I've found it quite difficult listening to this latest bunch of podcasts - it's clear that Paul & Jocelyn have put a massive amount of effort into this experiment, and it hasn't entirely worked out as planned. However it certainly has generated some useful data, and highlighted a lot of the problems of "community". But Paul said a very interesting and (to my mind) vital thing - he mentioned this a couple of times, and it resonates with me. What we have to do is design *systems* so that the people we get frustrated with become part of the solution rather than part of the problem (I'm paraphrasing). Easier said than done - the Mollison approach - the Problem is the Solution. Any of us who have worked in teams know that very often you can't simply select the Dream Team from an endless pool of candidates - most of the time you have to deal with the folks who happen to be there already. You may have some degree of hire/fire capability, but often not that much, so the challenge is to take this collection you've been given, and establish roles and relationships that will move towards the goal. That strikes me as the permaculture approach. Which is great when written down, but in practice is tricky. So anyway, my point is that your podcasts should be required listening for people building teams.
Keep it up; don't lose hope. The Ant Village concept sounds excellent, and I really hope it works out.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; only changed from one form into another. If you have an electrolytic process to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen, that takes energy. You will always lose a little more by heat in that process that you will not recoup by burning the hydrogen back into oxygen again. A far more efficient way of getting heat from your 12V DC source would be to just stick a heating coil on it. So I'm afraid this is just a pipe dream, like so many promises of perpetual motion, cold fusion and simple cures for cancer. You cannot get more energy out than you put in, any more than taking money out of the bank and then putting it back in makes you end up with more money. The bank always wins, and in this case the laws of thermodynamics will always win.
Hi folks, interesting thread. Quite a few misconceptions coming up over and over again. It's worth pointing out that evolution itself is not considered a "theory" - it's an established fact; it happens and it has happened in the past, and humans and other life forms are linked. This is considered settled. The *Theory* of Evolution refers (in the same sense as the Theory of Gravity or the Theory of Relativity) to the conceptual body of knowlegdge and data that underpin our understanding of how evolution occurs now and has occurred in the past. Adaptation and evolution are the same thing - what some people call "macroevolution" is simply "microevolution" that has been going on for longer. As for epigenetics, this is of minimal importance to evolution - effectively it is another mechanism of gene regulation that in a couple of cases can be transgenerational (but not persistent enough to be that important).
As for "irreducible complexity", this is not a barrier to evolution, nor is the "information problem" - the source of information being written into genomes is the environment, and the mechanism for writing that information is natural selection (that was Darwin's key insight). There is a group in the US called the Discovery Institute who have been trying to push "Intelligent Design" as a part of a creationist agenda, but their arguments have been roundly trounced by the scientific community, including by scientists who are themselves religious. Christians such as Ken Miller and Francis Collins have been very prominent in showig that evolutionary theory is perfectly compatible with religious belief.
I guess the bottom line is that there is no reason why Christians, Jews, Muslims or others should feel they can't accept the findings of evolutionary science - I have many religious friends working in the field of genetics, and they have no problem with it; indeed, they are valued colleagues making real contributions to science. Another friend of mine who is an Anglican minister has been very vocal in his criticism of creationism and indeed wrote an article entitled "rescuing Genesis from the Creationists".
Is there a Permaculture angle to all this? Yes there is! Organisms are not static, but the genepool of a species will shift towards what "works best" within its niche (it's a bit more complex than this of course); an understanding of how evolution works can therefore be very useful to the permaculturist trying to design systems where the different elements contribute to a whole. And given that life has been trucking along abundantly on this rock for several billion years, it should be a demonstration in itself that great things can happen with a very light or indeed absent touch
Hi Chase, I don't think a RMH can be constructed to cover those bases - even large statics would struggle to stack all those functions. I think you need a nuclear thermal generator - that's why NASA didn't send Curiosity to Mars with a RMH
Gasification might be a way to go, but I think you'll need to split your burners and accept some degree of open (or contained) flame.
