Wednesday, June 24, 2009

World Environment Day in India

World environment day celebration in Green path

Vande Mataram!
Sujalam, suphalam, malayaja shitalam,
Shasyashyamalam, Mataram!

When translated it means

I bow to thee, Mother,
richly-watered, richly-fruited,
cool with the winds of the south,
dark with the crops of the harvests,
The Mother!

In the rapid pace of development we have inflicted serious damage to the natural resources and consequently we are now faced with questions as Where is that Sujalam ( clean water) ? Where is that Suphalam ( healthy crop) ? and where is that malayaja shitalam ( refreshing air) ? These questions have given rise to a process of serious thinking to safeguard the environment and the quality of natural resources for sustainability. As a result more and more emphasis is being given towards returning to nature and adoption of organic agriculture.

We celebrate Diwali, Ramzan at our homes, our neighborhoods, our streets, why not celebrating environment day?

Are speeches, presentations are only the way to sensitize ourselves to environmental issues?

The Green path Serviced Apartments, Bangalore tried to celebrate World Environment Day differently.

We have forgotten to touch the mud from where we are come from!

We have stopped watching clouds, stars, plants growing, birds nesting…!

Our minds are to tuned to consume the goods and services without knowing to what extent they are polluting our environment and our health in the process of production and consuming!

Celebrating environment is nothing but questioning our lifestyle and coming out from “Vismruthi” forgetfulness

It was a lovely evening on the day of June 5tht.. Program started under the able guidance of Mr H.R Jayram promoter of an organic farming and an environmentalist.with his magnetic personality and charming persona he encourages people to join hands for the good cause.. The clouds in the sky were playing by drizzling rain now and then.

We the staff of Green Path, Era organic; neighbours, well-wishers and others assembled in front of Green Path. Every body was curious to know what is going to happen. As pot making wheels started turning, Kumbaranna the pot maker taught the children to make their own pots. The children who were denied every time playing in mud enjoyed pot making game. Dr.L.Narayana Reddy, pioneer in teaching and practicing organic farming, inaugurated our Shop on Wheels – Organic food shop on green painted cart. He lighted the lamp and performed Rashi Pooja – worshipping minor millet-food. The other supporters of this great cause were preekh bhai and mr janardan.they also joined hands with all the members present and made the evening a huge success.

Let us stop comodification of music… let us play our own music…Children and adults were given different kinds of drums and even buckets, plates to produce some music. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm of the participants particularly children. Ms.Sangeetha and Babu from World Music Center facilitated the drum circle.’. The audience started dancing for the drum beats.

In between children were enjoying their Environment Ride!!! On HORSE TONGA. Everyone enjoyed organic food soon after the music programme.

For us at Green Path and Era Organic it is passion to see a world with harmonious relationship with mother earth and fellow human beings. We always love to meet people, talk to people, work with them in this regard.

the evening celebration was an outstanding success ,created by the involvement of Era Organics and Green Path networking members and the residence of Seenappa Layout.It was the opportunity for all to become children and to create music to mark the special day,which was shown on the faces of all the participants.We look forward to creating opportunities to inform people of issues concerning the environment globally as well as locally.

Thanking you,

Greenpath Team

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Preparing for Permaculture in India

Whilst in Thailand last year I had an insight to what I can do to further my work and continue on my path with teaching Permaculture.I was sitting in an internet booth in Khao San Road,Bangkok when a vision came to me of doing mobile consultancy throughout India on a Royal Enfield motorcycle.

I had come to Thailand after having to leave Japan due to visa issues.Thailand was relatively close to get to to regroup on some ideas to continue learning more of sustainable agriculture.I had been emailing anyone I could find an address for from Permaculture sites around the world to offer my services to help in anyway.

I had been getting few results from this so I started to dive further into my vision and create a realistic goal to work toward.I had been offered a position in India when I was in Japan for the following year in April,from a visitor to Fuji Eco Park,but that was still 10 months away.The way I saw things was I had to create my own situation to move ahead.I mapped out the idea I was having to weigh up the pros and cons.The Idea was to find the cheapest way back to Australia and work 6 months in the mining industry which is my normal field and pays well.This work is a means to an end but will get me closer to my goal sooner.

As much as Permaculture was in demand in these developing countries,no-one was in a position to be able to place me on a project where my skills could be utilized.Mind you,I had a good offer and opportunity to work at Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge in Ethiopia, but negotiations broke down due to the amount of financial support they would offer to get me there for a 12 month gig.I was getting broke and it seemed I had to return to Australia to organize a visa for Ethiopia.This ended up being an expense that neither the project nor I could afford at the time.

I set my plan in place and started to cross off items as I reached a positive result.
The plan was to purchase a rotating laser level (for surveying) and a projector (for presentations on the road) and some other tools that would assist me on the adventure I was embarking on.I considered having a sidecar on the motorcycle but didn't know the real possibility of this in India.I started researching for these tools for the best price and the most durable products.As the plan was to buy a Royal Enfield Diesel,the tools I would purchase needed to stand up to the horrific road conditions in India.I had seen heaps of docos from India and got a fairly good idea of what I was in for.The other reason behind the Enfield Diesel was to demonstrate making biodeisel to fuel my journey.

On returning to Oz I landed a good position as a Trainer/Assessor,which I hold a Cert 4 in,doing fly-in/fly-out work to mine sites throughout Western Australia.This work involves training site personnel in the safe and productive operation of heavy mining machinery (bulldozers,excavators,graders,haul trucks ect).I have been involved in this type of work most of my life until Permaculture hit me and I saw the ways that I was contributing to global warming and my own health.Like I have said,it is a means to an end and following more on a career in Permaculture I am hoping to balance things out by re-foresting the earth and teaching people to grow their own food where I can.

