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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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Climate Change and the Challenge to All Forms of Agriculture

CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CHALLENGE TO ALL FORMS OF AGRICULTURE

We´ve all heard of climate change and probably understand the basics of how excess greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide produced by our society´s burning of fossil fuels is causing the earth´s temperature to rise. We´ve most likely seen maps of what the world will look like when the glaciers and icebergs melt causing the ocean to rise and most of us probably accept that it is a danger to our civilization.

For most people, however, we suffer from a cognitive dissonance that doesn´t allow us to make meaningful changes to our way of life-based on the knowledge that we have. Though the reports and predictions by climate scientists are certainly frightening, they seem like far away and distant possibilities. The 1-2 degrees of temperature change sure don´t feel that extreme, especially as we relax in our air-conditioned homes or drive to work in our air-conditioned cars.

In case you haven´t heard enough of the doomsday facts and figures, here are a few more figures from NASA to put into perspective how far climate change has advanced:

– The loss of ice in Greenland has doubled between 1996 and 2005.
– The ice cover in the Arctic decreases by 13.4% every decade.
– 9 of the 10 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000.
– Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest level in 650,000 years.
– The sea will rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of this century.

Over 100 million people who live in coastal areas will purportedly be affected by the rising sea levels caused by global warming leading to a serious demographic crisis of climate refugees.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Can a House be a Sustainable Part of the Landscape?

CAN A HOUSE BE A SUSTAINABLE PART OF THE LANDSCAPE? 

The modern-day housing industry is notorious for leaving out any and all elements of design. Most home contractors design the houses they build around a minimum square footage (the more, the better) and a price range in the several hundred-thousand-dollar range. These houses are designed behind desks or in offices without ever setting foot on the actual piece of land where the home is to be built.

The actual piece of land where the home is to be built is a side thought at best. If there is some element that presents a disturbance, the bulldozer can be hired for $50 an hour and get rid of any problem whether it be a small hill, a large tree, standing water, etc. In most cases, the first step of any home construction involves bringing in tractors and backhoes to rip out any vegetation and create a level piece of wasteland.

A superficial coat of green grass supported by heavy applications of chemical fertilizer mask the fact that the house that is eventually built is sitting upon an ecological wasteland of infertility.

In permaculture, the process of design asks us to take into account how the different elements we place on a given piece of land can function together and interact in such a way as to contribute to the overall systemic resilience and health of that piece of land. The underlying goal for all permacultural design processes is ecosystemic health and abundance. The underlying goal for the industrial construction industry is higher profit margins.

Let´s consider the example of the direction in which a house is angled when built. For traditional construction, this is a side thought at best.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Generational Wheels Are Turning

The Generational Wheels Are Turning

“The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”

— Oren Harari

If you only read my stuff sporadically, you might be surprised to hear that I’m actually quite optimistic about the future. The main reason I compose articles highlighting all the frauds, corruption and absence of ethics within our current paradigm isn’t to fill you with fear and dread, but to create awareness. Ignorance is not bliss, and I believe a deep appreciation about how completely broken and opaque the current way of doing things is can provide the spark of inspiration and determination necessary to create a new and much better world

As I’ve stated many times previously, it wasn’t until Bitcoin emerged and I started to understand the implications of it, that I became very encouraged about the future. Prior to that, I saw humanity living under a terminal, predatory system that would eventually consume itself, but I couldn’t see a plausible roadmap toward a better tomorrow. Bitcoin proved to me that not only did such a path exist, but the infrastructure for this better future was being built right in front of our eyes.

I first started writing about the revolutionary implications of Bitcoin in the summer of 2012, and looking back five years later I’m filled with an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation for all that’s been achieved. While the optimist in me always thought we might get to where we are today, to see it actually happen is nothing short of extraordinary. The incredible energy and global talent that’s entered this space over the past several years brings a gigantic smile to my face. It truly is an idea whose time has come, and the more the concepts of decentralization and trustless systems infect the global consciousness, the more unstoppable they become. I think we’re already there.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

All The Old World Systems Are Being Deliberately Torn Down

All The Old World Systems Are Being Deliberately Torn Down

As we approach the holiday season many people turn to thoughts on tradition, heritage, principles, duty, honor and family. They consider the accomplishments and even the failures of the past and where we are headed in the future. For most of the year, the average American will keep their heads in the sands of monotony and decadence and distraction. But during this time, even in the midst of the consumption frenzy it has been molded into, people tend to reflect, and they find joy, and they find worry.

