In my last post I said I’d share a story regarding money. The reason I’m wanting to share it is because of the perceptions of money, or currency, which is possibly a better description for the pieces of paper and metal discs we carry around in our pockets every day. It also has a direct reference to the alternative of making use of Talent Exchanges, where it is the exchange of valuable energy that cements the transaction.

The story is an excerpt from my book: “Of Kings, Slaves & Bus Drivers”. It’s actually an old story and probably known by a good few people reading this, but it reflects a particular characteristic of the nature of currency and the world-view that has been created over time – about its apparent necessity in order to drive economies. You make up your own mind about its validity.

Here is that story:


“Jack is a sales representative for a hardware wholesaler, who purveys the consumables, like nails, screws, bolts, nuts, all the fast moving items everyone needs almost all the time. His area of responsibility is small and medium-sized country towns. In one particular region, three towns are situated relatively close to one another and, geographically speaking, form a rough triangle – let’s call them town A, B and C for simplicity. Town A is the largest of the three and lies a little further away from the others and it is the only one with a small hotel.

Naturally, Jack stays over in town A, if and when the need arises. As is his habit, Jack arrives in Town A one morning and makes his way to the hotel. He greets the receptionist, whom he now knows very well and, after the usual exchange of pleasantries, requests they hold a room for him, should he not complete his rounds of the three towns on that day. Happily the lady obliges, so Jack pays the customary R200 deposit and leaves shortly afterward with the intention of completing Towns B and C first and then returning to Town A to service his customers there.

As Jack is leaving, the hotel owner comes into the reservations office to collect the takings to be made up for banking. The receptionist gives him Jack’s money to add to the banking tally, but then the owner remembers he owes the baker across the street that exact amount for the bread rolls and savoury tarts he’d ordered the previous day, so he takes the R200 note and trots across the street to settle his debt. The baker is very happy, but remembers he owes Thomas, the electrician, R200 for the repairs done to one of the ovens. He calls Thomas and asks him to call round to collect his money. Half an hour later, Thomas leaves the bakery with the money in his pocket.

As Thomas drives off, he sees Dennis, the butcher, crossing the street and remembers he owes him R200 for the meat he took on credit a week ago. He hoots to attract Dennis’s attention and pays him right there, in the street. As Dennis enters his butchery, his wife looks up from her desk in the corner and reminds him of the R200 he owes Florence for doing the flower arrangements for their grandchild’s christening the previous Sunday. He hands his wife the money and asks her to contact Florence to come and collect it.

Florence leaves the butchery shortly after lunch that day, knowing she owes the hotel R200 for the hire of the tablecloths for the wedding reception that coming weekend and, thinking, “what’s done, is done”, she makes her way over to John’s Country Lodge. The receptionist is very surprised when Florence announces she’s there to pay for the tablecloths in advance. She doesn’t argue and puts the money in the cash drawer. She hands Florence a receipt, they chat for a few minutes and then goes back to her work when the other woman walks back on to the pavement.

An hour later, Jack walks into the hotel, beaming broadly. He announces he’s completed all his rounds and will therefore, not be staying over, but would rather push on to the next town to get an early start in the morning. He asks for his deposit back and tactfully expresses his regret that he won’t be staying over. The receptionist hands him the R200 note and cancels the room. Five minutes later, Jack is making his way out of town on his way to his next stop with the same R200 note safely back in his pocket.

The moral of this story is: the same R200 note has circulated between five parties in one day. In the case of the hotel, they have received it twice, but each time supposedly settling a debt in quick succession, where no one has been deprived, no one has actually benefited and the same person who put it into circulation that day, has it back in his pocket. No one gained anything material out of the transactions, but everyone is satisfied so, why use a piece of worthless paper, instead of contributing to the settlement of so-called debts in a far more personal and tangible way? This is the illusion we have bought into and perpetuate by our participation.”

Most of us who were at Learning Man did experience the alternative of paying for goods and services via the Talent Exchange and we have a far better picture of how simply it works. I suppose the question we should ask is: “Which was the easier, lesser encumbered way of going about our daily business transactions?”

