Sunday, December 12, 2010

Eco-restoration, Endangered Species Protection, and Separating Environmentalism from Politics

The following four video slide shows focus on various case studies of using cattle grazing as a means of restoring environmentally degraded lands. Inclusive in the concepts presented is the vital role which domestic animal activities can play in endangered species protection. In the wake of COP-16, there is an especially important message contained regarding the often conflicting agendas of environmental activism as respects nature versus politics.

Dan Dagget: An Audio-Visual Presentation
by Frank Aragona of AgroInnovations Podcast

(11 minutes)

(10 minutes)

(11 minutes)

(10 minutes)

In the days ahead I plan to continue with the video series, featuring the works of Masanobu Fukuoka, John Todd, the Findhorn Ecovillage, and more.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kogi, The Elder Brother's Warning

This is one of my all time favorite films. It definitely deserves a page of it's own.

53 minutes

The following has been copied directly from

KOGI Lost Tribe of Pre-Colombian America
By Louis Mejia for

Emerson Jackson, Dine Tribal Elder with Kogis of Northern Colombia.

The Kogi know secrets about nature that would make our scientists rethink their ideas on the environment and the universe. They have a presence about them that commands respect. The power of their mind is beyond comprehension. But few people outside of Colombia know who they are and what they represent. Why do they call themselves the Elder Brothers and how can we learn to live in the spiritual world that this lost tribe lives in?

8 years ago I saw an amazing video called "From the Heart of the World, The Elder Brothers Warning." It was about a unique indigenous community that lived in Northern Colombia who say they are keeping the world in balance. I was so impressed with these people because they are still living with the same spiritual values and traditions of their ancestors. But the ecological warning the Kogi shared touched a nerve and made me realize they may be right.

Who Are the Kogi?

When the Spaniards arrived in Northern Colombia 500 years ago, the Kogi fled high into the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. They believe the Sierra Nevada to be the "Mother" and the "Heart of the World." The Sierra Nevada, in the shape of a pyramid, rises from the sunny coasts of the Caribbean tropics to the chilly, snow-capped peaks that reach a height of 17,000 feat above sea level, all in only 30 vertical miles. It is isolated from the Andes range, but can be viewed spiritually as the crown chakra of the Andes.

In 1988 the Kogi allowed a BBC journalist, Alain Ereira to film a documentary about their culture. This was a historic event. No western journalists has been allowed to return since and the Kogi remained silent observing the ecological destruction of their sacred mountain.

But the Kogi are concerned about what is happening to their sacred Mountain. They are now ready to share their next warning and message to the "Younger Brother." We are the "Younger Brother" who are destroying the Earth and causing an ecological imbalance that may affect future generations to come.

The Kogi are the direct descendants of the Tairona civilization. The Tairona culture flourished in Northern Colombia around 1,000 AD. They left behind stunning gold artwork, stone and pottery artifacts and an amazing network of brick roads covering the Sierra Nevada. Kogi society has changed little in the past five centuries. They survived as a culture because the Kogi focus all their energy on the life of the mind as opposed to the life of a body or an individual. Fundamental to that survival is the maintenance of physical separation from their world and our own. The Kogi do not allow anyone into their land. They are very protective of their sacred space and the dense jungle is not kind to tourists. Very few Colombians dare enter into their territory.

Where do the Kogi live?

The Kogi live in the higher regions of the Sierra Nevada. Many self-sustaining communities are on the Western part of the Mountain accessible through Valledupar, which is located in the State of Cesar. You can also enter Kogi land via Santa Marta, a coastal city, but it is a little more difficult. The Sierra Nevada is the highest coastal mountain in the world only 26 miles from the beach. It is located near the Equator, which means it has no seasons. Day and night are of equal length all year round. It has every eco-system in its 17,000 km2 area (8,000 sq. miles) You can find coral reefs, mangroves, arid deserts, rain and cloud forest, and in the higher elevations, plains and snow-capped peaks with temperatures close to –20 degrees. The highest peak is the Pico Simon Bolivar at 5,775 mtrs. In 1965, archeologists found the remains of a lost Tairona religious and called it the "Lost City." It is a three-day hike in dense jungle to witness a true wonder of the past. Rumor has it there are 2 more lost cities yet to be found.

Why are the Kogi unique?

The Kogi are unique among the world’s indigenous cultures because the Spaniards never conquered them. They are said to have memory of the beginning of time and remember the rampage the conquistadors brought to their region in 1498.

The Kogi represent the most complete surviving civilization of pre-Colombian America. They are not hunter-gatherers or a wondering tribe; they are a nation whose fields have been continuously cultivated for more than a thousand years.

