The brave step of supporting a new technology can be full of confusion. Techno-confusion is mounting as more, and more technologies are invented. The world is desperately searching for technological improvement to help solve climate uncertainty. [Permaculture is one technological and cultural solution.] Yet even as we discover healthy technologies, humanity will continuously aim to reduce inefficiencies.
Everyone wants to be part of the solution. Many of understand why it is good to search for clean and efficient technologies. But most of us are confused about ‘how to tell what is best’
How can we rid ourselves of confusion, build our confidence; make informed decisions; remain unswayed by emotion; ignore slick sales pressures and side-step [or lead] new fashion trends?
At PermacultureVisions we created a decision tool to help you determine your own values and priorities. It may also lead you to consider environmental aspects. The least it can do is help save you time and money.
Master the Art of Decision Making
Lectures are useful to get up to speed on facts and figures. Tutoring helps you understand the factors in those decisions. Mentoring guides you as you tailor the choices to suit your individual needs. The table below is part of our mentorship and teaching program. Instead of telling you what to buy, like a sales team, we would rather help you make technological choices.
How Can I Compare All the Different Technologies Available?
We can evaluate new technologies and compare like products when we consider each feature and cost. Here is a guide to help you compare technologies or products with similar purpose. This evaluation tool was developed with our students Morgan Stephens, Tessha Mearing, and Penny Cross.
The aim of this tool is to equip permaculture designers with a means to evaluate a new technology themselves rather than being told what is best. Technologies change rapidly, so advise can get conflicting and the technology efficiency is dependent on the context of the user.
You can set your own rating value. This will reflect how important this aspect or feature is in your choice. Sit back with a cuppa, set the priorities and enjoy!
The consumer can become the leader. The consumer can test, adapt, and develop techniques and strategies. We can give informed feedback to the product-developers. If the product has modular parts, we often find new uses and by-products . Further inventions can be lead by the grass-roots users.
Double digging is a technique where you dig, put the soil to the side, dig a bit more and toss that second lot of soil into the first hole. Essentially, you are turning the soil and bugs upside down and letting their shocked, dead bodies feed the your new plantings. In thin soils (like dryland soils) you would be bringing up the subsoil and trying to turn it into top soil. Double digging is destructive.
Double-Digging can be Instantly Impressive
The growth on plants (and sometimes the weeds) is quick and leafy. Double digging is an old farming technique used for centuries in countries with cool climates, deep soils and a careful regime where the soil is rested for long periods to try to recover. If you are in the modern world where land is expensive and there is pressure on you to do use (no time to rest it), or you want to use the space that is close to your backdoor not far away in a forgotten back corner of your garden. Then double digging is not your best option.
There is a serious cost to double-digging. Put bluntly, double-digging does irreparable damage to your soil. Double-digging
kills the micro-organisms in the soil. The dead creatures make double digging so amazingly productive. Their little bodies become instant fertiliser for the crops.
damages the structure of fragile soils and tempts erosion due to weathering by water and wind.
can bring up the useless, hard clods of subsoil unless you are digging on a rare fertile flood plain.
has a high risk of erosion from the moment vegetation is removed or hard-hoofed animals are put to graze. The typical Australian soil is only centimeters deep. This risk is amplified by the process of digging.
We can buy a fruit tree, dig a hole and put the tree in the ground. In a short time the tree may be fruiting and voilà we have the start of a food forest. Or do we? A real food forest captures condensation (more condensation can come to your garden than rainfall). A Permaculture forest builds soil. Condensation is trapped and rainfall stored in the soil. Water is used and re-used. Organisms are nurtured not sacrificed. A good permaculture forest design optimises the use of natural energies and serves to increase the health of the soil. Healthy soil gives us healthier trees and more nutritious fruit.
What Soil Really Wants
Good soil has 5 components:
Air (digging does increase the air, but so do worms)
Water (digging can increase water penetration) but if not designed well it can lead to erosion
Micro-organisms (digging kills many of these). Mulching provides them habitat
Nutrients (plants including weeds can mine for nutrients and make good air pockets with their long roots) Biochar can boost the nutrients in the soil as well as increase habitat for micro-organisms.
rock or other growing media such as recycled brick.
