Intro

Discussion in 'General chat' started by Anissa, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm new

    I found this forum last night and couldn't go past the "just wondering" thred without joining!

    My family and I moved back to the mid north coast last year. We have bought an acre and couldn't be happier with the decision to move.

    Our attitude is probably best summed up be our recent reading material. Seeds of Deception, Empty Harvest, The oil age is over and this little gem I found only this week
    https://socialwork.arts.unsw.edu.au/tsw/ ... r-Way.html

    Man have we been busy busy busy trying to get our gardens established. We are using the system from Linda Woodrow's book "The Permaculture Home Garden". We made the mistake of letting our chooks free range a bit and they ate the veges!!! Currently trying to fence them off!!

    Anyhoo, thought I'd introduce myself. Looking forward to chatting with everyone.

    Anissa
     
  2. baldcat

    baldcat Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum Anissa,

    Prepare yourself for some late night reading material from the CDD victims :) (Contagious Digression Disease)
     
  3. Franceyne

    Franceyne Junior Member

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    Welcome Anissa,

    The link doesn't seem to work :(

    The CDD carriers do make this forum a lot of fun and very informative!

    I look forward to hearing more about your adventures in your garden.

    Cheers,
    Fran.
     
  4. ~Tullymoor~

    ~Tullymoor~ Junior Member

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    Welcome to the forum Anissa!!

    The link doesn't work for me either :(
     
  5. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Thaks for the welcome guys!

    Hmmm, don't know why the link doesn't work :? It does for me, even when I use the link in the above message.

    I'll can cut and paste it if you like?
     
  6. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    It works for me ok on firefox ooooops not fire but I.E

    Welcome anissa
     
  7. baldcat

    baldcat Junior Member

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    WE MUST MOVE TO THE SIMPLER WAY

    WE MUST MOVE TO THE SIMPLER WAY;


    AN OUTLINE OF THE GLOBAL SITUATION, THE SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE SOCIETY, AND THE TRANSITION TO IT.





    Ted Trainer

    Faculty of Arts, University of N.S.W.

    (This is a c.26 page account.)

    Our industrial-affluent-consumer society is extremely unjust and ecologically unsustainable. Almost all social and economic problems are getting worse. The argument below is that these problems cannot be solved in a society that is driven by obsession with high rates of production and consumption, affluent living standards, market forces, the profit motive and economic growth. Problems of ecological destruction, Third World poverty, resource depletion, conflict and social breakdown are caused by consumer-capitalist society and cannot be solved unless we move to simpler lifestyles, more self-sufficient and cooperative ways, and a very different economy, i.e., The Simpler Way, discussed in section two.

    There is now a Global Alternative Society Movement in which many small groups are building settlements of the required kind. The final section argues that the top priority for people concerned about the fate of the planet should be building these new lifestyles and systems within existing towns and suburbs.



    1: THE TWO BASIC MISTAKES.

    There are two major faults built into our society which are causing the main problems facing us. The first is allowing competition within the market to be the major determinant of what is done in our society. The second and even more important mistake is the obsession with affluent living standards and economic growth; i.e., the insistence on high and ever-increasing levels of production and consumption.





    Fault 1: THE MARKET; GLOBAL INJUSTICE.

    Markets do some things well and in a satisfactory and sustainable society there could be a considerable role for them, but only if carefully controlled. It is easily shown that the market system is responsible for most of the deprivation and suffering in the world. The basic mechanisms are most clearly seen when we consider what is happening in the Third World. (For detail see web addresses in Note 1.)

    The enormous amount of poverty and suffering in the Third World is not due to lack of resources. There is for instance sufficient food and land to provide for all. The problem is that these resources are not distributed at all well. Why not? The answer is that this is the way the market economy inevitably works.

    The global economy is a market system and in a market scarce things always go mostly to the rich, e.g. to those who can bid most for them. That's why we in rich countries get most of the oil produced. It is also why more than 500 million tonnes of grain are fed to animals in rich countries every year, over one-third of total world grain production, while 1.2 billion people are malnourished.

    Even more important is the fact that the market system inevitably brings about inappropriate development in the Third World, i.e., development of the wrong industries. It will lead to the development of the most profitable industries, as distinct from those that are most necessary or appropriate. As a result there has been much development of plantations and factories in the Third World that will produce things for local rich people or for export to rich countries. Their cities have freeways and international airports. But there is little or no development of the industries that are most needed by the poorest 80% of their people. The third World’s productive capacity, its land and labour, are drawn into producing for the benefit of others. This is most disturbing regarding export crops. In many poor and hungry countries most of the best land is growing crops to export to rich world supermarkets.

    These are inevitable consequences of an economic system in which what it done is whatever is most profitable to the few who own capital, as distinct from what is most needed by people or their ecosystems. (See Note 2 for detailed discussion.) The Third World problem will never be solved as long as we allow these economic principles to determine development and to deliver most of the world's wealth to the rich.

    Conventional economics basically defines development as economic growth. Thus what is developed is little more than whatever promises to maximise the profits of those who have capital to invest, i.e., transnational corporations and banks. These never invest in the production of the things most needed in the Third World, such as cheap basic food, clean water and housing. What their investment does is put Third World land and labour into supplying rich world supermarkets. The large amount of productive capacity a poor country has is therefore devoted to enriching others, or left idle.

    In other words development has been extremely inappropriate. Obviously it would be far better for people in Bangladesh who are paid 15c an hour to make shirts if they could put that time and energy into local farms and firms to produce basic necessities for themselves.

    For these reasons, conventional Third World development can be seen as a form of legitimised plunder. ( Goldsmith, 1997, Chussudowsky, 1997, Rist, 1997, Swhwarz and Schwarz, 1998.) Our affluence and comfort are built on massive global injustice. Look at the labels on the goods you buy. How much would we pay if the workers who produced them received a viable wage? What would we pay for coffee if most of the land producing it was transferred to growing food for hungry people? Few people in rich countries seem to understand that they could not have their high "living standards" if the global economy was not enabling them to take far more than their fair share of world wealth and to deprive Third world people. We can go to supermarkets to buy the coffee from land that should have been producing food for Third World people. One billion people live in terrible conditions primarily because we are taking their wealth and gearing their land and labour to supplying our supermarkets. (This is not the only causal factor of course.)

    Since the early 1980s the most powerful mechanism gearing the Third World to the interests of the rich have been the Structural Adjustment Packages of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. When Third World countries get into impossible debt problems these agencies agree to grant new loans etc, but only on condition that they accept fundamental changes. These are conventional economic strategies designed to cut costs and increase income and therefore "get the economy going again and become more able to pay off the debt."

