Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Financial Management, Village Development — by Alex McCausland March 30, 2013
Pioneering is an essential function in the establishment of eco-systems. It refers to the initial colonisation of previously uninhabited habitat by a class of species (‘pioneers’) which are specially adapted to living in the harsh conditions of an otherwise uninhabited environment. Pioneers are generally short lived with small and abundant seed and have long range dispersal mechanisms suited to their ecology. Often the seeds are wind pollinated. In habitats which are maintained in a perpetual state of degradation by over-stocking and unregulated grazing, the pioneers tend to have seed which is dispersed by animals — it may be sticky, spiky or with velcro-like micro-hooks on it — so the animals spread them around. In this kind of environment the plants themselves also support defence mechanisms — e.g. spiky, obnoxious, bitter etc., and this is why referring to someone as “a pioneer” in permaculture terminology is a veiled way of saying they may seem ‘difficult’ (as in imbued with the kind of defence mechanisms that pioneer species utilise) but nevertheless they serve an important function – that of “getting the ball rolling” so that other more sociable, lusher, greener, more palatable and cooperative species can move into the system.
Old Bill himself has sometimes been referred to as a pioneer. Most of us are well acquainted with his charm and wit! So, on that basis, I will take having being referred to as a pioneer myself as a compliment! So the point is that pioneers may not be very fluffy, kind and sociable, but without these spiny, stubborn, bitter little plants there would be nothing at all, but with pioneers, we have a chance to get succession going.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Village Development — by Andy Homer January 10, 2013
Imagine if we could help someone change their life for the better permanently, in under three years. Or imagine being in direct contact with the people on the ground, turning their semi-desert home back to an abundant food forest using permaculture, perhaps even going over and helping out…. Imagine being able to offer advice and expertise, or just encouragement and support, while a family solves their problems. No middlemen, no expenses taken out, no bureaucracy. If only!Comments (8)
Courses/Workshops, Developments, Economics, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Nick Huggins July 31, 2012
It’s been three years in the making — researching, designing, testing the application, and now it’s ready for the world to tap in and download the knowledge.
During my PDC back in 2009 at the PRI, I sat there as Geoff Lawton was going through the many applications that permaculture covers. All I could think about was how many different business ideas I had come up with that could follow the movements three core ethics and make a profit at the same time. Limitless, absolutely limitless are the possibilities to take a niche and run with it and make it a success.
While the opportunities for me were boundless it was so clear what I had to do. I couldn’t work out why others were not seeing what I could see. Stepping back and really observing what was happening, I saw that 90% of the PDC graduates I was encountering had hit what I call a ‘permaculture brick wall’, or as Daniel Parra Hensel described in an email to me, "post PDC syndrome" — Paralysis through (way to much) analysis and not knowing where to start, or just reverting back to old careers because that’s safe for them.Comments (19)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Food Shortages, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor July 19, 2012
The precariousness of the economy is becoming increasingly apparent to the masses. Indeed, every day more and more people are falling below the bread line, or are spending sleepless nights wondering how to extricate themselves from the situations they find themselves in. In some ways, this is good — being short-sighted creatures, we don’t seem to be able to conversate on issues, even if critically important, if we don’t realise their direct implications for ourselves personally. Actually, I somewhat take that back. We truly do, as a race, have a powerful capacity to empathise with others, despite not being in their shoes, but the system we’ve wrapped ourselves up in has separated us all out, disconnecting and isolating us from almost everyone but our closest friends and family, and, to a large extent, often even those. This atomisation, and the empathy-eradication program that accompanies it, means that broadscale collaborative discussion on the great need for a widespread socio-political-economic transitional overhaul will never get beyond niche blog posts and private conversations, unless more and more people start to feel the pinch and wake up.
We do seem to be, slowly, reaching this point.Comments (6)
Permaculture and Wall Street — We Must Tackle the Runaway Fiscal Economy Head On, “We Must Face Up and Fight”
Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 30, 2012
I admire the efforts of the permaculturists at the Occupy Wall Street camp, and I think, judging by his statement way back in 1983 (see below), that Bill would admire them also.
Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….it’s eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now it’s very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight. Good, as long as you’re fully persuaded of that we can get on with the course…." — Bill Mollison, 1983 PDC (emphasis added)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Dr. Mae-Wan Ho January 13, 2012
The new Truly Green Economy needs to be modeled after and embedded within the circular economy of nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
The linear economy and the circular economy
The world’s economy is on the brink of financial meltdown, thanks to the corrupt Wall Street money and banking system unleashed by deregulation in the 1970s and 1980s  (“Shut Down Wall Street!” SiS 53). Emerging from the ruins is a new socially accountable economy that can provide good jobs at living wages, and generate real wealth for people and communities, at least in the United States  (New Economy Now, SiS 53). But that is not enough, we need a truly green circular economy working with and within nature to generate and regenerate wealth for people and planet.
