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12 Design Principles For More Sustainable Farming

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“What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet.” – David Suzuki

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A Brief History of Agriculture

Before we look at what the future might look like we need to understand how we got to where we are before we can move in the appropriate direction for a new and more sustainable future.

Scholars, historians and archaeologists suggest that various forms of farming have existed for over 10,000 years. It was around 9500 BC that the development of crops such as wheat, barley, peas and lentils occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean region (Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, and Palestinian Territories). In 5500 BC in Southern Mesopotamia, the Sumerians developed possibly the first large scale intensive farming system that included mono cropping -the use of organised labour and widespread irrigation. In 4000 BC, the Mesopotamians were at it again, developing wooden ploughs, possibly the first in history. It took the Assyrian’s another five hundred years to develop irrigation techniques. At the same time, 3500 BC, evidence of the first agriculture in the Americas and Central Amazonia occurred. In 500 BC, the Chinese invented an iron plough that saw the development of row cultivation in cropping.

Agriculture moved into a new era with the development of cash cropping in 1000  AD. This was effectively a move away from subsistence farming. In subsistence agriculture, crops are grown mainly for the producers own benefit and consumption. Cash cropping is where crops are grown specifically for sale and profit. In Illinois 1837, John Deere invented the steel plough and by 1855 Deere had sold over 10,000 ploughs across America. 1895 brought with it the development of refrigeration in the United States and United Kingdom which helped in storing excess food supplies for domestic and commercial uses. By 1944 the ‘Green Revolution’ had spread its wings and was transferring technological research and development initiatives across India and other parts of the globe. This revolution helped increase production in countries like India with the development of higher yielding crop varieties. The ‘green revolution’ introduced intensive irrigation methods and manmade fertilizers and pesticides.

A Summary of Current and previous agricultural production

Looking back over this brief history of agriculture, two key things have occurred in farming. Firstly, there has been a move away from subsistence farming toward cash cropping with an emphasis on increasing yields and output of crop varieties. Secondly, developments in farming techniques and technological improvements over the last century have only been made possible by oil powered machinery and oil based agricultural inputs. These increases in technology and automation have allowed societies to sustain themselves more adequately, allowing populations to increase across all continents. Another trend that is highlighted when looking back at our farming and agriculture history is the predominance of land clearance and intensive farming. There have been some exceptions, many of which are traditional native cultures who saw no need for improved efficiencies as the natural systems and cycles provided enough for a sustained existence. Many of our modern agricultural practices have had a focus on intensive farming that uses heavy machinery, artificial fertilizers and pesticides which eventually depletes soils and the natural environment. The history books are littered with cultures and societies that have collapsed from the exploitation of natural resources. It makes sense that we investigate alternatives to agricultural production going forward. It is estimated that for every calorie of food we eat in the modern industrialised food system it takes 10 calories of fossil fuels to produce that one calorie of food, therefore the price of food and cheap energy are highly correlated. In the early 1900’s 50% of the American workforce was employed in the agricultural sector. Today the number is approximately 2% of the workforce that is engaged in growing food.

Permaculture the Way Forward

The term ‘permaculture’ originated from Australian born author, scientist, teacher and naturalist Bill Mollison and co-developer David Holmgren in the 1970’s. Mollison is known as the ‘father’ of permaculture. He summarises permaculture: “Permaculture (permanent agriculture) as the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems.” Permaculture has spread across the globe and there are now millions of people practicing and teaching permaculture principles and design. In his book ‘Permaculture: A Designers Manual’ Mollison states “Permaculture in essence is how nature ultimately designed things in the first place. The idea behind permaculture is to replicate or mimic the natural systems and environments, while using some of the modern techniques of horticulture, architecture and agriculture to enhance and yield edible food supplies.” David Holgren in his book Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability elaborates: “Consciously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature, while yielding an abundance of food, fibre and energy for provision of local needs,” and, “I see permaculture as the use of systems thinking and design principles that provide the organising framework for implementing the above vision.”

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“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15

For the most part, we have been following a path of intensive and highly automated agriculture that places pressure on natural systems. Permaculture is more closely linked with how traditional natives farmed and worked with the land. Soil quality is one of the key ingredients for successful farming and agriculture. From the Cuban experience we know that it took the Cubans between 3 to 5 years to get the soil back into a healthy condition after many years of degradation. The use of pesticides, herbicides and artificial fertilisers destroyed the composition of these soils. The methodology that underlies the permaculture movement is that of community and bringing people together to work for the common good. It is a shift away from a non-material profiteering way of life, towards one that encompasses personal responsibility for our actions, taking care of the environment and ensuring that resources are managed sustainability.

