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Pia Jensen

Nov 18, 2017


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This year's International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) and Conference is 27 November to 2 December in Hyderabad and Medak.

"There’s a certain enthusiasm with which Hyderabadis with a keen interest in farming speak about the forthcoming International Permaculture Convergence (IPC) and Conference. Chemical-free farming is just the beginning of a learning curve. A lot goes into making our food nutritious and ensuring the soil in a farm remains healthy. A meeting point of science and traditional farming techniques make it possible.

Well known environmentalist Vandana Shiva, permaculture designer and educator Robyn Francis from Australia, author-activist Starhawk from the US and Austrian teacher Margarethe Holzer are among the several speakers who will participate at the 13th edition of IPC, which will take place in Hyderabad and Medak.

From sustainable farming methods to water conservation systems, role of women in the environment to ways of handling radiation in the soil and body in the aftermath of a situation such as the Fukushima disaster, several issues will be discussed.

The Conference and the Convergence will do more than just talking about issues. There will be several workshops to get hands-on experience in permaculture methods. The IPC 2017’s focus is ‘Towards Healthy Societies’ and will be addressed through six sub categories — women as agents of change, sustainable water resource management, revitalising and preserving traditional farming practices, permaculture as social responsibility, grassroots permaculture in action, permaculture and climate change adaptation.

The Convergence venues, the 10-acre Aranya Agricultural Alternatives (AAA) and 100-acre Polam farm, have been a beehive of activity for the last few months. Nearly 50 volunteers from 20 countries have been working towards setting up facilities for the delegates for the five-day Convergence. “We will be hosting 400 international delegates, 250 from AP and Telangana, and 125 from the rest of India. After the two-day Conference in Hyderabad, those registered for the Convergence will move to Polam where arrangements have been made for their stay and food,” informs Padmavati Koppula, CEO of Aranya."

Read more:

Wish I could go. Perhaps some folks from Climate CoLab can go. It should be an incredible experience.


Pia Jensen

Dec 12, 2017


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Food for thought:

"To return to the example of the end of the Cold War: without the other factors, citizen diplomacy might have accomplished little. Of course in specifying what we want, the modality within our reach may require something else or much else. But unless we say what we want, we are unlikely to get it.

One barrier to saying what we want is) the risk of being thought foolish or impractical or, as in the case of citizen diplomacy, too, sympathetic to the other side. Another barrier is the fear of failure or penalty. A third is the charge of obsessiveness, as in “the danger of nuclear war seems to have obsessed Helen Caldicott (born in Australia), Yvgeny Chazov (Soviet Union), Daniel Ellsberg, Beatrice Fihn (Sweden), Randall Forsberg, John Hersey, Robert Jay Lifton, Bernard Lown, Eugene Rabinowitch (Soviet Union), Bertrand Russell (the U.K.), Jonathan Schell, and many, many others, including some of the same scientists who created the bomb, such as Leo Szilard (Hungary).

Recently Lifton has compiled evidence that a growing number of people are engaging with the two big issues of our time, the danger of nuclear war and of climate change. They are, he says, “swerving” toward something other than denial or rejuction, as shown, for example, by the Paris conference on climate change. Okay, one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases isn’t a reliable partner (that would be the U.S.). Okay, the commitments lack any enforcement mechanism. And okay, the commitments even if met would be inadequate. But, says Lifton, the Paris conference was a start, a taking seriously of the danger, of promising some remedial action."

Source: Seemingly Impossible

Hung Vo

Jan 4, 2018


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I could tell by your proposal that you invested a lot of time in thinking about this envisaged "network." A few follow-up questions: how feasible is this proposal? is having it under a UN agency the most appropriate choice (strengths and limitations)? Further, there are many "networks" and organizations doing similar projects (planting trees), so why do you think another one is better? Name aside, this appears to be a tree-planting proposal. How is this different from other initiatives that currently exist? 

Pia Jensen

Jan 6, 2018


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Thank for asking for clarification, Hung Vo. Following are my responses to your questions.

Vo: how feasible is this proposal?

