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Book Review: World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler June 23, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Book Reviews.
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Another one of my short book reviews. Been too “busy” with other “stuff” for more substantial blogs lately…

In this novel James Howard Kunstler explores life in a post-industrial, post-oil United States.

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The age of the motorised machine has ended, society and most of its institutions has collapsed, national and state governments are defunct and transport is mostly by foot or horsepower. Life has become very localised and much of it is controlled by violent thugs and religious cults. While Kunstler’s conception of a post peak oil future is certainly not utopian, this is not an entirely dystopian tale either. I found his storytelling a little stereotyped at times, but would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in peak oil and what our world might look like thereafter.

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Book Review: How The Rich Are Destroying The Earth by Herve Kempf June 17, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Book Reviews.
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In this cool little book, Herve Kempf puts a refreshingly different (in a Frenchy sort of way) perspective on the crucial connection between the “social question” (i.e. growing inequality around the globe) and the ecological crisis (global warming, species extinction, loss of biodiversity, resource depletion, peak oil, pollution).

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Kempf outlines the extent and nature of these crises and explores the issues around who should bear the lion’s share of responisbility. An entertaining and enlightening, if, naturally, somewhat depressing read…

Basil, coriander, rocket and parsely June 10, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Cape Town, Gardening, South Africa, Sustainable Living, Urban Agriculture.
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The herbs I started growing from seed in my recycled seedling containers a while ago have grown up! Of course they have been re-planted into larger pots…

Basil

Basil

Coriander

Coriander

Rocket

Rocket

Parsely

Parsely

I’ve also grown quite a few tomato plants, but I suspect I left it too late in the season for them to still bear fruit before it gets too cold.

Book Review: Food Not Lawns by H.C. Flores June 4, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Book Reviews, Environment, Gardening, Sustainable Living, Urban Agriculture.
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Here’s one of the books that have been inspirational to me in trying to get my own modest urban agriculture project going.

98This book is full of practical ideas and projects, but as the subtitle suggests it’s much more than just a gardening book. H.C. Flores takes a holistic approach to growing organic produce in an urban setting while also addressing broader environmental and lifestyle issues and making practical suggestions about how to change your neighbourhood as well as your back yard.

While she can be a little bit preachy at times, her activist and anarchist background make her a particularly engaging author (to me at least ;-)). The title of the book is of course derived from Food Not Bombs with whom Flores was involved previously. There’s a growing number of Food Not Lawns chapters in the US and Canada.

A definite must for the urban agriculture activist!

Recycled seedling containers June 2, 2009

Posted by Andreas in Environment, Gardening, Organic Food, South Africa, Sustainable Living, Urban Agriculture.
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If you’re throwing away loads of plastic containers and bottles like these…

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… you should probably have a serious look at your consumption habits – *gulp* – and definitely recycle as many of them as you can. Alternatively, why not turn some of them into little planting pots to raise veggie and herb seeds in?

First, clean them out with water and cut off the bottles:

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Then punch holes into the bottoms for drainage:

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Now just add soil, seeds and water:

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