But is it sustainable?

But is it sustainable?

Sector39 permaculture, Llanrhaeadr YM, SY10 0JN
steve@sector39.co.uk
Sector39 limited: 9001792
I am speaking at an event in Manchester thsi weekend,on permaculture and cooperatives and I wrot ethis peice as an introduction to permaculture and why it is so vital at this point in human evolution.

permaculture perspectives manchester event

Initiation @ Wonder inn Manchester

Sometime in 1990 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere passed the 350 ppm mark, from that point forward the
influx of energy in the form of heat from the sun has exceeded the
rate it has been leaving the earth’s atmosphere; the planet has
literally been warming. This will continue to happen until the Co2 in
the atmosphere returns to a level of 350 ppm or below, with levels
currently over 400 ppm we can’t even begin to use the word
sustainable with any meaning until we have achieved this
momentous challenge.

Climate change isn’t even the problem, it is the symptom of a much
deeper and more serious one; that of our almost total disconnect
from the ecological reality of our finite planet. We live in denial of
reality and that reality is going to catch us out big time unless we
prepare ourselves emotionally, intellectually and physically for what
is coming next.
Fixing this problem is not a technological issue as such, rather it is a
total shift in our relationship with the living planet we occupy. New
and enlightened economic, social and educational approaches are
required to enable us to escape the disaster we are creating. To be
clear we are no long talking about minimising or reducing the
damage we cause; we are required to find strategies which actively
repair the enormous amount of damage already done to the
biosphere. We have to fix it. We call this regenerative development.
Sustainability is the starting point for such a process, it is not the
objective but the barest minimum required.

Permaculture is about solutions, it is about finding the pathways to
regenerative development. It is not just the earth’s living systems
that have to be repaired; we have to address the social imbalance
at the same time. The empowerment of all people to be fully able to
take an active part in this process is central to any chance of
success that might remain.

permaculture allows us to tackle the huge issues of the day

Permaculture sits at the intersection of economics and ecology. It is
a design strategy that asks economic questions about how we meet
our needs, personal and familial in a way that empowers others to
do the same, not at their expense. Permaculture recognises that all
of these economic decisions and transactions occur within a healthy
living biosphere. We cannot stand outside of this biological
relationship for more than a few moments, just how long can you
hold your breath or go without water or food? Permaculture is about
self empowerment and community enablement whilst caring for the
earth by listening carefully to the feedback it gives us. To be good
at permaculture you have to be good at listening and right now if
you listen carefully the planet is screaming at us, make the change,
join the movement, and get active!

Steve Jones August 2017.
www.permaculturedesigncourse,co.uk
@misterjones2u

Llanfyllin School Project

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Effective community led action begins with a youth empowered through education

The Sector39 team are currently busy working through our local high school and the wider community to support community led responses to the challenges created by our changing climate. Climate disruption and the issues generated by that reality is not going to go away as in issue, it will become increasingly urgent. Consequently we are formulating short, medium and long term responses to help reduce our own collective impact and to foster resilience to the changes and shocks that my lay ahead for us.

in Sept 2016 Sector39 won funding from the E.U. Leader programme to stimulate action in these area. We are still at the very early stages of the project and are putting out feelers in all directions to attract potential partners, participants, volunteers, sponsors and anyone who can help communicate our message to the wider community.

Look out for our public meetings, our VoxPop events and much more,

All events will be published via http://llanfyllin.sector39.co.uk

So far the project has:

  • Won potentially three years’ funding to take the project forward
  • Helped develop a community orchard for Llanfyllin
  • Designed a nature friendly, fun & interactive play space for a local respite care home
  • Contributed to GCSE Land Based studies course work and lessons at Ysgol Llanfyllin
  • Developed links across the community

Much more to come!

Before the Flood – Full Movie | National Geographic

The must watch movie of the time, climate change is the defining issue of human civilization, is there anything we can do to stop it?

Leonardo Di Caprio has become one of the loudest and clearest voices on this complex issue. This is a vitally important movie.

