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Permaculture in the desert


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Permaculture in the Arava desert in Israel. Basic soil, water, and waste solutions, natural building, creative recycling, the green apprenticeship at kibbutz Lotan, ecovillage design, and alternative desert technology.

Published in: Design, Technology
  • More Green less drought, that's good
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  • Thanks for sharing n Kibbutz Lotan Center for Creative Ecology. This is the kind of stuff I like to write about.

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Permaculture in the desert

  1. 1. <ul><ul><li>Exploring Sustainability in Southern Israel </li></ul></ul>Permaculture in the Desert through the eyes of Eden Vardy
  2. 2. ahhhh.
  3. 3. b sustainability is beautiful!
  4. 4. Where?
  5. 5. somewhere dry...
  6. 6. The Arava Desert <ul><li>Second most extreme desert in the world! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Average of 20mm of rainfall per year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Actually, 13mm has been the record over the past 10 years </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Daily evaporation in the Arava exceeds annual rainfall! </li></ul></ul></ul>Ara Arava
  7. 7. The Arava Desert
  8. 8. Kibbutz Lotan <ul><li>Founded in 1982 </li></ul><ul><li>Has maintained financial cooperation and socialist model </li></ul><ul><li>Founders chose the Arava as there is no political conflict over this harsh desert; political stability and minimal conflict seemed a logical foundation for community sustainability... </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sustainable?
  10. 10. flourishing habitat around Kibbutz Lotan
  11. 11. abundant life
  12. 12. With access to water limited to aquifers (between 40 and 600 meters below the surface), water consumption may exceed replenishment. In the hot desert, no water = instant death. <ul><li>Essentially all plants rely on irrigation, the “dripper” is the lifeline! </li></ul>
  13. 13. Kibbutz Lotan Organic Garden (drip irrigation)‏
  14. 14. But... <ul><li>Incredible breakthroughs happen in the most challenging situations! </li></ul>
  15. 15. Earthen wall and geodessic dome Like innovative and beautiful structures!
  16. 16. and flourishing gardens
  17. 17. Desert Garden
  18. 18. Kibbutz Lotan amidst the harsh Arava
  19. 19. <ul><li>Learning to grow food and live comfortably in such an extreme environment simplifies the challenges of moderate climates </li></ul>sheet mulch garden- building soil from wastes (manure, weeds cardboard)‏
  20. 21. The Green Apprenticeship <ul><ul><li>An intensive 11 week “hands on” program in ecological community living taught on Kibbutz Lotan. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. Ecological components of the Green Apprenticeship: <ul><li>Permaculture! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Loads of Mud building! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ecological technology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organic gardening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water and waste management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Group dynamics / problem solving / community (eco village) living </li></ul></ul>
  22. 23. Green Apprentices (GA's)‏ learning to work together‏
  23. 24. GA's
  24. 25. GA group picture
  25. 27. What is Permaculture?
  26. 28. <ul><li>Everyone has his / her own definition </li></ul><ul><li>The term (coined by Bill Mollison) originally developed as PERMAnent agriCULTURE expanded to mean permanent culture (refering to human culture)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>I understand permaculture as an environmentally regenerative system designed to sustain itself </li></ul>
  27. 29. Closed Nutrient loops <ul><li>In a permaculture system, all wastes... (manure, food scraps, weeds, waste water, junk, etc.) ...become resources (compost, animal feed, irrigation, building material, etc.) </li></ul>
  28. 30. <ul><li>Permaculture design includes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sustainable “natural” shelters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regenerative agriculture (working to constantly improve soil conditions for future generations)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Waste elimination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working together! </li></ul></ul>
  29. 31. food scraps for sheet mulch garden (old food will soon grow new food!)‏
  30. 32. Permaculture Ethics:
  31. 33. listen up!
  32. 34. Care for the Earth! planting trees, eliminating waste, improving soil
  33. 35. Care for People! helping each other out
  34. 36. like a friendly massage
  35. 37. Sharing of Resources!
