Article

Permaculture: Regenerative – not Merely Sustainable

Authors:
  • Fresh-lands Environmental Actions, Caversham, United Kingdom.
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

September 2015 saw the International Permaculture Conference1, held in London, followed by the Convergence2, which occupied 6 days at Gilwell Park, on the Essex-London border, where its practitioners gave presentations and workshops on various aspects of permaculture, which is a sustainable design system intended to emulate the principles of living ecosystems. While it has been emphasised3 that such terms as sustainable development, and sustainable agriculture, are really oxymorons, since neither untrammelled growth nor our present form of industrial food production can be maintained in perpetuity, permaculture4 has a value-added factor that extends beyond what might be merely maintained or sustained, which is the quality of regeneration. All sustainable solutions are unsustainable over the longer term, if they are not also intrinsically regenerative. Nature offers the ultimate example of a design that is both sustainable and regenerative, and it is logical to appeal to natural principles for solutions to many of our current problems. This is sometimes taken to mean that we need adopt more “simple” lifestyles, abandoning our technology in the process, but the reality is more complex. Within a broader perspective of regenerative design, permaculture identifies the elements of sustainable living which are harmonious with nature. Discordant practices which lead, e.g. to soil erosion3, fret the environment, and are neither sustainable nor regenerative, but degenerative.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... The perfect example of a 'regenerative system' is a forest where nothing is wasted and the product is 100% recyclable and improves the environment at the process of creation, during usage, recycling and other possible stages of its lifecycle (Rhodes, 2015(Rhodes, , 2017. In a 'regenerative agriculture' context the "improved conditions might include the creation of habitat (including building soil), water purification, and the enhancement of nitrogen and carbon-fixing process in the soil, and so on" (Rhodes, 2017, p. 104). ...
... In a 'regenerative agriculture' context the "improved conditions might include the creation of habitat (including building soil), water purification, and the enhancement of nitrogen and carbon-fixing process in the soil, and so on" (Rhodes, 2017, p. 104). It is argued that the size of the system is also an important factor where small systems are more stable and fulfil the criteria and can be linked together to achieve multiple regenerative bubbles (Rhodes, 2015(Rhodes, , 2017). ...
... Regenerative farming requires the restoration of natural resources employing natural ecological services (Jones, 2003). The aim is to improve soil health and encourage a symbiotic relationship of water quality, vegetation, minimising tilling, and growing green manure, composting, mulching and crop rotation with reduced artificial inputs such as fertilise (Rhodes, 2015(Rhodes, , 2017. But as the new wave of regenerative farming becomes more accepted and moves towards mainstream the term regenerative farming has been adopted by farmers who take little or no action (Rhodes, 2015(Rhodes, , 2017 to change the impacts of the farm but claim to be regenerative, or to have always farmed regeneratively, heeding the first warning signs of greenwashing the regenerative term (NZ Farm Life, 2021). ...
Article
Full-text available
The study proposes a regenerative tourism model. The application of the natural science ideas of regeneration needs to be clarified before the tourism industry can adopt a regenerative tourism model. Without such clarification, there is a high risk of ‘green washing’ and inappropriate adaption of a regenerative model. The borrowing of natural science to industry and its application in social sciences confuse the essence of the true concept of regeneration. In a regenerative agriculture context restoring a holistic system that mimics nature and includes social and economic spheres contributes to improving the whole system. When a social system aims to mimic nature, it needs to incorporate all elements holistically: inputs, outputs and positive and negative externalities. Tourism is a complex and multifaceted industry in nature it requires a self-organisation characteristic that transforms the evolutionary process of societal development. Therefore, it requires a dynamic model which embraces uncertainty, changing global trends and shocks and recommend policy options which are holistic and future proof. The proposed regenerative tourism models rely upon an open-minded exploration, and realistic impacts in the short, medium and long-term consequences on the tourism industry. Tourism by its very nature is an extractive industry. However, holistic decisions must recognise that all elements in natural systems are interconnected so as the tourism stakeholders. It is critical to pay attention to the indicators and characteristics of ‘regeneration’ as adopted by regenerative agriculture to apply them appropriately within the tourism context. This paper examines tourism as a partial-industrialised system using an adaptive cycle model as the key element of panarchy to explain a healthy social-ecological system. Based on this, a regenerative tourism model is drawn along with the indicators of regenerative tourism to measure the degree to which a tourism product is regenerative and sustainable. Keywords: regenerative tourism model, adaptive cycle, Covid-19, panarchy, resilience, sustainability.
... They provide a different approach to farming. It adopts some of the principles of organic farming [173,174]. This form of agriculture uses natural inputs, such as cover crops, composting, and crop rotation to improve soil quality [25] and natural processes to restore the topsoil, water, biomass, biodiversity, and other resources. ...
... In permaculture, an attempt is made to replicate growth patterns occurring in the natural environment so that crops are made to grow in configurations resembling their progenitors. 'Design permaculture' is the extreme form and uses the connections and underlying ecological principles observed in naturally functioning ecosystems to plan all human activities and habitation [173]. Transitioning from an annual extractive to a perennial model is the best chance we have of creating a truly regenerative food future. ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite world food production keeping pace with population growth because of the Green Revolution, the United Nations (UN) State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2022 Report indicates that the number of people affected by hunger has increased to 828 million with 29.3% of the global population food insecure, and 22% of children under five years of age stunted. Many more have low-quality, unhealthy diets and micronutrient deficiencies leading to obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related non-communicable diseases. Additionally, current agro-food systems significantly impact the environment and the climate, including soil and water resources. Frequent natural disasters resulting from climate change, pandemics, and conflicts weaken food systems and exacerbate food insecurity worldwide. In this review, we outline the current knowledge in alternative agricultural practices for achieving sustainability as well as policies and practices that need to be implemented for an equitable distribution of resources and food for achieving several goals in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, animal husbandry, particularly ruminant meat and dairy, accounts for a significant proportion of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use but contributes only 18% of food energy. In contrast, plant-based foods, particularly perennial crops, have the lowest environmental impacts. Therefore, expanding the cultivation of perennials, particularly herbaceous perennials, to replace annual crops, fostering climate-smart food choices, implementing policies and subsidies favoring efficient production systems with low environmental impact, empowering women, and adopting modern biotechnological and digital solutions can help to transform global agro-food systems toward sustainability. There is growing evidence that food security and adequate nutrition for the global population can be achieved using climate-smart, sustainable agricultural practices, while reducing negative environmental impacts of agriculture, including GHG emissions.
... Dans la lignée des travaux d'Augustin Berque (2000 ;, nous nommons mésologisation cette dynamique « d'écologisation par territorialisation ». Les projets de permaculture, bien qu'encore marginaux, esquissent les premiers contours d'une agriculture méso-logique, car (ré)génératrice (Rhodes, 2015) de relations mutuellement et durablement bénéfiques avec le territoire. Les obstacles auxquels se confronte la permaculture mettent en évidence à quel point le méso-logique est aujourd'hui politique, de par la révolution philosophique et culturelle que nécessiterait l'avènement d'un tel modèle agricole (Callicott, 1990 ;Berque, 2017). ...
