of human intervention which lead up to this dark decade — compared to many generations, or many centuries, for other global environmental catastrophes — it could even be described as the worst. With just a few decades of lead time, vast areas of grassland-protected soils, which had previously been stable for thousands of years, took flight, relatively speaking, virtually overnight.
It was truly a disaster of Biblical proportions.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Irrigation, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 20, 2012
Filmmaker and environmentalist, John D. Liu from the Environmental Education Media Project team, takes us to Rwanda again (last time was here), showing us how the country is seeking to leapfrog the disastrous ‘development‘ route most of the countries of the North have gone down, to instead head more directly towards sustainability. Given the horrors this country were awash with during the 1990s, it’s certainly encouraging to see the nation making some good truly forward steps on several fronts.Comments (2)
Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Earth Policy Institute
by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute
Credit: Arthur Rothstein, Library of Congress
On October 18, 2012, the Associated Press reported that “a massive dust storm swirling reddish-brown clouds over northern Oklahoma triggered a multi-vehicle accident along a major interstate… forcing police to shut down the heavily traveled roadway amid near blackout conditions.” Farmers in the region had recently plowed fields to plant winter wheat. The bare soil—desiccated by the relentless drought that smothered nearly two-thirds of the continental United States during the summer and still persists over the Great Plains—was easily lifted by the passing strong winds, darkening skies from southern Nebraska, through Kansas, and into Oklahoma.
Observers could not help but harken back to the 1930s Dust Bowl that ultimately covered 100 million acres in western Kansas, the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles, northeastern New Mexico, and southeastern Colorado. Yet when asked if that was the direction the region was headed, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese was unequivocal: “That will never happen again.”Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Population, Regional Water Cycle, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Trees, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by John D. Liu November 17, 2012
Before (below) and after (above), Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabiliation Project
A Breakthough of Worldwide Importance
In 1995, as the Chinese government and people were beginning an ambitious effort to restore the cradle of Chinese civilization, I was asked by the World Bank to document the “Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project”. Originally the Loess Plateau had been fully vegetated with massive forests and grasslands. Resources extracted from the giant forests, rushing rivers, and abundance of the earth in this place blossomed into the magnificence of the Han, the Qin and the Tang dynasties. The accomplishments of the early Chinese dynasties, based in this area, rank among the greatest human scientific and artistic achievements of any age. The Loess Plateau gave birth to the Han race, the largest ethnic group on the planet, and the plateau is generally considered by historians and geographers to be the second place on Earth where human beings began to use settled agriculture.Comments (9)
Biodiversity, Community Projects, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Rehabilitation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Rhamis Kent November 16, 2012
I was recently invited to contribute to a concept paper (2.2mb PDF) authored and edited by Willem Ferwerda.
Mr. Ferwerda, a tropical ecologist, was director of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) National Committee of The Netherlands from 2000 until March 2012. In his new role Ferwerda will support the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) in making businesses and investors work for ecosystem restoration and management. As Chair of the Board of Patrons he will be actively involved in rolling out Leaders for Nature internationally.
This paper was compiled to serve as:
A plea for the establishment of an international mechanism that actively creates collaborative Ecosystem Restoration Partnerships between businesses, investors, business schools, civil society organizations, farmers and local people, that international restoration targets will be reached, investments will be returned, and practical lessons are learned by working together.
One of the many contributors to this paper is Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Quoting his statements from the paper’s introduction:Comments (0)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Population, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Structure, Trees — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor November 10, 2012
I love the nice progression of logic in this presentation. Running the numbers like this shows not only how powerful a carbon sink our earth’s soils can be, under the right management, but also just how futile and what a goose-chasing diversion most contemporary technological ‘fixes’ for climate change really are.Comments (2)
Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, GMOs, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Nuclear, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss, peak oil — by Paul Chefurka
We are now well into a global crisis that may mark the end of this cycle of human civilization. In this note I present a summary of what’s going on as far as I can tell, as well as a scenario for how things might develop over the next 75 years or so.
The issue is enormous, so an overview like this is inevitably going to be skimpy on details. This is, after all, not an academic journal. However, like every other fact in the known universe, those details are just a Google away…
Because the global predicament manifests itself in some way in virtually every area of human endeavour, any useful approach to it must be massively cross-disciplinary. Fruitful areas for investigation include:Comments (12)
Insects, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by I-SIS November 9, 2012
GM technologies have led to a 7% increase in pesticide use.
A new peer-reviewed study has blown away the persistent claims made by agritech corporations that GM crops are beneficial to both the environment and human health by reducing pesticide use.Comments (1)
Biodiversity, Deforestation, Economics, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by The Corner House November 2, 2012
Editor’s preamble: Unfortunately, the kind of story told below is being played out on a daily basis, worldwide. Most of these stories never reach us. It needs to be understood, I believe, that the invisible hand of the market, if left without ethical guidance, does not care about anyone, much less about people who live and love close to the land — those people for whom ‘money’ means little, and for whom family, community and the sustainable use of local resources means all. These people have no ‘wealth’ as valued by plutocratic interests, with the exception of the natural resources they sit on, and thus have no representation, and yet they are the true guardians of our future, whilst holding invaluable knowledge gained over countless generations of the past. How much more biological, cultural, knowledge and skills diversity can we afford to lose?
by Larry Lohmann, The Corner House and Dinar Rani Setiawan, School of Democratic Economics
How far would you go to protect your forest?
Villagers from Pollo community in South Central Timor regency in Indonesia have set a remarkable example, weathering years of bureaucratic indifference, enduring violence from thugs and embarking on an odyssey across their country’s archipelago in search of support for their defence of local trees and land.
The story begins with a forest of the kind known in the local Celebic language as kio, used to provide wood and food for guests of the community. In times past, the kio was a source of deer, pigs, wild cows, firewood, rope and other goods, and boasted many large hardwood forest trees. Five clans prominent in the community (which in recent times has been subdivided into several administrative villages with different names) enjoyed common rights to the forest, including the Nabuasa, from which the community’s raja or chief always comes.Comments (0)
Biodiversity, GMOs, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho November 1, 2012
Glyphosate has contaminated land, water, air, and our food supply; the maximum permitted levels are set to rise by100-150 times in the European Union if Monsanto gets its way as damning evidence of serious harm to health & the environment piles up.
Click to purchase the fully referenced
and illustrated report
- Regulators and industry both culpable
- How glyphosate works
- Health impacts
4.1 Teratogenicity and reproductive effects
4.2 Endocrine disruption
4.6 Internal organ toxicity
4.7 Acute toxicity
- Environmental and agronomic effects
5.1 Glyphosate resistant weeds
5.2 Effects on crop and plant health
5.3 Effects on soil ecology
5.4 Effects on ecosystems
5.5 Diseases of livestock
5.6 Widespread contamination of water supplies
- To conclude
The use of glyphosate-based herbicides, especially Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, has increased dramatically since the introduction of genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant crops, resulting in the contamination of our food, environment and water supplies.
Glyphosate-based herbicides are now the most commonly used herbicides in the world. It is still promoted as ‘safe’, despite damning evidence of serious harm to health and the environment.Comments (2)