It’s by no means a cut-and-dried case while we still have to deal with a world of currency, but it does serve as a good illustration of the alternative, doesn’t it?

Apocalypse for heretics and anarchists

More appropriately translated, the title of this post would read: a revelation for those able to choose self-governance.

To borrow Angie Curtis’ words, the recent Learning Man Festival was: “A vision to gather with like minds to co-create a temporary village in a forest, to share knowledge, skills, ideas and innovations, building community, healing, honouring, celebrating.”


And that’s exactly how it turned out – or as close as any collection of wo/men could get it the first time round. In my humble opinion, it was hardly off the mark.

I have noted dozens of comments coming from those who were unable to make it, saying things like: “So sorry I missed it. Next time round I’m there!” – or words to that effect. By all accounts it would seem that all those who were absent for whatever reason, will indeed have the opportunity of being there for Learning Man II. There has to be a Learning Man II, right? Of course there has to be… and this is why:

Magick of community

Within just two days, a colourful tented village manifested out of the ether as free spirits wafted in by all manner of conveyance from as far afield as Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, the Czech Republic, France, Spain and even an ex-pat from Venezuela! It was an amazing and magical process to witness. It proves my assertion that the real Magick resides in the spirit of Man and is put to work by his/her hands. If your heart lies with people, you will experience this Magick as I did.

As the village grew, so did the voices and songs while the Magick of community gradually wrapped its arms around you. The energy field generated by it slowly soaked into everything and everyone. Free-spirited people carry an energy that is light, uplifting, optimistic, uninhibited, giving, compassionate, vibrant and compelling. It compels you to throw off your own worldly cares and be one with the ‘Force’. Yoda would have been proud of us, because the Force was with us for that all-too-brief time.


I stayed on for a few days after January 3rd to help with the pack-up and, with every departing soul my own energy almost imperceptibly became denser and heavier. I eventually quietly questioned myself about it and realised then that it was the collective energy that was dissipating. It was being diluted back into a world that neither understands nor has much value in it.

That individual energy will be carefully guarded in hundreds of hearts for the next eleven months until it’s allowed to break free again and commune…

It remains my fervent hope!

Knowledge, innovation and skills

During a walkabout in the village on the penultimate day, I had time to stop off at John and Rayne’s woodworking shop. I stood, captivated by the simplicity of the foot-operated lathe and the temporary forge that had been constructed with clay sourced at the river’s edge. As I watched a young woman turning a leg for a stool or a table, I was reminded about the saying that goes: “Simplicity is the highest technology”. In our high-tech world, bulging with power tools of every description, these simple and effective ones have been totally forgotten, if not discarded altogether.

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Simon’s compost shower was a clear hit with many. Once again, if the technology is employed correctly, an effective outcome can be achieved by sheer simplicity, some sober thought and a little effort.

Crosby’s parabolic cooker certainly did its job around the communal kitchen and Jirka’s clay rocket stove played an invaluable supporting role.



And, who will forget Dr. Bruce Copley with his assortment of musical instruments or his fire making workshop that reflected so much empowerment on the faces of those who conjured up the first little flame in the palms of their hands?


Although I wasn’t able to attend any talks or workshops, it was clear from the feedback I got from those who did, that there resides in the Learning Man community, a vast pool of knowledge concerning permaculture, aspects pertaining to Common Law, healing, guidance and teaching, manufacture, spectacular artistry and musical talent.

A veritable treasure trove!

Living on the land

There were many who reflected on the fact that they wanted to live on the land, producing their own food, building their own homes and taking care of their own well-being. There were several discussions on the concept of ‘doing it for ourselves’ and, post event, there are a good few meetings taking place with just that in mind.


Candice and her unflagging enthusiasm for recycling. Unforgetable!

Experiencing the freedom of just being on the land for those few days galvanised the thoughts of many towards creating lasting community away from the oppressive system we all know too well. Many were introduced to the simple innovations that would make it possible and viable if approached correctly – and now, those pipe dreams are beginning to crystalize into creative thoughts about how to make it reality. For some I suspect the innovations served as reinforcement of their convictions that alternatives do exist – all we have to do is act.


