I think that cans of marking chalk are a great tool for this sort of thing. Maybe I'll start spraying around damaged irrigation lines, overgrown vegetation, broken sidewalks, damaged and missing utility covers, etc. See how long it takes for them to be dealt with.
Full of great info and is a good example of really thinking through business ideas from a Permaculture perspective. It's a little sparse on details (he wrote it as a speculative venture- there's a note in there about further details being available if someone wanted to invest) but I'm sure all kinds of businesses could be built off of any similar "invasive" plants.
Returning to discuss Frank Herbert's DUNE, which I am rereading now for the first time since I "got into" permaculture.
There is NO WAY that Mollison and Holmgren hadn't read Herbert by the mid 70s when they developed the initial permaculture ideas and curriculum. Dune was published in 1965, and I see its marks all over the PDM.
Here is a selection of quotes from a chapter in Book 2 of Dune, near the midpoint of the book. I think Herbert does an incredible job of very briefly explaining a permaculture-style approach to ecology- focusing on the role of humans in guiding planetary ecosystemic processes. Some spoilers in the below text:
"I am Liet-Kynes," he said, addressing himself to the empty horizon, and his voice was a hoarse caricature of the strength it had known. "I am His Imperial Majesty's Planetologist," he whispered, "planetary ecologist for Arrakis. I am steward of this land."
A thought spread across his mind—clear, distinct: The real wealth of a planet is in its landscape, how we take part in that basic source of civilization—agriculture.
"The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences."
"The more life there is within a system, the more niches there are for life," his father said. And the voice came now from his left, from behind him.
"Life improves the capacity of the environment to sustain life," his father said. "Life makes needed nutrients more readily available. It binds more energy into the system through the tremendous chemical interplay from organism to organism."
"We are generalists," his father said. "You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems. Planetology is a cut-and-fit science."
What's he trying to tell me? Kynes wondered. Is there some consequence I failed to see?
"To the working planetologist, his most important tool is human beings," his father said. "You must cultivate ecological, literacy among the people.
"The presence of moisture in the air helps prevent too-rapid evaporation from living bodies," his father said.
Why does he keep repeating the obvious? Kynes wondered.
He tried to think of moisture in the air—grass covering this dune… open water somewhere beneath him, a long qanat flowing with water open to the sky except in text illustrations. Open water… irrigation water… it took five thousand cubic meters of water to irrigate one hectare of land per growing season, he remembered.
"Our first goal on Arrakis," his father said, "is grassland provinces. We will start with these mutated poverty grasses. When we have moisture locked in grasslands, we'll move on to start upland forests, then a few open bodies of water—small at first—and situated along lines of prevailing winds with windtrap moisture precipitators spaced in the lines to recapture what the wind steals. We must create a true sirocco—a moist wind—but we will never get away from the necessity for windtraps."
"Movement across the landscape is a necessity for animal life," his father said. "Nomad peoples follow the same necessity. Lines of movement adjust to physical needs for water, food, minerals. We must control this movement now, align it for our purposes."
"We must do a thing on Arrakis never before attempted for an entire planet," his father said. "We must use man as a constructive ecological force—inserting adapted terraform life: a plant here, an animal there, a man in that place—to transform the water cycle, to build a new kind of landscape."
"It was lines of movement that gave us the first clue to the relationship between worms and spice," his father said.
"Men and their works have been a disease on the surface of their planets before now," his father said. "Nature tends to compensate for diseases, to remove or encapsulate them, to incorporate them into the system in her own way."
"The historical system of mutual pillage and extortion stops here on Arrakis," his father said. "You cannot go on forever stealing what you need without regard to those who come after. The physical qualities of a planet are written into its economic and political record. We have the record in front of us and our course is obvious."
"Our timetable, will achieve the stature of a natural phenomenon," his father said. "A planet's life is a vast, tightly interwoven fabric. Vegetation and animal changes will be determined at first by the raw physical forces we manipulate. As they establish themselves, though, our changes will become controlling influences in their own right—and we will have to deal with them, too. Keep in mind, though, that we need control only three per cent of the energy surface—only three per cent—to tip the entire structure over into our self-sustaining system."
