Thursday, 30 January 2014

Permaculture ethics in Texas (on-line thesis)

Environmental Ethics and Urban Permaculture in Central Texas

This thesis explores environmental ethics held by permaculture practitioners. Permaculture contains embedded ethics of Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. Since permaculture is ‘site- specific,' this paper examines the environmental ethics held by permaculture practitioners. It also explores the potential of urban permaculture in Central Texas. Through interviewing permaculture practitioners of Central Texas, four main environmental ethics emerged, which are: social ecology, deep ecology, Aldo Leopold’s land ethic, and sustainability ethics. Practitioners exemplified great hope for urban permaculture and felt that with the right amount of support, permaculture could become a more widespread practice. This paper also proposes some policy implications for implementing permaculture on a wider scale.

Permaculture homesteads in South Africa (#journal)

Ethnographic insights on rural sustainability; homestead design and permaculture of Eastern Cape settlements in South Africa

This article considers the prevalence of sustained agricultural practices (particularly homestead gardens) and questions current public debate that permaculture is foreign to South Africa. The article makes comparisons to some of the founding principles of permaculture theory and practice to suggest that current agricultural practices and homestead (umzi, plural imizi) settlement patterns follow closely to "permaculture ideals" in theory and practice. The paper critiques ideas that believe rural areas to be "de-agrarianised", or solely supported by the welfare state. A further critique is raised because of the idealised manner in which foreign ideas on development are esteemed as better than regional adaptations. The paper displays scepticism for Eastern Cape development models or those perceptions that do not account for local land use practices.

Edible permaculture for back gardens (book)

Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist: How to Have Your Yard and Eat it Too

This is a how-to manual for the budding gardener and experienced green thumb alike, full of creative and easy-to-follow designs that guide you to having your yard and eating it, too.
With the help of more than 200 beautiful color photos and drawings, permaculture designer and avid grower Michael Judd takes the reader on a step-by-step process to transform a sea of grass into a flourishing edible landscape that pleases the eye as well as the taste buds. With personality and humour, he translates the complexities of permaculture design into simple self-build projects, providing full details on the evolving design process, material identification, and costs.

Peri-urban agriculture in Lisbon and London (#journal)

Peri-urban agriculture, social inclusion of migrant population and Right to the City: Practices in Lisbon and London

Peri-urban agriculture, social inclusion of migrant population and Right to the CityPractices in Lisbon and LondonTwo main questions are addressed in this paper: to what extent can urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) contribute to the social inclusion of migrants? And does UPA practised by urban farmers of foreign origin contribute to the expansion of biodiversity? In both London and Lisbon, a significant proportion of the migrant population is involved in UPA. Patterns of social inclusion are quite city specific: urban farming communities from Cape Verde strengthen community bonds through their activity but this does not necessarily lead to better social integration within Portuguese society. In London, migrants of foreign origin become part of an integrated communitarism on an individual basis. Evidence gathered strongly suggests that urban farmers of foreign origin do contribute to broadening biodiversity. Final observations note to what extent these urban practices contribute to the Right to the City and thus if they are of an emancipatory and transformative nature.

An international movement for urban agriculture? (#journal)

Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Part 4

Peri-urban agriculture, social inclusion of migrant population and Right to the CityPractices in Lisbon and LondonThis article introduces, synthesises, and discusses four articles from four issues of the Journal 'City'. The author argues that while urban and peri-urban agriculture is emerging in almost every city in the world, seeing it as a coherent 'movement' is problematic as it varies so widely in its form, its motivation and its aims between countries and continents. It is also often unable to stop the increasing control of urban land by wealthy urban elites. Nevertheless, urban agriculture has a major role to play in achieving food security for the world's poor, and needs to be recognised as an international trend of rapidly growing importance. The author argues that the Transition Movement has played a key role in supporting some of these initiatives.

The Transition Movement and contemporary protest (#journal)

Readjusting to reality 2: Transition?

Readjusting to reality 2: Transition?This paper focuses on the Transition Movement that is growing rapidly around the world, aimed at responding more broadly to the emerging energy and climate change problematic, ahead of what otherwise can be expected to be the collapse of our globalised economy. The Transition Movement, by contrast, is concerned to develop positive responses that reintegrate local communities, living in harmony within their local worlds. The heart of the paper focuses on the current tumult of protest movements and demonstrations around the world, enquiring as to what these are trying to achieve, how effective they are in achieving their ostensible aims and whether the inchoate aspirations are in practice realisable. The paper suggests that the Transition Movement presents a realistic resolution to the problematic of revolution as well as addressing the emergent energy and climate change problematic.

