Alternatives to Political SystemsConsumerismEconomicsPeople SystemsSociety

An Answer to the Meaning of Life

The well-intentioned dolts putting a price on nature are delivering it into the hands of business.

by George Monbiot: journalist, author, academic and environmental and political activist, United Kingdom

Love, economists have discovered, is depreciating rapidly. On current trends, it is expected to fall by £1.78 per passion-hour between now and 2030. The opportunity cost of a kiss foregone has declined by £0.36 since 1988. By 2050 the net present value of a night under the stars could be as little as £56.13. This reduction in the true value of love, they warn, could inflict serious economic damage.

None of that is true, but it’s not far off. Love is one of the few natural blessings which has yet to be fully costed and commodified. They’re probably working on it now.

Under the last government, the Department for Transport announced that it had discovered “the real value of time”. Here’s the surreal sentence in which this bombshell was dropped: “Forecast growth in the real value of time is shown in Table 3.”(1) Last week the Department for Environment announced the results of its National Ecosystem Assessment, a massive exercise involving 500 experts. The assessment, it tells us, establishes “the true value of nature … for the very first time.”(2) If you thought the true value of nature was the wonder and delight it invoked, you’re wrong. It turns out that it’s a figure with a pound sign on the front. All that remains is for the Cabinet Office to tell us the true value of love and the price of society, and we’ll have a single figure for the meaning of life.

The government has not yet produced one number for “the true value of nature”, but its scientists have costed some of the assets that will one day enable this magical synthesis to be achieved. The assessment has produced figures, for example, for the value of green spaces to human well-being. If we look after them well, our parks and greens will enhance our well-being to the tune of £290 per household per year in 2060(3).

How do they calculate these values? The report tells us that the “ecosystem services” it assesses include “recreation, health and solace”, and natural spaces “in which our culture finds its roots and sense of place” (4). These must be taken into account when costing “shared social value”. Shared social value arises from developing “a sense of purpose”, and being “able to achieve important personal goals and participate in society.” It is enhanced by “supportive personal relationships” and “strong and inclusive communities.”(5) These are among the benefits which the experts claim to be costing.

The exercise is well-intentioned. The environment department rightly points out that businesses and politicians ignore the uncosted damage their decisions might inflict on the natural world and human welfare. It seeks to address this oversight by showing that “there are real economic reasons for looking after nature.”(6) But there are two big problems.

The first is that this assessment is total nonsense, pure reductionist gobbledegook, dressed up in the language of objectivity and reason, but ascribing prices to emotional responses: prices, which, for all the high-falutin’ language it uses, can only be arbitrary. It has been constructed by people who feel safe only with numbers, who must drag the whole world into their comfort zone in order to feel that they have it under control. The graphics used by the assessment are telling: they portray the connections between people and nature as interlocking cogs(7). It’s as clear a warning as we could take that this is an almost-comical attempt to force both nature and human emotion into a linear, mechanistic vision.

The second problem is that it delivers the natural world into the hands of those who would destroy it. Picture, for example, a planning enquiry for an opencast coal mine. The public benefits arising from the forests and meadows it will destroy have been costed at £1m per year. The income from opening the mine will be £10m per year. No further argument needs to be made. The coal mine’s barrister, presenting these figures to the enquiry, has an indefeasible case: public objections have already been addressed by the pricing exercise; there is nothing more to be discussed. When you turn nature into an accounting exercise, its destruction can be justified as soon as the business case comes out right. It almost always comes out right.

Cost-benefit analysis is systematically rigged in favour of business. Take, for example, the decision-making process for transport infrastructure. The last government developed an appraisal method which almost guaranteed that new roads, railways and runways would be built, regardless of the damage they might do or the paltry benefits they might deliver(8). The method costs people’s time according to how much they earn, and uses this cost to create a value for the development. So, for example, it says the market price of an hour spent travelling in a taxi is £45, but the price of an hour spent travelling by bicycle is just £17, because cyclists tend to be poorer than taxi passengers(9).

Its assumptions are utterly illogical. For example, commuters are deemed to use all the time saved by a new high speed rail link to get to work earlier, rather than to live further away. Rich rail passengers are expected to do no useful work on trains, but to twiddle their thumbs and stare vacantly out of the window throughout the journey. This costing system explains why successive governments want to invest in high-speed rail rather than cycle lanes, and why multi-billon pound road schemes which cut two minutes off your journey are deemed to offer value for money(10). None of this is accidental: the cost-benefit models governments use excite intense interest from business lobbyists. Civil servants with an eye on lucrative directorships in their retirement ensure that the decision-making process is rigged in favour of over-development.

This is the machine into which nature must now be fed. The National Ecosystem Assessment hands the biosphere on a plate to the construction industry.

It’s the definitive neoliberal triumph: the monetisation and marketisation of nature, its reduction to a tradeable asset. Once you have surrendered it to the realm of Pareto optimisation and Kaldor-Hicks compensation, everything is up for grabs. These well-intentioned dolts, the fellows of the Grand Academy of Lagado who produced the government’s assessment, have crushed the natural world into a column of figures. Now it can be swapped for money.

References:

  1. Department for Transport, April 2009. Values of Time and Operating Costs, TAG Unit 3.5.6. https://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag/documents/expert/unit3.5.6.php
  2. https://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/06/02/hidden-value-of-nature-revealed/
  3. UK National Ecosystem Assessment, June 2011. Technical report, Chapter 26, Table 26.21
    https://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/Resources/tabid/82/Default.aspx
  4. UK National Ecosystem Assessment, June 2011. Synthesis of the Key Findings. https://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/Resources/tabid/82/Default.aspx
  5. As above.
  6. https://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/06/02/hidden-value-of-nature-revealed/
  7. https://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/
  8. The New Approach to Transport Appraisal. See https://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag/overview/appraisal.php
  9. Department for Transport, April 2009. Values of Time and Operating Costs, TAG Unit 3.5.6. https://www.dft.gov.uk/webtag/documents/expert/unit3.5.6.php
  10. See Keith Buchan, February 2008 for a powerful critique of this methodology. Decision-making for sustainable transport. Green Alliance. https://www.green-alliance.org.uk/grea_p.aspx?id=2670

 

104 Comments

  1. I love George Monbiot. Well… his incisive thinking and eloquent writing anyway. Well… most of his thinking (I disagree with his position on nuclear power for instance).

    My comment on this article is that he is absolutely correct in his assessment. No government, anywhere, has ever, on any issue (even if individuals within that government may have pursued high ideals), acted out of purely altruistic intent. When it comes to thinking about business motives and interests I do not need even one second of thought time to come to exactly the same conclusion as to the reasons driving their actions.

    And yet, it is these two power nodes, government & business, that we continue collectively to allow to have joint control (and there is no doubt in my mind that it is a partnership) over the direction of our future destiny and wellbeing. This includes those of us, because we are still part of the whole, who to a greater or lesser extent are working towards a level of independent self-sustainability.

  2. George Monbiot can’t be trusted, he’s a decoy, having watched a recent interview with him and Helen Caldicott about the Fukushima disaster, it was very clear who he’s working for. I was always suspicious of how someone with such seemingly radical views could end up in the mainstream UK propaganda machine, another artful sleight of hand, get us all on side thinking he’s with us, then wham he’s flogging us the nuclear is the clean green option bullsh**t! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNmTLxecfR4

    Wake up PRI, this guy is a creep of the highest order, you mob should know better!

  3. I also like George Monbiot’s style. Sometimes I think of writing a story or making a film parodies the present political system, economic system etc., etc. But the big joke is that they keep parodying themselves repeatedly.

    We are so far towards this side of the line (of rationality) that it is impossible to understand how they can keep doing these things. Sadly they are so far on the other side that they do not understand us. Maybe they will soon when crises after crisis threaten then very existence.

    Once again: “It would have been comic had it not been so tragic”

  4. While I haven’t owned a tv or watched an old-mainstream news channel in a long time, one beef I’ve had when I did about some, often news-show-based, television panel/roundtable/etc.-arguments/discussions/etc. was that they were often only between the journalists themselves. There were no specialists, such as scientists, physicians, philosophers, or engineers, etc., in there along with them to lend an added/special level of quality/detail to the viewing/information.
    It was almost as if the word of the journalist was the only one that mattered.

    So while I do appreciate George Mondbiot’s, and everyone else’s, writings/etc., here and elsewhere, I nevertheless also appreciate some additional insight injected into them once and while, such as that which can often only come from those especially qualified and/or with a special insight in the subject.

    Also, if there is an argument/debate about a particular subject between a journalist and, someone with a little more, say, “seniority” and/or “ostensible relatedness” to the subject, guess whose side I’m more likely to lend more weight to?

    With respect to Helen Caldicott, physician, born 7 August 1938, George Monbiot, writer, born 27 January 1963 (source for both, Wikipedia), still seems a little wet behind the ears.
    (And he may yet come around against nuclear too.)

    To embellish my point a little, I’ll cite this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZzwRwFDXw0

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will now read Mr. Monbiot’s article.

  5. I don’t trust George Monbiot!
    I sometimes read what he writes, and I recently read his email conversation with Helen Caldicott that he has published on his site : https://www.monbiot.com/2011/04/04/correspondence-with-helen-caldicott/
    His tone throughout as the inquisitor smacks of a more famous historical inquisition, and he shows his true colours when he dismisses the very idea that the UN Scientific community is part of the nuclear industry. Come on George! it was the UN which got the nuclear industry on its feet after the US dropped the bombs. The UN and General Electric have been deeply involved in the nuclear industry since the beginning. It’s not about power for electricity at all, and it never had been, it’s about warmongering and high-price weapons sales. If you support nuclear power (as George does) then you support war and all of it’s associated products. In my opinion a supporter of war gravely disrespects the fellow beings of this planet. I would suggest that someone who supports war is anti-permaculture, so i don’t know why you would publish or support any of the machinations from that man’s mind.
    just my thoughts
    Charlie

  6. Well said Charlie, my thoughts precisely, it could even be suggested that those who support Monbiot, are helping to propagate his deluded ideas on nuclear and as you mentioned this includes war by default. Depleted uranium is now a daily part of the modern war machine, just do a search for DU in Fallujah to see the results of that.

    As for you Craig, it would seem that you’ve been pushing Monbiot for so long now, logical reasoning has gone out of the window. We all get suckered sometimes my friend, it takes guts to own up to that. Monbiot is no permaculturalist, has he taken a PDC? There are plenty of genuine permaculture people writing interesting articles for this site, my advice to you is; get out of bed with George for the sake of your own credibility.

  7. Echo that Harry
    We shouldn’t be deluded in thinking that nuclear war is just about dropping the bomb. In fact nuclear war is what happens every single time the UN (and anyone who has bought DU weapons directly or indirectly from them or their associates) gets involved in armed conflict. Depleted uranium armour is standard on tanks and many other heavy war machines, and most heavy-fire rounds contain depleted uranium ‘penetrator rods’ (sound nice dont they?). They used to use tungsten, but tungsten ‘mushrooms’ on impact, whereas uranium ‘self-sharpens’. Let’s just say that when they discovered what uranium could do all the military’s christmases and halloweens came together!
    George reminds me of British satirists before him such as Ian Hislop and Will Self. Full of sharp witticisms and extravagant language, but rarely if ever offering any kind of solution. They thrive off the chaos and confusion of it all, it adds venom to their pens. They can be brilliant at pulling pants down, but have no idea how to create a new pair. As entertainment their fine, and occasionally worthy of discussion, but I believe we are at crisis point here! We need to come up with solutions, and fast!
    So I plead with this dedicated permaculture site to publish more from the true solutionaries of our world, and less from those trying to riddle and confuse us. More from Dave and Bill please, and less George and Bull.
    Charlie

  8. Charlie & Harry,
    You guys seriously need to take a long hard look inside yourselves. That kind of bile is killing you.

  9. Once again Charlie, you’re spot on the money, it’s of the utmost importance that everyone wakes up to the fact that nuclear power is actually just a cover story for nuclear weapons.

    I’m not sure what Monbiot’s game is, he’s certainly a shrewd player, the climate change card seems like the ace up his sleeve, but climate change is a term, much like sustainability, that has been so completely hijacked by the military industrial complex, to have become virtually meaningless nowadays.

    I took a look at the other posts mentioned above and from what I can gather Craig is saying that Monbiot deserves a platform on the PRI site because despite what he says about nuclear, he has good stuff to say about other things. But where do you draw the line with that? What if Monbiot decided Craig’s old mates at Monsanto weren’t such a bad bunch after all, and started selling their line? Because lets face it, the world needs food just as much as power, right? Would he still get a soap box to peddle his green painted propaganda at PRI?

    It’s worth remembering the only thing that nuclear power plants really do, is to boil water, to produce steam, to power turbines, hardly rocket science. On the other hand, the military applications of DU is big business and their are plenty of countries around the world, lining up for a slice of that radioactive pie!

    For those interested in solutions for alternative energy production check out Karl Schaeffer’s steam generator, it’s been around since the early seventies – https://www.rexresearch.com/schaeffe/schaeffer.htm

    People and situations aren’t always as they might seem, Monbiot and his pro-nuclear stance is case in point, don’t believe the hype!

  10. @Bernie Edwards
    I’m sorry that it sounds like bile to you, but it’s just my opinion. Some people like George Monbiot, some people don’t, I’m just throwing my hat down against him because my instincts warn me about him. It is not a personal attack on George, I just disagree with him, mostly for the reasons I have already stated. He is free to express his ideas just as I feel grateful and free to be able to express my thoughts on this site. We all have our own reasons (logical or illogical) for our ideas and opinions, and I do question his pro-nuclear stance (and therefore I don’t trust everything else that he says).
    I would just like to read more from respected permaculture elders and peers such as Bill Mollison, Dave Holmgren, Rosemary Morrow, Sepp Holzer to name a few. These are the people I really want to listen to, because they have tuned in very well to the natural systems of this planet and I want to learn more from them. I welcome the recent post about Martin Crawford’s forest garden and I’d love to see more content like that. I’m sorry if I come accross as bile and irritated, but George Monbiot does irritate me!
    Cheers
    Charlie

  11. Bernie Edwards
    Bile, killing ourselves, come on mate it that the best you can come up with, take your hand off of it!

    For myself I have spent many years studying and practising meditation as well as permaculture. Inward contemplation is something I am intimately familiar with. Knowledge of oneself often brings a great clarity in comprehending the motives of others, for good or bad.

    I am opposed to the nuclear industry and therefore the likes of Monbiot because of love, love for the planet and all of her inhabitants and love for future generations who will inherit a legacy of a world poisoned by radioactive waste for the next 500,000 + years .

    IMHO Bernie your comment had a distinct aroma, one that is increasingly familiar on the Internet, eau de troll! Comments such as yours amount to nothing more than a personal attack with the aim of ‘getting a rise’ and throwing the topic off course, sorry Bernie, we’re not buying the brotherhood tactics!

    Γνώθι σαυτόν

  12. Harry, Charlie – can I please ask:

    1) approximately where do you live? (for context)
    2) from whence comes the electricity that is powering your present way of life?
    3) What is the speed and nature of the transition to a post fossil-fuel world that is occuring around you now – and when will you and your community be sufficiently self-sufficient to be buffered against the continued and expected energy shocks?

    As one addition to my questions above, Harry, such statements as “Knowledge of oneself often brings a great clarity in comprehending the motives of others, for good or bad” make me very cautious. So if you know yourself, that means you know George, or myself? I don’t think so. Often people assume that others have the same motivation as oneself, and many disagreements quickly ensue due to this sad mistake.

  13. Harry,
    Rudeness, lewdness, hate and yes bile, do not sit naturally with the lovey-dovey claims that you make for yourself.

    As for trolling and throwing the topic off course, where in the original article, or my comments, did nuclear war get mentioned?

  14. I live in Vietnam, which is where I’m from originally although I have spent many years in the UK. The only transition I see is the relentless increase in size of the city I live in, there are so many motorbikes, an ever increasing number of roads, this is a city in a big hurry! So when the lights go out it’s going to be a big transition from 5th to neutral. But I must add that most of us grew up in the countryside, playing with animals, picking fruit, and doing plenty of practical odd-jobs. There are strong survival instincts here, and an awareness that survival is very often dependant on knowledge of nature. We learnt as kids which tree or bush produces what kind of food and when is the right time to get it. I don’t want to say that we are ready to drop the gears, not at all in fact, there are enormous problems with flooding nearly every year, and the wonderful jungle forests we played in as kids are being cut down in the name of industrial agriculture. This in turn threatens our ability to return to the land, since we will find it has been seriously damaged and in many cases poisoned. The soil is such a vital collection of generative beings that it should be the number one priority to keep it all in very fine health. I believe our survival depends on soil health, and I am opposed to anything which threatens soil health. That is why it is not possible for me to even entertain the idea of using nuclear power. All forms of human-induced nuclear activity pose a serious danger to soil health (among too many others), and therefore our own survival. So it is natural for me to stand against George Monbiot when he talks about nuclear power. He doesn’t share my thinking, and then I see him talking about love and the meaning of life, well I’ve had enough of him! I am a believer in what David Holmgren calls ‘creative descent’, and that is why I would love to hear more from people who can really help us get there, and please no more GM.
    Charlie

  15. Craig
    1/ Where myself or others live has nothing to do with you, George Monbiot or this topic.
    2/ Where we get our electricity comes from has nothing to do with you, George Monbiot or this topic.
    3/ The speed of my communities transition to post fossil blah blah blah has nothing to do with you, George Monbiot or this topic.

    To be frank, I don’t see why I should bother to answer your questions whilst you continue to ignore mine.

    The point we’re trying to make here, in case you’ve missed it Craig is about you and George Monbiot and your decision to promote this character here on the PRI site, despite the views of your visitors and despite the fact that Monbiot is pro-nuclear, which as Charlie rightly pointed out isn’t about energy, it’s about war and death!

    Bernie
    Rudeness & lewdness (sexually unchaste or licentious), you really should check on the actual meaning of words before bandying them around.
    The only comment you made Bernie, wasn’t up to much, but if you’d bothered to read the other comments, besides your own, you would have noticed that the objection we share with regards to Monbiot is in relation to his pro-nuclear stance, depleted uranium weapons amigo, shall I spell it out for you again?

    I’m not buying into it, now you’re both at it, trying to twist the conversation around.

    The bottom line is Monbiot = Nuclear = Uranium = Plutonium = Fukushima = Hiroshima = Death = Pain = Suffering & possible extinction for all life on earth for an inconceivable time into the future.

    Why on earth would anyone ever consider promoting such a person on a permaculture site, the mind boggles!

  16. OK, so Charlie you come across as one of the good guys and I am sorry that I lumped you in with Harry.

    I said in my first comment that I disagreed with George Monbiot’s stand on nuclear power and left it at that. He is entitled to his view, as we all are, and I don’t see disagreement as a reason to indulge in the sort of hate-mail rhetoric that Harry brought to the dialogue and with which you appeared to ally yourself. That sort of bombast is not healthy for the person using it and it tends to dilute rather than strengthen a possibly valid argument being presented.

    I also don’t see anything sinister in Georges views or motives that would call for such a verbal assault. We can disagree without using venom in our arguments. George is not the enemy. There are much bigger ‘monsters’ to bring down and none of them, in my view, is an individual person.

    Having said that, I find it difficult to stand by while an unjustified character assassination is in progress. So we all, myself included, need to temper our comments about individuals with a little more civility, focussing our rage on the many things, trends, organisations, policies, that need to be raged about.

  17. Harry/Charlie

    The reason I ask those questions is not to pry or be personal. I’m simply trying to get an idea what is happening where you are to avoid the need for increasing energy supplies. Yes, you’re against nuclear. So am I. But, you and I are both sitting at a computer as we argue this. It’s easy to say ‘no nuclear’, or ‘no coal’, but how many of us are free from the guilt of using the power they provide? Are you pedalling to create the power you’re using to be able to make these comments? You say the answers to those questions have nothing to do with me, but they do. Where each of us gets our energy from, and what we do with that energy, impacts on everyone, everywhere. There is no cause without effect, no action without a reaction. No man is an island.

    The world needs to dramatically backtrack on its energy usage, yet every year our consumption rates are on the incline instead. Even as our appliances are getting more efficient (sometimes), we’re plugging more and more of them into the wall!

    If we don’t make a rapid reduction in demand, then what we have are only arguments over which source is a little less bad while we persevere with business as usual.

    So, we’re against nuclear. But remove all nuclear from the equation, and what do we have? Where I live, for example, 55% of the nation’s power is from nuclear. I’d be happy to see them shut down, but at the moment that also translates to either:

    1) a dramatic reduction in supply – we all suddenly live much simpler lives
    2) a dramatic increase in production (or import) of other forms of energy

    Now, if option #1 is the result, great – except it requires significant thought into transition to avoid social meltdown (with arguably more serious consequences than a nuclear meltdown).

    If option #2 is what transpires instead, then what sources of power will get the lion’s share in filling the nuclear void? Well, chances are good it’s coal, or tar sands or gas or shale oil or gas fracking, etc.

    So you can come down hard on George for his stand on nuclear, but whilst I don’t agree with his nuclear stand, I do understand and appreciate the objective logic that lead him to that conclusion. Whilst I would prefer to continue to hope people might see reason and begin to take permaculture seriously and commit to a broadscale re-evaluation about what is important in life (and that they might discover that a simpler, more gadget-free life can be not only more sustainable but is also expedient, and more meaningful), I can’t blame George for deciding that people just won’t change, and that given our present trajectory, and the accelerating speed of that trajectory, it is important to consider the lesser of the power evils before us.

    To be frank, I don’t see why I should bother to answer your questions whilst you continue to ignore mine. – Harry

    Please advise the questions you directed at me that I haven’t answered. I’ve had another look through, and I don’t see the questions. I only see statements. Apologies if I’m missing them.

    George’s article above is not pro-nuclear. I haven’t put his pro-nuclear posts up. I will continue to put articles of his up which are in alignment with permaculture principles.

    We need to see the interconnectness here. Just as you’re asking me to not put up any posts by George, regardless of topic, when you cry ‘no nuclear’ but without giving me a game plan and describing what you’re doing and achieving to bring that nuclear free world to fruition, then you are effectively saying, in the very same breath – “more coal, more gas, more fracking, more biofuels, more tar sands.” etc. Should I block your comments from the site, as you’re asking me to block George? Again, just saying ‘no nuclear’, but without givng a game plan on how to do that, just means you’re pro-coal, pro-shale oil, etc. etc. Comments and articles promoting coal on this site are not welcome either….

    It reminds me of various protest movements I’m seeing now, as revolutions are on the rise. There’s a lot of unrest, a lot of dissatisfaction, a lot of placard waving and bottle throwing – but too few are putting forward constructive ideas on how to move forward. Instead, they’re just pulling down. I appreciate at least that George is trying to compare apples with apples and is seeking to look at all the angles without the interference of hype and emotion.

    Please, instead of just saying “I don’t like what George is telling me”, please come up with viable answers to the very relevant and now historically critical questions that led George to those conclusions in the first place.

  18. Ah Harry, dear Harry, anonymous Harry, Harry who? Harry the Troll. No, wait. That can’t be true. You were the first to bring up the troll word in this conversation along with a claim of innate aptitude, perhaps even a divinely inspired gift, to be able to recognize trolls when you see them.

    But who has hijacked the conversation away from its original subject of governments putting a value on nature for ulterior motives? You. Harry the Troll. Well I congratulate you and admit that you have won, so successfully that very few subsequent comments other than my original post have even referred to this important topic.

    For me, the conversation ends here and I hope our paths never cross again. But I will be keeping a watch for you and I will be fully aware of your motives in future, as I am sure other people will too.

    Incidentally, I do not need to be advised of the meaning of the word ‘lewd’. There were two phrases used in your post to which I was replying where I am sure that your intent accurately falls under the definition of lewdness.

