Llanfyllin School Project

llanfyllin message gif

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!

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.

Economic illiteracy

Economic illiteracy

It’s the economy stupid!

CnZa0EMXYAA9OIb.png large.png

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.

regenerative

Permaculture takes us beyond sustainaility to regeneration.

Full Permaculture Design Certificate courses, Autumn/ Winter 2016-17

PDC-advert_2016-7

Sector39 are taking bookings for two full PDC’s running over the coming autumn/ winter period. An intensive, residential course in the Mid Wales hills with cmping or bunkhouse accommodation, in the second half of September

The 6 part course, runs every other weekend spread over three months, at RISC Reading, start in January.

Please get in touch to find out more about these fantastic opportunites to study permaculture and make connections and contacts to help you in your own ambitions. Studying permaculture is a big step towards a saner and more rewarding life, building solutions and responses to the challenges of the modern world.

£600/ £450 for the residential course (low price for those on <£18k pa)

or £225 for the 6 part course in Reading

A deposit is required to secure a place, please see the booking form

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

£100,000 for permaculture education projects!

Well here’s hoping!  Sector39 has been relatively quiet these last three months as we have been concentrating on putting together a series of project bids. The deadline for submission for the three biggest ones was yesterday, so I have been locked in mortal combat with spreadsheets, funding criteria and project evidence. Breathing a huge sigh of relief now they are all in the post.

I am not a natural fundraiser and I am also suspicious of funded projects as by their very nature they tend not to be sustainable. All that said I remain convinced that now has never been a more important time to invest in permaculture and for all involved to be much more ambitious.

Hence the decision to step out and nail our colours to the mast. We want to make a much bigger impact in our local community and our core project proposal is around working with our local high school and its 1000 students to help shape a vision for our low-carbon future. We are going to be challenging the school to map out the 20 year road to being a zero carbon school, as required by both the climate Change act and the pressing urgency to take the lead on responding to out comes of the Paris Summit.

IF we are successful then we will have the opportunity to run a three-year project across both school and community whilst developing resources and media to help communicate the projects successes and failures and challenging others to explore similar challenges.

Project two, is to build on our up coming PDC in Uganda, we don’t want it to be a one-off, we know we need to follow through with at least two more over the coming 2 years to make it really effective and to allow us to support some of the students to go on and complete their Diplomas so they can convene and certificate their own future course in East Africa. We hope to able to develop a handbook for East Africa permaculture in collaboration with our East Africa colleaues and support from our friends at Permaculture Timor Leste, who have already developed a tropical peramculture handbook.

We are also planning our own PDC programme in the UK as well as, developing teaching resources and case studies, we are also looking to be more active in co-operative development and support. With jobs and housing becoming increasingly out of reach of the rising generation then the need for more self-created opportunities is going to intensify.  Working and housing co-ops that allow people t take much more direct responsibility for themselves and allowing much more opportunity for innovation to create truly sustainable lifestyles and regenerative development that can enable us to help heal the damaged and depleted biosphere and build a climate friendly model of development.

Here’s goes nothing.. maybe we will strike out and fail in our quest.. but we have certainly tried our best. Sector39 has been supported by investment from the Robert Owen Community Bank to develop these aspirations, we are hugely grateful for the opportunity and hope that we can achieve something truly remarkable as a result!

Our Uganda fundraised has 5 days to run, and every penny raised will really count to making adifference, so please consider supporting us.

Permaculture talk at the Concious Tribal Gathering

This wonderful small festival took place on the banks of the river Dee just outside of Llangollen this summer. You can hear the toots and shunts of the steam trains outside. This hour long talk serves as a powerful introduction to permaculture and its potentials and core idea. I hope you enjoy this talk, I have not had the chance to capture many of my talks before and I think the guys did a good job capturing this in challenging conditions.

I am really grateful to Dr Rock for the introduction and Gary Didge for putting this video together and publishing it.

September PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant

September PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant
pdc-advertV3

Click image to visit course booking page

We are excited to be offering our next PDC in Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant, the tiny Welsh mountain village made famous by its stunning waterfall. Located only 45 mins drive from Shrewsbury and 12 miles from Gobowen mainline station, this village is buried deep in the unspoilt Mid Wales countryside, by the Berwyn mountains.

 

The area is home to numerous permaculture projects and housing co-ops, which will form the backbone of our site visits and practicals. We are about to launch our own latest project in the area, a housing co-op and community shop. The course will use the PDC framework to look deeply into co-ops and other community led solutions, including local currencies and trading schemes. It is our contention that Crowd funding, ethical investment and local currencies offer up a whole new layer of opportunities that are yet to be fully exploited, never has it been a more interesting time to be involved in permaculture! Come along and find out why.

DIGITAL CAMERA

View of the Berwyn Mountains

Slide show: Permaculture education, going mainstream

First in a series leading up to the launch of the Permaculture Academy later this year.

Permaculture needs to escape its roots and go mainstream, everyone who has a stake in living on this planet without destroying it needs the benefit of its wisdom and understanding.