    The changes enforced are delightful for the corporations and banks of the rich countries. They involve deregulating the economy thereby removing many state controls and therefore increasing the role of market forces, devaluing the currency and therefore reducing export prices and increasing import prices, cutting state subsidies to the poor, and settling more favourable conditions for foreign investors, especially enabling them to buy up the country’s bankrupt firms. State-owned firms and assets must be sold off. Foreign corporations can therefore acquire the most profitable parts of the economy at fire-sale prices. Freedom of access for rich world corporations to the country’s resources and labour are greatly increased, but the consequences for most people are devastating. Most are pushed into much worse conditions than they had before. The economy is literally dismantled, and reassembled largely in the hands of foreign corporations. (For much evidence see Note 3.)

    It is not just that the global economy is massively unjust, delivering to the rich far more than their fair share of the available resources such as oil. It is not just that much of the productive capacity of poor countries is geared to the interests of the rich countries. We must recognise that the rich countries have and control an empire. The global economy functions as an empire with the rich countries run mostly for their own benefit, resorting to the use of power and repression to keep Third World countries to the sorts of policies the rich want.

    The most disturbing aspect of the situation is that the rich countries support many dictatorial and brutal regimes, they enable and actually engage in terrorism from time to time, they invade and attack and kill thousands of innocent people, in order to ensure that regimes and regions keep to the sorts of policies that suit the rich countries. This intervention used to be described as countering "communist subversion" but is now more likely to be masked as "humanitarian intervention" and as countering terrorism. (For extensive documentation on the existence and maintenance of the empire see Note 4.)

    Consider also the hypocrisy of the rich countries. They insist that Third World countries should eliminate subsidies to exporters, yet the rich countries pay hundreds of billions of dollars to rich world agricultural exporters every year. Rich countries insist on freedom for capital to go where it wishes to invest in the Third World, but there is no question of labour from the Third World being free to work wherever it likes in the rich countries. They inflict SAPs on indebted poor countries but there is no question of one being applied to the most highly indebted of all countries, the USA.

    The development progress made between 1950 and 1980 is now being reversed, especially for the poorest people. A few years ago the United Nations concluded that 1.6 billion people, one third of all the world’s people, are getting poorer. (U.N., 1996.) The market system is now giving the corporations and banks much more freedom and power than ever before to develop in the Third World only those industries that will maximise their profits. Poor countries will have to compete more fiercely against each other to sell their commodities or labour, and many countries will simply be ignored and dumped. For example most of Africa and the Pacific countries have no possibility of competing against the rest to win any export markets.

    Thus reflecting on the Third World problem makes clear how grossly unsatisfactory and unjust the world market system is. It allows investment, jobs, incomes etc to flow to where the most profit can be made, while it ignores the rest, and it allocates the Third World’s scarce resources to the rich few while depriving the majority of a fair share. It draws the productive capacity the poor once had into producing for the rich, it uses up Third World forests etc at negligible benefit to Third World people, and it devastates the environment.

    There is no possibility of satisfactory Third World development until the rich countries stop hogging far more than their fair share of the world’s resources, until development and distribution begin to be determined by need and not by market forces and profit, and therefore until we develop a very different global economic system.

    The same mechanisms are the basic causes of the main social problems of the richest countries, although the effects are less glaring than in the Third World. An economy driven by profit within the market is greatly enriching the few and depriving increasing numbers. (For evidence on increasing inequality see Note 5.)

    Market relations destroy social relations

    In the richest countries we are seeing increasing social breakdown, stress and depression, drug abuse, suicide, litigation, decay of communities and rural decline. Attitudes to the poor, homeless and unemployed are hardening. Each of us must focus on competing to succeed as a self-interested aggressive entrepreneur, and we must not expect much assistance from the state, for instance in old age. Public institutions like museums and even universities are expected to operate like corporations that must sell to customers and make a profit. These phenomena involve a disturbing loss of social cohesion.

    These are consequences of the neo-liberal agenda with its increasing insistence on market forces. The more attention individuals give to pursuing economic goals within the market the more that the values and concerns that are crucial for a good society will be driven out. (See Note 4.) There cannot be a satisfactory society unless people put considerable value on things like the public good, the welfare of all, social justice and the experience of less fortunate people. However in a market situation you have to be concerned only with your own advantage; i.e., with self interest. There is no incentive to think and behave cooperatively or to focus on what is good for society. The more we commercialise things, the more space buying and selling take up in our lives, the more we have to deal in a market place to get what we want, then the less attention we will give to social values, such as concern for the welfare of others or for the public good.

    It has become a divided, winner-take-all society, with many now classified as "excluded". The rich, including the upper-middle class which does the top managerial and legal work for the corporations, and the professionals, are rapidly increasing their wealth and have no interest in calling for change. Inequality and polarisation are accelerating. The state has ceased to be concerned with redistribution of wealth. The greed evident in bank fees, corporate executive salaries, legal and professional fees, cheap sell-offs of public assets, etc does not evoke significant resistance.

    All this is sociologically appalling. Great damage is being done to social cohesion, public spirit, trust, concern for the underdog, good will and concern for the public interest. You cannot have a satisfactory society made up of competitive, self-interested individuals all trying to get as rich as possible! In a satisfactory society there must be considerable concern for the public good and the welfare of all, and there must be considerable collective social control and regulation and service provision, to make sure all are looked after, to maintain public institutions and standards, and to reinforce the sense of social solidarity whereby all are willing to contribute to the good of all.

    The economic historian Polanyi stressed how misguided it is for a society to allow the market to be as dominant as it is in our society. (Dalton, 1968) No society previous to ours has done this. Polanyi insisted that unless market forces are under tight social control they will destroy society and its ecosystems; everything will be open to sale for maximum profit.

    Globalisation

    We have entered a period in which all these problems will rapidly accelerate, because of the globalisation of the economy. Since 1970 the world economic system has run into crisis. It became much more difficult for corporations and banks to invest their constantly accumulating volumes of capital profitably.

    Thus the big corporations and banks are now pushing through a massive restructuring of the global economy, the development of a unified and de-regulated system in which they are sweeping away all the controls which previously hindered their access to increased business opportunities, markets, resources and cheap labour. The supreme, sacred principle now is to "free market forces". Consequently the pressure is on governments to remove the protection, tariffs and controls which they once used to manage, regulate, stimulate and protect their economies and to guide development. Government enterprises are being sold to the corporations. Government services are being cut as are taxes on corporations. These changes are enabling the transnational corporations to come in and take more of the businesses, resources and markets local people once had, and to gear "development' to whatever suits them rather than to what is needed by most people.

    The now heavily documented consequences are devastating the lives of millions of people, especially in the Third World. Globalisation is eliminating the arrangements which used to ensure that many little people could sell and work and trade, and that local resources such as land would produce things they need. Now the corporations are able to take over those opportunities to increase their sales. Globalisation is basically a gigantic takeover of economic wealth by the big corporations and banks. (For much evidence on the damaging effects of globalisation see Note 5.)

    Corporations are able to minimise their tax payments, especially through the "transfer payments" they put on shipments between their subsidiaries. Governments must lower taxes on corporations or the corporations will locate their plants in some other country. (Half the transnational corporations with branches in Australia pay no tax at all!) Therefore governments have drastically cut state spending. Tax burdens are being shifted from corporations to workers, and state spending on welfare, education, health etc., is being dramatically reduced.

