Monday, December 28, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
On the food security and appropriate technology fronts, check out our calendar of upcoming events. We are anticipating trips to the Lakota, the Nahuat, and multiple workshops in our local community over the next several months -- all highlighting how to best integrate ourselves with the landscape, wherever we are.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
knowledge, alternative agriculture, and local food system experiences - which links ecology, culture, economics, and society to sustain agricultural production,
healthy environments, and viable food and farming communities.
So, this starts with the surrounding biodiversity, even before you
start preparing the soil, and extends throughout planting and
harvesting to the retail end. And the Blog from Rural America notes that local grocery stores are in trouble, yet there are viable models to keeping them.
- Local ownership
- Cooperative ownership
- Youth affiliated
Of course, at Pine Ridge and Hoopa, we are giving away the produce, to support the tiospaye, the ceremonies, the elders, and the youth. But we know when the right time comes, it is important to be able to support local economies and provide an alternative to the distant and the industrial.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
in that the newest version of the Living Buildings Challenge standards unveiled at Greenbuild also aims to go beyond an individual site to address issues such as social justice and urban agriculture. For example, a minimum amount of site square footage must be used for food production and the site must provide unrestricted access to rivers, lakes and shorelines.
Also noted is the An Indigenous Response to the Challenge of climate change with NASA and tribal colleges, more than ten years after Indigenous peoples came together at the first Native Peoples/Native Homelands Climate Change Workshop.
And, finally, if you want to advance the fight for sustainable food, here are the Top Ten Ways to Get Involved
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Several good films have screened at the American Indian Film Festival this week
And since this EarthTeam youth video has come to us a couple of ways, we thought we'd showcase it as an example of how our youth are connecting with the earth
Friday, November 6, 2009
This in from JustMeans:
"Teaching the hungry how to more efficiently farm, can actually create new unexpected inefficiencies. The Green Revolution in India, in which farmers in the Indian state of Punjab switched from traditional methods to American-style farming - with chemicals, high-yield seeds and irrigation- was once thought to be a rousing success. However, under scrutiny the shiny label of success has lost some of its sheen: India's Green Revolution has depleted ground water, destroyed soil through salinization, locked farmers into cycles of debt and turned what was once a localized hunger problem into a structural one. It also hasn't actually solved India's hunger problem: 1/4th of the world's hungry call India home. A whopping 230 million people or 18% of India's 1.25 billion population is hungry"
Monday, November 2, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
California has already made its recommendations: Zero Net Energy for new residential construction by 2020 and commercial by 2030. And Massachusetts is similar:
You might say this is the triumph of common sense. Clearly if we have an immense climate change challenge with our existing building stock, we cannot continue to build as we have and create additional load on the system. Get your state on the 2020 bus now!
Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Honor the Earth is Building Resilience in 2009 with Kalliopeia Foundation and Frances Fund, working to re-localize sustainable energy and food economies as a means to mitigate climate change and nurture cultural and spiritual restoration.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
AgroInnovations multimedia covers agricultural biodiversity and cultural significance in interviews with Dr. Suzanne Nelson, Director of conservation with Native Seeds/SEARCH
and Emigdio Ballon, who is an experienced traditional farmer. Emigdio talks to us about Andean crops, cultural significance, and possibilities for economic sustainability.
Monday, August 31, 2009
We've clearly got the tools we need to address climate change, from the global to the local. Let's keep at it!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
For more information see the Kivalina case update.
Video at the NewsHour web site
The Forest County Potawatomi Community has an statewide effort to raise awareness of the importance of taking climate action and what you can do"
And the Indigenous Environmental Network has a multiple Energy and Climate programs
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
and from Angelic Organics, we have the The Real Dirt on Farmer John
Further, we have films to answer the question"Is water a human right or a commodity to be bought and sold in a global marketplace?" and building a case against water privatization in Thirst and Flow.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Basketweaving is core to the culture of many tribes between the Sierras and the Pacific Ocean, and helps provide a sense of identity and pride connection to the earth. What we need to remember is the value of basketweaving as a skill that helped people survive through centuries -- taking reeds, roots, branches, and inner bark to create any manner of containers (even water-tight!), fish traps, ceremonial hats, and more.
It's not too late to learn! See you in 2010?
Monday, June 22, 2009
However, this concept of individual initiative ignores the social, economic, political, technical, and ecological support systems around those individuals which make their success or failure possible. It is a myth that has taken us away from our roots and the place to where we need to return.
Our indigenous worldview(s) (cosmovision) stand in marked contrast to the myth of the individual. This understanding respects the vital need for collaboration and cooperation in order to survive. This understanding knows the need for balance and the paramount importance of the web of life. This worldview comes from many centuries of observation of how our natural world works, and in figuring out how to survive in a place.
“. . . we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things."
-- Thanksgiving Address, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)
"Honor and respect water as a sacred and life-giving gift from the Creator of Life. Water, the first living spirit on Earth . . . When water is threatened, all living things are threatened."
