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Paul continues his review of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise with Opalyn, Mark, Katie, et al, covering pages 27 to 37 as well as a discussion on the concept of obligation being poisonous.

“When I dig a well too deep, I extract the water from the earth and it refills from elsewhere.  I keep sucking until water runs out and the whole area dries up.  When all the water is gone, I simply dig a new well deeper by 600 meters, then 1000 meters.  Eventually all the groundwater is pumped out until the next water coming up is from the coast, out of the sea. First is just a little salt, and the owner thinks he can cope, but eventually it becomes pure salt water.  Now the soil over the whole area is salinated and lost.  People are forced to move to another piece of land and start over.”

Sepp and 19 other experts were gathered up to fix an old oak project in Spain in which all the trees were visibly unwell.  The others decided that seeing as all the trees were affected, it must be a virus, and to fix it they drilled a hole in them and gave them a shot of some kind of antibiotic, which must be administered annually.  Amusingly the farmers seem to believe the rocks are growing instead (they’re not – the soil is shrinking as organic matter is lost).

“Intensive overgrazing is another example where damage is caused.  Spain and Portugal have a long tradition of extensive grazing, but it was mostly done with pigs in the past, and they actually help the ground” Leaving any animal in one plot too long and they’ll probably obliterate it.  Using paddock shift on the other hand will probably improve the land.

“Flooding, like desertification, is not a natural disaster, but the logical consequence of human error.  These two are the dramatic symptoms of globally disturbed hydrological balance.”  

Relevant Threads

Desert or Paradise thread
Desert or Paradise documentary by Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer forum

Sepp Holzer's 3-in-1 Permaculture documentaries (Farming, Terraces, and Aquaculture)

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