Ok. We all understand the difference between lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes.
I've been considering a workflow to incorporate bio char into my garden. In my area (affluent suburbs) I can't really get away with making my own biochar on a regular basis due to neighbor concerns over smoke, etc. However, running a bbq is perfectly acceptable.
Also, I don't want to purchase lump charcoal for the sole purpose of applying it to the garden, and I certainly don't want the extra work and dust of grinding it up. So here's what I have come up with:
* purchase lump charcoal, this could be from a local vendor or the grocery store
* use only the larger chunks of charcoal in my grill- anything smaller than thumb size, including dust/fines, goes into a storage bin
* this will make grilling better (small chunks of charcoal reduce airflow in the grill) and will net me about 1/4-1/3 of each bag of charcoal in small bits and fines
* in my worm composting tray system, I will throw a scoop of the stored charcoal bits and dust in with each new tray of compost
* this "activates" the charcoal, charging it with beneficial bacteria and nutrients from the compost, so that when applied to the garden it won't temporarily "rob" the garden of nutrients as would happen if you applied pure charcoal to the garden
* this also locks up the charcoal dust into the soil, ensuring that it won't blow around and become a health hazard
Any other ideas for how to integrate bbq charcoal and gardens?
I think the podcasts with Ernie and Erica are my favorites. This one was excellent. E&E have so much expertise and I really enjoy their interplay and chemistry as they Yin-Yang the information out into the world. Great work everybody and I can't wait for Part 2.
What's the official name for the product under discussion in this podcast? Shippable core? Castable core? It seems like there's been such a breakthrough that it should get a fancy name.
I had no problem downloading and installing- but I used a google search for "Google Earth Pro", I think I arrived at the download page through an Engadget link.
I haven't dug in to it too deeply, so I dont really see a lot of differences yet. One big feature that will be extremely helpful for permies looking for land is that GEPro has a PARCEL LAYER. Aka "cadastral map", this allows you to identify any given parcel of real estate, and find out basic details such as parcel area, age and info on structures, zoning, valuation, and where the parcel is recorded. This could save a lot of time if you are trying to find your homestead, especially if you're looking in a remote county.
To turn on the parcel map, go to the Layers area, and under the Primary Database, click "Earth Pro", then "US Parcel Data" See the image below:
Paul (Wheaton) has stated on the podcast and daily-ish emails that he's mad at Paul (Stamets). I don't recall him ever saying why?
So curious. I wonder if it has something to do with cardboard. I am fascinated when people who are working in good faith and have so much in common find things to disagree about- it can be very instructive.
I don't wish to pick at wounds so mods please delete if this is inappropriate.
This discussion brings to mind Wheaton Podcast #279, in which Geoff Lawton answered a few questions of mine. Thanks to the fantastic transcription job by Adrien Lapointe, we have a bit of the conversation:
What would Geoff do with a million dollars?
A million does not go far in the aid world. Paul asks if he would set up a few projects. Geoff would like a few billion and would extend permaculture sites all over the world with training centers. They would set up kits with really capable people set up in all the climates and all the different landscape profiles. Paul has an idea about how to prove permaculture can work by buying 2 million acres in the desert. Geoff suggests trying it in Neveda or Arizona maybe.
I searched for him on the forums but didn't find anything. He passed away in 2007 and has many buildings standing in India, but I've found that he's much less well known than some of his contemporaries like Christopher Alexander.
The proprietor of the JL Hudson Seedsman Catalog has great material on natives vs. exotics debate, and wrote a book on the subject. Also, the Hudson catalog is something that everyone should go get a copy of and order from. Like now. Go click that link and get a copy.
I have not visited the gardens, but I hope to someday. The two things that I want to do in Fresno are go to the underground gardens, and visit the farmer's market plaza that was designed by Christopher Alexander, my favorite architect.
