Archive for March 26th, 2011

Philosophy is a Biodynamic Nature

Philosophy is a Biodynamic Nature

Posted 25th March, 2011, by Susan AKA Peacefull, Peace Is Our True Nature,


A healthy, well-structured soil, rich in humus and high in biological activity is a prerequisite for any sustainable agricultural system.

Decades of experience with the Biodynamic method on Australian farms have shown that these soil qualities can be promoted and degradation reversed by the correct application of Biodynamic techniques.

Biodynamic practitioners seek to understand and work with the life processes as well as enhance their understanding of the mineral processes used in conventional agriculture. Healthy soil is a prime basis for healthy plants, animals and people.

Biodynamic farming practices are of an organic nature, not relying on bringing artificial fertilisers on to the farm, although some organic or natural mineral fertiliser may be necessary during the establishment phase.

On Biodynamic farms we seek to enhance the soils structure and nutrient cycles as well as plant growth and development with the use of specific Preparations which are made from farm-sourced materials.

These are the Biodynamic Preparations numbered 500 to 507 used in conjunction with established agricultural practices such as composting and manuring, crop and pasture rotations, tree planting, the integrated use of livestock, etc. As the name suggests, these Preparations are designed to work directly with the dynamic biological processes and cycles which are the basis of soil fertility.

Pest and disease control is generally managed by developing the farm as a total organism. However, Biodynamic practitioners may make use of specific products for weed and pest control, which they make from the weeds and pests themselves.

Weeds and pests are very useful indicators of imbalances in soil, plants and animals; and the aim in the Biodynamic method is to use such indicators in a positive way.

The Biodynamic Preparations were developed out of indications given by Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924. They are not fertilisers themselves but greatly assist the fertilising process. As such they only need to be used in very small amounts.

Horn Manure Preparation (500) is used to enliven the soil, increasing the microflora and availability of nutrients and trace elements. Through it the root growth, in particular, is strengthened in a balanced way, especially the fine root hairs. Horn Manure 500 helps in developing humus formation, soil structure and water holding capacity.

Horn Silica Preparation (501) enhances the light and warmth assimilation of the plant, leading to better fruit and seed development with improved flavour, aroma, colour and nutritional quality.

Compost Preparations (502 to 507), known collectively as the compost preparations, help the dynamic cycles of the macro- and micro-nutrients, via biological processes in the soil and in material breakdown.

Join one of our Biodynamic Workshops to find out more about the theoretical and pratical sides of Biodynamic Agriculture.

Presenting the Self Sufficient House – a house that can evolve along with its inhabitants

Posted March 25, 2011, by DATTATREYA MANDALEcofriend,


Architect Iana Kozak has come up with an intriguing concept – in the form of Self Sufficient House, an organic structure that strongly alludes to the complex life process of a living cell. According to the architect’s thinking, the naturalistic structure which is to be built in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, would intelligently interact and most importantly evolve along with its inhabitants. Obviously a number of innovative design elements have to be incorporated, imbued with their sustainable functionalities.

The individual house structure will be flexibly based upon an organic branch and will be around 2 to 5 stories high. Such houses can be placed in groups, in effect creating a ’social zone’ for increased level of communication among the residents. According to the architect – living cells are to be placed along the communication, energy and transportation corridor, which can move during their life and rather enhance the vital nature of the design. There will also be sustainable and self regulatory features integrated within the house such as – renewable solar energy harnessing, water storage and recycling and natural generation as well as degeneration of the house ’skin’, corresponding to the life processes of the inhabitants. Moreover, as the dwellings will be based upon trunks, the ground area will remain clear for parking, green lawns and recreational facilities.

Coming to the design aspect, each inhabitant would take around 40-70 sq. m of cell space. But in a nigh revolutionary conception, when a child takes birth, the ‘biological’ cell will automatically produce itself a smaller space for the child. The new spatial element can ‘mature’ i.e. expand, alluding to the life process of the growing child, and finally disintegrate along with his death.

The composition of the organic outer skin will be based upon natural cellulose fibers. They will be able to absorb and store water projected around 180lts per day. The whole framework of the house will be denoted by fiber skeletons. The wall, i.e., the membranes will be double skinned with an aerial space between them to maintain hydrostatic pressure. The walls would also act as natural thermal sinks, which can optimally regulate the overall heating and cooling cycle. And at last but not the least, chloroplast imbued ‘leaf’ like structures will be covering the roof turf for oxygen production as well as filtering of the surrounding air.

Communities face water issues by the numbers


Communities face water issues by the numbers

Posted: March 26, 2011, By CHRIS WOODKA , The Pueblo Chieftain,

The tangled water issues of 50 communities have to get sorted during the next two years in order to get federal contracts for Lake Pueblo storage and the Arkansas Valley Conduit.

The Bureau of Reclamation has begun an environmental impact study for a master contract and the conduit at the request of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which is heading up both projects.

Sometime in 2013, contract negotiations will begin and its up to the water users in the Arkansas Valley to have their act together by then, said Jim Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern district.

It’s also important that the needs are communicated clearly at the beginning of the process, he told participants at a meeting Thursday.