Until a few years ago, very few people would take green or circular economy seriously. Not anymore; governments and businesses are now outdoing environmental groups in claiming the green circular economy for themselves. So perhaps it is time to put down some goal posts to make sure we get there.Comments (2)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, People Systems, Society, peak oil — by George Monbiot October 11, 2011
If this analysis is correct, a Great Depression is all but inevitable.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom.
I stumbled out into the autumn sunshine, figures ricocheting around in my head, still trying to absorb what I had heard. I felt as if I had just attended a funeral: a funeral at which all of us got buried. I cannot claim to have understood everything in the lecture: Sonnenschein-Mantel-Debreu Theory and the 41-line differential equation were approximately 15.8 metres over my head(1). But the points I grasped were clear enough. We’re stuffed: stuffed to a degree that scarcely anyone yet appreciates.Comments (3)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Developments, Economics, Education Centres, Financial Management, Food Shortages, Society, Urban Projects, Village Development, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor June 29, 2011
Warning — graphic protest content
The bad news:
Police have fired tear gas in running battles with stone-throwing youths in Athens, where a 48-hour general strike is being held against a parliamentary vote on tough austerity measures.
Thousands of protesters have gathered outside parliament in the capital where public transport has ground to a halt.
PM George Papandreou has said that only his 28bn-euro (£25bn) austerity plan would get Greece back on its feet.
If the package is not approved, Greece could run out of money within weeks. — BBC
I can certainly appreciate why the people are protesting. The situation is similar to what we’re seeing in Spain at the moment — which is yet another country on the brink of implosion. Here’s what protesters there had to say recently:Comments (15)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Consumerism, Economics, Financial Management, People Systems, Society — by Thomas Fischbacher June 22, 2011
Let us imagine a fictitious mountain village — or, for that matter, any other close-knit community — that has a high degree of economic independence at the community rather than individual level. Within this community, there is an on-going active exchange of favours, including goods and services. Naturally, there will be some sort of accounting mechanism that ensures everybody is providing roughly as much to the village as he is drawing from the village economy. Keeping a purely mental record of the entire history of such exchanges in mind may be too challenging, so let’s assume our villagers write little notes to keep track of exchanged favours. There is no intrinsic reason why some such approach should not work quite well.
Let us now assume that our villagers change their strategy, and decide to use legal tender money for this ‘bookkeeping of favours’ instead. In that case, they first have to obtain some of that money. But how? Evidently, one or more people from the village would have to climb down the mountain, visit the national bank, and take up credit. How does this work? Credit contracts come in many different flavours, but the basic rule of the game is that the credit taker has to promise to the bank to return a certain economic value to the bank in the future, plus added interest.Comments (11)
Interviews with Chris Martenson on Budget, Corruption, Economy, Investing, Energy & the Japan Nuclear Crisis
Economics, Financial Management, Society, peak oil — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor May 17, 2011
Those who appreciated Chris Martenson’s Crash Course will no doubt want to take some time to listen to these interviews. The first, in two parts, is a video interview of Chris by the David Pakman Show, and at bottom you’ll find a podcast interview by Financial Sense’s Jim Puplava.
Consumerism, Economics, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Food Shortages, Global Warming/Climate Change, Population, Society, peak oil — by Jeremy Grantham May 2, 2011
Editor’s Preamble: This is a first for me. Who would have thought I’d be posting a quarterly newsletter written by the Chief Investment Officer of a large investment firm? "Jeremy Grantham is a British investor and Co-founder and Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), a Boston-based asset management firm. GMO is one of the largest managers of such funds in the world, having more than US $107 billion in assets under management as of December 2010. Grantham is regarded as a highly knowledgeable investor in various stock, bond, and commodity markets, and is particularly noted for his prediction of various bubbles." (Wikipedia). After reading this, you could be forgiven for thinking it was put together by someone like Dr. Albert Bartlett instead. But no…. When a stock guru starts telling his investors the same kind of things I’ve been sharing with you for years, then I’m only too happy to reinforce the message with his. How many of his peers are listening is the big question — I’m guessing not too many unfortunately. I think the underlying investment message I personally take from this is to put your all into natural capital, permaculture education and community building.
