Ted Trainer: The Way I Live


From TED TRAINER
The Simpler Way
Australia

This account is intended to make two important points. Firstly we could live very cheaply compared with the normal lifestyle in consumer society, and secondly this could yield a very high quality of life. Unfortunately people tend to think that we could not move to much lower rates of consumption without giving up most of the things that make life enjoyable, but this is a mistake. Living simply does not have to imply hardship or deprivation. There are many sources of interest, activity and satisfaction available in a materially simple lifestyle.

The passages in bold type below refer to the way I actually do live. The normal type refers to things I am not able to do but would do if I lived in a neighbourhood that had been redesigned according to alternative principles.

A Pigpen for the Backyard


From GENE LOGSDON (1985)
The Contrary Farmer
Garden Farm Skills

[Please visit the upgraded pages for Gene's Books here and Post Archive by Title here. -DS]

Loose talk about pigpens in the yard will send the blood pressure soaring in the veins of local zoning officials, if not your neighbors. It’s perfectly all right in our culture to keep a dog half the size of a cow in the yard, letting it bark all night and running all over town dropping manure in its wake. But a quiet, clean hog producing something useful like pork chops? Heaven forbid.

People think hogs are dirty because hogs will survive in crowded conditions. Because hogs will survive in crowded conditions, humans have always raised them that way, the better to make a buck. Try raising cats like we do hogs, and you’ll know what dirt and stench are really like.

A neighbor woman has for twelve years

Freak Storms — Ready For More?



Naomi Klein on Climate Change
~

From NEWSWEEK

In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Newsweek’s Sharon Begley on why we’re unprepared for the harrowing future, and how adapting to the inevitable might be our only option.

Joplin, Missouri, was prepared. The tornado warning system gave residents 24 minutes’ notice that a twister was bearing down on them. Doctors and nurses at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, who had practiced tornado drills for years, moved fast, getting patients away from windows, closing blinds, and activating emergency generators. And yet more than 130 people died in Joplin, including four people at St. John’s, where the tornado sucked up the roof and left the building in ruins, like much of the shattered city.

Peet’s at Peet’s or Peet’s at Zach’s?


OR…

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

To the Editors:

The Peet’s Corporation has asked the Ukiah City Council not to ban it from our downtown (See UDJ Article Below). The choice could not be clearer. We have access to Peet’s fresh-brewed coffees at Schat’s Bakery downtown, owned by Zachery Schat and his family. Now the Peet’s Corporation, traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, wants the right to move into our downtown.

There is only one difference between the two companies:

On Memorial Day, America Should Honor Her Troops by Bringing Them Home


From JOHN NICHOLS
The Nation

It is unfortunate but true that on this Memorial Day — when we pause to honor those Americans who have fought the good fights against British colonialism, the sin of slavery and the menace of fascism — U.S. troops are currently bogged down in a quagmire of George Bush’s creation in Afghanistan and an continuing mission of Bush’s creation in Iraq.

Appallingly, Barack Obama has maintained Bush’s undeclared wars of occupation. And he has now steered the United States into another fight with Libya.

Everything about these undeclared and open-ended conflicts is at odds with the vision of the founders of the American experiment — who generally shared James Madison’s view that “permanent war” posed the greatest

Fukushima Equals 3,000 Billion Lethal Doses


From BOB NICHOLS
Veterans Today

…There are at least 48.6 Chernobyls in the burning old reactor cores pumping fiery isotopes into the Earth’s atmosphere. It is no stretch to say Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors and the dry holding pools for old reactor cores are equal to more than 50 Chernobyl disasters…

Looking at the current Japanese meltdown as more than 50 Chernobyls is just the start. In addition, the fate of the four nearby reactors at Fukushima Daini is as yet unknown by the outside world. Working at the nearby reactors, only 10 km (6 miles away) is a quick, painful death sentence. They are inside the mandatory evacuation zone.

This much is known. All radioactive exposures are cumulative for each human, animal and plant. What’s more, mutated genetic codes are passed on to offspring forever.

The last days of the salt-is-bad fad


From KRISTIN WARTMAN

A new study finds that low-salt diets actually increase the risk of death from heart attack and stroke — and in fact don’t prevent high blood pressure.

For something that’s so often mixed with anti-caking agents, salt takes a lot of lumps in the American imagination. Like fat, people tend to think of it as an unnecessary additive — something to be avoided by seeking out processed foods that are “free” of it. But also like fat, salt is an essential component of the human diet — one that has been transformed into unhealthy forms by the food industry.

