Changing Terminology

This is a short post, but it’s one I’ve been thinking about for a while. Lately I’ve succumbed to the trend of labeling certain gardening and landscape-design practices as being permaculture or permaculture-like, and I realized that a) the term isn’t particularly descriptive and b) there is a certain quality to the permaculture community that … Continue Reading

We Can Feed the World / No We Can’t / No We Won’t

There are, and have been for a few decades now, competing narratives about food, hunger, and population. And supporting these narratives are a large number of divergent arguments from people with an even larger array of ideological perspectives. I’ve been puzzled for some time that these narratives not only have co-existed for as long as … Continue Reading

Principles of Terraforming

A few months back I started exploring the idea of terraforming. In this post I’d like to consider two important questions about it. First, what is terraforming, anyway? And second, why should we do it? Oddly enough, it seems to me that the second question is easier to answer than the first because even with … Continue Reading

Programmable Permaculture

There’s a cultural phenomenon, one that has been growing for the past decade, of hobbyist hackers exemplified by Make Magazine and TechShop. These hackers want to have the experience of building something in the physical world while still applying the tools and techniques of computing. With the rise of open hardware platforms like Arduino—even whole … Continue Reading

Tree Debt

Lately I’ve been listening to some talks on climate change, such as this one by Prof. Kevin Anderson, and the news, not surprisingly, keeps getting worse. Anderson discusses many factors that have generally been ignored in official reports that claim to chart a course forward on the climate, including: a) a limit of 2C of … Continue Reading

There’s No Emergency Room for a Planet

The metaphors in that statement really hit home for me: most of us living in wealthy nations know, somewhere deep-down, that if something bad happens to us that there’ll be something and/or someone to take care of us—not just a long-term safety net, though there’s that to a greater or lesser extent in various nations, … Continue Reading


For the past six months or so I’ve been learning how to grow Oyster mushrooms, mostly by trial and error, and I feel like I’ve finally gotten the hang of it. In this post I’m going to cover a bit of what I’ve found. First, there are three things you need to start: Some mushroom … Continue Reading

Some Fruit Trees

Last fall I set up a sheet mulch (for family) to try to convert some grass to decent soil for planting. It’s really amazing to see how well it worked: the earthworms, pillbugs, and the rest have eaten through the cardboard so thoroughly that there isn’t any trace of it left, and the soil is … Continue Reading