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