About this site
If acted upon, the practical and cost-effective ideas, techniques, and systems presented on this site should provide synergistic results in reversing environmental degradation, in restoring or even improving/enhancing soils, grasslands and forests, as well as increasing food production, carbon fixation, and improving microclimates, around the world.
One of the best things any country can do is to improve its soils, and restore or preferably enhance its forest/vegetation cover. Improved soils are like a capital investment, now and for future generations, and obviously lead to increased agricultural productivity, as well as economic growth and social stability. The long-term viability of any society is dependant on a stable foundation of wisely managed agricultural systems and ecosystems, including soils.
Roosevelt stated that “A nation which destroys its soils destroys itself” (1907). Equally, it could be said that “A nation which builds its soils builds itself”. Terra preta springs to mind, as an example. However, around the world today, land degradation, deforestation and desertification are the norm. Other problems follow as a result, such as social, health and economic problems, droughts, floods and famines. In turn, the root cause of most of these problems (illegal logging and wildlife poaching for example), is our flawed human nature, including dishonesty and corruption, greed, short-sightedness, the lust for power, and a selfish lack of care for the welfare of our fellow human beings, and for future generations. The poor state of the environment is causally linked to our moral condition, as well as economic pressures and ignorance (which could also be argued to stem from moral issues). The world would be a much better place if we all strived to actively live up to solid Christian values such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and “love thy neighbour as thyself”.
Some may dispute the idea that environmental degradation and other environmental problems are linked to, or even largely caused by a lack of morality, but a couple of less obvious examples below may convince them otherwise:
“An estimated 80 per cent of all logging in Indonesia is now illegal. In poor countries where forests are one of the few valuable natural resources, corruption and government money-raising by armies, rebel goups and militias often contribute to forest destruction. Liberia, Myanmar (Burma) and Papua New Guinea are recent well-documented examples.” Pg. 156. Fragile Earth. Collins.
“A Victorian (a state in SE Australia) crime syndicate has allegedly been trafficking hundreds of thousands of dollars of abalone a year. Fourteen people have been arrested as part of the investigation into the alleged trafficking of commercial quantities of abalone, rock lobster and shellfish”. Cairns Post newspaper, cairnspost.com.au,October 15 2014. Pg 19. So organised crime is involved, which is a law and order issue, and a law enforcement issue, and the laws of a nation/society are largely based on the moral values of that nation. Of course the money that organised crime syndicates make out of immoral trafficking, goes towards making those syndicates stronger, so that they can carry out more immoral activities.
“There’s even evidence that poaching now fuels terrorism – militant groups like Somalia’s al-Shabab derive a portion of their income from wildlife trafficking”. Save the Animals. Walsh, Bryan. Time magazine, August 15, 2014. pg. 28. Here we have the double blow of the loss of elephants, rhinos etc., plus the immoral earnings would help the terrorist groups to recruit and arm themselves, so that they can be more effective in immorally terrorising and murdering innocent people.
“The man with a new idea is a crank – until the idea succeeds”
Many of the ideas presented here are a combination of good ideas from other people; their scientific research results, other research or observations, inventions, innovations, deductions and speculations.
Great inventions such as the wheel, the internal combustion engine, glass etc., combined into a system can result in something even better: the motor vehicle. Combining the compressive strength of concrete with the tensile strength of steel produces something better again: re-inforced concrete. Paper, ink, moveable type and the screw press had to be invented before Johannes Gutenberg could invent the printing press. “The best ideas come from building on the ideas and inventions of others.” (Johnson 2010).
Good ideas combined can result in a system where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For reforestation and to restore degraded environments, the great inventions of farmer managed natural regeneration and planned grazing/holistic management, could be combined with the AID plus seeds treatment, for example, to form something still better; a cost-effective and synergistic environmental restoration (or even enhancement) system.
You may already be involved in reforestation or agroforestry, and doing your bit. If you have any ideas, practical suggestions, constructive criticism, feedback or experiences you would like to contribute, these would be welcome, for the benefit of all. The materials on this site including articles, illustrations and photos should help you to get better results, and get more done for less cost and in less time. There is also a wealth of information on the links page.
It is my hope that proactive, cooperative, grassroots activity by individuals and small groups of people, preferably working smart rather than hard, will combine to make the world a better place.
We should be tending the garden, not trashing it.
“The greatest works are done by the ones.
The hundreds do not often do much, the companies never;
it is the units, the single individuals,
that are the power and the might”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Johnson, Steven. 2010. Where Good Ideas Come From – The Seven Patterns of Innovation. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-141-03340-2. Back cover.
It has been my pleasure to study nature and grow plants, for over forty years, in various countries. Born in Durban, South Africa, I grew up mostly in Cape Town, and then I lived in the UK for a few years, then in Melbourne, Australia, and now in tropical Cairns.
My qualifications include a science degree majoring in horticulture, a permaculture design certificate, a training and assessment certificate, and others not relevant to this site.
I have worked for the Department of Agriculture in Victoria, Australia in scientific research in entomology, on fruit trees, and plant quarantine. Also, the National Parks and Wildlife section of the Department of Environment in Queensland Australia as a trainer. I have conducted, or been involved in, research trials in entomology, seed scarification techniques, capillary irrigation, potting media, chemical growth retardants, propagation techniques and greenhouse heating.
I have been in charge of, or involved in, various tree planting and revegetation/reforestation projects in Victoria, and North Queensland, Australia, and formulated a management plan for revegetating and managing a bushland reserve in suburban Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
I have worked in landscape design, construction and maintenance of farms, parks and private gardens, and Melbourne Zoo. I have managed or worked in propagation, production and retail plant nurseries, and been self-employed in horticultural consultancy.
I have about five years of teaching/training experience, including Aboriginal communities, unemployed youth, university courses from certificate to degree, and private enterprise training.
Several articles, photos and illustrations of mine have been published in horticultural and farming magazines. I have also proofread a book, and am involved in peer review of scientific research papers.
For about sixteen years I have worked as a naturalist tour guide, including four wheel drive camping safaris and local tours, interpreting gardens, the rain forest, the reef, and nature generally for visitors from all around the world (my present employment). I have also worked as a chef, an artist/photographer, and in concreting and carpentry.
I continue to enjoy studying nature and growing plants.
David Clode B. App. Sc. (hort.), Melb. Uni., Certificate Permaculture Design.
African Tulip tree, Spathodea campanulata.
Thanks to the following people, all of whom have helped in some way or another:
Peter Brady, Sian Butler, Bryan Clode, Michael Clode, Beach Codevilla, Hubert De Foresta, Dexter Dombro, Milo Bekins Faries, Dennis Garrity, Getachew Jenberu, Gordon May, Peter Morgan, Torsten Muller, Damon Ramsey, Tony Rinaudo, Arthur Rothwell, Nigel and Laya Ross, Allan Savory, Ranil Senanayake, Leslie Smith, Chris Stuart, Willem Van Cotthem.
Thank you very much to the folks at WordPress.com for making this site possible, and for making WordPress.com user-friendly for those who are not computer experts. Great job guys, thank you!
A few paintings below…
The Central Australian desert waits for the rain. Pastel painting by Sian Butler.
You can download and print off more of Sian Butler’s and my paintings (free), and photos of tropical flowers, trees, landscapes etc. at http://tracts4free.wordpress.com.
“…the first essential component of social justice
is adequate food for all mankind”
Norman Borlaug. The father of the green revolution, and Nobel Peace prize winner.
Licuala ramsayi, the Daintree fan palm, Cape Tribulation beach.