... Cette dernière impose un renversement de paradigme, à savoir l'adoption d'une perspective fondamentalement non dualiste qui exigerait de redéfinir les limites et la porosité entre nature et (agri)culture (Callicott, 1990 ;de Sainte Marie et al., 2011 ;Hebinck, 2018). Cette perspective, tout en reconnaissant l'impact de l'agriculture sur la nature (et donc la nécessité d'une écologisation de l'agriculture), permettrait de penser en retour une agriculture « génératrice de nature » (Rhodes, 2015 ;Berque, 2017) (Deverre, 2011). Une refondation des systèmes agri-alimentaires dans une perspective mésologique exige alors de promouvoir, parallèlement à l'émergence d'initiatives « en rupture », une mise en réseau des autres acteurs de ces systèmes -agriculteurs, représentants politico-administratifs, chercheurs, paysagistes, habitants, etc. -autour d'un projet biorégional (Magnaghi, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
(EN) Based on ethnographic fieldwork with permaculture practitioners of Swiss Romandie, we highlight the territorial dynamics propelled by the implementation of permaculture. We offer the neologism of mesologisation to better qualify the dynamics, in which the territory is construed as a matrix to design ecological agriculture projects. We then contrast the dynamics of permaculture with those undergone by the Swiss agricultural policy, in order to show and explain why the two seem hard to reconcile, although both have strong environmental objectives at their core. The persisting chasm between the two positions prevents a joint vision of « sustainable agrifood systems » from emerging. (FR) Sur la base d’un terrain ethnographique dans le milieu de la permaculture en Suisse romande, nous mettons en évidence les dynamiques initiées par la permaculture au sein des territoires dans lesquels elle se déploie. Nous qualifions de « mésologisation » la dynamique qu’amorce la permaculture en concevant le milieu (méso) comme une matrice qui guide le design de projets agricoles écologiques et territorialisés. Ce concept permet de faire ressortir les différences entre trajectoires d’écologisation. Nous soutenons ainsi que, bien que la politique agricole suisse et la permaculture portent l’une comme l’autre une dimension écologique forte, elles peinent à se rejoindre – et ceci freine l’avènement d’une vision partagée d’un système agri-alimentaire durable.
... In line with the "health of ecosystems," other authors (e.g., Pauliuk, 2018;Pitt & Heinemeyer, 2015;Rhodes, 2015) interpret regeneration as creating better conditions to support the life-enhancing qualities of ecosystems. However, "better conditions" is an ambiguous expression absent a baseline (i.e., a detailed state in a previous point in time) and measurement of improvements against that baseline. ...
... However, "better conditions" is an ambiguous expression absent a baseline (i.e., a detailed state in a previous point in time) and measurement of improvements against that baseline. Rhodes (2015) mentions that the improved conditions encompass the creation of habitat (including building soil), water purification, and enhancement of nitrogen/carbon-fixing processes in the soil, etc. The author also adds that it is possible to create larger regenerative systems by linking together smaller regenerative units. ...
Article
Full-text available
The most recognized definition of the circular economy is that it is a restorative and regenerative economy. Despite the wide use and importance attributed to the concepts of “restoration” and “regeneration,” they are rarely defined or explained in the circular economy literature. In this context, this study critically examines the two terms, while providing guidance on their future utilization and development. Specifically, the study investigates the origin of the concepts, their adoption in frameworks that anticipated the idea of the circular economy, and their connotations in the circular economy literature. The examination supports the need for clear and distinct definitions, combined with precision in usage. From a review of the literature, restoration is a better‐defined concept than regeneration, although it needs conceptual re‐enforcement relative to the biological/ecological aspects of the circular economy. This study suggests looking in the direction of restoration ecology, a well‐established branch of ecological research. Conversely, regeneration is a symbolic/evocative term with little practical application in the context of circular systems except in the case of certain agricultural practices. Until new conceptual developments intervene, regeneration does not seem to be applicable to the economy as a whole and because of this, might be abandoned as a guiding principle of the circular economy. Unlike regeneration, restoration can be considered a core principle because it has widespread application and can be a point of reference for circular applications. This does not preclude the possibility that other concepts may be needed to augment restoration.
... Permaculture is a philosophy and a method of agricultural processing, developed in an effort to address both the soil damaging consequences of developed world agriculture (Rhodes, 2015) and the extreme levels of human effort in its developing world counterpart (Mollison and Holmgren, 1990, p.1). Permaculture is intended to promote small-scale, intensive and diverse land usage over an extended period, integrated with wild species and agriculture (ibid., p.6). It is founded upon three core ethical principles: care for the earth, care for people and fair shares (Harland, 2013). ...
... In addition, permaculture is founded upon a set of twelve core principles intended to guide the development of spaces where they are applied (see Table 1). Jelinek, 2017, p.208) Starting with these ethics and principles, it is possible for practitioners to develop agricultural spaces which do not cause the degradation of the growing capabilities of soil or water by fertilisers derived from fossil fuels, phosphates or potash (Rhodes, 2015). Further, permacultural practices can help to care for humans through the development of food security and poverty alleviation, especially in the developing world (Arko-Achemfuor, 2014). ...
Thesis
The current public concern about climate change and sustainability provides scientific researchers with the challenge of finding ways to
... Dans la lignée des travaux d'Augustin Berque (2000 ;, nous nommons mésologisation cette dynamique « d'écologisation par territorialisation ». Les projets de permaculture, bien qu'encore marginaux, esquissent les premiers contours d'une agriculture méso-logique, car (ré)génératrice (Rhodes, 2015) de relations mutuellement et durablement bénéfiques avec le territoire. Les obstacles auxquels se confronte la permaculture mettent en évidence à quel point le méso-logique est aujourd'hui politique, de par la révolution philosophique et culturelle que nécessiterait l'avènement d'un tel modèle agricole (Callicott, 1990 ;Berque, 2017). ...
... Cette dernière impose un renversement de paradigme, à savoir l'adoption d'une perspective fondamentalement non dualiste qui exigerait de redéfinir les limites et la porosité entre nature et (agri)culture (Callicott, 1990 ;de Sainte Marie et al., 2011 ;Hebinck, 2018). Cette perspective, tout en reconnaissant l'impact de l'agriculture sur la nature (et donc la nécessité d'une écologisation de l'agriculture), permettrait de penser en retour une agriculture « génératrice de nature » (Rhodes, 2015 ;Berque, 2017) (Deverre, 2011). Une refondation des systèmes agri-alimentaires dans une perspective mésologique exige alors de promouvoir, parallèlement à l'émergence d'initiatives « en rupture », une mise en réseau des autres acteurs de ces systèmes -agriculteurs, représentants politico-administratifs, chercheurs, paysagistes, habitants, etc. -autour d'un projet biorégional (Magnaghi, 2014). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
(EN) Based on ethnographic fieldwork with permaculture practitioners of Swiss Romandie, we highlight the territorial dynamics propelled by the implementation of permaculture. We offer the neologism of mesologisation to better qualify the dynamics, in which the territory is construed as a matrix to design ecological agriculture projects. We then contrast the dynamics of permaculture with those undergone by the Swiss agricultural policy, in order to show and explain why the two seem hard to reconcile, although both have strong environmental objectives at their core. The persisting chasm between the two positions prevents a joint vision of « sustainable agrifood systems » from emerging. (FR) Sur la base d’un terrain ethnographique dans le milieu de la permaculture en Suisse romande, nous mettons en évidence les dynamiques initiées par la permaculture au sein des territoires dans lesquels elle se déploie. Nous qualifions de « mésologisation » la dynamique qu’amorce la permaculture en concevant le milieu (méso) comme une matrice qui guide le design de projets agricoles écologiques et territorialisés. Ce concept permet de faire ressortir les différences entre trajectoires d’écologisation. Nous soutenons ainsi que, bien que la politique agricole suisse et la permaculture portent l’une comme l’autre une dimension écologique forte, elles peinent à se rejoindre – et ceci freine l’avènement d’une vision partagée d’un système agri-alimentaire durable.
