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?”.
This new documentary, with perfect timing for the upcoming Proposition 37 vote on November 6, is a heartbreaking look at the impact GMOs have had in India, where many thousands of peasant farmers have been pushed to the brink, and beyond, due to crop failures and spiraling costs for seed and the chemicals they demand.
Here’s how we can defeat political corruption of the kind that’s destroying US democracy.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
It’s a revolting spectacle: the two presidential candidates engaged in a frantic and demeaning scramble for money. By November 6th, Obama and Romney will each have raised over $1bn(1). Other groups have already spent a further billion(2). Every election costs more than the one before; every election, as a result, drags the US deeper into cronyism and corruption. Whichever candidate takes the most votes, it’s the money that wins.
Is it conceivable, for example, that Mitt Romney, whose top five donors are all Wall Street banks(3), would put the financial sector back in its cage? Or that Barack Obama, who has received over $700,000 from both Microsoft and Google(4), would challenge their monopolistic powers? Or, in the Senate, that the leading climate change denier James Inhofe, whose biggest donors are fossil fuel companies, could change his views, even when confronted by an overwhelming weight of evidence?(5) The US feeding frenzy shows how the safeguards and structures of a nominal democracy can remain in place while the system they define mutates into plutocracy.
This is a fun and very inspiring talk by Incredible Edible Todmorden champion, Pam Warhurst, on the great work her town is doing in northern England and its growing influence around the world. One of the many encouraging things I take from this talk is hearing how local businesses in Todmorden are, with the renewed interest to support them, being able to diversify their offering, and hence make Todmorden more self-reliant and thus resilient.
The standing ovation at the end of the video says it all….
In less than two weeks, Californians will vote on Prop. 37. This is an historic campaign — it would mean that for the first time in the United States, consumers would have the right to know if the food they are eating has been genetically tampered with by chemical companies. Nearly one million Californians signed their names to put the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act — aka Prop 37 — on the ballot, and over 90% of Americans say they support labeling GMOs. But right now, the world’s largest pesticide and junk food companies, led by Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical, Pepsi, Kraft & Coca Cola have invested over $40 million and are spending $1 million per day to deceive Californians. They are flooding the state with misleading ads to confuse and scare the voters and to trick people into voting against their own best interests. And it’s working. In the past week our poll numbers have dropped from 61% to 48%. We must fight back.
While working as a site manager at a startup permaculture education center in Thailand I had the unique opportunity to participate in the filming of a documentary film about permaculture and, in particular, the education center I was helping to create. This film is now moments away from having an opportunity to be distributed internationally… but it needs one final push to make it!
The video above is a nice, brief summation of our present predicament, and ends with the only really logical conclusion — permaculture, and resilient, interdependent communities living in the real economy. It’s well worth watching and sharing. Regular readers of this site won’t learn anything new, but should find it yet another useful tool for educating others.
For myself, I am constantly disappointed in mainstream media coverage of the historically unprecedented convergence of issues humanity now faces. Supposed ‘experts’ in economics and business stand in front of us, upbeat and flashing plastic smiles, whilst spouting utter nonsense. They continue to subscribe to, and promote, an impossible belief — that being to ‘grow the economy’, perpetually, on a finite planet. This is the most absurd faith-based religion I’ve ever encountered, and yet it has become the status quo almost everywhere on this tired old earth.
All a great power has to do to destroy itself is to persist in trying to do the impossible. — Stephen Vizinczey
Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, 2012. Your tuition fees directly support this important educational aid work.
The Hafto Solar Community Water Project site project is a solar powered water supply facility for the surrounding community of Hafto in the Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia. The project was planned and implemented by a German NGO called DWC and is owned and run by a local NGO called SMART. The facility supplies water to about 1500 surrounding community members within an approximate 1km radius. There is a small charge for the water of about 0.01 Ethiopian Birr per liter (1$=18Birr) which covers the running costs of the project. The community members currently come to the site with donkeys to collect the water in jerry-cans which they take home for use.
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).