  36. 38. sharing pizza
  37. 39. sharing a broom
  38. 40. sharing tractors
  39. 41. <ul><ul><li>and most importantly, sharing ideas </li></ul></ul>
  40. 42. Permaculture in the Desert <ul><li>“ It's not how much you have, its how many times you use it” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use all resources to their fullest potential </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use shade whenever possible- on buildings and crops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>keep things cold </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prevent water loss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>prevent sun damage / burning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use the sun whenever it can be beneficial </li></ul><ul><ul><li>solar cooking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>passive heating (using sunlight as heat source... thermal battery)‏ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>energy </li></ul></ul>
  41. 43. future “living” shade structure
  42. 45. Ecological Building and Technology
  43. 46. parabolic solar cooker
  44. 47. taboon (earthen) oven geodessic domes solar oven
  45. 48. solar powered mud tea house
  46. 49. wind catching “desert coolers” on homes homes with wind catching “desert coolers”
  47. 50. MUD!!! <ul><li>Earth's prime building material – easy to work with, abundant, and strong </li></ul><ul><li>A mixture of clay, sand, and fibre (proportions depend on clay content of local soil)‏ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fibre is generally straw- however hair, paper, dry grass and other alternatives can be used depending on local availability </li></ul></ul>
  48. 51. making mud (its fun)‏
  49. 52. Gettin' dirty is OK! <ul><li>Dirt, Soil, Mud, Earth... we must get over our paradigms that this is yucky, it covers all that is under us, it is our foundation! </li></ul><ul><li>In Hebrew, adam (man) comes from the word adama (earth)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Plus, its fun! </li></ul><ul><li>LET YOUR KIDS GET DIRTY! </li></ul>
  50. 53. making cob
  51. 54. weee!
  52. 55. worms!
  53. 56. and the finished product is beautiful!
  54. 57. Straw <ul><li>Potentially the easiest construction method </li></ul><ul><li>Straw Bales are an agricultural by-product, the stock of all grains we eat! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>renewable resource </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>when compressed, straw is very strong, comparable to bricks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Excellent insulation </li></ul>
  55. 58. building a straw bale room
  56. 59. in the room
  57. 60. Insulation VS mass ... <ul><li>Insulation (straw, fur, etc.) slows heat transfer, Mass (mud, concrete, stone, etc.) holds heat and slowly releases it </li></ul><ul><li>For optimum temperature consistency, place insulation on the outside of a structure and thermal mass on the inside </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>this principal is true for heating and cooling: </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>houses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>refrigerators </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>solar ovens </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>taboons (earth ovens)‏ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>green houses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  58. 61. solar oven thermal mass insulation
  59. 62. Dome, Sweet Dome <ul><li>Geodessic dome hybrid </li></ul><ul><li>Straw bale insulated </li></ul><ul><li>5 cm mud covering straw bales applied in 3 coats for fire protection (thicker mud on inside)‏ </li></ul><ul><li>Effective for passive cooling and heating using a light, easy to build structure... and it feels great inside! </li></ul>
  60. 63. geodessic straw bale mud dome
  61. 64. building the frame
  62. 65. my beloved home... after 3 coats of mud and beautification
  63. 66. inside the dome
  64. 67. Believe It or Not: <ul><ul><li>You can build your own home... </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It's affordable, easy, and FUN! </li></ul></ul>
  65. 69. Bustan Neighbourhood <ul><ul><li>Eco Village of Kibbutz Lotan </li></ul></ul>
  66. 70. neighbourhood west view: domes
  67. 71. dome entrance ways (before beautification)‏
  68. 72. After Beautification
  69. 73. future classroom
  70. 74. dining area / social quarters: (community space is very important!)‏
  71. 75. composting toilets (1)‏ (where all the shit goes down!)‏
  72. 76. composting toilet
  73. 77. composting toilets (2)‏
  74. 78. wash area showers
  75. 79. neighbourhood (north view)‏
  76. 80. Northwest view
  77. 82. Fun Projects: Practical experiments in sustainability and laughter during the Green Apprenticeship
  78. 83. mud bench stage 1: fill tires with junk
  79. 84. mud bench stage 2: first coat (sticky mud)‏
  80. 85. mud bench stage 3: rock and concrete “ good shoes” base
  81. 86. mud bench stage 4 and 5: thick second coat mud and aesthetic (no straw) final coat
  82. 87. finished with reused veggie oil and turpentine
  83. 88. neighbourhood sheet mulch garden
  84. 89. personal veggie gardens (after 1 month)‏
  85. 90. double dug compost trench garden
  86. 91. children play dome
  87. 92. cob wall
  88. 93. new domes frame construction
  89. 95. “ Organic” Gardening <ul><ul><li>Why Not Conventional Agriculture? </li></ul></ul>
  90. 96. nice and peaceful..
  91. 97. kinda scary...