-- Statement, Hopi Hisot Navoti Gathering
It’s not that we in modern times are somehow ignorant of the crucial value of healthy air, water, and food. But we don’t have an economy and politics that on a day-to-day basis respects our interconnectedness, and promotes our living in place. For example, the prices we pay at the supermarket don't reflect hidden and true costs of food, so we often don't make the right decisions. We know groups working on Food and Justice policies and wish them well in fixing these issues
In being truly “place-based”, it is not possible to act in a way that systematically compromises the interconnected nature of the universe. Else, you deplete the vitality of your water, your sources of shelter, and your food (fish, animals, berries, plants), and leading to two possible options: 1) move off the depleted ancestral lands due to lack of food and into potential conflict with other tribes, or 2) go extinct. Since in indigenous times people largely maintained balance, it meant that vast forests, healthy soils, clean water, and mineral deposits were readily available to fuel modern society. We must return to respect, understand that these things cannot be liquidated, and use the appropriate building, energy, and water technology to support ourselves.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Baltimore community gardens are hoping to sell to Whole Foods. Laramie County, WY is stealing people away from the SF Bay Area to help them learn about wind energy.
As for our biodiversity, the continued mystery and decline of bats due to a white fungus is a concern. Their insect control and even pollination services are badly needed, and we need to figure this out soon. At least the UN recommends investing in ecosystems rather than carbon control technology, admitting that nature can manage nature better than we can.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Its Six Sovereignty Principles bring us back to where we started with agriculture/agroecology thousands of years ago -- focusing on people, localizing food systems, building skills and knowledge, and working with nature.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
- general ecosystems
are a clear call for greater understanding and action
However, ultimately, these issues are not simply an issue of forging better environmental policies or implementing better practices. At their core, the issues we are dealing with are issues of values, mindset, and spirit, requiring a fundamental shift in how we relate to, and act in, the world. Perhaps the key defining moral failure of our times is the failure to recognize the right of other species and ecosystems to exist.
In not recognizing the rights and value of biodiversity, we create the many bizarre situations in which we currently find ourselves. For instance, rather than ban toxic substances outright in the shared recognition of the paramount importance of the protection of life, we instead permit them to be legal, and subsequently spend tremendous time, resources, and energy toward using as little of them as possible. How much easier would it be to simply ban them outright? How many toxic products do we really need? Even more importantly, how often do we really need the short-term beneficial results these toxic products produce?
Yet, countless efforts are put forth to show how we can't shift away from toxic substance use, or cut our energy use in half, and the excuses are endless. Doing what's right isn't feasible. It's too expensive. We can't get by with less resource use. We can't survive into the indefinite future in a sustainable way, never mind the fact that we as a species have been doing so for millennia.
Our mindset is _so_ key. In nations where basic needs are already met, the mindset that humans have the right to do as we please, and take as much as we want, is at the core of many of our most basic problems -- habitat destruction, loss of species, obesity, energy wars, and water shortages. The bottom line in these five issues is . . . hunger . . . and with this mindset, hunger is never satiated. It ignores responsibility. It drives an incessant collection of things, and keeps us so attached to those things that we spend significant resources on property insurance, storage, and security systems for their protection. It exacerbates the very real global hunger of those who cannot meet their basic needs, by artificially inflating our demands on the earth. And, the mindset maintains the fiction that we cannot afford to live sustainably (i.e. live with less resource consumption and maintain the same quality of life).
With a simple shift in mindset, suddenly "never enough" becomes "more than enough". The food that we have is enough, the property we own is enough, and the energy to which we have local access is enough. It’s simply a common sense approach to life. If certain things are non-negotiable, then you organize your life to get those things done. If the kids need to get picked up at 4 PM, then you figure out some way to make that happen. So too is a goal like 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction by 2050 -- it's a pragmatic goal to manage against the impacts and risks of climate change. Thus, we need to make it a reality.
We need a worldview that respects the need for balance, shares resources with our fellow beings, and acts to maintain the web of life that supports us all. We in the developed world who have the basics of food, clothing, shelter, and water need to recognize that we always have enough. And we need to allow other peoples and species to have their share.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Many groups in attendance were working for sustainability and better relationship with their lands, including:
Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative
New Mexico Acequias Association
Tohono O’odham Community Action
One open space session focused on identifying the solutions that we're missing from 10,000 years of place-based living and understanding of right relationship to our lands. The thoughts that came up included: understanding and documenting our history; use of permaculture techniques like observation of the patterns of sun, wind, and water across a landscape; and using story to communicate concepts and values. We hope to further highlight the outcomes of that session in a future post.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
There was a pause in the breeze, on one of those crisp fall days that foretell colder days to come. Yellowed dogwood and aspen leaves already littered the swampy forest floor, providing temporary cover for tree frogs and field voles. As the breeze picked back up, a lone hiker emerged out of the mist, studiously watching the ground as he moved through the trees. Hearing a slow trill, he bent down, looking intently, and spied what he was looking for – Hyla chrysoscelis, the gray treefrog. As it turned slightly, he noticed the leg. A fifth leg, sprouting from the middle of an otherwise-normal back limb. He stood straight sharply, taken aback. This was the sixth deformed frog he had found this season.
