Biological Cleaning, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Sheri Menelli April 29, 2013
I’m so blown away by the work of John Todd. He works on a huge scale cleaning horrendous toxins out of water. I suspect he knows a bit about permaculture. I saw Bill Mollison’s book listed on one of his websites.
Above is a video that I think gives amazing insight on using plants (and even snails) to clean toxins from water.Comments (2)
Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge: Kitchen Grey-Water System Report of Implementation and Design Update (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Irrigation, Land, Plant Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland March 30, 2013
As most of us know, grey water is a term used to refer to “waste” water that has been used once in any domestic system except for toilets (which is referred to as black water). However grey water from the kitchen may be considered as “dark grey” water on account of the fact that it tends to contain a lot more fats and protein from the grease and grime that comes off pots and pans than say shower outflow water which is quite dilute. If you let kitchen grey water sit around it quickly goes rancid and doesn’t smell a lot different from sewage. The grey water coming out of our kitchen also has some pretty nasty detergents in it (Ajax) and we can’t really get hold of anything more eco out here in Ethiopia. Initially we tried putting this grey water directly into an infiltration pit, but that didn’t work very well as it tended to fill up and start to reek and kill the surrounding plants, especially in the rainy season.Comments (3)
Compost, Conservation, Health & Disease, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Kris De Decker March 1, 2013
© Kris De Decker, low-tech magazine (edited by Shameez Joubert)
© Illustrations in red & black: Diego Marmolejo
Flushing the water closet is handy, but it wreaks ecological havoc, deprives agricultural soils of essential nutrients and makes food production dependent on fossil fuels.
For 4,000 years, human excrements and urine were considered extremely valuable trade products in China, Korea and Japan. Human dung was transported over specially designed canal networks by boats.
Thanks to the application of human "waste" products as fertilizers to agricultural fields, the East managed to feed a large population without polluting their drinking water. Meanwhile, cities in medieval Europe turned into open sewers. The concept was modernized in late 19th century Holland, with Charles Liernur’s sophisticated vacuum sewer system.Comments (5)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Health & Disease, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Urban Projects, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Susie Spies December 11, 2012
In permaculture design we look at the inputs and outputs of various components, and try to connect things to each other so that the supply from one thing meets the demand of another. We can grow our own food, and thus meet the nutritional needs of the family, and the organic waste is looped back into the system. Any waste is seen as a resource that can re-enter the system without causing harm or damage.
What about Zone 0? How can we minimise the pollution of our household space and still keep it clean? Since becoming more aware of the chemicals that are around us; in our air, water, food, household chemicals, office supplies, furniture and just about everything else, I have become a compulsive reader of labels. I may be on the extreme end of the spectrum, but a walk down the cleaning aisle of a supermarket feels like a visit to a toxic waste facility — and the smell is unbearable. I shudder to think of the lethal cocktail people take home in tubs, jars, cans and bottles. Despite the warning labels, these items end up in millions, if not billions, of homes around the world.
How, then, does one clean a house without poisonous household cleaning agents?Comments (10)
Aquaculture, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Global Warming/Climate Change, Land, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Jason Gerhardt November 27, 2012
The author scopes out an oyster reef in Pamlico Sound, NC
Photo Credit: Jason Gerhardt
Being a resident of the dryland Western US, I should probably be thinking more about wildfire and drought than storm surge and coastal erosion, but for some reason, I’ve been drawn to the shoreline recently. As I have yet to come across any significant permaculture analysis or design strategy for barrier islands and associated coasts, most of this discussion is drawn from applying permaculture design thinking to other research. My hope is that this article will inspire others to develop and contribute more specific permaculture content for such important ecosystems and communities.
As large hurricanes continually batter the Eastern coast of the United States, causing catastrophic damage and human suffering, it is time to think about how permaculture design applies to human communities in such environments. From 100-year floods to wildland fire to coastal superstorms, modern infrastructure is proving to be insufficiently designed to deal with such destructive forces of nature. As permaculture designers, we attempt to work with nature, harmonizing what we design with natural forces, while using those forces as a resource, patterning after them, pacifying them, or deflecting them.