  19. Craig
    FYI – I live off grid, 30kms from the nearest mains electricity, sewage and water supplies. This property has a photo voltaic system that not only powers the computer that I am currently writing this comment from but also powers the pump that pumps water from the bore to the header tank. On cloudy days we run the generator to supplement the system, which runs on re-cycled vegetable oil, which is collected and processed locally. We have a compost toilet which provides nutrient to our numerous fruit trees. We have approximately 120 edible species in a 4 acre area that is constantly expanding. We have a 1.5 million litre dam, 3 swales, a food forest and an extensive vegetable garden. As for where I am Craig, being the web master of this site, you already have my IP address, if you’re that keen to know, look it up.

    All of the solutions and all of the knowledge is already there and has been for many years, so perhaps the real question is, what’s your excuse?

    The question I previously directed at you (sorry if it wasn’t clear) was; where do you draw the line? If Monbiot (hypothetically) decided to support Monsanto, would you still publish his other articles?

    I do appreciate your patience with all of this Craig, you’re a good man, I have no doubt of that. I also appreciate not being censored, but we’re not talking about censoring Monbiot’s comments, I would never suggest that, (not that he’s ever likely to make any here). What we’re suggesting is not publishing his articles because of his open affiliation with an industry that is immeasurably harmful to all living things.

    The point we’ve made over and over here, which you’re still skirting around, is that the nuclear industry is actually about weapons and not energy. Which means that when Monbiot offers his support to the nuclear industry, he is, whether he knows it or not, affiliating himself by default with nuclear weapons, which surely must be anti-permaculture.

    I also find it interesting, between your prying questions about my personal life and aggressive verbal attacks from your mate Bernie, you both decided to also ignore my other offer of a solution mentioned above, once again – Karl Schaeffer’s steam generator, it’s been around since the early seventies – https://www.rexresearch.com/schaeffe/schaeffer.htm

    We do not need uranium, coal, gas or oil to to boil water. I would like to suggest that there are a multitude of renewable, low or non-carbon producing alternatives, if you’re actually interested enough to do the research that is. For example, try doing a search for the ‘Lutec 1000’, invented by some smart blokes down under, they’re from Caines not Croydon.

    Bernie
    I’m not going to drop down to your level and take your bait my friend, you’re not worth the effort!

  20. Let’s imagine that your favourite music group has just made a Pepsi-cola commercial. Now this group has got some great songs. Some of the songs are real earthy, toe-tapping inspiration for a better world. Somehow the Pepsi commercial just doesn’t sit right with what the group has been singing about (especially on their first album). They’ve got a new album coming out, lots of hype, but are you going to buy it?
    To my ears and eyes, George Monbiot’s nuclear stance is his Pepsi-cola commercial. I’m not buying his new records, and I’m going to hang the old ones up outside to scare the birds off the fruit trees.
    There’s really no need to defend George Monbiot – he puts himself out there in the public eye and I’m sure he has very thick skin. A few strong words will do him no harm, perhaps he even appreciates critical feedback in all verbal forms. It is his trade after all, he is a skilled wordsmith.
    Something I’ve mentioned before about him is his tone, particularly when seeking information from his peers. This is an underlying concern that I have about him, an arrogance that forms part of his style but which I don’t like at all. If you have not already done so, I urge you to read his email conversation with Helen Caldicott as an example. He posted it on his site, which is amazing really since I think it does him no favours at all and only increases the respect I have for Helen Caldicott.
    Note George’s reaction when Helen talks about the UN and WHO being involved in a cover-up. Helen knows very well that these global organisations are instrumental members of the nuclear family. George dismisses that idea as if it’s one of the craziest things he’s ever heard. So then I question not only his disrespectful manner but also his presentation of reality.
    Do you believe that such global organisations really mean well but are unwittingly making a big mess and accidentally fighting over resources? They’d really like to get on and clean it all up and facilitate a peaceful healthy world, but you see there’s just so much terrorism to deal with these days they have to prioritise.
    Or do you believe that such organisations operate willfully, by design, and are aware of the consequences of their actions?
    Is there even one truly benevolent government anywhere on Earth?
    Sadly my observations and experiences of this world have revealed to me that confused fearful chaos (accompanied by violence and threat of punishment for disobedience or even different thinking) is a profitable atmosphere for governments and their sponsors to enforce their will. Fear makes people desperate and in need of being led (at crisis point they don’t care where to, just ‘anything but this!’)
    To clarify why nuclear isn’t even an option (and therefore why it doesn’t sit well with other ‘green’ ideas), let’s look at some permaculture ethics here relating to nuclear :
    Earth care : Well, nuclear certainly fails on that one doesn’t it! Deforestation, mining, pollution, trans-global transportation, construction, etc. The list is very long even before we start generating power to ‘pay’ back all that borrowed energy from the solar budget. It’s just so pointless, and I would like to repeat what I have already said about soil health. It’s number 1, our fate and that of our fellow beings depends on it’s magical regenarative qualities. Human-induced nuclear activity poses such a severe threat to planetary soil health (don’t get me started on water!) that I really do believe we need to throw it out, even if it looks like a baby having a bath.
    People care : Where to begin? with displaced indigenous communities? victims of war? people who live near a mine or a reactor? I say it’s a negative for all people, there are no benefits save that of generating enough power so that the economic growth wheel can keep turning and we can keep plugging in.
    Fair share/re-invest surplus : The only thing being shared (unfairly) is waste and pollution, and there are certainly surplus highly unnatural levels of radioactivity being re-invested into and all around the natural systems of this planet as we speak.
    Nuclear is certainly multi-functional (war, electricity, irradiated food, radioactive medicine, and scientific experimentation), but are any of these uses really any good for us or our home planet?
    Surely George realises that an incredible amount of money (and fossil fuel) is invested in the nuclear industry. If all that money was put towards researching and developing alternative initiatives and innovations (such as the steam generator – thanks for that Harry) then I believe we could start heading in the right direction. I don’t have the answer, but I’m searching for it, so I welcome debate like this, and if the debate gets heated then that’s fine too because it can nudge minds out of the comfort zone and into a creative space. I personally don’t find anything rude about what Harry is saying, and he is causing reaction which is beneficial to discussion. This is a very emotive topic, and my Mother used to tell me you need to break some eggs to make good omelette.
    I would also like to add my thanks for your patience and moderation on this and other issues Craig.
    What we’re looking for here are ways to creatively reduce our demand for electric power and use of wasteful products (Harry’s place sounds like a great living example of that), so why should we be interested in a power source that may be able keep the present system as it is? I feel that only someone who is happy with the way things are and wants to keep the current system going would be interested in such a thing.
    Einstein told us that we cannot solve a problem by the same thinking which created it. Why don’t we mark his words instead of those of a witty raconteur? Nuclear is just same thinking – substitute coal and gas for radioactive heavy-metal. Now they’re talking about thorium instead or uranium – oh please no, it’s the same thing! Einstein realised he’d made a mistake getting involved with the nuclear industry, and he admitted it.
    Nuclear shouldn’t even be anywhere near the table for solutions and regenerative design. We need to stretch and push ourselves here, in all ways, to find the right thinking outside the box. From what I’ve read, George’s mind is very much in the box so why are we listening to anything that he says?
    George is connected to nuclear, and we should not forget that when reading his latest pontification about the market price of love, etc.
    Craig, you say you don’t blame George for deciding that people won’t change? Well I do! Why give up on people? And, then, why should we even consider any written thoughts from a person who has given up on people’s ability to change? I haven’t given up on George’s ability to change – his mind seems to be probing, questioning, seeking, so maybe a new reality will dawn on him someday.
    Craig, I agree with you 100% about the need to dramatically reduce energy consumption, but I don’t think George Monbiot is helping us to make that change. By pimping George’s words you are pimping nuclear as an option, because one article from George on this site can and probably does lead people to read more of his writing, and then they read his pro-nuclear nonsense, implying that PRI is ok with that (since people may never have come across him otherwise). Even if Craig you don’t support his stance on nuclear – you are effectively inviting him to sit at the table, and you cannot be sure what he will say in his after-dinner speech. It will charm the audience with wit and sarcasm, but is it appropriate? The issue here is that it gains him exposure, which I expect he’s very grateful for. Please don’t increase exposure of ideas that can lead people up the factory path.
    Charlie

  21. Yes, it’s true, we have the truth among us, it is the timeless way, but the world has rejected it, denied it:

    “Christopher Alexander gave the Pattern Language to the world, and if people had read it, it would have liberated every individual from the tyrranical dictates of an architectural and urban machine (in the sense of an oppressive system). The patterns in that book are a true liberation, establishing people’s own deep feelings about the built environment as sound and valid. The reason this is so important is that architecture schools, the media, and most architects have been implementing the very opposite for close to a century. And they have been justifying their inhuman product by a massive advertising campaign, exactly like soft drinks and junk food replacing genuinely nutritious food, because some people make a lot of money promoting them, and those same persons would make a lot less money selling and distributing wholesome foodstuff. We now have a significant percentage of the world’s economy driven by the soft drinks and junk food industry, just as we have another major percentage of it driven by the construction of glass and steel skyscrapers and dehumanizing concrete buildings. The architectural/urban situation is “soft” oppression, where a vast power system geared to promoting an unhealthy and dehumanizing built environment is driven by subconscious suggestion. In only a few instances is brute power used, as in monofunctional zoning, and bulldozing owner-built houses so that someone can make a profit by building concrete high-rise blocks.” – Nikos A. Salingaros

    See: https://p2pfoundation.net/Nikos_Salingaros_on_Peer_to_Peer_Urbanism

  22. Whilst eagerly awaiting Craig’s reply to the above, hopefully having been redeemed of being a solution-less hypocrite troll, for some reason an old Specials song popped into my mind, I’ve adapted the lyrics somewhat for a spot of topical light-heartedness.

    If you have a nuclear friend
    Now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end

    Be it your sister
    Be it your brother
    Be it your cousin or your, uncle or your lover

    If you have a nuclear friend
    now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end

    Be it your best friend
    Or any other
    Is it your husband or your father or your mother?

    Tell them to change their views
    Or change their friends
    Now is the time, now is the time, for your friendship to end

    So if you know someone pro-nuclear who thinks he is your friend
    Now is the time, now is the time for your friendship to end

    Call yourself my friend?
    Now is the time to make up your mind, don’t try to pretend

    Be it your sister
    Be it your brother
    Be it your cousin or your uncle or your lover

    So if you are pro-nuclear
    Our friendship has got to end
    And if your friends are pro-nuclear don’t pretend to be my friend

    So if you have a nuclear friend
    Now is the time, now is the time for our friendship to end

    GOODBYE

  23. Please be patient guys, I’m tied up with techical problems. Will respond as soon as I can.

  24. No worries mate, take your time, thanks for letting us know, maybe you should get a personal assistant eh? I bet Monbiot’s got one. :>)

  25. Craig, I’m afraid this will be an extensive answer. I hope you can first keep up with your incoming articles. This because I’m given the task to establish a network for Gruppo Salingaros in Norway, and when contacting actual candidates I want to use my book review of Nikos last book: https://permaliv.blogspot.com/2011/05/new-permatecture-toolbox-from-nikos.html

    I’m afraid that if I can’t get up a network soon Nikos will get tired and forget about Norway.

  26. OK, I will make just one more comment as this has gone a stage further, but only with the intention to make it easier for Craig to reply to Harry.

    I am not Craig’s mate. I do not know Craig. I have never spoken with him personally and we don’t even live in the same country. We appear to share many of the same views, at least those he has expressed as editor of this site. I am not connected with this site in any way other than as a reader and occasional commenter on matters that I feel strongly about.

    For the record, I do not believe that on this site it is necessary for rude and belligerent language or unsupported assertions to be made against the character of individuals (I don’t speak of myself, my shoulders are broad enough to handle that, but in this case of George Monbiot) to be used in support of any argument that commenters see fit to raise, whether there is any truth in the accusations or not. If there is any justification in raising a matter of disagreement then it should be presented in a civil manner. But dealing with that is an editorial issue.

    I do however reserve the right, justifiably or not, to counter unfair redneck behaviour when I see it. I will not just stand by, like most people do these days when they see violence used against others (and this is a form of violence), but will uphold what I see to be the right thing to do.

  27. Bernie Edwards: Quotes

    (I love George Monbiot. – June 9, 2011 @ 12:25 pm)

    (You guys seriously need to take a long hard look inside yourselves. That kind of bile is killing you. – June 12, 2011 @ 9:47 pm)

    (Ah Harry, dear Harry, anonymous Harry, Harry who? Harry the Troll. For me, the conversation ends here and I hope our paths never cross again. – June 14, 2011 @ 11:02 am)

    (OK, I will make just one more comment as this has gone a stage further. – June 16, 2011 @ 11:42 am)

    I’m surprised ‘the man’ would ever let your retire Bernie (perhaps he didn’t?), you are such a prize corporate asset.

    If I have a red neck, that’s because I’m actually out in the garden planting food!

    Should the power systems go down tomorrow, the supermarkets close, the water stop coming through the pipes and the toilet not flush, life for us would go on pretty much as usual, if you honestly can’t claim that is true in your situation, you’re not in a position to preach my friend.

    :>)

  28. For those of you wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s taste of what doesn’t get published on this site;

    Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

    By George Monbiot

    You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

    Here’s the rest – https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

    Anyone who thinks this man is in any way aligned with permaculture perhaps needs to spend more time in the garden and less time at the computer!

    Of course Fukushima wasn’t the first and if like Monbiot and the other pro-nuclear loons get their way, it won’t be the last! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiCXb1Nhd1o&feature=player_embedded

  29. Yes, a PA would be very useful!

    Okay, where to start (and yet keep this brief).

    Harry, your place sounds great. No question. Kudos to you. I’m envious, and not nearly in such circumstances by any means or measure.

    In regards to the steam engine you mentioned. It sounds great. Can I request you make up a post on it so we can share it with our readers and get people looking at this potential solution? I don’t know anything about it, but will be happy to be the medium for others to learn more, if there’s someone out there with experience building and using such a machine. The article you linked to is from 1977…. Is there a working example of this anywhere? Same with the ‘Lutec 1000’. It seems both of these are either wonderful solutions, or distractions – depending on whether or not they’re real and readily available, or vapourware.

    But Harry, not wanting to find points of contention, I must comment on this statement:

    All of the solutions and all of the knowledge is already there and has been for many years, so perhaps the real question is, what’s your excuse? — Harry

    This is one area where I think too many permaculturists have a problem. When you begin to gain some degree of self-sufficiency, then you somehow forget (if you ever knew, depending on your past circumstances), that life for most people on this planet is not shaped by their intentions and determination only, but also by chance and circumstances. Many people have the best of intentions, but will never see them fulfilled, as circumstances outside of their control have them trapped in positions they can never escape from. Many would love to have the degree of self-sufficiency you do, but it’s just a dream for them. This is why I see the great need (that many commenters on other posts on this site seem to fail to grasp) that we must, as well as change our lifestyles, also change the system itself. The present system most of us live in makes it impossible on many levels to live true to conscience and sustainably. Indeed, increasingly it’s making it hard to survive at all.

    To illustrate – let’s say person X is stuck in an apartment in a big city. He wants to be a permaculturist, and to tend a diverse garden, and even use his compost to heat his shower water, etc. etc. Now, person X works the ‘graveyard shift’ at a local warehouse, and has some more hours on the weekend working at McDonalds. If he’s ever, in this present system, to get out of the rat race to get himself into anything like a similar position as Harry, what should he do? Well, he could rob a bank, or otherwise determine to become seriously ambitious and work harder than any of his peers so he can excel into promotions and earn more money. This can effectively mean he, instead of cooperating with the people around him, is competing with them instead – clambering over others in a bid to rise to the top. In order to arrive at his dreams, principle gets thrown out the window. In other words – living ethically, simply and sustainably is a goal that can only be reached after a hard slog at supporting the present, destructive economic system he’s trapped in. Support the system hard enough for long enough, and you might in the process, perhaps, find a secret trap-door out of it.

    I have no idea what trap door you managed to sneak through Harry. Perhaps you inherited your land. Perhaps you’re still working in the system while living outside of it. Perhaps you’re an older follow who has worked the system until accumulating enough to manage to somewhat step out of it. I don’t know. But this is the reality for many. We can’t just walk into the Aussie outback and claim a piece of land as our own any more. We’re part of a money economy, and it’s not by any means an equitable one!

    And these are just the financial limitations. There are others, like gaining the necessary knowhow, family commitments/responsibilities, and many more. Think of the millions and ever-growing millions getting jam packed into shanty towns surrounding growing cities worldwide.

    More than half the world’s people live in cities now. Most of these live in abject poverty. Land is flowing rapidly into ever-fewer hands (consolidating), and every year it becomes less and less likely that the young people we see around us, even in so-called ‘richer’ countries will ever be able to purchase land, let alone build a house on it, or slap a solar panel on top of that.

    When you ask “what’s your excuse?”, speaking for myself and many of world’s inhabitants collectively, I’d have to answer “many”. Please don’t take your present position for granted. And whatever you do, definitely don’t allow yourself to feel any superiority about it.

    Charlie: I would take your song analogy and turn it around. The difference between the two analogies in my mind is the difference between division and nurturing.

    But first, please recognise that I don’t and have never regarded George’s articles as being part of the ‘toe tapping, earthy, inspirational’ band. Rather, his articles have squarely fallen into our ‘Why Permaculture’ categories (see category section of our sidebar). His articles, rather than being pro-permaculture (the carrot), have instead been more showing how much of a failure the present non-permaculture systems are, and showing why we need to change our present trajectory (the stick). I believe we need to utilise both the carrot and the stick to encourage people to face present realities and to set them on the right path, towards holistic solutions.

    Now, given George has never really been in the toe-tapping, permaculture inspirational band, but he is, as you have expressed, obviously an enquiring type with (I believe at least) a genuine interest in being objective and sustainable, then our manner (as permaculturists) of dealing with him is, I believe, significant. Where you are repeatedly asking me to drop him like a hot potato, and ensure he knows we don’t appreciate his nuclear stance, I’m more of the mind of instead of creating division, to instead nurture.

    Instead of aggressively pulling out that plant you don’t yet appreciate, how about finding a use for it?

    To use your band anology, if a particular group regularly played songs that annoyed the hell out of you, but one day they played one that really hit the spot, then I’m sure you’d encourage more of those by rewarding them with applause for that particular song.

    I get this all the time as editor. There are so many very quick to criticise. I can, in a relaxed moment on a Sunday afternoon, find a short video and throw it up for interest without too much thought, and then suddenly be met with a flurry of angry comments because I didn’t take enough time to ensure it was complaint-proof, yet another article I’ve spent days on, researching and writing, can be met with absolutely no comments whatsoever, despite site stats showing it to be one of the most popular and most circulated posts on this site. The issue here is that people are very quick to criticise and pull people down (divide) and very slow to encourage what they really want (nurture).

    A few weeks before the conversation thread above started, I was corresponding to George about my thoughts on possible alternatives to a nuclear/coal/gas, etc. and sharing how permaculture can be a really systemic and lasting solution, and this is the answer I got:

    Dear Craig,

    What you say here really resonates with me. It sounds like a workable, inspiring and meaningful agenda, and reinforces my feeling that a book along these lines would be a good use of my time, as well as fascinating adventure. It also strongly suggests the issues which a revived green movement might rally around. I’ll start reading and thinking and talking about it – any further references gratefully received. This is the first message I’ve received in a long time that suggests a way forward to me. So thank you.

    With my best wishes, George

    Again, we’re dealing with serious realities. Most of the ‘developed’ world are extremely vulnerably dependent on terrible energy sources – nuclear, coal, gas, etc., and it’s getting more and more precarious as each year passes. We need to fast-track the takeup of permaculture concepts, but more, we need to change the system to incentivise this necessarily rapid transition. The more people helping us to get this message out the better.

    So far all I’ve heard from you is, ‘no nuclear’, but I’ve heard no real tangible, realistic solutions for a world swimming in problems. We need much more than vapourware to get through this, and we need solutions that all can implement, not just a wealthy few in very lucky circumstances. I’m grappling with these realities, as is George. Again, please don’t come down hard on George for coming to the conclusions he has, unless you first go through all the variables he’s been working with that brought him to those conclusions, and unless you come out with better answers to deal with them.

    Again, I say nurture, don’t divide.

  30. Perhaps you should hit your boss up for a PA!

    Before I start I’d just like to reiterate a point which I’ve made over and over and I think now over again, which is that the nuclear industry is actually about weapons and not energy. The fact the you’ve continued to ignore this information presented to you, has at his stage made me very curious as to why you seem unable or unwilling to comment on this?

    With regards to the steam generator, not to be confused with a steam engine, as I mentioned before a simple Internet search will reveal a multitude of information on this particular device and others. For the information of your readers, here is a link to a video of one of these devices in operation; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh_-DUKQ4Uw

    As for the Lutec 1000, which has now been granted patents in at least 60 countries around the world, including the US, China and India, here is an article from August last year published in the Cairns Post; https://www.cairns.com.au/article/2010/08/10/121755_local-business-news.html

    I must say Craig, I find your choice of words whilst describing these potentially world changing technologies rather cynical, you’re almost starting to sound rather like some kind of mimicry of Monbiot at this stage. Surely a little more open mindedness would be in order from someone who claims not to know anything about the subject. It seems ironic that in your previous comments you claim to desire viable answers to very relevant and historically critical questions but when presented with potential solutions, you can so easily write them off as unreal or vapourware.

    My questioning of your reasons for not ‘walking the talk’ yourself, obviously was, for you a point of contention. However I would like to make it clear that I had not wished to bring my own or your personal circumstances into this discourse but due to your insinuations of hypocrisy with regards to my lifestyle and energy issues, I felt I had no choice. I am not writing from a computer and sitting under a light bulb that is powered by 55% nuclear energy Craig, that is you my friend.

    Now whilst I actually disagree with your assertion that our lives are not shaped by our intentions and determination, in fact my current situation was forged by those very things, coupled with more hard work than most are willing to commit, I very much doubt that you could claim that for yourself. Can you honestly say that your daily consumption of nuclear power is down to chance and circumstance? As a relatively rich, white, Western man, you chose your lifestyle and location and if you had the will you could change it for a different one in no time at all.

    Permaculture is a ‘can do’ system, it’s all about self-empowerment and yet increasingly what I’m hearing from you seems more akin to defeatism. Your little story about person X is such a wonderful example of a ‘can’t do’ attitude, which to me is nothing short of insidious. It’s really the exact same line that Monbiot is using to sell his pro-nuclear propaganda, we’re all stuffed, nobody will change, so we’ll poison the planet for half of eternity and hope people wake up before it’s too late.

    Have you actually read Permaculture A Designers’ Manual, by Bill Mollison, in particular chapter 14, The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation. It’s all there Craig, do you people bother to teach this section in any depth to your PDC students? Bill laid it all out for us long ago, we don’t need magic trap doors or to rob banks, we just need to work together and be smart about it, that’s all.

    There are such a multitude of examples of people who have pulled themselves out of unimaginably horrendous and difficult situations to create a better, healthier more sustainable life for themselves. I don’t feel any superiority about my present position and I certainly don’t take it for granted. As I said Craig, it was you who began the questioning and I quote;
    1) approximately where do you live? (for context)
    2) from whence comes the electricity that is powering your present way of life?
    3) What is the speed and nature of the transition to a post fossil-fuel world that is occurring around you now – and when will you and your community be sufficiently self-sufficient to be buffered against the continued and expected energy shocks?

    I answered your questions honestly, despite feeling that it really had nothing to do with the point I was trying to make and that it really wasn’t any of your business. Interestingly when your own source of power was revealed, the tables turned and your whole previous argument fell apart, which in all likelihood was the true source of that contention you mentioned.

    Sorry Craig but I don’t buy your excuses, you have the whole of the permaculture world literally at your finger tips, you need to lead by example, if you cannot or will not do that, what hope is there for those in far less fortunate situations than yourself?

