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Unplug Yourself From The Industrial Food System With Permaculture Gardening

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“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”

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Bill Mollison

Observe and Interact

Over forty years ago, Bill Mollison, with the help of David Holmgren, helped develop a blueprint for sustainable living. Mollison — an author, scientist, teacher, and biologist — spent many years working in and with nature. He came to the understanding that everything is connected and that the way we are living is killing us and the planet. He developed a system which integrated agriculture, horticulture, architecture, and ecology in a conscious effort to design landscapes which replicate the natural patterns found in nature. Mollison and Holmgren understood the value of observing nature. By observing nature we can design solutions which suit our particular circumstances while producing human settlements which are abundant in productivity (food) and pleasing to inhabit.

Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share

Apart from the design principles, permaculture promotes three main ethics which many native cultures once practiced: Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share. The key differentiator of Permaculture from conventional farming is that it is not just about the utilisation of resources in an efficient and effective way. It embraces ethics in design and teaches one to think more critically. These three underlying principles are in stark contrast to the modern food system which focuses on profit at all costs.

Permaculture Works with Nature and is Regenerative

Most of us are all-too-familiar with the ill effect the industrial food system has had on our planet. Species extinction, ecosystem destruction, salinity issues, the removal of top soils, deforestation, overfishing, soil toxicity, and climate change are just a few of the externalities of an overly resource intensive system which leaves many with excess and many more people hungry.

The difference between permaculture and modern industrial agriculture is that permaculture works with nature as opposed to against nature. Permaculture is a design science which observes natural systems in an attempt to learn from what they offer in the way of design, stability, and resilience. Hence, permaculture looks at the whole system and values how it all works in a synergy of balance and abundance. Permaculture focuses on techniques and practices which help re-establish this balance by creating places of diversity and abundance through restoring natural habitats which benefit all — not just humans.

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Permaculture Captures and Stores Energy

Our long distance agriculture uses vast amounts of energy. It takes approximately 2,000 litres of oil equivalents per year to feed and supply the average American. This accounts for about 19 percent of the total energy used in the United States. In industrialised countries today, one food calorie requires expending an average of between seven to ten calories of fossil energy. (1)

Permaculture captures and stores energy. How does it do this? There are a number of ways. The act of simply growing your own food is effectively storing the energy or sunlight that we receive each day. Any excess food can be preserved, dried, bottled, or canned. Hence we are storing this energy for another time. Today we truck in and ship goods from all over the planet. The simple act of storing excess foods you have grown in the summer saves significant amounts of energy.

Our reliance on long distance supply chains not only makes us vulnerable to external influences to the system but also leaves us blind to how, what, and where our food is coming from. We have no control over how and what is done to the food we eat. We have chosen to be dependent consumers as opposed to responsible producers. While not everyone has the luxury of a backyard or land there are many things which can be done to get started. Pot plants, planter boxes, community gardens, urban gardens, and land share schemes right through to local CSAs help reduce our reliance on long distance supply chains. The key to this is focusing on local solutions.

Permaculture Produces No Waste

As a young boy my father drummed into me the mantra of “waste not want not,” and he was absolutely right. Another permaculture principle, “produce no waste,” is highly relevant to our throw-away, planned obsolescent model of production and consumption. Nothing is wasted on a permaculture property or site. Understanding the value of resources and the natural world allows us to see the connection and interconnectedness of all systems. Under the permaculture model everything is composted, mulched, or recycled. Everything from food scraps and green waste to your own waste is integrated and used as valuable resources. That’s right, while many would find it hard to fathom that human waste can be recycled, there is a growing movement of people who understand the importance of collecting and composting “humanure.”

It has been estimated that every time we flush the toilet we launch 5 or 6 gallons of polluted water out into the world; that’s 4.8 billion gallons of fresh water polluted by waste and then treated with harmful chemicals every day in America alone. (2) Each year over 450 million tonnes of nitrogen fertilizer is produced and sprayed, poured, and scattered across the planet. Most of this is in the form of anhydrous ammonia, ammonia nitrate, and urea. This equates to the consumption of between 3–5% of the world’s natural gas production for this process alone. (3)

When you think about it, it is a no brainer that we should be making use of this valuable and easily accessible resource. The environmental benefits should also be considered. The environmental impact of treating your own sewage helps out on the eco-friendly front as there is less energy used and greater overall efficiency and less wastage along the way.

