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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

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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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Togo, West Africa Bans Glyphosate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Togo, a country in West Africa has decided to ban the use of toxic chemical pesticide, glyphosate because of growing health and environmental concerns.

  • Reflect On:

    Togo joins 20 other countries who have decided to ban this pesticide, do you think your country will ever do the same?

Recently, a country in West Africa, Togo has prohibited the ‘import, market or use of glyphosate and any other product containing it.’ This decision was finalized in December of last year by the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Production and Fisheries, Noel Kouerta Bataka.

If you are unfamiliar with glyphosate, it is a chemical pesticide made by none other than agricultural giant, Monsanto, Bayer. Glyphosate can be found in RoundUp and used on crops that have been genetically engineered specifically to resist its toxicity, allowing farmers to kill the weeds and pests without killing their crops. The problem is, it is extremely toxic not only for the consumer of products containing it, but for the land and soil as well where it is grown.

There have been numerous studies, many of which CE has reported on that link it to cancer, liver disease, autism, birth defects, brain damage and more.

“It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides… Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions.” – R. Mesnage (et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014), article ID 179691)

After 2 years of political discussions in Togo, regarding the worlds most popular herbicide, many are celebrating the decision that was finally made to have it outright banned. Bataka has allowed a 12-month moratorium for all of the current glyphosate supplies to be either used or destroyed.

Ban Of Glyphosate Around The World

As awareness grows regarding the health concerns of glyphosate, so does government level support worldwide. Not only has Key West, Los Angeles, Miami and The University of California banned or restricted the use of this toxic chemical so, have 20 countries around the world. These countries are,

  • In Africa — Malawi and Togo.
  • In Asia — Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar.
  • In Central America — Bermuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Costa Rica
  • In Europe — Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, The Netherlands

So we still have yet to see bans in Canada, United States, Mexico and many other countries, but hopefully stories such as these will keep the awareness and momentum going and help others to see that this toxic chemical pesticide should not be anywhere near the food we are eating or on our precious Mother Earth.

It’s a big problem, and it’s now entered into our food supply.

How To Avoid Glyphosate

One might believe that they simply have to avoid genetically engineered foods to avoid glyphosate, and while that is a good start, unfortunately it’s not that black and white. There are many non-GMO foods that are still sprayed with this chemical and thus have high concentrations of it.

In reality your best bet would be to grow all of your own fruits, vegetables and even nuts, but unfortunately in this day and age this is not very plausible for everyone.

The foods that are highest in glyphosate are: soy, wheat, almonds, peas, beetroot (including beet sugar), carrots, sweet potatoes, quinoa, peas, tea, meat and dairy, corn and oats. However, many other unsuspecting foods have also have tested positive for high levels of glyphosate including many fruits and berries such as: apples, apricots, cherries, grapefruit, grapes (wine as well), lemons, olives, peaches, pears and more.

To avoid glyphosate altogether sticking to an all-organic diet is necessary. If this is an obstacle for you, consider locally grown produce where you can talk directly with the farmers about their growing practices. Many farmers grow organically , but cannot afford to obtain the organic certification. You can also wash your produce in baking soda and vinegar click HERE for instructions.

Final Thoughts

While it may seem hopeless at times to even try to avoid environmental toxins like glyphosate, we have to remember that the more we do, and the more we put our money where are mouths are and vote with our dollars, the less these chemicals will be used. We have already seen many big brands step away from using GMO ingredients because of consumer demand, so it may not be as far off as you think.

As countries like Togo step forward and do what is right for their citizens and the planet, awareness will continue to grow and it will assist others in seeing the truth about these chemicals and inspire others to make a change as well. We have more power than we realize and anything can change, with enough awareness.

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Judge Orders The Dakota Access Pipeline To Be Shut Down

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    On Monday, A U.S. District Court ordered Energy Transfer LP to shut down and empty their pipeline, known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we continue to use outdated and unnecessary means for energy production. Why is our economy an oil based economy when it doesn't have to be? Why do we have solutions that never see the light of day?

What Happened: On Monday, A U.S. District Court ordered Energy Transfer LP to shut down and empty their pipeline, known as the Dakota Access Pipeline.  It just so happens to be their largest one, and it also represents a big win for Native American’s and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, as well as citizens from all over the world who have fought the line’s route access through a critical water supply.

It’s amazing how many years have already passed since there was a mass gathering in North Dakota to stop this pipeline. Corporate America brought in the police to try and disperse the gathering. One night, a small plane spraying unknown substances flew over the gathering at night, I know this because I was there, along with CE founder Joe Martino.  There were SWAT teams everywhere. All of this for a peaceful gathering? We spent days covering the story, and all we saw was intimidation, violence, and psychological warfare tactics in order to disperse the crowd so that the company could continue building their pipeline.

This always seems to happen to peaceful protestors.

Corporate America eventually got what they wanted. Many people were thrown in jail, people were injured, all resulting from a peaceful protest. The gathering was shut down and the fight to stop the pipeline went to court, during which time the pipeline was in full operation.