Little food gardens began springing up, with little prospect of surviving after everyone had left, but it was testament to the thoughts and desires made manifest by their action. Those acts of planting were for me the silent cries behind happy faces for the need to create and produce, free from the constraints that beset so many in so many different ways. They were the silent cries of the indomitable human spirit that refuses to be extinguished, that human spirit that cries: “Give us space and witness what we will accomplish!”

Dispelling the myth of money

Largely, goods and services were traded via the Talent Exchange, which was a whole new experience for a lot of people. It was a wonderful exercise in demonstrating that we can indeed trade without the need for currency which must have taken the pressure off in many cases I’m sure.

Now that we’re on the money thing, I have a story to share which would probably best be done in a subsequent post. I will post that story in a few days.

In conclusion, Learning Man must be regarded as an Apocalypse for heretics and anarchists, and it must be repeated in order to spread the fire. I have no doubt it will be repeated and I, for one, cannot wait to watch the gathering of the tribe at the end of this year… or will it be sooner perhaps? Just asking…

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“I cried leaving behind river, soft earth, oaks and wattles, drumming, dancing, and most of all my precious heart-and-soul-family, finally found after much searching. I am deeply grateful to each shining soul for co-creating and making visible the way we want to live. As hard as it was leaving that loving home, and coming back to the world, I am filled with hope and determination to raise consciousness in our own communities by loving in our truth and sharing our abundant gifts.” – Lynne Groenewald




Angie Curtis, Roy Zetisky, Barbra Cowley Photography, Jason Hermann Photography

The Dragon is stirring…please give it another poke!

In one of my earlier posts I mentioned the fact that Extractivism, living off grid, self-sufficient and sustainably may be a fringe phenomenon for now, but that in a few short years it will become a mainstream aspiration. One of my readers echoed exactly the same sentiment.

The thing is, if we are to maintain some semblance of personal freedom and Sovereignty, extracting may be the only recourse open to us in the years to come.

A few weeks after that particular post, I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to two intentional communities within a matter of days. The following week, another two…the list is growing! There can be no doubt that eco/intentional communities are beginning to pop up everywhere all of a sudden. Is it because some of us have tuned into that particular vibration, have they always been there, operating under the radar, so to speak, or are they making themselves evident because their ‘time’ has arrived? I would like to think it’s a combination of all three. In addition, there are events being planned and organised with the whole sentiment in mind, which does tell me there is a certain amount of urgency that has crept in.

This is great – I mean, we want this, don’t we?

You bet we do!

Best we get involved and start participating. Let’s give the Dragon another poke to wake it up quicker, shall we?


Here are a few of those eco/intentional communities I’m referring to:

Honeyville Eco Village & Nature Reserve:

Shambhala Eco Village:

Green Canvas of Light:

The next is not an eco-village. Admittedly I haven’t researched it well at all, but it is portrayed as an international database of what they call ‘impact centres’.

What is an impact centre? Here is their definition:  “An impact centre could be an eco-village, organic farm, yoga retreat centre, or even a hostel, as long as they meet the criteria below.”

And the criteria?

  1. Earth Care: Emphasis on whole-system sustainability and/or holistic health & well-being.
  2. Education: Provides retreats, workshops, courses and/or work-exchange or volunteering.
  3. Accommodation: Has the capacity to host individuals on-site for short or long-term stays.

And then, here’s one event every Extractivist/off-grid junkie absolutely wants to attend.

It’s still early days in the planning phase I’m told, but the sooner more and more freedom-loving Sovereigns join the call to the gathering of the tribe, the sooner we’ll get this Dragon to rise to its full height and start breathing fire!

Dragon fire

This is not just a gathering of like-minded hippie-folk, looking for an opportunity to celebrate. No, this is a festival of learning, sharing skills, knowledge, passions and, yes, a few imperatives as well. Those wanting to come are encouraged to bring their toolbox of skills, knowledge and know-how to the gathering.

