Monday, December 27, 2010

Global Warming - Cold Isn't It?

Climate Change, Climate Destabilisation, Climate Chaos....
Here's an article that helps to make some sense of the cold weather we're having in the UK at the moment in the face of global warming. I suspect it may not be the last time we hear of the Arctic Dipole, a pattern which has appeared over the last ten years of high pressure over the American side of the Arctic and low pressure over the Eurasian side.

Scroll down past the Welsh photos to Part Two of the article, "The November-December 2010 freeze in context".

NASA Temperature Anomalies chart for Nov 2010: While we've been extra-cold, some of the usually extra-cold parts of the world have been unusually warm...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Loud As You Like - Sneak Preview !!

We do so much internet stuff anyway that we have been branching out into doing sites and blogs for other people too - here's a pre-launch preview of the stunning and very loud LOUD AS YOU LIKE website we have been doing for a friend's Tanzanian clothing. Site set-up and words by Steve, images by me:

...yes that's loud alright...

Everyday Life On the Edge...

A Permaculture Saying: "If you're not on the edge you're taking up too much space." 

We're on the edge here in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant alright! Geographically, we're very close to the border with England and also on the edge of the wilderness of the Berwyn mountains.The edge is a good place to be, it's where activity is often concentrated, whether its the edge of woodland, along the coastline or in our bodies through the membranes of the lungs, digestive system etc. In Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant, you could say Steve and I are working at an edge, the one between modern day chemical agri-business and its sustainable successor, Permaculture.

Here in Powys we are surrounded by a beautiful, gently rolling landscape of small, sheep-spattered fields. The bad news is that those lovely fields produce just 2% of the food that is consumed in Powys and generally it costs more to shear those sheep than the wool is worth.Thankfully, the countryside is too hilly to have been put through the full-blown ravages of modern agriculture. It may be hard enough for farms here to make the transition away from oil but easier than it's going to be for some giant patch of the Shropshire plains, borrowed and leased for millions and mortgaged up to the hilt for decades ahead with just two or three people plying endlessly up and down the deserts on giant machines. It's difficult to see how they can make an easy transition to using one sixth of the energy they use at the moment (remembering that fertilisers and pesticides are just another form of energy as well).

The good news is that left to its own devices much of the land would soon revert to forest. (See the work of Chris Dixon.). The thoughtful, Permaculture approach is to work with that natural process and to steer it gently towards what you would like from the land. Instead of a high energy input, monoculture-desert, net loss landscape, the forest can be gardened to give us so much: food, fuel, materials, shelter, shade, water, energy, medicinal herbs, fodder crops for animals as well as fostering bio-diversity and being drought, disease and pest-resistant. And all the time building Earth capital instead of burning it up. (See earlier post about our Permaculture Design Course at Treflach Farm, farm in transition). We are teaching a two week Permaculture Design course again at Treflach from 8th to 21st May 2011, have our next Forest Gardening course on 22nd Jan 2011, and our first ever Treecare course covering pruning, planting and general woodland management is coming up on 5th & 6th Feb 2011. (More details and booking).

!! New Course !! Pruning & Basic Woodland Management for complete beginners onwards

We're really looking forward to working with progressive thinking Ian Steele at Treflach again.

And we are itching to get started on our own land-based project at PenY Garnedd where we will demonstrate all of this on our co-operatively owned 23 acre edge. Latest news is that the sale is going through.

Titanic 2 - Full Steam Ahead !!

Life on Earth surges full steam ahead towards Multi-Catastrophe on board some doomed Titanic 2 piloted by deaf, dumb and blind politicians in the pocket of deaf, dumb and blind Big Biz - and this time the ship is already creaking at the seams and popping its rivets. Which catastrophe first? Climate Chaos, Peak Everything, Drought, Famine, Financial Collapse, Resource Wars, Extinctions, Ice Sheet Collapse...or maybe all of them together? With ice on the menu, here's a little morsel in that chilly vein: Antarctic Ice Melting,  and if the image of a six foot sea level rise over this century doesn't send a shiver down your spine what will?

...or maybe everythings alright really and these problems have all been dreamed up by a gang of scare-mongering Hippy New Age Illuminati hell-bent on spoiling your fun? I don't think so...but don't believe me, do some research for yourself, go to the sources, GET READING, GET THINKING, GET TALKING AND GET READY !!

...AND just one more thing, START YOUR READING HERE: President Nasheed of the Maldives speaking to the Oxford Student Union earlier this month; transcript on Steve's Blog,

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

James Howard Kunstler - Clusterfuck Nation

If you've not heard of this guy have a read of Kunstler ripping into the General State of Things in the USA on his blog, Clusterfuck Nation. Sometimes compared to Hunter S. Thompson, he certainly rips into the deceit, complacency and catastrophe-waiting-to-happen all around. Here is a couple of extracts from "The Jobs Picture"

"The clarion cries of "recovery" cut painfully through the crisp pre-Christmas air while the now-perpetually unemployed huddle in their tents around the Sacramento delta, and the state AGs slug it out with the foreclosure goons, and not a few mortgage payment drop-outs enjoy luxury living in McMansions with no monthly carrying costs, and the minions of Goldman Sachs (with fellow squids) groom their beaks waiting for the massive chum slick of bonus checks to be dropped by helicopters in this the third holiday season since Wall Street committed suicide by an overdose of Ponzi."

Yeah! and...

"If you want something like gainful employment in the years ahead, don't rely on the corporations, the government, or anyone with a work station equipped cubicle. Start reading up on gardening and harness repair. Learn how to fix a pair of shoes. Volunteer for EMT duty if you're already out of a paycheck, and learn how to comfort people in medical distress. Jobs of the future will be hands-on and direct. I have no idea what medium of exchange you'll get paid with, but a chicken is a good start."

I think he's right...and are we far behind in the UK...?