    PS Here’s some more on what others think about your penpal Monbiot;

    New report picks apart George Monbiot’s support for nuclear power
    by Paul Mobbs
    New report picks apart George Monbiot’s support for nuclear power and finds significant factual and analytical errors in his claims
    Writer and researcher Paul Mobbs claims that:
    The concentration on either the nuclear or carbon issue in isolation detracts from a more meaningful and balanced debate about the impacts of the human system in general.
    https://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-03-31/new-report-picks-apart-george-monbiots-support-nuclear-power-and-finds-factual-an

  31. Hi Harry

    the nuclear industry is actually about weapons and not energy. The fact the you’ve continued to ignore this information presented to you, has at his stage made me very curious as to why you seem unable or unwilling to comment on this? – Harry

    Sorry for not responding to this. I’ve just been pushed for time so haven’t been able to cross every t and dot every i for you. But, in this area I cannot agree. There are many countries with nuclear who are clearly not interested in warmongering. I live in one of these countries. Nuclear may end up feeding the war machine in many places, but I don’t agree that this is the primary motivation behind the creation of nuclear power plants. Just because you present information doesn’t necessarily mean it’s correct.

    In regards to the steam generator and the Lutec 1000. Believe me, I don’t write them off. I clearly said they are either wonderful solutions, or distractions. Don’t just focus on the latter statement. As I said, I don’t know anything about them, so can’t decide either way. Thanks for the article on the Lutec. I’ll be keen to see what comes of this. I sounds like it’s been rather under wraps. And it sounds like we still have a reasonable wait to see what becomes of this. Meanwhile, let’s not forget there are new coal fired power plants going up every week. If there’s any cynicism, it’s because we are really behind the 8-ball, and FAR behind schedule in the desperate need for earth restoration. When people place their hopes on technical breakthroughs, as the media tends to encourage, then people tend to get relaxed about our trajectory – trusting that the scientists will get us out of this mess. The urgently needed transition thus keeps getting postponed.

    You must also appreciate that it’s hard to take something really, really seriously when the website for it has been ‘under construction’ for a whole year already: https://www.lutec.com.au

    My questioning of your reasons for not ‘walking the talk’ yourself, obviously was, for you a point of contention. However I would like to make it clear that I had not wished to bring my own or your personal circumstances into this discourse but due to your insinuations of hypocrisy with regards to my lifestyle and energy issues, I felt I had no choice. I am not writing from a computer and sitting under a light bulb that is powered by 55% nuclear energy Craig, that is you my friend. – Harry

    No, it was not a point of contention at all. I have no hangups about my present situation. I am doing the best I can in the situation I’m in. I also was not, when I initially asked questions about where your energy, etc. comes from, insinuating anything about you, hypocrisy or otherwise. I was purely trying to get a frame of reference to converse with you on. As I said, what you’re doing is great. I’m very pleased for you. I’d love if you could send pics and reports so that you can inspire and help our readers do likewise. And yes, where I live, 55% of the power comes from nuclear. I don’t like it at all, but that’s how it is. I could shut the computer down and turn the lights off, but then I’d never have made http://www.permacultureglobal.com or massively increased traffic to this site, with its corresponding impact in raising permaculture-awareness.

    Now whilst I actually disagree with your assertion that our lives are not shaped by our intentions and determination, in fact my current situation was forged by those very things, coupled with more hard work than most are willing to commit, I very much doubt that you could claim that for yourself. Can you honestly say that your daily consumption of nuclear power is down to chance and circumstance? As a relatively rich, white, Western man, you chose your lifestyle and location and if you had the will you could change it for a different one in no time at all. – Harry

    I didn’t say that “people’s lives are not shaped by their intentions and determination”, I said that “people’s lives are not shaped by their intentions and determination only“. (Note the ‘only’ at the end.) I just said what is patently obvious, that a great many people can and never will acheive all or even any of what they would like, for reasons outside of their control (and often because the game of life is rigged by corporate interests).

    I could move to another country, but how does that help the people here? Should everyone in this country move away? Where would they go? I’ve seen permaculturists who, for example, were living in cold regions where they couldn’t grow the wide variety of food they would like, so instead of finding ways to make do with what they have, they’ve up and moved to a warmer climate, so they can be ‘better permaculturists’. It doesn’t make sense to me. The outcome of that kind of thinking would see half the world’s population up and move somewhere else, destroying the destination in the process. I’d prefer permaculturists in colder climes to, as men have done for thousands of years, find ways to live right where they are, and to help change things for the better where they are.

    This is something to think about when you are sitting in a warm part of the world, running off solar. What about all the people living in places where there’s snow cover for half the year or more, and where the sun rarely shines. Should these people all pick up and move next door to you? Let’s appreciate each person’s circumstances.

    Have you actually read Permaculture A Designers’ Manual, by Bill Mollison, in particular chapter 14, The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation. It’s all there Craig, do you people bother to teach this section in any depth to your PDC students? Bill laid it all out for us long ago, we don’t need magic trap doors or to rob banks, we just need to work together and be smart about it, that’s all. – Harry

    Yes, indeed, I’ve read it. It’s actually the first chapter I read! No, I don’t teach it in PDCs – because I don’t teach PDCs myself. I don’t argue with you on the need to work together. Not at all. I’m not really sure of your point here. My reference to trap doors is due to the reality that a large proportion of the world’s population are unable to get themselves into a position where they can begin to provide for their own needs. This is just plain fact, and one we should all be conscious and appreciative of. I think you’ll have to agree with my point that for most people to have a bit of land and the time to work it, they end up having to first help build this disaster of a system we call modern capitalism. Yes, we should work together to free ourselves from this system, but many don’t have anybody to work together with, or if they do, they still don’t have a dollar between them to make it happen. I’m sorry Harry, but I’ve seen a great many try and try to do things they wanted, but consistently fail due to circumstances outside of their control. I’ve seen people commit suicide because of it. I do believe that life is what you make it as far as your attitude to it (i.e. we can choose to be happy and content, regardless of outside cirucmstances), but I don’t agree that intentions and determination alone will always get you what you want in life.

    There are such a multitude of examples of people who have pulled themselves out of unimaginably horrendous and difficult situations to create a better, healthier more sustainable life for themselves. – Harry

    I’m sure there are. But, again, for everyone that has with great effort got where they wanted to go, there are others who tried as hard or harder and got nowhere, or who in their taking risks ended up worse off than before. Life is not simple! And for those who ‘made it’, I would ask, how did they do it? Usually they’ve had to work at a day job that in itself is supporting the system. Most day jobs are inherently destructive. I won’t bother asking you what your day job is, as I fear you’ll take it personally, but statistically speaking most employed people are paid to do things that negatively impact the world around them.

    Interestingly when your own source of power was revealed, the tables turned and your whole previous argument fell apart, which in all likelihood was the true source of that contention you mentioned. – harry

    I volunteered the information. Again, I don’t have any hangups about it. There are permies all over the world sitting at computers where the light bulb above them is powered by nuclear, coal, gas, tar sands, etc. Let’s not pretend otherwise. Even solar and wind are destructive (fossil fuels and chemicals used in their production, distribution, installation, maintenance, etc.). I don’t understand how you can say my argument fell apart. How so? Actually, perhaps don’t bother answering the question, as I feel this conversation will start to go in pointless circles.

    Sorry Craig but I don’t buy your excuses, you have the whole of the permaculture world literally at your finger tips, you need to lead by example, if you cannot or will not do that, what hope is there for those in far less fortunate situations than yourself? – Harry

    As I say, I’m doing the best I can in the circumstances I’m in. Again, what would you have me do? Should I move to the Congo and build a tree house? What about the people I leave behind? Additionally, in my bid to help promote permaculture and help drive it into mainstream consciousness, I’ve also somewhat compromised my own ability to do all I’d like (i.e. lost income potential, doing what I’m doing now).

    I was never judging you Harry, as you seem to think. I know nothing about you. I was only trying to make the point that if we do gain some degree of self-sufficiency, we should consider ourselves very lucky, and I don’t think our work is at all done. There is a whole world of people who need help — help to know what they need to do, and how to do it, and assistance to do it — and the only real way to help them is to help change the system so that it incentivises a shift to small scale relocalised, interdependent communities that feature holistic education as standard. Getting everyone off nuclear and coal and oil is more than an immense task.

    Thanks for your links on George. I’ll take a look.

  32. Chapter 14, that’s right! that’s what I would like to see more of. I’m sure Bill would be OK with that Craig? That book is not easy to get hold of, so how about running a whole chapter on the site? In fact why not start at the beginning with chapter 1? But please don’t forget chapter 14. It is such a great work and should be read by as many people as possible.
    We differ in thinking Craig when it comes to the musical analogy. If a music group that I regularly hated suddenly came out with a song that rang true then I would be extremely suspicious and treat with caution, just as I am with George Monbiot’s writings. I just don’t think he’s worth listening to, he offers no real solutions, he is a commentator, you could even say he is a repeater. I visit this site because I am interested to find out more about permaculture, because I still believe the world can change, because I still believe in people, because I still believe in peoples’ ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment. I believe in the wisdom of nature, and that the Earth can accept us if we can listen and learn and adapt in harmony with the natural systems.
    I echo what Harry says, permaculture is can-do thinking on top of everything else, the solution, the positive, for regeneration. It is a spiral, with momentum. If you commit yourself then you can never give up. I am really suggesting that George Monbiot’s thinking is not appropriate thinking for permaculture. Only as evidence to act perhaps, but the world is unfortunately full of that, and we do not need to add to it.
    Also before I go back to my life away from the computer, I want to say respect to you Harry, and thankyou for standing up for the true principles and ethics of permaculture, even in the face of some quite astonishing hostility from your peers.
    Charlie

  33. I have submitted articles on this site, one of which comments on the insanity of nuclear power, and I have to say I agree with Harry and Charlie. I don’t know George Monbiot, but I also wouldn’t call Monbiot a friend of permaculture. It’s not a stretch to say that his support of nuclear power would be akin to support of a company like Monsanto, as Harry has suggested.

    The facts show that nuclear energy is at least as destructive as anything Monsanto has put out there- and that’s saying a lot! Besides, his arguments in favor of nuclear power have so many holes that it’s hard to know where to start. It boggles my mind that he would make the argument that coal is much more of a killer than nuclear, while ignoring the fact that deaths from nuclear are neither reliably measured nor accurately reported, for instance. Or that he would ignore that the negative effects of Chernobyl are still ongoing, and that we have no idea when they will cease. And that’s just for starters. I would be surprised if Monbiot has not come under the pay of the nuclear industry. I regard him with great suspicion and will be very skeptical of anything he says. I, too, feel that his writing does not belong on this site.

    And not that his word is the be-all and end-all, but remember that Bill Mollison groups the earth’s resources into five categories, and places nuclear in the category of resources that should be banned (never used) because they pollute or destroy other resources if used.

  34. Hi Craig,
    Once again I would like to offer my thanks for you patience in dealing with this subject, especially as it must seem rather tiresome for you.

    I really don’t wish to have a dirt flinging competition with you, I do sympathise in the difficulty you and others may have in achieving a genuinely permaculture based lifestyle.

    In order to bring this discussion back into line with the issues I feel relate to the publishing of George Monbiot’s articles on this or any other permaculture based site, I just have a few more things to say and I will leave it at that.

    Firstly I previously asked you a question which you did not answer, it was; where do you draw the line? If Monbiot (hypothetically) decided to support Monsanto, would you still publish his other articles?

    Perhaps another example of this would be the increased interest in permaculture ideas amongst the white supremacist movement, particularly in the USA. Now again hypothetically speaking, if someone with extremely racist views had an amazing permaculture garden, with a low impact home, solar panels, compost loo and all the trimmings and that person also wrote fantastic articles about companion planting and real sustainable living solutions, would you publish them? Or would you have to omit those articles because that persons other views where so out of alignment with true permaculture thinking?

    In response to my earlier point with regards to the nuclear industry and weapons, you said;

    “There are many countries with nuclear who are clearly not interested in warmongering. I live in one of these countries. Nuclear may end up feeding the war machine in many places, but I don’t agree that this is the primary motivation behind the creation of nuclear power plants.”

    I must say I have to counter this, could you please provide the names of the (many) countries you alluded to, with nuclear who do not have an armed force? To the best of my knowledge, all modern military arsenals include weapons containing depleted uranium. Of course in relation to the actual figures, no one knows just how much depleted uranium is required by the arms industry each year, those numbers are secret. Without the nuclear power industry, where do you suppose the multi-trillion dollar arms trade in military hardware and weapons would acquire their DU?

    FYI – here are some other articles with regards to Monbiot’s pro-nuclear affiliations;

    Why George Monbiot is wrong on nuclear power

    George Monbiot, the well-known environmentalist and journalist, managed to surpass the nuclear power lobby in the downplaying of the Fukushima disaster. First, he wrote that the disaster should not lead to an end of nuclear power, since that would mean more coal plants, so we should build more nuclear plants (Monbiot.com). Then, he wrote that since no one died from Fukushima he is now a nuclear power advocate (Monbiot.com). Amazing.

    https://links.org.au/node/2246

    George Monbiot’s nuclear mistakes

    Prominent British columnist George Monbiot announced in the British Guardian on March 21 that he now supports nuclear power. That isn’t a huge surprise — having previously opposed nuclear power, he announced himself “nuclear-neutral” in 2009.

    https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/47141

    As an after thought, what about offering an open poll on this subject to see what your other readers think. If the majority of people decided they were happy for Monbiot’s articles to be here, despite his love of nuclear, I would be happy to drop the matter.

    If it turned out the other way, would you be prepared to drop him?

  35. Hi Harry and others.

    In regards to Monsanto – this, as you know, is the complete antithesis of permaculture, and the complete antithesis of sustainability, health and, indeed, survival.

    Anton said that “the facts show that nuclear energy is at least as destructive as anything Monsanto has put out there”. I’d really like to see those facts. I personally don’t believe they exist. Again, just to be clear, for those who’ve just joined the discussion, I am wholly against nuclear, but I think it’s important we don’t let emotion enter the discussion. It’s true that nuclear’s damage is hard to quantify. Someone can be ill, and then die, and we don’t know the exact reason, and what part was caused by lifestyle and hereditary conditions, and what was caused by outside influences like nuclear radiation. But, the same can be said for GMOs. Monsanto and their ilk keep assuring everyone that they’re safe as anything, yet more and more reports show this to be untrue. As such, how can we quantify the damage of GMOs? These are influencing the world at a biological level. Horizontal gene transfer effects non-target species, and they end up in, potentially, ALL food chains. And the damage doesn’t stop with the plant only – GMOs are designed around proprietory chemicals (the plants aren’t worth anything without their accompanying toxic dose), and these are more dangerous than first believed as well. GMOs are a bid to continue with an impossibility — that being centralised agriculture, or the mis-named ‘Green Revolution’. This is potentially signing millions, or billions of us, to death. At least with nuclear there is equipment you can use to detect radiation. Go on an enjoyable romp through a field, breathing in pollen as you go, and eat animals raised on GMOs, etc., and the consequences are much harder to pinpoint.

    I wouldn’t be so quick to make such a comparison myself. Industrialised agriculture has shaped modern society in such systemically destructive ways. It is because of this we have 1 man in a tractor feeding hundreds more, whilst destroying soil and watersheds, and whilst those hundreds move into cities and take up wholly destructive employment (or no employment) and spend their leisure hours normally doing something destructive also. If we didn’t have chemical-based agriculture, these people would be stewards on the land, and the word ‘permaculture’ would never have had to be invented. Chemical agriculture doesn’t work, but, again, GMOs are a dangerous, solution-delaying attempt to continue to cash in on the very fact that it doesn’t work.

    So to answer your question – if George was pro-GMO, no, he wouldn’t be found on this site. The reason would be his entire outlook on the world would be skewed from what this site is promoting. He would never have made articles such as these:

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2008/09/05/strange-fruit/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/05/13/feeding-frenzy/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/06/02/blue-desert/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/01/05/consumer-hell/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/11/17/if-nothing-else-save-farming/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/08/10/turning-estates-into-villages/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/10/14/are-you-paying-to-burn-the-rainforest/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/08/17/towering-lunacy/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/10/02/the-population-myth/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/08/09/the-busybody-state/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/08/11/tesco-opted/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/06/02/an-agricultural-crime-against-humanity/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/05/24/out-of-sight-out-of-trouble/

    And anti-war articles, the first anti-nuclear…:

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/03/25/war-with-the-ghosts/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/06/23/stop-building-tanks/

    I think this site would be the poorer without the above articles.

    When it comes to nuclear, I see George is trying to be objective. He sees mankind heading to the precipice like a runaway train, and knows that people are loathe to give up their energy-rich lifestyles. He’s weighing solar for example, and finds it wanting for the cloudy UK context (see also). He’s promoting wind power, but grapples with a public who don’t want them in their back yards. He sees coal fired power plants popping up like mushrooms, etc. etc. I don’t see George’s nuclear stance as being diametrically opposed to permaculture in the way GMOs are. I don’t believe George sees nuclear in an ideal world, but rather he’s trying to weigh the lesser of several evils, some of which just are not viable alternatives for the UK context. I also think too many are wholly underestimating the damage caused by our continued building of coal-fired (and now liquid coal) plants. Again, just saying ‘no nuclear’, without a serious rework of present economic systems, essentially means ‘more coal.’

    In regards to your white supremicist fellow. I guess it depends on whether it’s hearsay (gossip about him) or if he’s openly, verifiably racist. Again, I don’t think we can put George into such a category. He seems from my experience to be grappling as objectively as he can with more variables than most try to consider. If he’s made a mistake, I still see it as well-intentioned and an honest mistake, not the deep-rooted diametrically opposed type of systemic fault such as racism.

    In regards to the weapons industry – my point is that I don’t believe the primary motivation for nuclear power plants is getting its by-products for making projectiles, etc. Regardless, this argument is a non-argument. Imagine a big cliff near your house. You could use that cliff in different ways. You could have a little business teaching people how to abseil off it, or you could have a little business throwing unwanted spouses off it instead. Almost anything can be used inappropriately. Wind power can feed into the grid and in turn supply electric chairs carrying out the death penalty. Water can quench your thirst, or be used for water-boarding. Depleted uranium is also used for the medical industry – X-ray equipment, etc.

    Harry, please take the time to go through George’s articles above. You’ll see most readers appreciate what he has to say, and I think for good reason.

    I think it does us all some good to think about and appreciate the complexity of the situation people are in. The UK has a far greater population density than where you reside (Australia), it has a hell of a lot less sunshine, and it is heading into economic oblivion if it doesn’t quickly address multiple issues. There are no more Mayflowers to climb aboard. These people can’t just pick up and move into your neighbourhood and slap on some solar panels. There are hard decisions to be made, and a hell of a lot of education (reskilling) that needs to occur.

    I also want to reimpress upon you that I don’t agree with all points in all articles I put up from various contributors to this site. I’m sure I could enter discussion with almost all contributors and find a point of difference to pull us apart if I had a mind to. There are almost as many opinions as their are people on this planet. As an editor, I must find a balance between being a literary puritan, and giving a voice to dissenting views to get people thinking and discussing.

    For myself, I’m looking forward to the book on small scale agro-ecological agriculture and permaculture that I’ve encouraged George to write.

    Harry, I would again solicit articles about your own transitionary evolution. I think people having some degree of success in becoming more sustainably self-sufficient have some responsiblity to help others who are on, or would like to be on, the same path. If you could send articles sharing the why and how of what you’re doing, you’ll not only inspire and instruct our readers, but you may even keep me so busy I won’t have time to put George’s articles up!

  36. I tried to stay out of this particular thread, but considering what I saw when taking a look at the “lutec 1000”, I think I have to at least comment on that.

    It’s snake oil. The “how it works” description they offer on their web page is badly flawed physics-wise.

  37. Craig, here are some facts:

    Relating to Chernobyl (from Wikipedia):
    -UNSCEAR report places the total confirmed deaths from radiation at 64 as of 2008. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests it could reach 4,000.[10] A 2006 report predicted 30,000 to 60,000 cancer deaths as a result of Chernobyl fallout.[11] A Greenpeace report puts this figure at 200,000 or more.[12] A Russian publication, Chernobyl, concludes that 985,000 excess deaths occurred between 1986 and 2004 as a result of radioactive contamination.

    Compare this to zero confirmed deaths directly caused by GMOS (even though there are probably many deaths directly related to Monsanto, e.g. the farmer suicides in India).

    -There is a 30 km exclusion zone around Chernobyl, which will be off limits to humans for thousands of years. Fukushima is most likely looking at the same, or a larger area.

    -Twenty plus years after Chernobyl, wild boar in Germany are still unable to be consumed due to radiation.

    -The radiation being released by Fukushima is already at or above Chernobyl levels, and may exceed it by up to 20 times. Nuclear radiation is bad for your health.

    In addition to the facts, there’s a lot that can be extrapolated based on the known effects of radiation.

    I personally do not buy that we have to wait for science to unequivocally confirm whether or not deaths were definitely caused by nuclear, in the same way that I won’t willingly consume GMOs even though science hasn’t confirmed that I shouldn’t. If permaculture were based on the accepted findings of the mainstream, we would all be buying and growing GMOs.

    I get the point that Monbiot has written helpful articles, but saying that he’s just trying to be objective about nuclear power seems to be too kind. I just don’t see how he can ignore the very serious downsides of nuclear. His sudden switch to a pro-nuclear stance and the way he defends it while glossing over the serious and real costs of nuclear makes him lose credibility in my eyes. I would feel uncomfortable publishing his stuff after a move like this. Why support someone who is untrustworthy?

    I don’t even believe in his so-called “objectivity”. Monbiot plays the “we need power, what else can we do but rely on nuclear/coal/etc.?” Sounds a bit like the “GMOs use a lot of pesticides, sure, but how else can we feed the world?” argument. Sure, we feel the need to power our lives somehow, and nuclear is one of the options. But isn’t permaculture about doing things differently so we can give up these energy sources? If we have the option between no power or nuclear power, wouldn’t it still be insane to choose the nuclear option?

  38. Hi Craig,

    Maybe another way to think of it is that Monbiot didn’t go to news outlets in support of something like roto-tilling or double digging. He went out there with the zeal of a born-again Christian, proclaiming his love for a technology that is abhorrent to life. He did build up a solid body of work before “going nuclear”, but I would argue that this does not excuse him from passionately and suddenly embracing nuclear energy, all while giving what I feel are less than solid reasons for doing so.

    Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the matter so I’ll let it rest.

  39. Hi Craig, once again thank you for you detailed reply.

    In regards to nuclear – this, as you know, is the complete antithesis of permaculture, and the complete antithesis of sustainability, health and, indeed, survival. (ironic how the shoe seems to fit so well on the other foot eh!)

    Anton said; “the facts show that nuclear energy is at least as destructive as anything Monsanto has put out there”. And you replied; “I’d really like to see those facts. I personally don’t believe they exist.”

    I would personally like you to tell the survivors of Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima et all that the facts don’t exist!

    https://www.thehypertexts.com/images/hiroshima_charonboat_dot_com_hiroshima_victim.jpg

    I chose to use the Monsanto analogy, because I know very well how passionate you are about informing your readers with regards to their destructive activities. You can rest assured that I myself am no supporter of Monsanto and GM, however with well documented evidence of nuclear power plant accidents with multiple fatalities from 1952-2011, I would have to counter that there is currently a far greater body of evidence in relation to the destructive nature of the nuclear industry than that of GM.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_and_radiation_accidents

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_testing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_Assured_Destruction

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depleted_uranium

    I do appreciate that you are in theory opposed to nuclear but as Charlie pointed out earlier in this discussion by promoting the writings of Monbiot, who has actually said he loves nuclear, you are indirectly promoting the industry, through him to your readers. I would also like to make reference to another point Anton made which is; Bill Mollison groups the earth’s resources into five categories, and places nuclear in the category of resources that should be banned (never used) because they pollute or destroy other resources if used. I must say it seems strange to me that you would show favour to a mainstream UK journalist, when his ideas with regards to nuclear are diametrically opposed to those of the founding father of permaculture?

