Nov 9, 2013

Farms Wreck the Environment More Than Fossil Fuels --- Allan Savory: Holistic Management -

Published on Nov 9, 2013

Full video from the UP Experience available at:

Allan Savory, president of the Savory Institute, argues that soil erosion caused by agriculture will cause more damage to the environment than burning fossil fuels.

Full Video:

Allan Savory: Holistic Management from The UP Experience on

SummaryAllan Savory is President & Co-Founder of the Savory Institute. Formerly a farmer, game rancher, politician from Zimbabwe, Savory developed his methodology of "holistic management" to combat desertification for thousands of land, livestock, and wildlife managers.


Allan SavoryAllan was born in Rhodesia, southern Africa. He pursued an early career as a research biologist and Game Ranger in the British Colonial Service of what was then Northern Rhodesia (today Zambia), and later as a farmer, game rancher, politician, and international consultant, based in Southern Rhodesia (today Zimbabwe).

In the 1960s, while working on the interrelated problems of increasing poverty and disappearing wildlife, he made a significant breakthrough in understanding what was causing the degradation and desertification of the world’s grassland ecosystems. Since that time, he has consulted on four continents, developing sustainable solutions to this global problem. Most notably, his methodology of “holistic management” has demonstrated consistent results for thousands of land, livestock, and wildlife managers.

In 1979, Savory immigrated to the United States, where he co-founded the nonprofit organization Holistic Management International with his wife, Jody Butterfield. In 1992, they formed a second nonprofit (social welfare) organization Janine Drnear Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, donating a ranch that would serve as a learning site for people all over Africa. Savory and the five local chiefs are permanent trustees of the Africa Centre. Savory and his wife divide their time between Zimbabwe and New Mexico.

Savory has been awarded the Banksia International Award for the person or organization doing the most for the environment on a global scale, and his current work in Africa continues to receive much praise and recognition. In 2010, the Africa Centre for Holistic Management received the Buckminster Fuller Award for the organization working to solve the world’s most pressing problems.


Room / Small Building / Radiant Hand Warmer

Feeling chilly and don't want to turn up the heat? Here's a cheap and easy alternative to heating a small room - tealights and flowerpots.

By positioning two flowerpots over four tealight candles in a bread baking dish, you can heat a small room or office. The gap between the two pots enables a flow of air that then passes warm air around the room.

We have friends who have tried this method and it works well.

Be aware that the baking dish and pots will become VERY HOT! DO NOT TOUCH THEM whilst the candle is alight.

NEVER leave a naked flame unattended. Blow it out before you leave the room.
Heat Your Room For 8 Pence A Day | Permaculture Magazine

Wood Stove Decathlon - Popular Mechanics People's Choice Award - The Alliance for Green Heat

How Dragon Heaters Work, Dragon HeaterLarger Image

The world's brightest wood stove designers and manufacturers will compete in the Wood Stove Decathlon Nov. 16 to 19 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The competition challenges 14 finalists to build next-generation wood stoves that are low-emission, high-efficiency, innovative, and affordable.

Below is a list of Teams who have been chosen as finalists for the Wood Stove Decathlon. Scroll down to see a list of entities interested in sponsoring Teams. Teams can contact the sponsors directly if they are offering something that may help them.




Company: Dragon Heater
Location: Texas, USA
Team Captain: Sandy Mathieu

Stove: Helix
This heater is a hybrid of traditional wood stoves and rocket heaters. It utilizes a traditional firebox with horizontal feeding of the wood including a glass door for viewing the fire. Then, it uses the turbulence and an internal stack or secondary burn chamber from rocket heaters to produce very hot, optimized burns.


Compay: Inventor and Director Jason Stewart
Location: New Zealand
Team Captain: Jason Stewart
Contact: 64 9 4220054 /

Stove: The IntensiFire
The IntensiFire is a low cost downdraft retrofit for conventional wood stoves. Downdraft brings the benefit of more complete combustion and greater transfer of heat to the home, up to 60% more for the same amount of wood. It will bring the benefits of secondary combustion air to older stoves that don't have this function. Baffles are no longer required and the cost of the IntensiFire is around the same as the cost of a replacement baffle.