    Globalisation constitutes a crushing triumph for the corporations, the banks and the rich. Inequality is rapidly worsening; a few are becoming much richer, the poor are becoming more numerous and even the middle classes of the rich countries are being hollowed out. It has been a sudden and stunningly arrogant grab that has delivered greatly increased wealth to the corporations and banks and the few high skilled professionals and technocrats the corporations want. The prospect is quite alarming; we are rapidly heading towards a world run by a few corporations, doing only whatever suits their shareholders while rapidly destroying social cohesion and the ecosystems of the planet.

    Why do governments willingly go along with these "neo-liberal" policies? Even if a government did not believe the neo-liberal world view, it would have no choice but to go along with it if its country is to survive in a globalised world. In the competitive global economy we have now governments must seek to cut production costs, free corporations to do more business, make national exports cheaper and more competitive, and attract more foreign investment. If a government doesn't do these things its economy will not survive in the increasingly open and competitive global economy. It will not attract foreign investment, its credit rating will be dropped so the cost of borrowing capital will rise, and its exports will not be able to compete in the global market.

    Some aspects of globalisation, such as the internet, are desirable, but the limits to growth analysis (below)shows that a sustainable world order cannot be highly globalised economically; there will not be sufficient energy and resources or all that transport and trade. A sustainable world order must be mostly made up of small and localised economies, with relatively little long distance trade.



    Conclusions on the Market System.

    It is a very serious mistake to assume that if we leave things to market forces, i.e., to competition between individuals, corporations and nations trying to maximise their self-interest, then we will end up with a satisfactory society. A free market will inevitably result in the strongest and richest winning, taking even more and becoming even richer while the poor majority become more deprived. The environment and social cohesion cannot be protected if the rules permit individuals to grab as much as possible for themselves. Billions of people are unable to produce and sell the small quantities that would yield satisfactory incomes because a few giant corporations have been able to sell things more cheaply. Thus the market system enables a few to take everything of value and dump most of the world's people into deprivation, unemployment and poverty.

    It is not possible to have a good society unless we make sure that considerations of morality and justice and the good of society are the primary determinants of what happens. In other words there must be much social control and regulation of the economy. (This does not mean control by states or centralised bureaucracies, and there could still be a place for private firms and markets; see below.)



    Fault 2: THE LIMITS TO GROWTH

    There is an even more important and alarming mistake built into the foundations of our society. This is the commitment to an affluent-industrial-consumer lifestyle and to an economy that must have constant and limitless growth in output. Our levels of production and consumption are far too high to be kept up for very long and could never be extended to all people. We are rapidly depleting resources and damaging the environment. We can only achieve present "living standards" because we few in rich countries are grabbing most of the resources produced and therefore depriving most of the world’s people of a fair share. Because we consume so much we cause huge ecological damage. Our present way of life is grossly unsustainable. Yet we are obsessed with economic growth, i.e., with increasing production and consumption, as much as possible and without limit! (For the detailed limits case see Note 8, or Trainer, 1995a, 1998, 1999.)

    Following are some of the main points that support limits to growth conclusions.

    Rich countries, with about one-fifth of the world’s people, are consuming about three quarters of the world’s resource production. Our per capita consumption is about 15-20 times that of the poorest half of the world’s people. World population will probably stabilise around 9 billion, somewhere after 2060. If all those people were to have Australian per capita resource consumption, then world production of all resources would have to be 8 to 10 times as great as it is now. If we tried to raise present world production to that level by 2060 we would by then have completely exhausted all probably recoverable resources of one third of the basic mineral items we use. All probably recoverable resources of coal, oil, gas, tar sand and shale oil, and uranium (via burner reactors) would have been exhausted by 2045.
    Petroleum appears to be especially limited. A number of geologists have concluded that world oil supply will probably peak by 2010 and be down to half that level by 2025-30, with big price increases soon after the peak. (See especially Campbell, 1997.)
    If all 9 billion people were to use timber at the rich world per capita rate we would need 3.5 times the world's present forest area. If all 9 billion were to have a rich world diet, which takes about 1 ha of land to produce, we would need 9 billion ha of food producing land. But there is only 1.4 billion ha of cropland in use today and this is not likely to increase.
    Recent "Footprint" analysis (Wachernagel and Rees, 1995.) estimates that it probably takes 8.5 ha of productive land to provide water, energy settlement area and food for one person living in Sydney. So if 9 billion people were to live as we do in Sydney we would need about 76 billion ha of productive land. But that is about 10 times all the available productive land on the planet.
    The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that in order to stop the carbon content of the atmosphere from rising beyond double the pre-industrial level of 270 ppm we must keep annual carbon dioxide emissions below about 9 billion tonnes. This represents a 60-80% reduction. If we have 9 billion people on earth soon the per capita limit will be I tonne. However the present Australian per capita emission from fuel burning is 16 tonnes, and if land clearing is included it is 27 tonnes!
    These are some of the main limits to growth arguments which lead to the conclusion that there is no possibility of all people rising to the living standards we take for granted today in rich countries like Australia. We can only live like this because we are taking and using up most of the scarce resources, and preventing most of the world's people from having anything like a fair share. Therefore we can't morally endorse our way of life. We must accept the need to move to far simpler and less resource-expensive ways.

    Population

    It follows from the foregoing discussion that world is over-populated. However the most serious problem we have is not over-population— it is over-consumption.

    But what about nuclear energy?

    If you think we can solve these problems using nuclear energy then you are assuming about 800 times the world's present reactor capacity (before fusion power can be developed, assuming that’s possible.) They would mostly have to be breeder reactors, with about 1 million tonnes of Plutonium in circulation, and more than 25 worn out reactors to be buried every day. In any case reactors only produce electricity and that only makes up 17% of rich world energy use.


    What about renewable energy?

    We must eventually move from fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy, but it is not likely that we can all live in energy-affluent ways on renewable energy forms. (For the detail see Trainer, 1995c, or the more recent discussion, Note 9.) This is because there are large energy losses in converting sunlight into electricity and then into a storable form, such as hydrogen, in transporting the energy to cold northern American or European countries, and then converting it back to electricity. At present efficiencies less than 5% of the solar energy collected in Sahara desert solar plants would be delivered as electricity in northern Europe in winter. The cost of a solar plant would probably be more than 50 times as much as a coal fired plant in Europe that would deliver the same amount of electricity (and twice that when interest charges on the money borrowed to build the plant are taken into account).

    There are similar problems with wind energy, especially the fact that there is always a probability that at some point in time all mills will be idle. This limits this source even in high wind areas to providing only about one-quarter of the electricity needed. (Grubb and Meyer, 1993.)

    It seems that there would be far too little available land to produce biomass to replace liquid and gaseous fuels.

