Mar 8, 2013

Redesigning Civilization -- with Permaculture - YouTube

Published on Jan 3, 2013

Modern agriculture, industry and finance all extract more than they give back, and the Earth is starting to show the strain. How did we get in this mess and what can we do to help our culture get back on track?

The ecological design approach known as permaculture offers powerful tools for the design of regenerative, fair ways to provide food, energy, livelihood, and other needs while letting humans share the planet with the rest of nature. This presentation will give you insight into why our culture has become fundamentally unsustainable, and offers ecologically based solutions that can help create a just and sustainable society. 

This is the sequel to Toby's popular talk, "How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and The Planet, but not Civilization." 

This Man’s Pulled 1,000 Fridges and 78,000 Tires From America’s Rivers

Our home area, boy now man, Chad still committed to river/s cleanup...
The power of individuals inspiring communities! Monte

Full Article at:

February 12, 2013
Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands & Water, gets ready for the cleanup of the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. (Photo: Douglas Graham/Getty Images)

When we think of the Mississippi River the first things that come to mind are probably barge traffic and Tom Sawyer, Dead Zones and Huck Finn. What we probably don’t think of is the U.S.’s longest river as a source of drinking water. Sure, it is integral in the transportation system that moves farm goods and helps keep Walmart shelves filled. We also know that the mighty river is very good at delivering pesticides, fertilizers and other pollution downriver from big cities and farm fields. But drink the muddy waters of the Mississippi? Fat chance.

Truth is, 18 million people who live along its 2,350 miles depend on the Mississippi for more than recreation and irrigation.

No one understands the relationship between commerce, the environment, and the need to keep the Mississippi River clean for future generations better than Chad Pregracke, who has made the river both his home and his work for more than the past two decades. And he’s only 38-years-old.

Growing up on the Illinois side of the river, the son of educators and “river enthusiasts,” Pregracke and his brother were born river rats, with easy access to both the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Summer jobs were being a barge hand, a commercial fisherman, or even shell diver (much of the world’s cultured pearls originate from shells taken off the bottom of the Mississippi).

It wasn’t hard for a 17-year-old to see just how badly polluted and trashed the river system was. Why would a teenager decide to tackle a problem his elders felt comfortable ignoring? Rather than ignore it, Chad started badgering local government agencies to do a better job.

“Living and working on the river, I witnessed tons of unsightly and toxic trash along its banks, and decided I had to do something about it,” Pregracke tells TakePart. “I called state officials to try to get funding to help with my river cleanup efforts and for four years, all I heard was ‘Who are you, kid? What garbage? No, we don’t have any money.’ After countless rejections, I was able to convince one sponsor to support me in 1997, and I worked alone for a year.”

In 1998, at 23, he founded Living Lands & Waters, a nonprofit aimed at helping to clean up the Mississippi. Success—and a lot of good press and public recognition—came his way.

Today the organization is well-funded, employs a full-time staff, owns more than a dozen different boats and every year works the banks of the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio rivers. Since its inception, more than 60,000 volunteers have collected over six million pounds of debris.

“It has grown to be the only ‘industrial strength’ river cleanup organization like it in the world. For up to nine months a year, our eight-to-ten-member crew lives aboard a house barge, traveling from town to town hosting river cleanups, workshops, and tree plantings. With the backing of hundreds of supporters and sponsors, we have been able to host over 600 cleanups in 17 states along 18 rivers. Together we have removed millions of pounds of garbage, including 4,000- 55-gallon barrels, 1,000 refrigerators, 78,000 tires—the list goes on and on.”

For three weeks this March LW&W is hosting an Alternative Spring Break program, where hundreds of college students from all over the country will spend their spring breaks in Memphis, helping Chad and his team. Recently, TakePart spoke with Chad about his inspiration and motivation for the new kind of spring break.

Strategic alliance between Polaris and Bobcat - Polaris Brutus Lineup - Polaris brings a PTO-capable UTV to market

Polaris Brutus HDPTO

Polaris Brutus HD

Polaris Brutus Family

Published on Mar 5, 2013

Polaris introduces "Brutus," its first purpose-built commercial vehicle line and the first side-by-side utility vehicle in the market to deliver front-end power take-off capability. The Brutus product line is part of a strategic alliance between Polaris and Bobcat.

The company experienced its third consecutive year of record sales in 2012 -- $3.2 billion, a 21 percent increase over the previous year's $2.65 billion.

Published on Mar 5, 2013

Polaris Vice President and Chief Technical Office David Longren discusses the company's support for dealers in the introduction of "Brutus," the company's first purpose-built commercial vehicle.