Media Coverage: Inventor breaks in to US stove trial
Meet the Contestants


Sponsor: Petersen Tegl
Location: Denmark
Team Captain: Lars Helbro
Contact: +45 23239339 /

Stove: Gymse
The Gymse is a masonry heater developed five years ago to see how simply a masonry heater could be built without compromising the basic qualities of high efficiency, clean burning, easy handling for the user, one fire per day and 24 hours of heat. The Gymse can work on any available chimney flue size, it has the potential of condensing operation, and can operate with the door open (or without a door at all). Since it can be made from clay and almost any kind of stone, the Gymse is designed for affordability as well.
Update: We regret that Helbro Stoves will be unable to participate this year in the Wood Stove Decathlon, due to the logistical limitations and time constraints of building a masonry stove on the National Mall.


Company: HWAM
Location: Denmark
Team Captain: Stephen Rhodes
Contact: 360-961-2258

Stove: HWAM 3630 IHS
The newly-developed Autopilot IHS™ (Intelligent Heat System) from HWAM A/S creates a more intelligent stove that can compete with pellet burning stoves, heat pumps, solar panels and other, non-fossil energy sources. HWAM Autopilot IHS™ not only controls combustion automatically - it also allows the user to set the room temperature to the required level with the help of a remote control which also tells when to refuel the stove. HWAM 3630 IHS features a control system that electronically measures combustion conditions through the use of a lambda oxygen sensor and a thermocouple. An onboard computer then allocates combustion air through three separate valves to help the consumer achieve the same results at home that are obtained in test labs under ideal conditions. This HWAM stove bears the Nordic Ecolabel.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants


Company: New England Hearth & Soapstone
Location: Connecticut, USA
Team Captain: Rod Zander
Contact: 860-491-3091 /

Stove: Intercontinental 2B4W
The 2B4W wood stove is a new type of masonry heater that may be created from recycled materials. The form is two used steel oil barrels stacked on top of each other. Inside, heat is stored in high density firebrick. The stove utilizes a computer combustion control system and an O2 (lambda) sensor which reduces operator error and provides convenience. The owner uses less wood and gets more heat, perfect for a low energy home or a third world dwelling as primary heat. The exterior barrels may be decorated to create a very localized motif, or can be simple modern industrial stainless steel. Application is worldwide from temperate to boreal zones, from alpine mountains to the seashore.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants


Company: Unforgettable Fire LLC
Team Captain: Roger M Lehet
Location: Washington State, USA
Contact: 206 850 2322 /

Stove: Kimberly Stove™
The Kimberly Stove is a cylindrical shaped stove measuring 25.5 inches tall with a 10 inch diameter weighing 56 pounds. It has been built with off grid and emergency preparedness in mind and as such is portable so it can be used in a myriad of applications. The design is a gasification chamber on the bottom and an afterburner on the top. The stove is manufactured for durability and ease of use. Other key features include a thermo electric generator, hot water coils, an oven, 12 volt blower system and accessories for portability. The installation costs are reduced due to size and ease of installation. Kimberly was originally designed for use in small spaces such as boats, RV's and tiny houses, but can heat up to 1500 sq/ft of well insulated living space. It can provide domestic heat while cooking, baking, producing hot water and electricity.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants
Popular Mechanics' Team Profile


School: University of Maryland, College Park
Location: Maryland, USA
Team Captain: Taylor Myers
Contact: 301-514-6937 /

Stove: Mulciber Wood Stove
The Mulciber Wood Stove seeks to provide a clean, simple, and easy-to-use wood stove. Simple heat recovery and smart ventilation and burning control systems are built in. Air flow is controlled by automatic systems, responding to changes in the burning environment and constantly maintaining the ideal burning conditions. Even start up is easy with a forced air ventilation system. The unique co-axial inlet helps harvest excess heat that normally just goes out the chimney while keeping the system closed to the rest of the home. Thermoelectric generators provide power to circulate stove heat throughout the home, creating a more comfortable environment.

Media coverage:
Popular Mechanics' Team Profile


Company: Ofenbau & Feuerstellen
Location: Austria
Team Captain: Richard Jussel
Contact: +43281251128 /
This team is looking for partners.

Stove: Ecolabelled Tile Stove
This is an Austrian Kachelofen (tile stove) with a combustion chamber that received the Eco-label of Austria. The tile stove incorporates this eco-labeled combustion chamber technology for cooking and heating. It achieves low emissions through the way the air streams into the inner body of the stove. The air inlet leads through a tight baffle/damper situated in the stove's base and branches to controlled slits into the combustion chamber.


Company: Inven Inc
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Team Captain: Dan McFarland
Contact: 508-631-4123 /
This team is looking for sponsors/partners.