That more and more People must ‘catch the fire’ is without question, so come along and let’s rouse the sleeping giant.

In the meantime, Keep the faith


How to incorporate passive solar design in your building, using thermal mass and insulation.

Thanks to the author, Peter McIntosh, of the natural Building Collective. Very important information for those considering a home built from natural materials, intended to be energy efficient and cost-saving. Good insights and excellent technical information to boot!

Natural Building Collective

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Passive solar design is the starting point of sustainable building. Once one understands the basic principles of using the abundant natural renewable resources at our disposal we become more creative in our approach to design, more in tune and observant, reconnecting us with the natural rhythms that surround and sustain us, if only we would pay attention. Sustainable buildings save money, reduce your carbon footprint and provide a healthy living environment, transforming buildings from consumers of energy to producers and forging buildings that meet our needs.

From a permaculture perspective, incorporating these aspects into the design of your home are excellent examples of several permaculture design principles. To mention the most obvious: Observing and interacting with your environment to make the most of the sun’s migration, catching and storing energy, using and valuing renewable resources and services, integrating functions and elements rather than segregating them and obtaining a yield from…

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On a quiet day: 6 Things to rethink, abandon or wean ourselves from.

“… Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.” – Arundhati Roy

There are some who say our DNA has begun to change; they see evidence of it. They say that more and more people are beginning to experience this. I have to agree. In the last four years my DNA must have changed, because I’m not the man I was in 2011. I don’t mean just a change in the way I look or of thinking or philosophy, I mean fundamentally. There is a different thing that drives me these days, almost like an urgent nudging to follow my purpose. And, the funny thing is I know I’m going in the right direction.

I view the world very differently now. I can watch a movie and see things in the plot that make me react in very definite ways when there seems no apparent reason that I should – sadness, empathy, longing and very often, joy. I view creatures very differently. I find myself being very mindful of the harm I might bring to them through thoughtless actions I may have not given a moment’s notice five years ago.

So, has my DNA changed – is it changing? It must be…

That there’s an elevation in global consciousness, is without question. Several recent world events have demonstrated this and yet, there is a lot of the resident evil that persists, but we won’t go into that just now.

For a long while I’ve been thinking about the things society will have to rethink, abandon and wean itself from. If that ‘other’ world is indeed coming and we want to welcome its arrival, global society will have to think on these things, and I mean, really think about what we are doing and what we will have to change:

  1. Our affliction of dependency

We have become a species of dependants. We rely on others to supply all our basic needs, from the homes we occupy to the very food we put in our mouths. Everywhere we look, there are service providers for absolutely anything and everything we consume – and discard. When the lights go out, we blame Eskom and bewail the sorry state of affairs. When the toilet blocks up, we call a plumber. When autumn leaves are lying thick on the ground, we call a garden refuse company to come and remove them. When we feel like a pizza, we call Scooters or Debonairs. What – we’re not dependent? We have become so dependent that we’ve forgotten how to produce our own food – prior to preparing and cooking, that is. Convenience is the fore-runner of dependency. The notion of convenience, with all its associated mindset is possibly something we should start treating with more circumspection in future.

Exercise in DIY:   Build a 3 compartment composting bin, collect all those autumn leaves and start composting. Instruct your garden service to add all the lawn cuttings to the same compost. Use the compost to feed the soil you’ve just turned to plant your own salad garden and then put in a small water tank under one of the corner gutters to collect rainwater. Use that water to irrigate your veggies. Oh, and buy a few Consol light jars for when Eskom next fails you.

Here are two examples of how easy it is to have your own small space no-dig veg garden:

  1. The way we view our environment

The natural world is not a commodity for profit. It’s a community of which we are a part (and, a very small part, I might add). When we begin to view our Selves as being part of that community; only then, will we begin to heal the Earth. Nothing we use on a daily basis does not come from the Earth and, by implication, the environment. It is our duty to care for the Earth – we must regenerate our soils and preserve our fresh water supplies and ensure that only nature changes what nature established. We cannot keep taking and putting nothing back. Eventually there will be no more to take and no amount of putting back will right it. ‘Regeneration’ is the new buzz word and is the best corrective course of action we can take at present.

