Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

The rich world is causing the famines it claims to be preventing.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.

I don’t blame Mo Farah, Pele and Haile Gebrselassie, who lined up, all hugs and smiles, outside Downing Street for a photocall at the prime minister’s hunger summit(1). Perhaps they were unaware of the way in which they were being used to promote his corporate and paternalistic approach to overseas aid. Perhaps they were also unaware of the crime against humanity over which he presides. Perhaps Cameron himself is unaware of it.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Researchers confirm Bt toxicity to non-target beneficial insects and show how experiments claiming to refute their results were designed not to find the effect. A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.

by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji

A new study confirms that the Cry1Ab Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin present in genetically modified (GM) crops kills the larvae of the two-spotted ladybird (Adalia bipunctata L.), a species that GM supporters claim to be unaffected by the toxin [1].

The study raises questions regarding the integrity of previous work published by GM proponents, whose experimental protocols were re-tested and shown to lack the scientific rigour required to pick up signs of toxicity even in target insects that the pesticide is designed to kill.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Land, Soil Rehabilitation, Water Harvesting.

Those who watched The Man Who Stopped the Desert (trailer here), will want to follow up with this short video — What Yacouba did next….

Yacouba Sawadogo has learnt something we all need to realise — that we can be a positive element on this planet, through observation and working with natural systems. The methods Yacouba utilises could, if taken up with widespread enthusiasm, re-green the entire Sahel — and arid regions worldwide. These techniques are not complicated. Indeed, any permaculturist with a rudimentary understanding of soil science will appreciate the logic behind them. Only recently, after 30 years of stubborn perseverance, Yacouba is now getting some funding to enable him to train farmers in his local region. Let’s hope Yacouba finally reaches a tipping point in his soil-revitalising outreach.

Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Compost, Food Forests, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling.

Poo. We all do it. Even the smallest microbes do it. However, when you are connected to a centralised sewerage system, unless it stops working – which is not much fun – you don’t have to think about it much at all. A quick flush and off it goes, somewhere else, to be processed at some distant location, somehow or another. It’s all very mysterious really and for most of us it is someone else’s problem. However, when you are not connected to a centralised sewerage system, it is inevitable that you’ll become more acquainted with the stuff sooner or later.

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Posted by & filed under General.

by Øyvind Holmstad

Workers of the industrial revolution

Permaculture was first a contraction of the words permanent agriculture, later being widened to include all permanent culture. The problem is, however, that culture is seen as opposed to nature, its contradiction. Ross Wolf writes:

The concept usually opposed to “culture” is “nature,” as structuralist anthropology taught us long ago. Permaculture could thus be seen to signify a state of permanent unnature. – Ross Wolf

I guess you are all a little shocked now. Does permaculture really mean a state of permanent unnature? I don’t think this was the intention of our founding father, Bill Mollison. Do we have to build a new brand?

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Insects, Medicinal Plants, Seeds.

Our abundant garden: pineapple, leeks, spring onions, strawberry beds,
greens, broccoli and numerous other edible plants visible in this picture.

I love this time of year! Here on the Sunshine Coast, the sun shines brightly during the day, creating a wonderful 23 – 25 degrees C and then cooling down at night, which enables us to run the wood stove as well. Best of both worlds really!

The garden loves this time of year as well, green leafy vegetables are abundant, as are citrus and strawberries. Some pineapples are ripening, and the snow peas are ready to be picked.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Energy Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling.

StrawJet has developed a unique process in response to agricultural waste around the world.

They basically gather agricultural waste (stalks ranging from rye to corn) and bundle them tightly into ‘cables’; solid tubes of condensed stalks tightly wrapped in nylon thread. These cables are then either used as fuel (preferably in a rocket-stove like machine) or rebound into stronger cables to be used as a building material.

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Posted by & filed under General.

Tiny Eglington, an old friend of mine from a farming background and now long-time permaculture practitioner and teacher, is currently in the Philippines where he had been visiting organic farms there. Tiny has been a big part of pushing organic farming in this region.

Unfortunately Tiny is now in hospital with serious health problems. He got an infection in his leg and with his diabetes and age it affected his kidneys.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, Comedy Break, Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Peak Oil, Society, Village Development.

The upsidedownness of our world really gets to me. The people doing the most critical work (like producing food and clothing) get paid the least, and the people busy producing crap we don’t really need at all get paid much more, and by an order of magnitude. Worse, the people who produce nothing at all, but just shift numbers around on a screen, capitalising on the work of the afore-mentioned two groups, get paid exponentially more again.

Warning: Don’t play if you don’t appreciate bad language!

Somewhere along the line we’ve lost perspective. We’ve lost our sense of wonder, our recognition of the ‘magic’ of the world we live in — that all the best things in life are actually free — instead overlaying an entirely human intervention called ‘the economy’, or ‘the system’:

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Posted by & filed under Economics.

1. Shipwreck survivors

An explosion had blown their ship apart. Each one grasped the first bit of wreckage that came to hand. And when it was over, there were five left, five huddled on a raft which the waves carried along at their will. As for the other victims of the disaster, there was no sign of them.

Hour after long hour their eyes searched the horizon. Would some passing ship sight them? Would their make-shift raft finds its way to some friendly shore?

Suddenly a cry rang out: “Land! Look! Over there, in the direction the waves are carrying us!”

And as the vague silhouette proved itself to be, in fact, the outline of a shore, the figures on the raft danced with joy.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, GMOs, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

by Richard Widows

We are in the early stages of a global food crisis, the likes of which has never previously been seen. Nearly 1 billion people (or 1 in 7) experience chronic hunger and another 1 billion are faced with serious nutritional deficiencies. Meanwhile, reports suggest that nearly 2 billion people are overweight. Combine these figures and you realise that approximately 4 billion people suffer from food related health issues — more than half of the world’s population. This statistic alone is evidence enough of the need for urgent discussion about our food system.

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