Ecology is about understanding the environment as a dynamic system of systems, that exchanges energy and elements through
food chains, weather patterns, plant-based chemical processes, decay etc.
Unfortunately, my university education in ecology was more like botany, based on classification and categorisation of species.
However, I believe that the way that ecology is a departure from the traditional scientific method is in its systems analysis,
which requires skills of synthesis rather than simply in-depth knowledge in a specialised area. The most similar discipline
in human biology is physiology, which looks at functional processes in the body such as homeostasis (negative feedback).
Bushwalking in wild spaces such as Barrington (pictured) or South West Tasmania remind us of our smallness and frailty, in
comparison to the intensity of the elements and the immense biodiversity of nature.
I'm interested in urban food systems in Australia, especially since urban areas usually coincide with the best
soils in Australia.
*Community Foods (An amazing website)
*How to set up a community garden
*Listen to Helena Norberg-Hodge speak about local food economies and global trade at Melbourne Ceres: here
* Permaculture International
*Society for Growing Australian Plants
Visit the Seed Savers Network
*Listen to the excellent speech "Life After the GE Nightmare" by scientist Dr. Mae-Wan Ho, from the UK Institute for Science in Society, speaking in Melbourne. She discusses the real insights afforded by genomics, outlining the way biotech corporations attempt
to re-cast life in their own image, with DNA as micro-commodity, and how this is a continuation of a mythology of blood-line
and genetic determinism and the need elites have for a 'science' of heredity and 'survival of the fittest'.
Some quotes I scrambled to write down:
"This paradigm of genetic determinism has spilled out into the public sphere- there are genes for everything: ...(missed a
bit)... and for females committing adultery, which is absolute nonsense, of course. Since the 1970's every single justification
for genetic determinism has been falsified
They were so surprised by the nature of what they were finding in the laboratory, that they found a term to describe it: the
The genome showed itself to be dynamic and flexible: responding to multiple levels of feedback from the environment, not only
changing the genomic expression, but the structure of the genome and the genes themselves.
Seedballs: I remember when Starhawk talked about seedballs, that they used in urban guerilla gardening around the time of some biotechnology conference in the
US. Recently I was browsing through an Organic Gardener Magazine at my grandmas, and it had this recipe (also with added info from this document) :
Recipe for Native Re-vegetation Seed Balls.
5 parts Dry powdered clay (red clay is best) with 1 part dried soil. Take this soil from below the surface, and sieve it to
remove weed seed. The soil will contain beneficial microbes.
Add 2-3 parts dry mixed seeds of all the varieties that are
going to be re-introduced to the area. ( hard coated seeds
will need to be previously treated with scarification or hot
1 part blood and bone fertiliser (optional) to feed the
emerging seedling and dissuade rabbits from eating the
1 to 2 parts water added a little at a time.
Mix all dry ingredients thoroughly in a large container or
bucket and then add water a little at a time. The consistency
should end up like a stiff dough and can then be rolled into
strips. Small sections are then broken off and rolled between
the palms of the hands until smooth and round, about the
size of a one cent piece. (10mm)
A transformation occurs within the balls as they are rolled,
and after a few seconds they can be felt to set up or organise,
as the tiny clay platelets align themselves to each other,
and the seeds they enclose. It is important to roll the clay
until this polymerisation is felt. The balls then dry with structural
integrity. Finished balls are tossed onto a tarp to harden
undisturbed for at least 24 hours. When dry, seed balls may
be stored in a cool ventilated place or used immediately.