The inherent nature of barrier islands and associated coastline is one of rapid and constant change — literally a foundation of shifting sands. Constant disturbance is perhaps the antithesis of permaculture (permanent-culture), so the question must be asked: how does permaculture apply in a place like this? Do we attempt to create greater stability or do we work with the changing nature of the place? Or, do we suggest that people shouldn’t be living in such places at all?Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Fencing, Irrigation, Land, Material, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Seeds, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland October 25, 2012
Editor’s Note: Regular readers will have appreciated Alex McCausland’s regular and comprehensive reports from precariously positioned Ethiopia, and the great work he and his team have been doing on the ground. If you want to learn practical permaculture and gain real-world permaculture aid work experience in a location rich in agricultural history, then please consider taking Alex’s next PDC, to be held in southern Ethiopia between December 10 — 22, 2012. Your tuition fees directly support this important educational aid work.
The Hafto Solar Community Water Project site project is a solar powered water supply facility for the surrounding community of Hafto in the Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia. The project was planned and implemented by a German NGO called DWC and is owned and run by a local NGO called SMART. The facility supplies water to about 1500 surrounding community members within an approximate 1km radius. There is a small charge for the water of about 0.01 Ethiopian Birr per liter (1$=18Birr) which covers the running costs of the project. The community members currently come to the site with donkeys to collect the water in jerry-cans which they take home for use.Comments (3)
Biodiversity, Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Deforestation, Education, Global Warming/Climate Change, Health & Disease, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Anthea Hudson October 18, 2012
Water — without it life on earth could not exist and yet it is often treated with little care or respect, especially by more affluent communities. Clean drinking water is actually a valuable and diminishing resource, due to all the toxins that are carelessly allowed to make their way into our water systems.
These statistics about water may surprise you and give you a greater understanding about just how important it is that we protect water, especially our potable water.
75% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water — however 97% of that water is the salt water of our oceans. That only leaves 3%, but 2% of that is frozen and only 0.5% is actually usable fresh water! Just 0.5% of all the water on Earth. Kinda brings the point home, doesn’t it?
As you can probably see, it is therefore vital that we help our children understand the value of water, the importance of protecting it and ways in which they can use it more sustainably.
Below are some ideas for introducing these concepts to your children… some of them quite a bit of fun, but with very important messages behind them.Comments (4)
Animal Housing, Bird Life, Land, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Dan Palmer October 17, 2012
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
The Site-Specific Design Problem
The problem was how do you drain a duck pond in a way that
- directs the overflow to the same exit pipe as when you drain it totally
- doesn’t involve reaching your hand to the bottom of a pond full of duck poo
- lets you easily drain out every last millimetre of sludge, and
- lets you refill the pond without having to wait around to turn the tap off when it’s full.
Below is the design in which this conundrum arose. The duck pond is just above the tank in the lower left (under an apricot) and the infiltration path/trench it feeds is the worm-like thing curving up and around under the fruit trees….Comments (1)
Biological Cleaning, Conservation, Consumerism, Economics, Irrigation, Potable Water, Regional Water Cycle, Society, Storm Water, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor September 25, 2012
This is a must-watch video for all who need water (the rest of you are excused). I actually covered a lot of the material in the video in my Water Worries post, which I put together several years ago (but being one of the earliest posts on this site, when we had a far smaller audience, it barely got read, as evidenced by the fact that it didn’t attract even a single comment). This is a critical topic, and I’m pleased to say that, as did my earlier article, this video doesn’t just point out the problems, but also has an holistic view of the situation, so it also directs one to what must, and must not, be done about it.Comments (7)
Aquaculture, Compost, Conservation, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Fungi, Irrigation, Land, Material, Potable Water, Rehabilitation, Soil Biology, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Structure, Surveying, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Richard Perkins September 15, 2012
A reflection following a great time finding solutions for dryland water management in Portugal
I’m enjoying working on a job connecting up extensive irrigation in the mountains of Extremadura, Spain, and relaxing for a couple of days after a successful and effective Dryland Water Management intensive at the budding Permaculture Institute, Vale De Lama, near Lagos in the South of Portugal.
This week we have been looking at all aspects of water design, focusing mostly on this varied site where all manner of interventions are necessary to halt the onslaught of the desertification process and regenerate the diverse mixed polycultures and rich soils that had a biological diversity comparative to more tropical regions at one time.
