Politics and Climate Change Info

My views on our environment, sustainability and the politics of it all

Green School December 9, 2010

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My friend (whom some of you know) Lars, recently posted this as a place he would like to teach.  I watched this presentation on TED and was so moved that it made me cry.  This is why I loved living in Asia – because you can make your dreams come true.  The Green School is what I envision for the future of schooling, and what I would love to teach as a teacher!  Although, now that I’m curious how to pursue something like this in Canada, I can’t possibly imagine how difficult it would be to set up a school like this here.

Initially, I thought about returning to Taiwan after completing my teaching degree, but if this is even possibly an option, I will likely consider going here instead.  It seems that they are just this year starting grade 10 sciences, which means that in a year or two, maybe they will have positions available for a high school science teacher with an incredibly interest in permaculture practices!

And it has made me re-think my plans for the summer.  Maybe instead of going to France to study French, I could stay here, study French and help out at the sustainable farm in the Cowichan Valley.  Will consider this more in the coming months.  I am so grateful to my friend Lars for showing this to me!



Permaculture April 25, 2010

Recently, I completed a Permaculture Design Certificate.  Everyone I mention that to, says “what’s Permaculture?”.  Well to answer their question, it’s a design strategy used to conserve resources intelligently so we can maintain habitat for human sustenance, and in so doing ensure conservation of wild lands for the earth and animals that also reside here.

I love the concept of Permaculture, because it gives you the tools to make a difference, and not feel helpless, and all the while you are able to sustain yourself, and potentially many others around you.

I watched this presentation, from TED, the other day where a man was trying to save Orangutan habitat and took a piece of completely devastated land, and not only created habitat for Orangutans, but also food for people and his system now supports 1000s of local people.  It used to be that the people living in this area were the poorest in Indonesia, but with this system, they now have food, clean drinking water, and jobs, their land is regaining health, and there is now habitat for the Orangutans.  If this isn’t a perfect description of how things can be, then nothing is.

Here is the video: Willie Smit’s 20 Year Tale of Hope


12/12 Day of Climate Action December 16, 2009

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Last weekend there was yet another worldwide day of climate action.  As before, on October 24, this day of climate action centered around supporting a fair, binding agreement at the Copenhagen conference to curb CO2 production.

350.org has been playing a big role in lobbying policy makers at this meeting, and has been one of the driving forces behind these international Climate action days.  They have joined forces with Maldivian present, Mohamed Nasheed, in order to put forth information and pressure to keep CO2 levels below 350ppm and prevent not only the Maldives but many other countries from being submerged under ocean water as the polar ice caps melt.

I hope they continue their wonderful work and I am incredibly impressed that at least one government cares about the environmental state of our planet.   It’s so ridiculous how so many other governments are simply ignoring the issue, clearly thinking ‘yeah, but we’re not an island nation, it won’t affect us’, or just not thinking all, or ‘ well if I bow to this issue, then I won’t get my big pay cheque from big oil”.  It’s wonderful to see someone who isn’t bowing to corporate bullshit when dealing with the future of the people and nation that elected them.

http://www.350.org/vigil-vid Check out the link.  It’s a short clip of what went on Dec 12, to support strong action in Copenhagen.


I’m a Grass Farmer December 6, 2009

Although I found this interesting, I didn’t really think to post it until Mag mentioned how she thought it was quite cool and I should talk about it on here.  So here it is: I am a Grass Farmer.
This is from the book Omnivore’s Dilemma, and is regarding a farm that he writes about called Polyface Farm (link to Polyface’s website) in Virginia.  He writes about this farm, and so am I because the farmer strives to maximize grass growth, which maximizes growth of everything else, if the farm is kept in  balance.

The farmer works like this:

1. He plots the growth of grass in the fields with a computer model, and rotates the cows to new fields with use of moveable electric fencing when the grass has reached max growth, before it goes to see.  This takes about 2 weeks during the growing season.

2. 3 days after the cows have grazed that area, he moves in moveable chicken coops and releases the chickens to eat the grubs out of the cow patties.  The chicken poop provides the nitrogen for the ground to maximize grass re-growth and the chickens get good protien from the fly lavae incubating in the cow poop, which causes the chickens to lay beautiful eggs, and the cows to have tons of grass to eat to get fat.

3. In the winter, the cows are moved into the barn.  He allows the cow poop to pile up in order to start decomposing in the shed.  This causes heat to be released and warms up the cows without having to pay for electricity.  Further, he tosses wood chips, straw and dry corn into the cow manure throughout the winter, which allows it to compost better and ferments the corn.  In the spring the pigs are allowed into the barn when the cows go out.  They love fermented corn apparently, and root around with their noses in the cow manure looking for corn.  This gives the pigs a tasty treat and aerates the cow manure, which then means it’s ready to be put back on the fields to provide fertilizer to help maximize grass growth.

I love how inter-related this farm is and how this farmer has worked to keep his systems in balance.  He has a portion of his lands as forest, which he cuts a few trees out of each year for wood needs, but the forest keeps the water table clean.  Further he limits the number of chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs he raises so that the grass he grows is more than enough to raise them all without putting huge strains on his lands.  I almost want to visit this farm to see what I can learn from this guy.