What perhaps does not come to mind very often though are the institutions and structures that provide the “stability” by which our society is able to continue in a predictable manner. While many of these institutions are not built with the good of the public in mind, they often indirectly secure a foundation that can be relied upon, for two or three generations, while securing power for the establishment. The problem is, the establishment is never satisfied with a static or semi-peaceful system for very long. They are not satisfied by being MOSTLY in control, they seek total control. Thus, they are often willing to create chaos and crisis and even tear down old structures that previously benefited them in order to gain something even greater (and more oppressive for the rest of us).

The official Thanksgiving holiday, for example, did not really begin as a homage to the colonial settlers and pilgrims of America’s birth and their struggles to build a new life.  While George Washington did proclaim a “Day of Thanks” in 1789, the model for Thanksgiving began far later, in 1863 as the Civil War was raging.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where Does It End?

Where Does It End?

Where Does It End?

It’s nothing new.

Whenever a major country is in decline and approaching collapse, a contingent arises that does everything it can to speed up the process toward collapse. This is always done in the same way:

  • Vilify the established rulers as being the culprits for the nation’s woes.
  • Establish simplistic arguments to support that view. (The arguments need not be entirely logical or supportable, but they must have emotional public appeal.)
  • Create simplistic rhetoric that supports the destruction of the establishment and its icons.
  • Make the arguments and rhetoric as ubiquitous as possible (particularly through the media).

 

Then, like any recipe, turn up the heat and bake until done.

Generally, the destruction of the first icon (most often a statue) requires some sort of explanation, regardless of how flimsy the argument may be. After that has succeeded, praise is to be showered on those who took part, egging them, and others, on to do more. As each new icon falls, less justification is necessary and, in the end, only blind anger is required to keep the destruction going.

In the present era, we’re witnessing this age-old process taking place in quite a few countries, but notably in the US.

But, why the US—the one country in the world that began as possibly the most advanced, freest nation the world had ever seen? How did this come to pass in “the land of the free”?

Well, truth be told, no matter how inspired or sincere the founding fathers of any nation may be, those who would usurp them are always many in number and, in most cases, are prepared to do whatever it takes to slowly take power and return to tyrannical rule.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Approaching Famine

The most serious forecast that we see from our computer models has been a rise in agricultural prices caused by Global Cooling – not Global Warming. Crops cannot grow without the sun and water. Historically, when the weather turns cold, the crops fail.

There is no question that food prices will rise during periods of war when crops cannot be planted and armies require food on a priority allotment.

However, Mother Nature sticks her finger into the pot to stir things up. The famine cycle is also an 8.6-year frequency, but the volatility aspect comes in units of 12 rather than 6.

   

Our database on wheat from 1259 forward (excluding our data on the Roman Empire grain prices), reveals that there is a serious risk of famine from 2020 onward. It appears that we may very well enter a 12-year rally into the year 2032. Our Bifurcation Models are reflecting also a gap in time between 2020 and 2031 suggesting a trend appears to last for that period of time.

The downside of taxation, and particularly inheritance taxes, has driven farmers to sell their land to conglomerates just to pay the inheritance taxes. This has resulted in genetically altering crops to increase yield. While genetically altered crops do not really appear to present a major health concern as many seem to argue, the real danger is the fact that during the past 100 years, 94% of the world’s edible seed varieties have vanished.