Taking into consideration the large number of organizations working with youth, planting trees, empowering youth in technology, pushing forward with technological solutions for food, water, energy and health, and global agreements to address climate issues and sustainability goals in bold and immediate ways, I think this project proposal has great potential and is very feasible. It only requires commitment and support from people who are determined to take serious actions towards addressing and resolving climate issues. Both tree planting and technological applications have proven effective in mitigating and managing critical issues. By engaging and empowering youth, as was done in the past through Youth Conservation Corps, the global community taps into a large source of energy and innovation.

About impacts of trees on CO2/GHG (the following borrowed from Empower rural families to achieve a healthier future through hands-on education!)

  • By growing more food in the community, people will not need to drive to larger communities to purchase food. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels.
  • By utilizing organic and permaculture principles and practices, there will be no applications of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides needed. This is not only important to create a sustainable, closed-loop food production system, but it also strengthens the health of community members.
  • Community members will become agents of change as they learn more about their impacts on the environment and learn how to change and adapt. This will have a generational effect.

Climate Change

A plan to create a cultural and behavioral shift from conventional agricultural practices to permaculture to mitigate, reverse and face the impacts of climate change for rural families and farmers in Nicaragua.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main driver of climate change. Our current state of overloading the atmosphere with CO2 is caused by burning fossil fuels, cutting down and burning forests, with the main driving industry, agriculture with livestock emissions, carbon releasing from soil tillage and chemical use (source 1).

According to Union of Concerned Scientists, the major impacts of climate change are:

  • Longer and more damaging wildfire seasons

  • More frequent and intense heat waves

  • Heavier precipitation and flooding

  • Accelerating sea level rise

So how can permaculture and regenerative agriculture be the answer to climate change?

Regenerative organic agriculture is integral to the climate solution. Regenerative organic agriculture refers to working with nature to utilize photosynthesis and healthy soil microbiology to draw down greenhouse gases (source 2).

By changing farming practices to regenerative systems, we can:

  • Increase soil organic carbon stocks

  • Decrease greenhouse gas emissions

  • Maintaining yields

  • Improve water retention in the land

  • Family farms can improve profitability

  • Traditional farming communities can revitalize

  • Develop biodiversity and resilience ecosystems

El Tambo CO2 Sequestering Calculation

82 families with one acre each, equals 36 tonnes of CO2 x 82 = 2952 tonnes of CO2 pulled from the atmosphere in El Tambo.

About impacts of technology on agriculture, water, energy, and health:

Each of the above resources demonstrates multiple positive outcomes that technology and youth can create through entrepreneurial activities addressing ten identified SDGs in the proposal.

Vo: is having it under a UN agency the most appropriate choice (strengths and limitations)?

The UN is the representative organization for all nations participating in global climate (an other) initiatives. The UN is a natural "hub" to organize a global network to address the UN Sustainability Goals. The UN has put forward this contest topic, which means it assumes some "ownership" of the outcome.


  • Easy access to major climate initiatives stakeholders
  • Built-in procedures for negotiations and policy-making to drive initiatives
  • Built-in support systems for knowledge sharing
  • Built-in youth development systems and programs
  • UN agencies are seeking grass-roots solutions to further success of the identified SDGs and as such, it is in their best interest to support winning proposals


  • Opposition forces - those whose goals are compromised by climate and sustainability initiatives and who act to hinder progress of global citizens trying to implement projects addressing climate and sustainability issues
  • Political and corporate corruption which results in assassinations of people working for environmental protections which would further the identified SDGs
  • Apparent inability of the UN to effectively protect the integrity of climate and sustainability projects due to the above (opposition forces and corruption)

Vo: Further, there are many "networks" and organizations doing similar projects (planting trees), so why do you think another one is better?

Two distinctive characteristics of this proposal set it apart from organizations planting trees.

This proposal isn't just a tree planting project - the networking of educational and empowerment forces working with youth makes this a project driven by already existing platforms through which climate and sustainability goals can be addressed with little additional funding to support activities, including technology initiatives that address areas of interest beyond tree planting, such as energy, water, agriculture, and health. It's much bigger than a tree planting project. It's a new and large wave of energetic resources being harnessed.

