Posted by & filed under Energy Systems, Processing & Food Preservation.

Most of you will be familiar with the pot-in-pot refrigerator by now. Well, today we’ll revisit this concept by taking a look at the ‘MittiCool’ refrigerator, a possible ‘upgrade’ that also uses evaporative cooling through the use of clay, but which looks a little more like the refrigerator you’re more familiar with. And, just like the pot-in-pot refrigerator, the MittiCool uses no electricity.

How does it work? The topmost section holds water, which very slowly drips down the sides. As permaculturists will know, one of many ‘constants’ we can count on and use to advantage is that evaporation cools. As the water evaporates from the porous clay surface, it cools the interior, enabling you to store fruit, vegetables, milk, etc.

There is even a tap on the front of the unit, so it doubles as a water cooler as well.

In the following videos you’ll meet the maker of MittiCool, and learn how it is made from a specific combination of four different types of clay he has found in his local area. The video states that the inside temperature of the MittiCool can be up to 8°C lower than the outside temperature.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Food Shortages.

by Noah Sabich, Eco-Ola

The placement of your feet on the wooden boards is essential; frequent use and infrequent maintenance have rendered the steep stairwell a treacherous walkway down to the docks. This is the port of Iquitos, Peru. It is a central location that gives access to the tributaries of the Amazon River. Its odor betrays its neglect. Interfluvial commerce and a growing population in the city of Iquitos have staged its waters to become the designated waste cistern. It marinates disease.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Urban Projects, Water Conservation.

Our one month long internship at the Greening the Desert Project (the ‘Sequel site’) just ended. Ten students arriving from seven different countries were part of the first internship to take place at the project site in the Dead Sea Valley in Jordan. This will be a journey through pictures on what Geoff, Nadia, the interns and the WWOOFers were up to.

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Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Plant Systems, Urban Projects, Water Conservation.

by Dr Samuel Alexander, co-director of the Simplicity Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne.

A huge ‘dome of heat’ over Australia has broken temperature records, and this heat has been so intense that the Bureau of Meteorology has been forced to create new colours for their charts, which had previously been capped at 50°C. Deep red has now been followed by a new deep purple. Bush fires have been raging across the country – a sign of a warming world, the impacts of which are destined only to intensify.

While urban areas are less prone to the risks of fire in such circumstances, my poor vegetable garden suffers terribly when we face extended periods of extreme heat. In my small corner of the world, this has called for some ‘Psychedelic Garden Love’. It’s not what you might think — much less interesting, but still very important.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Biodiversity, Community Projects, Seeds.

Last October, in the run-up towards World Food Day, a seed bombing event was co-organized in Cairo in collaboration with Nawaya. Nawaya is a start-up social enterprise focusing on agriculture as a core driver for rural development — but not just any agricultural system. Nawaya specifically promotes ecological farming practices whereby Egyptian rural communities become stewards of their local environment and agro-ecological resources. This is a long process of awareness-raising and marketing to change farming practices. Consumer ignorance and apathy to what is available has lead people to choose Chinese big white garlic cloves over the small purplish highly potent Egyptian variety.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

The pyramids of Giza

Nawaya is pleased to announce its first Permaculture Design Course offered by two international instructors: Rod Everett and Mill Millichap.

A Permaculture Design Course is a 72-hour intensive hands-on course that equips you to learn and practice how to design your land and life using permaculture principles.

What: Permaculture Design Course
Where: Camping Fagnoon Art School, Maryoutia Canal Road, Giza, Egypt
When: Thursday the 14th February to Monday the 25th February, 2013
Teachers: Rod Everett and Mill Millichap
Cost: 600 Euros with accommodation (Potential for discount for Egyptian local residents)
Flyer: Download here (3mb PDF)

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Posted by & filed under Economics, Food Shortages, Society, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

The World Bank believes in water privatisation like in the way that other people believe in Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha. The World Bank believes in water privatisation as a matter of theology. — Jim Schultz, Cochabamba Democracy Centre

The law of supply and demand has been the basis of economic activity for millennia. In the context of our present economy, with its skewed, profit-centric priorities, this means that scarcity is profitable, and abundance is not. It’s an absurd reality, but one we see played out in almost every area of our lives on a daily basis. When this absurdity is applied to a resource as fundamentally existential as water, some people get rich, while others suffer and die.

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Posted by & filed under Podcasts.

Geoff Lawton, Director of the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, gives a positive talk on permaculture for the urban environment in an interview by the Los Angeles-based Institute of Urban Ecology.

Geoff is in good form in this talk — it’s well worth a listen.


Click play below to hear the interview!

Interview with Geoff Lawton

Posted by & filed under General.

This is the third installment in our popular Q&A series. In case you didn’t catch it on previous occasions, we added a new sub-forum titled ‘Put Your Questions to the Experts!‘, where our forum members put their questions to experienced permaculturists we’ll approach over the weeks and months ahead. First up to be the target of our combined curiosities and the salve of our perplexities, is the PRI’s own Geoff Lawton. Geoff, currently teaching at Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia, spends 80 minutes with us, sharing from his wealth of experience in permaculture teaching and consulting in dozens of countries worldwide.

In this episode you’ll find two videos. The first video contains answers to the last three questions of Round 2 (Round 2 was cut short due to a power outage where Geoff was on location), and the second video answers all the questions from Round 3.

Last three questions of Round 2

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Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change.

The extremes now hammering Australia leave old perspectives stranded.

by George Monbiot

Five children and their grandparents survived an inferno by spending
three hours clinging to a jetty in the sea

I wonder what Tony Abbott will say about the record heatwave now ravaging Australia. The opposition leader has repeatedly questioned the science and impacts of climate change. He has insisted that “the science is highly contentious, to say the least” and asked – demonstrating what looks like a wilful ignorance – “If man-made CO2 was quite the villain that many of these people say it is, why hasn’t there just been a steady increase starting in 1750, and moving in a linear way up the graph?”. He has argued against Australian participation in serious attempts to cut emissions.

Climate change denial is almost a national pastime in Australia. People like Andrew Bolt and Ian Plimer have made a career out of it. The Australian – owned by Rupert Murdoch – takes such extreme anti-science positions that it sometimes makes the Sunday Telegraph look like the voice of reason.

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

Those who read Bad News, and Good News, for Greece, It’s Time to Re-Ruralise and Greeks Reclaim the Land to Ease the Pain of Economic Austerity will want to follow up with this encouraging video.

For the last several decades, modern society has been shaped by Big Business with a very narrow focus combined with an ill-thought-through economic system. The wonderfully ironic aspect of this is that in industry’s quest for ‘more’ — at any cost, and with little regard for medium- to long-term interests for people and place — it becomes increasingly unpleasant and/or impossible for the average guy on the street to endure the resulting circumstances. Hardships are piling up onto hardships — causing, or forcing, many of us to reevaluate what we want out of life.

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