The downside of socialism which has attacked the rich, we have sacrificed the historical model in our food supply for corporate decision making that bribes politicians handing them their needed money to remain in office with each election.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Transition in the Age of Denial

Transition in the Age of Denial

Propagation Techniques

PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES

Establishing a tree-based perennial agriculture system can cost a lot of money, especially if you´re planning on buying $30 dollar bagged fruit trees at your local orchard. Luckily, you can propagate many of the trees you are planning to plant by yourself. One of the easiest and best known ways to propagate many different trees, bushes, and other perennial plants is through planting seeds. Many nitrogen-fixing trees and bushes can easily be grown from seed, but other species are best propagated through other vegetative techniques that we will introduce below.

GRAFTING, LAYERING, AND AIR GRAFTING

Grafting is a horticultural technique whereby tissues of plants are joined so as to continue their growth together. The upper part of the combined plant is called the scion while the lower part is called the rootstock. Since most fruit and nut trees won´t grow true to seed (meaning that the seed from the Gala apple you grow will produce fruit that doesn´t resemble Gala apples at all), the way to reproduce a certain type of fruit or nut that you like is through grafting.

Let´s say that you have an old crab apple tree on your land that produces small, sour fruits that no one but the birds enjoys. You can graft a bud or a small branch from a delicious, heirloom apple tree on your grandma´s old farm onto that Crab Apple tree. If done correctly and the cambium layer (or green layer inside the bark) of the two species are touching, that bud or branch will grow into an heirloom apple bearing tree. There are several different types of grafting methods you can use including cleft grafts, bud grafts, whip and tongue, etc. While it does take practice for a graft to be successful, the good news is that once you master the art of grafting, you can reproduce all the fruit and nut trees you need for your land.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Agriculture and climate change: Is farming really a moveable feast?

Agriculture and climate change: Is farming really a moveable feast?

There is a notion afoot that our agricultural production can simply migrate toward the poles in the face of climate change as areas in lower latitudes overheat and dry up. Few people contemplate what such a move would entail and whether it would actually be feasible.

One assumption behind this falsely reassuring idea is that soil quality is somehow roughly uniform across the planet. But, of course, this is completely false. Soil quality and composition vary widely, often within walking distance on the same farm. Farmers simply moving north (or south in the Southern Hemisphere) in response to climate change will not automatically encounter soil suitable for farming.

We must also consider that lands not previously farmed may very well be forested. Knocking down the trees and clearing the stumps might make such lands arable. But the loss of carbon storage that trees represent would only make climate change worse.

Quite often we think of rural areas as being undeveloped. But nothing could be further from the truth. Agricultural regions have complex networks involving roads, communications and electricity grids, irrigation systems, grain elevators, farm supply and machinery merchants, rail depots, agricultural research stations and field projects, government-sponsored agricultural assistance centers and the specialists attached to them, and entire towns which act as gathering places and service centers for those working in rural communities. All of this would have to be duplicated in newly opened agricultural lands for which pioneering settlers would have to be recruited. These pioneers would have to want to live in previously unsettled or sparsely settled areas with few amenities.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Challenges of Choice

CHALLENGES OF CHOICE

Even before permaculture vernacular had become commonplace to us, my wife Emma and I were active in our pursuit of living more in keeping with how we wanted to treat the planet, its animals, and our fellow humans. We were already ardent boycotters, believers in fair wages, in animal rights, in corporate responsibility. We signed petitions. We were vegans who mostly cooked from scratch. We even shopped locally, utilizing farmers’ markets and small businesses.

Otherwise, we spent modestly. We felt comfortable in a one-room house with a single-digit appliance list. We bought secondhand clothing, more for the socially ethical implications, but nonetheless saved serious cash doing so. We patched that clothing when it got holes. We traveled on public transportation. Our computer, bags, tents, and whatever else all came used. As much as it saved us money, it was the principle that we were after: We didn’t want to waste the planet’s resources or create more trash when it wasn’t necessary.

To us, even if these decisions on their own didn’t effect a greater change, they kept us honest and accountable for our own choices. Permaculture has only further inspired us along this path, pushing the effort further as we learn or become more capable. One of the common misconceptions, I think, about living with these kinds of limitations is that it comes from a place of sacrifice, but for us, it hasn’t been. These options (or lack thereof) are what feels right and, ultimately, exactly what we want.

