If you are interested in the REAL behind-the-scenes context of international politics Lada’s blog is brilliant. The opposite of repetitive nonsense like Fulford and friends-no mysterious racist insiders with absurd James Bond plot synopsis-just a clear analysis of current events with enough background, history and context to allow you to make sense of what is going on now-and where things are really headed.
If you’re finally done hanging on the edge of your seat for years of “next week X, Y and Z will surely happen. “; click through and read about how the Shift is REALLY being built. Brick by brick, ordinary people are taking back our world and doing the real work to recreate our societies into a world that works for everyone. As always, thank you Lada for sharing your knowledge and making the apparent chaos intelligible for us all.
This is Part 1 of the new three-part article about the future of Ukraine, the newly formed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, as well as the long-ranging predictions regarding Ukraine, Russia and Eurasia. These posts draw on history to illustrate the points and they work in concert with each other. I suggest reading them all to form a full picture! Parts 2 and 3 coming.
We are firmly in the 21st century, yet the newly formed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (together forming the Donbass region) once again face the old Lenin’s dilemma: to nationalize the Ukraine oligarchs’ assets, or not. The primary backers of the euro-maidan and the present junta in Kiev, possessing significant assets in Donetsk and Lugansk, include Renat Akhmetov, Igor Kolomoyskiy (the same guy who finances his own private army and who treats nearby Dnepropetrovsk as his fiefdom) and a few others. It appears the main…
A Banner at May 22 Rally in front of Mexican Consulate in San Fran cisco
Now that the media waters have calmed down, we are able to talk about the profound transformations in Venezuelan society, that kind of long-term change called on to reconfigure societies. It cannot be strange to us that the big media don’t pay attention to these movements, but rather focus on news that vanishes without leaving a trace. More striking is the scarce attention that the analysts and a good part of party members grant them, probably because they consider that politics (with a capital P) are reduced to what happens in the proximity of government palaces.
We consider the experience of Cecosesola (Cooperative Central of Social Services of Lara State), a network of 60 communities with its epicenter in the city of Barquisimeto (2 million inhabitants)…
No fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides but a bold vision to save a region from climate change and resource scarcity
by Mark Olalde
Erle Rahaman-Noronha cutting produce on his farm. (Credit: Mark Olalde/IPS)FREEPORT, Trinidad and Tobago – Erle Rahaman-Noronha is not a revolutionary, not in any radical sense at least. He is not even that exciting. In truth, Rahaman-Noronha is merely a man with a shovel, a small farm, and a big dream. But that dream is poised to conquer the Caribbean.
Rahaman-Noronha wants to see ‘permaculture’ – short for permanent agriculture – take root and spreads across the Caribbean, and he is doing his part by teaching anyone who will listen about its benefits.
Joining him is a fluid group of permaculturalists working from their home islands and sharing the same goal: to harness permaculture as a solution to climate change, food and water insecurity, and rising costs of living.
“You can start in your backyard, so there’s no cost. You can implement certain parts of it in your apartment…If you have a porch with some sunlight, you can plant something there and start thinking about permaculture.”
— Erle Rahaman-Noronha, permaculturalist
Author of the manual, Australian Bill Mollison, first used the term nearly four decades ago and since then the idea has spread to Europe and the U.S. Now, the developing Caribbean is beginning to embrace the philosophy of permaculture, especially since 2008’s global recession.
Born in Kenya, Rahaman-Noronha – whose work was recently highlighted in a TEDx talk – fulfilled a keen interest in the environment by studying applied biochemstry and zoology in Canada.
“I’ve always had a strong passion for the outdoors and conservation, but just doing conservation doesn’t make money,” he says with a chuckle. “Permaculture allows me to live on a site, produce food on a site, produce an income, as well as practice conservation.”
Wa Samaki is Rahaman-Noronha’s permaculture farm, and it has been his workplace, classroom, grocery store, and home since he relocated to Trinidad in 1998. Meaning “of the fish” in Swahili, Wa Samaki covers 30 acres in Freeport in central Trinidad.
Although he uses no fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides, Rahaman-Noronha is able to make a living off the farm’s fruit, flower, lumber, and fish sales. His newest addition is a large aquaponics system, a closed loop food production system in which fish tanks and potted plants circulate water and sustain one another.
With his partner John Stollmeyer, Rahaman-Noronha works to spread awareness of permaculture across the Caribbean, home to nearly 40 million people who are particularly susceptible to climate change.
The pair consults Trinidadian businesses, teaches permaculture design courses (PDCs), and holds workshops everywhere from Puerto Rico to St. Lucia. “How are we going to create sustainable human culture?” Stollmeyer asks. “Discovering permaculture for me was a wake up call.”
Where environmentalism meets savvy economics
The need for conservation is in no small part a result of climate change, especially when the Hurricane Belt covers nearly all of the Caribbean.
Trinidad and Tobago continues to compound the issue as both a major exporter and consumer of fossil fuels. The country produced more than 119,000 barrels of oil per day in 2012 and 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas that same year, all the while boasting the second highest rate of CO2emissions per capita in the world, more than twice that of the United States.