No-dig gardens can be designed to capture and filter the rain-water and protect the soil and micro-organisms from erosion. No-dig gardening
is physically easier and faster to set up
can regenerate soil (fertile, rocky, sandy or solid clay)
requires less effort
uses waste materials and
evolves into a beautiful garden
No dig gardening requires a little patience but the soil is regenerated, fertility is enhanced and the organisms are constantly building in numbers.
Joyous Songs of Worm Charmers
There are many traditional farming techniques where the nutrients and organisms in local forests are brought to their fields to ‘seed’ worms and nutrients into the fields to improve fertility. Some people have turned it into a quirky sport like worm charming.
Skepticism is essential for unbiased science. We are encouraged to scrutinise and evaluate research. But, to be the type of leader who lives in constant denial is to risk missing out on key opportunities. To go one step further and declare that climate science is no longer needed is simply madness.
Most conversations open with a chat about the weather. Especially for those people who live in life-threatening weather systems (North America, England). Oscar Wilde once quipped that “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Oscar Wilde lived in a period of climate security. What would he say now? Ask the denialist about their view on the weather.
2. Encourage that Odd ‘Moment of Reminiscing’
The denialist who is still ‘saving for the rainy day” will begrudgingly enjoy spending time in the cool, climate-adapted Skeptics den. In the day-to-day discussions with classic denialists, there are nostalgic reminisces about the changing weather patterns. We hear : “When I was a boy it snowed at Christmas, there were some snow drifts as big as ….” but the next breath is uncomfortably silent.
The denialist doesn’t need to consider that their pollution would be degrading the planet or contributing to climate uncertainty.
Befriend The Elephant
To consider the link between human behaviour and climate change is to accept that our own behaviour, might have been harmful to the planet. To face our grandchildren with the knowledge that we have put a burden on them is shameful.
It takes a really big guy to accept that his life’s work is not building a better future.
It is also very challenging to recognise that any destructive practices today are going to be costly to future generations.
The climate change elephant-in-the-room is growing bigger.
3. Accentuate the Positives
An awareness of climate change can drive innovation and provide a market advantage. [But do avoid green-washing clichés eg. ‘Save the trees by using our plastic siding’. ]
This growing ‘eco-market’ is informed, genuine and astute. It keeps pushing for educated solutions eg. this type of consumer won’t just settle on having insulation, she wants recycled insulation.
If you offer a genuinely good product or service, the eco-market will hunt you down and be knocking at your company door before the product is on the market.
Befriending that Elephant-in-the–workplace can help reduce climate change pressures and lead innovation. Rather than trying to compete solely on price, a smart company can offer green-savy, ethical solutions. Nucor Steel recycle one ton of steel every two seconds. Nucor are also developing the world’s first faster, cleaner, 99% recycled high quality steel.
4. Listen To The Heart
Religion speaks to a lot of people. One the greatest challenges to the common Climate Denial Brigade is Pope Francis.
He implores followers to be guardians and stewards, not exploiters of the earth. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori says Climate change is a moral challenge threatening the rights of the world’s poorest people and those who deny it are not using God’s gift of knowledge.
In Islam there is the basic tenet that the earth is for all beings, not humans alone. The Dalai Lama writes that “Life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life”. This universal belief in a higher good can be the catalyst to a deeper maturity and exploration of ethics.
5. Help Them Free the Change-Makers
How did the some cultures get so disconnected from nature? How did some people allow themselves to think that the planet is for them to dominant and do as they wish? Greed is a powerful demon.
If the climate denialists don’t have the power to jump up and face the demons
(the horrors of our transgressions), then they need to simply get out-of-the-way!
when we reach out and buy a product, we are funding the production of pollutants. the pollution doesn’t start in the factory, nor is it just when we carelessly throw a bottle in the gutter (as in the picture). Pollution starts when we demand a product.
Trees produce a lot of goods and services worldwide. Observation is the key to Permaculture. Through observation we build our knowledge and community understanding of plants and their beauty. Here is April’s celebration about what there is to love about Trees.