Historically, though, salt was prized. Its reputation can be found in phrases like, “Worth one’s salt,” meaning, “Worth one’s pay,” since people were often paid in salt and the word itself is derived from the Latin salarium, or salary.

Those days are long over.

The last days of the soy-is-good fad


From KRISTIN WARTMAN

Studies have found that soy-fed infants have estrogen levels an average of seventeen thousand times higher than infants fed human or cow’s milk.

Thanks to Michael Pollan, many Americans are now aware that when a food boasts a health claim it usually means it’s actually not that healthy after all. But there’s one food that consistently flies below the radar despite its numerous health claims when found in processed and packaged foods: Soy. A long-time staple in the American health food repertoire, it is a prominent example of Pollan’s observation. And the research is mounting that soy foods are not only questionable in terms of their benefits, but in fact, may be hazardous to your health.

Most recently, the Cornucopia Institute conducted research on the processing of soy foods and found that the industry commonly uses hexane—a petroleum-based solvent and known neurotoxin

The last days of the fat-is-bad fad


From KRISTIN WARTMAN

If you work out the numbers, you come to the surreal conclusion that you can eat lard straight from the can and conceivably reduce your risk of heart disease.” 

The low-fat trend finally appears to be on its way out. The notion that saturated fats are detrimental to our health is deeply embedded in our Zeitgeist—but shockingly, the opposite just might be true. For over 50 years the medical establishment, public health officials, nutritionists, and dieticians have been telling the American people to eat a low-fat diet, and in particular, to avoid saturated fats. Only recently, have nutrition experts begun to encourage people to eat “healthy fats.”

This past December, the Los Angeles Times reported that excess carbohydrates and sugar, not fat, are responsible for America’s obesity and diabetes epidemics. One of the lead researchers in this field, Dr. Frank Hu,

Charles Hugh Smith: There are community-based alternatives to Corporate America


From CHARLES HUGH SMITH
OfTwoMinds.com
Mendocino

As I have often observed, the majority of America’s household income flows to a handful of corporate cartels protected by the Central State. Most of the mortgage payments flow to the “too big to fail” banks. Most of the telecom payments flow to the few companies in the telecom cartel. Most of the energy money flow to the energy cartel. Most of the food budget go to the Big Ag cartel and the retail cartel. Most of the money spent on “entertainment” flows to the corporate media cartel, and so on.

Most of the global media is owned by 5 or 6 corporations. Most of the radio stations in the U.S. are owned by two corporations. This tremendous concentration of ownership of the nation’s assets gives these cartels immense political power, and so the Central State acts as “partner” to Corporate America, protecting the cartels from competition

Todd Walton: Both At Once


From TODD WALTON
Underthetablebooks.com
Mendocino

“Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Morning: A beautiful day in Mendocino, the rhododendrons madly blooming, the headlands a riot of wild roses and wild irises and wild mustard, while across the ocean a terrible thing is happening: four nuclear reactors in Japan are out of control, melting down, and turning vast areas of that nation into dead zones for thousands of years to come.

“The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.” Allen Ginsberg

Noon: A friend writes to say his business is doing well, his daughter about to get married, and he hasn’t felt so well in ages. In the same mail is a note from another friend telling me about his neighbor, a fellow from Japan, who now has five relatives living with him in his tiny apartment in Berkeley,

Will Parrish: Vineyard Frost Protection’s Chilling Impact


From WILL PARRISH
The Anderson Valley Advertiser
Laytonville

In the next few weeks, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is slated to release its final draft of new regulations governing water pumping for frost protection by the biologically invasive vineyard species of the Russian River basin. A debate concerning the wine industry’s impact on watersheds generally, and on the Russian River basin particularly, has intensified accordingly.

For their part, local environmental organizations have been pressing for much stronger regulations than the perennially agribusiness-friendly SWRCB has been wont to consider. To a large extent, the environmentalists — not to mention the the fish who reside in the river — have been aided by the federal government’s National Marine Fisheries Service, representatives of which have documented numerous fish killings and strandings

The Domestic Apocalyptic Goddess of Doom Summer Reading List


From SHARON ASTYK

Summer is just about here, and you need some summer reading. Light. Fuzzy. Delightful. Amusing. Perfect for the deck chair or the sand. Nevermind the fact that you are a low-energy, transitioning, cheap, homseteading type, and your deck chair is probably planted on your porch, and the sand is the local playground sandpit – hey, it is summer, you’ve got to kick back with a book. But what book? The contemporary equivalent of The Devil Wears Prada isn’t exactly the stuff of anti-consumerist legend. He may not be that into you, but since really you are both into your garden, who gives a hoot? No, we need our own summer reading list, and of course, your blogsite has you covered. So here’s what you can take to the (nearby, busable) beach with you!