Hi Chase, I wasn't kidding about TLUDs - if space is at a premium you can very easily construct one that can be adapted to a normal fireplace - as long as (and this is vital for any combustion system) you have a clear draught for your chimney, and I would always use a carbon monoxide monitor indoors. You'll not get a great deal of thermal storage from a TLUD, and fireplace-size ones will give you maybe 45 minutes from a kilo of wood pellets, but you'll get a nice flame and a talking point I'm trying to source a few heat resistant glass tubes to use as risers as I think they'd look great. I've also used a giant TLUD (yes, they do scale to some extent!) as a patio heater for outdoor parties in chilly NI, and with a few kilos of chipped dried willow, you get almost 90 minutes of excellent radiant heat, without burning off fossil fuels. The risers are metal, and yes, they are going to have a limited lifespan, but you can construct most out of paint tins, soup tins etc. Have fun and stay safe!
This is actually quite an interesting thing - many things can't scale because of the laws of physics (and I hope I may be permitted a minor digression). JBS Haldane wrote a brilliant book "On Being The Right Size" about how biological organisms are constrained in how they can grow. One example is the size of leg bones in relation to the animal it can support. If you double the overall scale (height, length, breadth), you multiply the volume (and hence the weight) by EIGHT, yet the cross-sectional area of the leg would only go up by a factor of FOUR. This is one reason why (thank goodness) giant ants the size of elephants will never take over the world - they would simply collapse under their own weight. And it's why it's not the case that if a flea was the size of a human, it would be able to jump over the Empire State Building. It wouldn't even be able to move. It's a great wee book - I would recommend it.
But back to RMHs - you can probably play about with size within a range of maybe 20% plus or minus without sacrificing *too* much in terms of function, but once you're into the realm of orders of magnitude shift, then the physics is very different. If you have a very small system, you're unlikely to generate the pull through from the differential pressure caused by the column of hot air within the riser, for example. You'll also radiate the heat away from the bell much more quickly (greater surface area to volume), and conduction effects become much stronger than convection effects, again impeding the pump.
On the other hand, if you're going very small, you can play with TLUDs, which are ideal for this sort of caper
James, that's a nice looking system you have there! My 3 chickens are doing a great job converting garden waste into eggs at the moment. My nefarious scheme is as follows: over the summer, dump all the grass clippings and leaves in one place. Throw the leaves there in autumn too. Over winter, I'm keeping the chicken run in one place (in summer I move it around and they eat the grass etc), and throwing in a trug full of leaves and clippings. A week later I rake all that out and replace with more leaves and clippings. The raked-out stuff has turned into that fantastic fluffy mix that Geoff shows off in his Chicken Tractor on Steroids video. That goes into a big bin for additional composting and then application to the garden come spring time. It's a nice cycle, and even with a very small setup with just 3 chooks, it provides loads of really nice compost. It's also nice seeing the looks on their little chicken faces (!) when they have a new batch of pre-compost to scratch in. We do feed them pellets also, as well as scraps from the kitchen.
Thanks for bringing this up, Paul. The way I see it is that Earth Care and People Care (as they sit) provide direct specific things To Do in the ethical structure, whereas if we adopt "Fair Share" or "Return the Surplus" we are kinda begging the question - the implicit assumption is that if we do the EC and PC thang, we're going to automagically have a surplus to share or distribute or whatever. However I feel we need to lift our sights somewhat - as far as we know we are the only intelligent species in this frame of reality. I'm a scientist - I want to find how the world works. We're not going to explore the galaxy by blowing the proverbial rainbows out of our collective behinds, and much as we might eschew standard earth-based economic growth models, we still only have one very fragile basket in which to keep all the eggs of our civilisation.
Which means we need to look ahead - not just to a green and pleasant Earth, but permaculture off-world too. As the captain of the Axiom in WALL-E said, "I don't wanna SURVIVE - I wanna LIVE!". The great news is that there is nothing in the laws of physics or the outworkings of biology to suggest that this cannot be achieved while still paying due regard to Permaculture's ethical entirety.
I loved the O'Neill Cylinders when I first read The High Frontier. Lots of quaint stuff in there, such as getting about inside the habitats using vehicles powered by internal combustion engines! O'Neill seriously underestimated the cost of making these things, as well as the degree of radiation protection required, but the ideas remain outstanding, and I think something along those lines will be achievable and indeed desirable - eventually. There is no question - we will have to adopt permaculture principles as we colonise space - at least until we get to a comfortable enough stage where we can just expand at will and trash the entire cosmos before going extinct...
