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Permaculture: Solving The World’s Hunger Project While Saving The Planet

Dear Friends,

Can You Identify this Beautiful Creature?

In our email (newsletter) last week we focused on Permaculture as a means to turn our earth into a “Garden of Eden”, feed the world’s 800,000,000 starving people, and bring back their dignity. This week we will go deeper into Permaculture, adding the concepts of Deep Ecology and Gaia.

I really hope you clicked on the links last weeks. If not – then you can find last week’s email under the tab of Publishing Blog and within that, the subject of The De-evolution Impact.

This week I will take you further into the concept of Permaculture through centering our conversation around three superb videos; clips that will greatly deepen your understanding of Permaculture, deep-ecology and the Gaia hypothesis. Do take time to watch these tapes, as I am quite certain they will excite you to your core.

The three video-clips are:

  • Climate Change on the Living Earth. A video lecture by Dr. James Loveland, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis, in October 29th, 2007 to the Royal Society. The Royal Society is the independent academy of science in the UK.
  • Deep Ecology, Activism, and the Gaian Era. Panel discussion by three major proponents of the Gaia theory: James Seed, Dr Lynn Margulis, and Stephen Buhner
  • A Farm for the Future. A short documentary on the incredible journey of Rebecca Hosking, the films author— the necessary evolution of farming. This film is incredibly inspiring and I will close this email with it.

James Seed, an Australian ecologist, and one of the participants in the panel discussion, talked about his moment of change into an environmental activist when he visited with Dr James Lovelock.

Climate Change on the Living Earth

On October 29th, 2007 James Loveland lectured to The Royal Society. By way of introduction, the moderator of the event called Dr. James Lovelock a true polymath—a geologist, an inventor, an engineer, a chemist and an ecologist—integrating the various disciplines, demonstrating how our planet works as a self-regulating system:

Gaia theory postulates a biotic-planetary regulatory system. Over 30 million types of extant organisms, descended from common ancestors, and embedded in the biosphere directly and indirectly interact with one another and with the environment’s chemical constituents. They produce and remove gases, ions, metals and organic interactions in aqueous solutions lend to modulation of the Earth’s surface temperature, acidity-alkalinity and the chemically reactive gases of the atmosphere including water.

As Fritjof Capri in his book The Web of Life states:

Plants are eaten by animals, which in turn are eaten by other animals, the plants’ nutrients are passed on through the food web, while energy is dissipated as heat through respiration and as waste through excretion. The wastes, as well as dead animals and plants, are decomposed by so-called decomposer organisms (insects and bacteria), which break them down into basic nutrients, to be taken up once more by green plants. In this way nutrients and other basic elements continually cycle through the ecosystem, while energy is dissipated at each stage. Matter circulates, energy dissipates. The only waste generated by the ecosystem as a whole is the heat energy of respiration which is radiated into the atmosphere and is replenished continually by the sun through photosynthesis.

Here is Dr. Lovelock lecture to The Royal Society on the origins of his Gaia hypothesis that is now a field of study at universities under the title of Earth System Science.

Deep Ecology, Activism and the Gaian Era

In this videoed panel discussion you will be hearing a fascinating discussion between John Seed, Lynn Margulis and Stephen Buhner.

John Seed has been an internationally know rain forest activist since 1979, and has been involved in protecting rain forests worldwide. Lynn Margulis is a University of Massachusetts professor in the department of Geo Sciences. She was elected to the National Academy of Science in 1983 and received from President Clinton the Presidential Metal of Science. She is known for the Theory of Symbiogenesis and for her contribution to the Gaia concept. Stephen Buhner is a poet and award-winning author of ten books on nature, indigenous cultures, and herbal medicine. He wrote The Secret Teaching of Plants.

The panel discussion was centered on two questions: 1. What has been the effects in your life of recognizing Gaian interconnection and intelligence as real phenomena, as expressions of how the world truly functions? 2. How has it impacted your perceptions of human beings, non-human life, the environment and your work?

Stephen Buhner begins his comments with a quote from the poet Robert Aiken (a Zen master I lived with and studied under in Maui, Hawaii, in 1971, with fifteen other students):

Watching gardeners label their plants I vow, with all being to practice the old horticulture and let plants identify me.