AN OLD PLACE ANEW

Photo: Courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm

After nearly a dozen years of backpacking, usually in less developed places, Emma and I have just moved to the United States, where I’m from. While certain conveniences—bulk bins, thrift stores, and local microbrews—excited us about the move, by and large, settling in an advanced industrial nation filled us with fear.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In the Water-Scarce Southwest, an Ancient Irrigation System Disrupts Big Agriculture

In the Water-Scarce Southwest, an Ancient Irrigation System Disrupts Big Agriculture

In New Mexico and Colorado, the “acequia” is more than just democratic water distribution—it is at the center of Southwest culture.
ancient-water-system-southwest.jpg

Water in the American Southwest has never been abundant. Its availability fluctuates depending on conditions like drought and mountain snowpack that feeds streams and rivers. But experts predict a future of greater extremes: longer and hotter heat waves in the summer, less precipitation, decreased snowpack, and more severe and frequent droughts that will place greater stress on water users.

Experts predict a future of greater extremes.

In New Mexico and Colorado, legal statutes enable an area’s original water users to transfer their portions of the resource, via pipelines, to the highest bidder virtually anywhere in the state. When scarcity hits, industrial mining and agricultural operations can afford to purchase additional water while small-scale farmers and ranchers remain vulnerable; in both states, water use already exceeds availability.

But for over a century, acequias—an ancient form of community water management originating at least 1,000 years ago and now used by small-scale and backyard farmers and ranchers—have resisted the flow of water toward corporations in New Mexico and Colorado. After receiving wider legal protections for self-governance in the 2000s, acequias are disrupting modern agricultural practices by assuring the equitable distribution of water to rural communities.

An ancient system of water management

Acequias appeared in the United States centuries before New Mexico and Colorado were incorporated into the nation: more than a century, in fact, before the United States even existed. Brought by Spanish settlers to Mexican territory in the 16th century (including what is today the American Southwest), acequias were a system perfectly suited to the arid, high-elevation landscape where drought was common and the availability of water varied drastically from season to season and year to year.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Future of Urban Farming

From left, Nataka Crayton-Walker, Greg Bodine, and Bobby Walker at a City Growers microfarm in Dorchester. | Photo by Leise Jones/City Growers

From left, Nataka Crayton-Walker, Greg Bodine, and Bobby Walker at a City Growers microfarm in Dorchester. | Photo by Leise Jones/City Growers

The Future of Urban Farming

Some sights in the neighborhood were so common that I had stopped noticing them; but then one day they came into view. While driving down Harold Street on the way to my cousin’s house, I noticed a vacant lot on my left and then, just a block down, I saw two large vacant lots on my right. At the end of Harold Street—right before Howland Street—stood a huge half-acre vacant lot. This area had been labeled the “H-block.” It was a tough neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts, known for the significant number of shootings that occurred—which primarily were gang related. It also was a neighborhood with beautiful housing stock, long-term residents, and strong community leadership. Later that week, intrigued at the amount of vacant space, I walked the streets and tallied approximately 1.5 acres of land sitting vacant among the homes and apartment buildings.

Not long after that day, in the commissary kitchen of my company—City Fresh—the staff was preparing meals for one of the summer camps in session. The team members were cutting heads of lettuce that had been shipped in from across the country, and a question occurred to me: Why couldn’t we be growing this lettuce closer to home?

In answer to that question, I—along with a small group of community residents—founded City Growers. It was the spring of 2007. We set out to convert vacant lots—primarily located in the Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods—into intensive micro farms: to put our community idle hands to work and supply fresh, local, organic produce to the growing and insatiable market for local and sustainably grown food.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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The Collapse of Global Civilization Has Begun

The Collapse of Global Civilization Has Begun

But this doesn’t mean we have to give up hope.

A temporary settlement of the Penan, Borneo 1993 © David Hiser

Only the fewest today think that global civilization is on the brink of collapse — but it’s doubtful that the Romans, the Greek, the Mayans or the Mesopotamians saw their own fall coming either. We hear about new obstacles on a daily basis; most of the news consist of disturbing stories on increasingly overwhelming issues that, plainly spoken, seem impossible to solve. And yet, no one even recognizes that it is collapse that starts to unfold all around us.

