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DIY sustainability from ex-race engineer, now minister

Fr. Peter Doodes, Fr. Peter’s DIY Environmental Ideas
With thanks to my parents who taught me not to confuse the possession of goods with the good life. A lesson I hope I never forget…

We don’t have waste, just resources, we don’t have food ‘left overs’, just ingredients

Some of Fr. Peter’s sustainability projects:


The major cause of continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in the industrialised countries which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances.
Agenda 21

“Watever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it”.
Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe 1749 – 1832.

“You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created the problem.”
Albert Einstein

According to the profile for Father Peter

I was lucky in being born of an East End family at the end of the last war when rationing was on and every possession was valued. As a child I lived in London where my parents had transformed our garden into an allotment in order to suppliment the allowed rations, my Father and Mother would not buy any non food goods that could not be repaired.

I initially went into engineering in motor sport as a race engineer then as a race driver, driving single seaters, sports and saloons. I became involved in the environmental movement some years ago after reading and having my eyes opened by a book called ‘The Waste makers’ by American Vance Packard and then by the movement that was inspired by Packard’s fellow countryman Ratchel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’.

I became more and more involved in the church until I became a non-stipendiary minister.

(March 2008)

Saving the planet the Swiss way

Dale Bechtel, SwissInfo
How far are you willing to go to stop global warming? A few Swiss are taking the problem so seriously they’re walking, cycling and sailing to the ends of the earth.

At a time when activists have to go to great lengths to draw attention to their cause, embarking on a 12-year odyssey and raising a family along the way is still remarkable.

That’s what Dario and Sabine Schwoerer, along with their two toddlers, are doing.

They have been sailing, cycling and climbing for the past six years and are now in Australia but are only half way to achieving their goal of being the first to climb the highest peak on each continent in a non-stop, round-the-world journey.

But when they are not at sea or scrambling up a mountain face, the Schwoerers are visiting schools. Up until now, they have spoken to about 25,000 students.

Dario says their goal is to inspire children to protect the planet.

…Both the Schwoerer family and Vosseler believe the message is urgent, and want to promote energy efficient technologies they have encountered along the way.

It is the development of thin, film solar cells manufactured in California for Vosseler and an ancient technique of preserving food without refrigeration that the Schwoerers were introduced to on the Pacific island state of Vanuatu.
(30 March 2008)

Green progamming on Sundance Channel

Lindsay Currie, Sundance Channel
The Sundance Channel is premiering the second season of THE GREEN. I have included below some of this year’s programming that I thought you and your readers might be interested in.

Tuesday, April 1
9:00pm e/p
“Big Ideas for a Small Planet: Power”
This episode explores the booming field of alternative energy as it introduces several individuals who are working to develop clean, renewable energy from resources like the sun, wind and even cow manure.

Tuesday, April 15
9:35pm e/p
The Nuclear Comeback – Directed by Justin Pemberton. In a world living in fear of climate change, the nuclear power industry has put its hand up as a solution. It claims that nuclear power generation produces zero carbon emissions. Though some environmental organizations see nuclear energy as a solution to the growing climate change, others remain wary. This documentary goes on a worldwide tour of the nuclear industry in search of answers while exploring both sides of this growing debate. Produced by Megan Jones and Justin Pemberton.

Tuesday, May 6th
9:35pm e/p
Escape from Suburbia – Directed by Gregory Greene. Will the American lifestyle – epitomized by the single family home and two-car garage – remain tenable as we advance into an age of declining oil supplies and rising prices? Escape from Suburbia considers the possibilities as it examines the burgeoning grass-roots movement to “power down” from energy-intensive habits. Mixing the stories of ordinary citizens with expert analysis, the film offers an inspiring look at how people are changing their lives and their communities by pulling up stakes, organizing conferences, and even re-thinking local economies.

Tuesday, June 10th
9:35pm e/p
Crude Impact- Directed by James Jandak Wood. This award-winning film details the many ways that oil has shaped the world by enabling humankind to dominate virtually every other species living on the planet. The film spans over 150 years as it considers the past, present and future of human oil usage, exploring topics including the science of Peak Oil; the human and environmental toll exacted by oil dependency; and the role of oil in geopolitics. Incorporating with expert analysis by scientists, policymakers and activists, Crude Impact delivers a message of hope along with its wake-up call, mapping positive actions that individuals can take right now. Social Justice Award, 22nd Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
(March 2008)

Don’t Get Uncle Scammed

Paul Racko, Sierra Permaculture Design
As Wall Street’s greedy Capitalists call for more Socialist-style (i.e. taxpayer) bailouts of their failed “investments” (leverage is NOT productive capital), the geniuses inside the White House are counting on deceived taxpayers to spend their so-called Economic Stimulus “rebate” checks that will be coming our way later this spring.

What’s the catch?

The catch is that those “rebate” checks are actually a credit toward your 2008 income tax deduction! It’s not free money at all, but money that the federal government will call on you to essentially pay back when you file your ’08 return in 2009! See article. They’re banking that the economy will be doing just fine then, but I’m not counting on it.

… As Permaculturists, what should our approach be?

I advise the following: Take your Uncle Scam advance and buy tangible investments in things that will provide for the practical needs of your family during the coming crisis: food, water, energy, clothing and shelter.

My particular plan involves planting a perennial food forest, upgrading our home water system to include a storage tank, filtration and solar pumping, a 12V emergency power back-up system to keep the lights and fridge on during black-outs, a solar oven and perhaps even a cob oven, good quality clothing, food preserving and storage equipment, and a good set of rechargeable batteries. Of course a bountiful annual vegetable garden is also in the works.

Of course we can’t buy all this with Uncle Scam’s “rebate”, but you get the idea. Invest in your future. In the process, we’ll be financially supporting businesses that really matter, and doing our part to keep the whole, corrupt apple cart going for just a little while longer… hopefully long enough to get our personal life-support systems in place before the wheels fall off the cart and the whole stinking mess collapses into a rotten pile that fertilises the path towards a truly sustainable future.

Spend wisely!
(29 March 2008)