... On the other hand, Permaculture, first ranked by the PageRank algorithm for the field is an interesting finding. The goal of Permaculture is to manage the urbanized ecosystem allowing the satisfaction of population's needs, while preserving the stability of natural ecosystem [53]. Permaculture could then be defined as a mixture of fields, such as architecture, biology, silviculture and zootechnics. ...
... Permaculture could then be defined as a mixture of fields, such as architecture, biology, silviculture and zootechnics. The captivating fact about Permaculture is that it seems to have a different nuance compared to Sustainability: Permaculture has a "value-added factor which extends beyond what might be merely maintained or sustained" [53]. Thus, while Sustainability aims to maintain what already exists, Permaculture's purpose is to be regenerative. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Circular Economy has definitely gained a momentum among both, researchers and practitioners. The result is the production of multifarious knowledge, involving different disciplines such as economics, chemistry, design and Industrial Ecology. However, despite the steep growth of articles in Scopus, critics hold that blurriness in defining the Circular Economy is occurring and, due to its interdisciplinary but ambiguous nature, a systemic approach is required in order to set its boundaries. In this work, an innovative methodology is presented and discussed to identify which network of keywords exhaustively depicts the Circular Economy domain, in order to assess if the Circular Economy might be considered as a new paradigm or it represents a relabelling of already existent knowledge. The methodology consists in four steps: first, an initial seed list of keywords related to the Circular Economy is extracted from the Scopus database. Secondly, the network of the overall Wikipedia pages is discussed and, thirdly, two sub-networks, one representing the relevant fields and one the crucial technologies, are pointed out by classifying Wikipedia pages depending on the presence of a specific term in the first sentence. Finally, centrality indices are discussed and the most important clusters are highlighted, revealing the six main fields related to the Circular Economy: Sustainability, Material Flow Analysis, Waste Management, Water Management, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Bioeconomy.
... Frameworks exist for regeneration, such as regenerative development, a process in which human communities and economic activities mutually benefit lifeinducing processes (Mang & Reed, 2012) and manifest in the full potential of improved health for the whole system (Gibbons et al., 2018). Another framework for regenerative agriculture or holistic management (Savory & Duncan, 2016) aims to enhance the ecosystem services of the land (du Plessis & Brandon, 2015), with a focus on improving the health and quality of soils, water, and vegetation (Rhodes, 2015;Savory & Duncan, 2016). However, a regenerative food system framework has not been fully developed. ...
Article
Full-text available
Traditional and Indigenous practices worldwide have aimed to create sustainable and regenerative food systems guided by nature and based on reciprocal relationships between humans and nonhumans. Unfortunately, not all sustainable food system approaches, while striving for less harm rather than a net-positive impact, have considered indigenous knowledge or justice for small-scale producers and their communities. This paper contextualizes and conceptualizes a regenerative food system that addresses harm to the planet and people while creating a net positive impact by integrating a different research and practice framework. First, we offer a positionality statement, followed by our definition and characterization of a regenerative food system; then we compare and contrast conventional and sustainable approaches, making a case for the need to create space for a regenerative food system. Next, we provide a framework of 13 principles for a regenerative food system by weaving the nature-inspired biomimicry framework of Life’s Principles (LPs) with Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) principles, while verifying these practices as they are used among small-scale Indigenous producers from selected arid regions, primarily the U.S. Southwest.
... Asimismo, la llamada química verde, aporta aplicaciones sobre procesos agroindustriales o sobre cómo reducir la emisión de desechos y controlar los residuos peligrosos (Instituto Politécnico Nacional [IPN], 2021). Por su parte, la permacultura sugiere superar el modelo hegemónico de la sostenibilidad -economía verde-, por un concepto de administración de la tierra tendiente a la regeneración de los determinantes de la vida humana y natural, como principio y base iniciales (Rhodes, 2015). En este modelo, el uso de tecnología para resolver los problemas ambientales se volvería más colectivo y democrático, ya que se considera innecesario dejarlos solo en manos de una ciencia costosa y demasiado compleja (Lettinga, 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the face of the climate crisis and socio-environmental degradation, few studies question the technology historically configured in capitalism. Environmental technology is presented as a response, but without marking the terminal limits to the current industrial mode of production. Socio- environmental regeneration is sought but on the basis of an unfinished concept of environmental technology, incapable of integrating the heterogeneity of models and purposes that its techno- scientific practice has deployed in the last 40 years. The exploratory study is based on documentary recovery and on the elaboration of a critical theoretical matrix, whose argumentative development and categories were guided by questions from the concepts of Karl Marx’s “productive forces” and of Jorge Veraza’s “productive forces of humanity”, to 1) specify human productive forces; 2) break down what is understood by environmental technology as a dimension of productive forces; and, 3) delimit environmentally regenerative technologies. Theoretically and in practice, not all ecological technology is truly environmental, nor is it the productive force of humanity. Bases and criteria are presented to evaluate and rethink technological innovations and inventions aligned to the regeneration, preservation, and reproduction of life.
... Sustainable agriculture and nitrogen preservation in soil is highly dependent on a healthy soil ecosystem, in which numerous micro-organisms coexist in symbiotic relationships [13]; therefore, it is imperative to drastically reduce or even abandon the use of synthetic fertiliser in the long term. In this regard, the rise of the permaculture approach is instrumental in guiding the transition away from synthetic fertilisers and dead soil [14]. One major challenge in this initiative is the rate at which nitrogen can be fixed by prokaryotes, as crop growth is proportional to the amount of nitrogen that is available in soil. ...
Article
Full-text available
Nitrogen pollution from agriculture is a major challenge facing our society today. Biological nitrogen fixation is key to combat the damage that is caused by synthetic nitrogen. Azolla spp. are ideal candidates for fast nitrogen fixation. This study aimed to investigate the optimal growth conditions for Azolla pinnata R. Brown. The growth conditions that were investigated included the growth medium type and strength, light intensity, the presence/absence of nitrogen in the medium, pH control, and humidity. Higher light intensities increased plant growth by 32%, on average. The highest humidity (90%) yielded higher growth rate values than lower humidity values (60% and 75%). The presence of nitrogen in the medium had no significant effect on the growth rate of the plants. pH control was critical under the fast growth conditions of high light intensity and high humidity, and it reduced algal growth (from visual observation). The optimal growth rate that was achieved was 0.321 day−1, with a doubling time of 2.16 days. This was achieved by using a 15% strength of the Hoagland solution, high light intensity (20,000 lx), nitrogen present in the medium, and pH control at 90% humidity. These optimised conditions could offer an improvement to the existing phytoremediation systems of Azolla pinnata and aid in the fight against synthetic nitrogen pollution.
