Why, even now, climate change cannot be mentioned in the presidential election.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Hurricane Sandy could be the biggest storm to hit the US mainland.
Image: NOAA National Hurricane Center
Here’s a remarkable thing. Neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama – with the exception of one throwaway line each(1,2) – have mentioned climate change in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
They are struck dumb. During a Romney rally in Virginia on Thursday, a protester held up a banner and shouted “What about climate? That’s what caused this monster storm”(3). The candidate stood grinning and nodding as the crowd drowned out the heckler by chanting “USA!, USA!”. Romney paused, then resumed his speech as if nothing had happened. The poster the man held up? It said “End climate silence.”
While other Democrats expound the urgent need to act, the man they support will not take up the call. Barack Obama, responding to his endorsement by the mayor of New York, mentioned climate change last week as “a threat to our children’s future”(4). Otherwise, I have been able to find nothing; nor have the many people I have asked on Twitter. Something has gone horribly wrong.
One benefit of a single crop farm is that it isn’t hard to remember what it is that you are growing! Most of that single crop is sown at one point in time, grows at about the same rate and is then harvested at about the same time. 100% too easy, well apart from all of the very real problems created when growing a mono-culture….
Permaculturalists, on the other hand tend to grow poly-cultures which is simply growing a large number and variety of plants at the same time and location.
Poly-cultures in agriculture have a number of benefits including:
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.
Clearing the entrance with the help of friends (April 2011)
La Cuccagna emerged in March last year, here in Italy, as one of some of the projects from our organisation, Montagna Viva. This organisation was founded as a catalyst to undertake projects to revive the countryside, in the form of doing — in common — something together, or using the term ‘commoning’, as it is described in the growing acknowledged theory of the commons and its communities.
Massimo and I decided to initiate a common garden project after realizing that we did not want to spend all our spare time in our kitchen garden, isolated from the community. Within a couple of weeks we got a group of like-minded people, and La Cuccagna was born. Even though we started with bare land, the name, standing for abundance, is inspiring enough to attempt capturing all the abundance of fruits, herb and vegetables that nature delivers us here in this tiny Italian village in the Apennines.
In the Vatican Museums in Rome stands a statue of Laocoön and his sons. Legend has it that Laocoön tried to warn his fellow citizens against taking in the wooden horse that the Greeks had left outside their gates. It was not a gift, but a ruse designed to allow Greek soldiers to enter the city. The Greek gods, who wanted to see Troy destroyed, sent sea serpents to kill Laocoön. This convinced the Trojans that the horse was indeed sacred; so they opened the gates and dragged it into the city. The result was the total destruction of Troy and its empire.
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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.
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.
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
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.
I write to you from 2020, a world where there is no more Ecocide; a law of Eococide has now been passed after 5 years of transition where all companies have been given subsidies to prioritise a green economy; governments have been re-writing their policies and laws to bring them in line with the 5th Crime Against Peace and banks have new investment rules that categorise investment into dangerous indistrial activity as unsupportable. Innovation in the green sector has flourished and economies are stabilising; long-term investment signals into green-tech have brought a flood of job opportunities to millions of people across the globe and Green Crime has become a thing of the past.
My wish is not only possible, it almost became a reality 14 years ago. Back then the Rome Statute was put in place — however earlier drafts had included a law of Ecocide. [See more info further below.] Can you imagine where we would be if it had been enacted? We would be in a place just as I envision for 2020.
For our last PDC of 2012 we have decided to offer the places left at the early bird rate of $1450. We have also capped our PDC courses to 15 students to ensure a quality course for each student. Capping the course at 15 students will make it ideal for people who enjoy one on one learning or learning in small groups. We have also found that small groups create a really nice community feel during the course.
PDCs are tricky. For two weeks we tumble into this community of unfamiliarly familiar, curious strangers. The constant whirlwind of habits, obligations, and distractions that composes our lives momentarily dissipates and we are thrust into this world where our main responsibility is to be open-minded, observe, think, learn, and connect. Yet, at the end of the day, we are singular beings and we all have our lives that we will return to. As PDC participants, we are exposed to this new paradigm together, share bemusement at fractal patterns and individual inspirations, and then suddenly depart the entropy we fell into and hopefully go off with the intent to use permaculture as a framework for making society and the environment more resilient.
However, after I was formally introduced to permaculture, as a nomadic recent college graduate, I was not sure how permaculture could be a tangible part of my life. The fulfillment from a sense of belonging and purpose I experienced during the PDC instilled within me a restless need to contribute to a project and/or community. So, I found myself asking, “Now what?”.
Curious what goes on at the PRI Zaytuna Farm? If you live close to the farm, or are passing by, you're welcome to book yourself on a farm tour (Wednesdays at 11am only). Contact the farm manager and we'll see you soon.
We will take a minimum of 3 people at $35 p/p (groups of less than 3 adults are $50 p/p). Large groups please call to discuss pricing (at least 48 hours prior required).