    Note that these comments refer only to the present level of energy demand, but demand is increasing significantly. Energy use in Australia is likely to more than quadruple by 2050.

    Certainly we should be developing renewable energy sources as fast as we can, but more important is developing ways of living well on per capita levels of energy use that are a small fraction of those we have now.

    The environment problem

    The reason why we have an environment problem is simply because there is far too much producing and consuming going on. (For the detailed argument see Trainer, 1998 or website, Note 11.)

    Our way of life involves the consumption of huge amounts of materials. More than 20 tonnes of new materials are used by each American every year. To produce one tonne of materials can involve processing 15 tonnes of water, earth or air. (For gold the multiple is 350,000 to 1). All this must be taken from nature and most of it is immediately dumped back as waste and pollution.

    One of the most serious environmental problems is the extinction of plants and animal species. This is due to the destruction of habitats. Now remember the footprint concept mentioned above; if all 9 billion people soon to live on earth were to have rich world "living standards" humans would have to use eleven times all the productive land on the planet. Clearly our resource intensive lifestyles, which require so much land or so many resources, are the basic cause of the loss of habitats and the extinction of species.

    Conflict


    If all nations go on trying to increase their wealth, production, consumption and "living standards" without limit in a world of limited resources, then we must expect increasing conflict. Rich world affluent lifestyles require us to be heavily armed and aggressive, in order to guard the empires from which we draw more than our fair share of resources. We cannot expect to achieve a peaceful world until we achieve a just world, and we cannot do that until rich countries change to much less extravagant living standards. (For the detailed argument see Note 11 or Trainer 2002.)


    The absurdly impossible implications of economic growth.

    The foregoing argument has been that the present levels of production and consumption are quite unsustainable. They are too high to be kept going for long or to be extended to all people. But we are determined to increase present living standards and levels of output and consumption, as much as possible and without any end in sight. Our supreme national goal is economic growth. Few people seem to recognise the absurdly impossible consequences of pursing economic growth.

    If we have a 3% p.a. increase in output, by 2070 we will be producing 8 times as much every year. (For 4% growth the multiple is 16.) If by then all 9 billion people expected had risen to the living standards we would have then, the total world economic output would be more than 60 times as great as it is today! Yet the present level is unsustainable. (For a 4% p.a. growth rate the multiple is 120.)

    Social Breakdown.

    We are seeing increasing social breakdown, stress and depression, drug abuse, suicide, litigation, decay of communities, rural decline and loss of social cohesion. Attitudes to the poor, homeless and unemployed are hardening. Each of us must focus on competing to succeed as a self-interested aggressive entrepreneur, and we must not expect much assistance from the state, for instance in old age. Public institutions like museums and even universities are expected to operate like corporations that must sell to customers and make a profit.

    Because of the corporate pressure to reduce the power and activity of government, and the power of the corporations to avoid paying tax, governments are drastically cutting their spending on public institutions and welfare, which is increasing the deprivation and suffering of large numbers of poorer people. Governments no longer have full employment as an important goal. The main role of government now is to provide the conditions for business prosperity.

    It has become a divided, winner-take-all society, with many now classified as "excluded". The rich, including the upper-middle class which does the top managerial and legal work for the corporations, and the professionals, are rapidly increasing their wealth and have no interest in calling for change. Inequality and polarisation are accelerating. The state has ceased to be very concerned with redistribution of wealth. The greed evident in bank fees, corporate executive salaries, legal and professional fees, cheap sell-offs of public assets, etc does not evoke significant resistance.

    All this is sociologically appalling. Damage is being done to social cohesion, public spirit, trust, good will and concern for the public interest. You cannot have a satisfactory society made up of competitive, self-interested individuals all trying to get as rich as possible! In a satisfactory society there must be considerable concern for the public good and the welfare of all, and there must be considerable collective social control and regulation and service provision, to make sure all are looked after, to maintain public institutions and standards, and to reinforce the sense of social solidarity whereby all are willing to contribute to the good of all.

    "But can't technical advance solve the problems?"

    Most people assume that the development of better technology will enable us to go on enjoying affluent lifestyles and pursuing limitless economic growth, e.g., by reducing the energy and resource inputs needed to produce things. However the magnitude of our over-consumption makes this impossible.

    Perhaps the best known "technical fix" optimist, Amory Lovins, claims that we could at least double global output while halving the resource and environmental impacts, i.e., a "factor 4" reduction.

    Let us assume that present global resource and ecological impacts must be halved. Now if all 9 billion people expected on earth by 2070 were to rise to present rich world "living standards" world economic output would be 10 times as great as it is at present. If we in rich countries average 3% growth, and 9 billion rose to the living standards we would then have by 2070, total world output would be 60 times as great as it is today.

    Do you think technical advance will make it possible to multiply total world economic output by 60 while halving impacts, i.e., a factor 120 reduction?

    Clearly we can't possibly get resource consumption and environmental impact down to sustainable levels without dramatically reducing present volumes of production and consumption, economic turnover, and present rich world "living standards". The "technical fix" optimists seriously mislead people into thinking that we can achieve a sustainable world without any reduction on consumer ways, and indeed that growth can go on. (For a detailed criticism of Lovins see Note 12.)

    Greed and history

    History can largely be put in terms of people struggling to grab more than their fair share of the available wealth and power. Consider the behaviour of states over recent centuries, constantly jockeying diplomatically and fighting each other. Why? Simply because they are never content to live with what they have and to organise satisfactory lifestyles for themselves within their own borders. There are always classes of energetic "entrepreneurs" who are not content with being wealthy; they want more, so they go out looking for more resources and markets, and try to outmanoeuvre and bully their rivals. States constantly strive to increase their wealth, territory, status and power. Meanwhile "ordinary" people would have mansions and luxurious lifestyles if they could.

    Yet there are many people living in what we refer to as "primitive tribes" who maintain stable social systems within stable boundaries and are not constantly seeking to outsmart or steal from their neighbours. This is not true of all tribes, but it is true of many, and it is totally foreign to Western culture with its restless urge to go out and acquire, conquer, build empires and take over markets or one way or another to get more and more.

    Most people fail to grasp these connections between greed and conflict. They wonder why there are poor nations, conflict, and poverty. Every now and then their leaders tell them their children must go to war and slaughter the children of other people just like themselves. They don’t like this much but it never occurs to them that they have brought it on their own heads, by being keen supporters and beneficiaries of the grabbing that has led to the conflict. They have been enthusiastic about the empire building, the quest for more markets, the pursuit of national prestige, the promise to raise "living standards", and they want to be members of "a great and powerful nation". Why can’t they be content to be members of a noble and admirable nation, or a caring nation, or an ecologically sustainable nation? Above all they want the high "living standards" they can't have without taking more than their fair share.