Check Out the Latest Video from Living Big in a Tiny House Featuring a Story on Permaculture:

Article by Andrew Martin, author of  Rethink…Your world, Your future. and One ~ A Survival Guide for the Future… 

RethinkcoverCE2Excerpts from Rethink…Your world, Your future.

(1) UNEP, The end to cheap oil: a threat to food security and an incentive to reduce fossil fuels in agriculture, April 2012. http://na.unep.net/geas/getUNEPPageWithArticleIDScript.php?article_id=81

(2) http://brie-hoffman.hubpages.com/hub/Off-Grid-Toilets

(3)   http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.CON.FERT.ZS

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Thanks To Yao Ming, The Slaughter Of Sharks For Their Fins Is Down 80%

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Thanks to the efforts of Yao Ming, the destructive history of shark fin soup is on the decline and so is the ivory trade in China.

  • Reflect On:

    What is your relationship like with plant and animal life? Do you view it as below you? As there simply to fulfill what you want?

The support for a shark fin soup ban has skyrocketed in China thanks to NBA Hall of Famer and GOAT of Chinese basketball, Yao Ming.

Back in 2011, Ming became the face of an awareness campaign on shark fin consumption that has been effective in raising awareness about an issue many thought was untouchable within Chinese tradition and cuisine. As a result of this campaign, most recent government surveys have shown that shark fin consumption in China has fallen by up to 80%!

Shark fin soup is considered a Chinese delicacy and has a deep history in traditional weddings, banquets and prestigious events. The soup, although considered a luxury item, has slight flavors and isn’t all that unique. Given the amount of suffering and death that goes into creating the soup, you’d imagine there would be something more to it other than light flavors and texture. Then again, our treatment of animals on this planet for even the slightest human benefit has been shocking for decades.

As many as 73 million sharks end up in the global shark fin trade every year according to Oceana.org. In many cases, when sharks are caught, their fins are removed and then they’re thrown back into the ocean to die as they’re unable to swim.

In 2006, as many as 75% of Chinese citizens were unaware that shark fins were actually used in shark fin soup. After awareness increased due to campaigns like the one Yao Ming participated in, public education has shifted the perception on shark fin soup.

Shark fin consumption in China has fallen by up to 80% in the last 10 years. And it just so happens that Yao Ming’s activism on the issue has been going for the exact same amount of time.

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Ming Moved Onto China’s Ivory Trade Next… And Won

With Ming being China’s most powerful celebrity for 5 consecutive years between 2004 and 2009, you can imagine that, in a country of over a billion people, that truly says something in terms of public power. Ming was moved to take on China’s ivory trade and once again used his image and platform to raise awareness about elephant poaching. He teamed up with WildAid to eventually find success in making it illegal to buy Ivory in China.

Chinese state media Xinhua described the run-up to the ban as “one of the largest ever public awareness campaigns” with support from other celebrities such as actress Li Bingbing.

“We all know that there is ‘on paper,’ and under the paper, there’s still a long way to go to save the animals — and then save ourselves,” Ming told CNBC.

Yes, there is more work to be done. The way we treat our environment and the animal kingdom on this planet truly needs to change, and that change will only come from awareness and connecting to self. Great genocide takes place on our planet every single year… and it is that of animals for needless human consumption.

The Takeaway

Even the largest of challenges we face can be changed with the efforts of people. Sure, in this case, it was a celebrity with great influence, but in many other cases, it is large groups of people coming together. The March Against Monsanto is a great example of that. I recall when that was first starting out and we were one of just a small handful of websites who actively raised awareness about Monsanto’s actions – even when other partnering companies wouldn’t work with us because of our efforts in that area of reporting.

Slowly but surely, our stories and articles became more and more viral over the years. The conversations eventually moved to the mainstream, and over time, it is now being turned into action across the planet against GMO foods and practices. Something that started out with just a few people has grown into a global movement thanks to their tireless efforts to do the right thing.

We have the power to do great things. Something that seems small can build to be impactful over time, but even if it doesn’t, doing what inspires you is an incredible energy to add to collective consciousness and inspire others.

Change truly starts within. That’s why I created The 5 Days of You Challenge and made it available for everyone. With this challenge, everyone can begin getting in touch with themselves and making a difference in our world. Check it out here.

Help Support Collective Evolution

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Drugs In The Environment: The Importance of Properly Disposing Of Unused Medications

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Drugs taken by humans (and animals) find their way into rivers, lakes and even drinking water, and can have devastating effects on the environment.

