Welcome to round three of our Weekly Linkfest, where we share the good, the bad, the ugly and the just plain interesting from what we’ve seen this week.
I would greatly appreciate readers getting involved in this weekly linkfest. Please email editor (at) permaculturenews.org with links (and ideally a summary sentence outlining the key point of each link) to noteworthy articles and news reports on the internet.
Off we go:
Good News (coz we all need it):
- Farmers Fighting for Their Health: Taking on Chemical Companies and Transitioning to Sustainable Ag – a legal precedent that we would do well to note and support.
- A Backlash After San Francisco Labels Sewage Sludge "Organic" – Activists wearing face masks and haz-mat suits dumped a pile of sewage sludge on the steps of San Francisco’s city hall to protest the city’s practice of marketing the material to home gardeners as "organic compost."
- It is estimated that food wasted by US and European consumers could feed the world three times over. This is good news in that we see massive potential here in relocalising. Also remember that this article only takes into account the post-sale end of the industrial food production system. Add in waste throughout the rest of the line, from harvesting to processing (including discarding perfectly good food that doesn’t fit chain store requirements for size and shape) to storage, transport and distribution, and we’ll come to realise that the industrial system of food production that Big Agribusiness promotes is a complete waste of land and resources. Transferring food from garden to plate eliminates all these steps.
- Meet the Radical Homemakers – How families are achieving ecological, social, and economic transformation… starting under their own roofs.
- Residents of a Belgian town are to be offered chickens as part of a campaign to reduce household waste. Organic waste is a major thorn in the side of municipal waste systems, This solution deftly solves this problem whilst also bringing the added benefit of free eggs. The initiative includes training on how to take care of chickens. Now that’s progressive thinking from local government if ever I saw it.
- The Foreign Policy website has an excellent piece on How Locavores Could Save the World.
- Ultracool student housing created with shipping containers.
- The US backs an international proposal to ban the trading of the endangered Bluefin Tuna. Will Japan join the party?
Bad News (coz we need to understand the challenges if we’re to design our way out of them):
- Vultures Eye Haiti: While Permaculturists are actively making constructive debate over the pros and cons of different options to provide shelter, food, sanitation and training for destitute Haitians, in other quarters people are arguing what’s more important – food aid or soldiers? This situation is a boon for private military contractors, an industry I expect will become one of the few to see significant growth over the next decade. My post of two years ago highlights the real motivations behind the military backed neo-liberal moves in Haiti, and this book looks to be an even deeper examination. Remember, peace is the enemy of profit-motivated private armies, in the same way as self-sufficiency is the enemy of extractive, perpetual-growth-based capitalism.
- "40 per cent of UK’s [electricity] generating capacity due to disappear in the next few years": I’m often depressingly bemused when I hear people who, with a serious case of cognitive dissonance, believe that we’ll somehow escape peak oil catastrophe, and its resulting perpetual recession, and, significantly, retain our present lifestyles, by implementing renewable technologies – not recognising that most of these target electricity production, not the creation of liquid fuels. Yes, we could transition to all-electric vehicles in many cases, but such a transition would take many years, a lot of energy, and enormous funds that won’t be present as our economies collapse in post-peak oil mayhem. In addition to these factors, this article – How Will David Cameron Keep the Lights On – written specifically about the UK’s energy situation, makes for a very interesting read on how renewables won’t cover the nation’s impending major shortfall in energy production for existing demand, let alone produce enough to cover the enormous amount of power required for an all-electric transporation system. Lifestyle change is on the way, whether we design for it or not….
- Fears of Undersea Methane Leaks Already Coming True – Prodigious plumes of planet-warming methane are bubbling from sediments across a broad region of Arctic seafloor previously thought to be sealed by permafrost, new analyses indicate. The resulting increase of methane gas in the atmosphere may accelerate climate warming, scientists say.
- One of the most common weed-killers in the world, atrazine, causes chemical castration in frogs and could be killing off amphibian populations worldwide, a study published showed.
- The Wrong Kind of Green looks at the economics behind the sellout of environmental groups to Big Business.
- The not-so-happy Happy Story of GM Crops.
- A vast iceberg that recently broke off eastern Antarctica could not only make life more difficult for creatures of the region, but also potentially disrupt the ocean conveyor system, with implications for world climate. More here.
Just plain interesting (coz we’re curious creatures):
- Something we wouldn’t normally consider when fighting for the right to life of the world’s largest mammals is the CO2 emissions resulting from whaling activities – due to the release of carbon within their massive bodies.
- Animals can be compassionate too! Check out these amazing shots of predatory cats helping a lost little impala.
- A baby bobcat and fawn survive a fire and become firm friends too!
- While on the animal topic – we learn that as population levels for different species plummet, local knowledge about them, and even knowledge of their ever having existed, quickly disappears. The rapid rate of extinctions currently underway thus go largely unoticed as our fellow earth-inhabitants become out of sight and out of mind.
- Foot traffic to light up London? It sounds like a lot of batteries and wiring involved, but a novel idea all the same.
- How Chile’s quake could have made the earth spin faster.
Don’t forget to send me your links for next week’s linkfest!! – editor (at) permaculturenews.org
Hat Tip: Thanks to Killian O’Brien, John Calvert, Wesley Roe, Marcin Gerwin and Geoff Lawton for their contributions to this week’s linkfest!