... Asimismo, la llamada química verde, aporta aplicaciones sobre procesos agroindustriales o sobre cómo reducir la emisión de desechos y controlar los residuos peligrosos (Instituto Politécnico Nacional [IPN], 2021). Por su parte, la permacultura sugiere superar el modelo hegemónico de la sostenibilidad -economía verde-, por un concepto de administración de la tierra tendiente a la regeneración de los determinantes de la vida humana y natural, como principio y base iniciales (Rhodes, 2015). En este modelo, el uso de tecnología para resolver los problemas ambientales se volvería más colectivo y democrático, ya que se considera innecesario dejarlos solo en manos de una ciencia costosa y demasiado compleja (Lettinga, 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
Ante la crisis climática y la degradación socioambiental, pocos estudios cuestionan a la tecnología configurada históricamente en el capitalismo. A la tecnología ambiental se la presenta como una respuesta, pero sin marcar los límites terminales al modo de producción industrial actual. Además, sobre un concepto de tecnología ambiental inacabado se pretende alcanzar la regeneración socioambiental global. El estudio cualitativo de corte exploratorio se sustenta en una recuperación documental, una matriz teórica crítica y en las categorías fuerzas productivas de Karl Marx y fuerzas productivas de la humanidad para 1) especificar a las fuerzas productivas humanas; 2) desglosar a la tecnología ambiental como dimensión de las fuerzas productivas; y, 3) delimitar a las tecnologías ambientalmente regenerativas. Teóricamente y en la práctica, no toda tecnología ecológica es realmente ambiental, ni fuerza productiva de la humanidad. Se presentan bases y criterios para evaluarlas y repensarlas alineadas a la regeneración, preservación y reproducción de la vida.
... This agricultural approach has also been influential in the regenerative principles in 'permaculture'(Rhodes, 2015). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This study aims to understand and develop a designerly interpretation of the growing call to move beyond (conventional) sustainability that emerged in the late 1990’s. It does so through a theoretical and practical exploration of the implications of regenerative design principles for placemaking. As a testing ground for this mode of working, it explores publicly shared spaces that treat waste as a resource. More specifically: placemaking practices that try to make sense of, and adjust, people’s relationship to waste-making practices. Public space and waste management are generally considered to be on the opposite ends of the spectrum of what is to be seen and unseen in the built landscape. But as we move towards more regenerative modes of waste management, where waste is treated as a resource, human interaction with the conversion of waste into a resource becomes ever more present in societies and built environments. It is therefore relevant to investigate how spatial design can contribute to developing and supporting a culture and system of reuse. This design inquiry develops design theory, practices and places that communicate regenerative ways of relating humans, nonhumans, societies and ecosystems to each other through ecosociospatiality. It explores ways to foster a regenerative society through embodied encounters with spatial practices and places that foster such a mindset. It does so through pondering, experiencing and generating these types of places. It also does so by considering their implications for design thinking and spatial practices beyond conventional sustainability, i.e. the regenerative spatial practices and design thinking involved in regenerative placemaking and spatial design. The study identifies ecosociospatial forms and practices where waste-resource relationships are involved in spatial narrativity. It delineates the nonmodern ecosociotechnic ontology and approach that characterizes regenerative (design) thinking and practice, as well as its intersecting scales of application. It also suggests the implications of these for regenerative spatial poetics and in advancing discourses and enactments of sustainability through emotive forces and effective actions. The study does so by testing and developing research methodologies that fit into what could be considered a prospective method assemblage for design-oriented performative research.
... Regenerative agriculture and ecologically intensive practices promote the use of natural processes to replace external inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers, while maintaining or increasing food production per unit area (Kremen, 2020;Tittonel, 2014). The increased adoption of such practices in agriculture stems, in part, from growing awareness that all sustainable solutions are unsustainable, over the longer term, if they are not also intrinsically regenerative (Rhodes, 2015(Rhodes, , 2017. That regenerative agriculture and the application of ecological intensification practices are being increasingly adopted globally as integral components of sustainable intensification bodes well for the success of an agrosystem approach. ...
Article
The development of modern, industrial agriculture and its high input‐high output carbon energy model is rendering agricultural landscapes less resilient. The expected continued increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, in conjunction with declining soil health and biodiversity losses, could make food more expensive to produce. The United Nations has called for global action by establishing 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), four of which are linked to food production and security: Declining biodiversity (SDG#15); loss of ecosystem services and agroecosystem stability due to increasing stress from food production intensification and climate change (SDG#13); declining soil health due to agricultural practices (SDG#2/SDG#6); and dependence on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to maintain high productivity (SDG#2). To achieve these SDG's, the agriculture sector must take a leading role in reversing the many negative environmental trends apparent in today's agricultural landscapes to ensure that they will adapt and be resilient to climate change in 2030 and beyond. This will demand fundamental changes in how we practice agriculture from an environmental standpoint. Here, we present a perspective focused on the implementation of an agrosystem approach which we define to promote regenerative agriculture, an integrative approach that can provide greater resilience to a changing climate, reverse biodiversity loss, and improve soil health; honours Indigenous ways of knowing and a holistic approach to living off and learning from the land; and supports the establishment of emerging circular economies and community well‐being. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... creating more sustainable food systems began to gain traction. These evolved into large organizations that operate under agro-ecological principles and practices, relating to permaculture, biodynamics, holistic management, and planned grazing (Risser,1985;Savory, 1991;Rhodes, 2015). Regenerative organizations strive to restore the natural ecosystems and the communities these natural ecosystems support (Tomblin, 2009;Rhodes, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
This special issue presents six articles and two invited editorials that explore the antecedents, mechanisms, and consequences of regenerative organizing. Together, they draw on a range of disciplines from both organizational and environmental sciences to discover, theorize, and illustrate life-giving intersections between humans and natural ecosystems in the Anthropocene. This introduction provides an overview of the reasons for, and especially the possibilities of, regenerative organizing as we stress the limits of planetary boundaries in a post-climate change world.
... [91] perma-culture Permaculture seeks to reconnect humans with nature to bring forth abundance by regenerative means, guided by three principal ethics often described as Earth care, people care and fair shares. [92] performance economy "The focus is on the maintenance and exploitation of stock (mainly manufactured capital) rather than linear or circular flows of materials or energy. The performance economy represents a full shift to servitization, with revenue obtained from providing services rather than selling goods." ...