“Reclamation has made it clear they don’t want to deal with 50 agencies . . . Our intent is to put a team together to speak with one voice,” Broderick said. “We want to know the concerns going in, so we can avoid the battles at the end.”

The district intends to have new agreements signed by May 15, meaning each of the communities in the storage or conduit projects has to gain approval of boards or councils. The agreements will deal only with paying for the environmental impact statement and federal contracts, not the eventual construction and operation of the projects.

There is also a complicated cost-sharing matrix with numbers that have been changing on a daily basis as the participants sort out issues of how much water they plan to store, how much agricultural land will be dried up or how much water they plan to take through the conduit.

The district also plans to collect assessments for portions of a water quality study from Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Aurora , even though they are not participants in either of the projects.

The study now includes 37 communities in the excess-capacity contract and 38 communities in the conduit project. There are 25 in both projects.

The excess-capacity contract would be for storage of 28,000-32,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Pueblo, or other Fryingpan-Arkansas Project reservoirs, when space is available. Of that about 8,200 would be available for the conduit. There are also 37,400 acre-feet of project storage space available to communities east of Pueblo.

Fry-Ark water always has a higher priority than excess-capacity water.

The EIS will study the cumulative impacts of storing non-project water in Fry-Ark reservoirs, which could total close to 100,000 acre-feet in the next 50 years. A 2006 Reclamation study determined there is about 130,000 acre-feet of storage space available annually.

Current contracts account for about 50,000 acre-feet of storage annually, and Southern Delivery System contracts now under final review would amount to 40,000 acre-feet.

Security, Fountain and Pueblo West are in both the SDS and Arkansas Valley Conduit contract processes.

Many other current users who rely on one-year contracts are in the Southeastern’s master contract proposal.

Thursday’s meeting was primarily about the cost of the EIS to each participant, and there was some wrangling about how some participants had reduced the amount requested, thus increasing bills for smaller districts.

The reason for the reduced requests was confusion over how types of water were categorized, Project Manager Phil Reynolds explained.

“We’re trying to get the numbers right,” he said.

Broderick stressed that water users have to get court decrees on water rights they plan to use under the master contract through Water Court in the next two years, or risk the possibility that water rights could not be stored.

Steve Harrison, Pueblo West Utilities Director, gave a practical example of why that is necessary. Pueblo West’s water rights from the Hill Ranch were not included in the EIS for SDS.

“You have to get the water analyzed under the EIS, or it can’t be stored under the contract,” Harrison said.

The district has suggested which water rights need to be studied, but Reclamation will call the shots during the EIS, Broderick said.

Pueblo West attorney Tom Mullans raised a concern with a provision about the Pueblo flow program in the proposed agreements. The flow program became an issue with Pueblo West late in the Pueblo County 1041 hearings, and resulted in a lawsuit.

Southeastern, as lead agency for the contract, is also obligated to abide by the provisions of a 2004 agreement that keep flows in the Arkansas River through Pueblo by curtailing exchanges during low-flow periods.

The district will look for a uniform provision that allows Pueblo West to participate in the flow program under the terms of the settlement in the lawsuit, attorney Lee Miller said.

The boards for each of the participants will be voting on uniform agreements that won’t be signed by the district until all have agreed, because the new agreement will supersede previous pacts.

Joe Kelley, La Junta water superintendent, asked if communities could expect to see as much or more of the water they signed up for in determining their share of the EIS cost.

Broderick and Miller said the numbers used for the EIS are most likely a minimum that communities can expect to receive if they participate in the later phases of building and operating the conduit. Some communities may drop out, and the final decision will be made by future Southeastern boards.

“We have spent four to five years in this process to determine use,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern board. “It’s not likely that the board would make changes.”


Just The Facts


Participants in the environmental impact study for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District master storage contract and Arkansas Valley Conduit are sorting out costs based on the amount of storage requested and areas of study.

Storage contract only: Canon City, Pueblo West, Salida, Security, Stratmoor Hills, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Fountain, Florence, Penrose, Poncha Springs, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, Widefield.

Conduit and storage contract: Crowley County Water Association, La Junta, Las Animas, St. Charles Mesa Water District, 96 Pipeline, Beehive, Bent’s Fort Water, Eads, Fayette, Fowler, Hilltop, Holbrook Center, Homestead, Manzanola, May Valley, Newdale-Grand Valley, Olney Springs, Ordway, Patterson Valley, Rocky Ford, South Swink, Southside, Valley, Vroman, West Grand Valley.

Conduit only: Boone, Crowley, East End, Eureka, Hancock, Hasty, Lamar, McClave, North Holbrook, Sugar City, Swink, West Holbrook Water Pipeline Association, Wiley.

Concept of 2-in-1

Concept of 2-in-1

Posted March 26, 2011, By CAROL YIP, The Star Online,

MOTHER Earth can take a lot of abuse, but as we continually strive for a more advanced lifestyle, it’s as if we just go for the “style” and not the substance. And our environment is now beginning to show the effects of these misplaced priorities. If you and I want to help save the environment, there are plenty of methods to do so. One of the best ways to help preserve the environment is to transform our homes by making them more eco-friendly.

