by Lester R. Brown
For most of the time that human beings have walked the earth, we lived as hunter-gatherers. The share of the human diet that came from hunting versus gathering varied with geographic location, hunting skills, and the season of the year. During the northern hemisphere winter, for instance, when there was little food to gather, people there depended heavily on hunting for survival. Our long history as hunter-gatherers left us with an appetite for animal protein that continues to shape diets today.
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A report was released today proposing a link between genetically modified foods and gluten-related disorders.
Do you or a loved one suffer from gluten sensitivity? You may be wondering why you react to gluten now even though you never did in the past. You may be wondering why a gluten-free diet has helped, but has not completely resolved your symptoms. If you are on a quest to find all of the pieces to the gluten puzzle, this information is for you. In today’s report, released by the Institute for Responsible Technology, a team of experts proposes a possible link between genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and gluten-related disorders. The analysis is based on Dept. of Agriculture data, Environmental Protection Act records, medical journal reviews, and international research.
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Applying the understandings of ecosystem mimicry to create alternative solutions to current nursery practices of disease control, fertilisation and sterile mediums.
It is my belief that nature is our greatest teacher. By observing nature we can see that a tree in a forest is self-maintaining. It does not rely on fertilisation, irrigation, pesticides or fungicides to produce healthy growth. It’s only with today’s technology we are beginning to bear witness and understand nature’s true genius. By applying these newfound understandings of nature’s interconnected network of processes, cycles and flows into our permaculture systems, we can facilitate productive growth in a truly ecologically regenerative way.
Nurseries seem, even to a permaculturist, to be places too sacred and controlled for nature’s chaotic wisdom. The lack of known previous experimentations and available information on alternative nursery practice, coupled with generations of unquestioned current practice, makes the prospect of incorporating these polar opposite ideologies even more daunting.
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Here is an excellent video linking urbanicide to modernism. Wouter still likes the modernist aesthetic look, but he clearly analyzes its destructiveness. It’s what we have been saying all along, though nobody paid any attention!
Maybe the time has finally come for a change?
Terraces have been used sustainably for centuries.
Why not make a down-scaled version for your garden?
One of the first things to consider in beginning to design a garden is where, exactly, it should be. I have to say that this step usually takes a secondary place in my mind to exciting images of plants and vegetables flourishing in glorious abundance; but unless you make a plan first, this flourishing could easily just as well become glorious chaos. Energy efficiency is a good one to remember here: how can you make the most effective garden space with the least amount of effort?
If the space you have available to you is not flat, this question may seem a tricky one. I have found that gently sloping gardens are ideal for swale-making and water-management (more on this in another article) but what if your space is more vertiginous than this? If the only potential space you have is a steep slope, will this cause a problem for your garden?
For answers, we can turn to one of many of the great ancient civilisations of our world. Terraced gardens have been implemented for many centuries by various cultures; from the impressively shimmering flooded rice paddies of South East Asia to the flowing steps of the mountains of North Africa and Spain, making the once uninhabitable slopes verdant and abundant in their elegant levelling.
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How Modernist Fundamentalism degrades the human and natural environment.
by Michael W. Mehaffy & Nikos A. Salingaros
Historic Paris and other beloved neighborhoods
around the world teach us that streets are the
river of life. (Photo by Dirk Haun under a
Creative Commons license from flickr.com)
Many research studies show a remarkable divergence between the way architects see their work and the way non-architects do — to such a degree that it is not uncommon to hear ordinary people wondering aloud how it is that architects, and architecture students, seem to want to make such strange and unpleasant buildings today.
A second, related perception is that, for many, the architecture of most human environments today is far uglier than what even ordinary people were able to make a century or more ago — and moreover, the latter places are often among the most beloved and enduring that the world has to offer. Why is this, many wonder? Is it just the price of progress? Does it even matter, really? (Especially since architects are responsible for a diminishing part of the built environment?) And is this issue connected to our daunting challenges of sustainability and resilience for the future?
We answer, in a word, yes.