Article
Full-text available
The main aim of the article is to find out the key factors of sustainable development of the Russian Arctic, which is strategically significant for Russia. The academic literature was reviewed to find out the time dynamics of the references to the economic models suitable for achieving the goals of sustainable development, and there has been hyperbolic growth in the attention paid to similar problems all around the world. The article compares three relatively new economic models in order to understand which of them is the most applicable to the promotion of sustainable development in the Russian Arctic: (a) bioeconomy, (b) green economy and (c) circular economy. The analysis of the relevant sources shows that the model of the circular economy is preferable for the Russian Arctic. Most of the article is dedicated to understanding the sources and mechanisms of the circular economy. The schematic description of vertical greenhouses and possibility of using vertical farms are presented in the paper as an example of organization of local food production according to the principles of the circular economy. The article considers a modeled project of creating a vertical farm in the Russian Arctic and a simulated indicator—profit of the vertical farm.
... From their point-of-view, permaculture provided an opportunity to observe and learn how natural phenomena affected their daily lives. In an ecocentric sense, practitioners view themselves participating in the processes of a larger ecosystem (Rhodes, 2015;Aiken, 2017). ...
Thesis
Agricultural landscapes are designed to maximize land area and increase crop yield to ensure food security for the world’s growing population. Consequently, the long-term effects of conventional methods of agriculture are destructive to natural ecosystems and landscapes. The main goal of this study was to look into the concept of permaculture in the Philippines—its practitioners and network, unique landscape structure, and current perspectives--and determine how food security in the household can be addressed without compromising the state of the natural environment. A social network analysis produced data on linkages within the local practitioner network and fieldwork in twelve selected permaculture sites provided data on landscape structure of farms, food consumption behavior of households, and prevailing perspectives of permaculture using mixed methods including farm inventory, crop diversity survey, aerial photography, geographic information systems mapping and network analysis, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, video blog documentation, and self-assessed measure of food security survey. The findings of the study revealed a network of 204 practitioners from Luzon (63%), Visayas (19%) and Mindanao (13%), that has the potential to grow and be influential in Philippine agriculture in the next decade. Secondly, results pointed out that permaculture farms exhibited a classic permaculture landscape zoning pattern: Zone 0-house, Zone 1-garden, Zone 2-grazing, Zone 3-cash crops, Zone 4-food forest and Zone 5-wilderness, containing a network of interrelated components designed for sustainable household food security. And thirdly, three evolving perspectives of permaculture among practitioners, were elicited and documented: 1) ‘ecological’ perspective, an ecocentric view, found to be the most commonly shared one among practitioners, 2) ‘socio-cultural’ perspective emphasizing sustainable lifestyles and 3) ‘agricultural’ perspectives highlighting sustainable food production. This research effort hopes to encourage more scientific inquiry on the subject matter for years to come. Current perspectives can be used as bases to recommend the necessary resources, technologies, and policies to help permaculture systems achieve its desired objectives.
... Permaculture is an approach to the conscious design and implementation of (agro-)ecological farming systems that has a strong overlap with agroecological principles and ideas (Ferguson and Lovell 2014;Rhodes 2015). It is a portmanteau of permanent and agriculture that arose in the 1970s as a concept promoted first by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren and later by a growing number of practically oriented teachers as the movement and its knowledge transfer are organized in a decentralized manner. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Humanity is confronted with a number of pressing and interrelated unsustainability crises including the stark reliance on dwindling finite resources, accelerating climate change, alarming rates of biodiversity loss, and degradation of natural habitats. Industrial agriculture as a specific regime of input intensive, mechanized, large-scale, and uniform food production is one main driver and therefore itself unsustainable. The public, policymakers, and farmers themselves increasingly worry about the decline in soil fertility, loss of topsoil and farming systems not resilient enough at the sight of a warming climate, more erratic rainfall, and predicted increase in drought events. Regenerative Agriculture is one recent contribution to the discourse on a more sustainable agriculture. It started to emerge as a distinct concept a few years ago and puts a strong focus on building soil organic matter in the context of carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation. Especially the USA have seen a surge in interest in Regenerative Agriculture from farmers, NGOs, and businesses. While articles and videos on the topic proliferate it has gained limited attention from scientists and no inquiry in the concept itself has been conducted. This thesis explores the existing scientific and grey literature on the topic to provide an overview of Regenerative Agriculture’s genesis since its first emergence in the 1980s, contemporary understandings regarding definitions, principles and practices, and contextualizes Regenerative Agriculture with other concepts of alternative agriculture including organic farming, climate-smart agriculture, and Conservation Agriculture. The extensive literature review and qualitative content analysis reveal that Regenerative Agriculture is a currently highly dynamic, contested, and entails a large number of at times complementary, at times contradictory understandings. To be a meaningful contribution to the quest for sustainability the more radical contributions to this evolving concept like the large-scale transition to perennial-centred farming systems need to be accentuated without forfeiting the momentum of this emerging movement. This thesis humbly contributes to a scientific discourse on Regenerative Agriculture that is both benevolent and critical which is deemed necessary to develop realistic answers to urgent crises.
... There is a growing amount of evidence that permaculture methods offer a way to address soil degradation, and food insecurity and Food Sovereignty through regenerative or restorative agroecology (Rhodes, 2012). Permaculture also helps to increase overall soil health (Rhodes, 2015), along with natural and social capital in marginalized communities (Altieri, 2009), which helps in addressing food sovereignty. In creating a permaculture design, patterns of landscape and function are emphasised to incorporate the principles of permaculture to minimise waste and energy inputs, by creating systems that are holistic and resilient (Rhodes, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
In addition to providing support for cultural heritage, permaculture guild food forests also provide potential to improve the food security of indigenous peoples in a changing climate. Far from simply being supplemental to people’s diets, in many instances food forests have the potential to provide a substantial proportion of the caloric requirements for a community, reducing their reliance on remotely produced grain crops. This paper advocates further research in this area, utilising work by McCleary (2016) as a template to assist indigenous communities in maintaining their food security and cultural traditions in a rapidly changing climate.
... Critical drivers will be resources, especially of energy, but ultimately it seems likely that Earth Stewardship may prove the only truly sustainable scenario, and indeed the only one that is regenerative of essential natural resources. 130 ...
Article
Amid present concerns over a potential scarcity of critical elements and raw materials that are essential for modern technology, including those for low-carbon energy production, a survey of the present situation, and how it may unfold both in the immediate and the longer term, appears warranted. For elements such as indium, current recycling rates are woefully low, and although a far more effective recycling programme is necessary for most materials, it is likely that a full-scale inauguration of a global renewable energy system will require substitution of many scarcer elements by more Earth-abundant material alternatives. Currently, however, it is fossil fuels that are needed to process them, and many putative Earth-abundant material technologies are insufficiently close to the level of commercial viability required to begin to supplant their fossil fuel equivalents. As part of a significant expansion of renewable energy production, it will be necessary to recycle elements from wind turbines and solar panels (especially thin-film cells). The interconnected nature of particular materials, for example, cadmium, gallium, germanium, indium and tellurium, all mainly being recovered from the production of zinc, aluminium and copper, and helium from natural gas, means that the availability of such ‘hitchhiker’ elements is a function of the reserve size and production rate of the primary (or ‘attractor’) material. Even for those elements that are relatively abundant on Earth, limitations in their production rates/supply may well be experienced on a timescale of decades, and so a more efficient (reduced) use of them, coupled with effective collection and recycling strategies, should be embarked upon urgently.
