[ I interviewed the wonderful Sharon Astyk yesterday and figured it was time I uploaded a few other interviews too. Most have been played on Food Fight, a weekly food politics radio show on community radio in Melbourne, Australia. -AF ]
Food Fight: 100 Million Farmers: Sharon Astyk interview
Why peak oil will force us back to the land, and why that might be a good thing.
Summary: Farmer, mother, peak oil activist, and co-author of the forthcoming book with the working title, A Nation of Farmers, Sharon Astyk on why we’re going to have to re-ruralize after peak oil.
Notes: Sharon talks about her discovery of peak oil back in the mid-nineties, and how that led her to a life of farming — and why that hasn’t been a bad thing for her, escaping the ‘voluntary quadriplegia’ and long hours of office day jobs. Sharon argues that peak oil demands a rapid shift of people back to farming, and that won’t have to be a bad thing for the rest of us either.
Food Fight: Until you change the way money works, you change nothing.
Richard Douthwaite on how the debt-based money system is at the root of dysfunctional growth.
Summary: How is money created? What is the connection between our money creation system and the oxymoronic obsession of ‘sustainable economic growth’ on a finite planet?
Notes: From The Wilderness founder Mike Ruppert has said, “until we change the way money works, we change nothing.” What could that mean? It turns out that our monetary system works on a very particular model, one with some very significant consequences.
‘Recovering economist’ Richard Douthwaite, author of Growth Illusion, Short Circuit and The Ecology of Money, explained to me how the private banking, debt-based monetary system — the basis of national currency systems — leads to the desperate need for economic growth; economic growth which is at suicidal odds with the planet’s finite resources. The mechanics of this system are so simple it’s almost incredible. Listen to this interview and be the first on your block to begin to ‘get it’.
If the money system needs growth, and peak oil and gas imply the end of growth as we know it, is economic collapse avoidable? Richard says probably not, and unless new models are adopted, the monetary dysfunction could last for decades. A new Great Depression.
However, in this context, alternatives might be adopted — currency systems which economies to contract smoothly, and focus on environmental and social goals. Richard has developed alternative monetary models for this global soft landing, including the global EBCU concept.
Absolutely nothing about food in this edition…
Food Fight: What will we eat as the oil runs out?
Summary: Richard Douthwaite reflects on the 2005 conference Oil Security in an Energy Scarce World: What Will We Eat as the Oil Runs Out?
Notes: Richard Douthwaite is author of Growth Illusion, Short Circuit and The Ecology of Money, and a founder of FEASTA, the Foundation of the Economics of Sustainability. The conference took place in Dublin in June 2005 and tackled one of the most important and troubling questions of our times, given imminent peak oil, and the fossil fuel dependency of the food system: What Will We Eat as the Oil Runs Out?
Conference info: www.feasta.org/food
Multimedia files of the conference are being produced, some available now:
Food Fight: Peak oil and permaculture in Cuba
Interview with permaculturist Pamela Morgan
Summary: Pamela Morgan spent 5 years in Cuba during the ‘Special Period’ of food and energy crises following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Notes: I interviewed Pamela in the food garden of the Collingwood Childrens’ Farm in Melbourne, Australia. Pamela was largely responsible for establishing this beautiful urban oasis back in the 1970s. In her time in Cuba she was involved in a number of urban agriculture projects and in this interview she reflects on these and aspects of the Cuban society which helped people through the harsh times following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Cuba suffered an artificial ‘peak oil’ as documented in the film The Power of Communty: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (www.communitysolution.org/cuba)
Food Fight: Biogas and Dream Farms
Interview with environmental consultant Tom Duncan
Summary: Biogas digestors provide compost and cooking fuel to millions of people in India and China from food and animal waste. They’ve now been integrated into elegant integrated farming systems developed by George Chan and dubbed the ‘Dream Farm’ by Mae Wan Ho.
‘What could possibly bring more joy and prosperity than a great big pile of compost?’ I hear you ask. Answer: biogas digesters. Integrate them into a farming system with ducks, fish, lifestock, a variety of crops, mushrooms, and humans and you have a remarkable component in polyculture agriculture systems, Revolutionary. Tom talks about his work with ‘Dream Farm’ visionary George Chan.
Ecoplan, Tom’s consultancy:
Mae Wan Ho’s Institute of Science in Society, promoters of the Dream Farm concept:
A workshop on DIY biogas with professor Lu Aye. Great intro to the technics:
Food Fight: The Salvation of Suburbia
Renters rights to grow food, peak oil in the suburbs, the permablitz concept
Summary: My friends Cat, Adrian and Dan faced eviction from their rental house for growing their own food, but turned it into a chance to celebrate their efforts. This story is also about psychological and practical responses to preparing for peak oil and potential food shortages.
Notes: There is hope for suburbia in a post-oil-peak world, as these renters proved, creating an extremely productive intensive permaculture garden in their backyard. They also organise food producing backyard garden makeover days (or ‘permablitzes’) to help bring people together and rapidly prepare for backyard food production and share skills.
This was recorded mid last year, the Thomas street share house is no longer, but the permablitz concept lives on…