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I wrote recently about the Earthship workshop that I’m organising and participating in this coming December, as part of the ecovillage project which I’ve written about here. I’m happy to say that I’ve also just locked in a 6-day mud building workshop in February next year, with the amazingly talented and creative Kate from the Mudmob Natural Building Collective. She’s just the best, and has constructed many a fine mud house in her time, as well as various other muddy works of art. The workshop is taking place near Moe, Victoria, about 1hr 30mins from Melbourne.
Do you want to learn how to build with mud? Here’s your chance! There are limited spaces, so if you’re interested, don’t hesitate to make contact via email address in the poster below, where more details are available. It’s gonna be fun! We’re going to build something similar to the ‘pod’ you see in the featured image above.
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The UK cattle industry is in the midst of great change. Bovine tuberculosis is the main issue of the day; seen by many as a big problem which needs to be stopped. The solution which the UK government has opted for, with the backing of the National Farmer’s Union and non-departmental public body Natural England, is to implement a cull on badgers in the affected areas; the argument being that the badgers, who can also carry the disease, help to spread it to cattle. Therefore by killing them the tuberculosis can be curbed and we do not have to have such a big cull on the cattle themselves; thus saving the farmers their livelihoods to some extent (1) (2).
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We think of ourselves as autonomous individuals with a will of our own, but microbes in our gut turn out to have more say on how we feel and behave than we know.
by Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji
A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and is otherwise available for download here.
Communication between the gut and the brain has long been acknowledged and has led to the gut being dubbed the ‘second brain’. This gut-brain communication was previously thought to be regulated by neural, endocrine and immunological signalling, but now research is focusing on how the gut microbiota impact such signalling in what is now being termed the microbiome-gut-brain axis (see below).
The role of the gut microbiota in gut-brain signalling is well evidenced by the simultaneous presence of mental health-related illnesses such as anxiety with gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) . Research dating back to the 1970s showed that stress alters the composition of the gut flora in adult mice . Since then, newborn mice suffering maternal separation-induced stress [3, 4] were found to have reduced level of Lactobacilli, which makes the animals more susceptible to infection. Further, hepatic encephalopathy (the occurrence of confusion, altered level of consciousness, and coma as a result of liver failure) is successfully treated with antibiotics or laxatives, thereby serving as a reminder that gut bacteria do send signals to the brain (albeit under pathological conditions in this case) . Indeed, the gut is thought to harbour the majority of the body’s microbes and recent work from the Human Microbiome Project reveals large variability in microbiota profiles between individuals, an average gut carrying around 1000 different species of microbes and more than 7000 strains.
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by Janet Larsen, Earth Policy Institute
Super typhoon Haiyan
Meteorologists are calling the typhoon that slammed into the Philippines with 195-mile-an-hour winds on November 8, 2013, the most powerful tropical storm to make landfall on record. Super Typhoon Haiyan had gusts reaching 235 miles per hour and a storm surge swelling as high as 20 feet, so the destruction it left behind matched that of a tornado combined with a tsunami.
Three days later, at the opening of the United Nations climate negotiations in Warsaw, Poland, the lead delegate from the Philippines, Yeb Saño, spoke of the “hellstorm” that left “a vast wasteland of mud and debris and dead bodies.” He continued: “Despite the massive efforts…in preparing for the onslaught of this monster of a storm, it was just a force too powerful and, even as a nation familiar with storms, Haiyan was nothing we have ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country has ever experienced before.”
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Project from above, featuring a garbage-accumulating fence edge
Well, you would be hard pressed to find a tougher block of land — a 400m below sea level, West facing slope, in an extremely hot, arid climate, with extremely poor, shallow highly alkaline top ‘soil’, covered in rocks, with a limited water supply and in a mostly Palestinian refugee-populated village. When we first started working on the site local farmers thought it was just ridiculous to even try to produce any kind of result on such a rough site. They were not interested at all and could see no reason to stop using chemicals and burning crop residues and planting nothing but large fields of monoculture cash crops.
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