I bought my ticket to India in November 2008 as soon as I could afford it to secure the plan.Once I purchased it there was not turning back or I would lose the cost of the ticket.I was committed now.Return on a 12 month ticket cost $1064.00 with Quantas/Jet Airways.I found this flight through STA Travel then took the pricing to their competitors and got it even cheaper.It pays to shop around.I ended up getting the ticket for Magic Carpet Travel in Perth,WA,and they are located under the Indian Consulate which made it very easy for me to get them to arrange my visa at the same time.

I continued to work through the months leading up to April and in that time was hearing less and less from the project where I had the job offer where I was asked to supervise and implement water harvesting strategies in Hartola,Uttar Pradesh.Around about the same time I was contacted by Rico Zook,whom I had previously contacted from Thailand months earlier,offering me to project manage the implementation of an eco village in the south near Coorg,Karnataka.After some long distance calls to get info on this project I redirected my energy to this as the long term goals for both the project and myself were win win.The plan changed slightly but was in full swing to materialize.

I was nearing completion on the research for projector and laser level and was ready to finalize a purchase.I opted for a Spectra Precision LL100 laser level.This comes as a kit in a lockable carry case with tri-pod,staff,laser level and receiver all in one.It is very light weight (15kg)and the case is very durable.It is designed to be dragged around building sites to work in all conditions.I purchased it for $1600.00 with remote which was great value.I had to import it from the US as suppliers in Australia weren't bringing this model into the country.
Check this link for info on this unit.So much can be done with this tool.From large scale dam/swale earthworks set out to building foundations and wall truing.

Secondly I looked at the lightest most powerful ultra portable projector.I found a dealer with a Casio XJ-S35 on clearance sale and picked one up for $1100.00.A great investment and it weighs about the same as my laptop(1.3kg).A review can be found on the link below.

With all these things sorted and the major expenses covered I contacted Geoff Lawton from the Permaculture Research Institute,Australia( to see if they could arrange an extra Permaculture Teacher Training Course to follow the Aid Project Workers Course scheduled in early April.These courses compliment each other but were not being held consecutively and I wanted to attend both before leaving.The P.R.I was very generous in assisting with my request and a 4 day intensive program was added to their calender.Thanks again guys for your help.Covering these courses would give further knowledge for working in other cultures as well as using the template from the Master Plan for Permaculture projects.Even though the project I was going to be working on was not an aid project,I could still use the ideals in the implementation of it and potentially have it running sustainably after 3 years.

With all this arranged and just several weeks of work to go I had to organize vaccinations.I had used malaria drugs before but with terrible side affects.I have opted this time to go with homeopathic remedies for malaria and updated for typhoid and collera.I also purchased MMS as a counter measure against malaria and for balancing pH in the body.This stuff is amazing and it's curing capabilities don't just work on malaria.

I also was advised by others with past experience in India to travel with a water filter.Great sense and something I hadn't thought of.The type I was told of was the Waterworks II.It is a ceramic filter which will take out all baddies above 2 microns.

Well all the organizing was completed and the courses attended and bags were packed.I had also arranged a train ticket from Bombay to Bangalore for the day after I was to arrive in India.24 hours on the train would give me a good chance to see a bit of the country.All that is needed now is to purchase the motorcycle in country.It has all gone fairly smoothly for me as I planned everything the way I had visioned it to be then used common sense working around timing and other issues.My friends family have all been very supportive and I have made some great contacts for when I hit the ground.

Permaculture Thailand :The Panya Project

Since my last post I have traveled thru Thailand doing some consultancy and mapping near Chang Mai and spent a couple weeks at The Panya Project.Things were quiet at Panya as it was wet season and everyone had dispersed to more suitable climates.The project manager was on-site and we conducted gerneral maintenance on the property to keep the jungle at bay.

The food forest here is doing really well and banana’s were tidied up and their prunings were mulched around nearby trees.Basic chop and drop here to minimize effort and energy.Very hot and sweaty work.A lesson learn’t here is to always look at the branch being cut before cutting.The reason being that green ants make their nest in the banana leaves by folding the edge of the leaf to the stem and creating a weather proof cocoon.If this is not noticed,the ants get mad and attack.To use this to an advantage,we cut these particular branches and then ran them to the cat fish pond where the cat fish gladly took care of them.One great way of using a surplus of one system to support another element in the system.

We also planted out the western boundary of the property with banana’s to act as a fire break.Used in this way the plants don’t burn as they are full of water.Mangoe’s are growing on the lee ward side whichare also fire retardant plants.The banana’s will act as a wind break during the mangoe’s flowering period so as to get maximum flower set.

The boundary is on a farely sloping track with noticable erosion coming down the track.I organized the others to put in mini swales slightly off contour to divert water onto the property rather down the track with very abrassive result.The banana’s were then planted above or below these mini swales to feed from the water being held in them and to also feed from any accumulation of organic matter in them.Again connecting cycles of energy for elements to have many functions in a system.

The Panya Project( one of three communities located around a small village in the north of Thailand practicing organic agriculture and Permaculture.The next door communities Pun Pun and You Sabai home are education facilities conducting earth building workshops and P.D.C's as well as cooking classes.There are some amazing structures at Pun Pun in the way of small homes.Mud brick and cobb rendered walls with bamboo roof structure covered with palm thatch.Very cool indoors and shaped with creativity.A very simple way to construct for this climate.