Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Peak Oil.

The justifications for airport expansion turn out to be bogus.

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

When politicians say that we need more runways and more airports, they invariably claim that “the economy” depends on them. They seldom specify what they mean by this, but in most cases they seem to have business flights in mind.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Consumerism, Demonstration Sites, Economics, Food Forests, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Peak Oil, Plant Systems, Society, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure, Trees, Urban Projects, Village Development, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

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.

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

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

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, DVDs/Books, People Systems, Village Development.

The text below is the second half of the Introduction to the recently published anthology of essays, The Wealth of the Commons:  A World Beyond Market and State (Levellers Press).  The first half was posted yesterday.  More about the book can be found at

As the corruption of the market/state duopoly has deepened, our very language for identifying problems and imagining solutions has been compromised. The snares and deceptions embedded in our prevailing political language go very deep. Such dualisms as “public” and “private,” and “state” and “market,” and “nature and culture,” for example, are taken as self-evident. As heirs of Descartes, we are accustomed to differentiating “subjective” from “objective,” and “individual” from “collective” as polar opposites. But such polarities are lexical inheritances that are increasingly inapt as the two poles in reality blur into each other. And yet they continue to profoundly structure how we think about contemporary problems and what spectrum of solutions we regard as plausible.

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Posted by & filed under Alternatives to Political Systems, DVDs/Books, People Systems, Village Development.

Below is the first half of the Introduction to our new anthology of essays, The Wealth of the Commons:  A World Beyond Market and State, just published by Levellers Press.  The Introduction is by me and Silke Helfrich, my co-editor and colleague on the Commons Strategies Group.  Part II of the essay will be published in my next blog post.  You can learn more about the book at its website,

It has become increasingly clear that we are poised between an old world that no longer works and a new one struggling to be born. Surrounded by an archaic order of centralized hierarchies on the one hand and predatory markets on the other, presided over by a state committed to planet-destroying economic growth, people around the world are searching for alternatives. That is the message of various social conflicts all over the world — of the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy movement, and of countless social innovators on the Internet. People want to emancipate themselves not just from poverty and shrinking opportunities, but from governance systems that do not allow them meaningful voice and responsibility. This book is about how we can find the new paths to navigate this transition. It is about our future.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Biofuels, Consumerism, Deforestation, Food Shortages, Peak Oil, Population, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Editor’s Note: Some permies may wish to download the slideshow files at bottom to use, or modify to use, for "It’s time to wake up" type presentations in your local schools and community halls, etc.

Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Ethical Investment, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development.

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.

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Posted by & filed under General.

by Rhamis Kent

I’m a few months overdue in writing this piece, but better later than never. During the August 2011 PDC I taught in Spetses, Greece alongside Nicolas Netien, Maria Baltazzi and Stamatina Palmou, some interesting insights and reflections came to mind.

The beauty of Spetses has that effect on people – I’m not alone in that regard, I would think. Any opportunities provided to gain ever more useful insights into this work we’re pursuing are always welcome.

The most effective way I’ve found for me to gain a comprehensive understanding of earth repair, ecosystem restoration work has been to draw analogies with the workings of the human body. The parallels are quite stunning.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Food Plants - Annual, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

I’ve personally seen produce growing quite large in far northern latitude places like Alaska and Norway, where the summer sun goes around and around and around, giving plants a gentle but steady application of solar goodness. But, the vegetables in this video go even further…. This Alaskan gentleman has been breaking size records with his additions of aerated compost teas. His methods result in tasty, healthy, high-brix vegetables that repel insect attacks.

P.S. To learn more about these methods, check out one of Paul Taylor’s Sustainable Soil Management courses in our courses section.

Posted by & filed under Building, Food Plants - Annual, Land, Plant Systems, Urban Projects.

I am trying to get the most out of my balcony space. Obviously, the vertical direction is the way to go…

by Martin Korndoerfer

Inspired by other bloggers, I wanted to try my luck with the much acclaimed lettuce tree. Reported challenges have been to keep the soil in the upper part from drying out.

Alright, off I go to the hardware store. This time, spending 3.50 Euro for the polypropylene pipe (15 cm diameter). It didn’t hurt me or my wallet. The bottom is an old, broken rubber gymnastic ball — which was free.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

What: Intensive 6-Day Permaculture Seminar & Workshop
When: January 12 – January 14 & January 19 – 21, 2013
Where: Soulflower Farm (El Sobrante, California – SF Bay Area)
Who: Rhamis Kent (PRI PDC Teacher)
Price: $750 USD ($600 USD if booked before November 20th, 2012)
Deposit: $125 USD to secure course booking; the balance payment ($625 USD) is due by December 20th, 2012.

Over 6 days you will acquire the practical skills to set you on the path to regenerate any landscape and to design productive ecosystems.

Click here to book for this course!

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Posted by & filed under Demonstration Sites, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Storm Water, Swales, Water Conservation, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting.

I always thought that rain was a nurturing and gentle aspect of nature. You know how it is, you get a bit of rain and it helps all of the plants to grow, provides water for us and the animals and generally stops the place from drying out. That was my thinking back in an urban environment. In that area, the drainage infrastructure had been developed and maintained over the past 120 years and it just worked. In fact, the infrastructure was so good you never really thought about it.

In a rural location however, there is usually little to no infrastructure, so any change you make to the landscape will change the way water interacts with that landscape. Winter rain here is usually quite gentle with many hours of sustained drizzle and relatively high humidity. These conditions generally don’t present too many challenges. Or so I thought.

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