    Craig and George, the boys who cried coal! It’s a weak argument against the use of nuclear, that the only alternative is building more coal fuelled power stations, very weak indeed! For the record I do not promote the burning of coal as any kind of solution to our current situation and I also do not believe that cloudy countries such as the UK are not able to benefit from solar power, particularly with recent advances in photo voltaic technology. In fact the only time that solar cells do not generate electricity is at night. https://www.solar-energy.co.uk/news/solar-cells-cloudy-weather.php

    Or maybe the Brits could even turn their love of fish and chips into power, that’s what we do when it’s cloudy; https://www.bbc.co.uk/bloom/actions/cookingoil.shtml

    Of course it’s also worth remembering that the UK is a small island surrounded by choppy seas – https://www.therenewableenergycentre.co.uk/wave-and-tidal-power/ but hey that would be another non-nuclear solution wouldn’t it, doesn’t quite tally with the Mackintosh & Monbiot nuclear or coal, black or white subterfuge does it?

    “In regards to the weapons industry – my point is that I don’t believe the primary motivation for nuclear power plants is getting its by-products for making projectiles, etc.”

    To quote your earlier comment; “There are many countries with nuclear who are clearly not interested in warmongering.”

    And I asked you . . . could you please provide the names of the (many) countries you alluded to, with nuclear who do not have an armed force? As I previously mentioned; no one knows just how much depleted uranium is required by the arms industry each year, those numbers are secret, however what’s not secret is that all modern military arsenals contain DU.

    Wouldn’t it just be the biggest ruse of all time, if we did have those figures and it actually turned out the nuclear industry makes more cash from depleted uranium sales than it does from power generation? Sure you can say you don’t believe it Craig, but the fact is you have no more hard evidence to back up your theory than for the contrary, it’s all supposition. But even without the actual audit, lets say they make a million, billion or a trillion dollars a year from DU, those sales amount to the immense suffering of our fellow humans, other life forms and the planet herself. Once again by promoting Monbiot, you are indirectly promoting the ideas of a person who contradicts all of our permaculture ethics, it’s a farce!

    As for the book project you suggested to Monbiot about small scale agro-ecological agriculture and permaculture. What on earth makes you think that the permaculture community needs a book about permaculture and ecological agriculture from a pro-nuclear, mainstream UK journalist who doesn’t actually practice any of those things and once again, whose views on the nuclear industry contradict our ethics.

    Perhaps instead of crawling to Monbiot asking for a book about subjects he knows little or nothing about, you could have kept your integrity intact by suggesting that you would no longer promote his articles on your site, because the nuclear industry is ‘equally’ as anti-permaculture as GM, Monsanto or any other activities that go against, earth care, people care and fair share.

    As for writing articles for you site, I’m sorry Craig but my ethical integrity would not allow me to write articles for a site that promotes the career of a brazenly pro-nuclear propagandist, whether that be directly or indirectly. Anyway in truth we’re not doing anything special, it’s all in the manual.

    If PRI and other permaculture educators focussed more attention on equipping their new PDC graduates with the information they need to achieve a genuine permaculture lifestyle, rather than beguiling them into believing they can all be well paid permaculture consultants, you wouldn’t need to solicit anything from me!

    Please don’t feel obliged to reply, we’ve clearly been wasting our time here, obviously short of coming out in favour of Monsanto or the KKK, no amount of logical reasoning will convince you to get out of bed with your friend and associate George Monbiot.

    *
    Thomas – Clearly you are an intellectual, but I wonder how practical you are, do you have any experience as an engineer? I think there is definitely a flaw in relation to the physics of the Lutec 1000. However I believe that flaw is in the physics not the mechanics, it’s in the ‘old science’ theory of over unity.

  40. Hi Anton

    I think we’ve worn this conversation out. I just want to note that it’s not true that there are no confirmed GMO deaths. Read about the L-Tryptophan case that killed at least 37 people and more than 1500 more were seriously impacted:

    https://www.nwrage.org/content/thirty-seven-deaths-due-genetically-engineered-l-tryptophan

    https://www.aquarianonline.com/Eco/UnnaturalHarvest.html

    Lots of animals have died or gone sterile from consuming GMOs. Thousands have had allergic reactions, many of them life-threatening. Soy allergies in the UK jumped 50% when GM Soy was introducted there, for example. I also think more research has gone into following up nuclear damage than it has looked at the broad and much more inter-related (and necessarily complex biological) consequences of GMOs.

    There may yet be a proven connection between bee CCD and GMOs, with pollinator dieoffs being more than significant to ecologies and human survival.

    You can scroll down to the ‘health’ sub-section of this page to check out much more:

    https://www.raw-wisdom.com/50harmful.

    There was a GMO soil bacterium created in Germany which, if it hadn’t been stopped in time, could have wiped out ALL plant life, and thus all life, on the planet:

    A few years ago, a German biotech company engineered a common soil bacterium, Klebsiella planticula, to help break down wood chips, corn stalks, wastes from lumber businesses and agriculture, and to produce ethanol in the process. It seemed like a great achievement. The genetically engineered Klebsiella bacterium could help break down rotting organic material and in the process produce a fuel that could be used instead of gasoline, thus lessening the production of greenhouse gases. And, it was assumed, the post-process waste could afterward be added to soil as an amendment, like compost. Everybody would win. With the approval of the EPA, the company field-tested the bacterium at Oregon State University. As far as the intended goals were concerned—eliminating rotting organic waste and producing ethanol—the genetically engineered bacterium was a success. But when a doctoral student named Michael Holmes decided to add the post-processed waste to actual living soil, something happened that no one expected. The seeds that were planted in soil mixed with the engineered Klebsiella sprouted, but then every single one of them died.(59)

    What killed them? The genetically engineered Klebsiella turned out to be highly competitive with native soil micro-organisms, and to suppress activities that are crucial to soil fertility. Plants are only able to take nitrogen and other nourishment from the soil with the help of fungi called “mycorrhysal.” These fungi live in the soil and help make nutrients available to plant roots. But when the genetically engineered Klebsiella was introduced into living soils, it greatly reduced the population of mycorrhysal fungi in the soil. And without healthy mycorrhysal fungi in soils, no plants can survive.(60)

    To me, it is testimony to the amazing powers of science that researchers were able to track the mechanism by which the genetically engineered Klebsiella prevented plants from growing. There are thousands of different species of micro-organisms in every teaspoon of fertile soil, and they interact in trillions of ways.

    But the scientists discovered something else in these experiments, something that sent chills down their spines. They found that the genetically modified bacteria were able to persist in the soil, raising the possibility that, had it been released, the genetically engineered Klebsiella could have become established—and virtually impossible to eradicate.(61)

    “When the data first started coming in,” says Elaine Ingham, the soil pathologist at Oregon State University who directed Michael Holmes’ research on Klebsiella, “the EPA charged that we couldn’t have performed the research correctly. They went through everything with a fine tooth comb, and they couldn’t find anything wrong with the experimental design—but they tried as hard as they could. . . . If we hadn’t done this research, the Klebsiella would have passed the approval process for commercial release.”(62)

    Geneticist David Suzuki understands that what took place was truly ominous. “The genetically engineered Klebsiella,” he says, “could have ended all plant life on this continent. The implications of this single case are nothing short of terrifying.”(63)

    Meanwhile Monsanto and the other biotech companies are eagerly developing all kinds of genetically modified organisms, hoping to bring them to market. How do we know if they’re safe? David Suzuki says, “We don’t, and won’t for years after they are being widely used.”(64)

    It’s not a prospect that helps calm the nerves and restore confidence in our collective future. And in fact it can seem incredible that these things actually are happening. Surely, I’ve wanted to believe, when the chips are down, they would never do anything that would jeopardize life on Earth. Surely, the people who run these companies or the government officials who oversee them would never allow something that dangerous to occur. Surely, I’ve wanted to believe, the dangers of genetic engineering can’t be that great.

    But then again, this wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve wanted to believe something that turned out to be only wishful thinking. And it wouldn’t be the first time that corporations like Monsanto have brought us new products they promised would make life better for everybody and that turned out to do something very different. This is the same company, after all, that brought us PCBs and Agent Orange. Even the product the company was originally formed to produce, the artificial sweetener saccharin, was later found to be carcinogenic.

    Of course, Monsanto tells us that this time we don’t have to worry. . . . — The Food Revolution – Genetic Engineering, Part I, by John Robbins

    But I’m not trying to have the argument of which is worse – I’m just trying to ensure we deal in facts. I don’t wish to downplay nuclear whatsoever. The dilemma I have is that as people focus on the evils of nuclear, they tend to, whether they realise it or not, downplay or ignore the evils of coal and oil and gas. I think as a race (or at least for anglo saxons like myself) we simplistically tend to prefer to hold up one solution as the best, or one evil as the worst, as it’s easier than keeping an inter-related matrix in our brain that continually tries to draw the connections between many more parameters. On this site I seek to try to continually keep that matrix alive.

    Harry, I started this comment before yours came through. Again, I don’t have the energy to persevere ad infinitum, but just to summarise – I still can’t get around the fact that George is grappling, for good reason, with 2 new coal-fired power plants per week, which is the reality that causes him to be more pro-nuclear. Comparing a future with no nuclear, and lots of coal, or a future of lots nuclear and no coal – it’s hard to say which is worse. Aside from air/water/soil pollutants and industrial accidents from coal (which have been proven to have killed, maimed and sickened many, many more than nuclear ever has) we are having massive flooding followed by massive droughts, in country after country – destroying crops, and the soil they’re grown in, and pushing up the cost of food everywhere, right at a time where more expensive food is turning our international political situations into a ticking time bomb. I used to think that peak oil and its economic woes would devastate society sooner than climate change, but now I’m not so certain. These emissions are threatening all agriculture – including permaculture. Our earthworks and diversity grant much increased resiliency, but they’re still no match for the forces of nature run amuck.

    You talk about wave power and solar power etc, but don’t you see that there is much greater energy density in oil, nuclear, coal and gas for dollar invested than solar, wind, tide, etc.? These are the low hanging fruit (filthy and dangerous fruit admittedly). The latter only become viable with a dramatic reduction in energy consumption, and, please get this – energy demand is growing, and dramatically. It is not diminishing. We are in the midst of an industrial revolution like no other.

    And to replace coal, oil, gas, nuclear now, whilst maintaining anywhere near current energy supply levels, would take a massive industrial mobilisation to replace existing infrastructure. Most of that mobilisation would need to be fossil fuel powered!

    Harry, there are just not enough fish and chip shops in the world…. Recycled chip fat can reduce the fuel bill for a few people here and there, but please don’t bring it into a conversation on a complete societal transition. It’s a trivial distraction that just confirms to me that you’re not really being objective.

    I’m against nuclear, but unless I see people with a clear, viable transition road map, and see the majority of society actively engaged in making it happen, then all of our good intentions (and comment threads like this one) are just academic, and will ultimately mean very little in the grand scheme of things. We can keep saying no to this, and no to that, but unless society changes rapidly and systemically, it’s largely meaningless. Nuclear power stations, and coal fired power stations, and liquid coal stations, etc., will continue to get built. You say you haven’t given up on people changing. It sounds nice, but take a realistic look around you. Most everyone in the world is still chasing the impossible dream of a Jetsons’ lifestyle. Indeed, with China, India, Brazil and many other countries around the world all joining the industrialise-or-bust bandwagon, there are millions more seeking this lifestyle every year. Most of us with some understanding of what needs to happen in the world are still a minority. If it were not so, we’d be seeing funding for permaculture research, development and aid work coming in from everywhere.

    Perhaps instead of crawling to Monbiot asking for a book about subjects he knows little or nothing about, you could have kept your integrity intact by suggesting that you would no longer promote his articles on your site… — Harry

    Harry, what’s with the insults? I never crawled to anybody. George approached me telling me he was planning to begin a new book project on small scale agroecological agriculture and permaculture. I gave him some thoughts/suggestions and references, and he responded positively.

    As for the book project you suggested to Monbiot about small scale agro-ecological agriculture and permaculture. What on earth makes you think that the permaculture community needs a book about permaculture and ecological agriculture from a pro-nuclear, mainstream UK journalist who doesn’t actually practice any of those things and once again, whose views on the nuclear industry contradict our ethics. — Harry

    First, he does practise these things. He doesn’t own a car, he travels everywhere by train, and he works to grow his own food (see here, here, and here for example), etc. He walks his talk. Secondly, your point about the permaculture community not needing such a book is very revealing — and it reintroduces a key point that I keep reiterating across posts and comments, that the permaculture community is too insular. You immediately assume the book must be for your personal benefit. But, instead, my purposes for encouraging George to write such a book is not for directly helping the permaculture community, but to help ENLARGE the permaculture community. We need more books reaching more people so that more people will discover and take up permaculture, and we need more people with ‘lifestyle blocks’ looking at small scale agro-ecological farming, and we need more large scale farmers trialling agro-ecological methods, etc., if we’re to get through the food crisis that is on our doorsteps. You assume it must be for your personal benefit. What about the people who yet need to be reached? And again, you have your excuses for not supplying articles on your own learning curve and transition which could assist others. You won’t share, and you don’t want George to either.

    Unfortunately I am constantly reminded of how insular the permaculture community is, and how little work is done to ‘convert’ the bulk of society to transition. My own personal desire to live and breath permauculture is constantly hampered by the society around me. If I can get more and more and more people eager to head onto the permaculture pathway, then I have more and more and more people walking with me, rather than me having to wade against them, like walking upstream into an opposing river flow.

    Whatever level of self-sufficiency you may attain, if we don’t cooperate synergistically to reinvent the world, then it’s still going to mean little. You will not ride every drought, every flood, every disease, every economic impact and every social uprising that will inevitably occur if we ignore what’s going on around us – and if we ignore the realities people face far from your solar-panel clad home in sunny Australia.

    My final statement – I put up articles on an article by article basis, measuring each by its own merits. I cannot judge the motivations of other people, and if in doubt, I will assume the best. It’s the ethical thing to do.

    Thanks for your comment contributions guys, but unfortunately I just can’t respond any more on this thread. I just don’t have that much time.

  41. Once again thanks for taking the time to engage with us on this one Craig, sorry if I got a little hot headed and my words seemed insulting, it wasn’t my intention to offend you.

    Ultimately we really are on the same team, in time those who aren’t, will be revealed for what they really are, the game is speeding up as we rapidly approach the proverbial edge!

    See you at the bottom my friend :>)

  42. Coal coal glorious coal, Ill keep the smog and the groovy sunsets, george and craig can enjoy the tumours and dead oceans together, dudes permaculture is SO anti-nuclear and craig you are SO WRONG to push this guy!

  43. Thanks Harry. No problem. Yes, that’s exactly what we seem to be in unfortunately, a race to the bottom.

    Harry, Louis’ comment here unwittingly proves my point. In his disgust with nuclear, he embraces coal instead. Too many don’t understand the environmental impacts of coal. Smog kills, as do those ‘groovy sunsets’. Mercury, arsenic, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, etc. end up in the air, the water and our bodies.

    https://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/technology_and_impacts/energy_technologies/how-coal-works.html

    https://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/02/devastating-cost-coal-interview-paul-epstein.php

    And the coal energy process emits huge amounts of radiation itself:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

    Throw complete climate destabilisation on top of all the above, and you’ve got the energy source from hell.

    But that’s right Louis – just stay fixated on nuclear. It’s much simpler.

  44. What a strange discussion.

    1. George Monbiot raises a point – personally, I’d say it’s quite an interesting one, actually.

    2. Rather than considering the issue this is about, all of a sudden this is all about “should Monbiot be allowed to post here”? The superficial argument is that he’s pro-nuclear energy. But is this actually really the reason? Note that this article is not at all about nuclear energy.

    3. All of a sudden, the discussion is about all sorts of things, but not the point raised by Monbiot.

    4. I seriously wonder in what way such an “he must not be allowed to post here due to his beliefs in a completely unrelated matter” attitude would differ from “Hindus are wicked, for they eat pigs” vs. “Muslims are wicked, for they eat cows” reasoning.

    So, guys, come on, what’s the actual reason why you don’t want to see Monbiot voice his views here?

  45. Thanks Thomas – yes, it would be far more appropriate to be discussing the topic of the post above – the absurdity of privatising nature and its priceless services.

  46. Craig,

    It’s not my intention to get into an argument, either. You said you would like to see facts, so I presented some. Note that as with GMOs, there are a lot of “maybes” in terms of the damage the technology can/has done. Just like with nuclear, I’m not waiting for them to “be sure” about whether or not the technology is very damaging or extremely damaging. But I see that we are going to have to agree to disagree on Monbiot.

    Thomas said:
    “So, guys, come on, what’s the actual reason why you don’t want to see Monbiot voice his views here?”

    I think you will find the answer if you read the discussion above. In one sentence, it’s because we feel it’s wrong for PRI to promote a cheerleader for technology that is at least as bad as GMOs.

  47. Anton,

    there is more then one Green Party in Germany — the known one and a smaller one that gets about 1% of the vote which was initiated by perhaps the most important founding members of the Green Party, Herbert Gruhl. Gruhl originally was a member of parliament for the Conservatives, but saw how badly wrong they were concerning resources — in the end, he could not reform the party, so he split off. The Green Party, however, turned out to become a brew not at all to his taste either, consisting back then mostly of Hippies and also some Communists. So, he founded the “ecological democratic party” (OeDP). For quite a while, the head of the OeDP (2003-2010) was a physics professor from Munich who had joined the party in 1983. Looking at what he did in those seven years, the party could consider itself glad to have him.

    However, when he joined in 1983, he still was pro-nuclear. This changed about two years later or so. Should they have condemned him straightaway due to his views on nuclear energy?

    We have a phrase in Germany, “He who sits in the glass house should not throw stones”. It is almost comical to see such attacks to George Monbiot — on an issue not at all related to the article — coming from poponents of the “let’s instead all fall for the ‘over-unity’ scam” idea. Proposing “solutions” such as the marvellous Lutec 1000 does not really indicate that much better judgement abilities than Monbiot’s, I’d say.

  48. Hey everyone, lets all jump onto the Macintosh and Monbiot corporate climate change propaganda bandwagon, it’s all so George W. Bush, if your not with us, your against us, if your not nuclear you must be coal.
    There is no doubt people are destroying the planet but the whole climate change thing has been totally hijacked by pro nuclear governments, media and their puppets (M&M?)
    Coal maybe dirty but at least its a devil we know, and one the planet can recover from in a relatively short amount of time unlike nuclear which will leave us in a toxic mess for thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

    Professor Ian Plimer could not have said it better!
    If you’ve read his book you will agree, this is a good summary. 

    Are you sitting down?
     
    Okay, here’s the bombshell.  The volcanic eruption in Iceland, since its first spewing of volcanic ash has, in just FOUR DAYS, NEGATED EVERY SINGLE EFFORT you have made in the past five years to control CO2 emissions on our planet, all of you.
     
    Of course you know about this evil carbon dioxide that we are trying to suppress, that vital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow, and to synthesize into oxygen for us humans, and all animal life.
     
    I know, it’s very disheartening to realize that all of the carbon emission savings you have accomplished while suffering the inconvenience and expense of: driving Prius hybrids, buying fabric grocery bags, sitting up till midnight to finish your kid’s “The Green Revolution” science project, throwing out all of your non-green cleaning supplies, using only two squares of toilet paper, putting a brick in your toilet tank reservoir, selling your SUV and speedboat, vacationing at home instead of abroad, nearly getting hit every day on your bicycle, replacing all of your 50 cents light bulbs with $10.00 light bulbs…well, all of those things you have done have all gone down the tubes in just four days.
     
    The volcanic ash emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere in just four days – yes – FOUR DAYS ONLY by that volcano in Iceland, has totally erased every single effort you have made to reduce the evil beast, carbon.  And there are around 200 active volcanoes on the planet spewing out this crud any one time – EVERY DAY.
     
    I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth.  Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year, think about it.
     
    Of course I shouldn’t spoil this touchy-feely tree-hugging moment and mention the effect of solar and cosmic activity and the well-recognized 800-year global heating and cooling cycle, which keep happening, despite our completely insignificant efforts to affect climate change.
     
    And I do wish I had a silver lining to this volcanic ash cloud but the fact of the matter is that the bush fire season across the western USA and Australia this year alone will negate your efforts to reduce carbon in our world for the next two to three years.  And it happens every year.
     
    Just remember that your (Australian) government just promised you by the middle of 2011 a whopping carbon tax on the basis of the bogus ”human-caused” climate change scenario.
     
     
    Hey, isn’t it interesting how they don’t mention ”Global Warming” any more, but just ”Climate Change” – you know why?  It’s because the planet has COOLED by 0.7 degrees in the past century and these global warming bull artists got caught with their pants down.
     
    And just keep in mind that you might yet have an Emissions Trading Scheme (that whopping new tax)
    imposed on you, that will achieve absolutely nothing except make you poorer.  It won’t stop any volcanoes from erupting, that’s for sure.
     
    But hey, relax, give the world a hug and have a nice day!
     
    PS: I wonder if Iceland is buying carbon offsets?

  49. Dave the Dog,

    I don’t really want to rain on your parade too much, but I should mention that when the volcano Mt Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it spewed out more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than the entire human race had emitted in its entire YEARS on earth. Yes folks, Mt Pinatubo was active for over one year, think about it.

    Ah — how easy it is to post lies to a web forum, right?

  50. Sorry DavetheDog, but that is utter nonsense. You’re welcome to post some references for all that. I’ve been over this ground with too many already who post such rubbish.

    Must dash.

  51. Good evening gentlemen,
    “Thanks for your comment contributions guys, but unfortunately I just can’t respond any more on this thread. I just don’t have that much time.”

    Hmm, well it would seem it’s not over until the fat lady sings and it would also seem there’s a fair bit of competition amongst the cooperatives for the last word, lets see who ends up with that accolade shall we?

    Something I considered earlier in this discussion was the issue of censorship. To Craigs great credit as an editor, to the best of my knowledge posters are rarely if ever censored on this site, even if they have opposing views to those of PRI et al. Ironically one of the few people whose articles have been been censored on this site is your very own Mr Monbiot. What, I hear you cry (grumbles of derision and disbelief come hurtling from the cheap seats), well, it’s a fact that Craig only chooses to publish Monbiot’s non-nuclear articles and censors those advocating his pro-nuclear views.

    Some might think that it’s just a little unfair on poor Mr Monbiot and perhaps on the many dedicated followers and readers of this site. Surely it’s only right to allow the readers of this site to make up their own minds about Monbiot’s true affiliations by publishing all of his writing’s, rather than just the ones he’ll obviously gain support for? In fact as a start, why not post up the video interview I mentioned at the very beginning of this discourse and see what your readers think about that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNmTLxecfR4

    All the way through this discussion we’ve constantly heard, we need solutions, we need options and at every twist and turn, when solutions have been proffered, they have been dismissed by the coal or nuclear two option non-sense of the pro-Monbiot brigade. From the simple but little known mechanics of energy amplifiers and steam generators to the well know technologies of wind, solar and wave power, all have been dismissed with the wave of a hand by those who claim to represent the cutting edge of systemic solution based science.

    This is an excerpt from an article and link from today’s Japan Times;

    Suicides upping casualties from Tohoku catastrophe

    Yamada, Iwate Pref. — On June 11, a dairy farmer in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, chalked a note on the wall of his cattle shed. “If only there wasn’t a nuclear power plant,” the message read, in reference to the damaged Fukushima No. 1 plant just 45 km away, which had effectively ended his livelihood.

