Thursday, 31 May 2012

Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Just for the sake of having it in more places I am reprinting the last part of the 'Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front' by Wendell Berry from his book 'The Country of Marriage'. 


Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Wild Collection Protects Biodiversity; Yangtze Mountains

WWF, IUCN, and TRAFFIC created an initiative in the mountains of China's Upper Yangtze ecoregion as part of the EU-China Biodiversity Program (ECBP) to support organic wild crop harvesting practices and certification procedures, as well as FairWild principles.

Due to a 1998 logging ban and the 2000 "Grain for Green" program, which discourages farming on steep slopes, households were encouraged to  start in more wild collection of medicinal plants in the mountains (home to endangered wildlife, including the Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the Takin (Budorcas taxicolor)). This initiative was designed to support the collectors in making use of native species in the mountains, without destroying the habitat. 

Now this project has won the prestigious Equator Prize as an outstanding local initiative working to advance sustainable development solutions for people, nature, and resilient communities in countries receiving support from the UNDP. The project has also scaled up from one village in the 2008 and 2009 harvests up to 22 villages in the 2011 harvest. A survey of project sites in March 2011 found incomes from medicinal plant collection had risen, thanks to the certification schemes; in one village by almost 18 percent.
"This project is proving that local harvesters from villages surrounding the Giant Panda conservation area can successfully implement meaningful sustainability standards," said Josef Brinckmann, VP of Sustainability for TMI. 

Megaherbivores Gardeners of the Forest

The journal Biotropica has published a report which shows that the progressive disappearance of seed-dispersing animals like elephants and rhinoceroses is putting the structural integrity and biodiversity of the tropical forest of South-East Asia at risk. 

"Megaherbivores act as the "gardeners" of humid tropical forests: They are vital to forest regeneration and maintain its structure and biodiversity," Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, the lead author of the study, explained. Thick forest growth means little space for trees to germinate and grow and scarce light. Seed dispersion is made more complicated by the lack of wind due to the trees that are up to 90 m high. Plant life is then limited to seeds dispersed by those animals that eat pulp. They either scatter seeds by dropping their food, regurgitating it or by defecating later on.
In the case of large seeds, "plants need a large animal capable of eating, transporting and defecating the seeds in good conditions," said Luis SantamarIa, co-author and researcher at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA) of Spain's CSIC Scientific Research Agency. This is where elephants and rhinoceroses come into play because they can scatter large quantities of seeds thanks to the fact that they slowly digest very little of their food.
However, habitat loss, poaching, and the conflict between elephant and man has caused a 95 percent loss in Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) historical distribution range and has left the rhinoceros just a step away from extinction: there are less than 50 Java rhinoceroses (Rhinoceros sondaicus) and 200 Sumatra rhinoceroses (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).
"If these megaherbivores disappear from the ecosystem, their contribution to ecological processes will too be lost and the path of the ecosystem will change irreversibly," explained the lead author, who goes on to state that "the most probable consequences are the change in the structure of the undergrowth and the forest and the loss of certain species."

Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium spp.

Fanghui 1082

Climb Yellow Tower
Gaze to Huangzhou;
To Huangzhou you gaze but cannot see,
below the Tower water eastward flows,
Water Flows, how can it be stayed? 

Floating clouds, even more far reaching.
Wounded at heart, a traveler by the marshes,
haggard in Chu Eupatorium autumn.

From Stuart Howard Sargent's "Poetry of He Zhu (1052-1125)"

Thursday, 10 May 2012

90 seconds to Connect the Dots has released a 90 second video of people all around the world in 'Connect the Dots' last weekend.

They have also developed two tools for transmission of the climate change story:
One is a project to help people everywhere share their stories about how climate change is impacting them. If you have been directly impacted by climate change, please take a photo with your personal dot, or submit your story to their new Tumblr
Another is a presentation of photos from the 'Connect the Dots' weekend to download and share with your community

Slow Food and the UN Indigenous Peoples' Forum

"The ... problems afflicting modern society, are calling us to return to our roots and sustainable food systems that support the earth's vitality. Indigenous peoples are the stewards of these practices ... and it is to them that we must turn to in order to build new paradigms for our future." -Carlo Petrini

Slow Food President Carlo Petrini will speak at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the right to food and food sovereignty. He will be joined in the discussion dedicated to the rights of indigenous peoples to food and food sovereignty by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, and representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization and indigenous and governmental groups. Previously the Forum was only open to indigenous, governmental or UN representatives.

Slow Food has been working with indigenous communities for many years through its Foundation for Biodiversity projects and Terra Madre network, which brings together farmers, fishers, breeders, artisans, students, cooks and experts from all around the world. In 2011 Slow Food organized the first Indigenous Terra Madre meeting in Jokkmokk, Sweden. A second edition is planned for India in 2014.

Carlo Petrini will be speaking by invite from the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, of which Slow Food is one of the partners. The Partnership, founded in 2010 and lead by Mr. Phrang Roy, is a network of indigenous communities and organisations committed to defining their own food and agricultural practices that sustain agrobiodiversity, assisted by scientists and policy researchers who value participatory agricultural research approaches.