Permaculture adventures in Sector39

Trying to make sense of living in a crazy time

Category : sustainability

Changing Lives, Going Green, parts 3 & 4 of the 6 part series, plus Philippines links

Had some lovely feedback about this, lots of people enjoying re-watching the 2009 BBC Wales TV series the sector39 team were closely involved with making when we were still based in Llanfyllin at the Workhouse.

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“Stop This Madness”: Filipino Climate Chief Yeb Saño Begins Hunger Fast to Protest Global Inaction

This is an heroic and momentous speech. This is up there with Dr King, Churchill.. whatever.. superlatives aside.. this really is something of massive importance that I hope this man’s words will resonate across the World. “We can stop this! I still believe we can.” Yeb Saño

These words make the impact of climate change so real.. and even mroe the fear of living in the shadow of such uncertainly.. made only worse my the seeming indifference of the political classes to actually do anything meaningful about it.

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Urban forestry and habitat restoration


Thanks to Han Rees for sending me the link to this lecture series. great stuff

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Letter to Glyn Davies, MP for Newtown

Maybe forlornly, but I still cling onto the belief of democracy. So I write regularly to my MP imploring him to act meaningfully on energy and climate issues, as I see no such action from the current government. I try to write every week, but maybe it is more like once a month.. but either way I feel an urgent need to make my small voice heard… occasionally I get a reply but it is always lightweight and dismissive.

Dear Mr Davies.

I don’t understand your party’s energy policy one bit. We have a clear message that staying under 2 degrees of climate change is looking increasingly unlikely, yet you push ahead with gas power stations, fracking and like when a full on drive for renewables is obviously the only thing that makes sense. Investing a single penny into the furtherance of carbon based fossil fuels is surely an insanity that the next generation will not forgive us for.

We live in a era dominated by science and technology, yet when those same scientists ring the alarm bell over our fossil fuel use we ignore it. I don’t get it, I really don’t. Climate change is not an opinion, to be accepted or not.. it is a huge body of evidence, the weight of research is simply astounding, yet people try to dismiss it as a minor annoyance. You the Government, your party is not even engaged on the issue, you don’t talk about it meaningfully.. the IPCC report is terrifying and what is worse, it is a best case scenario.. truth is it is probably worse and more urgent than we can know. Surely no other issue comes close in its importance.. please speak up, and if you don’t understand it fully then please speak to those that do.. read the IPCC report, speak to the climate scientists.. this is no time for evasion.. there will be no future worth having on the path you are following.

There are so many things we could be doing, aside from changing energy policy, we can manage landscapes to sequestrate carbon, we can insulate homes, we can re localise our food supply, all things that create jobs and meaningful livelihoods and give us food security. We have food banks in our towns, in Newtown, in Machynlleth.. food banks! People are hungry.. and we could do so so much more. I work full time developing responses to these problems, yet you don’t come and talk to us. Please do, please come and find out what can be done to work for a secure future, because right now I don’t see meaningful action or even an understanding of the issues.

Yours, with deep concern

Steven Jones

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Changing Lives, Going Green part 1

Here is part one of the Presentable TV series we made for BBC Wales TV. Filmed in later summer 2009 at Llanfyllin Workhouse, Sector39 crew are heavily featured in most episodes, Myself, Ritchie, Sue and others. Really the TV producers had a very sketchy idea about the ‘green’ content of the show and I was able to heavily influence and structure the show and the practical challenges the family had to face.

I am really proud of the resulting program and I really want to thank the Davies family for being such good sports. They were all very open about their feelings and were prepared to be influenced by the experience as it unfolded.

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They call it the American dream….. because you have to be asleep to believe it

George Carlin on incendiary form..

You have to think for yourselves… believe nothing, ask lots of difficult questions, question authority at every turn. Find like minded people and apply yourself to building alternatives. Be clear about where your own ethics and values lie and try to operate inside of them in everything that you do.

Permaculture is a design strategy that supports you to do exactly that. We can only address the problems and inequalities of the World from the bottom up, by building working alternatives, powerful examples and sharing the learning.

Our next Permaculture Design Course starts on Saturday, it is number 22 for us and is part of our determination to share what we know and to empower others to do the same for themselves. I don’t know of a better way to do it..

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Collapse, change and transformation

US Author, Journalist and commentator James Howard Kunstler holds regular talks with leading academics, writers and thinkers of the time on the day usiually on themes of energy descent, peak oil, sub urban sprawl and the imperative of a rapid transition away from our resource hungry lifestyles. This is an excellent example below, where he is talking with George Mobus, systems scientist from the University of Washington, Tacoma. As a systems scientist Geroge has taken on board the importance of permaculture as a systems response to the impending crises we face. Fascinatiing listening.

http://kunstlercast.com/shows/kunstlercast-234-george-mobus-and-biophysical-economics.html

Meanwhile. here is another really powerful analysis of our economic woes, again related to to energy decent and increasing resource scarcity by Richard Heinberg.. lead research fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and also one the most articulate writers and talkers on the subject.