We are way past changing a lightbulb, we are looking at fundamental change

Leonardo Di Caprio

“Climate change is the single greatest threat to a sustainable future but, at the same time, addressing the climate challenge presents a golden opportunity to promote prosperity, security and a brighter future for all.”

Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General, United Nations

In the Paris accord, 195 countries agreed that they would collectively keep average global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees. But what does science have to say on how fast, and by how much, will we have to cut our emissions to get there? Professor Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre is a climate scientist who looks at exactly this question. And the math he comes away with, isn’t pretty.

Kevin Anderson shares his thoughts on what will need to happen if we are to meet the declarations in Paris, why it’s a matter of justice that we act, and why he personally has made the difficult decision to give up air travel.

Recorded for The Elephant Podcast
Subscribe in iTunes: http://bit.ly/elephantpod
www.elephantpodcast.com

Prof Greg Philo, from Glasgow Media Unit speaks at Real Media’s ‘Mainstream Media Bias’ event in Glasgow.

Tanat Valley Chronicle, announcing the new project

Note: Working through my own community is scary, I feel exposed as it is my home and I don’t want to create a divide or a barrier by seeming to be partisan. I want to find ways to be inclusive and invite participation from across board in what I see to be  both a terrifying challenge and a fantastic opportunity. Here is my latest piece for our local newsletter, read by all locally, announcing the new project. Steve Jones Oct ’16

‘Saving the planet one school at a time’ – We are looking for leaders

This is big, really big. The 195 countries who signed the Paris Climate Agreement in December have now ratified the treaty. Trump or Clinton, Brexit: hard or soft, Syria and a potential WW3, we might be forgiven for being a little distracted but this is the big story.

Governments have agreed, we need to listen to the scientists, we really do have to stay under 2 degrees of change but there is no policy in place that gets us there. The agreement they signed has no binding targets or penalties, it is basically a statement of intent that has no teeth. How fast can we get off coal, gas and oil? We have about 30 years to move completely away from our old ways and that allows no wiggle room whatsoever, sooner would be better.

So where will this momentous change come from? Even though they happily signed the agreement many governments including our own are not formulating policy that will get us to where we need to be, they are still building roads, talking about fracking, planning new runways and hoping to restart economic growth in the consumer economy.

No, this change will come form the bottom up, the emerging generation will be leading the way. It is much easier to see past the oil age when you are not personally invested in it. Just as we found in Uganda when we were teaching there in May, the idea of localised organic food systems, distributed solar power networks and public transit doesn’t alarm them, since they have that already and it works fine. Whereas we built a commuter economy out of coal, with disconnected nuclear families and rampant consumerism as if that was an end in itself. All this assumed the oil would never run out and burning it had no consequences, inpite of what we know we are still desperately trying to keep growth going because our economic models require it of us. It is going to be a big ask for the UK to make the changes required of it.

The train that is the neo-liberal market based consumer economy has left the station never to return. For the emerging generation that isn’t going to be their future, they missed that opportunity so they are going to have to invent a new one for themselves. We might not know much about the future but I am guessing it is going to be low carbon and almost exclusively local. This is not bad news, especially not to the ears of someone who will never have a pension plan paid by North Sea Oil. The post carbon economy is a land of opportunity, like the Wild West seemed to those intrepid settlers 200 odd years ago or when they first invented the internet, it is a vast un-occupied space waiting for a new generation to inhabit it. With this bold project we are looking for the leaders who are going to help create a new vision for a post carbon society.

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Wales has its own Permaculture network: Paramaethu Cymru

The future is there for us to invent. Sector39 have won potentially 3 year’s funding, in stages to help facilitate the development of that vision. Using permaculture design we are going to challenge the high school to lead the community at large to lay out our transition plan to a carbon negative economy. It is our future to create, no one else has a plan and in doing so I think we can inspire, we can put Llanfyllin on the map, along with Powys and Wales as leaders and partners in this great change we all have to make.

This is open to all, centred on Llanfyllin High School we will be linking to schools across the UK and Africa, creating blogs, radio, newspapers, holding public talks and debates. From this we hope to be initiating new projects and micro enterprises and even a community currency. Help us chart these unknown waters.

