Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects.

Abed is a farmer from Al Wallajah village who has been living in a cave on his land for 17 years, attempting to resist displacement by Israeli authorities and to maintain and care for his family’s land. He lives in a cave because he is not allowed to build according to Israeli military law. He is not connected to water, sewage or electricity networks. In caring for the land he has planted over 1000 trees in the last decade.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Insects, Medicinal Plants, Plant Systems.

by Fred Hoffman

Nature wants to make your job as a gardener as easy as possible; but you have to help. So, let’s talk about putting in plants that attract the "good bugs", the crawling and flying creatures whose diet includes pests that are ravaging your garden plants. These beneficial predatory insects do not live on aphid steaks alone. They need other natural sources of food and shelter for their entire life cycle before they call your backyard a permanent home.

What are these "Welcome Mat" plants and the beneficial insects they attract?

Here is a list of those good bugs and the plants that they like to visit for shelter and as another source of food for their diet, the sugar from flowers. For some beneficials, especially syrphid flies, this nectar is necessary in order to mature their eggs. Intersperse these plants among the “problem pest areas” in your yard to attract the garden good guys.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.


Part I

Broken into two parts (one above, one below, and a question & answer session after that), this is a long but interesting watch. It was filmed in 2011 at a presentation by Dr Anthony Ingraffea (Ph.D., P.E., Cornell University) in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, and covers many interesting and pertinent aspects of all fracking entails. Mr. Ingraffea’s good sense of humour makes the time pass fast, and you’ll learn a lot of important facts about why fracking is a complete disaster — a crime against humanity, and against common sense.

It needs to be understood that the age of collecting the low-hanging fruit of fossil fuels has passed, and we now live an age where every time we waste these ancient resources, we are encouraging and financing fracking — an activity that must stop, globally, and now. Period.

Permeating our watersheds with highly toxic chemicals, and thus regarding cancer and other illnesses as ‘acceptable’, is a line that we should never have allowed anyone to cross, and is certainly something we cannot allow to continue.

You can also find his slideshow in PDF form here.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Consumerism, Deforestation, Desertification, Economics, Population, Society, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Pointless, joyless consumption is destroying our world of wonders.

This is a moment at which anyone with the capacity for reflection should stop and wonder what we are doing.

If the news that in the past 40 years the world has lost over 50% its vertebrate wildlife (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish) fails to tell us that there is something wrong with the way we live, it’s hard to imagine what could. Who believes that a social and economic system which has this effect is a healthy one? Who, contemplating this loss, could call it progress?

In fairness to the modern era, this is an extension of a trend that has lasted some two million years. The loss of much of the African megafauna – sabretooths and false sabretooths, giant hyaenas and amphicyonids (bear dogs), several species of elephant – coincided with the switch towards meat eating by hominims (ancestral humans). It’s hard to see what else could have been responsible for the peculiar pattern of extinction then.

As we spread into other continents, their megafaunas almost immediately collapsed. Perhaps the most reliable way of dating the first arrival of people anywhere is the sudden loss of large animals. The habitats we see as pristine – the Amazon rainforest or coral reefs for example – are in fact almost empty: they have lost most of the great beasts that used to inhabit them, which drove crucial natural processes.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, Village Development.

by Samuel Alexander, originally published on The Conversation


Time to get off the economic growth train?
Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever.

This week’s Addicted to Growth conference in Sydney is exploring how to move beyond growth economics and towards a “steady-state” economy.

But what is a steady-state economy? Why it is it desirable or necessary? And what would it be like to live in?

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Building, Compost, Demonstration Sites, Waste Systems & Recycling, Water Conservation.

by Paul Kean, Tiger Hill Permaculture

Last year some trees were cleared for milling on the farm and a by-product of that process was the tree crowns and stumps that can’t be milled. There is estimated to be about 200 ton of stumps and crowns to be cut up for firewood as a result. This ensures that all resources from the project stay on the site and less need to transport firewood in.

I had always loved the look of the traditional German firewood piles and was introduced to these by the late Joe Polaischer of Rainbow Valley Farm in New Zealand. Joe had made these wood piles throughout his property as functional firewood drying systems as well as artsy little structures that looked like houses. These are common place in Austria where Joe was raised.

A holzmiete is translated as an engineered woodpile (a woodpile engineered and stacked in a way that it won’t fall over), and a ‘holzhaufen’ is translated as a wood house (house for firewood).

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Community Projects, Peak Oil, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

We’re excited to invite you to the biggest anti-fracking rock concert ever held in Australia – Rock the Gate – at the Enmore Theatre in Newtown, Sydney, 23rd November, 2014. All proceeds go to support Lock the Gate Alliance. Get your tickets now!

It’s spring and there is so much happening right across the country. This newsletter brings you lots of great events and all the latest updates – from the looming Senate Inquiry into the Qld Government, to the first Mining Free Community in South Australia, and the NSW Chief Scientists report on CSG. It’s all happening, and there are so many ways to get involved!

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

With the signing of a plastic bag ban in California on September 30, 2014, the number of Americans who will be affected by anti-bag legislation by 2015 climbed to 49 million. California is the first state to ban the bag. Nationwide more than 150 cities and counties are implementing bans or fees in attempts to reduce the estimated 100 billion plastic bags used in the United States each year.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Desertification, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination.

According to a new research findings, over the next 100 years due to climate change, land suitable for agriculture is going to expand by 5.4 million km2, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere at high latitudes in countries like Canada, China and Russia. However, further down in the Global South, especially in the tropical regions, along with reduction in suitable land there, will be a decrease in suitability for multiple cropping.

The suitability of a piece of land for agriculture depends on natural factors such as local climate, soil and topography. Due to climate change and anthropogenic activities these natural conditions are changing throughout the world, resulting in variation in availability and quality of the land for agriculture.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Fungi, Plant Systems, Soil Biology, Soil Rehabilitation, Structure.

by Paul Stamets. Review by Sher June.

When research biologist Paul Stamets suggests fungi can help save the world, he is absolutely serious. In fact, he contends they can rescue it in several different ways. There are the medicines to be derived from fungi, probably more than we can yet imagine. Fungi for insect pest control. Fungi can absorb and often digest toxins from their environments — toxins as diverse as heavy metals, PCBs, oil spills, and radioactivity. Fungal partnerships can revolutionize our farming methods. And we can heal the ecosystems of damaged forest lands by introducing selected fungal species into those environments. Paul Stamets is one of the visionaries of our time. He is revolutionizing the ways we look at fungi.

This book starts by teaching the basics of mycology. Mycelium are fungal threads that form a network, usually underground. Mushrooms are just their fruiting bodies. Mycelium are so tiny that one cubic inch of soil can contain enough to stretch for 8 miles. But mycelial networks can cover as much as thousands of acres, making certain varieties of fungi the largest organisms in the world, as well as some of the oldest. Fungi build soil by breaking down organic matter, and even cracking apart rocks. Besides that, fungal mycelium enter into symbiotic relationships with trees and other green plants, helping them get water and nutrients from the wider environment by surrounding and even penetrating the roots.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under General.


My front garden on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua

“WWOOFing” has become a very common form of budget travel these days. The concept is simple enough: Workers/Travelers volunteer a few hours of labor in exchange for room and board. In your free time, you can frolic on beaches or hike mountains just as any other tourist might. It’s a great deal. It’s particularly fantastic for those of us who aren’t particularly good at sitting still or are interested in growing food, and, of course, if you’ve not got a lot of money yet still feel entitled to travel the world. A work exchange might be just the ticket.

Read more »