An emerging scientific consensus that a shift to small scale sustainable agriculture and localized food systems will address most, if not all the underlying causes of deteriorating agricultural productivity as well as the conservation of natural soil and water resources while saving the climate.
To prevent climate breakdown, we need to declare most of the fossil fuels in the earth’s crust off-limits.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
Rejoice, the boom is back! After a drought of investment, last week BP announced that it was spending £3bn to redevelop fields in the deep waters to the west of Shetland. The government was delighted: this shows, it says, that its policies are working. It promised to “continue to work alongside oil and gas companies to support growth and jobs in the UK.”(1)
Great. But hold on a minute, didn’t the government tell us, just two days before, that its priority is to decarbonise the economy?(2) Well it depends who you’re talking to, and at which point in the cycle of crashing contradictions you catch them.
The Tamera water landscape is a model and an educational project for natural water management and the renaturation of damaged landscapes all over the world and a basis for forestation, horticulture and agriculture in regions threatened by desertification. It is a globally adaptable model which can be applied in all regions in various appropriate forms.
Southern Portugal is threatened by rapid desertification. Forest fires, summer droughts and the loss of biodiversity are symptoms of a widespread loss of valuable land. The vegetation is threatened. Cork oaks and pine trees die in large numbers because the soil, leeched by excessive grazing and poor agricultural practices has lost its capacity to retain water. Erosion washes away fertile soil and what’s left dries up. Simultaneously there is flooding and water damage due to strong winter rainfalls every spring. Desertification and flooding are symptoms of one problem: incorrect water management caused by industrial agriculture, over-grazing, monoculture forestry and deforestation. Portugal´s average rainfall is similar to that of central Europe — yet the desert seems to grow right before our eyes.
The government and the industry promised that they had dealt with aminopyralid poisoning. They haven’t.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom. Pictures and captions from John Mason.
This image shows sunflowers that began life at the same time. On the right,
a bed which was free of this particular manure; on the left,
a bed which had the manure added.
Growing food, for reasons I haven’t quite got to the bottom of, is an intensely emotional process. The satisfaction I get from harvesting a good crop bears no relationship to any value that crop possesses. I take more pride in my fruit and vegetables than in any of the work I do. When the slugs mow down my seedlings, or my watering system fails, or blight knackers my tomatoes, it throws me into a depression which sometimes last for days.
This is by-law madness, and it’ll have to change…. I rather blatantly encourage everyone to disregard dumb rules like this which would stop you from increasing your resiliency and demonstrating better use of your lawnspace. The more of us who rebel against absurdity, the easier it becomes to legalise sustainability. I just hope you’ll be smart enough to ensure that your lawn-liberation is done whilst keeping aesthetic standards high as well (i.e. don’t give people justifiable reason to complain!). Julie Bass’ nice tidy veggie planters, which you’ll see in the videos below, are a good example, and only reflect all the more poorly on the neighbours who have complained and the local government who are obviously wholly ignorant of where we presently stand in history….
Not too many permaculturists have to deal with problems as potentially destructive, and even deadly, as elephants. But, I have met some of these people in my travels (see here and here). For those around the world grappling with this oversized issue, here is some potential help born of good permaculture system observation:
A simple fence made from wood, wire and beehives can deter elephants from raiding farmers’ crops.
A pilot study in Kenya has shown that such fences reduce the number of raids by elephants by almost half.
The work is the culmination of previous research which showed elephants are naturally scared of African honey bees.
A much larger trial is now under way in the hope the fences will provide an elegant solution to years of conflict between elephants and farmers. — BBC
Join Rhamis Kent on the beautiful Island of Spetses, Greece, for an internationally recognised permaculture design course. Over 15 days you will learn the basic theory of permaculture ethics, principles, design processes and implementation techniques.
This 1-hour documentary shares the history of how General Motors deliberately swindled the U.S. public out of a superior, healthier public transport system — so as to replace the then-popular electric street cars with their own products: cars, buses and trucks. This deceit and selfishness has landed the American public in its current ultra-vulnerable position, where they: despite having only 4% of the world’s population are consuming 25% of the world’s oil; must endure hours of each day in oft-gridlocked traffic; and must even see their sons shot to pieces fighting far-flung wars over resources. Thanks GM.
The most frequently asked question of me lately has been about this past October’s flood and its long-term impact on Quail Springs’ work to demonstrate sustainable living practices. Looking to Nature for insight, my response uses the metaphor of a snake losing its skin. At first, the snake may be shocked and confused by such a drastic change beyond its control, but eventually realizes the skin underneath is vibrant, healthy and a better fit for its growing body. Similarly, we now see this flood was a gift in numerous ways and a source of rebirth.
The low hanging fruit of the world’s energy tree is so, so gone now that we’re throwing caution to the wind, frantically shimmying up the trunk, clambering out onto the limbs and putting all the weight of our demands onto its uppermost, and very tenuous, branches. The laws of supply and demand mean that as a resource declines, its worth goes up, and thus there’s not only ever greater pressure to drain the very last drop, there’s also increasing incentive to do so — at least for industrialists without a conscience (they themselves being a ‘resource’ in seemingly unlimited supply…).
This is your opportunity to attend the first Permaculture Design Certificate Course in Athens, Greece, with world renowned Permaculture Designer and Teacher Darren J. Doherty. There are limited spaces available, so please register now to secure your spot!
Darren J. Doherty has extensive experience across the world in Permaculture project design, development & management. A career-long focus on the profitable retrofit of broadacre landscapes has seen Darren acclaimed as a pioneer in this important & often overlooked field. He is a Certified Whole Farm Planner (University of Melbourne), Approved Keyline® Designer, Accredited Permaculture Trainer (APT®) & Certified in Workplace Training & Assessment and was formerly a Registered Teacher of the ‘The Permaculture Institute’ (teacher registration system ceased in March of 2010).
Darren has been involved in the design & development of over 1400, mostly broadacre projects across 5 continents in 39 countries, ranging from 1 million hectare cattle stations in Australia’s Kimberly to 110,000 acre Estancia’s in Patagonia, EcoVillage developments in Tasmania to Public:Private R&D Agroforestry & Education Projects in Viet Nam, Family farms across the globe with a range of private, corporate, government & non-profit clients.
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 10am 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). If you would like to eat lunch with us, please state this at the time of booking. Lunch is an additional $5 for students under 13 years and adults $20 each.