Civilizations are characterized by the emergence and expansion of cities, as the Latin root of the word suggests (lat.: “civis” = inhabitant of a city), that, in some instances, turn into states. A city is a permanent settlement of humans where more humans live than their immediate environment can support. Therefore, the city requires the import of food and other resources from the surrounding area. The use of the term ‘require’ hereby implies that if the rural population doesn’t agree on exporting the product of their work, the city comes and forcefully takes it (Scott, 2017; Jensen, 2006). The city continuously expands as its population grows, requiring evermore resources from the rural surrounding, and therefore depleting an ever-increasing radius of land. Civilizations can, by definition, not be sustainable, since every expansion on a finite planet logically has a limit — and “colonizing other planets” is obviously nothing but science fiction. Earlier civilizations reached this limit after a few hundred or thousand years, but with the advancement of technology we repeatedly found loopholes that allow us to artificially modify conditions in our favor. As we slowly reach the limit of technological, physical and biological possibilities to further expand as a civilization, it is of utmost importance to understand what is happening and why.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Give it Another Century and We Will See How it Goes

1gatedcommunity.jpg

My observation was meant to be simple. We’re on a trajectory of ever larger, more complex, and highly leveraged institutional “solutions” to endemic social and economic problems that don’t actually make things better. Quite the opposite. What we need are small, direct, hyper local, and incremental responses that address immediate needs at a very low burn rate. This was misinterpreted as, “Oh, you think growing zucchini is more important than solving the housing crisis for working families.” Not what I’m saying. At all.

Everywhere I go in the world, I find older neighborhoods that were built in a surprisingly similar manner regardless of geography, culture, religion, politics, or climate. Philadelphia has a wide variety of established neighborhoods that rarely get above three stories tall (see the photos above). Yet they provide convenient employment, local shops, schools, hospitals, houses of worship, groceries, culture, public parks, universities, and so on. Everything is within a reasonable walk or bike ride of a generous supply of homes.

The residential and commercial activities are completely mixed together. Rich and poor tend to occupy the same neighborhoods in close proximity even if their accommodations are wildly disparate. Before planes, trains, and automobiles there weren’t that many options beyond shoe leather, horses, and sailing ships so urban form and daily customs accommodated that reality.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Superhero Complex: Are We Incapable of Saving Ourselves?

The Superhero Complex: Are We Incapable of Saving Ourselves?

If we felt empowered in daily life, would we be so enamored of superheroes constantly saving our world from destruction?

It’s been widely noted that the U.S. film industry ably functions as a pro-global hegemony propaganda machine: even when the plot features evil rogue elements at work in a global-hegemony agency (Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc.), the competence of the agency is never in doubt, nor is the agency’s ability to rid itself of the evil rogue element.

Evil conspiracies are revealed and the Good Guys/Gals win.

This depiction of official competence and the moral righteousness of patriotic employees is not surprising; these agencies have long “cooperated” with Hollywood on many levels.

More troubling is the recent film-industry depiction of our dependence on superheroes and their superpowers to set things right. The benign view is that Hollywood is always seeking new billion-dollar source materials for multi-film franchises, and comic book heroes are tailor-made for franchises: not only can multiple films be made about individual superheroes, but the potential for mix-and-match combinations of superheroes is practically endless.

The less benign view is that the popularity of superhero movies reflects a deep insecurity and worrisome desire for fantasy saviors, as if mere mortals can no longer save themselves with their pitiful real-world powers.

Psychoanalyzing the zeitgeist of films has long been a popular parlor game: much has been written about the popularity of monster films (often featuring nuclear radiation as the trigger of the mayhem) in 1950s Japan, and the meaning of the American Noir films in the 1950s.

Correspondent C.D. recently submitted an interpretation of Hollywood’s superhero movies: is our collective fascination with superheroes reflecting a sense that we no longer have the power to save ourselves?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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