5. Aid and Development

It aims to examine aspects pertaining to the fields of aid and development – how will you contribute?

  • Aquaponics – eFISHient food production in Palestine

    Aquaponics in the West Bank During our stay at Bustan Qaraaqa in Palestine, we have been lucky enough to volunteer one day a week with Phil and Lorena from Byspokes on aquaponic systems (their website is where the following information comes from). Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish in water, with hydroponics, which is growing plants in a liquid. Since they arrived in the West Bank in July 2010 they have been researching, developing and trialing the FIRST EVER aquaponic system constructed behind the Wall! They have been developing integrated aquaculture/irrigation systems and aquaponic systems to enhance food security in rural areas of Palestine, where as much as 44% of the population are…

  • Talking rubbish – Turning trash into treasure

    Here at Bustan Qaraaqa they don’t simply sort their recycling, compost their vegetable scraps and put out the rubbish to be collected weekly – they take REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE to a whole new level. With no municipal waste management in Palestine, they have adopted a policy of ‘what comes on site, stays on site’, often collecting other peoples waste too! Using permaculture, creativity, knowledge and passion they educate and demonstrate by living sustainably themselves and maintaining a philosophy that there is no such thing as waste – just a failure of imagination. They hope to inspire Palestinians to stop throwing their rubbish down hillsides or burning it on the side of the…

  • The politics of olive harvesting in Palestine

    We are currently staying at Bustan Qaraaqa in Palestine and just happen to be here during olive harvest season… we are also here during an interesting time because of the Shalit Deal, where Israel swaps one Israeli soldier for 1027 imprisoned Palestinians… so, how do we link olives with the Shalit Deal?? Well, ironically, the olive leaf is a symbol of abundance, glory, wisdom, fertility, pureness and peace… but here people are oppressed, getting their olive groves and rain water cisterns destroyed by Israel as the natural water resources are monopolised (on average Israelis have access to 4 times as much water as Palestinians). People’s ability to sustain themselves is being taken away from them. In the past…

  • Growing forests in deserts…

    It has been a long time without posting… we do apologise for such a long silence but the truth is we’ve been extremely busy! We spent most of August hiking in the Swiss Alps and we do hope to be able to share with you our experience with the makers of the über-famous Gruyere cheese… Anyway, after this great holiday, we then went to Jordan to study permaculture. We ended up doing a Permaculture Design Course for two weeks in Amman (it’s now Carly’s second PDC!), followed by a week of conferences/discussions/experience sharing in the Wadi Rum desert, exchanging about agriculture and water harvesting in arid climates; cross-fertilisation of the aid and…

  • Insecurity in Central America, a little heard story

    I just come back from Central America where I was doing a consultancy for a humanitarian organisation and, given that we don’t hear much about the region in the news, I thought you might be interested to know a bit about it. The organisation has been operating there for decades but has recently questioned its presence given the drastic deterioration of the security there in the last three years. Indeed, statistically, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador (now known as the “Northern Triangle of Death!”) are amongst the most dangerous countries on earth. While in each of these countries, the levels of insecurity vary from one area to another, this means…

  • Living well in the West Bank?

    If you follow this blog regularly (which we are grateful for! :-)), you know that I’ve recently come back from the Middle-East and already expressed some reflections about my stay in Israel in a previous post. Today I would like to share some thoughts about my stay in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As you know, ‘Palestine’ does not exist as a legal entity (although around a hundred countries recognise it as a country and it is likely more will later this year) and is rather referred to the Occupied Palestinian Territories, composed of two disconnected and fragmented territories, namely the West Bank and the Gaza strip. While the former is…

  • What ‘Peak Oil’ means, and how you can benefit

    We don’t know how you feel about it, but personally, we struggle with the concept of Peak Oil. The concept itself is easy to understand – basically, Peak Oil refers to the maximum extraction rate of oil after which, oil being a finite resource, the rate of extraction declines. What we struggle with then, is not the concept itself, but the consequences it implies for me, for you, for us all. As we’ll see below, our industrialised societies are oil-junkies. But try preventing an addict to get his drug by dramatically decreasing his supply in a short amount of time and you’ll rapidly see the effect: tensions at best, hostility…

  • Top 10 eye-opening ecological documentaries – and how to watch them easily

    Images often speak better than words. Part of this blog’s aim is to contribute in raising readers’ awareness to certain issues and offer some ideas to deal constructively with them. True to this aim, we present to you today a selection of ecological documentaries that we consider as must-see. Indeed, if they are daunting, they are also eye-opening, inspirational and serve as helpful triggers for change. We assume that you’ve already watched the awards-winning An Inconvenient Truth, so we haven’t included it here. Do watch it (here) if you haven’t yet though… To encourage you watching these 10 documentaries, we’ve also added links or given hints on how to access them easily. So…

  • Five daunting climate change scenarios

    The UNFPA 2009 State of the World Population report recalls that “Walter Kälin, Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, has identified five climate change scenarios, each of which has a different impact on the pace or scale of migration or displacement: • Hydro-meteorological disasters, including extreme weather events such as hurricanes, flooding and mudslides, which may lead to sudden-onset displacement. • Environmental degradation, including desertification, water scarcity and soil exhaustion, which may result in gradual migration or displacement. • Losses in state territory, including erosion and coastal flooding resulting from rising sea levels. Persons living in low-lying coastal areas and the so-called “sinking” small island developing states, such as the Maldives, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, will be most affected by this scenario. It may…

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