    At a deeper level there is the problem of lack of meaning and purpose in consumer-capitalist society. Many suffer unsatisfying work, lack of community, dreary dormitory suburbs, and little purpose in life other than shopping, sport and mindless entertainment. They can have little pride in their society and are at best cynical about politics. They have little sense of power over their circumstances or of making a valued contribution. This is mostly because corporations have taken from us the provision of almost all the things we used to make and do; they want us to buy all entertainment, products and services from them.

    These people would angrily reject the claim that they are greedy; they only want "normal" and "nice" things and "good" standards. They do not realise that what is regarded as normal in rich countries involves levels of resource consumption that are grossly unsustainable and that condemn most of the world's people to deprivation. Essential to The Simpler Way is the understanding that affluence is an enormous moral problem because it is a basic cause of global problems.

    "When corporations rule the world"

    This heading, the title of a recent book by David Korten, sums up the situation that has arisen over the last 20 years. A tiny corporate super-rich class has risen to extraordinary wealth and power and are now able to more or less run the world in the ways that suit it. (About 1% of the world’s people now control more than half the capital; Note 7.) They run the transnational corporations, the media and especially the World Bank, IMF and World Trade Organisation. Their wealth funds the think tanks, foundations, universities, journals etc which pump out the message that the neo-liberal way is the best and the only way. Governments eagerly comply with this agenda. . They have routed the working class. The Left has been eliminated as a political force. Above all the rich have crushingly won the ideological battle establishing neo-liberalism as the only way. Rich world military power is likely to be used ruthlessly against nations which interfere with this agenda of free access for corporations and integration of all regions into the one global market (e.g., Yugoslavia, Iraq.) Much of the literature on globalisation is alarmed at this situation of corporate rule; (see especially Chussudowsky, 1996, Fotopolous, 2002, and many of the works by Chomsky.) There are good reasons for thinking that it is now too late to do anything about this rapid surge to world domination by the super-rich, especially since the "war on terrorism" has provided a perfect pretext for crushing dissent.



    The ideological problem.

    Yet there is very little dissent! It is an era in which corporate power and wealth is surging, yet capitalism has never been more secure from threat. There is little or no opposition to what is happening from any sector of society. The working class and the middle class have been seduced into docility and willing compliance by the promise of ever-rising "living standards". There is some discontent, there is grumbling, but there is no focused resistance let alone outraged disgust at the great injustice and brutality underlying rich world affluence and no demand for fundamental system change. The media's obsession with trivia, spectacles, celebrities and sport distract attention from important issues. Governments are blindly in favour of market forces and refuse to give any attention to the possibility of limits to growth. "Educational" institutions are preoccupied with preparing the workers, competitors and consumers the system needs and give little attention to critical social issues. Even university graduates have usually never encountered the themes this document is about.

    The academic and "intellectual" ranks fail to focus on the massive global injustice that underwrites their privileges, or on the limits to growth that will soon terminate them. Universities have become corporations churning out product innovations and diligent technocrats, eager for affluent lifestyles and convinced that they deserve them. The collapse of communism has been taken to have established that there can be no sensible alternative to free market capitalism, and that the fundamental, indeed sole considerations are now "efficiency", individualism and competition, getting richer, and freedom for market forces.

    Overall, consumer society shows a stunning inability to respond to the alarming challenges now facing it. All people seem to be totally unaware of and indifferent to the fact that their high "living standards" are delivered by a massively unjust global economy which so severely deprives the majority that tens of thousands of people die every day, and to the fact that their "living standards" are grossly unsustainable.

    What we have seen in the last 20 years is an unbelievably brazen and successful grab by the rich. Their share of national income is rapidly increasing.

    Conclusions on our situation.

    It should be obvious from the foregoing discussion that the present socio-economic system is extremely unsatisfactory and cannot solve our problems. There is no possibility of having a just, morally satisfactory and ecologically sustainable society if we allow the economy to be driven by market forces, the profit motive, the quest for higher "living standards" and economic growth. In a satisfactory economy the needs of people, society and the environment would determine what is done, not profit. (This does not mean "big-state" socialism, and we could have markets and private enterprise in a good society; see below.)

    These economic faults cannot be remedied without radical change in values and world views, which are presently obsessed with individualistic competition, selfishness and greed.

    Above all it must be stressed how far beyond sustainable levels of production and consumption we are. The foregoing figures show that we must develop ways of living in which we can have a good quality of life on per capita resource rates that are a small fraction of today’s rates.







    2: THE ALTERNATIVE:

    THE SIMPLER WAY

    If the foregoing limits to growth analysis is basically valid some of the key principles for a sustainable society are clear and indisputable. (For a detailed discussion see website Note 13. The earlier account is in The Conserver Society, Ted Trainer, London, Zed Books, 1995.)

    Material living standards must be much less affluent. In a sustainable society per capita rates of use of resources must be a small fraction of those in Australia today.
    There must be mostly small scale highly self-sufficient local economies.
    There must be mostly cooperative and participatory local systems whereby small communities control their own affairs, independent of the international and global economies.
    There must be much use of alternative technologies, which minimise the use of resources.
    A very different economic system must be developed, one not driven by market forces or the profit motive, and in which there is no growth.
    The alternative way is The Simpler (but richer) Way. We can and must all live well with a much smaller amount of production, consumption, work, resource use, trade, investment and GNP a than there is now. This will allow us to escape the economic treadmill and devote our lives to more important things than producing and consuming.

    Unfortunately any suggestion of a move to less affluent ways is usually met with horror. The main problem here is that people do not understand that The Simpler Way is not a threat to a high quality of life or to the benefits of modern technology. The following discussion will show that in fact The Simpler Way is the key to a greatly improved quality of life, even for those who live in the richest countries.

    Although The Simpler Way is radically different it could be easily achieved — if enough of us opted for it. To save the planet we do not need miraculous technical break throughs, or vast amounts of investment. We just need a change in thinking and valuing.



    Simpler lifestyles

    Living more simply does not mean deprivation or hardship. It means focusing on what is sufficient for comfort, hygiene, efficiency etc. Most of our basic needs can be met by quite simple and resource-cheap devices and ways, compared with those taken for granted and idolised in consumer society.

    Living in materially simple ways can cut enormous amounts off the money a person needs to earn. Consider housing. A perfectly adequate, and indeed beautiful house for a small family can be built for around $5000 ($A 2004). (See Note 13.) This indicates how The Simpler Way will liberate people from slavery to consumer-capitalist society, enabling most time to be put into more fulfilling activities than earning money.





    Living in ways that minimise resource use should not be seen as an irksome effort that must be made in order to save the planet. These ways can and must become important sources of life satisfaction. We have to come to see as enjoyable many activities such as living frugally, recycling, growing food, "husbanding" resources, making rather than buying, composting, repairing, bottling fruit, giving old things to others, making things last, and running a relatively self-sufficient household economy. The Buddhist goal is a life "simple in means but rich in ends."

    Local self-sufficiency

    We must develop as much self-sufficiency as we reasonably can at the national level, meaning less trade, at the household level, and especially at the neighbourhood, suburban, town and local regional level. We need to convert our presently barren suburbs into thriving regional economies which produce most of what they need from local resources.