The natural world is not an alien planet – to be feared or regarded with suspicion; it’s to be celebrated, communed with, regarded and revered, because ultimately, it’s where we come from.

Exercise in DIY:   Start making a contribution to caring for the Earth by recycling all your non-organic refuse. Generally, South Africans are clueless about recycling and, mostly because it’s not an enforced practice here. There are many who do recycle, but not enough. Find out about recycling in your neighbourhood, or better still, spearhead such an initiative if there isn’t one already in operation.

  1. The way we build our homes

Somewhere along the line the notion that concrete, brick and mortar is the way to go when building a home, office block, school or community centre. A certain cement manufacturer has this as a byline: “….. presenting concrete opportunities”.  I’d add to that thus:  “…. presenting concrete CO2 emissions.”, because that’s exactly what they’re doing. For every ton of cement produced, they are spewing a ton of carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere. Talk about a heavy carbon footprint! To add to this, when the house is up and we occupy it, we’re only separated from the elements by a maximum of 9.5 inches (240mm) and, if you include the plaster (if any) we’re talking 12.5 inches (320mm). To add to this, the materials we’ve used, when cured, are among the most effective conductors of both heat and cold, so we end up spending more on either heating or cooling our living spaces. In addition, we include way more glass than is necessary, which protects us even less. I’m not saying don’t use glass; strategically placed windows and glass panels are very effective passive solar generators. The operative word here is: ‘strategically placed’. In short, our use of effective thermal mass in conventional building methods is dismal.

Natural materials are also natural insulators. A cob, earth bag or strawbale home has walls at least 17 ¾ inches (450mm) thick. Add a total of 3 inches of plaster, both inside and out and we’re approaching 21 inches – that’s 530mm of naturally insulating material. These homes maintain an ambient year-round interior temperature of between 22 – 24 deg Centigrade. The easy translation of this is that they’re naturally cool in summer and warm in winter. Very little supplementary heating or cooling is necessary, if at all.

The big bonus is, very little pollution is involved in the construction of buildings using natural materials – and who says we have to go high-rise, anyway? But, if we absolutely have to, we can take a page out of the Yemeni construction manuals; they have four and five storey ‘skyscrapers’ built entirely of cob, some of which are around 500 years old!

Exercise in DIY:   Build a cob pizza oven – I can help with that. It can double as a normal oven too. They take up very little space and most of your material is what you walk on anyway. Spend two Saturdays building one and you’ll discover you don’t need Scooters or Debonairs. Observing the durable properties of cob just by using your oven will have to win your confidence in it as a first class building material. Another thing: let’s say it’s noon on a Sunday and you have a whole bunch of friends coming over for lunch and Eskom suddenly decides to shed some of its load, you can just fire up (literally) the cob oven and transfer the half-cooked roast into it. Voila! Challenge met and overcome, and think of the talking point it will make. Personally, I would have cooked the roast in the cob oven from the start, but that’s just me…

  1. The way we educate our children

Mainstream public schooling, as it stands at present, is probably the last place many parents would want to see their children going through every day. But, what do they do? In almost all contemporary families, both husband and wife are holding down jobs in order to make ends meet. There are countless thousands of single parents who have no alternative, but to send their children to these state-sponsored ‘dungeons’ where they’ll possibly be learning Mandarin in the very near future. But this is not the crux I want to mention here.

Outside of the education system, we must make a greater contribution to our children’s education by teaching them the ‘other’ things they don’t learn at school, like taking them out into the natural world and showing them the hidden mysteries of the cosmos, the untaught history, demonstrate basic scientific facts through natural examples. There is a wealth of interesting information outside the classroom that would captivate any young mind – and what better way than to physically demonstrate these things in an interactive, unambiguous way?