Stephen tells us that the heart is an organ of perception that is perhaps superior to the brain, but we need both fully functioning brain and heart to communicate and understand life on earth and our place in it. He tells of an awakening experience:

Twenty years ago I was sitting with a particular plant—a lichen called Usnea spp. And one day as I was sitting with the plant I fell into a waking dream state and in the dream I saw a young man walking towards me and when he got closer I could see that his hair was actually pale green lichen and his eyes were not young eyes but were very old indeed. He walked up to me very close and looked into my eyes and said, “You’ve been sitting with me in a good way, and I just wanted to tell you that the reason why Usnea works for your lungs is that its medicine is medicine for the lungs of the planet”. I just wanted you to know that. Then he turned around and walked away.

He further explains that this experience is a typical amongst indigenous people, the gardeners of the earth.

Dr. Margulis spoke of diversity as essential to recycling, and that what makes the earth different than all other planets is life—the cycling of life. She takes us into the world of microbes and reminds us passionately of the importance of the work of the microbial world—the recycling organisms of life. And, she warns us that the Gaia is a stable system and when organisms outgrow and destroy their habitat they simply go extinct. As you know from my emails of the De-Evolution of our planet, that is the course we are currently on.

Deep Ecology, Activism, and the Gaian Era

A Farm for the Future

Finally, Rebecca Hosking has made an incredible film called A Farm For The Future, exploring the difference between a peak oil driven agriculture and an oil-free farming. She starts by analyzing a ham sandwich that she describes as dripping with petroleum. In order to bring together the food components in the sandwich, unsustainable levels of oil was used.

  • Start with the bread. Somewhere in the world some farmer has had to plant the cereal. First he is using a diesel run tractor. So he plows the field, harrows the field and then drills the seeds into the earth.
  • Then to get the cereal to grow, he had to add a load of chemicals—fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides—all made from fossil fuel.
  • The chemical fertilizers, most often used by farmers are derived from natural gas.
  • Once the cereal is ripened, it has to be harvested, then dried using big heaters. It is then driven, using more diesel, to be processed in petroleum demanding huge industrial factories to make the bread.
  • Lets now look inside the sandwich—the ham and lettuce: A pig can eat ½ a ton of grain to produce the ham we eat! Finally, we have one little sad piece of lettuce that was either shipped in or flown from or grown in a heated green house—somewhere far from where we are. Once again, with huge amounts of energy spent.

Her point is that the food we are eating is dripping in oil. In most countries today—if we didn’t have the oil input—we would starve.

It is an energy problem. It won’t be an energy crisis; it will be an energy famine. We have to move from using ancient sunlight (oil and gas) to using current sunlight. Aside from cars, trucks, and transportation, agriculture is the most fossil fuel intensive industry. We use about 10 calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of food that we produce. Industrial agriculture relies on fossil fuel.

Machines require fuel that gives horsepower. Today farmers’ tractors can be up to 400-horsepower. It means 400 horses. That is the power that we get from oil. Today, energy used to run machines is equivalent, in energy terms, to 22 billion workers – working round the clock. So we are living with this enormous stock of machines working for us, using oil.

People think there are two ways of working the fields: one is by “drudgery” (the old way of working with hand tools), and the other, is by chucking fossil fuels at it. Permaculture is about a third way of doing things. And that is by design. Basically you are designing a food system that requires a minimal amount of energy, producing abundance of food. That is the Garden of Eden concept.

If you leave the landscape alone it turns into woods—that is what it wants to do. In the natural ecosystem there is no work, there is no waste, yet it is thriving. So we take the principles of the forest and see how far we can bend them into something that is edible.

A food growing system must be based on natural ecology. This film convincingly shows how this is possible through giving a up-close and personal view of the journey that the films author took from standard modern farming practices to Permaculture.

A Farm For The Future

Sincerely yours,

Seann Bardell

Clinical Note:

It is summer. Tune into the High ORAC Synbiotic Formula for its abundance of fruits, fruit extracts, and seed extracts, along with 25 billions of good gut ecosystem building bacteria. It sooths the gut, enliven the brain, reduces inflammation in the body, and supplies 1500 ORAC per capsule. Take one to two a day.


The Last Quiz Answer: Here is a little fuller picture of this amazing creature. Can you guest what it is now? It is an Australian inhabitant from Queens Land. It’s a spider.


Today’s green fact is just a huge encouragement to peek at the links above!

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