To sequester all of the annual atmospheric increase in CO2 with a citrus forest having a 30 tons per hectare per year CO2 uptake, an area equivalent with 0.8 that of Australia would need to be in active cultivation. A juvenile forest would sequester for some 20 years until the forest reached maturity. Henceforth, trees would need to be replanted and if the dead wood were left to decompose and return carbon to the atmosphere, the sequestration value would be for ‘just’ 20 years. …Hypothetically it does not sound like such a bad deal, 20 years. Yet again, the Australian outback is indeed enormous, equivalent with 50 times the area of New Mexico or 20 times Oman. Clearly massive scale reforestation should be widespread globally. Ambitious? God yes! Worth it? Hell yes!
Cleaning out the stables.
Centre for Alternative Technology
[Introductory remark: This is a slightly modified version of an article originally written for
the Permaculture magazine in the late 90s. You have to make allowance for its age and the
passage of time, but I would stand by most of what is written].
In Crash on Demand, David Holmgren not only updates Future Scenarios (2007) work but also builds on his essay Money vs Fossil Energy: The battle for control of the world (2009), as a running commentary on the rapid changes in the big picture context for permaculture activism, especially in the Australian context. It assumes understanding of these previous works and, of course permaculture. ‘Preaching to the choir’ it may be, but hopefully it contributes new perspectives to keep permaculture activists ahead of the game.
Permaculture teaching and activism have always aimed to work with those already interested in changing their lives, land and communities for the better, rather than proselytising the disinterested majority. Over many decades, idealistic youth have responded positively to the ‘can-do’, personal empowerment of permaculture design, but it has also attracted more experienced citizens disillusioned with top down mainstream environmentalism’s failure to stop the juggernaut of consumer capitalism. Similarly, disillusioned social and political activists are just starting to recognise permaculture as a potentially effective pathway for societal change as 20th century style mass movements seem to have lost their potency.
David’s argument is essentially that radical, but achievable, behaviour change from dependent consumers to responsible self-reliant producers (by some relatively small minority of the global middle class) has a chance of stopping the juggernaut of consumer capitalism from driving the world over the climate change cliff. It maybe a slim chance, but a better bet than current herculean efforts to get the elites to pull the right policy levers; whether by sweet promises of green tech profits or alternatively threats from mass movements shouting for less consumption.
Jill Redwood, an inspirational woman living on her own, off-grid, an hour from the nearest shop. This wonderful woman is Jill Redwood. Jill built her house in East Gippsland, Australia where she has lived alone for over 30 years entirely off-grid with no mains power, water, mobile reception or television.