We must teach our children critical thinking. George Carlin said it in a nutshell:


The education system discourages critical thought. They want compliance and conformity. They want:  “…little boxes on the hillside and they all look just the same”.

We must teach our children of their unique and unlimited worth, that they can do anything they set their minds to. Teach them to become employers rather than the employed, that they have unlimited potential and that their attitude determines their altitude.

These are lessons not taught at school. Before we spend our money on our children, let’s spend more of our time on them.

Those fortunate enough to home school their children are doing them the best service any parent could hope for. Children who are home schooled or ‘unschooled’ are possibly in the best position to become the most balanced and socially adjusted adults in the times to come. It is because these children are being tutored by those whom they love and trust the most and they know they are loved in return.

Exercise in DIY:    Take your children out into the country. Go on a short hike. Switch your cell phone off, only to use in case of emergency. Find a place, ‘away from the world’ and sit quietly for a time. Tell them to observe what they see, hear and smell. Tell them to ask questions about their observations and answer them to the best of your ability. Stop along the way and smell the wild flowers or disturb the sand along the rim of that funnel you see in the sand. Watch what happens…


this is the home of the Antlion, the larva of what ultimately becomes one of the Lacewing species. Did you know that? If you didn’t, take a photo and research it together when you get home. This is just one thing…the list of ‘to do’s’ could be endless, but vitally important.

  1. The way we view money

The saying: “Money talks, bullshit walks”, should be rephrased to: “That bullshit that walks, is the money that talks”.

Most, if not all of us, believe we can do anything if we have the money. In truth money is only “an agreed upon medium of exchange that carries a theoretical value”. In actual fact, that ‘value’ is an abstract, because it’s no longer backed by gold or any other precious metal. While we’re on that subject: who says gold is valuable at all? Why is it valuable? Who, when, where, why, how was it decided that gold is valuable? Just take a moment to think about this too.

It is our attitude towards and our perception of the theoretical value that is money that creates the ills we are beset with.  It’s greed, profit-at-all cost and downright selfishness that skews the position of value. Value lies in the goods and services on offer – not in the money. The goods and services are created and brought into being by people, not money.

I won’t say much more, other than point you towards this article:

Exercise in DIY:   Take the story of the R200 note found in the link above and dramatise it in a role-play with your family and maybe a few friends playing the various character parts. Allow yourself a little creative licence in how you set it up and see what the reaction is when the moral has been explained. It may be a good project theme for the kids to use in a classroom skit.

  1. The way we view our own species

Them and us… this is the way we’ve been taught, insidiously from the moment we end up in the cradle. Separateness is replete in our sociology, from our religious doctrine to sports teams. Separateness breeds competition to the exclusion of co-operation. It gives rise to the seven deadly sins, the seven sisters of the world’s ills – they are: wrath, avarice (greed), sloth, pride, envy, lust and gluttony. Among others, they are what make us believe that the God of doctrine is a partisan entity, to the point that we would go on our knees and ask for the victory over others. It’s what makes us believe that Joshua and his marauding Israelites had every right to annihilate the city of Jericho.

It teaches us that ‘might is right’ and war is not only necessary, it’s romantic! That those who are starving, suffering want and disease, are not our problem, that those of lesser material means are somehow lesser mortals as well and best avoided… “not of our class”.

It teaches us that ‘there is not enough’ and, in order to prevail, we must hoard for our Selves, everything we can lay our hands on, because it’s a matter of ‘survival of the fittest’.

Finally, it cheapens and even segregates the value of life… any life. The “Hunger Games” makes the point rather graphically, doesn’t it?

Exercise in DIY:   Consider this quote, reputed to have come from Albert Einstein: “A human (BE’ing) is a part of the whole, called by us, ‘Universe’ – a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion – to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty….”

Consider your reaction and feeling towards the above and then extend that questioning to everything else you can think of that spontaneously produces and reproduces and finally ask yourself by what distinction is your life to be regarded as being of more value than a spider, for instance, or the bag lady rummaging through your trash outside your garden gate. Interesting, is the only word I can ascribe to the outcome of this exercise.