    The man already had culled his livestock after raw milk shipments from the area where he lived had been stopped. Now, he chose to end his own life, too. “I have lost the energy to carry on working,” he added in what would be his final words.

    https://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110623f1.html

    Just to first put the above article in perspective in relation to our issues with Monbiot, here’s a link I posted up earlier in this thread;

    Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power
    By George Monbiot

    https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

    Thomas – I’m so happy that you think I’m a poponent, sounds cute ja? FYI Hindus don’t eat schwein but we all know who does like a bit of thüringer eh? For those with such an internationally infamous history of national socialism, it might be considered prudent to avoid racial and religious analogies that could be misconstrued by our Hindu and Muslim brothers and sisters as offensive. Many of the visitors to this site may not be as gifted in the artfulness of English language rhetoric as your good self.

    Craig – where are we know 54 comments, perhaps we’ll hit a century before the months out, no such thing as bad publicity eh! :>)

    Anton – Good on you brother for standing up for the truth, it’s a hard commodity to find in a world full of lies, when the greenies go nuclear, you can know for sure it’s time to head for the hills!

  52. Harry. As you know, picking and choosing which articles to publish and which not to is not ‘censorship’. It’s just normal editorial practise. There are other contributors to this site who offer various articles. Some get accepted, some do not. The article at top of this thread is in alignment with permaculture principles. His pro-nuclear articles are not. I get the same from some other contributors, and they face the same kind of rejection.

    Again, I do not ‘wave’ away other technologies. I just must ensure we compare apples with apples, and that we keep their EROEI in perspective.

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2010/02/23/wave-power/

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/09/10/solar-towers/

    In the end, as I have gone to great pains to explain in other posts, we need to dramatically change our lifestyles and reduce our demands. Here’s an example:

    https://pmnlive.wpengine.com/2009/05/27/why-increased-energy-efficiency-wont-save-us/

    There are different options more suited to different places. None have the intensity of embodied energy in them that we’ve grown accustomed to from the likes of oil, coal, nuclear, gas. Yet, I of course am all for them. I just seek to keep some perspective on the realities of supply and demand. Most of the world’s population just flick their switches oblivious to what it really costs.

    I’m not attempting to have the last word…. Louis made what was an interesting statement in light of what I’d already written. I may make brief observations, but I don’t have the time to make lots of full length responses.

  53. Harry,

    you have now, in this discussion, (a) insulted the author of this original discussion to be a “creep”, and (b) insulted me to effectively be a Nazi. Many thanks for that.

    Concerning the “Hindus and pork” issue, it was a Hindu colleague who told me the story that one reason for adopting beef as “forbidden meat” actually was that the Muslims had a type of forbidden meat, too. Many Hindus are vegetarians, for sure, but there is no religious taboo against pork in Hinduism.

    But, incidentally, I happened to decide on this particular example as it actually comes straight out of the Designer’s Manual. Above, you write: “Have you actually read Permaculture A Designers’ Manual, by Bill Mollison, in particular chapter 14, The Strategies of an Alternative Global Nation.” — Well, you should have read a bit further, to section 14.4 then.

    Confrontational thinking, operating through political or power systems,has destroyed cultural, intellectual, and material resources that could have been used, in a life-centered ethic, for earth repair. It is possible to agree with most people, of any race or creed, on the basics of life-centered ethics and commonsense procedures, across all cultural groups; it matters not that one group eats beef, and another regards cows as holy, providing they agree to cooperate in areas which are of concern to them both, and to respect the origins of their differences as a chance of history and evolution, not assessing such differences as due to personal perversity. (…) the antagonistic attitude of “who is not with me is against me”, itself a coercive and illogical attitude and one likely, in the extreme, to classify all others as enemies (…).

    It is also briefly mentioned in the PDM in another place, when it’s about cultural diversity and resource utilization.

    Now you’ll of course try to argue that nuclear energy is not compatible with a “life-centered ethic” – That may well be the case (and I also think Monbiot is very wrong here) but this does not make any difference to the issue that you personally insult George Monbiot not even for his views, but essentially for being George Monbiot (as you do not believe he ever could change his views) and would want to forbid him to have a say on a matter that is not at all about society and energy. And that is precisely what Bill Mollison was writing about above.

  54. Maybe we can take some of the bitterness out of this discussion, guys?

    Thomas- I don’t know about that situation in Germany. It’s nice that it worked out. If George were to look at the evidence he seems to be ignoring and cease to be a nuclear cheerleader, that would be good, too. And please be careful- your comment directed as me implies that I am encouraging the Lutec technology when I have not mentioned it and this is the first I’ve heard of it.

    BTW, what is the ‘over-unity’ scam you accuse me of falling for?

    You quoted from the PDM: “it matters not that one group eats beef, and another regards cows as holy, providing they agree to cooperate in areas which are of concern to them both, and to respect the origins of their differences as a chance of history and evolution, not assessing such differences as due to personal perversity.”

    I hope you realize that no one is calling Monbiot perverse (or at least I’m not), it’s that we feel he lacks integrity. I suspect he is under the pay of the nuclear industry. Do I have proof? No. It’s a feeling based on the information I’ve come across. For instance, the true EROEI of nuclear energy is much lower than what the industry presents. Nuclear power plants don’t last that long, and waste needs to be stored for thousands- yes, THOUSANDS of years. How many generations of people is that? This waste storage in itself requires energy to maintain. And in the end, what do you get from this? A little temporary energy at a tremendous environmental and human cost. It is unsustainable, to say the least.

    It was also shocking to hear Monbiot state that he was embracing nuclear because no one had died from the Fukushima nuclear accident. How can you make that statement when the effects of radiation take time to manifest? When most people are in agreement that the rescue workers at the plant are almost certain to die from radiation? When Chernobyl has shown that the casualties are heavy, but covered up?

    His speech supporting nuclear stunk to high heaven and, for me, placed him firmly in the “shun” category. I’m mystified why his supporters here don’t share my suspicion, despite his previous (laudable) work on this site and elsewhere. His arguments are just so superficial and smack of the mainstream media’s tendency to lump people into black/white either/or categories. I know that alternative energy cannot replace the energy we get from oil, and likely never will. That doesn’t mean I am going to pick coal or nuclear, one or the other. Again, I don’t pretend to have the answer to the energy issue. I say we ban the technology and deal with it then. The reality is that we will most likely have to deal with it one way or another, and embracing nuclear or coal, or alternative energy as THE answer is unlikely to work. Isn’t a large part of permaculture about dealing with this issue? I thought it was clear that we would have to cut back- shouldn’t our efforts be focused there as opposed to the silly argument of “which is the worse necessary evil, coal or nuclear”?

    “It is almost comical to see such attacks to George Monbiot — on an issue not at all related to the article…”

    Brother, feel free to stay out of it if it’s below you. Yes, we are definitely not discussing the article, we are discussing the writer.

    It seems that some people feel us “little guys” are out of line for criticizing someone of Monbiot’s stature. Certainly he has more fame (and probably fortune) than me. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to speak out against him when I see the need to do so, especially when an organization I have a lot of respect for is involved.

    Just want to say that I plan to continuing visiting the PRI website even if Monbiot’s articles continue showing up here. It will change my feeling towards PRI, as it probably will for others, but there’s such a wealth of good info here and Craig is a very capable editor- thank you for the work you do, Craig. It would indeed be throwing the baby out with the bathwater to stop visiting this site just because you disagree with publishing one writer’s pieces here. But I don’t think the same can be said about dumping Monbiot’s. It’s important to draw certain lines, to have limits. GMOs and nuclear energy are lines that I don’t think can be crossed by those who are committed to permaculture.

    Harry,

    Thank you for speaking out.
    “When the greenies go nuclear, you can know for sure it’s time to head for the hills!”
    My thoughts exactly…

  55. Anton,

    I should have made it clearer that this “over-unity” remark was not directed against you. My fault – apologies.

  56. Oh man, I just couldn’t resist writing something here after having a read of this thread. It really is a most enthralling read and I first want to offer my congratulations for launching and sustaining this discussion.
    It could almost be reaching the grand scale of the famous Hemenway copyright turnaround thread to be found elsewhere on the internet. If you have not had the pleasure of reading it, and have an hour to spare, I totally recommend it to all willing researchers. It is a classic demonstration of a permaculture teacher accepting feedback, responding and adapting.
    This thread reminds me of that one, but here there is no change. Deflection of feedback is not best practice.

    Craig you strike me as a young man, and yet you’ve “heard it before” and “seen it so many times” haven’t you?
    I can understand you wanting to assist George Monbiot if he is your friend, but really man, for Earth’s sake, you are the editor of a site which calls itself THE permaculture research institute.
    So when your responding researchers observe a behavioral trait or pattern in another thing (case in point the author of the article above) and identify it as being inappropriate then you should pay great attention, especially as your own observation is likely to be affected by your friendship. These researchers are looking at it more objectively than you and see a different picture. Like it or not, you need to accept that feedback, because there’s more than just a little truth in what some of these guys here are saying.
    If this sort of discussion makes you bored or it’s too much for your busy schedule then you’re in the wrong job man!

    So tell me is this how it works?
    You’re helping your friend write a book about permaculture, and hey what’s with the peculiar title of that book? It sounds a bit muddled already. What exactly is agroecological agriculture? By all means enlighten me, or should I wait for the book?
    Anyhow what better way to prepare the ground and get him known among the permaculture community than by publishing a few individually selected permaculture-friendly articles on this site to soften people up right?
    I can imagine that it’s a cyclycal promotion venture. How very pc!
    And odds on when this George Monbiot has written his book it will be front page news right here at Research HQ.
    Man I’d even lay 50 bucks on it right now!

    Oh man, I’m sorry I got sidetracked, you don’t need to answer any of that. You’re doing a great job as you are most certainly bringing more attention to permaculture.
    I’m not a young man anymore. I have seen friends I used to march with become bankers and lawyers.
    I remember Bill as a younger man and thankfully he has stayed true.
    He realized something truly important. He used the word permaculture for want of a better word.
    It’s about freedom unto Nature. We are locked into and dependent upon the Anti-Nature system. That lock is guarded by evermore sophisticated security measures.
    Permaculture is a freedom tool which can release people to reconnect with our native natural life support systems.
    If you want to jimmy the lock then understanding the mechanics of the lock is important.
    Just what is your friend struggling with that we don’t all struggle with?
    Didn’t Bill struggle with the same issues?
    He came up with a quite different plan. His attitude is important right there, and is still permaculture’s invisible fuel. It is positive creative attitude.
    George Monbiot does not have that attitude is my impression. He may even be lock mechanics department. What’s that old saying? “If you can’t beat them, join them”.

    I want to ask something about Monsanto.
    No Monbiot if he was pro-Monsanto right?
    Because it would mean that his whole philosophy must be seriously skewed away from permaculture.
    OK so that’s great! It’s a start anyhow.
    Now, what about Dupont? Heard of them?
    Perhaps they’re more famous over here. They were founded in 1802, and back then they were a premier dynamite manufacturer. They went on to invent Nylon and so forth and so on, you can look it up if you don’t already know. Once a bomber always a bomber and they certainly stayed true to their roots by developing plutonium (nuclear) bombs.
    Now, here’s what they have to say about themselves : “Dupont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere”.
    Well mulch my cucumbers that sounds like permaculture!
    Does TP Research HQ support that? Or do you see through the greenwash?

    I don’t know anything about George Monbiot or what else he writes, but I’ve read this article above. I feel totally indifferent about it to be honest.
    Hey man of course governments are putting a price on Nature, and making major profit from Nature. They’ve been doing that for like forever. They are the strongest taking from the weak. That’s all. We’re not surprised are we? I mean we all observe Nature right?
    One thing I hope we can all observe is how EVERYTHING is connected.
    What does connect this article and you guys talking nuclear is again exploitation and marketing of natural resources in the name of a resource and climatic challenge. In the case of nuclear to assist the war on weather and replace black gold. Both are hot topics right about now.

    You do realize that going for nuclear totally INCREASES the use of the same dirty old fossil fuels, because they are required to build and power all the machinery every step of the way from the mine to the reactor chamber.
    Just because nuclear says it’s this and says it’s that doesn’t mean that it is.

    I’ve been around long enough to see a few changes.
    It was just before the war when scientists split the atom. Nobody much knew it at the time, but the race was on to produce something devastating.
    My government got there first with Trinity and then dropped 2 more on Japan.
    The original and primary use of nuclear power was military.
    There was a bit of a lull in the aftermath of the war, but the propaganda machine kicked into gear in the 50s. Uranium prospecting became big business back then. Like the gold rush and the railroad expansion, nothing stood in it’s way.
    To this day Native American people are removed to make way for mining enterprise. But none of that is ever up there on their billboards.
    I’ve seen radio-modification treatment become a major part of the global food plan. X-rays are commonplace from hospitals to airports. I observe widespread coverage of nuclear reactor buildings across the planet, many of them near fault lines. All the time Earth’s crust is repeatedly violated with atomic bomb tests.
    The explosive potential of nuclear power is one thing, radiation is another, but nuclear’s raw material uranium is also truly the best heavy metal armour that money can buy. Add to that the fact that it’s penetrative quality as a missile is first class, and you’ve got yourself some real metal gear solid for the stormtroopers.
    This is why depleted uranium (which does NOT mean it is no longer radioactive) weapons and armour are standard military HARDWARE. Any army without D. U. equipment doesn’t stand a chance in modern warfare.

    Do the research Craig man.
    I credit you for your positive energy, but recognize what governments are really up to while you’re hoping that they’re busy coming up with a new way to save us all.

    We know one thing for sure right? George Monbiot’s article illustrates it. Governments are into financial profit.
    In the form of electricity, nuclear power makes absolutely no financial profit. That sounds strange. Governments subsidize it. Stranger still. Those same governments have armies to equip. Ah. Equipping armies makes a hell of alot of money, for someone. Aha!
    It’s ALL connected. The market price of nuclear’s raw material increases with every climate change and decreases with every 3 Mile Island.

    As researchers, OBSERVE the nature of the element. Uranium exists in minute fragments among other rocks beneath the crust of this planet. To disturb it for whatever reason is to question the wisdom of Nature right here on Earth. To declare that we NEED it so we can power on into the future is outrageous.
    Before calling for more dynamite, did anyone stop to consider that maybe Nature needs that element there, right where it is, scattered far and wide, fragmented and ever so slowly transforming into something else?
    It could be a very long-established and vitally located nutrient essential for the planet’s health. I can’t prove that it is, but nobody can prove that it isn’t.
    This planet has lived and will live alot longer than all of us combined, and I am concerned that such behavior will not see us welcome for very much longer.

    There is a war. It’s a war on Nature. A war to sterilize and neutralize Nature. We are unfortunate freaks who seem incapable of fitting in with all the other lifeforms of Earth. Our only real chance is to tune in, and yet we continue to jam Nature’s rhythm with all manner of stolen mineral technology.
    The question is what frequency are you tuned to?
    Hey man I’m just trying to make it loud and clear, and it’s nothing personal. There are good vibrations about your frequency Craig, but your book-writing friend’s frequency is not clear and even sounds distorted.

    So as I said I don’t yet know George Monbiot’s other material. I’m going to read something more in just a minute. If he really is pro-nuclear then it’s a no-brainer, but anyhow the important thing is to look at more than just his green letters on any one particular topic.
    So as responsable researchers we are delving deeper, looking at other words he employs, his underlying philosophy, and feeding our observations back to you.

    Keith Rimmard

  57. “As a director of the U.S. government’s ministry of propaganda during World War II, Archibald MacLeish knew that dissent seldom walks onstage to the sound of warm and welcoming applause. As a poet and later the librarian of Congress, he also knew that liberty has ambitious enemies, and that the survival of the American democracy depends less on the size of its armies than on the capacity of its individual citizens to rely, if only momentarily, on the strength of their own thought. We can’t know what we’re about, or whether we’re telling ourselves too many lies, unless we can see or hear one another think out loud. Tyranny never has much trouble drumming up the smiles of prompt agreement, but a democracy stands in need of as many questions as its citizens can ask of their own stupidity and fear. Unpopular during even the happiest of stock market booms, in time of war dissent attracts the attention of the police. The parade marshals regard any wandering away from the line of march as unpatriotic and disloyal; unlicensed forms of speech come to be confused with treason and registered as crimes.”~ ‘Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and Stifling of Democracy’, by Lewis Lapham

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”~ Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) from https://democracy.ru/english/quotes.php

    The ostensible assumption that more nuclear is going to give us less coal appears flawed, and there may already be proofs of this.
    See also, Jevon’s Paradox

    “In 1865, the English economist William Stanley Jevons observed that technological improvements that increased the efficiency of coal-use led to the increased consumption of coal in a wide range of industries. He argued that, contrary to common intuition, technological improvements could not be relied upon to reduce fuel consumption…”

    We may end up continuing to burn more coal as we create/use more nuclear. This seems to be the case already. China may be a suitable case-study in this regard.
    This would seem to stand to reason in an infinite-growth model, business/government-as-usual context, and as we look around at the increasing demand for other forms of energy.
    In other words; the more energy we make, the more we may likely want/make/think we need.
    This is in a similar sense that, as it appears, the more food grown, the more food consumed, the greater the increase in population, the greater the population to feed, the more food grown– ad infinitum– as the population ratches itself upwards.
    Nuclear energy may exacerbate this dynamic because it injects energy that can then be used to, among other things, posssibly grow food. However, nuclear is not as easily/safely-mobile as coal, so the argument that nuclear replaces coal is imprecise.
    Last I looked, infinite growth was considered unsustainable.
    ‘Either more muclear or more coal’ appears as a false dilemma, which is a logical fallacy
    Where I come from, getting caught with a logical fallacy is a good way to lose an argument, and to erode credibility where this happens often enough.
    Incidentally, depending on what the below quote suggests, George Monbiot may be pro-nation-state as well:

    “…Monbiot criticises anarchism and Marxism, arguing that any possible solution to the world’s inequalities must be rooted in a democratic parliamentary system.”~ Wikipedia

    “Behind Boetie’s thinking was the assumption, later spelled out in great detail by David Hume, that states cannot rule by force alone. This is because the agents of government power are always outnumbered by those they rule. To insure compliance with their dictates, it is essential to convince the people that their servitude is somehow in their own interest. They do this by manufacturing ideological systems…”~ Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

    Like myths, perhaps?

    “The state has moved into many new areas as they become significant, such as… promoting nuclear power. This expanding role of the state helps prevent the rise of any significant competing forms of social organisation…
    The obvious point is that most social activists look constantly to the state for solutions to social problems. This point bears labouring, because the orientation of most social action groups tends to reinforce state power. This applies to most antiwar action too. Many of the goals and methods of peace movements have been oriented around action by the state, such as appealing to state elites and advocating neutralism and unilateralism. Indeed, peace movements spend a lot of effort debating which demand to make on the state: nuclear freeze, unilateral or multilateral disarmament, nuclear-free zones, or removal of military bases. By appealing to the state, activists indirectly strengthen the roots of many social problems, the problem of war in particular…
    Many people’s thinking is permeated by state perspectives. One manifestation of this is the unstated identification of states or governments with the people in a country which is embodied in the words ‘we’ or ‘us.’ ‘We must negotiate sound disarmament treaties.’ ‘We must renounce first use of nuclear weapons.’ Those who make such statements implicitly identify with the state or government in question. It is important to avoid this identification, and to carefully distinguish states from people…
    The state both promotes and is reinforced by forms of high technology which require state control, such as nuclear power… and, not least, military technology such as nuclear weapons. Challenging these forms of high technology also directly challenges the expansion or maintenance of centralised political and economic power which is closely linked with the state. The movement against nuclear power has repeatedly been met with state opposition and repression precisely for this reason. State support for technology which is capital-intensive, dependent on experts, and which requires state ownership or control can be seen as one way in which the state creates conditions of existence favourable to itself. Challenges to nuclear power… and other similar technologies thereby become potent avenues for confronting state power.~ https://www.bmartin.cc/pubs/90uw/uw07.html

    At any rate, Monbiot’s position on nuclear and position or situation as writer/journalist reminds me of an expression:
    “The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.”~ Daniel J. Boorstin
    …Journalists, writers, etcetera, who have their material propagated/disseminated far and wide can create the illusion of (sound) knowledge, since it may be inferred that, if their material is accepted to a wider array and variety of channels, it must be (more likely to be) sound. This can create the dynamic where myths are believed to be true, and myths, once entrenched, may be difficult to unentrench.
    With this wider power of influence seems to come greater responsibility… And there is little I find more reckless than nuclear power.
    If one was against nuclear and then became in favour of it, might there arise a concern that if they flip-flopped too many times, their credibility might appear wobbly?
    Might there be an extra internal pressure to stand firm this time? If only for one’s writing career/books/income/honorary degrees/awards?
    “Fame fame fatal fame, it can play hideous tricks on the brain…”~ The Smiths ;)
    —-
    With regard to nuclear, I’m reminded of other sayings too:
    ‘(When in doubt), err on the side of caution.’
    Nuclear power has too many doubts; too much opacity.

    Speaking of bizarre, there is little that seems advanced about “our” society.
    I look up at what appears to be squirrel nests– a bunch of leaves clumped together in the branches– and I think how that’s advanced. It is in harmony with nature.
    “The Japanese industry assured the Japanese public that these reactors could withstand exactly these kinds of events. This is not a surprise what’s happened at Fukushima… We’ve predicted similar things here in the United States– especially at those reactors in California. They are going for license extention at Diablo Canyon. This is unconscionable– especially in light of what’s happened here… We’ve seen now that the industry cannot be trusted and this technology simply does not belong on this planet.”~ Harvey Wasserman, from Nukefree.org, on Democracy Now, 2011-03-14
    ‘Prevention’ can be advanced.
    ~ My quote over at The Oil Drum

    1. Three Mile Island
    Fool me once, shame on you…
    2. Chernobyl
    Fool me twice shame on me…
    3. Fukushima
    ??…Strike three, you’re out?
    …Russian Roulette?
    We can speak via taxes.
    We can opt out of them system.
    We can localize.
    We can barter/ethicalcurrency-work for ourselves and our communities.
    We can grow our own food forest gardens.
    We can solve all the world’s problems in a garden.
    Permaculture practices can help to remove the required funding from nuclear projects and from military interventions, etc..
    Power Down.
    Take coal AND nuclear offline.
    Now.
    Before it’s too late.
    We shouldn’t even be having this debate.
    We’ll be fine, even far better with far less power…

    “At the very least, we have a desperate future… It is mainly because of utterly ridiculous things. The entire output of atomic power in the United States is exactly equivalent to the requirements of the clothes-drying machines.”
    ~ Bill Mollison

    Harry et al.:
    If you feel that George Monbiot’s position is often on the “dark side” of things with respect to permaculture, then I challenge you to bring them over to the other side.

    “Species move from competition to cooperation because they discover the economic value of cooperating. It is cheaper, more efficient… All you have to do is look at our pentagon budget and see that a tiny fraction of it would really develop countries that we’ve been levelling instead… Very much more cost-effective to make friends of them than it is to keep them as enemies.”~ Elizabet Sahtouris, evolutionary biology
    ;)

    Craig; two ideas:
    1. Have this site’s system somehow randomly select an article from the archive to post on the front page each day, or at least weekly. There are too many great articles hereon that get buried too quickly.
    2. Allow some of the more recognized people, such as George Monbiot, to post articles only on the condition that they return and read and respond to the responses. (Half joking here, but only half. ;)

  58. I fully understand normal editorial process, just like it’s normal editorial process for the mainstream media to completely drop the Fukushima story despite an ever worsening scenario on the ground, the power of the pen eh!

    Craig, you said; “The article at top of this thread is in alignment with permaculture principles. His pro-nuclear articles are not.” Surely it’s not just me that sees a contradiction in these words? You know if Monbiot was just pro-ploughs or pro- tractors, it would be one thing, but he’s pro-nuclear and that my friend is a completely different cup of toxic tea.