Related Stories:
Key Brutus Features
Polaris to make new Brutus line in Milford, Iowa
Polaris Brutus Lineup Preview - Polaris brings a PTO-capable UTV to market

Geeky - How salty food can make you sicker than you thought - YouTube

Published on Mar 8, 2013

Some good information to head on avoiding too much salt in food... Monte

Doctors and nutritionists have been telling us for years to avoid a high sodium diet - if we want to lower our risks of heart attack - stroke and obesity. But new research is out - that suggests that the benefits of a low-sodium diet may be even greater. - YouTube

Published on Nov 13, 2012

The BioRegions project supports the creation of "bioenergy regions" in rural areas of Europe.

A "bioregion" gets at least one third of its heating and electricity from regional, sustainable bioenergy sources, with focus on solid biomass. Visit for more information.

BioRegions is co-financed by the European Commission within the Intelligent Energy Europe programme. This video was produced by WIP Renewable Energies (project coordinator) and Footprint TV. - YouTube

Mar 5, 2013

Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts and reverse climate change - YouTube

Published on Mar 4, 2013

"Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert," begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And terrifyingly, it's happening to about two-thirds of the world's grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes -- and his work so far shows -- that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.

Allan Savory...
This man knows what he talking about...
I have read about his work for years...
Amazing story of failures leading to success...
Very positive message concerning our chance to reverse climate change...
Amazing what we can do when we watch and learn from nature... Monte

Mar 4, 2013

Nordys Video Contest: From Log to Furniture - YouTube

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Submission to 1st Annual Nordys Video Contest: In this submission from Marty, a huge log is transformed into a beautiful piece of furniture.

Other Great Rockler Videos:
Nordys Video Contest: From Log to Furniture - YouTube

A Sense of Place | Timberhill Oak Savanna

After annual dormant season burns the meadow retains the structural complexity songbird habitat

The Down to Earth Woodworker: Wood Knots & Other Defects - YouTube

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Repair knots, cracks, bark inclusions and other defects in natural (live edge) wood tops. In this video Steve shows us how he fills knots and stabilizes bark inclusions with two-part epoxy... and he shows us how he messed one up and fixed his own mistake!

Make farming energy efficient |

By William G. Moseley

Up until the early 1970s, American automobile manufacturers dominated domestic and global markets. Their failure to adapt to rising energy prices and demand for small vehicles led to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and a loss of global market share. American agriculture is now poised to make a similar mistake if it does not recognize the ground shift in the global energy landscape.

U.S. farming is globally recognized for its productivity and innovation. In fact, much of the technology that drives global food and fiber production today originally was developed in U.S. laboratories, from hybridization to genetic engineering.

But many of these productivity innovations were developed in an era of cheap and abundant fossil fuels.

While American agriculture is some of the most productive in the world in terms of output per unit area, the amount of energy it takes to produce such yields is staggering. Each year, agricultural production accounts for 7 percent of our national energy use, not to mention another 7 percent for processing and packaging, and 3 percent for distribution. We currently burn about 107 gallons of fuel to produce crops on an acre of farmland, with nearly two-thirds of this energy use being in the form of fertilizers and pesticides. The gas guzzling nature of our agriculture soon may make us uncompetitive internationally and the cost of our food too expensive.

U.S. farmers might seem poised to benefit from another year of record farm gate prices. But the rising price of energy threatens profits as input costs also are climbing dramatically.

Democratic presidents, from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, have recognized the inevitable end to the cheap fossil fuel era and made energy conservation, efficiency and alternatives a policy priority. Yet, paradoxically, these same administrations have uncritically embraced energy intensive, conventional agriculture.

The proponents of conventional agriculture have done an admirable job of selling their approach. Their arguments typically rest on two claims. First, that alternative forms of agriculture are far less productive than conventional forms. Second, that addressing global hunger demands more, not less, American style, industrial agriculture. They are wrong on both counts.

Many forms of alternative agriculture are, in fact, highly productive and much more efficient than conventional agriculture. For example, crops grown in intelligent combinations allow one plant to fix nitrogen for another rather than relying solely on increasingly expensive, fossil fuel-based inorganic fertilizers for these plant nutrients. Mixed cropping strategies are also less vulnerable to insect damage and require little to no pesticide use for a reasonable harvest.

Industrial agriculture is also not an appropriate remedy for hunger in many parts of the world as this approach is often cost prohibitive for the rural poor. Worse yet, introducing poor farmers to energy intensive farming methods is problematic if we know that global energy prices are likely to rise.

The direction of American agriculture has not changed for two reasons. First, the agrochemical industry and the nation’s land-grant universities have a great stake in the continued existence of conventional agriculture and lobby on its behalf. Second, our agricultural subsidies support conventional, energy intensive agriculture.