Something that is clear after working so intensively with integrative and regenerative systems design around the globe in different climate zones is that most places I turn up at have been degraded heavily and the localized cultural approach and ecological understanding is often limited by familiarization with the current conditions and often destructive agricultural practices.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Biological Cleaning, Building, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Plants - Annual, Food Plants - Perennial, Land, Medicinal Plants, Nurseries & Propogation, Plant Systems, Rehabilitation, Soil Composition, Soil Conservation, Surveying, Swales, Urban Projects, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Melissa Andrews August 23, 2012
Olive trees stand the test of time in Palestine
All images © Christopher List Photography
It was a brisk, rather harried morning when my husband, photographer Christopher List, and I set off on a trip to delve deeper into the relatively unheard of phenomenon of permaculture.
It felt like only yesterday when we’d announced to friends and family that were were going to Palestine, to study a 14-day intensive permaculture course. After discovering some of the principles of permaculture on a recent trip to SA, I knew we were in for a gruelling, yet worthwhile experience.Comments (4)
Report on Implementation Activities in Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary Schools in July 2012 (Ethiopia)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Food Forests, Irrigation, Land, Nurseries & Propogation, Rehabilitation, Retrofitting, Seeds, Swales, Trees, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland August 17, 2012
In May 2012 we ran a PDC at Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge on which we trained four local teachers, along with other participants, two from each of two local schools in Konso, South Ethiopia, where we are based. The selected teachers from the two schools, Konso Secondary and Jarso Primary, are science teachers responsible for the schools’ environmental clubs. During the training they produced permaculture designs for their school compounds, which they have gone on to begin implementing with their school communities.Comments (2)
Animal Forage, Biological Cleaning, Land, Plant Systems, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss — by Mark Feineigle March 22, 2012
Effluent processing all over the world requires large amounts of energy and/or chemicals to treat the waste water, or the waste water is improperly filtered before being returned to the environment. There are a number of solutions to lessen the waste water load while at the same time producing a net benefit. Systems that include the collection of urine to be used as fertilizer and methane digesters that create fuel from feces [see 'Biogas' section at bottom of the just-linked article] are a couple of such solutions. Another solution — constructed wetland filtration systems for homes, communities, and industrial sectors — are efficient in both processing ability and energy requirements.
These artificial wetlands provide a near zero energy input way to treat local effluent with no negative side effects. The process is free of both chemicals and odours, provides habitat for wildlife, increases the diversity and aesthetics of any site, and, depending on the toxicity of the inflowing effluent, can potentially create a yield, such as fodder for livestock.Comments (2)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Conservation, Courses/Workshops, Dams, Demonstration Sites, Irrigation, Land, Material, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Robert Cork March 9, 2012
Just outside of Arusha, Tanzania, is ‘Kesho Leo’– a sustainable home for vulnerable women and children operated by FoodWaterShelter. The principles of permaculture underpin the daily lives of the Kesho Leo residents. It is currently the home of seven families, each headed by a Tanzanian mama who cares for up to five children, including orphans. In addition to the daily essentials, Kesho Leo provides the many other aspects that a ‘home’ needs; access to family and social support, access to education and health, and very importantly – access to community.
Permaculture meeting the needs of the Kesho Leo residents
Revolving around the community and education aspects of Kesho Leo are the permaculture systems that strive to provide all of the food, water and energy needs of the residents. Basic needs of water, sanitation and power are provided through rainwater harvesting, innovative batch compost toilet systems, and solar power.Comments (7)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Food Forests, Irrigation, Potable Water, Village Development, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Warren Brush March 8, 2012
In a land of contrast, mystery and years of imperialism, a small village of over 300 people on the edge of the Kalahari in Namibia germinated a new permaculture resiliency project in January of 2012. In talking with the headman of the village, he shared that their people, the San Bushmen, have lived in harmony with the land as hunter gatherers for eons. They are often cited as the first peoples of Africa and very likely all of humanity may have descended from their ranks many millennia ago.
The village elder sadly shared that colonialism has destroyed the San migratory way of life — a hunter gatherer tradition that was sustainable for thousands of years. He told us that they were no longer allowed to roam freely and trophy hunters destroyed the vast herds of game that formed their principal supply of food. Both Black and White farmers alike built up huge herds of cattle that destroyed the ecology of the Kalahari and subsequently the foods that had been their staple diet. They soon found they had to work for the farmers to be able to feed their families and hence a cycle of poverty and separation from their cultural roots ensued.Comments (6)