OK- the page is organized into <DIV> tags. I should have said DIV instead of container, I used that language because the DIV contains other elements of page content. DIVs can contain more DIVs as you will see if you open them.
Any tag that contains anther tag will be "folded" with a right-facing arrow next to it. Click that arrow to expand the tag and see what's inside. You'll have to open about 5 or 6 DIV tags to get to the usable link, which will look like: http://vimeo.com/78133040. There's another link further up the stack that looks like "player.vimeo.com/video/78133040" but that one's still not embeddable. If you know Vimeo link formatting, though, you can see the video # (78133040) and put it at the end of http://vimeo.com/ to get what you're looking for.
you have to dive in to the HTML code a bit. Right click next to the video you're looking for, right click, and click "inspect element" in the dropdown menu. This brings up a panel with the page's code, focused on the area of the page where you clicked. From there, click down into the "container" of the video and you'll eventually find the link to the original vimeo page. From there, you can get the share and embed links.
Do you know anyone from the church? If you do, ask them what would be a good way to make the proposal. If not, contact the church office and inform them that you are interested in this project and ask what would be the best way to proceed.
Most Presbyterian churches are actually quite organized, with admin policies and committees etc. So there is probably a formal procedure that you'll have to go through involving a memorandum of understanding which will describe responsibilities and obligations of each party, insurances, indemnifications, etc.
Most churches are very concerned with limiting their liability, so it's unlikely that they would allow you to reside on the land. But there is a LOT of precedent of churches hosting community gardens on their lands, so you might see succes with that tactic.
I can't recommend Vinay highly enough for his REALLY DIFFERENT take on permaculture and the world. If you've ever wondered about the place that industry and manufacturing might have in a permacultured society, Vinay Gupta is a good place to start.
This is a short 6-page essay from 1926 that I find very instructive when thinking of design questions. Why do some techniques work at large scale and others at small scale? What does "design from pattern to detail" mean? How are complexity and size related? This would be great people that are mystified by Chapter 4 (Pattern Understanding) and need some help connecting the abstraction of pattern to the real world.
I welcome your thoughts. Maybe this essay can become part of the Permaculture Canon?
Here is a short excerpt:
"You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on
arriving at the bottom it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that
the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes.
For the resistance presented to movement by the air is proportional to the
surface of the moving object. Divide an animal's length, breadth, and height
each by ten; its weight is reduced to a thousandth, but its surface only a
hundredth. So the resistance to falling in the case of the small animal is
relatively ten times greater than the driving force."
If you want to try making Bamboo Charcoal, you may end up with a fantastic, high quality product. You could use it for fuel, art, and even as a filter. Maybe you could build a pyrolisis chamber that would provide heat while cooking the charcoal.
I totally agree that the product is problematic. But I find aspects of it extremely compelling and I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
First- think about Soylent as a possible product that can easily be packaged up and sold inexpensively (less than $3/meal) through the existing distribution system (gas stations) in food deserts. Give people an option to cover their basic nutrition when there REALLY are no options except fast food or otherwise unhealthy food. Give people like truckers, etc who on average have unhealthy diets a good option to sustain their health in a convenient way.
Yes it's not perfect but in many cases I see that it can do more good than harm. At least this guy is trying to think outside the box and solve a problem. I don't think he's aiming the product at people like us permies, it's aimed at the MILLIONS of people who get substandard nutrition through the factory food system, and giving them easy access to more complete nutrition. If he can accomplish that goal, it's a net positive. If he can someday source his raw materials through more sustainable methods (a permaculture growers co-op, a la Mark Shepard, maybe?) then he'd be really moving things along- and I've seen him nod in the direction of going more "organic" in the future- one of the benefits of having a "modular formula".
One story from the product development phase of Soylent that I found hilarious was when Rob Rinehart was first self-experimenting with eating only formula, he felt great for a couple of days, then started to get all shaky. He looked up his symptoms and realized he forgot to include iron in the formula! After that he was a lot more careful about ensuring more complete nutritional profile.
