Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Soylent Green

An interval from Spain for a moment to review the Sci-Fi Classic Soylent Green.

This movie came to my attention in an introduction by Thomas Fischbacher for the transcript of Bill Mollison's PDC Course (see below).

Set in 2022 and made in 1973 it got me thinking about our own 50 year vision. What do we imagine the year 2061 will look like? And will we be eating each other in the form of Soylent Green??

Actually I didn't expect to enjoy this film... I mentioned it to a friend who went to the bother to find it ... rather than discover it in the Sci-Fi section the video guy lead him to the 'Stoner' section. Ah Bill what path are you leading me up????

But it had me hooked. And made me appreciate the home cooked meal in front of me. Even though futuristic, this film has a great retro aesthetic - I particularly appreciated the vision of video games in the future - little did they know that Star Ship troopers would have revival in its retro form!

I imagine at the time Permaculture was conceived of these were the topical issues (not star ship troopers but the death of the ocean, over-population, climate change) and they remain pertinent today.

I really appreciated the character of Sol - who spoke of the past (life as we know it) and admitted I could have done more -- I should have done more. I think perhaps he speaks for us today - who know all the facts and have this window of opportunity to create change.

3 and 1/2 stars

A good Sunday arvo watch on a rainy day - so long as your mood is up beat !

"if we take a close look at our history, the evidence that it by and large manages quite well to explain a large number of observations (such as the collapse of many past civilizations) should give us more than enough reason to stop for a moment and give it some thought. If this is what we really do - wouldn't that mean that, if we continue like this, then in all likelihood we would ultimately end up being driven to eat the grass and the earthworms from the soil for there is nothing else left which we have not destroyed before? Art has raised this question many times. This is, for example, the topic of the science fiction movie "Soylent Green".

When we get confronted with such an idea, how do we deal with it? In our western society, there seem to be two widespread reactions to it: The maybe less common one is "the environmentalist's" of considering this as our inevitable fate, with the only relevant question being whether we can slow down the inevitable degradation enough to retain a reasonable quality of living for the next few generations by curtailing our own exploitation in order to leave something for them to exploit. (Is it inappropriate to associate this thinking to "environmentalists" as strongly as this use of that term in the previous sentence seems to indicate? Most likely so. Still, quite a number of people have views which at least broadly match this concept.) The presently dominant reaction is "the economist's" of coming up with rational-sounding excuses based on the idea that "our cleverness always found a solution, and always will" - a comforting idea which we all perhaps would like to believe, but which undeniably quite strongly smells of human-ego-off-its-rocker-again, and doesn't actually fare well when confronted with the evidence. Essentially, this is little more but a thinly disguised head-in-the-sand attitude.i> " (Fischbacher. T.,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spain The Breakdown

Need inspiration during a Melbourne Winter? Go to Spain!! What an experience.

Such a rewarding time going and looking at a culture, a landscape and city scape through the lens of permaculture design.

1. Madrid - the Retiro Park and Botanical Garden blew me away and put our gardens to shame - lets face it - it takes time and check out the age of the Olive in the Bot Garden ...

On a hot day in Madrid you truly appreciate the build up residential inner city planning - the narrow streets were shaded from the height of the buildings and a breeze ran down during the heat of the day.

What struck me in Madrid was the emphasis on planning and design. The tree were able to climb tall along the main promenades as all the electric cables were underground - along with the metro. The amount of walk ways and bike paths which ran along the middle of main roads showed how much dedication to the pedestrian their city planners had. Coffee shops - with no paper cups in sight - are you kidding? You drink out of ceramic - and SIT DOWN to drink your coffee! Well that is if the coffee shops are open and it isn't Siesta time - this country has got its priorities straight!

Looking at the Medieval towns of Toledo and Segovia you can begin to make sense of just how much prior knowledge has been put into planning the modern cities.

2. Medieval - Modern

to be continued ...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Landline Biological Farming

Watching Landline this weekend I was really happy to hear the average Aussie farmer embracing the concept that there is life in our soil that needs respecting - a turn about which has occurred since the increased price in petrol and fertilizers ... but also was rather amused that we have to hear it from an American and import such ideas - when they have been here in Australia under the guise of Permaculture for decades - hey what ever way we can have farmers respecting the earth - may it happen!! It was a great episode to watch ....