  • Reflect On:

    Efforts are necessary at every level of society, including consumer awareness and education on how to properly dispose of medications.

Scientists have found evidence that common methods of household prescription drug disposal can contaminate the environment and produce unwanted effects in wildlife.

Recent studies have shown that chemicals associated with the breakdown of prescription drugs have been found in surface water and groundwater. According to this article published on the PBS website, scientists currently believe that this contamination does not pose a threat to people, but that it does have detrimental effects on wildlife.

Even though all releases of pharmaceuticals cannot be controlled, individuals can take precautions to dispose of unused or outdated prescription drugs properly in order to reduce their overall impact on the environment.

Pharmaceuticals Enter the Environment Through Household Waste

Homeowners have been told for years that toilet flushing was the safest way to dispose of unused or outdated prescription drugs; however, this is no longer the case. When medicine is flushed down the toilet, the waste enters the sewage system and is transported by pipeline to the local public wastewater treatment facility. These facilities are not designed to treat or remove pharmaceutical chemicals.

There are two waste streams generated at public sewage treatment plants. The first is treatment plant sludge. This material is composed of dewatered solids removed from the sewage entering the plant.

Sampling studies have confirmed that pharmaceutical chemicals are common in sewage treatment plant sludge. Usually this sludge is disposed of in local landfills, but in some cases, the sludge may be reused as fertilizer on local farms.

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When sludge is deposited in landfills, the movement of rainwater through the landfill can pick up chemical contaminants and transport them to underground aquifers. When used as fertilizer, the sludge is exposed to storm water runoff that can move contaminants into local streams and rivers. Either way, pharmaceuticals end up contaminating the environment.

Currently, sludge used as fertilizer is required to meet specifications for nutrient content, metals content, and bacterial content. There are no specifications for pharmaceutical contaminants.

The second waste stream from public sewage treatment plants is the release of treated water into streams or rivers. In this case, since treatment plants are not designed to remove pharmaceutical chemicals, those chemicals end up being released directly into the environment.

Treatment plants are required to meet specific requirements for the release of treated water; however, testing for pharmaceuticals is not one of those requirements.

Adverse Effects of Pharmaceutical Contamination

The effects of pharmaceuticals on wildlife were first documented by researchers in the United Kingdom in the 1990s. Since then, researchers all over the world have been studying this problem.

So far, the greatest effect has been seen in fish, primarily related to contamination by estrogenic compounds associated with birth control pills and female hormones. Male fish found downstream of wastewater treatment plants have failed to develop sperm and instead develop eggs.

Other studies have shown detrimental effects on fish and frogs by chemicals associated with antidepressant medications and on aquatic insects by anticonvulsant medications.

In addition, scientists are particularly concerned about the increase of antibiotics in the environment and the creation of resistant bacterial strains. This is already a huge issue within factory farming, as these animals are commonly fed antibiotics, which in turn are consumed by those who eat meat.

Environmentally-Friendly Disposal of Household Prescription Drugs

The National Office of Drug Control Policy has published guidelines on proper disposal of pharmaceuticals. These guidelines state that medicine should not be flushed down toilets or drains unless the label contains that specific instruction. The preferred method of disposal is through community drug take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection events.

Through these programs, medicine is collected from the public and taken to regulated hazardous waste incinerators. If one of these programs is not available, medicine should be placed in the garbage, mixed with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and then placed in sealed containers or plastic bags.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Prescription Drug Take-Back Programs

Consumers should contact their local public recycling program office to find out about household hazardous waste collection. In some areas, collection sites are open on a regular basis, either every business day or for a couple days each week. In other areas, special collection events are held once or twice a year on weekends. The local recycling program office should be listed in the telephone book.

To locate availability of take-back programs, consumers can consult the Product Stewardship Institute. Another source for information is the National P2D2 Network Prescription Drug and Drug Disposal Program Network.

Sponsorship and development of local collection programs makes a great activist project for communities or school groups. Such groups can partner with large retail outlets or pharmacies. The Northeast Recycling Council Inc. of Vermont has published a guide for local communities called “Holding an Unwanted Medication Collection for Community Pharmacies.” This booklet is available in PDF format on the Product Stewardship Institute’s website. A community-sponsored event could even make a great Earth Day project!