Reorienting our food system will mean subsidizing the transition to a more energy-efficient agriculture rather than the status quo.

William G. Moseley, chair of geography at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., is a co-author of a 2010 National Academy of Science study, “Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences.”

Hits the nail on the head... Monte

Full Article:
Make farming energy efficient |

Agriculture in China | DuPont Chapter 1 - Food is Heaven - YouTube

This makes me sick!
DuPont making a "fresh batch cool-aid" and selling our flawed Industrial Agriculture to Chinese People...
Many corporations only ethic is "profit"

Published on Mar 4, 2013

Visit to learn more about collaborative science-based solutions between DuPont and China.

Finding available resources is a difficult challenge for agriculture in China. In Chapter 1 of Food Is Heaven, DuPont partners with local villages to demonstrate seeding and advanced agriculture technologies to improve crop yields.

Agriculture in China | DuPont Chapter 1 - Food is Heaven - YouTube

Mar 3, 2013

"Ocean conservation through the eyes of a turtle": Green at Google - YouTube

Published on Mar 3, 2013

Dr. Caleb McClennen talks about the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)'s work to protect our planet's oceans, particularly sea turtles in the Caribbean and the threats they face. He is also inviting people to participate in conservation field work at WCS's research station in Belize. This special opportunity is available to eight people from April 20-27, 2013.

Dr. Caleb McClennen serves as Marine Conservation Director at the Wildlife Conservation Society. WCS works around the world to improve fisheries management, establish effective marine reserves, and mitigate the impact of industry to conserve some of the world's most important marine biodiversity in twenty countries and all four oceans.

You can visit the Wildlife Conservation Society at:

New process transforms old milk jugs into everything from lab equipment to cell phone cases

Turn trash into cash... and save energy
March 1, 2013 

To make the lab equipment on the right, Michigan Tech's Joshua Pearce first shredded milk jugs and then turned them into plastic filament. 

A 3D printer transformed the filament into a DremelFuge, a centrifuge for rotary tools. Credit: Sarah Bird/Michigan Technological University 

Suppose you could replace "Made in China" with "Made in my garage." Suppose also that every time you polished off a jug of two percent, you would be stocking up on raw material to make anything from a cell phone case and golf tees to a toy castle and a garlic press. 

Need more things like this to reuse waste... Monte

electron microscope Images of Biochar Hi

by Charmaster on August 21, 2011 in Education

Electron microscope images of high resolution are hard to find on the Internet. That was until now.

Thanks to Biochar Industries / Biochar Projects and Friends of the Char. Here are two stunningly glorious closeup shots of biochar as seen by an electron microscope.

Click on the image to get your free Hi Res version (4megs +)
electron microscope Images

Jocelyn biochar electron microscope images 1

These photos have been placed in the public domain for the benefit of the entire human race so please feel free to use / share / reproduce / disseminate or any other thing you might want to do with them. Please be a champ and give credit to Jocelyn or a nice fat back link to

Here is what Jocelyn had to say about Biochar under an electron microscope images. “I got to use two different 800,000 dollar electron scanning microscopes today to take photos of my biochar. ‘As close as you can get without your eyes getting wet’ !!!. I want one of these devices for my spare room, haha!”

As you can see she has put the elite world of science into the hands of those who can actually do something for the planet. Three cheers for Dr Jocelyn.

Jocelyn biochar under an electron microscope 2

Scientifically speaking this is what an electron microscope is. Courtesy of Wikipedia. An electron microscope is a type of microscope that uses a particle beam of electrons to illuminate the specimen and produce a magnified image. Electron microscopes (EM) have a greater resolving power than a light-poweredoptical microscope. Electrons have wavelengths about 100,000 times shorter than visible light (photons), and can achieve better than 50 pm resolution[1] andmagnifications of up to about 10,000,000x, . Whereas ordinary, non-confocal light microscopes are limited by diffraction to about 200 nm resolution and useful magnifications below 2000x.

Really neat folks and I am proud to have friends who can help me spread the word of Biochar. If you are doing a biochar project no matter how big or small let me know and I will showcase you on this site.

Charmaster Dolph Cooke

Full Article: electron microscope Images of Biochar Hi

How to make biochar | Living the Country Life

Convert plant and animal waste into a fine-grained, porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.
By Mitch Kezar

Cathy Rose makes homemade biochar on her small farm near Delano, Minnesota

Cathy Rose rolls a rusty old steel drum from a storage shed onto the gravel driveway, scraping a flat spot for it with her boot. She goes back for a second and then a third barrel of different diameters, hiking them by knee one atop the other like a Dr. Seuss crazy hat. The contraption isn’t an artsy farm burn barrel, even though that’s pretty much what it is. Cathy is making homemade biochar at her Nature’s Nest Farm west of Delano, Minnesota. This ancient form of fertilizer is gaining ground as a new tool for growing things well.