At present I think we find it difficult to imagine the sheer level of resource that is out there, and the potential for intelligently using that resource to protect and improve our tiny home planet. So I think space exploration is a key Permaculture thing (*gets flame-proof coat on*), and it's one of the reasons I wrote the song in my sig...
I haven't tried it, but I would imagine that (dry) pine cones would make an excellent TLUD fuel - all the volatiles will burn off in the secondary burn. You might need a slightly larger reaction vessel than Alexis Belonio uses for his rice husks, otherwise maintaining a coherent pyrolysis front will be difficult, due to variations in cone spacing at the walls of the vessel. I'd suggest a vessel of at least 8in diameter (guessing here!) for cones of up to 2in long. However, this is worth experimenting with. In Ireland we have a lot of peat (turf); the smaller granules aren't a lot of use in a fire, but graded down to ~0.5 in (no dust or it chokes the fire) they burn extremely hot, and without that peaty smell, so I think we're getting a clean burn.
Mind you, if you live near a fir forest, I would think a RMH is the way to go. The big advantage of the RMH isn't so much the overall mass of wood it burns to run, but the grade of wood that you can use. I don't quite think Paul's figures of a *tenth* of the wood add up (I would love to be wrong, and maybe I am!), but I'd certainly be prepared to accept 25-30%, which is still OK. The heat from a lot of the small sticks that normally just gets radiated out quickly, and then "disappears" into the thermodynamic void when you're using an open fire is very efficiently made use of in the RMH, so you can burn crappy twigs that you normally wouldn't bother with, other than as kindling, and still get a great result. I'd be interested to see the pine cone thing in operation though!
It sounds like he's struggling to survive, but doesn't realise the potential in what he has got. Indeed, he sounds exactly the sort of chap who could benefit greatly from being a hermit curmudgeon host to a young enterprising permapprentice who could hook up with some of the farmers nearby also.
It's hard to escape the horrors of war nowadays - the horrors being experienced by the people of Gaza and Syria and other regions are all over our screens. Is there anything Permaculture can do to actually bring peace to places like these? Very often they are environmentally utterly degraded - eg the Gaza Strip is an ecological wreck. It's probably the case that there is never enough stability to look at growing things or putting systems in place that will yield benefit in a long term, when people are just living each day at a time. Yet permaculture can bring hope and positivity to even very bleak situations, regardless of what is happening on a geopolitical level. When I look at what Geoff Lawton has done in Jordan, it's clear that permaculture can work in the Middle East, even though the littoral climate of Gaza is a bit different from that further East. But principles of self-reliance can ease the bite of blockades, appreciation of the wider picture can reduce despair and radicalisation, establishment of real personal networks can allow discourse to flourish. Of course a seed can only grow if it's allowed to; maybe hoping for anything is unrealistic in that scenario.
I get the feeling that the geopolitics are going to have to work themselves out, but has anyone any examples of permaculture operating while the shells are falling?
Hi Hamish, lovely design; I'd say it does look a tad adventurous, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, of course. My feeling would be to ease yourself into this; if this is your first rocket construction, see if you can get it rocketing well before you put the oven attachment on - maybe use a temporary vertical pipe in place of the oven. The critical part of all this is going to be your burn tunnel, and a bit of experimentation always helps. Hope to see some videos of it in action soon
Thinking big! I like it! Mind you, I would definitely recommend getting a feel for the territory by experimenting with a few smaller models - soup can TLUDs are fast and easy and you can make them in parallel to the larger project. Good luck!
No - I haven't made a great deal of progress on this yet - mainly due to time issues. I've sketched out a few concept designs, but I really need to get building. I think the key to it will be to have a good size of riser, and I also think it'll need the facility to throttle it down or up - TLUDs are in my experience, prone to going off a bit if you don't get the primary/secondary air balance right, particularly for the larger ones. Depends a lot on the fuel. I hope someone picks this up and runs with it - I'd be interested to see the results!
I'm liking the general idea; I have doubts as to whether it will significantly reduce overall costs - certainly a bit, but the majority of the cost of the cells is in deployment and general maintenance before payback, and as far as I can see this process, clever and admirable though it is, will probably only make a small dent. That's a bit of a lame gripe by me though - there is clearly a massive amount of development that we could push with solar that will push the per-unit cost down further, so, like the cyclists say, stacking a 1% advantage here on another 1% there and so on - it all adds up!