In the first of a series of posts I will be outlining the aims and unveiling the Permaculture Academy is all its glory.  It is 25 years nearly since I first walked onto Dairy Plot farm in Chimanimani and first came into contact with permaculture design in all its glory and its 20 years since I completed my first PDC and now 10 years since I started convening and hosting my own courses as Sector39, time for the next stage in the plan!

PDC Uganda

pdc_kamuli_adver3

Advert for our 2015 PDC in Uganda

This two week course will be a huge experience and the perfect introduction for anyone interested n working in East Africa in the future. We are partnering up with Dolen Ffermio, the farmers link charity that for the last 20 years has been building mutually beneficial links with the Eastern Ugandan region around Kamuli and Mbale.

The idea is bring together an international group of permaculture students, half from Europe and rest of the World and half from East Africa, principally Uganda. The course will cover the internationally recognised permaculture curriculum with field trips and practical sessions directly involved with local projects, with long established links with Dolen Ffermio.

In late 2014 14 of us from Mid Wales undertook a 2-week study of the region, visiting many of the projects and meeting many of the people concerned. It was immediately apparent from the this initial visit that there was much that could be achieved by running some permaculture sessions to help consolidate and the build on the many works already under way in the region as part of the project. The single thing that came over the strongest on our visit was how much people appreciated the international link. For a relatively small emerging nation such as Uganda the exchange of ideas, support and momentum that comes from these links is tremendously important and supportive, reinforcing the really important work they are doing there.

Many Ugandan's still live in traditional villages

Many Ugandan’s still live in traditional villages

Topics and practicals that I can see could have huge relevance and usefulness in the region include biochar production, wood gas, biogas and composting toilets. Most Ugandans cook on firewood every day.. by most I think that is as much as 80% and with a rapidly growing population that is a huge burden on the nation’s forests and scrub. Biogas and wood gas production might be able to help displace much of the wood use or at least make it much cleaner, less smoky and more efficient.

The soils there are deep and fertile so the need for composting toilets is not driven by a need for recycling nutrients, however, the smells from pit latrines and danger of pathogen spread from people using the fields means that is a huge benefit to be had by developing and trialling new systems. Village well development initiatives are now linked to improved toilet facilities, so the new wells don’t become contaminated, so this is important work

There is already a strong interest in agroforestry and agro ecology within Dolen Ffermio and the projects and schools they work with.. so adding this work and awareness to a broader framework of permaculture could really help authenticate and add momentum to these approaches. a common problem in the majority world is that the best aspects of traditional systems are undervalued in the light of exciting new seeds and technologies from the outside. Practices that have worked effectively for multiple generations are abandoned overnight in pursuit of a marginal gain from a technology that might be both expensive and unsustainable.

Background; Climate and History

map-uThe equatorial nation of Uganda is about the size of UK and sits just north of the massive inland lake Victoria. Especially in the southern half, where most of the people live it has excellent, deep fertile soils and people grow 90% of their own food locally and largely organically. The population of 33 million is young, and has grown strongly in recent years, the nations problems of tribal warfare, financial collapse and instability are now hopefully long behind them as 20 year  stable political period has allowed the country to greatly move forward. It sits at an interesting junction in its history as a nation, with choices to get drawn into the globalised economy or to concentrate on developing its own grass roots sector.

The Government tends to be drawn into large scale international projects and can be criticized for overlooking the localised sustainable agricultural sector.. and that is why the role of NGO’s like Dolen Ffermio is so important. 80% of the people   still live in rural areas, in Mud huts surrounded by crops with chickens and goats, fruit trees and more as the backbone of the rural economy.

Goat improvement project, one the key Dolen Ffermio projects

Goat improvement project, one the key Dolen Ffermio projects

The uptake of technology has been rapid and they have one of the highest rates of mobile phone use in the World, with better coverage than we have here in Wales. This,coupled with a new currency system based around the ability to transfer phone credit between users using SMS messages has greatly stimulated the local economy.. and it is this marriage of new technology and traditional, tried and tested systems that excites me the most. Uganda as a nation has the potential to lead the way into genuinely low carbon economies. They have the potential to evolve a set of technologies that could be exported across the globe, helping transforming the oil-addicted climate changing economies that predominate around the World.

More on this soon.. please get in touch with me if you are interested in this opportunity. I hope to be able to run a course in November 2015, or April 2016, depending on levels of interest.

It’s time we talked, Sector39 2015 Newsletter

There has never been a more important time for permaculture and looking ahead to 2015 it is going to be really interesting year. I have produced a newsletter in a downloadable format looking forward to the coming 12 months and I really want to open up the audience for permaculture design by offering 2 courses, one spread over 6 weekends in Reading from 7th January and one leading up to the Midsummer solstice in Mid Wales which will be 2 week residential course. I have created this newsletter in the hope that it will travel far and wide and help us reach people who are not yet maying attention to these issues.

Clicking on the image will download the Newsletter in PDF form, please circulate widely! Many thanks
S39-News-20151w