Most tree planting projects are focused on specific regional or local areas and don't address global needs or deforestation realities. This proposal seeks to align organizations spread throughout the world and to develop and use technology to not only plant trees and food forests and to strengthen food delivery systems, but to halt destructive forestry practices, enhance energy innovation and develop health solutions through technology. This project proposal seeks to empower future decision-makers in food security and assistive technology entrepreneurial pursuits leading to greater climate resiliency and financial gain. Regenerative agriculture, which permaculture emphasizes, addresses and provides viable solutions for energy, water, health and food security.

Vo: Name aside, this appears to be a tree-planting proposal. How is this different from other initiatives that currently exist?

The response above addresses this duplicative question, but, I will add that there is no organization currently operating that revolves around youth to push forward the development and management of regenerative agricultural projects (permaculture, food forests, livestock management) coupled with the development and promotion of assistive technologies on a global scale utilizing tens of thousands of already existing organizations and potentially millions of youth and their mentors.

As they say: "Go big or go home."

Pia Jensen

Jan 9, 2018


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In the following video, John Kohler tours an Arizona urban farm and explains the regenerative properties of the site and it's plants and trees. Urban Farm grows Fruit Trees & Vegetables with Flood Water Irrigation in the Desert In case you are unfamiliar with any of these practices, this is a very informative tour.

Pia Jensen

Jan 26, 2018


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Published today, a review of technology tools to aid farmers/food production folks - Gardening Gadgets that Give You a Green Thumb at CES 2018: Smart Garden Tech by John Kohler of  Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens (youtube). I plan to note the tech he presents in the proposal.


Pia Jensen

Feb 6, 2018


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Example of agency funding for community forestry - via USDA-FS-UCF-01-2019 - 2019 National Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program.

Estimated Total Program Funding:$900,000
Award Ceiling:$200,000
Award Floor:$75,000

"The Secretary of Agriculture has a congressionally designated advisory council that assists the U.S. Forest Service in establishing the grant categories and recommendations of final proposals for the Forest Service to consider. This is the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council (Council).The Council serves to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the status of the nation’s urban and community forests and related natural resources. The Council seeks to establish sustainable urban and community forests, by encouraging communities of all sizes to manage and protect their natural resources, which, if well managed, improves the public’s health, well-being, economic vitality, and creates resilient ecosystems for present and future generations.Urban and Community Forestry Program RequirementsThe Council recommends urban and community forestry projects that have national or multi-state application and impact through the U.S. Forest Service’s competitive Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost-Share Grant Program. A proposal’s content must meet the Urban and Community Forestry program authorities as designated by Congress in the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act, (Section 9 PDF, pp. 19-24) State & Private Cooperative Forestry Handbook of Programs and the annual criteria set forth by the Council. A listing of the previously funded projects can be viewed at Urban Forestry South list of past NUCFAC grants."

Pia Jensen

Feb 8, 2018


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Monoculture? Jan 2018 - Iceland Is Growing New Forests for the First Time in 1,000 Years

Pia Jensen

Feb 17, 2018


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Great news! Peru Moves to Protect ‘One of the Last Great Intact Forests’"The remote rain forests in Peru’s northeast corner are vast — so vast that the clouds that form above them can influence rainfall in the western United States. The region contains species, especially unusual fish, that are unlike any found elsewhere on Earth. Scientists studying the area’s fauna and flora may gain insights into evolutionary processes and into the ecological health and geological history of the Amazon.Now the area has become home to one of the Western Hemisphere’s newest national parks. Yaguas National Park will protect millions of acres of roadless wilderness — and the indigenous people who rely on it — from development and deforestation.“This is a place where the forest stretches to the horizon,” said Corine Vriesendorp, a conservation ecologist at The Field Museum in Chicago, one of many organizations that worked to win the national park designation, Peru’s highest level of protection. “This is one of the last great intact forests on the globe.”" source:

Pia Jensen

Feb 18, 2018


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Trees as a political hot potato - Planting trees below Turkish bombs in Syria