How it works

To make biochar, says Cathy, you can use any kind of plant matter – tree limbs, twigs, clippings – plus manure, bedding, whatever. Load up the bottom barrel with loosely packed biomass and light it. The three barrels work to create a rocket stove chimney that is the most efficient way to cook.

“The extremely hot fire cooks the biomass down fast, and fast is all about making combustion without making much carbon,” says Cathy. “It’s a scientifically proven way to burn.”

The second barrel rides about 18 inches over the top of a 55-gallon drum. The top barrel is smaller in diameter, which creates the chimney, pulling air through the fire from the bottom. Cathy punched big holes in the bottom of the lowest barrel to get that draft in the chimney working.

She burns it for about an hour or so, and then she snuffs out the fire by closing off the airflow. “I can choke off the fire either with water or by starving it for air – anything so it doesn’t burn all the way to ash,” she says. The biochar produced from her bottom barrel yields about a half bushel.

“From this half bushel, I can treat a good-size garden,” says Cathy. “Unlike lump or processed charcoal, this granule stuff gleans and glistens, and it sounds like broken glass when it dries.

“The biochar I’m making is burned down to small particles, so even the dust is important. A little of this stuff goes a long way,” she says. The hard part is getting it spread evenly. The tiny particles are full of air, the opposite of clay.

“It’s amazing how these particles go about doing their work, like dust, and they still have the capacity to enhance the soil and to carry nutrients,” she says. “I’m never able to spread it as thinly as I need to in order to get its full benefits.

Start small

She used to buy biochar and mix it into her garden. “Now I make it myself,” says Cathy. She encourages new gardeners to use it first in a small plot to understand how it works.

“After you see what it does, you can begin to use it on a larger scale,” she says. “It increases your production with such a little amount of effort and energy, you’ll be amazed!”

The process works on any scale. Cathy knows a farmer who burns manure from 80,000 chickens. He has a computer-operated burner and uses the captured heat to power and heat all his farm buildings. He then sells the biochar produced.

Mix with compost

Homemade biochar needs to be charged with nutrients before being added to the garden. You can mix it with compost or soak it with worm castings tea or a nutrient-rich solution like urine or fish emulsion.

Cathy applies the final product in a thin layer close to the plants. You can also top-dress the soil and work it in with a tiller to the first 4 to 6 inches.

“The longer it’s in the soil, the more the pores fill with microbial activity feeding the soil again and again,” says Cathy. “You use it in a perennial garden or around your trees. If that tree was standing in clay soil, you just made holy ground!”

What Is biochar?

According to the International Biochar Initiative (, biochar production is a 2,000-year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security, and discourage deforestation. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water.

Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and historic soil-management practices. Intensive study of biochar-rich dark earths in the Amazon (terra preta) has led to a wider appreciation of biochar’s unique properties as a soil enhancer.

Pre-Columbian Amazonians are believed to have used biochar to enhance soil productivity. Their method worked by smoldering agricultural waste in pits or trenches. They would cover burning plant matter with soil.

Biochar can be an important tool to increase food security and cropland diversity in areas with severely depleted soils, scarce organic resources, and inadequate water and chemical fertilizer supplies.

Biochar also improves water quality and quantity by increasing soil retention of nutrients and agrochemicals for plant and crop utilization. More nutrients stay in the soil instead of leaching into groundwater.

How to make biochar | Living the Country Life

How to Make Beer Battered Fish - YouTube

Published on Feb 7, 2013

Definitely going to try this... Monte

Get the 5-star recipe @

Watch how to make light and crispy beer-battered fried fish. Pieces of cod are dipped in a batter spiced up with paprika and garlic powder then fried until golden brown.

Original recipe makes 8 servingsChange Servings
 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
 8 (4 ounce) fillets cod
 salt and pepper to taste
 1 cup all-purpose flour
 2 tablespoons garlic powder
 2 tablespoons paprika
 2 teaspoons salt
 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
 1 egg, beaten
 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees F (185 degrees C). Rinse fish, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.

Combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Stir egg into dry ingredients. Gradually mix in beer until a thin batter is formed. You should be able to see the fish through the batter after it has been dipped.

Dip fish fillets into the batter, then drop one at a time into hot oil. Fry fish, turning once, until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels, and serve warm.

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How to Make Beer Battered Fish - YouTube