A permaculture enthusiast may want to inquire: how do the structures of both the Great Wall of China and Water Harvesting System relate
A Brief history of the Great Wall
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987, the Great Wall of China has always been the most visible symbol of power and influence of the past Chinese Empires. Initially built by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c.259-210 B.C.) in the third century as a deterrent to prevent nomadic barbarians from finding their way into the Chinese Empire. Since then, from Qin, Sui to Tang dynasty, the Great Wall had undergone several transformations, the prominent one being its reconstruction under the powerful Ming dynasty (1363-1644), which considered the defense of China as its main priority and extended the Great Wall from East to West to cover places we know today as Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Gansu, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Hebei, Liaoning and Tianjin. Fortresses and gates (three inner and three outer passes) were constructed along the Wall to facilitate limited and monitored entry and exit into the Chinese Empire.
The Great Wall’s Contour Structure
Of utmost interest to structural engineers or anyone who cares about structural strength is all the intricacies that went into the construction of the Great Wall. The Great Wall is a more than 10,000 li (a li is a third of a mile) strong, mammoth fortification that extends across Chinese states, from the China Sea port of Shanhaiguan to Gansu Province. The Wall was made from stone and earth, and a huge number of soldiers, commoners and convicts were used as construction workers. In certain areas, some parts of the Wall overlapped to provide the much-needed strength for the structure, and a long, undulating contours could be seen all along the Wall. With a base width of 15 to 50 feet and a height of 15 to 30 feet, China’s Great Wall towered high into the sky with 12-feet ramparts mounted on its top. Guard towers were scattered at intervals on top of the Wall. The Wall’s design takes after the contours of the land and mountains it meanders through. This is an interesting perspective in the overall structural aesthetics of this World Heritage treasure, because these contours may have been responsible for its enduring strength and, surprisingly enough, help it withstand hundreds of years of all manners of climatic and circumstantial pressures without falling into a state of disrepair.
Swales are amongst my favorite permaculture projects. Though they can be laborious, especially for a shovel and pick fellow like me, they show results quickly and look amazing, texturing the landscape with both purpose and beauty. They are easy to explain: Everyone understands the concept of plants needing water. Swales are also perfect for those of us wanting to build no-dig garden beds, as digging the (swale) paths provides the necessary topsoil.
There are so many more reasons. Modern inclination is to get rid of rainwater as quickly as possible, ushering it into gutters and drainage systems, which often lead to a plethora of contaminants, including sewage getting into fresh water sources. Afterwards, when there’s a dry spell for a few days, the sprinklers come out. Instead, swales stop the deluge and allow the water to slowly, passively enter the soil and keep stuff working, preventing overfilling drainage systems and the need for compulsive watering. What a concept!
So, with such an endorsement, surely everyone is salivating at having a swale of their very own, even those who still aren’t quite certain what a swale is. Well, if that’s the case, hang on for another paragraph or few, and let’s get to it.
An interview with Permaculture pioneer, Geoff Lawton.
Geoff is an expert in this growing field. Since the mid-nineties he has specialised in all things permaculture, including the education, design, implementation, system establishment, administration and community development of it across the world. He is a true leader in building a sustainable and healthy future for humanity.
In the video he moves through many aspects of permaculture, including its positive environmental, practical, cultural and philosophical impacts. He talks about the patterns of nature, the diversity of foods it can offer, the values it endorses, the quality of living it offers and the meaning and hope it can give to one’s life:
Permaculture design can be applied to all aspects of our lives. Whether it is communities, farms, gardens or urban areas.
With over 50% of the population living in urban areas, the London Permablitz team is working hard to spread permaculture across the city, transforming community spaces and individual gardens into wildlife-friendly, edible havens. Learn how they implement designs and create productive and beautiful urban environments.
A Permablitz, which is a global movement, is the creation of a garden according to a permaculture design over the course of a day. A group of people meet and set to work transforming neglected spaces into homes for creatures big and small.
Much has been written on domestic permaculture(zones 1-3) and by now we all know the basics on growing domestic plants in accordance with natural systems. But, how do you encourage the wild edges of your land to produce more food and useful resources?
In this article, I will discuss how to create a wild food forest in the often ignored zones 4 and 5. Zone 4 is used to denote a semi-wild area and zone 5 is used to denote wilderness. These zones are usually far away from the house and are likewise last in priority and importance to permaculturists. Yet before agriculture, indigenous populations exclusively tended the wilderness to increase food production.
Historically, there has been extensive human management of wild forests. The amazon rain forest has an unusually high percentage of edible plants and is said to be one giant food forest. Indigenous people of the region planted seeds around their villages and along their elaborate trail systems. But indigenous people all around the world did much more than plant the seeds of their favorite foods. Kat Anderson claims in her book Tending the Wild“ that “much of what we consider wilderness today was in fact shaped by Indian burning, harvesting, tilling, pruning, sowing, and tending”(1). Indigenous horticulturalists expanded the food production of the wild plants by utilizing ecological processes on the landscape.
