Posted by & filed under Economics, Society.

The Supreme Court just issued its ruling on McCutcheon V. FEC (see background on this case here if you’re not familiar) and it’s a disaster for our democracy. Five justices sided with Shaun McCutcheon, the climate-denying coal baron, opening the door for near-unlimited campaign contributions from individuals.

We’re still figuring out all the implications of this decision – and ways to fight it – but in the meantime, one thing is clear: it’s time to get organized.

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Posted by & filed under Building, Courses/Workshops, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling.

People are ditching mortgages and finding community through earthship building

The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in accessible earthship building and sustainable lifestyle workshops across Australia and Internationally. The basic message for participants is empowerment through action and networking which provides the opportunity for communities and individuals to develop skills and community support for building and other types of projects that rely upon voluntary labour — similar to the successful permablitz movement which has taken off across Australia.

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Posted by & filed under GMOs.

Dr Mae-Wan Ho takes you behind the latest, most blatant scientific disinformation campaign to show how GMO crops have remained a minority sector in food production and shrinking from overwhelming consumer rejection; in contrast, non-GMO sectors are rapidly taking over the global food market. The largest, agro-ecological farming, is also the most sustainable, resilient and climate friendly, and currently produces over half of the world’s food.

A fully referenced version of this article is posted on ISIS members website and otherwise available for download here.

Scientific disinformation on GMO plumbs new depths

Scientific disinformation on GMOs is rife; more so and more blatant than any other area where science has become enmeshed with corporate profit. The battle to reclaim people’s food rights intensifies worldwide as the failures and hazards of GMOs can no longer be concealed behind the relentless propaganda. Within the past 18 months, learned societies, science journals and sundry scientist have joined the fray, spreading false claims that the scientific debate is over and GM food is proven safe, that GM crops are a great success with more miracles on the way, and needed to feed the world [1-4] (see our response to one of them [5] Scientific American Disinformation on GMOs, SiS 60).

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops.

Update: Sorry, course registrations have now closed for 2014.

People were commenting on Facebook that it was like waiting for tickets at midnight to a Mick Jagger concert. Geoff Lawton’s famous Online PDC course kicked off midnight across three American timezones on the weekend. The sales came in fast and furious when the doors opened and have been running at a steady flow for the last few days. The course will close when fully subscribed or by the following weekend — whichever comes first.

This is a once a year opportunity to be enrolled in a 12-week online PDC course with a difference. Apart from gaining a regular PDC, students will then be given Geoff Lawton’s $1200 Earthworks course as a bonus online.

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Posted by & filed under Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Irrigation.

People are always fascinated by ram pumps. I think partly because they achieve the seemingly impossible task of pumping water to a higher height than the water supplying the pump, and they do it for no added energy input. This is often misunderstood as needing no energy, but even a casual understanding of the laws of thermodynamics tells us this is impossible. You will notice I said no added energy input because fundamentally what a ram pump does is harvest the energy of a lot of water flowing through the pump from a low head source to pump a much smaller volume of water to a higher head. Head being the height of the water relative to the pump.

Imagine if you will a pipe with an internal diameter of 100mm with water flowing through it. If the pipe is around 25 m long then the weight of the water in the pipe is close to 200kg, remembering that one liter of water weighs one kg. This is basically one of those large oil drums full of water.

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Posted by & filed under Consumerism, Economics, Global Warming/Climate Change, Society.

When people say we should adapt to climate change, do they have any idea what that means?

To understand what is happening to the living planet, the great conservationist Aldo Leopold remarked, is to live “in a world of wounds … An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise.”(1)

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Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Building, Food Forests, Food Plants - Perennial.

Bamboo grows in most areas and has many important uses for communities. Generally, bamboo can be split into two categories: clumping bamboo (sympodial) and creeping bamboo (monopodial). Clumping bamboo grows in tropical climates and is more common, while creeping bamboo generally grows in subtropical climates. The process of planting and managing bamboo clumps properly is the first step for producing high quality and easy to harvest bamboo.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Food Plants - Perennial, Food Shortages, Medicinal Plants, News, Soil Conservation, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Soil Rehabilitation, Trees, Village Development, Water Conservation, Water Harvesting.

Elin Lindhagen, Director, PRI-Kenya

Some members of the women’s group

Since it started in 2013, the Laikipia Permaculture Project in Kenya has rapidly grown with the help of the inexhaustible passion of Joseph Lentunyoi, founder and manager of the project. From the first women’s group, Nabulu, which approached the newly established Laikipia Permaculture Centre, wanting help and advice on how to grow their aloe, combat pests, improve productivity and also diversify, three women’s groups are now part of the project making it a total of 229 women. A fourth group is about to join, which will bring the total beneficiaries to around 300.

When the women’s groups approached Laikipia Permaculture Centre (LPC), their production of Aloe secundiflora that they have been focusing on for the last five years was in near complete devastation, with aloes being trampled by free ranging cows and goats and the roots of the plants attacked by a pest, causing it to rot. Large parts of their aloe plantations had been rendered unusable leaving the women feeling helpless.

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Posted by & filed under Conferences, Courses/Workshops, News, Presentations/Demonstrations, Social Gatherings.

Event organiser Diego Footer’s introductory address (Photo: John Newall)

Early morning on Sunday the 23rd of March I was brushing my teeth and wondering how I was going to structure my week. By mid morning, thanks to equal parts generosity of friends and unbelievable serendipity, I was rushing to book flights from Perth, Western Australia to Los Angeles — making my way to the Permaculture Voices conference in Temecula, California. After 24 hours of travel (and more beneficent synchronicity than I dare report) I found myself alongside six hundred other enthusiastic permaculturists signing in at the Pechanga Resort, nestled at the foot of classic, chaparral covered, southern Californian hills.

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