Neoanarchism and emancipatory politics; a critique (#journal)

From alterglobalization to Occupy Wall Street: Neoanarchism and the new spirit of the left

Neoanarchist politics have become increasingly hegemonic on the North American left. Tracing its emergence during the Seattle WTO demonstrations in 1999 to its recent incarnation in the Occupy Wall Street movement, this article argues that neoanarchism's attempts to “change the world without taking power” pose serious theoretical and practical problems for emancipatory politics today. The text also examines recuperation as a factor in social movement decline, arguing that the incorporation of social movement themes is constructing a “new spirit of capitalism” that both addresses widespread demand for a more ethical world while simultaneously insulating itself from critique – a process facilitated by significant ideological resonance between neoanarchism and neoliberalism

Friday, 17 January 2014

Communicating science to the public (book)

Escape from the Ivory Tower

Maybe you're an absolute novice in communicating with the press or with public officials... or maybe you're a seasoned veteran with horror stories about being misquoted, or having your research reduced to an oversimplified blurb. This frank, practical, and entertaining guide explains how to engage your audience and explain why a particular finding matters. The book includes advice from journalists, decision-makers, new media experts, bloggers, and some of the thousands of scientists who have participated in the author's communication workshops.

RSPB State of the UK's Birds 2013 (report)

The State of the UK's Birds 2013 (RSPB)

Permaculture Research Digest
This is the 14th The state of the UK’s birds report. It contains results from annual, periodic and one-off surveys and studies from as recently as 2012 to give an up-to-date overview of the health of bird populations in the UK and its Overseas Territories. It draws on the Bird Atlas 2007-11, perhaps the most ambitious bird-monitoring project ever attempted in Britain, to give new maps of the distribution of all regular breeding and wintering birds.

The truth about biofuels (book)

'Food versus Fuel' presents a high-level introduction to the science and economics behind a well-worn debate, that will debunk myths and provide quality facts and figures for academics and practitioners in development studies, environment studies, and agricultural studies. Compiled by an internationally renowned scientist and authority, and to include perspectives from 'pro' and 'anti' biofuels experts and activists, from the North and South, the book brings a balanced approach to the current debate on the major issues affecting the development of biofuels in a concise and clear manner.

Food production beyond scarcity thinking (#journal)

Beyond the scarcity scare: reframing the discourse of hunger with an eco-mind

Solutions to world hunger continue to be impeded by a frame that keeps much of humanity focusing narrowly on quantitative growth. The result is greater food production and greater hunger. Yet, across the world another way of seeing, one grounded in the relational insights of ecology, is transforming food systems in ways that both enhance flora and fauna and strengthen human relationships, enabling farmers to gain a greater voice in food production and fairer access to the food produced.

Meat production and global inequality (#journal)

The meat of the global food crisis

The global food crisis runs much deeper than market turbulence; the biophysical contradictions of the industrial grain–oilseed–livestock complex put meat at the centre of the story. Industrial livestock production is the driving force behind rising meat consumption, and the process of cycling great volumes of industrial grains through soaring populations of concentrated animals serves to magnify the land and resource budgets, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions of agriculture. These dynamics not only reflect disparities but are exacerbating them, foremost through climate change. Thus rising meat consumption and industrial livestock production should be understood together as a powerful long-term vector of global inequality.

Alternative food networks (book)

Alternative Food Networks: Knowledge, Practice and Politics

This book reviews the growth of alternative food networks and their struggle to defend their ethical and aesthetic values against the standardizing pressures of the corporate mainstream. It explores how these movements are "making a difference" and their possible role as fears of global climate change and food insecurity intensify. It assesses the different experiences of these networks in three major arenas: Britain and Western Europe, the United States, and the global Fair Trade economy. This comparative perspective runs throughout the book to fully explore the erosion of the interface between alternative and mainstream food provisioning. As the era of "cheap food" draws to a close, analysis of the limitations of market-based social change and the future of alternative food economies place this book at the cutting-edge.

Global land grabbing special issue (#journal)

Special Issue: JPS Forum on Global Land Grabbing Part 2: on methods

Seven articles which offer a wide range of perspectives on global land grabbing, including how it is being done, how we can measure it, and how it might be resisted.

Via Campesina rethinks agrarian reform (#journal)

Grassroots Voices: Re-thinking agrarian reform, land and territory in La Via Campesina

This special issue discusses major changes in strategies for agrarian reform, land and territory that have taken place over the last two decades in La Via Campesina, focusing on debates at a workshop in Indonesia in July 2012.

The global food system analysed (book)


Food is one of the most basic resources that humans need for daily survival. Forty percent of the world’s population gains a livelihood from agriculture and we all consume food. Yet control over this fundamental resource is concentrated in relatively few hands. At the same time, there are serious ecological consequences that stem from an increasingly industrial model of agriculture that has spread worldwide. But movements are emerging to challenge the dominant global system. The extent to which these alternative movements can displace it remains to be seen. This book aims to contribute to a fuller understanding of the forces that influence and shape the current global food system.

Peasant farming is more energy efficient (#journal)

The EROI of agriculture and its use by the Via Campesina

Via Campesina supports peasant and small farmer agriculture both in the South and in the North. Its basic doctrine is that of ‘food sovereignty’. Among the analytical tools used by this international peasant movement is the comparison between the energy efficiency of traditional small farm agriculture and modern industrial agriculture. This article looks at the use of the concept of EROI (energy return on energy input) by Via Campesina when it claims that ‘industrial agriculture is no longer a producer of energy but a consumer of energy’, and that ‘peasant agriculture cools down the Earth’.