As much as I would like to invest in a next property that is eco-friendly, I am even more hopeful to buy one that is age-friendly. At some point I will need a place that will accommodate my old age needs. I don’t want to be the slave to my house.

And I want to have more time to enjoy my life doing things that I like. I’ll need some conveniences. Do I wish to overspend paying utility bills and up-keeping the house? No! I’ll need my savings for living expenses (cost of inflation) and my personal old age care.

Call me old-fashioned or stubborn; but I will still want to continue to live in familiar surroundings and near the people I love. Unless there is a retirement place with facilities that I can afford to pay, like many of my friends, my current house will be my dwelling place until I pass on to the next world.

Simply put, my dwelling place must fit my ageing needs. An old folk’s home will be my last resort: only if I run out of retirement savings or no family members want to look after me. I believe these inner thoughts of mine are being shared by many others. We want to live independently and not financially burden our children. With an age-friendly home, equipped to meet our old age needs, we can do it.

Green home can be age-friendly

An eco-friendly home can be an age-friendly home: with healthy by-products. Installing improved ventilation systems improves indoor air quality without air-conditioning (as we age, our body can’t take the cold too well). Sun-roof or sky-light panels allows natural light to enter our homes which encourages better visibility in the day without having to switch on the lights (as we age, our eyesight gets weaker even in daylight). Solar panels will replace the old water heater for my warm shower (older people prefer a warm shower to prevent joint pains and arthritis problems). These features in the house will lead to lower electricity bills.

I can save money by paying less water bills when I recycle rain water for my washing and gardening. I can plant organic vegetables, herbs and fruits for personal consumption which helps to save money and lead to better health. Gardening is also good for physical exercise.

With a house filled with energy-efficient appliances, I will enjoy great savings from my utilities expenses. It is surprising how several small changes can add up to stretching my retirement savings further.

I will need to invest some money to convert my current house to a green home because, like most Malaysian homes, it was not built with green specifications. Alternatively, I can purchase a new home with green features but it has to be price-affordable because I need to conserve my retirement funds for old age.

My Age-Friendly Green Home Scheme

Most houses appear to be built for people who will never grow old. But as I age, I need to think of all situations: most importantly, will I be able to navigate my home without help? Does my condominium building cater for my old age needs?

Can I easily access the wall switches or switches for my electrical appliances? Do I need to convert a ground floor room if I can’t climb the stairs to my present bedroom?

My house will need modifications if I am in a wheel chair or walker: I need to consider grab bars and non-slip tiles in the bathroom to prevent falls. I need extra space in bathroom and toilet.

I should install ramps around the house and consider lower work and storage areas to prepare meals and allow easier access to food, dishes, and cooking tools. All these additions of age-friendly features to an existing home will no doubt cost me.

If our friendly property developers have a sense of social responsibility and foresight for age-friendly features in their new eco-friendly housing project and make it affordable, many of us will welcome the idea. This growing demand for age-friendly homes will only increase as our society ages.

And if the government adopts the “My First Home Scheme” model to deliver a “My Age-Friendly Green Home Scheme” for senior citizens, then green and age-friendly conversions could be subsidized or tax-incentivised to further enhance our seniors’ quality of life.

Meanwhile if you are keen to know more about age-friendly housing, there is a 50+Expo “My Life, My Home” organised by C3A at Suntec Singapore on April 2-3 showcasing housing, services, and product options that seniors can leverage on to age happily and comfortably in their homes.

See you there.

Carol Yip is the founder and CEO of Abacus For Money (

Support Earth Hour call from Miss Earth

Support Earth Hour call from Miss Earth

Posted March 26, 2011, Staff, The Borneo Post,

KOTA KINABALU: Miss Earth Sabah 2010, May Salitah Naru Kiob, is calling on all Sabahans to support the Earth Hour which falls today from 8.30pm to 9.30pm.

May Salitah, in her statement, said that the Earth Hour was a great event to commemorate Mother Earth.

“It started off in 2007 in Sydney, Australia and has now grown to be celebrated across the globe with millions of people.”

And since 2008, Sabahans have begun to celebrate the hour without fail, she said.

“Interestingly, the impact has attracted the Kota Kinabalu City Hall to take part and take a step further by switching off more than 500 street lights for one hour,” she said.

The effort, she said, would allow the city to save on electricity and conserve energy.

She also said that by being in the dark for an hour, “we could contribute to Mother Earth”.

“To all Sabahans, I urge all of you to join hundreds of millions of people across the planet to switch off for Earth Hour.

“This is the biggest celebration of energy conservation that we should all be proud and lucky to be a part of.”

Aside from switching off lights, she also advised Sabahans to switch off other electrical appliances when not in use.

May Salitah will be at SM All Saints today at 10am to spread the awareness about the initiative to students as well as appear for the Earth Hour Fiesta at Sutera Harbour to judge on Earth Hour Junior Ambassador Contest as well as join the team during the one-hour without lights.

Miss Malaysia Earth 2009, Mandy Nandu will also be present at both events.