Permaculture brings us back to a time when communities, friends and neighbours shared resources. Permaculture is a long way from cheap mass produced food that generate externalities from production. It is about observing nature’s laws and working with nature as opposed to against it. Permaculture is about harnessing what nature has to offer without being greedy and taking more than we need. The collection and storage of water through tanks and the preserving of foods is an example of this philosophy. Realising that what we do today will impact future generations is crucial in paving the way for a sustainable agricultural future. Short sighted profitability must make way for long term sustainability of our land and environment. (1)

Permaculture Design Principles

(Author credit: Richard Telford @ permacultureprinciples.com)

permaculturedesingprinciples design1perma

By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation. This icon for this design principle represents a person ‘becoming’ a tree. In observing nature it is important to take different perspectives to help understand what is going on with the various elements in the system. The proverb “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” reminds us that we place our own values on what we observe, yet in nature, there is no right or wrong, only different.

design2perma

By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.

This icon for this design principle represents energy being stored in a container for use later on, while the proverb “make hay while the sun shines” reminds us that we have a limited time to catch and store energy.

design3perma

Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing. The icon of this design principle, a vegetable with a bite out of it, shows us that there is an element of competition in obtaining a yield, whilst the proverb “You can’t work on an empty stomach” reminds us that we must get immediate rewards to sustain us.

design4perma

We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. The icon of the whole earth is the largest scale example we have of a self regulating ‘organism’ which is subject to feedback controls. The proverb “the sins of the fathers are visited unto the children of the seventh generation” reminds us that negative feedback is often slow to emerge.

design5perma

Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behaviour and dependence on non-renewable resources. The horse icon represents both a renewable service and renewable resource. It can be used to pull a cart, plough or log and it can even be eaten – a non consuming use is preferred over a consuming one. The proverb “let nature take it’s course” reminds us that control over nature through excessive resource use and high technology is not only expensive, but can have a negative effect on our environment.

desxign6perma

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste. The icon of the worm represents one of the most effective recyclers of organic materials, consuming plant and animal ‘waste’ into valuable plant food. The proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” reminds us that timely maintenance prevents waste, while “waste not, want not” reminds us that it’s easy to be wasteful in times of abundance, but this waste can be a cause of hardship later.

 design7perma

By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go. Every spider’s web is unique to its situation, yet the general pattern of radial spokes and spiral rings is universal. The proverb “can’t see the forest for the trees” reminds us that the closer we get to something, the more we are distracted from the big picture.

design8perma

By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between them and they support each other. This icon represents a group of people from a bird’s-eye view, holding hands in a circle together. The space in the centre could represent “the whole being greater than the sum of the parts”. The proverb “many hands make light work” suggests that when we work together the job becomes easier.

design9perma

Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.  The snail is both small and slow, it carries its home on its back and can withdraw to defend itself when threatened. The proverb “the bigger they are, the harder they fall” reminds us of the disadvantages of excessive size and growth while “slow and steady wins the race” encourages patience while reflecting on a common truth in nature and society.

design10perma

Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides. The remarkable adaptation of the spinebill and hummingbird to hover and sip nectar from long, narrow flowers with their spine-like beak symbolises the specialisation of form and function in nature. The proverb “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” reminds us that diversity offers insurance against the variations of our environment.

design11perma

The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system. The icon of the sun coming over the horizon with a river in the foreground shows us a world composed of edges. The proverb “don’t think you are on the right track just because its a well-beaten path” reminds us that the most popular is not necessarily the best approach.

design12perma

We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time. The butterfly is a positive symbol of transformative change in nature, from its previous life as a caterpillar. The proverb “vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be” reminds us that understanding change is much more than a linear projection. (1)

Permaculture design systems can be used anywhere from rural communities to high density urban environments. The beauty of permaculture is that is about being creative through observing the landscape and adapting and designing around any constraints that may exist. It is about creating a more integrated system that takes into account the natural synergies and  connections between components that produce abundance.

 Check out this video where a family grows 6,000lbs of produce a year in an urban setting.  