United Nations data dating back to 2005, the last time such statistics were compiled, indicates that industrialised agriculture accounts for 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In this environment, Rahaman-Noronha’s goal is to become an incubator of conservation start-ups that cannot secure necessary bank loans. Currently, he houses beekeepers and a wildlife rescue center on the farm for minimal rent, and he hopes that list will grow.
One such entrepreneurial mind that passed through Wa Samaki was Berber van Beek, a native of Curaçao who recently moved home after years of wandering the world. Before returning to the Caribbean, she practiced permaculture across Europe and Australia, but when van Beek wanted to develop her skills in a tropical climate, she came to Rahaman-Noronha.
“He gave me a lot of freedom on his farm to make and create a design,” van Beek says, describing a garden of banana trees she planted at Wa Samaki.
In Curaçao, van Beek uses permaculture as more than simply a food source. She realises its social potential and is working to start after-school programmes for at-risk youth who can learn useful gardening skills and the responsibility and respect for nature that come with caring for their own gardens.
In addition, she is soon opening her first large-scale organic gardening class, closely resembling a PDC.
Such initiatives are urgently needed in Curaçao, which is facing a stagnant economy and is currently nursing a youth unemployment rate of 37 percent.
According to van Beek, shifting global climates and markets have major effects on her own island in which nearly everything must be imported. “If you go to the supermarket, look where your food is coming from. Is it coming from Venezuela or is it coming from the U.S. or is it coming from Europe?” she says. “People could be more aware of what to buy and what not to buy.”
The problem, experts say, is regional. According to the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA – a group of nonprofits focusing on agricultural issues – around 80 percent of food consumed in the Caribbean is imported.
The beauty and purpose of permaculture is that it is a system of solutions that can be practiced at any level to combat environmental issues.
“You can start in your backyard, so there’s no cost. You can implement certain parts of it in your apartment if you really need to,” Rahaman-Noronha explains. “If you have a porch with some sunlight, you can plant something there and start thinking about permaculture.”
Naturally, van Beek took his message to heart, keeping a perfectly groomed permaculture garden in her own tiny backyard, using dead leaves as fertiliser and recycled rain and shower-water to sustain the plants.
“Seeing is believing,” she says. It’s her own quiet mantra, spoken when she describes her approach to spreading permaculture, and vocalised when she needs the energy to keep pressing on and to convince others that this is the right path.
Rahaman-Noronha, too, has worked to convert non-believers. From schools who tour the wildlife center and his farm to the several thousand people who watched his TEDx talk online, he is adamant that he has traded in misconceptions for progress.
“I think [the reason] I don’t get challenged…is that I’m not just preaching permaculture,” he says. “I’m actually practicing it.”
William Rivers Pitt, Truthout: The state fathers of the North Carolina General Assembly, it seems, do not want you or anyone else to know the precise composition of the poisons being injected into the ground to lap up whatever mouthfuls of gas and oil there are to be had.
Joseph Natoli, Truthout: Steeped now as we are in a plutarchic imaginary, poverty is a ping that if you hear, you do not want to pursue. It is a ping coming from a black box you do not want to open because it not only contains what we have lost, but what we have destroyed.
Elizabeth Warren, Campaign for America’s Future: “The game is rigged. The rich and the powerful have lobbyists and lawyers and plenty of friends in Congress. Everyone else, not so much. Now we can whine about it. We can whimper. Or we can fight back. Me? I’m fighting back.”
Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog: Pamela and Jamie Duran of Naples, Fla., had not spent much time worrying about fracking. Like most Floridians, they’d been repeatedly told it couldn’t happen there. Until it did.
Staff, Yes! Magazine: Current trends suggest one in three kids will develop Type 2 diabetes as adults. These moms told McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson what they think about the fast food industry targeting their kids.
Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet: TV and film both influence and shape public perception, and the go-to explanation for economic hardship is still the idea of a “culture of poverty,” which says that people are poor because their families are messed up, and they don’t want to work.
Priscila Mosqueda, The Center for Public Integrity: A foreign oil company convicted of polluting a Texas community’s air with dangerous chemicals has gotten off easy in a criminal case that could undercut the prosecution of environmental crimes in the United States.
Ingrid Burrington, Waging Nonviolence: The opacity of internet infrastructure and policy – and the insistence that ideally users shouldn’t need to see or understand either – conceals data, the institutions that hold it, and the power they exercise with it.
Amy Goodman and Juan González, Democracy Now!: Francisco Tapia, known as Francisco “Papas Fritas,” or French fries, says he burned $500 million worth of debt papers from the private Universidad del Mar. Chilean authorities are in the process of shutting down the university over financial irregularities.
Anne Meador, DC Media Group: At a panel hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders on Capitol Hill, advocates for single-payer health care criticized the current system in the United States as inefficient, expensive and delivering poor results in comparison to wealthy nations who offer universal health coverage to their citizens.
Claudia Ciobanu, Inter Press Service: Since November of last year, Bulgaria has virtually closed its borders to an inflow of Syrian asylum seekers and other migrants trying to enter the country from Turkey, while the EU institutions involved appear to have acquiesced to this.
Protesting McDonald’s Workers Give Shareholders a Big Mac Attack
Mark Karlin, BuzzFlash at Truthout: The fantasy world of Ronald McDonald being a playful friend of children and families is under siege. After all, the balloons that he hands out to children can’t feed them.