-Yes, this story does point to some naivete and hubris. But it does provide an useful lesson and improved the product in the long term (#4: Apply self-regulation and accept feedback)
I love that Willie Smits *arrived at* permaculture INDEPENDENTLY because he was trying to get something else accomplished- saving the orangutan. He saw that there was this huge thing to be done, and instead of going the traditional route, he figured out a way to re-engineer an entire bioregion, an ENTIRE SOCIETY, to remove the issues that led to orangutans being killed.
In the Permaculture context, a Type One Error is a design error that results from a fundamentally improper understanding of the situation. The classic example is someone who builds their house on a mountaintop. They have to pump up all their water, they're more vulnerable to wind and fire, and it makes designing the rest of your systems impossible.
Agreed with David Livingston- I did a little happy dance when Geoff talked about his dogs! I've been curious about those little dogs as they've made a very prominent appearance in most of his videos, and they just follow him around! So awesome that they serve a purpose on the farm, protecting everyone from snakes.
So a complex system necessarily has lots of energy bound up in it: the large amount of energy over time allows system-wide complexity to increase. You can extract this energy by (for example) cutting down the forest and planting a field, and you get tremendous results in the short term. But now the system is at a lower state of energy so you have to start applying additional inputs.
But if you just leave the system alone, it continues to bind up energy and get more and more complex.
Always remember that most statements about entropy (including the Laws of Thermodynamics) assume a closed system. "In a closed system, all energy tends towards disorder and entropy".
The Universe is a closed system (is it?). So overall, in the universe, we're headed towards entropy/heat death/red shift. But maybe we're not, cosmologists are working on it.
My point is that within The Big System, there are infinite small subsystems, of which our solar system is one. The Earth receives a constant flow of energy from the sun, which more than displaces the energy lost to entropy.
However, we have built our civilization on fossil sunlight instead of fresh sunlight, so our use of that fossil sunlight pushes entropy to higher levels. If we could learn to operate within the budget of fresh solar energy, entropy wouldn't be a concern.
Awesome! I can't get enough of his books. He never explicitly mentions permaculture in the Mars Trilogy, but he does in the "40 Signs of Rain" series and I think in 2312 as well.
Another thing to look at is Gaiome, which explicitly combines Permaculture and Space Exploration.
Also, Vinay Gupta does thinking along these lines. I remember him tweeting "Spread life through the universe! Go out and f*** the stars!"
One problem with Permaculture and Space Exploration is that space programs require such a HUGE economy to exist. Even with companies like Virgin Galactic working to make access to space cheaper, just getting to space requires a huge advanced industrial economy.
Right now, Permaculture seems stuck at the garden/small farm level. Other than some exceptions like McDonough and Braungart's "Cradle to Cradle", permaculture hasn't infiltrated INDUSTRY to any great degree. PC will have to go REAL BIG in order to support a permaspaceprogram.
Shane- have you read the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson? (i think this is about the fifth time i've brought it up on these forums.) It covers the colonization and greening of Mars over a few hundred years. Really gets in to the details of what it might take to bootstrap an ecology on a dead planet.
Interestingly, two of the sides in the book- the Reds and the Greens, have a conflict on whether to terraform the planet at all. The Reds think that Mars should be left as it is. I think most of us would be "greens."
I can't recommend it highly enough. Especially because the author really understands permaculture, and works it in to his books.
The Horse Guard Wasp is a natural predator of the horse fly. In a few minutes of googling, I wasn't able to find a source for purchase of larva, but maybe there are things you could do to attract HGWs- wikipedia says they are sand wasps, so do you have sand on your property anywhere?
Once in a while, Kevin at http://www.cryptogon.com/ will post his Amazon affiliate transactions, and make some commentary. Once in a while he will say something like; "Hey you, whoever you are. You just bought a thing. A very specific thing. What do you know that I don't? You will know who you are."
I always wondered what the thing was that the person bought.