Bloomberg is reporting that the pipeline must be shut down by August 5th.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said a crucial federal permit for Dakota Access fell too far short of National Environmental Policy Act requirements to allow the pipeline to continue operating while regulators conduct a broader analysis the court ordered in a previous decision. The ruling scraps a critical permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, and requires the pipeline to end its three-year run of delivering oil from North Dakota shale fields to an Illinois oil hub. Judge James E. Boasberg said Dakota Access must shut down the pipeline and empty it of oil by Aug. 5.(source)

We will have to wait and see if The Army Corps and Justice Department intends to appeal the decision.

Why This Matters

This goes to show what we can do when we come together. Despite the fact that it’s taken years, and damage has been done, look what’s happened, it’s been halted once again. That being said, at the time the pipeline was being built and during the period it was moving oil, it was quite clear that citizens around the entire planet were against this. So I ask you, do we live in a democracy? Do citizens really have any influence at all on decision making, or is our consciousness manipulated to accept certain measures, like pipelines, as necessary? Why doesn’t planet Earth come first? Why does it take cutting through so much red ape, and so much time to try and stop such measures? What kind of system have we created for ourselves? One that protects the corporations and punishes the citizenry and mother Earth?

We don’t have to accept this.

The coronavirus is another great example of what we are capable of. Despite the fact that we were forced into lockdown by governments, billions of people, together, still collectively did it. The point is, we can accomplish great things together, as one. Imagine if billions of people around the world decided the world should shut down for one week in order to, clean up our oceans for example.

Why don’t our governments do that?

We can do anything, we have unlimited potential. We are in a time where we are being asked to wake up, come together, re-imagine our reality, discuss it, explore it, build it and use our potential to create a human experience where everybody can thrive, including mother Earth. And yes, it’s possible, we have the solutions and they’ve been available for years. The only issue is human consciousness, and the barriers we’ve built that prevent these solutions from manifesting.

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Environmentalist Censored For Shifting His Opinion On Climate Change

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Forbes.com deleted a new article from environmentalist Michael Shellenberger. His perspective on climate change shifted, and he decided to write about it. Forbes wasn't having it.

  • Reflect On:

    Why are we deciding to censor different perspectives as opposed to explore them? Is our emotional intelligence so undeveloped collectively that we cannot have civil conversations?

What Happened: Michael Shellenberger, a long time environmentalist who has been in the trenches helping to save the world’s last unprotected redwoods, co-created the predecessor to today’s Green New Deal and led an effort to keep nuclear power plants operating in order to prevent a spike of emissions, has shifted his perspective on climate change. Prior to today, he was holding the perspective that we must be alarmed about the fact that the world will end in a short amount of time if we don’t act to reduce carbon emissions immediately.

He shifted his opinion based on exploring emerging science on the subject. He then went on to write a book called Never Apocalypse, which seeks to help explore what we can do to better our environment from a grounded and accurate point of view, as opposed to alarmism.

He wrote an article on Forbes website titled On Behalf of Environmentalists, I Apologize For the Climate Scare.” Two days laterForbes decided to remove his article.

Why It Matters: The fact that Forbes removed an article that was grounded, calm, well written and explored new conversations illustrates the emerging culture of ‘censor anything that can get us in trouble’ or ‘censor anything that doesn’t agree with mainstream conjecture.”

We’ve come into a time where our collective lack of emotional intelligence is surfacing deeply for us to address. When we disagree on something, we struggle to explore things together. When a company says something they feel might get them in trouble, they run away in fear that the angry mob will come after them.

All that happened here was a man wrote an article that brought some new light to a conversation that has been very polarized and is causing people to react out of emotion instead of logic and the heart. Instead of listening and exploring, censorship ensues.

The Takeaway: I spoke at a high school here in Toronto last year. At the end of my talk, many students came up to me to talk, discuss ideas and share feedback. The vast majority of them explained to me that they were terrified that the world was going to end in just a few years. They felt they had no future because of the acts of generations prior who were causing CO2 levels to rise so high that the world would end.

I thought to myself, wow, an entire generation of kids being pushed into fear, anxiety and depression based on information that isn’t even accurate. This information was created by politicians and pushed out by media. Scientists categorically do not agree with the idea that the world is coming to an end as a result of CO2 emissions. Yet not enough people are telling people this, most of media is staying silent on other perspectives and censorship even shuts down opposing ideas.

What type of world will we create if we can’t discuss basic ideas? What  type of world will we create when we choose to run, hide and censor as opposed to having important conversations? How can we stop identifying so deeply with positions, so that we can be more free to shift ideas when new information helps us understand things better?

Looking Deeper:

I made a film last year called Regenerate: Beyond The CO2 Narrative. After 10 years of researching and investigating climate change, I came to many conclusions that I felt needed to be shared, yet were extremely rare in public discourse. One of the most important aspects of Regenerate was that we simply are looking at our environment from such a limited point of view that we can’t identify the real issues we face, and that our level of thinking, or consciousness, is completely disconnected from the solutions required to truly shift our relationship with earth. Thus, we are creating solutions that never truly address making the environment cleaner or better long term.

I encourage you to check out the film trailer below, and if you wish to watch the film, it’s available on our member platform called CETV. You can start a free 7 day trial to watch it if you like. We also discuss this story in more detail in episode 2 of The Takeway, an orignal show we have on CETV.

Watch the full film here.

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Collective Evolution is one of the world's fastest-growing conscious media and education companies providing news and tools to raise collective consciousness. Get inside access to Collective Evolution by becoming a member of CETV.

Stream content 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, documentaries and guided programs.

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