It’s also important to question why so many people are disposing of drugs without having taken them. Are we as a society too reliant on pharmaceuticals? Are we being given more than we need to help us, or to help grow profits for Big Pharma?

Sources :

Epa.gov : How to Dispose of Medicines Properly

Fda.gov : Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know

 

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Portland To Generate Electricity From Turbines Installed In City Water Pipes

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Portland will launch a program in March 2019 that will begin generating energy via turbines in city water pipes beneath the streets.

  • Reflect On:

    This is great, but is this truly all we are capable of? Do we not already know there are much better and more efficient technologies available? Are we ready to shift our consciousness out of our current world to pave way for new technologies?

Where there is a will there is a way. This particular story is cool to me as it was an idea that crossed my mind years ago and it’s incredible seeing it being brought into being. But that idea was from 8 years ago, since then I have come to realize how primitive these ideas truly are. But more on that discussion in a moment.

Portland will be generating some electricity via water running through their city water pipes. Think about it. All the water that runs through those pipes to do the already daily tasks of washing, showering, drinking, cleaning and growing will now help to also generate electricity.

After partnering with a company called Lucid Energy, the city will begin to generate clean electricity from the water flowing under its streets. Thus far, Portland has begun replacing a section of its existing water supply network with Lucid Energy’s specially designed pipes that contain four forty-two inch turbines.

As water flows through the pipes the turbines spin and provides power to attached generators. Those generators feed energy into the city’s existing electrical grid. The project is known as the “Conduit 3 Hydroelectric Project,” and is scheduled to be fully up and running in March of this year.

The promotional video describes the technology and innovative idea of harnessing power through city water pipes:

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Unlike wind and solar, this solution does not rely on the weather, making it a more stable and reliable solution for energy. How much can it output? The current project will be able to power 150 homes over the course of the year. Keep in mind this project is only being rolled out in a section of the city.

Some limitations exist as well. Turbines will only work in pipes where water flows downhill. This is so water does not have to be pumped, as the energy necessary to pump the water would negate the energy generated from the turbines. However there are pluses, the system also monitors the overall condition of a city’s water supply network as well as assess the drinking quality of the water flowing through it.

A look at how the pipes function.

Are We Still Limited In Our Thinking?

While this idea is great and a step in the right direction, some deeper thought helps us realize how our current systems and structures do not easily allow for all-out solutions to our challenges to be implemented as everything we create has to fit within the confines of industry, creating jobs and limiting disruption. This is the result of a system, that at its core, is built on debt based banking.

We must come to terms with the fact that we will not see the advent of any real and practical solutions until we let go of this system of commerce and develop a world that truly allows humanity to thrive, and for technologies to be made available without the fear of disruption. After all, are we truly limited to the primitive forms of exchange we see being used today? Or is that simply what we have been convinced of? These are important questions to ask as they are the physical basis of how we are struggling as a whole.

At CE, we have been researching, working with, funding, and following future technology for over 8 years that could revolutionize the way we provide energy to society.

Wind, solar and even this idea are primitive jokes compared to what I have witnessed in labs with my own eyes. Why do these technologies stay hidden? Simple, not only does our infrastructure hold this back but so does our state of consciousness.

We explore this in detail in our interview with the president of the New Energy Movement Susan Manewich:

You can watch our entire 3 part interview with Susan on CETV.

As discussed, what we see projected in our world is a result of our overall state of collective consciousness, and what we decide to create and hold onto via belief in our current state of collective consciousness. It’s all an outward reflection. This is made up of our individual beliefs and actions compounded into the collective.

In looking at collective consciousness further, the very fact that we believe various things are not possible, and based on the fact that we hold onto to a system that does not truly support us so tightly, helps to keep these technologies suppressed and our world in a state of struggle.

The video below discusses collective consciousness in detail and how it relates to this issue:

The Takeaway

We are seeing steps in the right direction if you want to call it that. But are we limited in solving our issues by playing in the very system of commerce we have before us? The system that enslaves humanity and limits us via debt based banking?

It is only when we begin to shift our consciousness enough to step out of the world that we are in today that we will see the rise of new technologies that can solve the challenges we face today. There is truly no shortage of advanced technologies that can revolutionize our world, we simply are limiting our reality based on the state of consciousness we operate from.

Are we ready to let go of the world we seem to be holding onto so deeply even though we don’t seem to be happy within it?

Help Support Collective Evolution

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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