Simon Sinek on millennials and smart phones

Excerpt of Simon Sinek from an episode of Inside Quest. Apparently it has gone viral and I can see why. It struck me as relevant to permaculture in a different way when he talks about the growing addiction to instant gratification and instant results. We are hooked on the better, quicker faster cheaper mantra. We miss out on the slow and complicated, the unplanned and accidental, some of the most important things in life come from these places.

Facing our demons

Now more than perhaps ever before the World needs to rally together to face the terrifying issues of the moment. Our whole economic paradigm seems to be collapsing, responding to climate and economic crises is no quick fix, it will take a bold new vision of our collective objectives and strategies. Liberal democracy seems to have been fatally hi jacked by corporate power, banks and oligarchs putting humanity on a collision course with reality.

I strongly believe permaculture design has a very big part to play in how we address these issues in a coherent way. As our work at sector39 continues to reach a broader and broader audience and brings us into contact with more diverse audiences I can that this potential continues to grow.

Nobody can articulate the enormity of the challenge we face better than Chomsky and here he is a recent interview that really demands our attention.

Noam Chomsky, ‘The Human Species Has Never Faced A Question Like This’ (2016)

Here is a current scientific overview and presentation on the scale of the challenge we face.

If humans caused it then surely we can solve it?

Well if you listen the presentation above you realize that although this is a correct assertion the clock is ticking and that will not be true for long.



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

Permaculture voices: Kamuli

Here is the first of a series of videos taken from interviews with some of the participants from the May PDC in Kamuli.

In conversation with Grace from Sector39, teacher Connie talks about the 10 girls she acts a patron for at Busoga high school. Moving and inspiring talk, using permaculture ideas to support education for otherwise economically excluded people.

The woods have been destroyed, they have gone away, how can permaculture help respond to this challenge?  Wilbur

We must replant, using local resources and by propagating the few trees  we have around. They will grow.           Connie.

What are you taking back to your community and home from the permaculture course? Wilbur responds to Connie’s question with a full and inspiring answer. He hopes to become a model for his village, by applying what he has learned.

He responds with a challenging question,

What can we do about the illiterates, those who do not understand the environment? Wilberforce, Dolen Ffermio, Kamuli

which Connie replies to begin by doing it.

Let them see you put these things on your land, if you cannot talk to them, let your actions speak. Connie, Kamuli 2016

Economic illiteracy

Economic illiteracy

It’s the economy stupid!

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Change works on a feedback loop, fixing the economy comes with the requirement to channel resources towards more desirable outcomes. As players in an interconnected global market each of us has considerable power, our collective decisions shape the future. Spending and investment matters!

Our monetary system is driving us over the edge but how can we reform it?

Our obsession with GDP growth shows nothing less than we don’t understand  economics. The word Oikos, meaning hearth and home in ancient Greek also represents the basic building block of civilization. Oikos forms the root of both the concepts of ecology and economy and the decisions we make at the hearth side shape the world around us with far-reaching consequences.

The solar economy is a steady state, a constant we cannot change but can only plan in relation to. It is only through continued and expanding exploitation of firstly ancient woodlands, then trapped carbon deposits in the form of coal, gas and oil that we have been able to live beyond our means. Our shopping mall lifestyles aren’t going to run on a solar economy and expanding consumption puts us on a certain crash course with the environment. Ecological problems require economic solutions, and economic theories must obey the laws of ecology.

The transformation that is required of us to transcend the ecological crisis is an economic one. We have to find a way to a value-driven, steady-state economy, leaving the biocidal, growth-driven monster far behind us.  Steve Jones

Here in conversation with Max and Stacy is the amazing Dimitry Orlov       in the Keiser report’s summer solutions series discussing the possibilities for a human scale society. The vision of a vibrant, highly connected and  re-localised economy he outlines resonates with the permaculture vision.

This post forms part of a theme we are currently working on, to incorporate an economic framework into permaculture design teaching. What we might want to see as a restorative economy, an economy with teh ojectives of restoring community and natural systems to abndance.

This idea is beautifully imagined in the graphic i spotted on the net. Sustainability is only a mid point between on going desstruction and inravelling, and some thing that uilds positively in the other direction.


Permaculture takes us beyond sustainaility to regeneration.

Fracking UK

Max Keiser has been on the money about fracking for years, describing it as a no hope industry that is essentially a fraud. With zero % interest rates, industry doesn’t have to make a profit anymore, they can just make money from fees setting up the continuation of that fraud. It is like the banking crisis brought to commodity extraction. The oil industry is already over, investment in the sector is not going to deliver long term yields as it is already in over production as the renewable energy market continues to explode. I can only see this continued determination to exploit every carbon resource as the last acts of desparation of the oil baron as they know well that once this era is over it is never coming back. This is the last chance salon of a dying industry, that needs to support of governments and enournous tax breaks and subsidies to keep it going o its final lap.

Here is Max and Stacey taking apart the Fracking industry, before turning their attention to the zombie financial undustry in the second half as well as looking at energy markets.

The globalised economy has became a fraud since they started buying up the bad debt to protect the bankers from their own folly. The lack of imagination to see the writing on the wall and to move to post carbon economy demonstrated by governments and banks is dumbfounding, in denying reality tehy have embraced fantasy and unreality. No one confronts this reality better than Max and Stacey!

Climate Change Explained and Proof it’s Man Made

Climate Change Explained and Proof it’s Man Made

Narrated by the scientist who first published the hockey stick graph, made renown by Al Gore in his Inconvenient Truth, Dr. Michael E. Mann.

This is a very clear and precise explanation of Climate Change. Well presented and tackles the controversies of perception and understanding head. on, telling the struggles to dodge the climate wars fallout created by huge investment into those anti=science think-tanks by specifically the Koch brothers along with other coal and oil industry interests.

