Sunday, February 26, 2012

Balancing Productivity and Consumption in Harmony at the ~2ac scale (Naked Capitalism)

This ecological garden in Vietnam represents an interesting example of self containment and sustainability.  One that has been carefully cultivated for 28 generations - by someone's estimation - approx. 300yrs.  I believe today's global trade imbalances, though on obviously a very different scale, are the consequence of not observing the energy's natural flow and self balancing mechanisms - if allowed to function freely.  The balancing and reparation capacity of nature is astounding when in action.  While this is may certainly be impractical and idealistic on larger scales, the principles are important to remember at any scale.  
Excerpts provided below (FULL POST HERE)
Also attached video of the participant's visit to this site.
When we entered the village, all the streets were extremely small. And our guests and administrators of the project took us through to this little garden, and it was a complete established food forest. [...]
And it was extremely well-established. Small gardens, vegetables, underneath fruit trees, large fruit trees, palms, climbing productive plants like black pepper, specific gardens with pineapples, tumeric, [...] onions, borders with herbs, bananas, papayas, many varieties of fruit trees in the understory, emergent palms coming out of the canopy, small animals, even a small grazing cow under the canopy, deer in a compound, which they used for their horns as a medicinal harvest.
And the old gentleman and his wife were processors for food for their meal, they showed us around, and I casually asked, How long had it been there, how long has this system been established, and it turns out — about two acres of ground, probably a little bit less — it’s been in the family for twenty-eight generations. So it’s a completely different timescale of establishment, because everything has been tried and tested. The bees’ hives, the natural bees’ hives in hollow logs, all the medicinal plants, every plant, every tree, in the system had a use, had a story, and if it wasn’t a specific, regularly used food, it was a very specific medicine or herbal tonic.

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A (INPA) in Manaus [the approach of the first Amazonians was not] to clear the forest but to replace it with one adapted to human use. They set up shop on the bluffs that mark the edge of high water — close enouccording to Charles R. Clement, anthropological botanist at the Brazilian National Institute for Amazon Researchgh to the river to fish, far enough to avoid the flood. And then, rather than centering their agriculture on annual crops, they focused on the Amazon’s wildly diverse assortment of trees. …
Of the 138 known domesticated plant species in the Amazon, more than half are trees. (Depending on the definition of “domesticated,” the figure could be as high as 80%.) Sapodilla, calabash, and tucumai; babacu, acai, and wild pineapple; cocopalm, American-oil palm, and Panama-hat palm — the Amazon’s wealth of fruits, nuts, and palms is justly celebrated. “Visitors are always amazed that you can walk in the forest here and constantly pick fruit from trees,” Clement said. “That’s because people planted them. They’re walking through old orchards.” …
Planting their orchards for millenia, the first Amazonians slowly transformed large swaths of the river basin into something more pleasing to human beings. In the country inhabited by the Ka’apor, on the mainland southeast of Marajo, centuries of tinkering have profoundly changed the forest community. In the country inhabited by the Ka’apor, on the mainland south of Marajo, centuries of tinkering have profoundly changed the forest community. In Ka’apor-managed forests, according the Balée’s plant inventories, almost half of the ecologically important species are those used by humans for food. In similar forests that have not recently been managed, the figure is only 20 percent. Balée cautiously estimated, in a widely cited article published in 1989, that at least 11.8 percent, about an eighth, of the non-flooded Amazon was “anthropogenic” — directly or indirectly created by humans. [Clark Erickson of the University of Pennsylvania] told me in Bolivia that the low-land tropical forests of South America are among the finest works of art on the planet.
And an example from Morocco considered to be more than 2000yrs old.  Unfortunately, it seems that modern pursuits are taking the youth and children of the region away, and this forest is in a less healthy state.  A 2009 article has referred to this area as the Valley of the Hippies, LOL!

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