Samuel Alexander – is a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs and research fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI), University of Melbourne. He also co-directs the Simplicity Institute.
For those in Victoria, here are details of an upcoming “Tiny House on Wheels” workshop out at Wurruk’an. If you’re interested, don’t hesitate to apply as spots are limited and are likely to be filled quickly. I’ve been part of four of these workshops now – this will be my fifth – and each of them have been utterly fantastic.
Come to Wurruk’an and learn the process of building a low-cost tiny house on wheels using reclaimed building materials. Work along side an experienced carpenter and learn a wide range of carpentry and building skills. The workshop will be suitable for all people (over 18 yrs), irrespective of building experience.
I’m currently undertaking a Diploma of Permaculture through the Permaculture Institute! A requirement of the Diploma is to have had designed at least seven successful permaculture properties. SO, I’ve decided to offer TEN FREE PERMACULTURE SITE DESIGNS a.k.a. MASTER PLANS for your urban food forest dreams in the Melbourne region this winter!
For the past several years I’ve worked on several permaculture plots in Australia, India and Thailand.
Tom Kendall from the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast talks about and shows the site of the new Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu. The site is surveyed by Tom, Dani, Anne and Meriem and they are determining the location of the first swale, the house and gardens. Follow us on www.permacultureluganville.org.
Inaugural PDC course 30 May – 17 June 2016, 12 day PDC course with 3 days practical integration. Every paying student allow PRI Luganville to sponsor 2 – 3 local Ni-Van students to participate in the course.
This course is organized by TPAE (Permaculture Research Institute of Turkey).
Date: 31 August – 3 September 2015
Location: Dedetepe Ecological Farm, Çanakkale
Seriously interested in design and consulting? This course is for you! In this 4-day intensive course, PRI’s best three will teach you how to successfully implement your permaculture designs. Having worked as permaculture designers and consultants in various parts of the world, Rhamis, Owen and Mustafa will be sharing their unique experiences and providing you with answers from their respective point of view.
Learn how to start your permaculture design consultancy, confidently deal with clients, present reports and briefs and much more!
This course is for people who have already completed a full Permaculture Design Course (PDC).
It was some time ago, over a year to completely admit the extent of my procrastination, that I was working through a breezeblock of a book entitled The Art of Fermentation, by Sandor Katz, the modern Moses of the dark and mysterious process. It all sounded so fun, so magical for a guy who loves a tip of the tipple but has never made his own, and I couldn’t help but plot out my adventures in food preservation and, more so, homespun libations.
Until recently, I’d never fermented anything, at least not on purpose, and it was from this privileged position that I began. Since finishing Katz’s book, I’d read horror stories of miserable failure and mushy vegetables, and I suppose they’d keep my ambition at bay. For over a year, I didn’t follow through on making the sauerkrauts and pickles or homemade wines and ciders that Katz had made seem so simple.
This week’s episode, ‘Farming with Nature’ (or Building Soil with Regenerative Agriculture) features Rebecca Hoskings, (co-producer of the BBC film, ‘A Farm for the Future’) explaining how she has transformed a windswept and exhausted coastal farm into an abundant landscape with healthy animals, prolific wildlife and fertile soil. You can watch this episode here: …
“Holistic planned grazing is all about mimicking the natural migration of a wild herd across the landscape. This is the fastest way to build soil fertility on a large scale.”
This is the third episode in the nine film series. The series is produced by Permaculture magazine and Permaculture People to coincide with the build-up to the 12th International Permaculture Conference taking place at The Light, Euston Road, London on 8th – 9th September 2015.
Industry development plays a pivotal role in the economy of a country. It not only provides employment to local working class but also, it boosts economy by selling and exporting the products manufactured by the factories. As we all know, factories have direct impact on our environment and eco-system. The emissions of gases and disposal of waste products have always been serious threats to the environment.
With the beginning of factories’ infrastructures, laws relating to working conditions of the workers and environment protection were enacted in order to improve working conditions of the factory workers and to safeguard the environment from industrial pollution with poisonous gases and waste disposal being the main threats to the local environment.
However, a lot needed to be done as the factories grew larger in number with the passage of time. In 1994, I happened to visit a Pakistani garments factory with my father who was working there. He took me with him to take a tour of the factory. I visited different sections of the factory and came to know that the working class were not aware of the safety and hygienic measures. Even the factory did not have much advanced environment-friendly measures to protect local environment from different modes of pollution. The heavy garment machinery was producing a deafening noise which made me run away from the site. Likewise, I saw workers bare-footed, wearing dirty dresses and many even without caps.