The Kogi believe they are the "Elder Brothers," the guardians of life on Earth. Through their mind power and meditation they keep the world in balance. They live in "Aluna," an inner world of thought and potential. They are now concerned because their Mountain is dying.

Everything about their history and religion is passed down through oral instructions and their lives are run by the spiritual leaders or Shamans named "Mamas." The Kogi Mamas are chosen from birth and spend the first nine years of childhood in a cave in total darkness learning the ancient secrets of the spiritual world or Aluna. They are the priests and judges who control Kogi society. All major decisions and shamanic work are done by Divination. All is the world of Aluna, so the Mamas see a reflection of the physical world first in the spiritual world. If Aluna is the Mother, then the Kogi listen to the Mother by divining. This lost technique of divination is what keeps the Kogi world in balance and order. The Mamas are worried that the "Younger Brother" has not heeded the first warning. If the Sierra Nevada or the Mother dies, the world will also die.

Of unique importance is that the Kogi are a peaceful tribe that have never killed one of their own and rarely intermarry. They never grow grey hair and have no facial hair. They can spend 9 days awake without sleep during their ceremonial rites.

They are now beginning to learn Spanish because they realize the importance of communicating with the outside world. They also need to understand the Colombian Government’s laws regarding the Sierra Nevada, which was named a Human and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1986 and a National Park by the Colombian Government in 1977.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Many More Videos...

There are so many utterly amazing videos on permaculture to watch free on the internet it's overwhelming. What follows is several more hours of great indispensable and inspiring footage on permaculture design. It's not all how-to, but there is nonetheless a great wealth of information which will prove to be very helpful to those intending to apply these ideas in any and every climate on the planet.

Global Gardener
Featuring: Bill Mollison

This is a fantastic 4 part series of films on permaculture design principals as they apply to various different climates.

Episode 1 - In the Tropics (29 minutes)

Episode 2 - Dry Lands (28 minutes)

Episode 3 - Cool Climates (28 minutes)

Episode 4 - Urban (29 minutes)

Greening the Desert
Featuring: Geoff Lawton (5 minutes)

Behind the Scenes (9 minutes)

Greening the Desert II: Greening the Middle East (37 minutes)

Permaculture In Practice (50 minutes)
This documentary tours half a dozen working permaculture plots and projects of various size in England, comparing and contrasting them for ideas and inspiration.

6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World
Featuring: Paul Stamets (18 minutes)

Following the above, I am slowly amassing a selection of genuine how-to videos involving everything from general gardening techniques, to growing annual based gardens in an urban rental situation, and much much more. So stay tuned!

Cancún Climate Conference, News & Interviews

As if it weren't perfectly obvious why permaculture and related solutions are so vitally important to a growing number of people, below are posted a couple of interviews obtained at the Cancún Climate Summit by the news site Democracy Now!

Guardian Environment Editor John Vidal on WikiLeaks Cables and U.S. Manipulation of Climate Talks

Bill McKibben: Climate Talks So Weakened by U.S., Major Polluters that Walkout Could Be Good News for Planet

You may also keep tabs on the Conference in real-time here.

I will be continuing with the video series, including more practical how-to videos and information related to Forest Gardening, Permaculture and so on, in the days ahead.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Videos, Videos and More Videos!

It's winter outside and not much can be grown for the next few months. So, I'm taking the opportunity to study, study, study, and network with other permaculturists and people of an eco-friendly nature. Following are a bunch of movies which I've found and watched over the past month or so. These are all probably must see videos for those interested in what can be done using permaculture design principals.

In Grave Danger of Falling Food
Featuring: Bill Mollison (53 minutes)

Farming with Terraces & Raised Beds
Featuring: Sepp Holzer (30 minutes)

Permaculture Trio -
Forest Gardening, Edible Landscaping, Urban Permaculture

Featuring: Robert Hart, Ken Fern, Mike & Julia Guerra (48 minutes)

Aquaculture - Synergy of Land and Water
Featuring: Sepp Holzer (32 minutes)

Farming with Nature
- A Case Study of Successful Temperate Permaculture

Featuring: Sepp Holzer (37 minutes)

Natural World: Farm for the Future
Featuring: Rebecca Hosking (48 minutes)

2000 Year Old Food Forest
Featuring: Geoff Lawton (5 minutes - excerpt)

Synergistic Garden
Featuring: Emilia Hazelip (29 minutes)

Believe it or not, there are alot more videos than just these. I'll be posting more in the days ahead...