The purpose of this, my second (and much longer) piece on resource limitations, is to persuade investors with an interest in the long term to change their whole frame of reference: to recognize that we now live in a different, more constrained, world in which prices of raw materials will rise and shortages will be common. (Previously, I had promised to update you when we had new data. Well, after a lot of grinding, this is our first comprehensive look at some of this data.)
Accelerated demand from developing countries, especially China, has caused an unprecedented shift in the price structure of resources: after 100 hundred years or more of price declines, they are now rising, and in the last 8 years have undone, remarkably, the effects of the last 100-year decline! Statistically, also, the level of price rises makes it extremely unlikely that the old trend is still in place. If I am right, we are now entering a period in which, like it or not, we must finally follow President Carter’s advice to develop a thoughtful energy policy and give up our carefree and careless ways with resources. The quicker we do this, the lower the cost will be. Any improvement at all in lifestyle for our grandchildren will take much more thoughtful behavior from political leaders and more restraint from everyone. Rapid growth is not ours by divine right; it is not even mathematically possible over a sustained period. Our goal should be to get everyone out of abject poverty, even if it necessitates some income redistribution. Because we have way overstepped sustainable levels, the greatest challenge will be in redesigning lifestyles to emphasize quality of life while quantitatively reducing our demand levels. A lower population would help. Just to start you off, I offer Exhibit 1: the world’s population growth. X marks the spot where Malthus wrote his defining work. Y marks my entry into the world. What a surge in population has occurred since then! Such compound growth cannot continue with finite resources. Along the way, you are certain to have a paradigm shift. And, increasingly, it looks like this is it!Comments (6)
Alternatives to Political Systems, Economics, Financial Management — by George Monbiot February 19, 2011
Shocking new financial manouevres by the British government show who it’s really working for.
by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom
You think you’ve seen the worst of it; you haven’t. Last week I wrote about how the British government, while imposing extra taxes and devastating cuts on ordinary mortals, has quietly engineered a new tax exemption for the banks and corporations, which also encourages these businesses to shift some of their operations overseas(1). I thought that was as bad as it got. I was wrong.
On the day I wrote that column, the Conservatives were doing something just as repulsive, and far more dangerous. On Wednesday George Osborne told the House of Commons that “we will make sure we learn every lesson that needs to be learnt – so that this [the financial crisis] never happens again”(2). Two days before, his government demonstrated that nothing has been learnt at all. Let me first explain the context.Comments (6)
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Economics, Energy Systems, Financial Management, Gabions, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Swales, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Nick Huggins February 16, 2011
I want to share with you a few things about a permaculture design project I finished in late October 2010. Details of the design, some details of working with clients on design projects, basic costing and what to be aware of when doing so. I also outline how I put the project together and what it included.Comments (14)
Community Projects, Consumerism, Economics, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Markets & Outlets, People Systems, Society, Village Development — by Thomas Fischbacher January 11, 2011
In chapter 14 of the Permaculture Designers’ Manual, Bill Mollison gives an interesting example of a restaurant (Zoo Zoo’s) that needed money for renovation but came up with a creative alternative to borrowing it at interest from a bank: they sold dated vouchers at a discount — e.g. an "a meal worth $10, redeemable in July" voucher for $8 — and thus raised money via a subscription system. (Vouchers were dated to prevent the problem of everybody showing up at the same time.) An interesting and maybe un-intended side effect of this was that these vouchers started to become "money" in the sense that people who had them but where short of cash started using them to pay one another for entirely unrelated economic activities (think piano lessons, hedge trimming, etc.). Evidently, these vouchers had a clearly visible value, and hence could be used to meet obligations between people who shared the belief in the value of these vouchers.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Bio-regional Organisations, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Demonstration Sites, Development & Property Trusts, Eco-Villages, Education Centres, Ethical Investment, Financial Management, Networking Sites, People Systems, Social Gatherings, Urban Projects, Village Development — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor January 4, 2011
Welcome to the new year everyone.
The first live, public launch of the Worldwide Permaculture Network is imminent. There are just a few things to tidy up, and then you can all ‘have at it’.
I could use your feedback on the below. Here you’ll find draft descriptions of the project ‘types’ that can be selected when you upload your various permaculture projects. (Each of these project types has a badge associated with it which will show on respective project profile sidebars.) Please feel free to let me know via comments if you have constructive observations for tweaks/improvements that could be made to the descriptions below. Thank you all in advance:Comments (15)