This is about working together, no one is telling anyone else what to do, rather we are required to build a common vision and action plan that fully takes into account what the science is telling us. Economy cannot exist out side of ecology, we have tried that and it has been a disaster of pollution, deforestation and species loss, together we can build an economy that restores the ecology of the planet and creates hope for a future that we all want to be part of.

Join in, be a leader for change.

Watch this space, lots more to come!

www.sector39.co.uk

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Block chain in Africa, a new financial dawn?

Block chain in Africa, a new financial dawn?

The interview in the second half of this episode of Keiser Report should be of real interest to all my African friends. Digital currencies are already rampant in Africa with the Mpesa system, Airtel etc, but they still run through a middle man who can take a cut. Blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin is peer-to-peer verified, so there is no middle man. Global markets work to the detriment of poorer nations so the rapidly expanding world of digital and peer-to-peer currencies and technologies creates many possibilities to sidestep some of the many failings of the old financial system.

Crisis, what crisis?

Crisis, what crisis?

chester chroncalI have already written to the editor of this paper to make the point that publishing climate change denial letters such as this one on 6 Oct both demeans and trivialises the whole paper. I would however also like to address the letter writer directly and more forcefully.

Christopher Calder tells us we have been fooled by ‘science’ have we? By science I guess you mean those nasty people at NASA, you know who gave us the moon landings, the space shuttle, satellites and digital telecommunications.

Or did you mean the Met office, who we rely on every day for weather forecasts, storm warnings and the like.

Or NOAA in the USA, when they give hurricane warning do we ignore it, thinking it is another of their made up pranks?

60 Nobel laureate scientists published a joint open letter only a couple of weeks ago saying how urgent it is that we pay full attention to the science – and it is not the first time either! Are you saying they all made this up, really?

The Oil industry has been caught over and over pumping millions of dollars into climate science disinformation, bad science and denial, do you not think if there was even the merest chink in the robustness of the science they would have exposed it and filled our media with it?

pope-768x401The Climate denial game is so over, even Exxon’s Mobil’s own scientific department concluded that unchecked co2 emissions represented a clear and present danger back in the 80’s; but when even the Pope steps forward and puts the full force of his office behind the ‘moral imperative to act on climate’ then you make a fool of yourself to pretend otherwise.

‘Science’ you say, I am particularly annoyed how you chose to put the word in commas, you and your so-called science! Science, my friend means observation, simple as that. Everyone with a thermometer can measure the temperature outside and make comparisons and the evidence of temperatures past is written in every geological record and every tree ring. Anyone with a ruler can measure sea-level changes. This is evidence that can’t be falsified, evidence that every serious scientist around the world concurs with when they do their own research.

de grasse tysonThere is no dissent about climate change within the scientific community, other than just how bad and how urgent is it? Trump, a climate denier blames it all on the Chinese, why the Chinese I don’t know and how they falsified everyone’s scientific data around the world, that bit he failed to explain. The US army’s own scientific research teams concur with the climate scientists, it is indeed a real and present danger; are they colluding with the Chinese too?

Honestly, there really is nowhere left to stand to hold onto the position of denial and appear credible. Are you really prepared to put the whole gamut of evidence against your own untested word?

You site no sources to support your views, yet the weight of world opinion is against you.

I am sorry to have to be so strong in my words but you are a scoundrel sir!

A scoundrel for daring to make such a false point and doing it so weakly and so incorrectly, you insult our intelligence. Around the world millions of people are already affected by climate change, ecosystems are collapsing, oceans are acidifying and there is no other explanation for what is happening to us. The scientists are not just certain that it is happening they are also certain that we are causing it, and to my ears anyway that is the good news. What would be truly terrifying would be to hear that it was a natural phenomenon that we can nothing about, the fact that we are causing it also means we can solve it.

earth surface temps

Global average temperatures ar rising, hard to falsify!