I don’t buy a lot of sustainability/farmy books new – the single biggest benefit of being a writer is that people send them to me free (boy, oh boy has this been bad for my book habit!)… More Reading List here
~~

Privatization: The Road to Hell


From JIM HIGHTOWER
Truthout

Billionaires are different from you and me, for obvious reasons, including the fact that they buy much pricier baubles than we do.

A sleek car costing $100,000? Why, for them, that’s just an easy impulse purchase. A few million bucks for a Matisse original? Go ahead — it’ll liven up the hallway. How about throwing a fat wad of cash at a university to get an academic chair named for you? Sure, it’s all part of the fun of living in BillionaireLand.

Then there is the top crust of the upper-crust — such megalomaniacal megabillionaires as the Koch brothers. Using money from their industrial conglomerate, their foundation and their personal fortunes, these two far-out, laissez-faire extremists are literally buying public policy. Their purchases of everything from politicians to the tea party help them push the privatization of all things public and the elimination of pesky regulations and taxes that crimp their style.

A link between climate change and Joplin tornadoes? Never!



From BILL McKIBBEN
WaPo
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

Caution: It is vitally important not to make connections. When you see pictures of rubble like this week’s shots from Joplin, Mo., you should not wonder: Is this somehow related to the tornado outbreak three weeks ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala., or the enormous outbreak a couple of weeks before that (which, together, comprised the most active April for tornadoes in U.S. history). No, that doesn’t mean a thing.

It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. It is not advisable to try to connect them in your mind with, say, the fires burning across Texas — fires that have burned more of America at this point this year than any wildfires have in previous years. Texas, and adjoining parts of Oklahoma and New Mexico, are drier than they’ve ever been — the drought is worse than that of the Dust Bowl.

Calling All Seed Savers


About this project

Heritage Seed Co. is an organic farm collective and a online community building project.

Our mission is to bring back the lost foods of our country and teach interested gardeners the value of fresh. local, and heirloom produce.  We are also going to provide support and encouragement for more to plant gardens and seed save/trade. We are committed to preserving the past with the help of modern technology and social media.

Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter Tomato is one of the varieties we are saving.  But we are also saving the Paw Paw a fruit bearing tree that tastes kind of like a banana and is native to our region.  We have a diverse list of starters that will grow as the project grows but this is a slow process and it will take many years to root some of the varities.

Heritage Seed Co. has targeted 30 plants on the Slow Foods Ark of Taste endangered foods list that we are planting in our greenhouses

Alan Kapuler — Peace Seeds: Man of Science, Ideas, and Humanity


From COOKING UP A STORY

Video 1 | Video 2
[Very inspiring... -DS]

This is Dr. Alan Kapuler, founder of Peace Seeds, and former co-founder and research director for Seeds of Change. He currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon where he continues his research projects, and maintains his remarkable organic seed catalog.

Dr. Alan Kapuler is a man who thinks on big time scales, and across wide geographic spheres of reality.

A molecular biologist by training, as a young adult, Kapuler experienced an almost spiritual connection from working with plants. Years later, he became a public domain organic plant breeder, and an impassioned advocate for the protection of the natural world. Kapuler believes, the interconnectedness of all living things—biodiversity itself, is the true seed of life. Widely regarded as the founding father of the organic seed movement, Kapuler’s reverence of living things is embodied in his daily work—planting,

We want a world as it should be


From JOANNE POYOUROW
Transition US

After decades of accepting the world as it is …, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be. — President Obama (speaking about the Middle East, 5/19/11)

President Obama -

We want a world as it should be: a world where people quit fouling their own nest, where money isn’t the only object, a world where people consider the planet we are leaving to our children.

In the past few months, your executive order has indefinitely rescinded EPA limits on emissions from industrial boilers which power oil refineries, chemical plants and other factories. You have slow-tracked new rules on storing toxic coal ash. (source)

We want a world as it should be: where government protects the health of the people from powerful corporate interests, where government takes action to protect the environment and to slow global warming.

Right now,

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