Hope in a Changing Climate

I Loved this Documentary – I Recommend the Trailer 

Even if you only watch the first minute of this trailer, it is worth it. With logging and over-grazing on the hillsides on the Loess Plateau in China, the land had become devoid of all vegetation. This was of little concern to the large urban population centers until the flooding began. With no vegetation at the head of the great watersheds of the Yellow River, the rain waters washed down the river valleys in torrents carrying topsoil and flooding the cities.

Take a look at what the application of basic permaculture principles were able to accomplish over a 10 year period. – such principles as ‘hold water on the landscape where it lands’ and ‘use plants to hold water, build soil and sustain life.’   AMAZING FOOTAGE.

Click here to watch the trailer.
You can watch the full length version here.

The Case for Permaculture


Part 6 – Two Trillion Barrels of Oil?Free 18-Part ‘YouTube’ Video Series
All 18 parts of our newly created series are uploaded now. I recommend that you start with the overview or the ‘trailer’ as we call if you just want an idea of what is in the series. This is the foundational information we give every student who takes a training with us. 

Access the 18-Part YouTube Video Series

Homemade Grow Boxes


Self Irrigating PlanterI Loved this YouTube Video
Frank and his Homemade Grow Boxes

Build Your Own Self Irrigating Planter (SIP)
Meet Frank Fekonia from Queensland, Australia. Living in a relatively dry climate on a south facing slope he needed to come up with a way of growing bountiful gardens on rocky soil, on steep terrain, and with little water. Similar to the SIP, why not build tall raised beds or planters that conserve water while minimizing the amount of bending over to work the beds. Certainly he could figure out a way to build them for under $200 each. He did better than that. He built over a dozen of them for almost ‘nothink’. I love the creativity of Franks idea.

Meet Wes Jackson and the Folks from YERT

Watch This 5-min. VideoWes Jackson has been a key figure in the sustainable agriculture movement through his work at the Land Institute in Kansas. Their work is all about creating a more ‘permanent-agriculture’ – incredibly important work.

A small team of internet videographers that traveled our nation last year (Your Environmental Road Trip.com – YERT) stopped in to meet Wes and to learn more about what he and his team were doing. This is the best short video I’ve seen that clearing and quickly explains the significance of Wes’s work.

YERTpod30: Perennial Good Food in Kansas

I enjoyed this 5-minute video and wanted to share it with all of you. There are other short videos from YERT that I liked as well.

Pictured: Wes Jackson of the Land Institute

Homes For 1/4 The Price

Had to Share This With You
Building Homes for 1/4th the Price
of Traditional Housing
Old bottle caps, used wine corks, spiky glass shards, odd planks of wood and chunks of bone — things other people might consider worthless — become valuable building materials in the hands of Dan Phillips. During the last 12 years, the maverick homebuilder in Huntsville, TX has either built or supervised the building of a dozen houses made of materials that would otherwise have been thrown away. 

To lower living costs, he believes in building sustainable houses with up to 90% recycled materials, tankless water heaters, rain water cisterns and plenty of insulation.

I don’t think Dan even mentions the word permaculture in this video or article, but in my book, it is urban permaculture all the way.

Video: Recycled Houses – 7min.
Dan’s Website – Phoenix Commotion


Home of Recycled Materials

The Downdraft Wood Gasification Unit

Could this be one of the key missing pieces? 

In its simplest form, we are harvesting the finite, underground, carbon- based resources (coal, oil and natural gas), converting them into usable energy, and leaving excess CO2 in the atmosphere and fewer resources for future generations.. Here is a hypothesis which I am contemplating. If over time we converted much of our industrial agriculture into edible food forests, the trees would absorb excess CO2, provide food for us, and leave an annual crop of branches and dead limbs (i.e. stored carbon).

Could we not take this excess carbon source, turn it into wood chips and with the use of these small gasification units, provide the energy we need? In effect we would be harvesting current sunlight and eliminating our need for oil, coal or gas while simultaneously sequestering excess CO2 from our atmosphere. Hummmm….
Follow this link and scroll down a bit to take a look at a video of a home-made unit
and leave your thought on the networking page for others (and me) if you like.

Hanks Horn of Plenty

A Little Ingenuity Goes a Long Way
This 2-minute gem was forwarded to me by one of my good friends in Stelle, Mark, who is from Maryland. It is priceless in its charm, brevity and message – ‘we can feed ourselves from our own backyards’. As that itch to get our hands back into the soil continues to grow with spring drawing near, consider what is truly possible from our own back & front yards, empty lots, balconies and rooftops, especially with a little human love and ingenuity as Hank here demonstrates. By the way, Stockton, Maryland gets plenty of near zero temperatures during the winter. It’s solidly a temperate climate zone. And when the video clip is done, ask yourself how you would go about duplicating what Hank has created but with only organic inputs and renewable energy options. That’s a permaculture approach. Enjoy. I found it inspiring. 

Click Here to Enjoy the Video
If the first link doesn’t work click here to try a different path in
(Note: This video requires Windows Media Player and may not work on your computer. Darn. Hope you can view it.)

First 2-Day Transition Town Training in Illinois

Becky and I will soon host the first Transition Training in Illinois in our home town of Stelle. Not only is it convenient for us, but we think most people will enjoy visiting our sustainably oriented community as well. A big part of the transition process is finding ways to decrease our carbon imprint while building some resilience into our communities, and residents in Stelle have been dabbling in this for decades. People taking this training in Stelle will receive a quick tour of our community to include the windmills, our solar powered telephone company, the tool co-op, garden co-op, chicken co-op and more. 

Here is quick 5-minute video of Rob Hopkins (left), the Transition Town Network’s founder, talking about community resilience as well as giving his quick overview on just what the Transition Movement is all about.