... The resource depletion/plastic pollution problem may be partly mitigated via the reuse economy, 17 which involves some degree of reusing or repurposing of items, although non-recyclable waste is still generated, 17 while the circular economy 3,18,19 aims to avoid the production of waste altogether, with maximum recycling as an essential component, and is modelled on the way natural systems operate, for example, a forest, where outputs from some processes become inputs for others, 20 for example, the annual leaf litter from trees is cycled into the creation of new soil, which provides a medium for new growth and nourishes and nurtures the entire ecosystem. Thus, we see that improved design, in all respects of our civilisation, may serve to address and mitigate many of the issues, including plastic pollution, that presently confront us, acknowledging that these are not individual problems ( 'the world's woes') 21 that can be approached in isolation, but are interrelated symptoms of a broader reality of systemic failure. Thus, the term 'the changing climate' has been used, 21 rather than 'climate change' 22 -that is, as driven by fossil fuel burning/global warming -to encompass the many indicators of change that we currently experience. ...
Article
Plastic packaging accounts for 36% of all plastics made, but amounts to 47% of all plastic waste; 90% of all plastic items are used once and then discarded, which corresponds to around 50% of the total mass of plastics manufactured. Evidence for the ubiquity of microplastic pollution is accumulating rapidly, and wherever such material is sought, it seems to be found. Thus, microplastics have been identified in Arctic ice, the air, food and drinking water, soils, rivers, aquifers, remote maintain regions, glaciers, the oceans and ocean sediments, including waters and deep sea sediments around Antarctica, and within the deepest marine trenches of the Earth. They have also been detected in the bodies of animals, including humans, and as being passed along the hierarchy of food chains, up to marine top predators. Evidence has also been presented that microplastics are able to cross different life stages of mosquito that use different habitats – larva (feeding) to pupa (non-feeding) to adult terrestrial (flying) – and therefore can be spread from aquatic systems by flying insects. The so-called ‘missing plastic problem’ appears to be, in part, due to limitations in sampling methods, that is, many of the very small microplastic particles may simply escape capture in the trawl nets that are typically employed to collect them, but have been evidenced in grab-sampling experiments. Moreover, it is simply not possible to measure entirely through the vast, oceanic volumes of the oceans. It can, however, be concluded with some confidence that the majority of the plastic is not located at the sea surface, and indeed, several different sinks have been proposed for microplastics, including the sea floor and sediments, the ocean column itself, ice sheets, glaciers and soils. The treatment of land with sewage sludge is also thought to make a significant contribution of microplastics to soil. A substantial amount of airborne microparticulate pollution is created by the abrasion of tyres on road surfaces (and other ‘non-exhaust’ sources), meaning that even electric vehicles are not ‘clean’ in this regard, despite their elimination of tailpipe PM 2.5 and PM 10 emissions. The emergence of nanoplastics in the environment poses a new set of potential threats, although any impacts on human health are not yet known, save, as indicated from model studies. While improved design, manufacture, collection, reuse, repurposing and reprocessing/recycling of plastic items are necessary, overwhelmingly, a curbing in the use of plastic materials in the first place is demanded, particularly from single-use packaging. However, plastic pollution is just one element in the overall matrix of a changing climate (‘the world’s woes’) and must be addressed as part of an integrated consideration of how we use all resources, fossil and otherwise, and the need to change our expectations, goals and lifestyles. In this effort, the role of deglobalisation/relocalisation may prove critical: thus, food and other necessities might be produced more on the local than the global scale, with smaller inputs of fossil fuels for transportation and other purposes, water and fertilisers, along with a marked reduction in the need for plastic packaging.
... Indeed, the many and various different 'woe' elements, while presenting a long list, are really all symptoms of a too rapid and injudicious use of resources of all kinds, including the fossil fuels, rather than being separate problems in their own right. 20,38 Accordingly, when we delve into means for addressing climate change, reducing our carbon emissions, restoring and growing new forests, capturing more carbon in soils, retrofitting buildings and adapting other urban infrastructure, including transportation, to curb overall energy use, recycling phosphorus, using urban permaculture to grow more food locally and so on, we begin to devise a plan for the inauguration of resilient and regenerative global societies, as an intrinsic and implicit part of the global climate. [20][21][22] Thus, it is a global imbalance in the human/resources system that must be redressed, in advance of systemic failure occurring. ...
... 4. Para poder llevar a cabo los objetivos anteriores, se han definido los siguientes principios de diseño (figura 5) (Rhodes, 2015;Veteto & Lockyer, 2008): ...
Book
This book is the product of a set of conferences held during the year 2018 at the Higher Polytechnic School, as an activity to disseminate research. These dissemination activities include contributions from the research group on engineering and project management, sustainability and industrial product design. All lectures have been given by the authors, covering topics of engineering and project management from the complexity sciences; the project and its management from the engineering and systems dynamics; the metabolic fracture, the circular economy, the autopoietic project; the trialic articulation of scientific, technical and social knowledge in engineering and project management; the perspective of science, technology and society; the technologies of project creation from the Euclidean tools to the open BIM and Industria 4.0.; the project as an instructional methodology from Vygotsky’s theory for complex affective thinking. The role of project engineering is often understood as the link between project management and the technical disciplines involved in it. Therefore, you must have sufficient knowledge of the various disciplines, it is also usual that it is the main point of technical contact for the consumer. Currently the industry is immersed in a process of change, called the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0, characterized by digital, intelligent, networked and largely self-managing production; achieved through the union of production techniques, information technology (IT) and the Internet. This new phase of industrialization and automation can be understood as a great opportunity for new opportunities, at the same time that there are considerable challenges. With these boundary conditions, throughout this book different approaches to sustainable technical systems are explored, the importance of the inclusion of the concept of sustainability and circular economy in the industry and the development of theoretical frameworks that take into account the complexity of reality.
... We hope that your center can help us to learn another manner of growing food that does not require cutting down the forest. (quoted in Ch. 5 of Tindall, Apffel-Marglin, and Shearer, 2017) Given the appropriation of indigenous practices by many permaculturalists, and the frequency with which permaculture is likened to different forms of indigenous food cultivation, it is important to take a critical approach to this comparison and understand the cultural specificity of indigenous agriculture (or cultivated ecosystems), and the ways in which Kichwa bioculture serves as an alternative to the fundamentally materialist worldview of mainstream permaculture (Caradonna, 2016;Hathaway, 2011Hathaway, , 2016Rhodes, 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article compares Western permaculture theory and practice with the indigenous agricultural system of the Kichwa-Lamistas in the Department of San Martin in High Amazon Peru. It draws on indigenous theory and collaborations with the Kichwa-Lamistas to argue that the bioculture of the latter represents an alternative not only to modern, industrialized agriculture but also to permaculture. The article profiles the agroecological system used by the Kichwa-Lamistas, which employs agroforestry, the use of anthropogenic Terra Preta soils, and other sustainable practices. Although both the Kichwa-Lamista chacra (farm) and the permaculture farm or garden represent, in theory, two forms of closed-loop, polycultural, agroforestry-based subsistence farming, we argue that the enactments of reciprocity and other spiritual components of Kichwa-Lamista bioculture constitute an alternative to permaculture’s rootedness in scientific, materialist, and universalist traditions, which ultimately treat the natural world as other.