    The domestic or household economy already accounts for about half the real national output, but this is ignored by conventional economics which only counts dollar costs. Households can again become significant producers of vegetables, fruit, poultry, preserves, fish, repairs, furniture, entertainment and leisure services, and community support.

    Neighbourhoods would contain many small enterprises such as the local bakery. Some of these could be decentralised branches of existing firms, enabling most of us to get to work by bicycle or on foot. Much of our honey, eggs, crockery, vegetables, furniture, fruit, fish and poultry production could come from households and backyard businesses engaged in craft and hobby production. It is much more satisfying to produce most things in craft ways rather than in industrial factories. However it would make sense to retain some larger mass production factories and sources of materials, such as mines and steel works and railways.

    Almost all food could come from within a few hundred metres of where we live, most of it from within existing towns and suburbs. The sources would be, a) intensive home gardens, b) community gardens and cooperatives, such as poultry, orchard and fish groups, many small market gardens located within and close to suburbs and towns, d) extensive development of commons, especially for production of fruit, nuts, fish, poultry, animal grazing, herbs, bamboo and timber.

    The scope for food self-sufficiency within households is extremely high. It takes .5 ha, 5,000 square metres, to feed one North American via agribusiness. However Jeavons (2002)and also Blazey (1999) document the capacity for a family of three to feed itself from less than one backyard, via intensive home gardening, high yield seeds, multi-cropping, nutrient recycling, and eating mostly plant foods. In addition backyards can produce large amounts of fruit, nuts, herbs, poultry, rabbits and fish.

    Most of your neighbourhood could become a Permaculture jungle, an "edible landscape" crammed with long-lived, largely self-maintaining productive plants. Much food production would involve little or no fuel use, ploughing, packaging, pesticides, marketing or transport. Having food produced close to where people live would enable nutrients to be recycled back to the soil through compost heaps, composting toilets and garbage gas units. This is imperative -- a sustainable society cannot be conceived without thorough nutrient recycling, and therefore without a local agriculture.

    There would be research into finding what useful plants from all around the world thrive in your local conditions, and into the development of useful foods, materials and chemicals from these. Synthetics would be derived primarily from plant materials.

    Meat consumption would be greatly reduced as we moved to more plant foods, but many small animals such as poultry, rabbits and fish would be kept in small pens spread throughout our settlements. The animals could be fed largely on kitchen and garden scraps, and by free ranging on commons, while providing manure and adding to the aesthetic and leisure resources of our settlements. Some wool, milk and leather could come from sheep and goats grazing meadows within and close to our settlements.

    The commons would be of great economic and social value. These include the community owned and operated woodlots, bamboo patches, herb gardens, orchards, ponds, meadows, sheds, machinery, workshops, bicycles and vehicles. These can be located in parks, beside railway lines, on derelect factory sites, and on the many roads that will be dug up when they are no longer needed. These commons would provide many free goods, although they would be maintained by working bees and committees.

    We should convert one house on each block to become a neighbourhood workshop, recycling store, meeting place, surplus exchange and library. Because there will be far less need for transport, we could dig up many roads, greatly increasing city land area available for community gardens, workshops, ponds and forests.

    Settlement design will focus on these basically Permaculture principles, such as the intensive use of space, complex ecosystems, stacking and use of all available niches, multiple cropping and overlapping functions e.g., poultry provide meat, eggs, feathers, pest control, cultivation, fertilizer and leisure resources. These techniques will enable huge reduction in the present land area and energy costs of food provision.

    It will not be necessary for most people to be involved in agriculture. Providing food now takes perhaps one-fifth of work time, when transport, packaging and marketing are added to the farm work. That’s about eight hours a week per worker. Intensive home gardening requires about four person-hours per week per household, so averaged across the town and including small farm work food production, would probably require well below the present amount of time. The difference derives from the much greater productivity of home and small farm production, and the elimination of much intermediary work, such as transport and packaging.

    In addition many materials can come from the communal woodlots, fruit trees, bamboo clumps, herb patches, ponds, clay pits, meadows, etc., including leather, oils, dyes, timber, chemicals, medicines, energy crops and clay.

    One of the most important ways in which we would be highly self-sufficient would be in finance. Firstly The Simpler Way requires little capital. Most enterprises are very small, and it will not be an expanding economy. Virtually all neighbourhoods have all the capital they need to develop those things that would meet their basic needs, yet this does not happen when our savings are put into conventional banks. Our capital is borrowed by distant corporations, often to do undesirable things, and not to improve our neighbourhood.

    We would form many small town banks from which our savings would only be lent to firms and projects that would improve our town. These banks could charge low or negative interest, or make grants.

    We will couple the banks with Business Incubators which provide assistance to little firms, such as access to accountants, computers and advice from panels of the town’s most experienced business people. These two institutions will give us the power to establish in our town the enterprises and industries it needs, as distinct from being at the whim of corporations and foreign investors who will only set up in our town if that will maximize their global profits, and in any case will not set up firms to produce what we need.

    We can therefore take control of our own development and make sure that it is determined by what will benefit the town, cut its imports, minimize ecological impacts, eliminate waste and provide livelihoods.

    These many and diverse structures, firms and activities will make our locality into a very leisure-rich environment. Most suburbs at present are leisure deserts. The alternative neighbourhood would be full of familiar people, small businesses, industries, farms, lakes, common projects, animals, gardens, forests, windmills, waterwheels, and familiar people and therefore full of interesting things to do or observe. Consequently people would be less inclined to travel on weekends and holidays, which would greatly reduce national energy consumption.

    This shows how the solution to many problems will mostly involve carrots rather than sticks. We will reduce travel not by penalties but by eliminating the need for most of it, by ensuring that work and leisure sites are close to where we live.

    To repeat, a high level of domestic and local economic self-sufficiency is crucial if we are to dramatically reduce overall resource use. It will cut travel, transport and packaging costs, and the need to build freeways, ships and airports etc. It will also enable our communities to become secure from devastation by distant economic events, such as depressions, devaluations, interest rate rises, trade wars, capital flight, and exchange rate changes.

    Local self-sufficiency means we will be highly dependent on our region and our community and the significance of this for several important themes cannot be exaggerated. Because most of our food, energy, materials, leisure activity, artistic experience and community will come from the soils, forests, people, ecosystems and social systems close around us. We will all recognise the extreme importance of keeping these in good shape. If we do not do this we will have to pay dearly for imported goods and services. This will force us to think constantly about the maintenance of our ecological, technical and social systems. This will be the main reason why we will treat our ecosystems well -- because if we don’t we will soon wish we had.

    Energy

    The Simpler Way will dramatically cut the demand for energy and materials. Firstly, it will be a stable economy so maintenance of frugal structures will generate very different resource demands compared with a growth economy, in which construction and development are intensive.