Facing up to this is a huge challenge as we have built an economic infrastructure that runs almost entirely on coal, gas and oil. If that wasn’t bad enough, our economy also requires growth, year on year just to stand still, just to pay off the interest on the money we have already borrowed. We are sort of locked in to our own destruction as we have already raised money against oil and coal that hasn’t even been burned yet.

Although 195 governments, almost the entire world signed the Paris Climate Agreement, binding us to work to stay under 2 degrees of change it also not unsurprising that they are unable to enact policies that take us in that direction. After all until now our whole economy has been rooted in burning resources at an ever faster rate to produce goods with ever shorter shelf lives.

regenerativeEconomic growth is not going to save us, only an evolution in human thinking, an evolution in our collective economic behaviour will do that.

Atmospheric CO2, the main culprit in the problem currently stands at 400ppm. It used to 285ppm before we started on the industrial age, and the planet will carry on warming until we get it back down to 350ppm (this is the view of NASA), that means getting our global emissions down to zero as soon as we possibly can whilst developing ways of farming, land management, building, energy and more that actually lock CO2 up and stop it returning to the atmosphere. Plants do this all the time, so building out of natural materials achieves this goal, imagine building houses from wood, straw, hemp, clay/ lime, coupled with a re-localised organic food production system, powered with a renewable energy grid running super-efficient, low energy appliances and homes, that is the kind of thing we need to put in place and fast. Building such an infrastructure is where the jobs will come from for the emerging generation, the generation who are growing into an already climate-changed world and whilst we are doing that we will be building a new kind of economy that enhances the environment and locks up carbon, making climate more stable once again over the longer term.

There is already a global movement in permaculture design, in community supported farms and climate change adaption and mitigation, so instead of burying your head in the sand and expecting us to believe these absurd statements of denial I invite you and everyone to join the solution, the transition. Let us all help each other find the pathways from the destructive and now obsolete carbon extraction economy and create a new exciting and forward- thinking carbon-sequestration economy. I call that permaculture, you can call it what you want but it is the only future possible for humanity and anything that distracts us from that aim is wasted time.

leo2Science is sceptical; every published data set is tested by other scientists to ensure accuracy, which is how the peer review process works, you make yor reputation by proving other people wrong. If you reject climate science then you reject science, it is all inter-connected, so the smart-phone in your pocket or the jet plane that takes you on holiday, it is all the same science, you don’t get to pick and mix what you ‘believe’. If you want to know more about climate science, talk to the scientists, here is a plain English site that explores every commonly held mis-understanding and explains with evidence what is the best understanding by those who study it. www.skepticalscience.com

Find out about permaculture design and how we can work with natural systems to repair the biosphere and lessen the effects of climate change.

Chester Cathedral are teaming with local permaculture trainers Sector39 to offer a course for community leaders and innovators for change at the Chapter house from Mid-November, over the course of 12 evening plus 1 weekend.

Join 350.org the global climate action movement to find out how you can join in the response to the biggest challenge humanity has yet had to face.

Just how are we going to get ourselves out of this mess?

earth surface temps

The next 50 years are going to be one hell of a ride! That is the time lag between todays emissions and when we will feel their full impact on the climate system. Yes folks, even if we stop everything today we are still set for a very bumpy future.

Today’s inactivity is tomorow’s nightmare. As much as we all know this to be true, each day we get up for work and repeat the actions that brought to this point. We all need to make a living it is true, yet the way most of us make our living is driving the climate problem.

“Just because you are on a well beaten path doesnt mean you are on the right track”. Permaculture principle number 11 challenges us all to explore alternatives, to look to the edges for new opportunites and ideas. We cannot fix our problems using the thinking that created them and for that read: we need a new economic paradigm, we need a different rationale and a different set of goals. Consumption, short termism, economic growth for its own sake, waste, pollution, war, militarism, do you need me to go on… ? Yet we seemed locked in step in the march to our own self destruction.