    I do appreciate you attempting to labour you points Craig, but you’re really preaching to the converted. I am all too aware of our true current global situation and the limitations and potential perils we face. I’ve been involved with permaculture for many years, in fact it was the knowledge of of precarious future that inspired me to search out permaculture in the first place. I know exactly how bad things are, in fact I would even hesitate to say that I’ve know about it longer than you may have, which might go some way as to explaining why I’m writing on a computer powered by solar whilst you write on one powered by nuclear.

    Thomas – As for point (a) I stand by my words, Monbiot creeps me out, ooze, slime, slither and worm tail spring to mind, no regrets on my part there. As for part (b) that is completely not true, I did not accuse you, insult you and effectively suggest that you were anything.

    However as you were obviously upset by words, I will attempt to explain them to you in plainer English. You are a German, you seem happy for everyone to know that, by making references to the German political system (as above) etc. For better or for worse Germany is known around the world, more than anything else for one very charismatic leader and we all know who that is. Therefore all I suggested was that someone like yourself who shares that heritage, would be wise to choose their analogies carefully, in particular in relation to race and religion. As I said not all readers of this site are necessarily fluent in English and some might take your words the wrong way, especially when you lump wicked, Hindus, Muslims, pigs and cows all in the same sentence.

    With regards to Hinduism, I’m fairly sure that you’ve never been to India, arrp janta Hindi mara dost? Janta neigh. Hindus do not eat cow because it’s forbidden, they don’t eat it because it’s holy. As for them getting ideas from Islam, the Hindus were vegetarian thousands of years before Mohamed ever walked the earth. The only places that pork is consumed in India is in the Christian communities, no surprise there really. You really should get your facts straight Thomas, it’s so easy to tell lies on the Internet ja?

    I have read the manual Thomas, in fact I’d be fairly sure that I read it before you even knew what Permaculture was. As I mentioned above the reason I suggested not using those racial and religious analogies here, was in order to be sensitive to those who might miss-understand and take offence. I love Bill’s work, he is without doubt a cantankerous old genius, however in matters of sensitivity, I probably wouldn’t go looking for quotes from him, sensitivity never was his big point.

    Thomas you said; “you personally insult George Monbiot not even for his views, but essentially for being George Monbiot (as you do not believe he ever could change his views) and would want to forbid him to have a say on a matter that is not at all about society and energy.”

    I never once said I didn’t believe Monbiot could change his views, in fact history shows that he’s done just that by changing from anti-nuclear to nuclear neutral to pro-nuclear. If there is one thing Monbiot is great at doing it’s changing his views! I also don’t want to forbid him from anything, if he chose to join this discussion, he would be as free as we are to express his points. The issue is this site posting supposedly pro-permaculture articles from someone who also writes anti-permaculture articles, see the contradiction?

    As has been the theme through this discussion, whenever genuine points are made they are either washed over or ignored. Just as well I’m the persistent type.

    Yamada, Iwate Pref. — On June 11, a dairy farmer in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, chalked a note on the wall of his cattle shed. “If only there wasn’t a nuclear power plant,” the message read, in reference to the damaged Fukushima No. 1 plant just 45 km away, which had effectively ended his livelihood.
    The man already had culled his livestock after raw milk shipments from the area where he lived had been stopped. Now, he chose to end his own life, too. “I have lost the energy to carry on working,” he added in what would be his final words.
    https://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110623f1.html

    Just to first put the above article in perspective in relation to our issues with Monbiot, here’s a link I posted up earlier in this thread;
    Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power
    By George Monbiot
    https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

  59. Harry wrote:

    I never once said I didn’t believe Monbiot could change his views, in fact history shows that he’s done just that by changing from anti-nuclear to nuclear neutral to pro-nuclear. If there is one thing Monbiot is great at doing it’s changing his views! I also don’t want to forbid him from anything, if he chose to join this discussion, he would be as free as we are to express his points. The issue is this site posting supposedly pro-permaculture articles from someone who also writes anti-permaculture articles, see the contradiction?

    Perhaps, but what about you?

    Do you feel you are “100% permaculture”? Including with regard to your take on Monbiot– worm, slime and all that? Care of people and all that?

    Perhaps none of us should be posting anything here then, or elsewhere, for fear of contradiction, etc., and PRI should just fold up.

    Harry, I challenge you take this up with George, himself, by email, and to include a copy of this thread. Face (and maybe make friends with) “your demon”. >;)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDu-qmYtEdU

  60. Surely it’s not just me that sees a contradiction in these words? You know if Monbiot was just pro-ploughs or pro- tractors, it would be one thing, but he’s pro-nuclear and that my friend is a completely different cup of toxic tea. — Harry

    It is a different cup of tea, to be sure, but I think that the plough and the tractor (together) are arguably worse. If it was not for the plough and, in particular, the tractor, we’d all be on the land, continuing with the learning curve we’d been on for centuries – learning to balance our populations and our activities with localised environmental realities and constraints. We’d be in small communities, where the impact of our lifestyles would be quickly observable (as opposed to buying goods from the other side of the world where the costs to people and place are wholly out of sight and out of mind).

    If there were no tractors, instead of one man feeding hundreds from the seat of his soil- and watershed-destroyer, those hundreds would have to do it themselves, and would not have lost that connection with nature that is the cause of our present woes.

    I would say that nuclear power stations are a symptom of a greater disease – with that disease caused by such things as tractors. You could say that the tractor gave birth to the nuclear power station. If there were no tractors, people wouldn’t have been ‘freed’ to move off the land to make way for BigAgri. They wouldn’t have been ‘freed’ to spend all day in front of an X-Box, or computer screen. They wouldn’t have been ‘freed’ to live their energy-rich city life that calls for nuclear stations to get built.

    Sorry Harry, I will not impose just your standard on the world, and I will not give in to the temptation to judge peoples’ motivations, as you are so quick to do with George.

    Again, I will post articles based on their own merits, on an article by article basis. If George Bush writes an excellent pro-permaculture post, I would run that also. Get over it, or vote with your feet.

  61. Oh man where to begin?
    I have just spent a good part of my Sunday reading more Monbiot. I’ve read the links from this thread, and I have also dropped by his internet site. The first one I read was Harry’s link to Monbiot’s article on nuclear post-Fukushima.
    Seriously guys, I think Harry’s right here, and Monbiot isn’t just pro-nuclear, he LOVES nuclear.
    Think about what that really means.
    The title is a play on “Dr Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”. The BOMB you see (so he DOES know), where ALL this nuclear began. Not with the tractor.
    Oh Craig man that is just such a ridiculous thing to say! A tractor is an industrial agriculture tool. Yes it’s done ALOT of damage. But nuclear is an EXTINCTION tool.

    I see you have chosen to completely ignore anything I wrote before. I’m beneath you is my guess, just some grumpy old hippy not worth commenting on. Too many difficult questions?
    I think I was being gentle with you before. Now that I’m more informed and have read this guy you’re peddling I will not be so gentle. Indeed it is my duty to be forthright with my opinion on this.
    There’s a chance you may respond this time, from your heart.

    Your friend Monbiot is almost certainly lock mechanics department. I challenge him to enter this discussion (don’t pretend you haven’t been following this Mr Monbiot!) and prove me wrong.
    He IS a tractor disguised as a garden fork.
    The fact that you haven’t spotted that, the fact that you have ignored your readers’ objective feedback about him, the fact that you trust Monbiot and take his word over that of your own researchers, is alarming to say the least.
    He is your friend and we are not?
    This is Research HQ right?
    There are alot of highly-skilled OBSERVERS dropping by.
    Your systematic denial places you very close if not even inside the lock mechanics department yourself. STILL defending this guy right to the bitter end, his word over that of people who are GENUINE permaculture ACTIVISTS. It is shocking quite frankly.
    And then to announce if Dubya wrote a permaculture article you would post THAT, after that terrorist’s contribution to species extinction. Man that is Grievous!

    What’s next? An article about Michelle Obama’s White House lawn garden? Look, she has companion planting and compost already! A change you can believe in, Oh yeah right!

    This Monbiot is a danger to People care and Earth care. He is a mind infiltrator. And he has got to you Mr Mackintosh. The editor of THE self-appointed permaculture research institute.
    Your refusal to see this, despite clear warnings together with mounting evidence from your responding researchers does you no favors man.
    People DO care about you and the position of responsability you hold.
    That is why this thread is so empassioned.
    People are appealing to you from their hearts here, and you’re just crushing them like a pattern industrial propaganda machine. Incredible. What’s your game?
    My guess before was that you are very inadequately informed about global nuclear activity and it’s history, so I gave you some. You’ve ignored that, just like Monbiot does. Now my guess is you’re a greenwash careerist. You’re selling postcards in the temple right about now.

    Permaculture got hot so you hopped on board a few years back, am I right?
    Let me tell you that many of us wholehearted defenders of Gaia have been fighting the military-industrial complex for decades and more. And now here you come as THE voice of permaculture ushuring in one of the MIC’s infiltrators. Is Monbiot hoodwinking us? Or are you?
    I also question the judgement of your boss for letting you loose like that.

    Thomas. You are a well respected author on this site, regularly contributing quite a number of insightful and thought-provoking articles which I have the pleasure to read on occasion when I stop by. You do NOT need to jump to the defense of your colleague right here! You have already said you don’t agree with Monbiot, so listen to your heart and don’t be fooled.

    Craig you talk about connection with Nature, but I would like to know if you truly have a personal connection with this planet?
    And if so what is the nature of that connection?
    Can you tell me please HOW you can be SURE that this planet is living being?
    And if you are sure then WHEN and HOW did you first discover that directly?
    The reason I ask is because some people are tuned in and some are not.
    Do you SEE the awesome wonder of Nature?
    Can you FEEL Nature’s magic?
    Can you HEAR Earth’s song?
    Are you TUNED IN to Earth’s super-Natural consciousness?
    It’s important, because that direct connection is what drives a true defender of this planet. Some call it a spiritual connection, but I call it a direct connection because Earth is my Mother. I owe my life to Her, and I will defend Her without compromise until I return to Her body.

    Earth’s garden is overun with harmful pests. Mr Monbiot is just one of many artificial fertilizers feeding those pests. If we do not stand up against these agents of extinction then they will take our energy and use it to destroy us. They wriggled out of the 60s, and let me tell you man, it was ON back then!
    I already mentioned that buddies I used to march with are now bankers and lawyers. Well, even worse perhaps, some of them went the media route. Those guys now make some of the most mind-altering commercials television has ever seen.

    What do you hope to achieve by these articles?
    That we will recognize much in common with permaculture ways in Monbiot’s writing?
    That he’s obviously so very intelligent, and he’s come round to nuclear so maybe we could too?
    Remember, Mr Monbiot has declared that he LOVES nuclear.
    Love is DEEP.

    In a nutshell, your most common default response is “I’m right, I’m permaculture HQ, get over it”. That sucks man. We need some quality assurance right here. It’s a vital part of permaculture. You need to trust your real friends ALOT more.
    I am ever so thankful for the persistance of brave souls like Harry and a few others here, because without challenge and disagreement (over FUNDAMENTAL permaculture philosophy right here) you’d be left with back-slapping guru-worship is all.

    VOTE with your feet Craig?
    I think that pretty much amplifies Caelan’s excellent point about identifying with the state.
    Do you really think that the green political muppet is better than or any different from any other colored political muppet? It’s still the Muppet Show.
    This is not a POLITICAL issue.
    This is a FUNDAMENTAL issue.
    This is HEART and SOUL.
    Don’t get off the boat man, unless you’re prepared to go all the way.

    Keith Rimmard

  62. I think what Craig is trying to say with this “George Bush” remark above is that, to him as the editor, what counts is the article, not the author.

    And that’s the only reasonable way to do an editor’s job, if you think about it. Try to see yourself in the editor’s role.

    What would you say about a scientific journal that would reject certain submissions straightaway because they come from a certain author? Evidently, that would speak strongly against the editor – and the journal.

    Now, there are situations where this issue becomes somewhat tricky. Evidently, scientific journals get swamped with submissions from crackpots, and one needs to have ways to make sure these do not take undue time (some such authors are very prolific writers). What this means is that there is no simple and generally-agreed-on recipe-like “optimal solution” how to do an editor’s job. Like a teacher’s job, by the way.

    Craig makes editorial decisions not ad libitum, but by adhering to a set of principles. I would say he does quite a good job at this. Some might disagree on some decisions, but I’d at least urge those to try to understand according to which principles Craig decides.

  63. Keith – do you see any pro-nuclear posts on this site? No, I didn’t think so. I’ve clearly written against it myself.

    Oh Craig man that is just such a ridiculous thing to say! A tractor is an industrial agriculture tool. Yes it’s done ALOT of damage. But nuclear is an EXTINCTION tool. — Keith

    This statement of yours just makes me think you do not have the connection with nature that you’re talking so wildly about. Too few are joining the dots to understand the steps we (mankind) have taken which have led us to this point (hanging from our fingernails off the precipice).

    You say that nuclear is an extinction tool, more than tractors. I wholly disagree. The tractor/plough combo has taken the world’s second largest carbon sink (after the oceans) and turned it into the world’s largest carbon source. Do you see droughts, floods, massive soil erosion, fires, coral-bleaching heat-waves, permafrost melting, ice-sheet melting, forest die-offs, insect and disease migrations and invasions, etc. etc.? Well, this is largely down to our mis-management of soils, with the industrialisation of agriculture being the main culprit.

    Heard the term ‘feedback loops’? Well, we’re in the thick of it. And these were not caused by nuclear power stations, as horrible as they are, and as much as you might wish we could just lay the blame there.

    The tractor and plough is an extinction tool. But, as I’ve said to another above, just continue to fixate on nuclear. Like many areas of humanity-run-amuck today, just continue to deal with symptoms, and not the root causes. It’s much simpler.

  64. “If George Bush writes an excellent pro-permaculture post, I would run that also. Get over it, or vote with your feet.” – Comment by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor — June 27, 2011 @ 2:19 am

    Whoa, I don’t even know if I can comment on that, if you wanted to have the last word Craig, that should have been it, I’m dumbfounded, you got me there brother!

    Craig I do vote with my feet, as I explained my living situation in detail to you earlier, I, unlike some, am actually living it. It’s not complex, it’s the problems of the world that seem complex, whilst the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.

    Keith mentioned earlier the Hemenway copyright turnaround (no link though Keith), anyway I didn’t know about it and couldn’t help doing a little search, this is what I found;

    https://uniteddiversity.com/email-to-toby-hemenway-re-piracy/

    “It is a classic demonstration of a permaculture teacher accepting feedback, responding and adapting.
    This thread reminds me of that one, but here there is no change. Deflection of feedback is not best practice.” – Comment by Keith Rimmard — June 25, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    Once again Craig, thanks for letting this run, despite the fact it’s obviously winding you up, you’ve kept true by letting us vent our spleens. If it ever gets to be too much of a headache, you can always hop off the speeding train and let us fizzle away or talk amongst ourselves, it doesn’t really matter who gets the last word eh!

  65. Harry, you’re not understanding something very basic here. As Thomas has recognised, as an editor you must act on principles. Let’s say for argument’s sake, you are sending in articles (I could wish, by the way, it’d be time better spent by both of us) and I’m publishing them for you. Then, one day you send an article that’s not in alignment with permaculture. What do I do? I can a) just not run that article, and tell you better luck next time, or I can b) tell you, sorry, I will never run any of your articles again, period. You’re asking me to do option b.

    Now, you’ll say, as you have time and time again – “ah, but this is different — this is nuclear, the most evil thing on the planet” (forgive my artistic license in paraphrasing). That’s why I focussed on the tractor/plough analogy you brought up (which you didn’t respond to). To me, the tractor/plough combo, and all that it means as far transforming society from our being (as was Thomas Jefferson’s dream), nations of farmers into being nations of consumers, is a central cause of our problems, and its consequences far exceed that of nuclear to date. Not only do they far exceed nuclear, but more, they’ve actually given rise to the percieved need for nuclear. I think as any kind of permaculturist, (ie. you must surely understand, through observation, something of the interconnectedness between such inventions like the tractor/plough and society and nature as far as ripple effects go) you must understand this logic.

    Now, this is a difference of opinions. And, that’s the point!! We all have differences of opinions. As editor, I let opinions run on this site, as long as they’re in harmony with the purposes of permaculture – that being improved well-being of people and place. I will not reject authors just because in some areas they’re out of harmony with permaculture. I won’t run their out-of-harmony articles, but I will run their in-harmony articles.

    It’s funny re the George Bush thing. There are some permaculturists (or environmentalists at least) who think George Bush was great (I saw it on another environmental site I was editor for – anytime someone bashed Bush, they’d bash back). I used him as an example, as I figured it would make you cringe. Yet, there are others reading this who might be upset because George Bush is being maligned, and George Bush is, after all, the former president with the passive solar, geothermal heated/cooled house. I personally hated most of his decisions in office (quite intensely, in point of fact), but there are others who see differently.

    If I start accepting or rejecting posts based on people’s views in other areas, I might as well close up the website, as you will always find people with good ideas in some areas, and very strange ones in others.

    I could, for example, start rejecting even comments where people insinuate that tractors and ploughs are better than nuclear. I’d be rejecting those comments because of my own personal opinions and observations. Once you start down that track, where does it end?

  66. “That’s why I focussed on the tractor/plough analogy you brought up (which you didn’t respond to). To me, the tractor/plough combo, and all that it means as far transforming society from our being, as was Thomas Jefferson’s dream, nations of farmers into being nations of consumers, is a central cause of our problems, and its consequences far exceed that of nuclear to date. Not only do they far exceed nuclear, but more, they’ve actually given rise for the percieved need for nuclear. I think as any kind of permaculturist, (ie. you must surely understand, through observation, something of the interconnectedness between such inventions like the tractor/plough and society and nature as far as ripple effects go) you must understand this logic.”

    I could, for example, start rejecting even comments where people insinuate that tractors and ploughs are better than nuclear. I’d be rejecting those comments because of my own personal opinions and observations. Once you start down that track, where does it end? – Comment by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor — June 28, 2011 @ 12:38 am

    Someone earlier mentioned glass houses, I do believe it was your friend Thomas, tractors eh!

    Zaytuna Farm’s new arrival

    Posted by Danial Lawton 3 months ago

    Zaytuna Farm has a new arrival a historic day for Zaytuna Farm.

    Yesterday I was happy to accept the arrival of our new tractor, it may not sound like much but it was a historic day for Zaytuna Farm as we have never had such a piece of equipment that could alter so much before. Though the tractor itself is reason enough to be excited, but the tractor came with plenty of goodies, a 2100 flail mower, a 4 in 1 bucket, a 6″ mulcher chipper, and still on its way is a forage harvester and trailer to suit. The farm will never look so good.

    https://permacultureglobal.com/posts/558

    PS for those who don’t know, Danial Lawton is Geoff Lawton’s son, Craig’s, err, boss!

    Let’s see if you publish this?

  67. Harry, I was hoping to get an actual article up today, but looks like not…. I’d prefer to be writing and editing than spending my time defending my writing and editing (and I’m sure many other readers would also), but there you go.

    First, why would I not publish your comment? Thanks for more insults (by asking such a question you’re insinuating I have something to hide – i.e. that I’m full of it, as it were).

    Sorry, but your simplistic view is getting quite annoying. It’d be great if you could think a little (join the dots) before you post comments.

    Harry, did you notice I keep referring to the ‘tractor/plough combo’? (And as you like to pick at straws, I also mean the traditional turn-the-soil-over plough, not the keyline plough). A tractor on its own, without an implement, can’t do a hell of a lot of damage. There are various implements you can attach to a tractor, however…. Do you see a plough in Danial’s list…?

    If you know anything about soil science (I studied it), you know that the issue is turning and churning and oxygenating the soil (making the soil organisms, if I can simplify, ‘hyperventilate’, and break down the humus/carbon content too fast, whilst also destroying soil life, soil structure and smearing the sub-surface to begin hard-pan creation, etc. etc.).

    You can run over a not-too-wet field with a tractor with a large flail mower to collect material for livestock and compost without doing much or even any damage.

    The point is the implement used.

    Conversely, a plough on its own, without a tractor, is still quite destructive. Farmers have been ruining soils with ploughs for centuries, even thousands of years, but at least then they, often at least, had rotations and rest periods in place to compensate, as they had the space to do so in a low population world. But at least it (using a plough without a tractor) was also done at the scale of a horse or oxen. Introduce the tractor/plough combo and give it hundreds of square acres to attack (and why not demolish all the hedges/bio-corridors while we’re at it so the tractor’s straight line doesn’t need to be interrupted), and it’s an entirely different story.

    My point about the tractor was, as I clearly expressed, the way it has:

    1) destroyed soils/watersheds
    2) released billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere (and in the processed resigned from its former role of sucking CO2 OUT of the atmosphere)
    3) ‘freed’ people from a life on the land to then move into cities to live high-energy lifestyles with almost-always destructive jobs.
    4) ensured all people (those in the city, AND those in the seat of the tractor) are more and more out of touch with natural systems and how they work.

    The tractor at Zaytuna Farm does none of those things. Zaytuna Farm sells virtually nil produce, and when it does it’s a tiny bit, occasionally at the local market that runs every other Sunday, and more for social interaction reasons, than monetary. So it is not ‘freeing’ people from a life on the land. Rather, it is simply a tool to help keep farm staff worker numbers down (remember, Zaytuna Farm is in the sub-tropics — growth is rampant, and without a tractor we’d never have time to teach students anything at certain times of the year), so that we can seek to maintain or even reduce student fees so we can educate more and concentrate more on improving the learning experience and improving student infrastructure. The tractor at the farm does not disturb soil profiles, and is instead being used to enrich the soil (compost material collection, etc.).

    Harry, do you understand the logic? Can you concede my point about the destructiveness of the industrial agriculture system compared to nuclear, or will you switch tack and continue to pick at straws ad infinitum. Is this just an attempt to ‘win an argument’ at any cost, or can you be thoughtfully objective? Do you understand anything I’m saying?

    I guess it doesn’t matter what you say, as you’re almost certainly not even using your real name. Even if you make a fool of yourself, and waste my time virtually forever, you’re still not making a fool of yourself, as nobody knows who you are. The internet can be a wonderful place of sharing, but there’s also the downside that people may never discuss things objectively, as there’s no need to — they can just switch aliases and continue with another persona instead.

  68. Craig, I am not fixated on nuclear. I am fixated on defense and stewardship of planet Earth. That fixation is something that unifies people from every human race and religion. Would you agree with that?

    I happen to agree with you about the intensely destructive process of industrial agriculture. Maybe you will even agree with me that it is more the WAY in which the tractor and plough have been ABused that has caused such damaging consequences.
    Don’t just blame the tools, you still need a willing operative. So it’s the operating procedure which is at issue right there. In that case industrial agricultural operating procedure.

    Man we could argue forever about which is worse, coal or nuclear, tractors or reactors, genetically modified organisms or radioactively modified organisms. They are all part of the same process to neutralize and sterilize Earth. A process which was designed and implemented hundreds of years ago. Arch food-fiddlers Monsanto and eco-bombers Dupont are just 2 of many active components of that same design process.
    We are dealing with some major effects of that process right about now, and it’s got us all arguing with each other, just as it was designed to do. Divide and Rule. Look what’s happened here already!

    I put to you that the writer George Monbiot is a modern part of that ancient design process. His nuclear turnaround is just a prime example man. It’s a NO-brainer like I said already. Monbiot’s LOVE affair with nuclear power casts major suspicion over anything else that he writes. That is why nuclear is being fixated upon to some degree in this thread.

    What I suggest is that we focus on implementing a better design system than the industrial agricultural plan. I think that’s something we’re all working on. Permaculture is such a design system. We need a clear vision of the world we want to realize.

    Now, with that in mind, let’s leave conflict aside, and if you would be so courteous as to answer my other questions?

    Keith Rimmard

  69. Craig,

    Instead of little snipes along the lines of “I don’t see you contributing articles here, maybe you should do that before commenting on George Monbiot” or trying to discount peoples’ opinions because they don’t use their real names, let’s just stick to the issues- for instance Keith brings up some very good ones, which seem to be getting ignored.