    In general solar passive building design will greatly reduce the need for space heating and cooling. As explained above, almost no energy will be needed for food production. Only a little will be needed for pumping clean and waste water, as these will be collected and dealt with locally. The need for transport, packaging and marketing will be greatly reduced. Most leisure needs will be met within the settlement at little energy cost. Industrial production will be greatly reduced, and most of it will take place in small local enterprises operating in labour intensive ways. Only a little heavy industry will be needed, e.g. basic steel, railways, buses, and thus mining and timber industries will be small. There will be little need for shipping or air transport. Most cooking would be by good or gas produced from biomass. (The next section includes further energy detail.)

    Land Areas and Footprint.

    Following is a rough, indicative pattern of settlement and land areas. The approximate vision is for a landscape in which towns of 250 households and 1000 people are located 2 km part, centre to centre, and therefore within an area of 400 ha. Every 10 km there might be a large town, on a railway line, and very small cities might be 100 km apart. Their suburbs would be more or less like the town described below.

    If the settled area of our town is 700m across it will occupy 50 ha. If the typical area occupied by roads in an outer Sydney suburb is assumed, but reduced by 3/4 in view of the much lower need for vehicles, roads would occupy about 2 ha, and railways about 1 ha. Converted roads would add about 6.5 ha to commons. Commons within the settlement would occupy about 10.5 ha.

    As has been explained above virtually all food needs except grain and dairy could be met within the settled area, but there would be small farms and plantations outside it. These would supply grain, fibre, wool, timber, dairy products, and energy.

    If each household had on average 15 useful trees, and these were also planted on half the commons at 4mx4m spacing there would be 7000 trees within the settlement. If half of these were fruit and nut trees yielding c 10 t/ha/y, annual per capita production might be c 110 kg, plenty for people and animals. (Some tree crop yields are higher than this.)

    If produced from wheat or corn, flour might require 35 ha just outside the settled area, assuming 200 kg per capita consumption p.a., and 6t/ha yield. However it can be produced at up to three times this yield from tree cops such as carob, algaroba, chestnut and oak, without the energy cost of annual crops.

    Timber requirements in a stable economy would be very small. If 50 kg per capita/y is assumed, 7 ha would be required, at 7t/ha/y harvest. Half of this might be located on commons within the settlement. Firewood for heating and cooking within very well insulated solar passive houses might double this area required.

    Water is assumed to come from local sources, including rooftop collection of rainfall, and from small dams etc., plus intensive mulching and recycling.

    Dairy products might require 45 ha, assuming 100kg per person p.a., 900kg per cow p.a., and 2.5 cows per ha.

    Wool might require 25-30 ha of grassland, but all of this might be found within the settlement and the surrounding plantations (assuming 2kg per person p.a., 25 sheep per ha., and 3.2 kg clean wool per sheep p.a.) Another almost negligible area would be required for cotton etc fibres, assuming 5 tonnes per ha yield.

    The area per town to be set aside for its share of the regional industry, hospitals, colleges, universities, and services would be very small. For example, a tertiary educational institution of 3 ha serving 10 towns averages only 3 square metres per person, or .3 ha per town.

    Adding these areas indicates that 150 ha, 38% of a town’s total 400 ha area would be used for purposes other than energy supply.

    Energy supply sets the biggest problems. First let’s consider the land area that would be required to meet present Australian per capita oil plus gas demand of 117PJ. If this was all to come from biomass at 7t/ha via methanol produced at the equivalent of 34 gallons of petrol (net) per tonne of biomass input, then our town situated in 400 ha would need to harvest 3750 ha of forest! (That is the per capita footprint for this item alone would be 3.75 ha.) In addition a large area would be needed to fuel electricity generators (below).

    Let us therefore assume a very austere energy budget, derived from 100 ha devoted to plantations for energy production, (plus where possible PV, wind, garbage gas, hydro, solar heating panels, within the town, and a share of the national hydro and wind supply from without). For this discussion Sydney’s latitude, 34 degrees, is assumed; for colder climates the problem would be significantly greater.

    Electricity supply would not be so problematic, if extremely frugal use is assumed. Based on records from my homestead, a family of three could meet its electricity needs on about .6kWh/day. (Lights, computer, TV, duct fans, some machinery, but no air-conditioning, electric stove, fridge or washing machine.) This is about 1/50 the typical Sydney household use. The town would therefore need 200kWh/d for domestic needs. The half of this that does not have to be stored might come from a combination of solar PV, solar thermal and wind. (Energy from these sources is likely to remain much too costly and difficult to store.) One quarter might come from hydro and one quarter from the burning of wood, both quantities via generators that can be turned up when intermittent inputs are not available. To meet this demand via a 22% efficient process (i.e., taking in energy used in growing and harvesting as well as generating efficiency) the town would need 10 ha of forest harvested at 7t/ha/y.

    Gas for cooking and refrigeration would come from biomass, mostly wood, but it would include the approximately 500 tonnes of kitchen, toilet, garden and animal wastes p. a. flowing through methane digesters on their way to gardens. The quantity of energy derivable from this source is surprising, probably 3000 cubic metres of gas p.a. Use of refrigerators would have to be very frugal. Community facilities might be necessary, along with solar-passive evaporative coolers ("Koolgardie safes"). Access to local fresh food would eliminate most need for refrigeration.

    Liquid fuels are the big problem. If the remaining 90 ha produced methanol at the equivalent of 34 gallons of petrol (net) per tonne of biomass input, and a 7t/ha/y yield, then 2672 GJ would be produced p.a. Averaged over the 1000 people in the town this is only 2.3% of the present Australian per capita oil plus gas use. If we assume methanol production can be improved to be 1.4 times as efficient (= 45 gal petrol/t) and a four fold improvement in the energy efficiency of the whole energy system, we would still have to get by on about one-eighth of the present Australian Per capita oil and gas use. This should be achievable via The Simpler Way, because there would be so little transport, construction, manufacturing or agricultural energy use.

    The above figures yield an overall footprint per capita of .25 ha. However the national average footprint would be greater than in the example town because people living in bigger towns and in the cities would be more dependent on imported goods, materials and energy, and the above tally does not include things like heavy industry, railways, steel and centralised services (e.g., higher education.) These might raise the per capita footprint to .5 ha, still below the .8 that would be available in a world of 9 billion.

    If we find that more energy is needed than the above .1 ha per person can produce, we will have to resort to biomass plantations further afield, or to locate our settlements more distant from each other to make room for these plantations. Footprint considerations limit this option severely. If we developed plantations which increased the per capita footprint from c .25 ha to .65, the additional .4 ha would yield only another 44 GJ in gross energy, or if converted into methanol, only 12.5 GJ per person, compared with the Australian present average energy use of 117 GJ/y.

    Note again that these numbers have been rough approximations intended to indicate the general scale of the problems, and the general feasibility of the town model presented. They provide a base for others to work out the implications of different assumptions.

    More Communal, Participatory and Cooperative ways.