Hi folks, I've only just stumbled across this thread; as someone who has a strong sense of my Christian background, but who no longer believes in God, I do think that permaculture has the potential to spread tolerance and understanding that flattens out doctrinal differences between people. I look at Iraq with a sense of despair, where there's an attempt to impose a religious monoculture across a historic polyculture that included Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Zoroastrians etc, and on several occasions throughout recorded history spawned spectacular civilisations - indeed, arguably "Western Civilisation" in general. What Geoff Lawton and his wonderful family are doing in Jordan is really inspiring. Regardless of our religious leanings, we can use permaculture as a common thread - and perhaps it is no accident that many/most religious and non-religious traditions/approaches use gardening as a key metaphor.
I am very fortunate in having spent some time in Nazareth in Israel; my last visit was a bit before I caught the permaculture bug, but just below the Nazareth Hospital where I worked briefly as a medical student, there is the "Nazareth Village", which attempts to re-create a first century CE farming village environment on a fairly barren slope. They use ancient methods (some of which were still in use as recently as the 1980s in Ireland by my gramps!) to give visitors an experience of what life was like - the local employees are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and it's really rather lovely. However I really think Geoff is on to something special - instead of recreating an agriculture that ultimately failed (pesky non-rotational goats!), I'd love to see what people could do in that extraordinary country with permaculture. Share our experiences, philosophies, outlooks in a non-threatening, collaborative effort that touches our core humanity, and potentially allows religion to be expressed positively.
And since I live in Northern Ireland, I'd like to see more people breaking down barriers HERE, and Permaculture is the ideal way to do that too!
I made one with some sage and rosemary in it, and those babies think they OWN the place! Still, it's a nice feature, and the anti-neighbourhood meltdown syndrome is important - not for the neighbours, but for my wife! She's a townie, and likes plain grass (boring). Anyway, here's the result (in the middle of that mess):
Got some nice bronze and green fennels going in there, a mass of perennial rocket and lemon-balm and oregano too.
They're using birch cuttings by the looks of it; I haven't a big lot of experience in this area, but do you guys think these beds have enough wood in them? Northern Ireland is pretty damp, so the water retention is perhaps less of an issue - my guess is these will decompose pretty rapidly into straightforward raised beds - maybe just a couple of years - but they'll certainly be productive. We get a LOT of growth here with our lovely temperate (if damp) climate.
Incidentally, they're also crowdfunding an eco classroom - this is a great project, and Northern Ireland needs such things in a big way. Please consider going over and showing them some Permies crowdfunding love!
[I have no formal connection with Lackan Cottage - just keen to see permaculture kick off in my region, and they seem keen & sensible]
Thanks Arthur - some meaty stuff there for careful digestion! Needless to say I think you have some very good points. In the UK there are now quite a few doctors who are bucking the trend (such as Asseem Malhotra and Des Spence), and it turns out that actually quite a lot of doctors are not at all happy with the commercialisation & commodification of "health care" into "health marketing". There are some important lessons here.
Erica, as a "regular" doctor and die-hard skeptic, I think your post is *absolutely* spot-on, and really highlights the problem here. It's not that there are "different ways of knowing" - there's really just science if we want to strive to be reliable - but there *are* different ways of asking scientific questions, and different ways of formulating hypotheses. Like you, I am horrified by the over-use of antibiotics & antibacterials in soaps etc, or even the approach of "we must kill all germs; germs are all bad". These are not approaches based in real science, but in a sort of naive "scientism" that has more in common with bad science fiction - and it's killing us and our ecosystems.
I appreciate a lot of folks in Permies might be horrified that I think homeopathy and crystal therapy and the like (very purple!) are a pile of pants, and a lot of the poo-pooing of "traditional medicine" that comes from the skeptic community (such as it is) results from association with practices that are really pretty poor. That's sad, because I think we have a shed-load of stuff to learn about the plants and people around us, and their potential health effects and medical benefits. Of course there is nothing traditional about homeopathy, and many "traditional" items such as bear bile, rhino horn or shark fins are based in pure unadulterated quackery. Also, there are many shameless charlatans going around claiming cancer cures and the like for vacuous nonsense like "neoplastons" etc, and they sadly suck in many people who are desperate for a cure. But there are good things too, and we need to ensure these are available to people.