CoverONENOVArticle by Andrew Martin editor of onenesspublishing  and author of  One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future…

Sources

(1) http://onenesspublishing.com/sample-page/

(2) http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/

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Al Sharpton Cancels NYC ‘Vaccine Forum’ Amid Pressure From Physicians – But It’s Happening Anyway

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Amid pressure from scientists and physicians, Al Sharpton cancels vaccine forum event aimed at educating the public about potential vaccine dangers. But the event is still on in a new location!

  • Reflect On:

    Why such a concerted effort from the establishment to shut down public events aimed at educating people about safety concerns regarding vaccines? If there was nothing to hide, why shut them down so aggressively?

The Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network were set to host a “vaccine forum” on Oct 19th, 2019 in Harlem that would feature speakers focused on raising awareness about vaccine injuries and lack of vaccine safety.

The event was going to take place at National Action Network’s headquarters on 145th Street, and Sharpton was slated to welcome guests, alongside Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is currently suing New York State for removing the option for parents to exercise religious exemptions to vaccines.

After the event was shut down at NAN due to pressure from prominent vaccine supporters, the location was moved to an Assembly Hall at Riverside Church. (More details below.)

Dr. Peter Hotez, who has refused to publicly debate Robert F Kennedy Jr on the matters of vaccine safety, was one of the individuals trying to shut down the event. When speaking of Sharpton he stated:

“His organization should not be hosting this event,” he said. “He should not be appearing at this event. This is an event which is intended to deliberately work towards depriving kids in Harlem of their life-saving vaccines and to make parents question the safety of those vaccines.”

Not all share Hotez’s opinion that vaccines are a safe, one size fits all pharmaceutical. And there is much evidence to support those doubts. Hence why the vaccine awareness movement is rapidly growing, it’s evidence based and that’s becoming more obvious as each day goes by.

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If there was no evidence vaccines come with serious dangers, this argument would have died out years ago. Take for example the resurgence of topics like flat earth, it had celebrity backing and was an internet phenomenon, but it died off quickly as there simply is no evidence to support the idea. With vaccines, it’s much different. More and more prominent, credible and credentialed individuals are joining the movement because the evidence continues to mount. Their goal is to assess vaccine safety and stop government from trying to force vaccines on everyone due to pharmaceutical pressures.

Dr. Sean O’Leary with the American Academy of Pediatrics also outspoken about the event:

“Just when we get done with the measles outbreak, actions like this threaten the public’s health by starting another measles outbreak, […] Here, in another part of New York City, we have folks ready to go into a community and spread more misinformation and pseudoscience.”

Again, more misinformed and opinionated statements from individuals that perhaps are simply not attempting to see the truth or who are pressured not to speak the truth. The body of evidence that expresses the lack of vaccine safety is vast. For example, a pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research found that 1 in 39 kids are injured by vaccines in some way, contrary to the estimate put forth by the CDC that suggests 1 in a million are injured –  that’s quite the gap.

It brings up the question, if there is nothing to hide in the actions of pharmaceutical companies, why are they protected by laws from ever being sued for vaccine injuries and harm? Why are public debates on the issue always cancelled? Why does the media work so hard to turn people to question things into ‘antivaxxers?’ Why do we (CE) had our reach limited on Facebook and receive ‘fake news’ strikes every time we report on vaccines? – even when the information is completely fact based…

Because there is something to hide here. If there was nothing to hide, big pharma and their control over congress, government, media, some scientists and doctors would not be working so hard to shut down people who have figured out the truth.

“It is a grave warning sign for American democracy that the pharmaceutical industry is now so powerful that it can silence debate, even in the traditional heart of civil rights activism” – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

If you are in the New York area, you can attend this free public event to understand more about vaccines safety on October 19th,  2019.

Speakers include: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; Sheila Ealey; John Gilmore; Dr. Phil Valentine; Curtis Cost; Dr. Lawrence Palevsky; Reverend Walter Sotelo; Mary Holland; Gary Null; Mitchel Cohen; and many more.

The event time and location is as follows:

Saturday, October 19th, 1:00-4:0 p.m.
Assembly Hall at Riverside Church
91 Claremont Avenue, New York, NY

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Tulsi Gabbard Just Called Hillary Clinton The “Embodiment Of Corruption” And Much More

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Hillary Clinton just referred to Tulsi Gabbard as a Russian asset in an interview. Tulsi comes back at her on Twitter, exposing the true face of Clinton.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it not important we have more public conversations about the true nature of the politicians we vote for?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has recently suggested that she thinks Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, is being “groomed” by Russia to run as a third-party candidate in 2020. Of course, she supplied no evidence of this, but using “Russia” in any sentence in the US is a sure-fire way of striking fear in people about someone.

