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Lacia Lynne Bailey
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Thank you Allan for being here!

I realize from reading your other answers that every site is individual and there are no formulas, if I'm reading you correctly. So I'm looking for examples of real projects on teeny scale as inspiration to get the creative juices following.

What are the very smallest examples that you can point me to, websites or blogs or from your travels and work?
 
Allan Savory
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Lacia,
You have really understood – there are no silver bullets or recipes or experts who can tell us what to do when addressing such complexity. Every person, family, community, farm, nation, corporation or whatever is totally unique and in the case of say the family farm not only unique, but unique every year. You cannot step into the same river twice because it is flowing. This is why everything we make is a success but everything we manage if we are honest with ourselves is running into problems now overwhelming us. Agriculture as I pointed out in another response is our most alarming endeavour ever.
Rebecca Costa in her book The Watchman’s Rattle – I believe laid it out well. All those past civilizations that failed did not do so only because of the agricultural destruction of their environment, but because with rising populations and declining environment they could not address the complexity. So the turned increasingly to faith and away from “science” and shelved the problems for later generations. And those of course were overwhelmed. Exactly what we can recognize globally today turning to faith and technology and shelving the real growing problems of our own making because of our inability to address complexity. This is why our institution is trying so hard to get the holistic framework into international consciousness to avert tragedy beyond imagination.
Having said that the core framework people are not aware they are using is universal (all conscious decisions made toward an objective or goal – using the tools of technology, fire, resting the environment, small living organisms – and making all decisions based on one or more factors, such as past experience, expert advice, research results, cost, cultural norms, expediency, peer pressure, friend’s advice, advertising, expediency and so on and on and on). Humans do not know this framework exists and is the basis of all conscious decisions from a million or so years ago to the most sophisticated scientific team today engaged in space exploration. Just as this core framework is used today in all walks of life so too I believe could we consciously use the modified holistic framework. There is no case too small or too large. Providing cases of it’s use on the very small scale is difficult other than anecdotally – here is about the smallest example I know of:
A woman (single mother with son) was in training with me concerning larger situations – she saw this could be used personally. She defined a holistic context for herself and her life as she wanted it to be tied to her life-supporting resource base. She went shopping with her small son a few days later – filled her shopping cart and was at the cash register to pay – suddenly thought about that context turned around and put almost everything back on the shelves. Everything we buy is an objective. The context for almost all we buy is “need” or “desire” and that is not an adequate context always in our complex lives. As she thought about her holistic context she realized she needed almost none of the stuff she had loaded into her cart. Can’t go much smaller than that.
 
Lacia Lynne Bailey
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Excellent story, thank you for sharing!


And I especially like your reminder that no YEAR is the same, even in the same site/spot... weather, growth of surrounding plants, depletion by rain or using what's around there... all change from year to year... I get that!

I'd still like some links the actual, smallest site projects that you know of. Not as formulas, to use an out of context idea, or even as you say "Permacultures' toolboxes or body of knowlege" but simply to see and be inspired by what others have done in VERY small sites. Seeing someone else's projects always gets my creative juices flowing, I'm a very visual person. <g>

Pretty please, links? <smile>
 
Allan Savory
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It is late and I am exhausted after 3 days of trying my best to answer so many great people. Email me and I will ask someone dealing with more very small farmers and see if she would link you to any.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Allan Savory wrote:All those past civilizations that failed did not do so only because of the agricultural destruction of their environment, but because with rising populations and declining environment they could not address the complexity.


Pastoral civilizations and changing to not growing grains means that human population must decline...
Is it part of the holistic management view?
This is still a taboo topic in our world...

Agriculture was an answer to population rise, though this is not the good answer and is sending the problem to "tomorrow".
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Xisca,

this is an argument that is often raised to oppose moving away from conventional or even organic practices to pastoral or permaculture systems. In his book Restoration Agriculture, Mark Sheppard actually addresses this question and answers it in a very elegant way. He takes an acre of corn and compares it to a food savanna system planted with all types of nut trees, fruit trees, cane fruits, vines, and pasturing animals. I do not remember the exact numbers, but the food savanna system out produces the corn field by a significant amount on a calorie per acre basis (and cannot be compared on a nutrition basis). So if we can feed the world with a sub-optimal system that is getting depleted, we can more than feed the world with food savanna, and food forests on the current crop land. Using the abandoned dry land pastures is just bonus.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:So if we can feed the world with a sub-optimal system that is getting depleted, we can more than feed the world with food savanna, and food forests on the current crop land.