When we look at modern medicine, and how it arose, we're back to Ancient Egypt and Greece and Mesopotamia, with *significant* influences from India and China. Ironically there is a much stronger thread connecting modern medicine with ancient and traditional practices than there is for most "alternative" modalities. But we need to break down the barriers, particularly with regard to plants. These organisms have been evolving and surviving for millions of years without our help, acting as little bioreactors, trying out many many different compounds in many different circumstances. We have a lot to gain by understanding what they do and how they act, and we need to figure out good ways of collecting solid reliable scientific data in order to inform our decisions in relation to our own and other people's health.
Yet that's where I think the value of permaculture lies - not in the woo-woo, but in the *science*. We *can* and we *must* generate solid scientific data, because this is the basis on which governments and organisations (which we're shackled with for now, I think) make decisions. As you guys know, and as Paul and Joel Salatin and Willie Smits know, it's no good talking flowers and rainbows - human beings are very easy to fool, but if an effect - *any* effect - is real, it can be scientifically measured, and then you just slap the nay-sayers in the face with a big wad of data. In the most caring and compassionate way, of course
Hi folks, To clarify, no, I'm not a "herbalist" doctor - I'm a geneticist, so I haven't prescribed anything in years! I'm a fully paid-up "normal" allopathic chap, but I do recognise (as I think we all do) that plants contain many pharmacologically active compounds, and we can use these to our benefit. However it's really complicated, and not everything that seems like a great idea ultimately turns out to be a great idea - heck - that's the soundtrack to medicine through the ages right there . But to get back on the permaculture track, one of *the* most fascinating things about the human organism (that's us) is that over the millions of years, evolution has honed us to be pretty stable. Our internal homeostasis is really VERY good at keeping us healthy, and in general all we need to stay on the right track is a few gentle nudges on a day to day basis, and only major interventions when we're actually sick. We don't actually *need* much in the way of medicine.
Yes, Big Pharma (Ben Goldacre is VERY good on this) is a baddie, but guess what - they are the guys who make the herbal supplements too! What I *would* say is that if you grow or source your own comfrey (or whatever else), and use it responsibly and with full awareness of its effects, it is going to be a heck of a lot better for you than some processed supplement from a "health food" shop. The same applies to our general diet.
In the UK at the moment there is a real medical backlash against "overmedicalisation" of what are essentially normal states. Many doctors are alarmed at the massive increase in statin usage (without, apparently, people being given good advice - familiar to permies! - on how to eat a better diet, get outside more for some exercise, and avoid sugar/sweet things), and want to REDUCE the power of Big Pharma over our lives. We *don't* get kickback from these companies (in general - at least I don't), and I'll be perfectly honest that nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see my medical career wither and die because my patients all got better. After all, there will *always* be permaculture, and Paul's empire looks like a far better horse to back for the long term. I have kids; I want them to inherit a better, healthier world, whatever line of business they end up in.
But back to the point - if comfrey has positive health benefits, we *should* research it, and you don't need vast sums to run well controlled well designed trials, and there are plenty of medics and scientists who are willing to help put together the evidence (pro and con) and get the message out there.
I was at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge last month - it's one of the top genome sequencing places in the world; set in idyllic grounds in the Cambridgeshire countryside. And guess what? They grow TONS of comfrey. I was chatting with some of the gardeners - they love it. The layout is all very "standard", not that "permaculture" at the moment, but they're heading in the right direction.
(View of Hinxton Manor House, behind a clump of lovely comfrey)
Thanks Dave. Some great ideas there (the chickens are among my favourite weeders ). You're still in high school and doing all this along the way? Good work - sounds like the next generation of permaculture is in excellent hands! Keep it up
Someone (forget who) posted a helpful reply about what the weeds tell us about soil conditions; it seems to be missing now
However the real question is this: *regardless* of what we think about the soil, are there particular swop-in/swop-out species that work well? So if I see a big thistle, I think "great globe artichoke place" (for instance). While I'm all for microclimates, there are probably micromicroclimates that from a practical perspective don't need any more analysis than "that'll do rightly".
