Posted by & filed under Biodiversity.

Y Gododdin is one of the few surviving accounts by the Britons of what the Anglo-Saxons did to them. It tells the story of what may have been the last stand in England of the Gododdin – the tribes of the Hen Ogledd, or Old North – in 598AD. A force of 300 warriors – the British version of the defenders of Thermopylae – took on a far greater army of Angles at a town named in Brittonic as Catraeth: probably Catterick in Yorkshire. Like the Spartan 300, they fought for three days, during which all but four were killed.

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Posted by & filed under Animal Housing, Insects, Working Animals.

A colony of bats in a mango tree

Permaculture designs, especially on a large-scale, incorporate domesticated animals. For organic gardening, it just makes life a lot easier. Manure is key in growing anything. A timed circulation of grazing means the land gets cleared, fertilized and tilled by the animals’ natural patterns as opposed to the farmer’s sweat. Then, at some point, animals equate to food. The efficiency and logic are there and simple, but domesticated animals aren’t always a possibility. There are housing restrictions, acreage issues, and even dietary choices to contend with; however, that doesn’t mean a garden should or needs to be without animals.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Urban Projects.

To Sustainability and Beyond! Kickstarting a Permaculture school to teach people how to grow food, repair landscapes and build community.

Why an Education Centre for Permaculture?

Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints could be beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our planet? This is the premise of Permaculture: a design science for creating resilient and efficient systems inspired by nature.

The call is simple — to get our homes and gardens in order so they shelter and feed us. However, the design of efficient systems does not stop there… the knowledge, wisdom and skill of efficient design is being applied to the creation of abundant systems of business, livelihood, and community.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Courses/Workshops.

The Fertile Roots Foundation is delighted to have Darren Doherty coming to teach our first PDC, on the site of the embryonic Al Fayda Permaculture Cooperative. This project involves 39 families and their land just north of Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast. It’s an area that was until recently semi-arid, but with the rainfall patterns of the last decade it is now well and truly arid. There is talk among many families of leaving the land and some have already done so. We think permaculture can turn it around and this bi-lingual PDC is the first step on a long road. Darren Doherty is a leading pioneer in regenerative agriculture and if you come and take part in this dynamic two weeks you will also be part sponsoring a place on the course for a local farmer.

Full course and booking details can be found at

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Education, Food Shortages, Global Dimming, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Village Development, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

The Arctic Death Spiral and the Methane Time Bomb (Duration: 1:11:11)
Please watch before continuing with the article.

Can we talk about transition, please?

Regular readers will have noted the semi-recent flurry of conversations over ‘crashing’ the system (if not, see here, here, here, here and here) and possible pathways to transition (see here and here). I’d like to see this conversation continued, as it is not insignificant. Hence this post.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, People Systems, Village Development.

As a volunteer tourist I have really appreciated receiving tips before my trips from hosts. Now I return the favour. Here are some tips for volunteer managers, and many may also find the resources in the ‘References’ section at bottom of value.

Your ideal destination

Do you want to change the world? Most of us do, but how do we know we mean the same thing by this? To be more specific we might say ‘I want to bring about sustainability and justice’. Fine tuning further we could add ‘by stopping supermarkets’. However, none of these visions relate to our own field of interest. It is helpful to dig a little deeper, lest you may find your volunteers have different ideas and end up throwing the trowel in.

It is recommended that projects begin with a shared, written vision and a clear long term goal (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10). This is to provide coherence and effective working relations (6; 9). Specialisation is efficient when contributing towards a common goal, so that practical and idealist personnel become complementary.

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Fungi, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Rehabilitation.

Size of a pumpkin leaf: 42 cm, that’s 16.5″. Not bad for a sandy soil!

One of the problems a lot of people have is how to improve the fertility of sandy soil. One solution is to add more organic matter (compost, manure, wood chips), but unfortunately if you live in a hot and humid climate the stuff you put in the soil is going to decompose quickly, since microbial activity is so fast. That creates a serious problem, because your poor sandy soil is not holding nutrients. You can add fertilizers, but they are going to leech out of your soil very fast. Because of that your fruit trees, shrubs, and vines will be yielding poorly, and they will be susceptible to diseases and pest damage. What’s worse, the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor will taste plain and they will not have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them.

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Posted by & filed under Trees.

Cloaked in the snows of California’s Sierra Nevada, the 3,200-year-old giant sequoia called the President rises 247 feet (75.3 meters). Two other sequoias have wider trunks, but none has a larger crown, say the scientists who climbed it. The figure at top seems taller than the other climbers because he’s standing forward on one of the great limbs.

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Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Global Warming/Climate Change.

We are one month out from what could be a defining moment for the climate movement. On September 21st, 2014, thousands of people are going to flood the streets of New York City ahead of the landmark UN Climate Summit — and we need you to join us.

Click here today to RSVP and get involved with the largest mobilization demanding climate action in history.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm for years, but now a look out the window is all you need to know something is seriously wrong. Out my own window, I see a California that’s stricken with the worst drought in the past 100 years after the state’s warmest year on record. It’s easy to feel hopeless, especially given the state of politics, but I become hopeful when I think about marching in the streets with so many activists and communities from around the country.

It’s time to make sure that hope spreads far and wide, and to show that this movement is strong, diverse, and beautiful.

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