I cannot agree that we can go on without caring for the rising population for many reasons.
1st this is exponential, thus the problem will show up later on.

Any species has the possibility to give birth more than what is useful to maintain its population. Sure, this is made for rising up after a catastrophe. The problem is that we never stabilize but always increase, because we do not have predators. As we are a predator, then our population is maintained normally by the lack of food, competition with other predators.

So, we need to balance our population with the herbivore population, the fish population, and the right that other species have to share with us.

Also, there is a "if".... IF everyone turn to permaculture. The world is full of ideas that want to be the winner. Just see that many ecological people think that not eating meat and eating grains is ZE solution. "IF only everyone was thinking and doing the same as us" I know about past better than about the future. The only things that did reduce the population were wars, famine and diseases.

Look at the world and look for the civilizations that suffered less about these 3 plagues: they were (and some are still) living in places that LOOK WILD to us. And they are not so numerous. Now look at the necessary change of point of view in history that we learn at school. We learn about past civilizations that no more exist. They practiced agriculture, like Maya, Aztecs... The mid orient that was the 1st place of ancient agriculture has turned into a desertic place. And they were all practising organic agriculture in those days.

So, coincidence make us think that modern agriculture is the culprit, that chimical agriculture is the culprit?
No, just agriculture.

Sure, organic agriculture is much better, no doubt about it.
"small examples" also mean that we must feed local people, and not far away big large enormous cities.
And I believe that living less on grains and more on grass fed animals also mean that we have to control our population by the friendliest end of the life line: birth.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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I think there are 2 separate issues here:

1) Feeding everybody that is already here without destroying the planet.
2) Not increasing our population further and reducing it.

I addressed only part 1: we can feed more than the current population and not use degrading techniques.

I agree with you, 2 is definitely a problem as it puts a lot of pressure on the ecosystems, if not to produce food, definitely for all the consumers good.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Ok Adrien, here we agree.
This would deserve a topic in an adequate place don't you think so?
There are 2 issues because noone want to kill people now.
But the future is also "now", as it will be!
The problem of death nowadays is that it does not anymore participate enough in natural selection.
There are artificial hungers as well as artificial health through technology. And who would decide not to have babies because he or she was saved from having a poor constitution from birth?

If we reduce the problem to feeding people now, then we still reproduce the past that has lead to our present.
Agriculture helped a lot in feeding more calories, and this resulted into population increase.
It also resulted in less health. (sorry for not giving my references, as I loose them after reading. ethno-archeology tells us all this).
So we have to feed people now, but if we do just this, then the problem will be worse later.

So I agree with the 2 issues if we keep them absolutely together. At the moment, I can everywhere see that point 2 is too weak.
 
Noah Figg
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Ok Adrien, here we agree.
There are 2 issues because noone want to kill people now.
...
The problem of death nowadays is that it does not anymore participate enough in natural selection.
...
There are artificial hungers as well as artificial health through technology. And who would decide not to have babies because he or she was saved from having a poor constitution from birth?
...


I will give the benefit of the doubt to what you mean here. I would just say that if we believe that our problems can only be solved by initiating force, killing, forcing, etc, then what have we learned, if anything? I also don't see how more human death is a solution to anything, at any point in time.

Anyway, I think there are some facts and questions relevant to this that aren't being discussed. Is it just a coincidence that the population in "Western" and "first world" countries is declining (if immigration is subtracted) (source for US: http://www.susps.org/overview/immigration.html), yet is increasing in most of the rest of the world. Do certain aspects of those societies solve the problem, because they seem to? In the rush to a solution, has the problem even been carefully considered? Could poverty have something to do with population increase? Couldn't permaculture help with the poverty problem as well as the food problem? Aren't incorrect practices behind a lot of the negative impact on agricultural land? If not, how would permacultural practices so damage the land as to not provide for a more bountiful future?

I think these would be interesting points to discuss on solving problems of population food supply and human impact on the environment. We have a lot of peaceful solutions to explore it seems.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Noah, I just mean that if we do not care about on end of the rope, birth,
then without doing anything will come the reduction by the other end of the rope, death.
It has been like this in the past. We will have nothing to do.
That is called war, famine and diseases. It has always happened and we should not feel stronger than our ancestors. I have been investigating this issue for a very long time, comparing with animals population and how it is regulated, having a look at anthropology, so I feel free to talk about it and try to share.

if we believe that our problems can only be solved by initiating force, killing, forcing, etc


I do not believe this quote above but I believe that if we do not want our problems to be solved by all this premature or violent dying, then we must have a look at the past, and figure out WHY this happened.

