Bhutan: First Country with Completely Organic Farming

By shunning all but organic farming techniques, the Himalayan state will cement its status as a paradigm of sustainability

– John Vidal and Annie Kelly for the guardian

MDG : Bhutan : farmers transplanting rice shoots into rice paddies in Paro valley,

Already an overwhelmingly agrarian state,

Bhutan is aiming to become the world’s first completely organic country. Photograph: Alamy

Bhutan plans to become the first country in the world to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilisers.

But rather than accept that this will mean farmers of the small Himalayan kingdom of around 1.2m people (according to Pema Gyamtsho, Bhutan’s minister of agriculture and forests; the World Bank estimates it at around 740,000) will be able to grow less food, the government expects them to be able to grow more – and to export increasing amounts of high quality niche foods to neighbouring India, China and other countries.

The decision to go organic was both practical and philosophical, said Gyamtsho, in Delhi for the annual sustainable development conference last week. “Ours is a mountainous terrain. When we use chemicals they don’t stay where we use them, they impact the water and plants. We say that we need to consider all the environment. Most of our farm practices are traditional farming, so we are largely organic anyway.

“But we are Buddhists, too, and we believe in living in harmony with nature. Animals have the right to live, we like to to see plants happy and insects happy,” he said.

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Craft – Learning Traditional Folk Skills

Handmade Brooms

Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, the John C. Campbell Folk School has been keeping traditional folk skills alive since 1925.  They offer hundreds of weeklong and weekend classes, year-round, for adults in: craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.

Check them out here  https://www.folkschool.org/  and empower yourself!

1-800-365-5724

Commonly heard:

“Very cool place with lots of talented people, beautiful art, and great scenery! Highly Recommended”

“I am 26 and I have gone 3 times now. It usually takes me a year to save up enough money for the week and the trip but I have never been disappointed. This past year I was in their work/study program and it changed my life! I am planning on applying for their 4 month host position and it is my goal to find a job close enough to move there and get a chance to take more classes! The accommodations make you feel as if you never left home and you will truly make life long friends.”

“The surrounding hills and greenery of the farmhouses and the campus are relaxing and conducive to creativity. The Scandinavian folk school style suits me with their morning walks in the woods, song and story telling before breakfast, serious working atmosphere in the classes, visits to local studios, folk dance evenings, and of course their very good food. Give it a try.”

from the Shaker Oval Basket Class
Mill House at John C. Campbell Folk School

Fear can be erased from the brain before its memory has been formed

Brian Dodson for gizmag –

An old saying tells us not to dwell on an unpleasant event. A new clinical study suggests the saying has both psychological and neurological support for its validity. Along with his advisors, Thomas Ågren – a doctoral candidate in psychology at Uppsala University in Sweden – has shown that it is possible to erase newly formed emotional memories from the human brain.

There are two forms (at least) of memory, short-term and long-term. Short-term memory keeps a very small amount of information, about the seven digits of a telephone number, at your fingertips for a brief period – typically less than a minute. Long-term memory, on the other hand, seems to store nearly unlimited amounts of information for years or decades.

A long-term memory of an experience, however, is not formed immediately upon the fading of the experience from short-term memory. The information is slowly consolidated into long-term (potentially lifelong) storage over time. This is why some drugs or experiences (such as a concussion) are associated with a period of amnesia – their effects stop the consolidation process cold, so the memory is lost.

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Dark matter scaffolding of universe detected for the first time

A filament of dark matter has been directly detected between the galaxy clusters Abell 222 and Abell 223. The blue shading and yellow contour lines represent the density of matter.
Image credit: Jörg Dietrich, U-M Department of Physics

ANN ARBOR, Mich.— Scientists have, for the first time, directly detected part of the invisible dark matter skeleton of the universe, where more than half of all matter is believed to reside.

The discovery, led by a University of Michigan physics researcher, confirms a key prediction in the prevailing theory of how the universe’s current web-like structure evolved.

The map of the known universe shows that most galaxies are organized into clusters, but some galaxies are situated along filaments that connect the clusters. Cosmologists have theorized that dark matter undergirds those filaments, which serve as highways of sorts, guiding galaxies toward the gravitational pull of the massive clusters. Dark matter’s contribution had been predicted with computer simulations, and its shape had been roughed out based on the distribution of the galaxies. But no one had directly detected it until now.

“We found the dark matter filaments. For the first time, we can see them,” said Jörg Dietrich, a physics research fellow in the University of Michigan College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Dietrich is first author of a paper on the findings published online in Nature and to appear in the July 12 print edition.

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World leaders lost sight of their urgent purpose!



WWF Rio+20 closing statement (via World Wildlife Fund)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (21 June 2012) – With negotiations at an end, WWF Director General Jim Leape today issued the following closing statement about the Rio+20 summit: “This was a conference about life: about future generations; about the forests, oceans, rivers and lakes that we all depend on…

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Epistle to the Ecotopians



A final message of hope from Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach (via Red Green & Blue)

Epistle to the Ecotopians By Ernest Callenbach [This document was found on the computer of Ecotopia author Ernest Callenbach (1929-2012) after his death.] To all brothers and sisters who hold the dream in their hearts of a future world in which humans and all other beings live in harmony and mutual…

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