Anyway, I'll replace all my thistles with globes and let you know how I get on
Doctor here; I'm unconvinced by internal benefits; my grandfather (dairy farmer) swore by it for poultices, but I haven't tried that myself. The big benefit I'm looking for is in my soil, so I have some experiments running (very uncontrolled at present) to see what happens, and if the pilot is OK, I'll be planting out some properly characterised test plots next year. I have very acidic tight clay soil with very low calcium, so I'm interested to see how it does before smothering the place in lime... However getting back to the alkaloid issue - if you were taking lots of it, yes, it would probably make you a bit unwell. A little now and then is probably harmless (and possibly effectless too), and it may depend on variety. I can't see it having any major medical benefits, but if anyone's up to trying a randomised controlled trial, that would be great! I've heard the standard seeding UK stuff is pretty benign, but the Bocking-14 and Russian types may be a bit heavier on the alkaloids - unconfirmed though. Fascinating plant!
Hi Permies! These nice folks at Lackan Cottage Farm have been powering mightily ahead in only a couple of years. I've only just come across them though - but they seem very active and switched on, and they're about to start building Rocket Mass Heaters, so that can't be bad. They've got updates and blogs at lackancottage.co.uk - worth a follow, if only for the great photos of the Northern Irish scenery & greenery (did you know that we are actually real life Westeros? You do now!).
NI is dotted with loads of little abandoned cottages, some attached to a bit of land, some not, but in a state of early 20th century abandon - just crying out for restoration the Permaculture way, and probably available at really low prices. I'm looking forward to seeing how Claire and Steve have done their bit - hoping to head down to see it soon.
They're using CrowdFunder.co.uk to try to raise £3000 to create an educational space to get that permaculture message out there. They seem like lovely folks, and boy does Northern Ireland need this way of thinking! Why not visit their Crowdfunder page, and help them bring a ray of permaculture joy? Maybe it'll all filter in to the next Game of Thrones series and help the Lannisters all lighten up a bit and start getting along with everyone...
I have stumbled across this concept on a few of Paul's podcasts and occasional posts here, but I can't seem to find anything comprehensive on Permies, so thought I would ask. There is a lot of talk about weeds as indicators of soil condition, eg this at Homestead.org, but let's say you have a particular type of weed growing really well in a location - is there a good permie plant that you can swap in for that weed that would avoid you having to do much additional work, and that would love that soil/location as it is, in the same way that that weed did? (I'm assuming here that it's really a weed that doesn't provide a useful function as such).
Example - I'm told (haven't verified this yet) that globe artichokes love the sorts of conditions that big thistles love. So I have a couple of thistles, and was thinking of just swapping in the globe artichokes into those exact locations. Dandelions often indicate nice conditions for lettuce (again, I have been told; it could be nonsense).
So, Permies, what are your favourite and most productive "weed exchange" hints? Or is this information tabulated somewhere?
Hi Victor; once my sunchokes got above a few inches, the slugs seem to have left off. Actually, over the past few days I've noticed a significant drop-off of slug activity (still the occasional one) compared with a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it's because we're into June, and they go on holiday, or maybe my initial slug-gunk treatment has had some effect! Man, it smells BAD! Like the sort of stuff I imagine Sepp Holzer puts on his boots [Northern Ireland - it rains a LOT here, so it's slug city, generally].
Mine are plenty smelly & die fairly quickly once I put them in. I haven't extracted any of the gunk to look at under the microscope yet. I've tried tipping a little out around the spinach; haven't noticed any major effect "in the real world" yet. One interesting thing is that occasionally the slugs will hit one plant in a row, night after night, but leave the ones beside it untouched. Any thoughts on why that is?
The moon is an interesting thing, and I think we're lucky to have it, but (contra Bill O'Reilly) the tides are a well understood phenomenon, purely naturalistic and much misunderstood. I've heard people (wrongly) say that water is attracted preferentially towards the moon. This is because they don't understand what gravity is actually doing. But the reality (as always) is far more interesting. The same tidal effects very probably heat the interior of Jupiter's moon Io, making it highly volcanically active. Europa has a subsurface ocean because of tides. The tides even slow down the rotation of Earth and push our moon further away!
And although the best bets for tbe origin of earthly life lie in deep ocean hydrothermal vents, the constant cycles of wet/dry, cold/warm, light/dark at least partially related to tides (but mainly day/night I suppose) very likely played a major role in accelerating early evolution.
And that, of course, is why we have life and biodiversity and why permaculture fits in beautifully with the best scientific idea that ever occurred to anyone. Messrs Darwin & Wallace, well played, sirs!