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Are you the Mole or the Whacker?

Are you the Mole or the Whacker?

Intellectual Whack-A-Mole

AwN | Recently I had a discussion on the interesting phenomena of intellectual, or ethical whack-a-mole. I'm sure many of my readers are in a similar position to me that you often find yourself talking about things that people would rather not hear. Whether they order a tuna sub and you start on about mercury or overfished tuna, or whether or not it is really a beneficial use of oil to fly to Cancun for drinks. In general people don't mind instant gratification in exchange for cash but are completely turned off by the extrapolation of what they just did onto the environment.

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Potential Water Technologies

Potential Water Technologies

Water Tech

AwN | This is a good article about potential water technlogies for now and the future. Of course it is another article that appeals to our fascination with technology, and minimizes our necessity to adopt ancient solutions or change our mentality. I know I don't have all the solutions, heck maybe I don't have any, but it seems to me that Agriculture in California needs to change. Although I am not confident that such a change in California's agriculture will leave it in a state resembling itself in any way, it is also not likely that technology is going to change that much. The fact is technology requires power and power must be derived in a way that extracts it from the natural environment, whether that is oil, wind, solar etc, all of these things change habitat and climate in various ways that may not be beneficial to the agriculture they are trying to save. I do agree with the author that technology may play a role in the future of water or at least our transition to sustainable living, but our best bet will involve various techniques. 

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Farming Meets Myth of Progress and the NY Times

Farming Meets Myth of Progress and the NY Times

Farming Meets Myth of Progress

AwN | The myth of progress is the belief that society or whatever will progress positively for ever. That things will always get better and better, and a natural path that the modern human believes this will be is through technology. So I introduce to you this slightly delusional piece from the NY Times. The section of article I have chosen to post is the part which describes how terrible pre-WW2 farmers were at obtaining yields, how amazing we are at it now, and how we will make the rest of the world as amazing as us with the help of technological sensors and cell phones. 

The myth of progress only serves to delay our recognition of ecological limits. Now I have already reviewed monoculture on my open source certification, and there are certainly advantages and necessities to its current existence, but I do not believe that farming with high technology is a requirement. Instead we need people who are willing to work with lesser technologies. People who are willing to integrate themselves into the landscape and produce edible polycultures. People who are willing to harvest from nature, and not merely people ploughing over every last tract of land, placing in sensors, monitoring their cell phones, and reaping enormous amounts of corn, via cash and mined minerals. This way of farming WILL fail, especially when you consider that the residuals, or wastes are generally wasted rather than reincorporated into the soil. The post WW2 change of putting war equipment into agriculture was a major boon to the myth of progress, as could be any number of technologies to come, but ultimately we need less concentrated poisons, which are necessities for high technology. 

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Farmers Leasing Water Rights to California

Farmers Leasing Water Rights to California

Economic Solutions to Natural Problems?

AwN | Water problems out west are nothing new. Lake Mead is dwindling and the Colorado River Dying (video,) but this article deals with a capitalist type solution. Since farmers had been given rights to water a centure ago there are legal problems with selling those rights, so instead farmers have begun leasing their water. The problem is largely based on the dichotomy of country people and city people. The country people need water to grow the nations food, and the city people need water to sit in highrises and punch keyboard keys.

Which brings me to the natural take on this issue. The plan, while having certain environmental, political, and economic advantages, completely bypasses (once again) the natural needs of the environment. This is a human solution, as humanity has created this problem in the first place, instead we need a natural solution. The natural solution is that we as a society need to use less and less water, rather than claim victories over trying to end disputes in a civil fashion. We need to take the needs of the earth seriously. Rather than an accord between farmers and city folks, we need an Accord with Nature. Until we achieve that Accord with Nature we will only delay the inevitable destruction of the planet at our own hands. We need to push our selfish desires to the side. We need to work together to determine what can be provided for by nature, and we need to do it now. 

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Hunting in Accord with Nature

Hunting in Accord with Nature

Hunting in Accord with Nature

AwN | In the wake of Cecil everyone wants to talk about hunting. It is an important topic to understand from a naturalist perspective. AccordwithNature.com | Naturalness of Hunting

Hunting and the Darker Side of Being Human

"Hunter" is part of the definition of "human." Squeamish as some may be to admit this fact, there is no getting around it. The squeamishness comes from a disconnect with reality and the natural world that even with our haughty attitudes and fancy gizmos we are still a part of.... Our metabolism is fueled by oxygen obtained through respiration and nutrients obtained through digestion. Protein is a powerhouse of a nutrient, and meat is packed with protein. Our ancestors first taste of animal protein probably came after capturing and eating smaller vertebrates and invertebrates.

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Stocks Bubble | Paychecks Stagnate

Stocks Bubble | Paychecks Stagnate

AwN | If people owe a good half of their life to the economy, it should be that the economy owes people who actively participate in the economy, a living wage. While inflation is a given due to monetary policy, and the stock market has been re-inflated with the printing press directly, this article indicates that wages are not currently tracking very well.

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Stunning Photos from California Wildfire

Stunning Photos from California Wildfire

AwN | Dedication to proper management of land could solve many fire and water problems, it is a shame we are more focused on Insert Meme Here. If you are familiar with the book Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac, you may remember Japhy Ryder; in real life Japhy's name is Gary Snyder and somewhat recently he wrote a book which deals with ecological issues, largely fire. Back on the Fire: Essays by Gary Snyder

Photographs of Raging Wildfire in California

"A massive wild fire that started last Wednesday in Northern California grew quickly to 60,000 acres Monday,according to California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) website. So far, it’s only 12 percent contained.

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Highway Noise Barrier - Solar Panels

Highway Noise Barrier - Solar Panels

Combining Functions | Reduce Noise, Generate Electricity

AwN | This is an article about a project in the Netherlands to combine the functions of electricity production with the need for sound barriers along highways. The solar panels are of a different type that use clear solar concentrators which project gathered sun onto electricity generating panels. This provides the advantage of having a clear wall which enables pedestrians and motorists a more expansive view.

What I like about this concept is the combining of functions. As a Permaculture guy I try to combine functions in my forest garden and anytime industry and buearucracy can can accomplish this it has my backing. Although as I often say, I don't see solar panels currently as anything more than a temporary solution or pallative care for the earth. I am not against solar panels, I do however think we need to tone down our hope for cheap energy without oil.

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