Stove: SmartStove™
SmartStove™ is a control system designed to automate stove controls throughout the combustion cycle of a cordwood insert or stove. By combining active manipulation of the draft and fan controls, users are free to go about their lives without having to constantly make adjustments to keep a wood fire burning efficiently. The SmartStove uses an electronic combustion control system combining state of the art electronics and firmware developed specifically for cordwood appliances.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants


Company: Travis Industries, Inc.
Location: Washington State, USA
Team Captain: Alan Atemboski
Contact: 425-609-2500 /

Stove: Travis
The Cape Cod™ is Lopi's "Super Stove" boasting 80% efficiency (HHV, using B415 test) and 0.45 grams per hour, making it the cleanest burning wood stove as tested on the U.S. market. This stove features a massive firebox and convection heat exchanger and is designed to be durable and attractive in cast iron.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants
Popular Mechanics' Team Profile


Company: Tulikivi US Inc
Location: Finland
Team Captain: Päivi Saarelainen (Mrs.)

Stove: Hiisi 4
The Hiisi is Tulikivi's smallest hybrid heat-retaining fireplace and is especially well suited to modern low energy construction projects. It's designed to already meet the world's tightest emissions standards set for 2015. The Hiisi differs from standard room-heating stoves in that these are not normally heat-retaining units. The Hiisi's heat-retaining soapstone releases heat more slowly, and in the form of soft, pleasant radiant heat and can heat water. Despite its compact size, the Hiisi is a hybrid fireplaces, meanings that both pellets and wood can be burned in their firebox without the need for any further equipment, accessories or even electricity.

Company: Walker Stoves
Location: Washington, USA
Team Captain: Matt Remine

Stove: Walker Stove
The Walker Stove can be installed as a stand-alone heater, incorporated into a masonry stove installation or coupled to the optional Mass Modules thermal batteries. By using a combustion design which allows the exhaust flue to be decoupled from the burn chamber, the Walker Stove virtually eliminates the potential for dangerous over fire events, as well as eliminating the possibility of a chimney fire. This same design allows The Walker Stove to be used as the heart of a system of heated mass thermal storage or as a stand-alone space heater.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants
Popular Mechanics' Team Profile


Company: Wittus-Fire by Design
Location: New York, United States
Team Captain: Niels Wittus
Contact: 914-764-5679 /

Stove: XEOOS TwinFire®
The Wittus Twinfire is a double chambered wood burning stove. Originally designed by two German Engineers as a way to provide an efficient burning method and minimize pollution in third world countries, the xeoos® Twinfire has a patented combustion system that accounts for high efficiency wood burning capacity and is EPA certified and approved to UL / ULC standards. The concept behind the combustion system is called "gasification": a process that converts carbonaceous materials, such as wood, into the simpler elements carbon monoxide and hydrogen by reacting the raw material at high temperatures. This process results in a gas mixture that is often referred to as woodgas, which is superheated and mixed with air and results in complete combustion and high efficiency.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants


Company: Woodstock Soapstone Company Inc.
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Team Captain: Thomas Morrissey
Contact: 603-298-5955 /

Stove: Ideal Steel Hybrid
The Union Hybrid stove is designed to be clean, efficient, affordable, and fun to use. The Union Hybrid stove is an advanced performance hybrid: it employs secondary combustion and a catalytic combustor, along with a self-regulating air/fuel ratio for maximum output and efficiency. The Union Hybrid stove is also a materials hybrid, using steel, cast iron, and soapstone to build durability and thermal mass into an affordable final product. The styling of the Union Hybrid stove pays homage to American Industry and Manufacturing by incorporating an industrial design aesthetic.

Media Coverage: Meet the Contestants

Wood Stove Decathlon Finalist: Dragon Heater
The world's brightest wood stove designers and manufacturers will compete in the Wood Stove Decathlon Nov. 16 to 19 at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The competition challenges 14 finalists to build next-generation wood stoves that are low-emission, high-efficiency, innovative, and affordable. We wanted to hear more about these stoves in the builders' own words. Today: Sandy Mathieu, whose Texas-based company, Dragon Heaters, builds a hybrid stove with a patent-pending combustion chamber. (Don't forget to vote for your favorite! Popular Mechanics will present a People's Choice Award to the finalist that earns the most votes.)

Read more: Wood Stove Decathlon Finalist: Dragon Heater - Popular Mechanics
Follow us: @PopMech on Twitter | popularmechanics on Facebook
Visit us at

The Alliance for Green Heat

Nov 8, 2013

Time to skip a turn with buying land?