I am posting this as a great teaching resource, something to frame discussions around our collective response to these realities. We need to  dare to think radically different to come up with responses to this huge challenge and not allow ourselves to become complacent. This is thought provoking stuff.

  • Heat is radiated as Infrared light.
  • CO2 gas absorbs infrared light .
  • Therefore CO2 heats up when exposed to infrared light.
  • The earth is cooled by emission of infrared light into space.
  • The earth is kept warm by greenhouse gasses whitch absorb infrared light before it reaches space.
  • Therefore more greenhouse gasses means more infrared light absorbed, meaning more heat.
  • Combustion reactions release CO2 and water vapour.
  • These gases are greenhouse gasses, whitch absorb infrared light.
  • Therefore we expect both the concentration of CO2 and the temperature of earth to rise.
  • Scientific theory predicts rise in temperature corresponding to an increase in greenhouse gas.
  • Empirically, we observe an increase temperature corresponding to an increase in greenhouse gas.
  • Therefore, global warming is real.

Days of revolt, excellent interview

From Jan 2016 this is a really eloquant, insightful and excellent intervew

In this episode of teleSUR’s Days of Revolt, Chris Hedges speaks with two esteemed labor activists from Detroit about the desperation caused by industrial decline and deregulation, especially amongst Black people, and attest to the necessity and inevitability of revolt under such conditions.

Education for change

The changes we face are essentially inevitable, as cheap sources of energy expire and climate change accelerates we are all faced, with an increasing urgency with the need for meaningful collective action.

The age of carbon is over and a transition to a greener economy is inevitable, says Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, adviser to the German government and Pope Francis

To get out of the mess we have created we are required to think differently, which asks the question of how this might actually come about? How are we going to come up with a broad coalition of understanding let alone responses?

Starting with Climate Change, none has framed the problem better than Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything, soon to be released as a film as well. Our collective addiction to fossil fuels underpins the crisis of our times, as we are not only destroying the atmosphere but fuelling resource wars at the same time. Here is one of the sanest, clearest and best informed voices on the subject. Climate Change is not per se the problem we face, it is actually the symptom of a much bigger problem one of social justice and with that comes not only a much bigger challenge, but the opportunity of a much bigger reward, a transformation of society at large.

The next item is short and is the trailer to the This Changes Everything documentary/ movie. I sincerely hope that the film has the desired impact as we are in dire need of cleared focussed reasoning when there are so many conflicting voices out there. Climate Change really does change everything and once we have fully taken that on board we collectively need to realise that carbon reduction and sequestration is set to become the key driver for all our future activities. It calls into question our whole economic model, the very idea of a growth led economy as well as our dependence on extractive processes to source the energy and materials we need.

This is very short and on a different tack than those above. This is a new children’s book, penned by Professor Chris Rhodes, someone acutely aware of peak oil, climate change and the challenges of the 21st century and wanted to created a narrative for children infused with co-operative values and sensibilities. Baring in mind the next generation is going to be challenged in all sorts of ways as yet un-anticipated by the changing world, their abilities to work together to solve problems are likely to be paramount. Personally, the whole idea of Hippy the Happy Hippo begs the question of are we preparing the next generation  for what is coming, or for what has passed by already?

At heart of what we must reform is our very notion of how we make decisions, how we allocate resources and by that I mean our whole economic paradigm. Can capitalism be reformed? Well here are two people who think it can and must be a big part of the answer. Ha Joon Chang, economists and academic and Yanis Veroufakis, former Greek finance minister, academic are a couple  a clear and insightful voice on the troubles of capital, the Euro zone and wider.

No matter how we reform and dissect our economic theory one thing that is also certain, the only system that is going to work for us in the longer term is one that values the natural world and accepts that we are merely part of it and there is no benefit to be had from its continual erosion an ultimate destruction..

Permaculture is the answer! Of course there is no simple answer, permaculture is a process, a design template and an ethical framework that steers us towards long term sustainable practices. We won’t get there in an instant and getting there will be an on-going, gradual and open ended process.

This 2 videos below give an insight into permaculture practice in two very different examples and locations. Among other things this demonstrates permaculture’s  adaptability and the many possibilities it presents for economic and ecological renewal. Fixing the climate thing comes packaged with re-energised communities,  actively engaged in developing a mutually beneficial and ecologically concious relationship with a living biosphere.

Unleashing Creativity

Climate Change really does change everything. It will usher in a much more decentralised, multi-polar world. A low carbon economy is also a low energy economy and our ability to travel freely and eat out of season will be significantly curtailed. Much of the infrastructure we have built will not be fit for purpose and will have to be re-imagined and re-engineered. Community led and localised strategies for resource cycling, energy, food and more will become significant parts of the new economy as we will fuse high technology and materials science with the age old technologies of mud, sticks and straw, hemp, lime and clay.

I see a high tech./ low tech. future, one full of invention and re-invention and for that to be possible we need to unleash our collective creative power and nowhere more importantly should this be happening than in our schools and colleges right now.

I believe permaculture is ready to take on this challenge, to provide a frame work for re-invention and for consensus building across the continents and across the generations, creating the possibility for us to achieve the collective goal of a truly sustainable and abundant society. Steve Jones

With this is mind Sector39 are working with local partners to develop a A level in Permaculture and to work with fellow educators to find ways to bring its core ideas into schools and to allow the creative unleashing to begin.

And finally.. this short talk lays down the ultimate challenge for any budding designers out there..

Using wikis and digital fabrication tools, TED Fellow Marcin Jakubowski is open-sourcing the blueprints for 50 farm machines, allowing anyone to build their own tractor or harvester from scratch. And that’s only the first step in a project to write an instruction set for an entire self-sustaining village (starting cost: $10,000).