Drought-Proofing California…not in the news

By Warren Brush of Quail Springs Permaculture and Casitas Valley Farm Digging our well-surveyed swales I woke up this morning, put on my gum-boots and went out for a walk around our family farm in the rain. This in itself might not seem to be anything special to many folks, yet this was a 2”/5cm rainfall after several intense years of drought here in Southern California. I cannot express how exciting this morning has been for me as I was thinking of our entire thirsty state getting an average 2-6 inches/5-15cm of rain during the past 48 hours. I was also exuberant this morning as today marked our fifth-day after completing an epic and highly successful “Earthworks for Resiliency” course for an area of our farm that was transformed into using earth structures to harvest water for our market garden area. During the course we installed three large swales (one of them integrated with 150 feet of hugelkultur growing bed), a Zuni Bowl diversion structure, some key drains with associated stone and urbanite “armor,” some one-rock dams/gabions, and we used a keyline plow in the interstitial spaces between the swales for our main crop gardens. We then mulched and cover-cropped all of the sites disturbed by our excavator, tractors, and shovels. It was amazing to see how much was learned and accomplished by the 18 students who participated. This ...
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Raging Wildfires in California: Destruction Through Mismanagement

by Erik Ohlsen, originally published by Resilience | SEP 14, 2015 As I write this, wildfires continue to rage in Northern California just 40 miles from where I sit. I feel the collective grief in the community right now. I feel the grief for the animal community that is being decimated by these fires. I feel the grief of pastoral systems and mixed woodlands that are being completely incinerated in this moment. I feel the grief for the human communities who've lost so much, their homes, their schools, their businesses, their belongings and their animal friends. What's really the cause of these great disasters? Is it climate change? Is it the drought like fire officials are telling us? Can we just chalk it up to these issues that we feel we have no control over? Is here something bigger and greater taking place? Do we actually have the will, and the power to mitigate disasters like these? I think the biggest illusion that we are living in, is how we think about these kinds of natural disasters. The California drought and wildfires are in many ways human induced to the scale that we are feeling them. Yes, I said it, the scale of these disasters are more human made than they are natural. Why is it human made? I'm not just talking about human influence ...
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Bring Back the Salmon! A Call to Action from Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe

My name is Chief Caleen Sisk of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, I’m the fifth leader in an unbroken traditional leadership since settler contact. Our ancestral territory expands all along the McCloud River watershed below Bulyum Puyuk (Mt. Shasta). In the 1940s, with the installation of the Shasta Dam, my people were flooded out of our homelands and our Salmon relatives were blocked from returning to their spawning grounds. SALMON ARE SACRED We believe that when Creator put us on this Earth we had no voice. Our Salmon relatives saw we needed help and gave us their voice.  In return, we promised to always speak for them. Today, climate change, GMO farming, habitat destruction and water diversions for Big Ag are pushing our salmon relatives towards extinction . Our tribe has an ancient prophecy, “When there are no more salmon, there will be no more Winnemem Wintu people." For this reason, we believe that we must do everything we can to bring back our salmon. There is still hope. Our tribe is taking action to save our endangered salmon relatives and restore this keystone species to its rightful place in the natural world. OUR STORY In the late 1800s and early 1900s, salmon eggs were taken from the McCloud River to populate the rivers in other parts of the world. After the Shasta Dam was installed, we ...
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Tribute to Bill Mollison

By Graham Bell Graham Bell's moving tribute to Bill Mollison, who died 24 September in Tasmania, a true pioneer who gave up a promising academic career to challenge the status quo and establish the global Permaculture movement. Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison (born 1928 in Stanley, Tasmania, Australia and died today, 24 September 2016 in Sisters' Creek, Tasmania). A few people are born who are world class heroes to those who know them and unknown to the great majority, until one day their inescapable influence floats to the surface and is generally recognised for the cream it is. In hindsight such leaders go on to become household names. Such a man was Bill Mollison: backwoodsman, academic, storyteller, lady’s man and to many just ‘Uncle Bill’, but doing all these things par excellence. In consequence he has left a worldwide movement of remarkable resilience. He has left much useful information and not a few words of guidance and encouragement for those who will miss him most. Growing up in Stanley, Tasmania, he left school at fifteen to help run the family bakery and before 26 went through the occupations of shark fisherman and seaman (bringing vessels from post-war disposals to southern ports), forester, mill-worker, trapper, snarer, tractor driver and naturalist. His lack of formal education gave him many learning opportunities in how the real world works. Bill ...
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Permaculture Climate Change Statement – International Permaculture Convergence Climate Change Group

Following is The Permaculture Climate Change Statement, composed by the Climate Change Group at the International Permaculture Convergence held in the U.K from Sept 10-16, 2015. - This Statement was a adopted by the entire IPC General Assembly. Permaculture is a system of ecological design as well as a global movement of practitioners, educators, researchers and organizers, bound by three core ethics: care for the earth, care for the people and care for the future. Permaculture integrates knowledge and practices that draw from many disciplines and links them into solutions to meet human needs while ensuring a resilient future. With little funding or institutional support, this movement has spread over the past forty years and now represents projects on every inhabited continent, The permaculture movement offers vital perspectives and tools to address catastrophic climate change. Human-caused climate change is a crisis of systems—ecosystems and social systems--and must be addressed systemically. No single new technology or blanket solution will solve the problem. Permaculture employs systems thinking, looking at patterns, relationships and flows, linking solutions together into synergistic strategies that work with nature and fit local conditions, terrain, and cultures. Efforts to address the climate crisis must be rooted in social, economic, and ecological justice. The barriers to solutions are political and social, not technical, and the impacts of climate change fall most heavily on frontline communities, ...
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