In an interview with David Plouff, Obama’s former campaign manager, Clinton said:

“They’re also going to do third-party again, “I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Again, step out of part politics for a second, are we really going to pretend this is about parties and not the global elite being upset at someone who’s ruining their show? Think about it, Clinton used Facebook, Google, YouTube and almost every media outlet in the US to manipulate the public into thinking she was a viable candidate. Trump was keen to use social media, and played the role of causing drama, but at least he was transparent about it. Clinton on the other hand, is precisely what Gabbard stated about her in a follow-up Tweet to Clinton’s remarks.

When it comes to the US’ involvement in war, which Gabbard has been rightly critical about, she has also said that Trump “has the blood of the Kurds on his hands” but explained that she holds both parties responsible for supporting what she described as a “regime-change war.” Accurately seeing that this is not about parties but about deep state agendas.

The Takeaway

As we often say in step 1 of The CE Protocol, we have to break the illusion of the world around us. Events like this indicate that there is a greater desire for people to speak up and expose what many people have known for a long time but has never received the attention it deserves. Gabbard in this case is helping the American public see more clearly the true nature of some of the politicians at play and the actions they take.

When we learn to see these actions more clearly we can call into question whether or not our voting processes or systems are truly representative of what people want or whether they are just there to tell a story to the people – one that isn’t true – so money and power can be made and maintained at the elite level.

Needing to have open and public conversations about this type of stuff, moving beyond the mainstream media created celebrity status of various candidates, is important so that people can begin to see the truth – see the person behind the mask. This is partly what people see with Trump, the truth of what politicians look like, act like and where their agendas lie. It’s all laid bare. Whether or not you agree or disagree with it is up to you to decide, because at least now it can be seen clearly. Especially if you avoid mainstream media’s coverage of it.

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This is Not A Movie, It’s October 1st, 2019 In Hong Kong

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Protests in Hong Kong rose to many tense moments over the past few months. This video footage shows clashes between riot police and protesters on Kowloon’s Nathan Road.

  • Reflect On:

    Have people reached a breaking point when it comes to how often they are not heard by governments?

In the video below, what looks like a Hollywood movie is the reality just a couple of weeks ago in Hong Kong. Riot police and protesters have been clashing for months as the streets become filled with hundreds of tear gas canisters and Molotov cocktails. Having covered the G20 summit in Toronto, these scenes appear much more tense than what I saw during those protests, and even those were filled with vandalism, pepper spray, burning cars and rubber bullets.

We’ve covered the Hong Kong protests a couple of times here on CE, including a full segment on CETV here.

There are obviously two perspectives as to what is going on, the Mainland China perspective and that of the Hong Kong protesters who feel Mainland China is acting wrongly. From the perspective of Mainland China, the protests in Hong Kong are fundamentally the result of Western interference and attempts at a ‘soft recolonization’ of Hong Kong. Their arguments have some merit.

From the Hongkongers perspective,  tensions rose after the introduction of an extradition bill that threatened residents’ freedoms. Protesters are demanding Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam resigns. They are also calling for:

  • The complete withdrawal of the proposed extradition bill
  • The government to withdraw the use of the word “riot” in relation to protests
  • The unconditional release of arrested protesters and charges against them dropped
  • An independent inquiry into police behaviour
  • Implementation of genuine universal suffrage

As with many things people are feeling at the moment, big government has been overreaching for quite some time, and freedoms continue to be cut while quality of life in our fast-paced modern society diminishes. What we must remember when viewing these issues is we can’t singularly look at each one and determine whether it’s right or wrong so easily. People are exposed to ‘hits’ from every direction to their wallets, freedom, health, lifestyle and psyche and our world is reflecting the feeling that ‘enough is enough.’

Since much of the time we aren’t sure what else to do, people fight back, they do what they think will lead them to being heard and having a solution brought forth. is this the best way forward? Perhaps not, but when it becomes clear to people that their governments and the voting process do not work in their benefit nor favor, this is sometimes what they revert to.

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Video credit: Tom Grundy/HKFP

More at http://www.hongkongfp.com – Hong Kong’s only not-for-profit, independent English-language news source.

H/T: Twisted Sifter

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