Posted by & filed under Animal Forage, Land, Livestock, Trees, Working Animals.


Photos: Ingrid Pullen

At Zaytuna Farm we have been using our Boer meat goats to fast-track the weed-tree-infested forested valleys’ succession and reforestation with a diversity of high quality tree species. This is being done around the pasture edges of the valleys and the gullies between our pastures, which are dominated by weed tree inundations of small and large leaf privet, camphor laurel and lantana.

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Posted by & filed under Aid Projects.

Imagine a durable, practically indestructible round plastic container that allows anyone (generally women and children) to harvest at least 50 liters of water and pull it home without breaking their backs, or necks.

Check out the Q-Drum and the Wello Water Wheel — two ingenious inventions that have the potential to make many people’s lives more wonderful by providing an average size family with enough drinking water.

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Posted by & filed under General, Society.

I had a conversation with my eldest son, Michael, some time ago. We discussed: “Why can’t knowledge be used to make things in society work better?” This question of my son’s got me to thinking about what is knowledge and what is the difference between knowledge of nature and knowledge of human affairs. In philosophy, this is called epistemology — the study of knowledge.

I was very gratified that Michael was interested in this subject. And, although when I studied philosophy in University I wondered whether there was any point in it, my son’s question made me realize how important the consequences of a particular epistemology can be.

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

The Marda Permaculture Farm is a working farm and demonstration site for permaculture principles, techniques and strategies in Palestine. Based in the picturesque ancient village of Marda, the project promotes food sovereignty, health, self-reliance and empowerment. This is accomplished through modeling water harvesting, recycling, energy conservation and home-scale garden production with readily available and locally-appropriate materials.

Farm Founder and Director Murad AlKhufash has long dreamed of a teaching building using natural materials and techniques such as earth bag construction, cob, adobe, and local building technologies. The building, which would maximize space with two stories would provide a much needed office, indoor space for workshops, and lodging for interns and volunteers.

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Posted by & filed under Biodiversity, Deforestation, Desertification, Global Warming/Climate Change, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Water Contaminaton & Loss.

Dr. Nadine Unger, an assistant professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale, had an op-ed published in the Opinion Pages of the September 19, 2014 edition of the New York Times. Both the title of her piece and its analysis of the article’s focus — climate change — have drawn quite a response, as one would imagine.

I don’t have much to add other than asking for those interested to review what she wrote along with the responses detailing how and why what she has concluded is exactly wrong:

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Posted by & filed under Compost, Village Development.

As far I can remember, I have always loved collections. I started collecting postal stamps, then wild mice that I caught in barns, and at one point, I even collected ‘important’ items from our planet to show other universes (should I ever be abducted by aliens). The box consisted of simple items like an AA battery, a cinema ticket, a photograph of Michael Jackson and so on. As I mentioned before, very important items!

Since discovering permaculture, I started collecting yields. I’m not a hoarder though. I just love collections! I guess I took the third principle (obtain a yield) very seriously. Here is an example of how my brain works and how I collect yields.

My neighbor (500m from our farm) runs a tiny ranch and being alone in this venture, she struggles keeping up with all the hard work. I have decided to volunteer my time and make her days more wonderful. Twice a week, I clear all her paddocks of the huge piles of horse manure.

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Posted by & filed under DVDs/Books, Economics, Society.

Ecocide law, unlike any other law, has the capacity to disrupt what we perceive to be immoveable. How can we possibly decouple from fossil fuels, from economies based on making money out of heavy extractive industries, from businesses that are threatening to sue governments that refuse to allow them to destroy their lands? This is a question that is voiced in many different ways but the essence of it is always the same — the sense that we are so stuck in a system that we cannot see the way out.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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