Today I am inspired by the Lakota people of the central plains. America’s original inhabitants who reverred nature as sacred, rivers, mountains, wildlife and more were regarded as true value and the loyalty of people, friendship, (apparently the meaning of the word Lakota is friend) the thing that binds us all together and creates common cause and society. Yet we have never treated these people as friends and still they are persecuted for standing up for all us in their battle against the ceaseless expansion of the oil industry.

Across the globe there is a waking up of people realising the terrible truth of today’s society and economy, where everything other than profit is regarded as an externality, people, land, whole ecosystems even are seen as expendible. Permaculture is part of that wake up call, for those of us who have empathy with the natural world, permaculture is common sense, it is a guidebook and an inspiration. I am guessing many Lakota people don’t need to study permaculture, as their instincts steer them in that direction with their every thought yet for the rest of us it remains a pathway we are yet to choose.

Each and everyone of us needs to think how they can break their reliance on the destructive economy and align themselves with the forces of positive change and we won’t be able to do it alone, we will need each other, we will need friends and allies, Lakota.

I am writing this with a sense of dismay, I have had a couple of students drop out last minute from our upcoming PDC, work commitments etc. and of course I get that, we all have bills to pay. It takes months of planning and networking to build the momentum for a PDC, time is always precious and money a barrier but there’s always a way if we try. I am not out to critiscise anyone here, I do totally understand limitations, indeed working to limiting factors in central to permaculture design,  but I do keep asking myself how do we create the changes we need in the time we have left?

I would love to hear from people on this subject and certainly this is a theme we will be exploring through the Sector39 school project launching soon. I am not ready to give in yet, we can still head off the worst scenarios of run-away climate collapse yet each day and every decision we take at this critical time will affect the trajectory of that change and with that in mind I urge everyone to think again about their own role in this rapidly unfolding drama.

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Due to late cancelations there are a couple of places available on this course, contact me for details

Sector39 win project bid for Llanfyllin!

There are still hoops to be jumped through, boxes to be ticked and performance targets to met but Sector39 have won the opportunity to lead on a community transition and resilience project based in Llanfyllin over the next three years.

The premise of the project is simple:

pope

Climate change science is decided, it is time for action.

We are already at a state of emergency!

This is a disaster for young people, we can no longer pretend that we don’t know. We need a fundamental change of direction.

James Hansen, NASA, 350.org

The Paris climate accord signals that the race to the low carbon economy is fully on. This needs to be led by the rising generation who can see beyond the current economic paradigm, leading us all to a  clean energy economy as fast as possible, this is now essential.

Here is James Hansen of NASA explaining what we have to do.

This project wants to listen to the voices of the science commnuity and work through school and commnunity to create new options for food, employment, education, economy and more. To visualise and plan for a truly sustainable future that meets our local needs as well as our global responsibilities.

The project itself is a plan to use the permaculture design model to re-imagine a school and community fit for 2040, 2050, a time when we will all be required to be living a net carbon neutral lifestyle.

  • What will our low carbon economy look and feel like?
  • How will we communicate the ideas, challenges and rewards of this amazing transformation?
  • How will we shape our common sustainable future?
  • How can we turn this challenge into our greatest opportunity?

We want our commnuity to be LEADERS in responsing to this challenge and to put both Llanfyllin and Wales on the world map as pioneers!

The World is hungry for inspiration,
Monica Araya, Costa Rica

Help us reinvent the future!

Join us!

A small country with big ideas

Here is Monica Araya from Costa Rica asking “How do we build a society without fossil fuels?”

Using her native Costa Rica as an example of positive action on environmental protection and renewables, climate advocate Monica Araya outlines a bold vision for a world committed to clean energy in all sectors.

Here is an interesting piece on how the TV weather readers are reacting to increasingly frequest weather events.

Critical mass is coming

I am excited to see this latest initative from the Permaculture Association, recognising now is a critical time for engaging with the wider public to create real alternatives.

I have agreed to attend the Convergence and contribut to the talks on how we can use our permaculture networks to accelerate change. Permaculture economics, might bring togehter such things as crowdfuneing, PDC courses and projects to create a criticl mass to accelerate proejct development.

More on this soon, lease help share this post far and wide.