    Tractors worse than nuclear? In terms of the damage already done, that we actually know about, perhaps, but keep in mind that this is technology that is far more widespread than nuclear, and has been around a lot longer. Plus, the effects of tractors are largely reversible, in reasonable amounts of time (soil starts responding immediately and can show dramatic improvement in a few year’s time). Nuclear poisons the soil so that it may be off limits to safe cultivation for generations to come, as the contaminated wild boar in Germany are demonstrating. Many feel that Fukushima is just the beginning, which is why in Germany ALL NUCLEAR is on track to be banned. Again, keep in mind that we don’t have any way to deal with waste except store it, and that storage is imperfect and requires a lot of energy to maintain. ‘Imperfect‘ means that radiation can, and has, leaked out of containment to contaminate soil and groundwater. And guess what? Those resources will be unuseable for millennia. That’s why Bill Mollison banned nuclear energy, but not tractors. It seems you would have to be ignorant of the downsides of nuclear to imply that tractors are maybe (or even likely) worse than nuclear.

    Furthermore, as you yourself have stated, it’s not true that tractors and ploughs HAVE to be bad. like you stated- it’s not the technology, it’s the way we use it. Contrast this to nuclear, where ANY use has a drastic environmental cost due to persistent contamination. We can bind up the poisons of agriculture in carbon, as Geoff Lawton explains in his “permaculture soils” video. We cannot do the same with nuclear- the closest thing to that is Paul Stamet’s idea to use mushrooms to bioaccumulate the radiation and then store the radioactive ash of the burned mushrooms. It sounds nice but is only theory at the moment and I suspect widespread implementation would be extremely tricky.

    I am shocked that you are presenting these arguments. And to say that you would publish George Bush if he would write an article in line with permaculture (maybe you have a thing for guys named George?). What does it say about your principles that you will promote almost anybody, regardless of what they have done, as long as something they do agrees with permaculture? Why would you sully the good name of PRI? I should contact Monsanto and get them to submit something to this site, they would love to get some credibility from PRI. Unfortunately for the site, you would have a harder time convincing people of PRI’s credibility if that were to happen. Can’t you see that the same thing is already happening now, but that the outrage is limited by the smaller visibility of Monbiot compared to Monsanto?

    You’re telling people here to “connect the dots”? That’s a slap in the face to readers who are already doing just that, who are passionate about doing that, and who are persevering despite living in a world that you yourself have acknowledged is often hostile to permaculture. I myself may have to move because my permaculture efforts have been deemed “untidy” by the landlord. You talk about being inclusive to justify supporting a nuclear cheerleader on this site, and yet you tell people actively engaged in permaculture to “vote with their feet” when they do just that by sticking up for what they believe in! That is truly poor form, Craig, I’m sorry to say it. I have an idea- how about you study the information against nuclear power on your own site and elsewhere, realize that they connect to George Monbiot, and then act accordingly? For me, that is the point of this whole thread. I don’t know why you can’t seem to connect the dots for yourself, but it seems you really don’t. You know what permaculture is about? Connection.
    That’s enough tries from me to get you to see.

    Caelyn- I’m not going to take you up on your challenge of making Monbiot see the light of day, because I suspect he already knows. Being ignorant and willingly joining the “dark side” are different things ;) (Apologies to George Monbiot if he is actually misinformed as opposed to pushing nuclear for personal gain. But to judge from his writing, he is an intelligent guy, so I doubt that he is innocently ignorant).

    Keith- Thanks for keeping it real, things are always clear when you remember the Spirit.

  70. Oh excuse me while I vomit. ‘Keeping it real’? ‘remember the Spirit’? What sort of pseudo religious crap is that.

    You guys, who are so hot under the collar and spend so much effort lambasting the editorial standards of this site, appear to have become self-appointed High Priests of a new, all singing, all dancing permaculture religion with all that that implies in terms of hardcore dogma and exclusivity.

    You are way too much into yourselves and your achievements and I think that has clouded your objectivity. There is no grace in you, no forgiveness, no sense of being part of the human fraternity. In fact you revel in being separate from the rest of humanity.

    OK, you all appear to have been around this field for a long time but if you are examples of what becomes of folk who get too far into permaculture, with all your negativity and nasty outlook about anything that doesn’t sit within your narrow view of things, then that is too much for me. Count me out. I don’t want to risk becoming like you. However, I also don’t believe that you accurately represent, in any positive way, what it means to be a permie.

  71. Yeomans plows are great earth repair tools but we do not support Yeomans pro nuclear stance.

    https://www.yeomansconcepts.com.au/climatewars.htm Check it out.

    So do we ban any writings on Yeoman Plows and keyline design?

    Do we ban Darren Doherty approved Keyline® Designer https://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/306-darren-j-doherty doing great work world wide?

    Please people lets be reasonable and save our energy as there is so much good work to do and so much that needs to get done.

    Let’s work on co-operation and helping each other get things done.

  72. Man we could argue forever about which is worse, coal or nuclear, tractors or reactors, genetically modified organisms or radioactively modified organisms. They are all part of the same process to neutralize and sterilize Earth. — Keith

    That’s the whole point Keith, we could argue forever about which is worse. That’s the whole point! As such, as editor, I measure posts on a post-by-post basis, not based on the author’s other opinions in other areas, as we could, again, argue those things forever. Why is this so hard to understand?

    … and if you would be so courteous as to answer my other questions? — Keith

    Keith, would you please be so courteous as to take any outstanding questions and put them into a comment in a numbered list? I don’t have the time to read all of your very long comments to try to find them. Thank you.

    Anton, I wasn’t discounting peoples’ opinions because they don’t use their real names. I was saying that if people don’t use their real names, they are more willing to wriggle around in their arguments and waste my time by not conceding anything in the discussion when they should – because they don’t have to stand by their word, as I do since my name is on my comments.

    Anton, you are going way off topic. You don’t need to convince me that nuclear is bad. You’re talking about tractors and nuclear, and that the damage done by tractors is reversible, etc. etc. This angle started because Harry wrote that Monbiot was supporting nuclear, not ‘only’ a tractor. I was making the point, from an editor’s viewpoint, that it’s not so simple, and that, in point of fact, it can actually be argued that tractors are worse than nuclear in regards to the damage they’ve done. Yes, it can be reversible (theoretically at least, as tipping points may soon make reversing climate change impossible, if we have not already passed those tipping points…). Yes, all the tractors in the world could be used for earth repair work, instead of destroying soils, but they are not, are they – and at the present rate they won’t be anytime soon. Quit with the hypotheticals and deal with reality, and deal with the topic at hand, which is by what criteria do you allow a post to go up, or not.

    Again, I’m wholly against nuclear. Let’s quit talking about this as if I’m pro-nuclear. You don’t need to continue a discussion about which is worse.

    You’re telling people here to “connect the dots”? That’s a slap in the face to readers who are already doing just that, who are passionate about doing that, and who are persevering despite living in a world that you yourself have acknowledged is often hostile to permaculture. — Anton

    Anton – please read my comments, and their meaning. You’re taking the whole ‘dot’ thing out of context…. I wrote to Harry “It’d be great if you could think a little (join the dots) before you post comments”. Why did I say that? Because Harry brought up the Zaytuna tractor which is out of context with the whole tractor/plough combo argument I had been sharing. When I make a comment, do I have to dot every single i and cross every single t to ensure I’ve covered every base? For practical reasons (time taken to comment) I must assume that people understand what I’m trying to say – so I assumed that Harry understood that tractors and ploughs do the damage I described above by turning, churning the soil and removing its protective skin, encouraging/ensuring only monocrops are grown, etc. By then commenting about a tractor that does none of those things in the way he did, Harry has failed to ‘connect the dots before he posted that comment’. In failing to do this, he’s wasting his, your and my time. I’m just asking people to think before they comment. His comment served no purpose in the context of this discussion.

    Your next comment about promoting people – I’m not promoting people, I’m promoting permaculture, and if someone gets excited about permaculture and starts writing about it, I’ll put it up. And I’ll likewise put up articles that stimulate thought on how to reinvent this world. I will not and can not judge authors because of other beliefs they may have, let alone their motivations (who can know people’s motivations?). People are subject to change, and, again, if I must judge people, instead of only their articles, by absolutely everything they think and believe, then I would publish no articles at all. People here even go so far as to say Monbiot is taking money from the nuclear industry. These are wholly unethical statements when you have absolutely no evidence. Where is the people care in that? Stick to facts and don’t make such statements. Without facts, this is just pure gossip.

    Again, do you see any pro-nuclear articles on this site? You don’t, and you won’t.

    Thanks Bernie – that’s the thing, people are setting a rigid framework that people must fit within, and then aggressively trying to force that dogmatic approach on me and this site. It is arbitrary and it really is like religious zeal.

    Yes, thank Geoff. Guys, we’ve run several posts on keyline design and also promote Darren Doherty’s keyline design courses. Oh boy, how can we do that? We’re promoting a system whose hardware is sold by a staunch nuclear advocate (Yeomans). Indeed, because of us people will be buying more of his equipment!! As such, we’re actually helping to finance the spread of nuclear propaganda, aren’t we?

    Can’t you guys understand this? Again, if I were to judge articles by the people who send them in, instead of by the articles themselves, then I’m putting myself up as a pope. Unless I just shut the website down, where does this end? You’ll all have to confess your permaculture sins to me and I’ll have to study your lives and then only publish articles by those who fit my subjective view of what a perfect permaculturist should look like.

    Given the reactions, I wonder if people even understand what it means to ‘vote with your feet’. It simply means if you don’t like it, you can walk off. You don’t need to read this site, or waste my and other readers’ time. I will continue to put articles up on an article by article basis. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read them.

  73. Just to labour the point, as it seems you guys need it. From the page that Geoff linked to:

    Technically ending global warming and halting climate change is actually easy, it’s also practical, it’s cost effective and it’s safe. No esoteric, hypothetical Star wars inventions are required. We can do it. In a nut shell we switch our civilization over to nuclear energy for power and we switch to biofuels for transport. And concurrently, to remove the excess carbon dioxide that has already accumulated in the air over the last half century, the carbon dioxide that is now causing our immediate problems, we switch, large scale, to a chemical free soil fertility enhancing type of agriculture ; worldwide. Enhancing soil fertility automatically sucks carbon dioxide out of the air. Fundamentally that’s what rich soil humus is made of. Fixing soil is totally feasible and so terribly necessary — Yeomans

    From my perspective, he’s bang on about the need and potential to get carbon back into soils. But my subjective opinion is his ideas on nuclear and biofuels are wholly dangerous. If this guy submitted an article on soil restoration, if I were to go by your suggested editorial process, I would not run his article. Not only that, I wouldn’t ever mention the word ‘keyline’ anywhere, for fear of bringing him and his ideas to the notice of an unsuspecting public, etc….

  74. Hi Craig, I have already offered my thanks to you on several occasions with regards to your non-censorship of our views, which are obviously winding you up. However at the end of the day, you are the one with the admin and super mod rights for this site and you are the one who could potentially cut us off at any time, leaving your own last comment as the last word, that is your choice. However if you were to do that, everyone would know wouldn’t they?

    No-one is forcing you to continue defending an indefensible point of view, again that is your choice, you could just drop it and as I previously suggested, leave us to fizzle out without you.

    I have to tell you that I have found your attitude increasingly condescending from the outset, sometimes it has seemed from your tone that you are attempting to berate a misinformed teenager rather than dealing with well informed peers, some of whom, no doubt, are far more experienced and knowledgeable in regards to permaculture systems than yourself.

    Over and over you’ve laboured with certain points attempting to convince us of whole hordes of information, which most of us already know and accept as given, whilst washing over some very relevant information in this rather interesting debate. Clearly we don’t, as you’ve suggested, you do, think this conversation is a waste of time, in fact many of us seem to share a deep and rational mistrust of Monbiot due to his “I Love Nuclear” views.

    Really who do you think you are talking to, a bunch of idiots? Right to the bitter end you side with your big player friend from the mainstream media, over genuine fellow permaculture practitioners, do you realise how disturbing that is for us , considering your position?

    Geoff, where did you find that link? Hahaha, absolutely hilarious, surely you actually posted it for a laugh right? Firstly the site itself, so resembles one of the Internet marketing ‘get rich quick’ sites, as not to be funny! Suffering from doubt? Here’s another one with a different URL that looks just like it; https://www.yeomansplow.com.au The alarm bells often ring when you find multiple copies of a website with different URLs, marketing scam, marketing scam!

    So lets take a look at who we’ve got shall we?

    Yeomans Plow Co Pty Limited is a private company categorized under Farm Equipment Manufacturers and located in Arundel, QLD, Australia.

    As for PA Yeomans; Percival Alfred Yeomans (1904 – 1984) was an Australian inventor known for the Keyline system for the development of land and increasing the fertility of that land. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._A._Yeomans

    Where exactly does PA Yeomans , of keyline fame say he was pro-nuclear?

    It would seem the person pushing the pro-nuclear stance, lets all use bio-diesal instead line is actually Allen Yeomans, here’s some of Allen’s wisdom;

    Nuclear energy power stations lead to nuclear weapons. Never happened. It’s always the other way round.

    Plutonium is the most dangerous substance known to man. Absolutely stupid. Radiation from plutonium won’t go through a toilet tissue. Botox is about 5,000 times more poisonous than plutonium.

    Plutonium is around about as poisonous as lead. It’s okay for sinkers when fishing but don’t eat it.

    Waste disposal is a huge problem. Nuts. All the world’s even slightly dangerous nuclear waste wouldn’t fill the Titanic, wouldn’t fill the Great Pyramid of Giza.

    Chernobyl killed thousands. Rubbish. It was 48. Every day in our world, more people die from coal mining than ever did at Chernobyl.

    To quote the words of an earlier comment; “it’s so easy to tell lies on the Internet.”

    Thankfully it wasn’t Allen Yeomans who conceived the Keyline system but it was in fact PA Yeomans, so you don’t have to worry about not posting his articles and writings, Allen on the other hand would be worth avoiding I reckon.

    So what are we to think? Scam sites from Geoff and articles from pro-nuclear mainstream journalists from Craig, head for the hills people!

  75. Fascinating thread, I’m glad I had the time to read it all.

    I mostly agree with the poor opinions about Monboit, not just for his nuclear stance, I often find his opinions hypocritical, and too far towards self promotion and political advocacy.

    I would prefer not to see Monboit articles on PRI, same as I would prefer not to see posts by Earth Policy Institute. But I would still defend Craigs right to post them, editors decision and all that, we can hardly argue the posts do not stimulate debate!

    But, a book on Permaculture by Monboit worries me. I half imagine an epilogue about permaculture being all well and good, but we’re missing the big picture on nuclear, or designs on using the movement for advocacy of a particular political policy/agenda.

    How much can one learn about Permaculture without practising it anyway? certainly not enough to write a [good, fair, accurate, unbiased, useful] book about it.

    George seems more about promoting George than anything else, do we really want him as a default celebrity permaculturist? I don’t, he comes with too much baggage.

  76. I’m not going to repeat my questions Craig. Why waste time and space in such a way? If you don’t have the inclination to read them then let it be. It would be doing twice the work for a very unlikely yield. Not very permaculture hey man. Minimal effort, maximum yield you know how it goes.

    Word up Anton! I feel you brother. Thankyou and Respect to you for voicing your heart.

    Bernie you need to loosen up man. Or yeah sure, why not? just GO vomit if it makes you feel better.
    Yes, EVEN permaculture people get real pissed with each other sometimes and argue about this and that. We don’t suddenly all hate each other. The blows are NOT fatal. You have not just stepped out of your office and onto the “retiring with fluff” channel. This is the REAL world Bernie, where serious shit goes down. Shit gets rough sometimes. Man up.

    Craig you will make an outstanding politician some day is my guess. You certainly are skipping nicely along the stepping stones thus far. You see the way you patronize, sidestep, and regurgitate, replacing direct questions with your own pre-packaged pattern responses. Answering your OWN questions instead of those put to you by your co-operative RESEARCHERS. Just like a politician. Next stop right? I’ll even put another 50 on it to go with my wager on Monbiot’s book.
    In fact, let’s have a go on which happens first. You’ve probably been earmarked already. It’s a mighty fine audition right here!

    What I’ve garnered from reading through this thread is that you’re way OFF beat man. Your intellect is engaged with this planet, but your heart is not. I pray you bring the 2 together some day, hopefully before you hit the political stage.
    It’s not even the Monbiot thing right now, nor the nuclear and tractor thing, or even the Bush thing. Oh man you got some classics in this thread right here! No, it’s the WAY you handle FEEDBACK.
    We’re all learning man. That’s one reason I visit this site. All I ask from you is a little humility and compassion when communicating with all the fine fiery friendly folk that are out here in the wild and wonderful world. Your readers are for the most part actively engaged in permacultural life, so you can put your soapbox away (it’ll double as a nice ballot box one day). Just relax man, we’re all trying to learn and figure stuff out here, people just have different ways of pushing and pulling each other is all.

    As editor you ARE in a JUDGEMENT role. You must decide. So thankyou for sharing with us the mechanics of your own editorial process. That’s how YOU decide. On an article-by-article basis. Ok fine that’s your method. You can take it further than that though if you choose to. You can delve deeper, explore some of the branches and roots. It’s permaculture man, ethics first. The more you discover about permaculture, the more I think you will find that it is just as much about relationships as it is about soil biology. Connections. You know about connecting dots, you mention it quite often. You’ve managed to observe countless times just how frequently too few people FAIL to connect the dots that draw YOUR picture.

    I think some people, like Bernie right here, are confusing dogma with ethics. There is no religious zeal here. It IS a question of ethics, such are the pillars of permaculture design. When passing editorial judgement over one article or another, it is your duty not just to consider the content of that particular article, but to make a broader ethical judgement aswell. That includes the overall impact that you estimate the article will have. This is permaculture, you are an editor but you are still a designer. So is the act of publishing a particular article designed to entertain? to provoke debate? as a practical how-to? What are the potential consequences of your design decision? Which way does it spin the spiral?
    Above all consider the ethics because they are the roots. Like a plant, an article itself is just a flower, even a juicy fruit. It is connected to a root system, let’s say a philosophy, a WAY of being in structure and form. Now to make sure that plant is truly healthy and isn’t going to bring disease into the garden you really should check it’s roots at least before you plant it. That is YOUR role. This is PERMACULTURE research HQ remember?

    In summary, there are 2 major questionable issues right here.
    1 is your ethical judgement with regards to the work of George Monbiot.
    2 is your stubborn deflection of good honest heartfelt feedback.

    Both of these are important permaculture issues.

    PRI is a big boat man. We don’t want a mutiny, we’re just here to make sure you keep your eyes on the wheel and sail true. Many of the crew are quiet. A few, like Bernie, are feeling sick. I’m just one of the noisy ones yelling at you because you’re steering a bit close to those rocks right there and I’m not sure that you’ve spotted them such is your fixation on Land AHOY! Craig man don’t risk drowning your crew.

    Keith Rimmard

  77. It’s sad to see people saying I’m “patronising” (Keith) and “being condescending” (Harry). You’re complaining about my attitude, but look what started it from the beginning of this thread:

    Wake up PRI, this guy is a creep of the highest order, you mob should know better! — Harry

    As for you Craig, it would seem that you’ve been pushing Monbiot for so long now, logical reasoning has gone out of the window. We all get suckered sometimes my friend… — Harry

    “Wake up…” “We all get suckered sometimes my friend…” If that’s not condescending, and rude might I add, I don’t know what is.

    While Keith writes:

    Do the research Craig man. — Keith

    …followed in the same comment with:

    So as I said I don’t yet know George Monbiot’s other material. I’m going to read something more in just a minute.

    Keith is lambasting George and he had only read a single post from him. Yet he’s telling me to “do the research”.

    Almost all of your comments have been patronising and condescending.

    Harry, in regards to your last comment (which was delayed in coming through, by the way, as I just found it had been blocked by our spam comment system – sometimes it incorrectly blocks legitimate comments) I’m disappointed you continue to pick out the straws you want, and cannot concede the point of principle I have been trying to share since the outset. No, that site Geoff links to is not a ‘scam site’. Take a decent look at it please….

    Yes, this is Alan Yeomans, P.A. Yeomans’ son. Alan Yeomans describes himself as being ‘intensely involved’ in the development of the keyline system:

    My intense involvement in the development of the Keyline System particularly related to rapid soil fertility enhancement was half of the impetus. — https://www.yeomansplow.com.au

    …half the impetus to get involved in the global warming discussion and even write a book with his proposed solutions.

    His book shares his thoughts on why the world needs to shift to nuclear and biofuels, pronto.

    Again, if I use the editorial process you are trying to push on me, I would never mention the word ‘keyline’ or promote any keyline courses or even mention the keyline plough, for fear people would:

    1) become exposed to Alan Yeomans’ views and be influenced by them
    2) buy his equipment, and thus contribute financially to his nuclear campaign.

    Please don’t continue to try to skirt around this fact. You’ve clearly written I should not post George Monbiot’s in-harmony-with-permaculture posts, as it might lead people to read his pro-nuclear posts. This is exactly the same as Yeomans, who has actually written a book promoting nuclear.

    Again, I cannot set myself up as a pope. This site remains an open forum for people to publish articles that are in harmony with the three permaculture ethics.

    Harry, you complain that I’m treating you like you know nothing. But almost all commenters are voices out of the blackness for me. I don’t know you, your background, or what you know or do not know. What’s more, you complain about me being condescending, yet you then (when I place confidence in you by making the assumption you understand what I’m talking about when I talk about tractors and ploughs and the massive damage they’ve done to people, place and society at large) show that you don’t understand these basic facts. Instead, you bring up the Zaytuna tractor as some kind of Ace up your sleeve, when it is really just an out-of-context distraction. Any decent permie knows the difference. How can you complain in such a way, when you respond with such things. Permies use excavators and bulldozers for Pete’s sake (sorry Pete). The point was not the engine-on-wheels, but the plough on steroids.

    It’s clear you just want to see what you want to see, in any way you can find it. The point is to win the argument, not to be reasonable and objective.

    I again offer my welcome to you all to submit articles on the on-the-ground and/or community permaculture work you’re doing. It would be a far more productive use of your, and my, time.

  78. Harry,
    Anyone would have to agree with you about it being Allan Yeomans who pushes a pro-nuclear stance but there is nothing in Geoff’s post that would contradict that fact. He was talking about being accepting of the Yeoman’s plough as a good thing, not who was actually pushing these contentious ideas. This is just another example of the way that you twist things around (obviously without putting much thought into the process) to try to make it appear that you and your amigos are the only ones who know what you are talking about. Anyone with an analytical mind or who is not blinkered into pursuing one particular line of argument can surely see through that kind of deception.

    Not that we, or I (I should just speak for myself), disagree with your views on the nuclear issue. I made it clear in my first post in this stream (comment 1) that I am not in favour of nuclear. I think that most permaculture people would agree with that.

    Where we (sorry, I) do disagree with you, and will push back just as strongly as you are pushing your viewpoint, is that these people, George Monbiot, Allan Yeomans and anyone else that you care to bring up, have a perfect right to their own views, many of which would be accepted by most permaculturists and that it is not ethical to exclude their contributions to world debate on very important issues just because they hold one or two ideas that don’t fit in with our own.

    The point that you all are dogmatically making (and Keith, it is dogma, nothing to do with ethics) is that permaculture discussion should be confined (censored) to include only ideas from people who perfectly fit the mould. A mould of your own defining. How boring, how narrow-minded, how exclusivist, how uncaring, how inhuman do you want us to be. Permaculture should be open to all people and have a scope that is broad enough to encompass open discussion of all ideas. I believe that is the kind of openness that Craig brings to control of the content of this site.

    After all, he has put up with your one-sided views, your antagonistic attitude, deceit and thinly veiled insults for long enough in this forum without too much complaint.