... These movements draw on self-management, both as a micro-perspective of internal markets (Hallal, 1996), or macro-perspective of organised production (Wolff, 2012), also associated to sustainable living in post-carbon society (Hong and Vicdan, 2016). Furthermore, permaculture involves a principle of regeneration or surplus return into the system (Rhodes, 2015). At a grassroots level, the DIY movement is based on amateur manual work and gained popularity with the wide availability of home improvement tools in the 20th century, now enjoying a revival as a subculture (Jeacle, 2016) and being propelled forward by tools such as 3D printing and other movements to be revised under open knowledge labs. ...
Article
Full-text available
Knowledge markets are defined as value exchange systems where the quantity, quality and terms of interactions amongst agents are determined primordially by the dynamic properties of intellectual capital creation and exchange. Such properties include the attributes of knowledge-based value production as well as a distinctive ethos and organisational design. Based on this definition, an array of ten types of knowledge markets is introduced, with a synthetic characterisation for each category. First level types are: intellectual capital dealing, open dealing, crowd dealing, cooperative dealing, non-monetary dealing, social dealing, alternative currencies plus incentive regimes, alternative banking, open knowledge labs and emerging knowledge markets. Each category is broken down into subtypes, each subtype in turn characterised and/or exemplified. The typology description is accompanied by an extensive and updated literature review. The resulting map of knowledge markets may contribute to understand the uniqueness of these novel value-generation arrangements and capitalise on their transformative power.
Chapter
Full-text available
Water harvesting (WH) techniques have experienced a renaissance within a grassroots sustainability concept and movement called ‘permaculture’. Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in the uptake of permaculture inspired solutions designed to restore the water cycle at a landscape level and to facilitate the delivery of ecosystem services as part of a holistic farming approach. In this study, we assessed four reservoirs built on a fruit farm in southern Spain in terms of usefulness. A simple hydrological model was developed utilising on-site data and two free calibration parameters, infiltration and evapotranspiration. The model matches the observations on the ground well, but indicates limited potential of WH within the boundaries of this particular farm. As the decade preceding the reservoir’s inception received more rain (2000–2010), this may have led to a misjudgement for on-farm water harvesting potential in the planning phase. We conclude that the design of WH reservoirs or water landscapes as a contribution to reversing desertification processes and mitigating climate change would benefit from long-term studies on the ground. Moreover, modelling-based scenario analyses can help better understand the dynamics and extent of its potential in establishing an effective and economically viable land restoration process for the region, taking into account climate change projections of increasing desertification in the Mediterranean basin, thereby contributing to the water-soil-food nexus, addressing sustainable development goals (SDGs) related to food (2), water (6), responsible consumption and production (12), climate action (13) and life on land (15).
Article
Full-text available
Permaculture-based farming systems are relatively unexplored in the humid tropics. A few studies have shown that permaculture in such areas has diverse roles and contributions, but these are poorly understood. We hypothesized that the unique social needs of local people or the natural environment in the humid tropics influence how permaculture systems are shaped to operate and have roles that fit under local context. The present study sought to identify and validate these influences toward three different aspects of the permaculture farm: 1) operations, 2) management, and 3) crop diversity. Field surveys were conducted in Indonesia between 2016–2019. A total of six permaculture farms were found across the country, and four farms (one in Yogyakarta and three in Bali) were able to cooperate for the present study. Analysis of quantitative data, such as for determining crop diversity, involved using the Shannon and Simpson diversity indices. We identified that the surveyed permaculture farms’ operations, farm management, and crop diversity were shaped by fundamental permaculture principles, socioeconomic factors such as operational needs and profit-related managerial decisions, and socio-cultural factors such as the beliefs of owners and local societal needs. All permaculture farms shared structural similarities with the Indonesian home garden, ‘pekarangan’ and it is preliminarily assumed that they were based on such design. A combination of these factors shaped Indonesian permaculture systems to operate in multiple ways, with unique farm management practices, and produce diverse types of crops.
Article
A review is made of the current state of agriculture, emphasising issues of soil erosion and dependence on fossil fuels, in regard to achieving food security for a relentlessly enlarging global population. Soil has been described as “the fragile, living skin of the Earth”, and yet both its aliveness and fragility have all too often been ignored in the expansion of agriculture across the face of the globe. Since it is a pivotal component in a global nexus of soil-water-air-energy, how we treat the soil can impact massively on climate change – with either beneficial or detrimental consequences, depending on whether the soil is preserved or degraded. Regenerative agriculture has at its core the intention to improve the health of soil or to restore highly degraded soil, which symbiotically enhances the quality of water, vegetation and land-productivity. By using methods of regenerative agriculture, it is possible not only to increase the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) in existing soils, but to build new soil. This has the effect of drawing down carbon from the atmosphere, while simultaneously improving soil structure and soil health, soil fertility and crop yields, water retention and aquifer recharge – thus ameliorating both flooding and drought, and also the erosion of further soil, since runoff is reduced. Since food production on a more local scale is found to preserve the soil and its quality, urban food production should be seen as a significant potential contributor to regenerative agriculture in the future, so long as the methods employed are themselves ‘regenerative’. If localisation is to become a dominant strategy for dealing with a vastly reduced use of fossil fuels, and preserving soil quality – with increased food production in towns and cities – it will be necessary to incorporate integrated (‘systems’) design approaches such as permaculture and the circular economy (which minimise and repurpose ‘waste’) within the existing urban infrastructure. In addition to growing food in urban space, such actions as draught-proofing and thermally insulating existing building stock, and living/ working on a more local scale, would serve well to cut our overall energy consumption. In order to curb our use of fossil fuels, methods for reducing overall energy use must be considered at least equally important to expanding low-carbon energy production. In synopsis, it is clear that only by moving from the current linear, ‘take, make, dispose (waste-creation)’ model for resource-consumption, to the systemic, circular alternative of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, regenerate’, are we likely to meet demands for future generations.
Article
Full-text available
The oft-repeated claim that Earth's biota is entering a sixth " mass extinction " depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the " background " rates prevailing in the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 114 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
Article
Full-text available
Food production requires application of fertilizers containing phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium on agricultural fields in order to sustain crop yields. However modern agriculture is dependent on phosphorus derived from phosphate rock, which is a non-renewable resource and current global reserves may be depleted in 50–100 years. While phosphorus demand is projected to increase, the expected global peak in phosphorus production is predicted to occur around 2030. The exact timing of peak phosphorus production might be disputed, however it is widely acknowledged within the fertilizer industry that the quality of remaining phosphate rock is decreasing and production costs are increasing. Yet future access to phosphorus receives little or no international attention. This paper puts forward the case for including long-term phosphorus scarcity on the priority agenda for global food security. Opportunities for recovering phosphorus and reducing demand are also addressed together with institutional challenges.