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Permaculture Design Course, plans for 2013

permaculture design course 2013

PDC advert 2013

Permaculture is the fastest growing, most vital and energetic grass roots movement around. Permaculture addresses the challenging issues of the day.. resource depletion, climate change, soil loss, financial chaos and the social and economic turmoil that goes with that.

Globalisation is a massive failure, finance and banking has become a global fraud, Western economies are suffocating in unmanageable levels of debt, collapsing biodiversity,  soil erosion, lowering water tables and deforestation are typical of the massive degradation we are inflicting on the physical environment. Bizarrely our economic paradigm actually values resource destruction and environmental damage as a measurement of achievement and consequently decision makers, politicians and corporates are wilfully blind to the devastation they are causing.

Permaculture is a grass roots, bottom up design process which attempts to address all of these issues.. it focusses on self empowering and bypasses many of the blockages to launching projects and initiatives from within the mainstream.  Permaculture is about modelling on nature to build resilience, to re-localise and regenerate the social and biological complexity that globalised systems have eroded.

We will be based on a 100 acre family farm in the Welsh Marches and interacting with a community in transition whilst visiting some of the leading permaculture projects and organic farms in the area. We will mix classroom based theory, presentations and video with practical sessions on gardening, woodwork, crafts with field trips and site visits.

This is a course for anyone with an active interest in our continued survival on this planet. This is an energising, inspirational and uplifting experience with the power to transform and create new possibilities.

Pricing. We work very hard to make our courses and affordable and accessible as possible. Price includes camping in your own tent, 3 delicious and nutritious meals a day, tuition, field trips, certification and practicals. No unavoidable extras.

Full price is £600, with some places available at £450 for folks on low income or students.

There are 2 places at £150 for volunteers/ interns/ or trainees.. applications will be assessed by us according to need.

Everyone is expected to join in to help with serving and clearing meals, site maintenance etc..

Dates and times:

Those travelling to the farm are encouraged to arrive on  on Saturday 11th May. We will provide evening meal at 6.30 pm and there is an (optional) evening video screening that evening. Nearest station is Gobowen (for Oswestry).

Tuition starts at 9.00 am Sunday May 12th.

On the Middle weekend (18/ 19 May) there will be a trip to the Welsh Smallholders show at Llandrindod Wells show-ground (packed lunch)
On the Sunday we will be visiting the beautiful Welsh mountain village and waterfall at Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant, with a roast lunch in the local pub (£8.50 extra)

The course finishes 5pm, on Saturday 25th May. Participants and encouraged to stay for an evening closing party, with pizza, local ales and wines and homespun entertainment and folk music (Food £7 extra).

Site clear up and departure by  Midday Sunday 26th May.

Booking and additional Info

Please complete a booking form and a deposit of £150 is required in advance to secure a place. Balance to be paid minimum of 2 weeks prior to the course starting.

There is much more general information about our permaculture courses on the Sector39 PDC page

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Essential Soil Lecture

Anyone with an interest in permaculture already know how important soil is to our survival. In this well presented lecture geologist Dave Montgomery argues taht we have the potential to sequester much of the carbon we are currently emitting into the atmosphere back into soil with different management techniques. He provides some excellent statistics to back up the main thrust of what we present on permaculture design courses regarding soil management and carbon storage. A stand out statistic is that 1/3 of CO2 added to the atmosphere by human activity has come from ploughing up soils and therefore gives is the chance to put something of that magnitude back into the soil through changed farming practices.

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Clear, sane and erudite. Watch this challenging and very well constructed argument

This is very well presented speech which must have been recorded in the build up to the Copenhagan summit.. and we all know what happend there.. the global car crash of the multilateral response to climate change.. but these are very wise and measured words and offer clear and precise ways forward… this is the kind of thinking the World needs and what we should be paying attention to.

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Biochar.. and the secrets of Eldorado

With melting polar ice caps, retreating glaciers and increasingly unpredictable weather patterns the need to directly address climate change has never been so important. Does an ancient civilization that once lived in the Amazon jungle hold a possible key to not just addressing carbon capture and storage but also of addressing that of global food security. Please do take the time to watch this extraordinary video if you have not already.

This is a truly remarkable story which surely has the utmost significance in the context of our looming and great challenges of confronting energy security and climate change.

This documentary presents all the evidence you need to demonstrate that there was a huge and advanced civilization in the Amazon 2000 – 500 years ago. Contemporary to the Egyptians the amazon was home to great cites, complex settlement and agricultural practices. Not only does this completely change the way we see the jungleasa a wild and untamed landscape but it also changes the idea of our relationship with the soil itself. Essential watching and a topic that demands further and immediate investigation. Not to be too dramatic, but i cant but help think this is highly significant stuff.

There is an additional bit on the end of this looking at the wider implications and possibilities of biochar from a recent conference. Both are essential watching, and once your appetite is whetted you need to read Biochar solution by Albert Bates.

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