Bill Mollison on education

Alan: So permaculture seems to be as much a change in perception as anything else - a change in where one begins to look at things from.

Bill: I think that's right. For me, having suffered through a Western education, it was a shift from passive learning - you know, "this is how books say things are" - to something active. It's saying (and this is a horrifying thought for university people) that instead of physicists teaching physics, physicists should go home and see what physics applies to their home.

Now, they may teach sophisticated physics at the university. But they go home to a domestic environment which can only be described as demented in its use of energy. They can't see that, and that blindness is appalling.

Why is it that we dodn't build human settlements that will feed themselves, and fuel themselves, and catch their own water, when any human settlement could do that easily? When it's a trivial thing to do?

via In Context

How Not to Sell Wine

Girl at the Whole Foods wine desk last night:
"This is really good--it got, like, 90 points!"

Oh! Wow! 90 points! I like how you didn't even tell me who gave it 90 points.
Cuz that's what I was worried about--the number. I dragged my ass out here to Glen Allen so I could buy pricey organic sulfite-free wine based on what some magazine thinks of it. Y'know, cuz wine is purely a status symbol, not something I'd drink to enjoy. I'm sniffing, sipping, and scrutinizing the tastes you're pouring out of that $20,000 machine--but it's all for show. Thank you for finally telling me the damn number so I can get out of here. I hate wine.

Buying wine based on a number is like dating a girl with a big chest based on her bra size. It's a number just for show. The wine thing is actually worse--it's subjective.

Holiday gift-giving guide for the literate, sustainable urbanite

I have a few books out on inter-library loan right now, any of which would make great presents for me, preferably via a used book place like Alibris, Marketplace, Abe Books,

- The Big Neccessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste by Rose George. Despite being a book about shit, this is actually very well-written. Sorta like Rats, the author is thoroughly obsessed and it shows.
via AIDG's blog

I am continuing to explore traditional skills, craft, and food, with an eye towards sustainability and applicability to urban settings.

Sarah said:
With the holidays approaching and the economy in crisis, I thought I'd send around an email with the things on my holiday wish list so you can help stimulate the economy by shopping!

If that fails to do the trick and the economy collapses, it's good to have a backup plan or three. Consider these as long-term investments in our continued collective existence:

- Gene Logsdon's Practical Skills: A Revival of Forgotten Crafts, Techniques, and Traditions was last published in 1985 but is available used. Despite being a how-to manual, this is actually very well-written. Logsdon 'gets' the sustainability piece, and a lot of his advice could apply to an urban setting.

Topics include:
The gentle art of coggling
Grafting skills anyone can learn
How to avoid milking your cow daily

- When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self Reliance & Planetary Survival by Matthew Stein has a bit more of a survivalist bent that sounds more and more appropriate for the times. Described somewhere as similar to the Whole Earth Catalog, so it must be good.

- The Encyclopedia of Country Living: An Old Fashioned Recipe Book by Carla Emery is truly encyclopedic, written by a lifelong Montanan.

There are other encyclopedic guides to "country living" that I haven't looked at yet, like Storey's Basic Country Skills.