Article
Full-text available
As the world faces an impending dearth of fossil fuels, most immediately oil, alternative sources of energy must be found. 174 PW worth of energy falls onto the top of the Earth's atmosphere in the form of sunlight which is almost 10,000 times the total amount of energy used by humans on Earth, as taken from all sources, oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric power combined. If even a fraction of this could be harvested efficiently, the energy crunch could in principle be averted. Various means for garnering energy from the Sun are presented, including photovoltaics (PV), thin film solar cells, quantum dot cells, concentrating PV and thermal solar power stations, which are more efficient in practical terms. Finally the prospects of space based (satellite) solar power are considered. The caveat is that even if the entire world electricity budget could be met using solar energy, the remaining 80% of energy which is not used as electricity but thermal power (heat) still needs to be found in the absence of fossil fuels. Most pressingly, the decline of cheap plentiful crude oil (peak oil) will not find a substitution via solar unless a mainly electrified transportation system is devised and it is debatable that there is sufficient time and conventional energy remaining to accomplish this. The inevitable contraction of transportation will default a deconstruction of the globalised world economy into that of a system of localised communities.
Article
An overview is presented of the determined degree of global land degradation (principally occurring through soil erosion), with some consideration of its possible impact on global food security. Most determinations of the extent of land degradation (e.g. GLASOD) have been made on the basis of “expert judgement” and perceptions, as opposed to direct measurements of this multifactorial phenomenon. More recently, remote sensing measurements have been made which indicate that while some regions of the Earth are “browning” others are “greening”. The latter effect is thought to be due to fertilisation of the growth of biomass by increasing levels of atmospheric CO2, and indeed the total amount of global biomass was observed to increase by 3.8% during the years 1981 – 2003. Nonetheless, 24% of the Earth's surface had occasioned some degree of degradation in the same time period. It appears that while long-term trends in NDVI (normalised difference vegetation index) derivatives are only broad indicators of land degradation, taken as a proxy, the NDVI/NPP (net primary productivity) trend is able to yield a benchmark that is globally consistent and to illuminate regions in which biologically significant changes are occurring. Thus, attention may be directed to where investigation and action at the ground level is required, i.e. to potential “hot spots” of land degradation and/or erosion. The severity of land degradation through soil erosion, and an according catastrophic threat to the survival of humanity may in part have been overstated, although the rising human population will impose inexorable demands for what the soil can provide. However, the present system of industrialised agriculture would not be possible without plentiful provisions of cheap crude oil and natural gas to supply fuels, pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. It is only on the basis of these inputs that it has been possible for the human population to rise above 7 billion. Hence, if the cheap oil and gas supply fails, global agriculture fails too, with obvious consequences. Accordingly, on grounds of stabilising the climate, preserving the environment, and ensuring the robustness of the global food supply, maintaining and building good soil, in particular improving its SOM content and hence its structure, is highly desirable. Those regions of the world that are significantly degraded are unlikely to support a massive population increase (e.g. Africa, whose population is predicted to grow from its present 1.1 billion to 4.2 billion by 2100), in which case a die-off or mass migration might be expected, if population control is not included explicitly in future plans to achieve food security.
Article
The study of soil is a mature science, whereas related practical methods of regenerative agriculture and permaculture are not. However, despite a paucity of detailed peer reviewed research published on these topics, there is overwhelming evidence both that the methods work and they may offer the means to address a number of prevailing environmental challenges, e.g. peak oil, climate change, carbon capture, unsustainable agriculture and food shortages, peak phosphorus (phosphate), water shortages, environmental pollution, desert reclamation, and soil degradation. What is lacking is a proper scientific study, made in hand with actual development projects. By elucidating the scientific basis of these remarkable phenomena, we may obtain the means for solving some of the otherwise insurmountable problems confronting humanity, simply by observing, and working with, the patterns and forces of nature. This article is intended as a call to arms to make serious investment in researching and actualising these methods on a global scale. Despite claims that peak oil is no longer a threat because vast resources of gas and shale oil (tight oil) can now be recovered by fracking (hydraulic fracturing) combined with horizontal drilling, the reality is that proven actual reserves are only adequate to delay the peak by a few years. Furthermore, because of the rapid depletion rates of flow from gas wells and oil wells that are accessed by fracking, it will be necessary to drill continuously and relentlessly to maintain output, and there are material limits of equipment, technology and trained personnel to do this. Moreover, to make any sensible difference to the liquid fuel crisis, which is the most immediate consequence of peak oil, it would be necessary to convert the worlds one billion vehicles to run on natural gas rather than liquid fuels refined from crude oil, and this would take some considerable time and effort. The loss of widespread personalised transportation is thus inevitable and imminent, meaning a loss of globalised civilisation and a mandatory return to living in smaller localised communities. Permaculture and regenerative agriculture offer potentially the means to provide food and materials on the small scale, and address the wider issues of carbon emissions, and resource shortages. Since over half the World's population lives in cities, it seems likely that strengthening the resilience of these environments, using urban permaculture, may be a crucial strategy in achieving a measured descent in our use of energy and other resources, rather than an abrupt collapse of civilization.
uks-first-energy-positive-house-launches-as-government- scraps-zero-carbon-homes-initiative/8686527.article 11
http://www.nce.co.uk/news/structures/uks-first-energy-positive-house-launches-as-government- scraps-zero-carbon-homes-initiative/8686527.article 11. http://www.reading2020.org.uk/climate-change/ 12. http://zerocarbonbritain.org/zcb-latest-report 13. Sverdrup, H.U., Koca, D. and Ragnarsdottir, K.V. (2013) J. Envir. Sci. Eng., B2, 189.
Global Environ. Change, 19, 292. 16 http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2985914/frances_plan_to_increase_ its_soil_carbon_is_an_example_to_the_world.html 18. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-05-30/for-our-children-s-earth-rebuilding-the-soil-sustaining- the-future 19
  • D Cordell
Cordell, D. et al. (2009) Global Environ. Change, 19, 292. 16. http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/about/en/ 17. http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/commentators/2985914/frances_plan_to_increase_ its_soil_carbon_is_an_example_to_the_world.html 18. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-05-30/for-our-children-s-earth-rebuilding-the-soil-sustaining- the-future 19. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/archives/soil/pdf/soil_biodiversity_brochure_en.pdf 20. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4551e.pdf 21. http://www.futurescenarios.org/
Sci. Prog., 93, 37. 10. http://www.nce.co.uk/news/structures/uks-first-energy-positive-house-launches-as-government- scraps-zero-carbon-homes-initiative/8686527.article 11
  • C J Rhodes
Rhodes, C.J. (2010) Sci. Prog., 93, 37. 10. http://www.nce.co.uk/news/structures/uks-first-energy-positive-house-launches-as-government- scraps-zero-carbon-homes-initiative/8686527.article 11. http://www.reading2020.org.uk/climate-change/ 12. http://zerocarbonbritain.org/zcb-latest-report
  • H U Sverdrup
  • D Koca
  • K V Ragnarsdottir
Sverdrup, H.U., Koca, D. and Ragnarsdottir, K.V. (2013) J. Envir. Sci. Eng., B2, 189.
  • C J Rhodes
Rhodes, C.J. (2014) Sci. Prog., 97, 97.
  • C J Rhodes
Rhodes, C.J. (2012) Sci. Prog., 95, 345.
  • C J Rhodes
Rhodes, C.J. (2010) Sci. Prog., 93, 37.