DANIEL LOOKER 11/05/2013

In the farmland market, are you planning your next move?

If farming were a game that comes in a box, some Iowa fields would be the equivalent of Monopoly’s Boardwalk. Just this fall, land near Cedar Rapids with a corn suitability rating of 83 out of a potential 100 brought $18,000 an acre.

It missed the record $21,900-an-acre sale in the northwest part of the state in October 2012. Both prices are out of the ordinary. USDA’s most recent cropland average, from early summer, puts Iowa land at $8,600 an acre – behind only Arizona and top-ranked California, with a $10,190 average.

Even that $8,600 value makes paper millionaires of any part-time farmer lucky enough to own 116 acres of mediocre land. Iowa land appreciated at almost 18% last year, according to USDA. The rest of the Corn Belt was only slightly behind, with similar double-digit growth and with Illinois and Indiana land prices above $7,000. All these averages understate top land values by a lot, as any farmer in the “I” states will tell you.

Several years of this giddy, double-digit ride also make most of us a little nervous, prompting fears of a bubble.

Economist Mike Duffy doesn’t see one.

“We haven’t really had that irrational exuberance. It’s been exuberance fueled by record income,” he says. Income shared by nearly everyone. The bottom third of Iowa Farm Business Association members usually don’t report a profit. They did in 1973, 2011, and 2012.

Few people know the Iowa land market better than this veteran Iowa State University economist. He remembers the painful ag land price collapse of the 1980s, when he worked to help farm families hold livelihoods together.

Duffy’s statistical reach goes far. “I have rent and value data back into the 1920s,” he says. He goes to auctions and follows sales. Each May, he helps run a land valuation conference attended by real estate brokers. Duffy puts together a land value survey that has been going since 1941. This year’s results are out next month.

What does he see now? In May, a survey of land experts at the valuation conference forecasts 14% higher values in the year ending last month.

“Most of that increase has already occurred,” Duffy says. “It’s kind of a precarious market, kind of teetering.”

Some recent auctions met sellers’ goals; others didn’t.

“The big run-ups we’ve been having definitely aren’t occurring, and I don’t think they will,” Duffy says.

That view is widely shared. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s most recent land value survey showed no gain in the second quarter of this year, with values slipping some in Illinois and Michigan. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s survey this summer says, “While most bankers expected farmland values to remain at current levels, an increasing number of respondents felt that farmland values may have peaked.”

Illinois farmland prices increased only 2.5% to 3% in the first half of 2013, says a survey in that state.

A private survey conducted by Rabobank shows a similar trend for farmland values of an increase of about 2% to 3%.

“If we get lower prices on this crop, then we expect to see a leveling off into next year, as well,” says Sterling Liddell, a Rabobank economist and vice president in St. Louis.

The Iowa Realtor’s Land Institute survey of Iowa values released in September showed annual growth of 10.6% – but just 1.2% from March to September.

Jim and Cathy Sladek, who farm near Iowa City, are among those who look at all this and are staying out of the land market. “I don’t have a crystal ball here, but the reason land prices went up is because of high crop prices and low interest rates,” he says.

Odds of interest rates staying at historic lows and corn prices rebounding to last year’s $7 range “are slim to none,” he says. “To me, that just indicates land is going to soften for a while.”

Sladek says it almost makes sense to sell some of the land he owns so that he could rent more until land prices settle back.

“If I were strictly a business person and didn’t have an attachment to the land, from a pure economic standpoint, that’s what I should be doing,” he says.

He’s not, of course. He already rents part of his family’s operation, which is scattered across five counties. Sladek started his farming career in the 1980s, when he cautiously began buying land. He limited himself to paying no more than $14 for each corn suitability rating point. “Now it’s going for $140 a point. It’s crazy,” he says.

I agree. We all know that part of the Midwest land price boom is tied to growth in corn demand for ethanol and strong soybean exports to China. Both markets are likely maturing.

So Sladek is biding his time. “I keep telling my son, it may not be like the 1980s, but there will be an opportunity to buy land,” he says. He admits, even now, he would have a hard time resisting a parcel up for sale if he could see it from his farm office window – if it’s “one I have an emotional attachment to,” he says. “I have to admit, I’m a farmer.”

That’s precisely why the land market isn’t a board game. Land grows commodities. Land itself isn’t a commodity. Each parcel is unique, often with emotional appeal. That’s one of many reasons why prices likely won’t crash. Yet, Duffy offers a caution and says, “Everybody forgets that in 2009, which was just four years ago, we saw a drop in value.” Roll the dice carefully.