    The third essential characteristic of the alternative way is that it must be very communal, participatory and cooperative. Firstly, we must share many things. We could have a few stepladders, electric drills, etc., in the neighbourhood workshop, as distinct from one in every house.

    We would be on various voluntary rosters, committees and working bees to carry out most of the windmill maintenance, construction of public works, child minding, nursing, basic educating and care of aged and disadvantaged people in our area, as well as to perform most of the functions councils now carry out for us, such as maintaining our own parks and streets. In addition working bees and committees would maintain the many commons. We would therefore need far fewer bureaucrats and professionals, reducing the amount of income we would have to earn to pay taxes. (When we contribute to working bees we are paying some of our tax.)

    Especially important would be the regular voluntary community working bees. Just imaging how rich your neighbourhood would now be if every Saturday afternoon for the past five years there had been a voluntary working bee doing something that would make it a more pleasant place for all to live.

    There would be far more community than there is now. People would know each other and be interacting on communal projects. Because all would realise that their welfare depended heavily on how well we looked after each other and our ecosystems, there would be powerful incentives for mutual concern, facilitating the public good, and making sure others were content. The situation would be quite different to consumer-capitalist society where there is little incentive on individuals to care for others or their community.

    One would certainly predict a huge decrease in the incidence of personal and social problems and their dollar and social costs. The new neighbourhood would surely be a much healthier and happier place to live, especially for older people.

    Our life experience will mainly be enriched not by personal wealth or talents, but main by having access to public things like a beautiful landscape containing many forests, ponds, animals, herb patches, bamboo clumps, clay pits, little farms and firms, and leisure opportunities close to home, a neighbourhood workshop, many cultural and artistic groups and skilled people to learn from, community festivals and celebrations and a thriving and supportive community.

    Government and politics.

    The political situation would be very different compa
     
  8. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Gee you must type fast Dan the man


    Tezza
     
  9. baldcat

    baldcat Junior Member

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    Like the wind, tezza, like the wind...
     
  10. Franceyne

    Franceyne Junior Member

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    Thanks Dan the Baldcat :D

    Much appreciated - it'll be my reading material for the trip home this evening.

    Cheers,
    Fran.
     
  11. baldcat

    baldcat Junior Member

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    there is more to it ... Let me know if you still cannot get to the link ..
     
  12. Franceyne

    Franceyne Junior Member

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    Thanks Dan, with a bit of cutting and pasting I did get into the link :)
     
  13. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    G'day Anissa

    Would love to get your feedback on how you're finding LInda's system. Am thinking of doing the same thing early next year.

    :)
     
  14. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    welcome anissa :D

    great article and thanks dan for copying it I cant get the link to work either

    as a peace activist / anti militarism campaigner this paragraph stood out for me

    frosty
     
  15. Franceyne

    Franceyne Junior Member

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    Thank you ever so much for sharing that link Anissa. It is very inspiring!
     
  16. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Thanks again for the welcome.

    Cornonthecob:

    The main problems we have are a chain of events resulting from weather. We are in a very windy area and having a tarp on the dome almost blew is inside out. So we took the tarp off. But this meant there was no protection when it rained and the chooks were too exposed to sleep in there during winter. Luckly we also have a hen house. But.. the chooks escape in the morning, for no reason other than we haven't clipped their wings and they simply fly out. We are happy for the chooks to free range a bit as we can catch them easily, but they ate our vegetables and scratch all the mulch away from our trees to get grubs. Generally just making a big mess.

    Tomorrow we will be fencing off around the "big" circle and putting in little gates in each position for the dome. We are also going to fence off some yard so they can free range as well. We will run this area off the hen house as they can then put themselves to bed. I think we will also put some sort of tunnel or something connecting the circle and hen house.

    So I guess it depends on the weather. But just from our 4 month experience I would recommend having a backup more permanent weather protected hen house.

    Also we got the wrong type of pipe (black) the first go. Make sure you get the harder type of pipe (grey). I'd have to ask Craig (husband) the specifics on this, I only know them by colour :D


    Hope this helps!
     
  17. Tamandco

    Tamandco Junior Member

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    Hi Anissa,

    Would there be any chance of you posting a few pics of your setup?

    I'm planning on building a couple of domes but would like to see one in the flesh first. You sound very organised!

    A question about the pipe: You mentioned the black pipe is too soft. I take it that the black pipe refers to the irrigation pipe. Is the grey pipe your hubby suggests, electrical conduit?

    Re your chooks (that's my area 8) ) You really need 6' fencing to keep them in their run, and then you wouldn't need to clip their wings. Ours are in their house at night (like a shed, with the floor reinforced to protect against foxes) then they're release out into their run during the day. The run is also relatively fox proof having a horizontal skirt of cyclone fencing 18" wide buried 8" below the surface, adjacent to and out side the perimeter of the run. The only breach of security is that the run does not anything enclosing the top. The run is fenced with 6' cyclone (chain mesh) fencing and encloses an area approx 3mt x 5mt but most people just use chicken wire.

    We let them out of the run to free range at every opportunity, which is only really when we're about, once again, because of foxes. My vegie area is also enclosed with 6' high chicken wire, so as the chooks can free range, and not make a feast of our hard work. Because most of our animals have the run of the place, we have found it easier to fence the vegies in and the animals out, rather than fence the animals in and the vegies out. :lol: It also keeps out the rabbits, which can be a real problem, and cats, which like to use the lovely soft compost enriched soil as their toilet.

    Tam
     
  18. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    I have two large pens with 8 foot high fences. I was thinking that I would need to go along and peg the bottom down so that foxes couldn't push their way under, but if the little buggers dig am going to have to rethink this. If I laid a foot wide length of wire fencing, tied to the bottom of the fence, and pegged out from the fence would that suffice?
     
  19. ~Tullymoor~

    ~Tullymoor~ Junior Member

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    G'Day CornPerson :D

    A foot wide skirt will be fine but, they'll (foxes) still go over an 8 foot fence if it's not netted/roofed :shock:

    I have a foxproofed shed for my guys at night and an open, roofless 6 foot high netting run for the daytime.
    If I am unlucky enough to lose any to a daytime fox then so be it...they are going, eventually, to be freeranging the whole place and it won't be foxproofed.
    BUT, I can't stand the thought of them getting picked off their perches at night like sitting ducks so their palace is like Alcatraz! I have a 3 feet wide of wire skirt and also asked the local tyre guy for some tyres, (no worries, how many you want?) and placed those around the outside, filled with dirt and then roses, mints, daisies, hebes and anything else I could nick from around the place (MY place, not other ppls places LOL)
    When are you able to move north to your place?
     
  20. Anissa

    Anissa Junior Member

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    Pipes: The black stuff we tried used first was black polypipe. It was to flimsy!! We ended up using white PVC pressure pipe.

    I'll try and get hubby to take some pictures and see if I can get them online.

    We didn't get around to fencing today :( Needed to mow the lawn a bit and Man was if hot here today!
     

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