  1. What we see as freedom and independence

Henry Kissinger once said: “Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.” There is some conjecture as to whether he actually phrased it that way – however, the words ring true, no matter how they are arranged.

The point is, if we play the system’s Monopoly game, we’re not as free and independent as we’d like to believe. If we choose the Extractivist’s route, we have a lot to play with – if we’re quick about it, resourceful and plan well enough in advance.

So yes, I must admit, on a quiet day I can also hear that ‘other world’ breathing as she approaches. I’m full of hope that we will make a concerted effort to speed up our own readiness for her. We don’t have much time.

Those areas of life over which we have a large measure of control, is where we must secure and maintain it. We must make a choice to exercise more compassion as widely as we can, but most of all we will have to muster courage, for the road will not necessarily be a short one and the going may turn out to be a little tough, too.


Could this also be called a Crop Circle? Medicine Wheel No-dig Garden

Try this out in your own garden. You don’t need masses of space and you’d be amazed at how much one could plant in a circle like this.

The diameter of this circle is 3.0m

I raised the stones and orientated them on the north/south line. I like stones and it has been said that raising standing stones creates positive energy.

Medicine Wheel, Wheel of the Year, Circle of Life…. you choose.

It does look cool, though!











The Politics of the Poo – Episode 2

Our soils are being depleted and our drinking water is being polluted at an alarming rate. With every day that passes, we edge closer to a situation Mankind cannot afford.

We cannot control the quality of air we breathe (our #1 requirement for life), we have some measure of control over the quality of water we drink (our #2 requirement for life) and we most certainly have every control over the quality of food we eat (our #3 requirement for life). But, if our soils and water are becoming more and more denuded by the day, we have to stop and take account of how we would propose to produce food in the times to come. Without good quality soils and water, we can have as much sunlight as we want, but no quality, nutrient rich food will be produced – end of story.

Therefore, it is imperative that we balance these vital elements for life.

So, how do we do it?

Simple. We stop polluting our fresh water by defecating in it and start rejuvenating our soils by composting everything that can be composted and put it back where it belongs.

The Humanure Handbook, by Joseph Jenkins explains in detail how this can be done. It’s simple – all it takes is a little humility and effort (not much) if we are to hope to maintain our food supply in the years to come.

There are a host of alternative toilet systems already available in the market. All, or most of them, are already employed to some degree, but the simplest, cheapest, most easily manageable system is the sawdust toilet. Anyone with two healthy hands can manufacture one on any given Saturday morning. Here is an example:


Below is a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of thermophilic composting. To obtain a good grasp on the subject, I recommend you download the book here, and start as soon as possible.

Do's & Don'ts 1

Do's & Don'ts 2

What about city dwellers, people living in high-rise buildings and high density gated complexes? This proposition is clearly impractical.

Really? Consider this: in the South African context, watershedding is said to become a reality, like loadshedding, which everyone already knows about in the most tangible of ways, is it not? Should urban areas, in times to come, be without water for any lengthy period of time and you just ‘have to go’, what will you do? Leave it to pile up till there’s water again?

Watershedding could just be that thing that ‘flips the switch’, as it were, although, it’s everyone’s hope that it won’t happen. But, if it does, it would help greatly if one was prepared. The one thing that stands in our favour as a species, is the fact that we are resourceful and adaptable. People in high-rise buildings and gated complexes will make a plan – they’ll have to. My advice….start planning for that eventuality now.

We can try and rationalise all we want, but the bottom line is: defecating in fresh drinking or irrigation water is by far not the wisest thing Mankind has come up with. It’s convenient and supposedly sanitary at the depository end, but how safe and sanitary is it at the disposal end. I challenge you to think on these things. Read the Humanure Handbook and take note of the massive problems communities around the world are having, trying to deal with the piling up of human excreta sludge which we conveniently prefer not to think about.

“There are none so blind than those who will not see.”

The planet and our environment deserve more regard than this. We are the ones who have fouled it up, so we are the ones who should clean it up.


The Humanure Handbook – Joseph Jenkins