  92. 98. Desert Everywhere! <ul><li>Conventional agriculture is creating desert characteristics all over the world... </li></ul><ul><li>The United States number 1 export is SOIL (topsoil). Lost to erosion, pouring into streams, Life sustaining soil is being thrown away. </li></ul><ul><li>Ever increasing industrial farming is causing large scale desertification </li></ul>
  93. 99. desertification of what once was lush (where did all the trees go?)‏ studying gardening in the desert doesn't seem so crazy anymore...
  94. 100. pesticides and fertilizers have killed the micro- organisms in the soil, leaving it dry and sad... healthy ecosystems need topsoil!
  95. 101. topsoil lost to wind erosion after clear cut
  96. 103. There Is Hope!
  97. 105. Soil Solutions= Waste and Water Management
  98. 106. <ul><li>Erosion control can be as simple as planting trees. </li></ul><ul><li>Organic “wastes” (food scraps, weeds, humanure, etc.) can be made into compost- man made topsoil! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>builds fertile, nutritious soil for healthy, nutritious food </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reduces the concept of waste which is not prevalent in nature (WASTE = FOOD!). </li></ul></ul>
  99. 107. A word on humanure composting <ul><li>“ All fecal microorganisms, including enteric viruses and roundworm eggs, will die if the temperature exceeds 46 C (114.8 F) for one week” Joseph Jenkins, p. 14 The Humanure Handbook. A well maintained compost pile will have no trouble heating itself to this temperature. </li></ul><ul><li>Composting toilets are increasing in popularity and are become very aesthetic, easy to maintain, and have no bad smells! Imagine if they would replace those nasty port- a- potties... </li></ul>
  100. 108. <ul><li>Composting may be the best way to deal with our excrement... not only does it produce a sanitary environmental commodity (VS a hazardous waste), but it prevents five to six gallons of drinking water from being thrown away (every time we flush). </li></ul>
  101. 109. Compost (Human created Topsoil): Can Save the World Today! make your own pile at home!
  102. 110. 3 feet by 3 feet pile is ideal size
  103. 111. Mix Carbon and Nitrogen (thin layers are best): <ul><li>Carbon: Brown (Dry) material </li></ul><ul><ul><li>straw </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>dry leaves / dry weeds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>paper / cardboard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sawdust </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nitrogen: Green (wet) material (always cover with Dry layer)‏ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>food scraps </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>kaka / urine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>green weeds </li></ul></ul>*If smelly, add Carbon...
  104. 112. home (continuous) compost system: ready compost at base
  105. 113. The Bottom Line <ul><ul><li>healthy, living soil= healthy food = healthy, happy people! </li></ul></ul>
  106. 114. Water Management <ul><li>Using rainwater catchment systems (from roof run off) for home and agriculture use reduces tension on aquifers </li></ul><ul><li>Building rainwater catchment swales (ditches on contour) allows water to slowly infuse the land, in some cases alleviating the need to irrigate at all. Swales have proven to raise the water table... and they even work in the dead sea valley! </li></ul>
  107. 115. Greywater <ul><li>Shower, sink, and laundry water can easily be reused in the garden or yard... this reduces water usage, waste, and pressure on sewage treatment plants, keeping chemicals like chlorine out of our watershed. </li></ul>
  108. 116. PLANT TREES <ul><li>Planting trees stores CO 2 , provides food, fuel, fodder, nutrients for soil, building materials, fencing, animal habitats, mulch, and shade for humans, animals, and plants! </li></ul><ul><li>“ It is probably the best thing we can do for the world” (Mike Kaplan – Permaculture “guru” of Kibbutz Lotan) </li></ul>
  109. 117. 7 year old trees Neot Smadar
  110. 118. planted Oasis: Naot Smadar
  111. 119. Elaine Solloway's “desert compatible” tree orchard: Kibbutz Ketura
  112. 120. trees in the desert yielding topsoil!
  113. 121. So ... <ul><li>It is possible to improve living conditions and solve ecological dilemmas! </li></ul>
  114. 123. <ul><li>But we must work together in order to achieve it. </li></ul><ul><li>The world is not going to change for us, we must change for the world... </li></ul><ul><li>The change is as simple as seeing ourselves as part of the system (permaculture principle), and thus affected by our every action </li></ul>
  115. 124. volunteer work with Bedoin near Beer Sheva
  116. 125. We can not go back to tribal ways, but we can learn a lot from where we have been. Lets move Forward TOGETHER- using technology appropriately, focusing on our potential, and be the stewards of regeneration!
  117. 126. its fun to work together!
  118. 127. your turn!
  119. 128. help put the common back into sense!