Although the story above is fictitious, the essence of the passage is a very real story that gripped the scientific world between 2000 and 2004. Reports from all over the world document both a general decline in amphibians and the alarming increases in deformities and unnatural growths. Was it some odd fungal infection? Was it a legacy of the decades of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and other synthetic chemicals that had been dispersed throughout the environment? No one was sure, to believe the report in the 2003 Scientific American, which hypothesized several possible causes: contaminated water, ultraviolet radiation, or a parasite. And an article in the March-April American Scientist of 2004 linked many of the amphibian problems to human-induced climate change.
What was clear was simply that something was wrong. Amphibians, with their highly permeable skin, act as canaries in the coal mine, and signal that something is amiss in the world's living systems. And it was highly probable that human activity was culpable in some way.
In how many other areas have we seen significant detrimental impacts in our lack of balance with Mother Earth? And perhaps more importantly, why do we so often fail to restore balance, once we see what we are doing?
All life is sacred, and our fellow beings are key threads of the web of life, yet our actions too often do not make this recognition. As we see, amphibians are not the only threads in danger.
- Bats under Siege. Similar, to the frog decline, 2008 and 2009 found tens of thousands of bats killed, in relation to a white fungus which is somehow involved, and has had a 50-90% fatality rate in infected bats. The ultimate cause is not known.
- State of the Songbirds (Aububon Report). The Aububon Society in 2007 reported on the population changes of several common bird species in North America, and found twenty species had declined at least 50, and in some cases, 80 percent. The critical factor is the loss of habitat – i.e. the grasslands, wetlands, and healthy forests that have been taken through development. This largely tracks the 50-80%% of wetlands that have been lost throughout the U.S., according to the U.S. Geological Service.
- The UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. This project of the United Nations looked at the services provided to humankind by nature. The report's scientists found that "approximately 60% (15 out of 24) of the ecosystem services examined in this assessment are being degraded or used unsustainably".
We clearly have our work to do. Of this, more to be said later.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
This is particularly acute in native communities, where colonial diets can be vastly different than the indigenous staple foods, and cause diabetes and other problems. 2.6 times more acute, if you believe the CDC
The growing awareness is finally beginning to benefit native communities, with a smattering of initiatives over the past seven years:
- First Nations Development Institute held two Native Food Summits in 2002 and 2004 and even created an assessment tool to guide food system development and sovereignty
- Similarly, Menonimee College held a forum through their Sustainable Development Institute
- Renewing America's Food Traditions is launched, to map out the traditional diets of North America and highlight foods at risk, including many indigenous foods.
- Native Seeds/SEARCH continues its quest to preserve heirloom seeds, and even offers discounts to Native Communities.
- Honor the Earth and the White Earth Land Recovery Project produces Food Is Medicine (unfortunately now out of print), highlighting the healing power of food. To provide Anishinaabe foods, the Land Recovery Project is still going strong with Native Harvest
The time is coming where as a society we will honor and value health and quality over expedience and quantity, and sooner rather than later. It is the indigenous way we return to, after all.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
how "our economic crisis has a bright side; it will be the catalyst
for the rebirth of the local small farm."
And, if you can't grow your own food, you can look for your local
CSAs. PANNA makes it easy:
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Studies by Japanese scientist Masaro Emoto have proven what many of our traditional knowledges knew all along, that water is life, it is a sacred element that must be respected . . . And it is that sacredness, that right to enjoy clean water that is increasingly coming under attack from privatization and human induced global warming and drought.
The average United States citizen uses roughly 60 gallons of water a day at a typical residence, significantly more than is necessary to sustain life. Those in what we consider to be ‘developing’ countries are struggling to find five gallons a day and are often times surviving on 3 gallons per day. (Sterling and Vintinner, 2008).
The United States is also leading the world in drinking bottled water. “Three out of four Americans drink bottled water, and one out of five Americans drink only bottled
water” (Louaillier, 2008). Drinking bottled water sends the message to corporations that not only is it okay to privatize water but that we will often pay 100 times more for bottled water than for tap water, even though in a recent CBS News poll 2/3rds of participants in a blind taste test either preferred tap to the battled water brand names
or couldn’t tell the difference. And the real irony: Up to 40% of bottled water, including Aquafina and Dasani, come from the same source of tap water.
Privatization of our waters doesn’t necessarily mean that the water is any cleaner, any freer of natural containments. The only difference is that tap water falls under national governmental standards designed to protect public health.
In the drive to privatize and commodify all natural ‘resources’, we have forgotten that water is a common right for all, not just those who can afford to pay.
Friday, March 13, 2009
While you're at that, you may as well prep by listening to Shirley Romero-Otero, Don Bustos, and Paula Garcia discuss the struggles of land-based people to defend traditional rights to local resources (land & water) and revitalization of and land-based livelihoods.