Even the peaceful and good solutions are not enough, because then our population will go on increasing globally on earth.
Wealth and agriculture have been the cause of population increase, and emigrations, and invasions.
If (let's imagine we find a solution to transform the world in a instant) we get good food for everyone, then sure there will be more babies, and then we will have to deal with the same problem, LATER.
 
Noah Figg
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:Noah, I just mean that if we do not care about on end of the rope, birth,
then without doing anything will come the reduction by the other end of the rope, death.
It has been like this in the past. We will have nothing to do.
That is called war, famine and diseases. It has always happened and we should not feel stronger than our ancestors. I have been investigating this issue for a very long time, comparing with animals population and how it is regulated, having a look at anthropology, so I feel free to talk about it and try to share.

if we believe that our problems can only be solved by initiating force, killing, forcing, etc


I do not believe this quote above but I believe that if we do not want our problems to be solved by all this premature or violent dying, then we must have a look at the past, and figure out WHY this happened.

Even the peaceful and good solutions are not enough, because then our population will go on increasing globally on earth.
Wealth and agriculture have been the cause of population increase, and emigrations, and invasions.
If (let's imagine we find a solution to transform the world in a instant) we get good food for everyone, then sure there will be more babies, and then we will have to deal with the same problem, LATER.


Well, I will leave this at this point. I didn't see any acknowledgment of the trend of population decline in prosperous nations, but that is fine. I respect your work I have seen. Take care.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Noah Figg wrote:I didn't see any acknowledgment of the trend of population decline in prosperous nations, but that is fine.


I did not think I had to acknowledge a point that we all know through numbers:
Yes, western couples do have less and less children.

But I do not know if this comes from being prosperous nations!
Well I guess you might mean prosperous as "having more material comfort thanks to exploiting the land and other nations"

So I think we have to look further these numbers and take into account that not all nations are like ours.
I find it strange also, that in nations with a population that goes down (if not from immigration)
- We are anxious about it (well, that is what I have read in some articles)
- We do not speak openly about "not increasing".

I also believe that "not increasing" is a much better point than "reducing"!
 
Noah Figg
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I didn't get that understanding from reading what you wrote, so I wasn't sure. Thanks for commenting. May I clarify my thinking? I guess I mean economically prosperous comparatively to other nations, whether it be due to exploitation or not. In fact, exploitation can only gain temporary prosperity, since it is not sustainable, so it is a kind of false prosperity. I disagree with exploitation by corporations or governments wholeheartedly. Voluntary trade does not deal in exploitation, and that is the only kind I support, although of course there are exploitative kinds of economic activity.

People in the US can are anxious about many things, even though they will never affect their lives realistically. Overpopulation is something that has been "alerted" about since the 70s or earlier. I might get some flack for this, but "terrorists" are the latest fear meme. These fear memes dominate corporate news cycles. Most people in the US seem to get their news there. It is no surprise people are anxious about it. In fact a decent percentage people are just plain anxious about everything. Anxiety, depression, etc. are common.

I think we speak somewhat openly in the US about not increasing in population. I think media stories in the US in general focus on "outrageous" numbers of kids for a given couple, always shown in negative light. In fact, the only general talk I hear about population, excluding political sites that have known other opinions perhaps, is that we have overpopulation and it is a problem that needs a "solution". Some people acknowledge China's one child policy and disagree, but overall the tone I get is "somehow it needs to be addressed" and a government solution is usually implied. These are all vague observations, but it is my view on majority US opinions on the matter. To me they are overwhelmingly missing the fact that it is not a problem for large portions of the world and that should be further studied like you say to determine why. If some nations can escape the problem of overpopulation, then I agree we need to closely look at why that is.

I was surprised to find on searching a number of recent articles reversing the previous assertion, for instance:
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/01/world_population_may_actually_start_declining_not_exploding.html
http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/conservation-and-development/population-bomb-so-wrong/
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323375204578270053387770718.html

A current fertility rate map showing rates over the world, so we can see where the problem currently exists


Infertility is actually a bigger problem in itself here, due I think to environmental toxins and other factors, so that may be a contributing factor to the decline as well. I would be interested to see what the fertility rate would be in a permaculture community once we have long term ones operating.

Sorry for the long reply, but I appreciate the discussion, Xisca.
 
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