Time to skip a turn with buying land?

Prairie Fire: Dan Armstrong: Books

"It's unbelievably current, reads like a thriller, totally absorbing, and covers everything immediate: grain shortages and grain markets, family farmers organizing against government and agribusinesses, oil pipelines and depletion, Central Asia, Afghanistan wars and terrorists, Washington's power players (the establishment), the CIA and its drug connection, the chemical industry, aerospace industry, defense industry, electronics, surveillance. I mean it's all there. " one reader wrote.
Prairie Fire: Dan Armstrong:

The Bean and Grain Project: Outperforming Chemical Agriculture - YouTube

Published on Nov 7, 2013

The Bean and Grain Project is exploring bean, grain, and edible seed varieties which can be added to those already grown in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Oregon Tilth co-founder and farmer Harry MacCormack shares wisdom and stories about farms transitioning from chemical to organic farming. His book "The Transition Document: Toward a Biologically Resilient Agriculture" is a compendium of organic practices, like using compost tea to feed soil micro-organisms. Dan Armstrong, the author of the novel "Prairie Fire", notes that the project aims to increase the diversity of staple crops and add resilience to the regional food system.

Peak Moment TV exists because of viewers like you. Subscribe to news and donate at, right side. Thanks for being in the Peak Moment community.

The Bean and Grain Project: Outperforming Chemical Agriculture - YouTube
Grain Display

Nov 5, 2013

Noam Chomsky slams Canada's shale gas energy plans | Environment |

Exploitation of Canada's tar sands and shale gas will have dire consequences for the environment, says Chomsky

Martin Lukacs, Friday 1 November 2013

Noam Chomsky speaking at University of Montreal conference. Photograph: JeanYves Ahern/Demotix/Corbis

Canada's rush to exploit its tar sands and shale gas resources will destroy the environment "as fast as possible", according to Noam Chomsky.

In an interview with the Guardian, the linguist and author criticised theenergy policies of the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

He said: "It means taking every drop of hydrocarbon out of the ground, whether it's shale gas in New Brunswick or tar sands in Alberta and trying to destroy the environment as fast as possible, with barely a question raised about what the world will look like as a result."

But indigenous peoples in Canada blocking fossil fuel developments are taking the lead in combatting climate change, he said. Chomsky highlighted indigenous opposition to the Alberta tar sands, the oil deposit that is Canada's fastest growing source of carbon emissions and is slated for massive expansion despite attracting international criticism and protest.

"It is pretty ironic that the so-called 'least advanced' people are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us, while the richest and most powerful among us are the ones who are trying to drive the society to destruction," said Chomsky.

Chomsky expressed concern about an indigenous community in New Brunswick whose encampment blockading shale gas exploration was raided by a heavily armed Canadian police force two weeks ago.

Those protests come on the heels of the indigenous-led Idle No More movement that sprang up in late 2012 in response to the Harper government's repeal of numerous environmental protections and aggressive promotion of resource projects, often on indigenous lands.

Chomsky was in Montreal last weekend to give a lecture and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the magazine Canadian Dimension.

He told the Guardian that progressives "should work climate change into their efforts to organise", but in a way that emphasises how addressing climate change can improve rather than worsen peoples' lives.

"If it's a prophecy of doom, it will act as a dampener, and people's reaction will be ok, I'll enjoy myself for a couple of years while there's still a chance. But as a call to action, it can be energising. Like, do you want your children, and grandchildren, to have a decent life?"

While supporting the principles of the "degrowth" movement that aims to reign in over-production and over-consumption, Chomsky cited mass transportation, localised agriculture, and energy efficiency improvements as useful forms of growth that could mitigate climate change and improve quality of living.

"If you could take a subway from the suburbs in Boston, where I live, to downtown in 10 minutes, that improves your life over sitting in a traffic jam. People should see that."

Chomsky said that a "major issue" behind climate change is the deficiencies of the market system.

"Markets are lethal, if only because of ignoring externalities, the impacts of their transactions on the environment," he said.

"When you turn to energy production, in market exchanges each participant is asking what can I gain from it? You don't ask what are the costs to others. In this case the cost to others is the destruction of the environment. So the externalities are not trivial."

Chomsky said during the 2008 financial crisis, the big banks could "forget the fact that they're supposed to believe in markets, run cap in hand to the government and say bail us out".

"In the case of the environment there's no one to bail it out."

Noam Chomsky slams Canada's shale gas energy plans | Environment |