Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Permaculture and utopian romanticism (online)

Permaculture grew out of an opposition to industrial farming techniques and preference for traditional (indigenous) land management and spread across the world with 400,000 projects in 120 countries. This paper provides an analysis of the key principles of Permaculture and its affinities with Romantic thought. The author explains the Permaculture movement and its principles followed by an examination of Romanticism from a political and socio-cultural focus. This leads into a discussion of prior links between political ecology and Romantic conservatism. The following sections expand upon Permaculture’s vision of society as expressed by David Holmgren and identify affinities to Romantic thought.

A call for regeneration (#journal)

Sustainability is not enough: A call for regeneration

We are privileged to be alive at a pivotal moment in human history when all the settled assumptions of the last two centuries are up for renegotiation. New economic, political and social paradigms are evolving right now in response to the converging crises of climate change, energy insecurity and global economic instability. While undoubtedly alarming, the realities of our historic moment also present a window of opportunity. As educators, we can play an important role in preparing our students to play a constructive part in this regenerative project.

Can renewables power the world? (journal)

Substitutability of Electricity and Renewable Materials for Fossil Fuels in a Post-Carbon Economy

One way to avoid the risk of energy decline and climate change is to build a 100% renewable global energy mix. However, a globally electrified economy cannot grow above 12 electric terawatts. Can 12 TW of electricity and 1 TW of biomass fuel a future post-carbon economy? The principle economic processes can be replaced with sustainable alternatives based on electricity, charcoal, biogas and hydrogen. Furthermore, those services that cannot be replaced are not crucial. Even so, land transport and aviation are at the limit of what is sustainable, outdoor work should be reorganized, mineral production should be based on recycling, the petrochemical industry should shrink to its 1985 size, and agriculture may require organic farming methods.

The permaculture city (book)

The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

The Permaculture City provides a new way of thinking about urban living, with practical examples for creating abundant food, energy security, close-knit communities, local and meaningful livelihoods, and sustainable policies in our cities and towns. This important book documents the rise of a new sophistication, depth, and diversity in the approaches and thinking of permaculture designers and practitioners. Understanding nature can do more than improve how we grow, make, or consume things; it can also teach us how to cooperate, make decisions, and arrive at good solutions.

The Permaculture City

Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

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Ecological literacy and permaculture (#journal)

Feed Your Mind: Cultivating Ecological Community Literacies with Permaculture

This article proposes permaculture as a way to design first-year composition and community literacy classes. First, the paper connects permaculture with post-humanism to describe ecological community literacies—the type of knowledge that ecological theorists say we need to navigate the end of the anthropocene. Next, it describes assignments that can lead college students to this knowledge, and finally, it describes actual community literacy projects where college students can lead elementary students through assignments to gain this knowledge.

Foraging fruit in cities is healthy (video)

Urban Food Foraging Looks Fruitful

This short podcast from Scientific American shows that fruits growing wild in urban areas are more healthful than store bought fruit and contain lower levels of lead than what's considered safe in drinking water. The scientists involved thus conclude that it’s safe and healthy to eat fruit from most urban trees. Just make sure that peach does not belong to somebody else before you pick it!

Securing soil health (online)

Securing UK Soil Health - briefing for UK MPs
2015 is the United Nations International Year of Soils. Soils underpin the global food system and regulate water, carbon and nitrogen cycles but are subject to pressures from population growth and climate change. In England & Wales, soil degradation costs around £1bn per year. This POSTnote outlines the evidence for measures that sustain soils and existing policies affecting soil health.

Transforming our local food system (report)

A key element in the transformation of the food system is how we share and create new knowledge that supports this transition. This paper describes an experience of Participative Action Research with students at Cardiff University as they establish a local ‘food hub’ and engage with a vegetable box delivery scheme. The authors reflect how this generated value for students, organisations and the faculty, and the challenges we face; ultimately highlighting how PAR can be part of academia’s commitment to changing the food system.

Food poverty in the UK (report)

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE: The final report of Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty

The Commission has uncovered a crisis of food access for many households in the UK. There are multiple cases of parents – usually mothers  – going hungry to feed their children or having to prioritise calories over nutrients to afford their weekly food. The Commission defines this as ‘household food insecurity’: the inability to acquire a sufficient quantity of food, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so. But a lack of official measurement means nobody can be clear how many people are affected. Reducing and eventually ending household food insecurity needs an active approach from government, and the Commission have produced a 14 point plan.

Forests and orchards for the 21st century (book)

The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century

In 1664 John Evelyn presented his work Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-Trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesty’s Dominions to the Royal Society. Its publication marked the commencement of the modern science of forestry. The New Sylva: A Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees for the Twenty-First Century, is a wholly original work, but faithful to the spirit of the original. The authors strive “to present the art, practice and science of forestry and arborculture to a general public audience.” The book is strikingly beautiful. Pen and ink drawings trace gracefully across the book’s thick pages, depicting an expansive forest scene here, an elegantly twisting branch there. The New Sylva offers an insightful survey of forestry, of forests, and of the diverse ecosystems that call them home.