  79. In regards to Allen Yeomans; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Yeomans
    He claims to have been closely involved with and was instrumental in naming the keyline system. Interesting language, closely involved doesn’t really imply very much, could mean a fair bit, could mean next to nothing. Then instrumental in naming, means that he didn’t name the system, but perhaps played a jig which inspired his Father to name it such.

    At Sydney University he also completed a postgraduate course in nuclear energy and radioisotopes. He then joined the family business, being mainly open cut coal mining. He produced aircraft tooling for Qantas and the Royal Australian Air Force, undertook classified research for the Royal Australian Navy, built small ship componentry and transport equipment for the Australian Army.

    Allen Yeomans sounds like a real permaculture kind of guy, in the most Monbiot sense of the word.

    The question I previously asked was; where is the evidence that PA Yeomans, the actual inventor of the keyline system was pro-nuclear? The fact that his deluded son is of that persuasion has nothing to do with his father, or is this yet another false dilemma? If we take down Monbiot we have to take down Yeomans, I noticed how the ‘Allen’ part of Yeomans is always omitted in your references, it would be very easy for those who are less informed, to mistakenly believe the words of Allen are the words of PA. Sneaky.

    Being a permaculture designer is all about solutions, I said to you way back in this thread I didn’t want to have a dirt flinging competition with you Craig, but it seems from you last comment to have degenerated into just that.

    So I’ve been thinking about solutions once again in relation to this debate, another attempt to find compromise in this situation, here are a few ideas I’ve been floating in my mind.

    1: How about posting less of Monbiot’s articles, after all his presence at PRI, has at the very least been prolific for quite some time. There are genuine permaculture authors out there, who’s ethics aren’t in question, lets simply have more of them instead.

    2: Be honest – post up the video with Monbiot and Caldicott, let your front page readers have a taste of the real George, not the edited version and then see what the consensus is, after all permaculture is about consensus, feedback and cooperation right? Why assist Monbiot to hide behind a green veil? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNmTLxecfR4

    3: If you feel like you are getting nowhere in a debate, don’t continue to participate in it, you’ve said over and again, this discussion is pointless and you have better things to do. Instead of getting nasty, just leave us to it, try being a passive observer rather than an obsessive participator for a change. It’s not obligatory for editors to comment on everything, in fact in most publications, the editor does indeed have better things to do and does them.

    4; Try to avoid the purveyors of pseudo science, the figure twisters and logical fallacy pushers, in other words the likes of Allen Yeomans and George Monbiot. Promoting the views of these questionable individuals, does absolutely nothing for your own or the credibility of permaculture in general, there is so much more to research than a single web search. (note to Geoff)

    So people, I think Craig, despite being utterly uncompromising has certainly got a handle on what we don’t want and why, so what do we want, is there a compromise to be had here? If not, can any of us claim we truly represent a cooperative system, when feedback is discounted and dismissed based on the views of those with questionable ethical integrity, what’s the solution?

  80. So people, I think Craig, despite being utterly uncompromising… can any of us claim we truly represent a cooperative system, when feedback is discounted and dismissed based on the views of those with questionable ethical integrity, what’s the solution?
    ~ Harry

    “Be the change you seek.”
    ~ Gandhi

    If any of you want to do so, I’d say that any pissing contest would be better put to use in the garden (or maybe on a pro-nuclear forum? ;).

    Metaphorically– and ironically– even if the Monbiot plant has poisonous berries and/or leaves, it may be good for fixing elements in the soil, or be food for a particular caterpillar (that spins useful silk) that relies on its toxicity for defence, and yet is an important food for a particular predator that can tolerate its toxicity, etc.. It may also be used for medicine.

    Fact is, Monbiot exists, and could be taken up by the permaculture community in a way where everyone wins, where the community is stronger… say, to help bring the message to a wider audience– an audience that is not yet onboard, and that should be despite its being somehow outside permaculture (in attitude, belief, etc.).

    Inclusivity.

    “Let’s work on co-operation and helping each other get things done.”
    ~ Geoff Lawton

  81. Well known fact Harry about Yeomans but not very funny just the way he sees it, but the real point here is that nobody is perfect and we at PRI at least have a good intention to help the world as best we can and the real results are proven on the ground.
    Permaculture is strengthened by its interconnected diversity, and you can never it seems please all the people all of the time.
    If I did not care about you all I would not bother typing this reply.

  82. So people, I think Craig, despite being utterly uncompromising has certainly got a handle on what we don’t want and why, so what do we want, is there a compromise to be had here? If not, can any of us claim we truly represent a cooperative system, when feedback is discounted and dismissed based on the views of those with questionable ethical integrity, what’s the solution? — Harry

    Harry – the problem with this kind of feedback is that it’s not representative. As I’ve said somewhere, some of the highest read and most circulated articles on this site are ones I’ve written with a lot of research and time involved, and which yet attract zero comments. In contrast I can put up something else a little to hastily (i.e. forgetting to ensure it’s complaint-proof) and I’ll get lambasted with dozens of negative comments instead. It confirms what we all know, that people are far more likely to complain than they are to praise/encourage. As such, people like yourself who have a mission to remove George Monbiot from this site, are far more likely to comment than are those who appreciate the selected articles from him that I post.

    Even online voting is not represenative. I could put a poll widget up, and then those who want to see George banished will email all their mates and family and any listservs they might be on, asking people (who are not even permies and know nothing about the issues discussed here) to vote a certain way, just as a favour, whilst those who appreciate George’s selected articles, and who don’t have the same religious zeal, will not go to such lengths.

    You can try to wriggle and twist the example of Yeomans how you like, but the facts remain that by mentioning and promoting keyline systems we can be unwittingly helping to bring Yeoman’s views to more people, and are even indirectly helping finance his particular views through increased sales of keyline hardware. Just because you have a personal dislike for George, you cannot just have your way. Read George’s other posts, and you’ll see from the comments that many have appreciated his insights.

    Again, if I only publish articles from people who fit your perfect mould of what a permaculturist should look like, then I’d publish nothing at all. Start going down that road, and where does it end? I will end up not even publishing articles from you, because your home’s solar panels were created through a process that has polluted some part of the world, contributing to someone, somewhere dying from cancer, etc. We don’t live in a perfect world, and there are no perfect permaculturists.

  83. Craig the research i was referring to (quite clearly so i think when taken in context) was of course in relation to the origin of nuclear power. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear enough, my bad, I’ll try to connect dots better next time.

    I admitted that on reading this article above it was the first I’d read of George Monbiot. I wrote something because I found the thread such an enthralling read and I wanted to contribute a comment, on an article-by-article basis. I’m sorry shouldn’t I have? Is that bad readership?
    It really doesn’t sound like my feedback is very welcome by you here. And yet I’m here because of you. You manifested my presence here. I am a mirror to you as you are to me.
    Hey man all I did was give my FIRST impression of Monbiot right there and you know that. Why are you trying to twist it? To make me look foolish? Just like a politician. Same tactics. Same design approach.
    My first impression from reading that one article was that the writer lacked positive creative attitute.
    In direct response to his article and the ensuing thread, I offered my thoughts on FEEDBACK and your PATTERN of dealing with it.
    I then read ALOT more Monbiot. I came back with my opinion on the writer having done that research.

    Is that really the depth of debate we can have with you right here oh VOICE of permaculture?
    Your editorial process is robotic and heartless. Computer says yes, computer says no.
    Oh you DO have time man, you have LOTS of time.
    Time enough to spend picking through posts, seeking a hair to split, just one little one will do, pluck it and waggle it about so obsessively that pretty soon “oh sorry people I appear to have run out of time, sorry no time to answer all of your questions. Anyway, What too few people realize is .-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-. et cetera ad infinitum”.
    Man you’ve had that approach since your Celsias days. Time for a change?

    Once again you swat my heartfelt opinions and observations with a swish of your political spin wizard’s wand.
    Do you have political ambitions Craig Mackintosh?
    That’s a straight up question, you can answer yes or no.

    People have commented how much they enjoy Monbiot’s insights on other articles right? Maybe so, but those articles were written BEFORE the author turned his coat inside out and declared his LOVE for nuclear. Where are they now? Not here defending Monbiot. Except for Bernie who LOVES George Monbiot, or at least the way he waggles it.
    Why has George Monbiot himself stayed out of this? I know he reads and occasionally leaves comments on PRI. Perhaps he hasn’t spotted this thread yet.

    If Geoff’s link to that Yeomans site is an accurate indicator of your global outlook, then I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that you jump on anyone disregarding nuclear as being necessarily pro-oil or coal or whatever. Ooh the big bad oil companies. Yeah well guess what? They’re exactly the SAME people as the nuclear fuel companies. With the SAME design approach. Muppet Show.

    It even looks to me like you are preparing the ground for a permaculture compromise on nuclear already.
    Can you Craig or Geoff assure me that it’s never going to happen right here?
    After reading all this I have a feeling that in the not too distant future PRI is going to come out in support of nuclear power in some form or other. Just a hunch. Hey there’s another 50.

    Are you really against using nuclear power Craig?
    You can robotically drag and drop more links right here in place of a genuine heartfelt human response if you’re too busy.
    But things can change right? Your friend Monbiot changed, so why not you too?
    Is it an unshakeable FEELING against nuclear that you have?
    Or is it an INTELLECTUAL opinion subject to change in light of further scientific information?

    Craig maybe you really SHOULD switch OFF. You talk the talk, now walk it yourself why don’t you?. Shut down your nuclear-powered media robot. Or do you really FEEL in your HEART that the benefits of the way you choose to use that nuclear power outweigh the harm caused by increased demand for nuclear power coming from your workstation?

    I think that’s why you don’t want to look at the whole nuclear picture. It’s ugly. Hey man I really AM with you on industrial agriculture. No doubt. I’m just trying to get you to see that there’s MORE than just that. I’m NOT saying use coal or whatever, I’m saying switch OFF. You turn me right off man.

    You have already answered just about all of my questions in passing with the comments you DO make and by that which you choose to IGNORE.

    Political greenwash careerist at the helm of a once much admired permaculture vessel is all i see right now. You don’t fool me buddy, and I’m not the only one, just a vocal one.
    Maybe I shouldn’t say such awful things, but it is what I FEEL in my heart right about now, thanks to you Mr Permaculture research expert. I came here because I’m a reader and a learner. I’m not claiming to be an expert at anything. I’m just a human being.

    Bill Mollison got me into permaculture, I have always been a defender of Gaia. Permaculture is a good tool for defense and care of life on Earth. But now i see how permaculture is being contorted by the media and used for promotion of individuals and political wagging.
    You are beginning to attract the attention of the big fish, you know those same sort of guys who used to make dynamite (still no word on Dupont man?). Like i said before but which you chose to ignore, those fish are going to use our ENERGY (and I don’t mean the “all effective energy has side-effects” type of energy that Monbiot talks about) to destroy us. This vessel is headed for the rocks, and the sharks are going to pick up the pieces they want and leave the rest to sink, unless we pull ourselves TOGETHER and get REAL.

    I’ve got a possible SOLUTION for you right here. How about get George Monbiot to write an article specifically for this site detailing the relationship as he sees it between his 2 new loves permaculture and nucleaculture?
    Craig’s probably given up reading this already, another one of my lengthy responses (sorry folks), so George I’m calling you out. Would you do that? I think it would help.

    I can see why permaculture interests political people.
    These people have ambition, but you also need a plan.
    You need policies. A change people can believe in.
    Permaculture provides quite a list of useful policies doesn’t it? Especially when appropriated OUT of ethical context on a 1-by-1 basis.
    Are we not ALL as permaculturists asking ourselves “is this permaculture?” when we make a design decision?
    When I ask that of myself I’m considering the ethics. Is what I’m about to do in line with the ethics of permaculture?
    I put it to you that an editorial decision on a permaculture site is also a permaculture design decision.
    Would you agree? Real easy, yes or no.

    Again, it is not dogma Bernie, it is not religious zeal (why do people keep bringing up religious zeal? Is PRI is a religious institution?).
    There IS a code of ethical conduct. I can still DO anything I want even if it’s not in line with the ethics, but I can’t honestly call it PERMACULTURE.
    I personally LOVE that about permaculture. That beyond whatever you choose to DO, there is a fundamental code of HONOR. By being loose with that code you dishonor your true MOTHER and ALL Her generations.
    It does not surprise me that politicians do not honor that code. After all, they are politicians, not permaculturists.

    Keith Rimmard

  84. Craig the research i was referring to (quite clearly so i think when taken in context) was of course in relation to the origin of nuclear power. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear enough, my bad… – Keith

    Yes, I understood that. Just the topic of the comment thread is not nuclear power (which I have researched, by the way) but what criteria should be applied to how articles are judged worthy of publishing here or not. You mentioned to me that I should ‘do research’ on nuclear, when the topic at hand is if George Monbiot’s non-nuclear articles should appear here. You were telling me to research nuclear, and yet were wading rather strong-mindedly into a discussion on if George should be published, despite having read none of his work. It’s, as they say, the pot calling the kettle black.

    Your editorial process is robotic and heartless. – Keith

    Thanks a lot.

    Do you have political ambitions Craig Mackintosh?
    That’s a straight up question, you can answer yes or no. – Keith

    Not in the contemporary sense (lording it over minions), no. Hell no. In the sense that we should all be involved in the decisions that shape our society – a la participatory democracy – I’m happy to encourage/push for a better future, but shoulder to shoulder with other like-minded souls pushing for the same.

    It even looks to me like you are preparing the ground for a permaculture compromise on nuclear already.
    Can you Craig or Geoff assure me that it’s never going to happen right here?
    After reading all this I have a feeling that in the not too distant future PRI is going to come out in support of nuclear power in some form or other. Just a hunch. Hey there’s another 50.

    Are you really against using nuclear power Craig? – Keith

    Your imagination is running wild Keith. I’ve repeatedly said I’m against nuclear. What more do you want? There will never be a pro-nuclear post on this site, not on my watch. Nuclear is not, and never will be, in harmony with permaculture principles.

    Political greenwash careerist at the helm of a once much admired permaculture vessel is all i see right now. You don’t fool me buddy, and I’m not the only one, just a vocal one. – Keith

    Again, thanks very much. You’ve completely lost me, but thanks anyway. Just keep pouring out the insults if it makes you feel better.

    People have commented how much they enjoy Monbiot’s insights on other articles right? Maybe so, but those articles were written BEFORE the author turned his coat inside out and declared his LOVE for nuclear. – Keith

    No, not true. George switched his nuclear views a couple of years ago. Most of the posts from him on this site are from after that.

    Why has George Monbiot himself stayed out of this? I know he reads and occasionally leaves comments on PRI. – Keith

    You “know” do you? Please point me at a single comment from George anywhere on this site. Again, no, not true. George has never commented on any posts on this site. He also has comments switched off on his own site. Additionally, when I took over this website comments were switched off here on the PRI site also. The first thing I did, before starting with the site facelift, etc., was switch them on.

    You have already answered just about all of my questions in passing with the comments you DO make and by that which you choose to IGNORE. – Keith

    I’m not intentionally ignoring anything. Your comments – yours in particular – are, if I may, rather rambling and difficult to follow. I would appreciate it, again, if there are yet any questions we haven’t already covered, that you collate them, and put them into a numbered list in a concise form. For efficiency’s sake it’s hard to go through your, rather rambling, comments, and pick out the yet outstanding questions.

    why do people keep bringing up religious zeal? – Keith

    We keep bringing up religious zeal, because that’s exactly what it looks like – people setting a very rigid, inflexible, black and white view of what someone should (or must!) do, and then seeking to enforce that view on them.

    I will continue to encourage and publish all views and discussions which are questioning and trying to find solutions to our current multiple dilemmas. That is part of my role – to facilitate open discussion.

    Nurture, don’t divide.

  85. Now now guys, surely we can find some compromise here, this tit for tat groove that we’re caught in is getting us nowhere and nowhere fast. Craig you’re as guilty of that as Keith.

    Support of Monbiot does not withstand any real scrutiny, as has been evidenced over and over in this thread. Arguments in defence of pro-nuclear people such as George Monbiot and Allen Yeomans, have consistently been dismantled in the process of this debate and on every occasion that has happened, defence tactics have been cleverly switched. Keith is right about one thing, Craig sure would make a good politician, let’s hope it never happens eh!

    I thought it best that I should own up to something, in the past I was pro-Monbiot and have previously read many of his articles that have been linked in this discussion, I perhaps should have mentioned it before, to have saved the trouble of re-posting old news, unlike Keith, I’ve been a keen follower of Monbiot’s writing for a number of years.

    I’ve decided to come clean now and share my pain, shame, disappointment and disgust with you all. There really is nothing more saddening than betrayal from someone who was once a figure of hope and change, someone we once trusted who becomes a turncoat. The hardest part, for me at least, is the personal shame involved in having previously heralded the words of this person as wisdom, as a voice of the people. I think it’s because we’re all so desperate and then suddenly there’s a person in the mainstream media, saying what we say, thinking like us, it’s such a relief, finally people are waking up, there’s a chance.

    First staunch anti-nuclear, then nuclear neutral, then pro-nuclear, what a great tactic to create even more confusion, division and doubt amongst genuine earth carers like us. Craig you’ve said over and again nurture don’t divide while refusing to see that it’s not the likes of you, me or any other posters here who are creating division, it’s Monbiot. In fact he’s so successful at dividing us, he doesn’t even need to bother joining the conversation, we do all of the hard work for him.

    Being what I would consider reasonably well informed with regards to the nuclear industry, when I first came across the Monbiot/Caldicott pro/anti–nuclear debate, I was dumbfounded, how could it be, our champion had changed sides, Monbiot the sole tabloid voice for sense has gone radioactive? Craig’s view was that he heard nothing but logical reasoning from George. How can one honestly claim to be anti-nuclear whilst finding nothing but logical reasoning from someone else’s pro-nuclear arguments?

    When I first found out about Monbiot’s love of nuclear, it made me feel sick to the stomach; duped, stooged, stitched up, blagged, taken for a ride, conned, cheated, hoodwinked, it really is the most horrible thing. It’s like the bloke who used to be a good mate, who turned out to be in bed with your wife, some acts and affiliations must one day be accounted for, the auditors are on their way folks.

    There have been numerous false dilemmas offered up here as valid points; if not nuclear then it must be coal, if no Monbiot then no Yeomans, if no Monbiot then no-one else either, for we cannot know the mind of another. It is true we can never know for sure if a person is really ethical or not, but if their thoughts, actions and musings reflect sound ethics and people aren’t yelling at you otherwise, it’s logical reasoning to take it on merit.

    So what’s it to be, compromise, cooperation and solutions or more turning away?

    On the turning away
    From the pale and downtrodden
    And the words they say
    Which we won’t understand
    “Don’t accept that what’s happening
    Is just a case of others’ suffering
    Or you’ll find that you’re joining in
    The turning away”
    It’s a sin that somehow
    Light is changing to shadow
    And casting it’s shroud
    Over all we have known
    Unaware how the ranks have grown
    Driven on by a heart of stone
    We could find that we’re all alone
    In the dream of the proud
    On the wings of the night
    As the daytime is stirring
    Where the speechless unite
    In a silent accord
    Using words you will find are strange
    And mesmerised as they light the flame
    Feel the new wind of change
    On the wings of the night
    No more turning away
    From the weak and the weary
    No more turning away
    From the coldness inside
    Just a world that we all must share
    It’s not enough just to stand and stare
    Is it only a dream that there’ll be
    No more turning away?

  86. NEWSFLASH

    Craig does not walk on water.

    (But maybe you’d like Monsanto to fix that for you?)

    Nevertheless, Craig’s shown a remarkable, almost a Jesus-like tolerance and patience, especially for certain comments.
    This is testament to permaculture ethics, so I suppose a thanks for the inspiration is in order.

    But then there’s also self-preservational ethics– maintaining one’s sanity and all that– and also, as this site, Craig’s work, and permaculture grows, people will have less and less time and/or consideration to devote to such things as witch-hunting, demonizing, ostracising, propagandising and dividing, etc. (a la dubious politics), or to devote to these comment sections, as our gardens and other permaculture work beckons.

    Right?

    You turn me right off man.
    ~ Keith Rimmard

    Well then how about rolling your own site and/or finding someone who turns you on to help you plant?

    “…The permaculture movement has no central structure, but rather a strong sense of shared work. Everybody is free to act as an individual, to form a small group, or to work within any other organisation…”
    ~ Bill Mollison

    I don’t interpret ‘Care of People’ to mean ‘turning them on’ (or ‘bending over backwards in contortional fits’) and imagine you don’t, either…

    Goodness no. ;)

  87. This will be brief, no rambling this time.

    “You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.”
    George Monbiot
    guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 March 2011 19.43 GMT

    Not 2 years ago, just over 3 MONTHS ago. I know that’s a long time in politics but it’s really only 3 full moons.

    That aside, I apologise for insulting you Craig.
    And I AM relieved to hear you say there will be no pro-nuclear on this site.
    As for my rambling, well I totally take your point, maybe when you get to my age your mind may ramble a little from time to time also.
    I blow off a little steam once in a while when something gets me pissed. Hopefully nobody gets hurt.
    Respect to you also for maintaining such lively uncensored flow on the comment threads. Yes that’s right, I am praising your editorial process right there Craig!
    Ok so maybe you could just answer this one question :
    Is an editorial decision on a permaculture site also a permaculture design decision?

    Oh one more thing man, I’d like to say thankyou for bringing Mr George Monbiot to my attention. He’s another one that goes on my special list.

    Got some good old Floyd on there hey Harry man. Some peace to calm us all down. Thankyou brother. I had a momentary lapse of reason, but we should never turn away.

    Keith Rimmard

  88. Keith, do you not see the irony in being a “wholehearted defender of Gaia”, in the context of this thread?

    ;)

  89. I don’t see the irony of defending our home and speaking up for Her in any context Pete. What is the irony you see?
    If your observation is that I lack some people care, then I take your point.
    And thanks Caelan, we’ve got it going on right here.
    Craig I am still waiting, quite patiently I think, for an answer to the question :
    Is an editorial decision on a permaculture site also a permaculture design decision?

  90. Thank you for your more measured response Keith.

    And sorry for the delay – it was a public holiday here, and I decided to take it for once.

    In regards to George becoming pro-nuclear a few months ago, what I had said was that George had switched his nuclear views in 2009. This was when he declared himself ‘nuclear neutral’. For me, if you’re nuclear neutral, you are already pro-nuclear. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

    Is an editorial decision a permaculture design decision. Yes.

    I agree Caelan, soon enough such discussions as these will fade and/or become far more practical as the basic need to survive becomes the main focus.

  91. Lovelock appropriated an ancient word.
    He is a scientific analyst, not a defender.
    He must have been to the same meetings as Mr Monbiot, he may even have influenced George’s mind on nuclear.
    I remember the media at the time. Here’s Lovelock, planet Earth’s number one best best friend, embracing nuclear, saying radiation is natural, and that nuclear waste is not so toxic after all.
    He’s another one, like George, who gave up on us humans. Lovelock even suggests that we are all “too stupid” to turn things around.
    Another classic example of derailment of the true green movement, and all the more reason to doubt every single word that has the misfortune to fall out of his mouth.
    Lovelock casts a spell of dispair.
    I’ll take Lovecraft over Lovelock every time.

  92. I agree Keith, I would find it extremely difficult to extend the love to any of them.

    I think they are lost causes, not worth the love, but I don’t think it’s fair to berate Craig for trying either.

  93. I’ve spent more time reading the discussion than the actual article itself! Fascinating stuff! My two pennies worth if we go back to nuclear energy is that with rising oil prices, many governments and states will look to actively pursue this. Obviously nuclear power is more suited to those areas that are not along a fault line! So whilst it’s probably not suitable for some countries, it more than is for others. That being said safety has improved at these plants. But if I lived along a fault line near a nuclear plant I would be apprehensive at best.

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