Scything

Scything is a traditional way of mowing grass or reaping crops using a scythe – a sharp steel blade at right angles to a long handle.

TreeThinker Scythe - Advantages of scything

Advantages:

Traditional – Scything has been in use in agricultural practices for more than 1200 years, and it’s seeing something of a resurgence of late.

Encourages wildlife – Wildlife has much more of chance to get out of the way, compared to alternatives, and the soil and vegetation aren’t compacted like with commercial mowing.

Low impact – It does not require fossil fuels and reduces the need for selective herbicides. It’s also quieter for the user and has no exhaust fumes.

TT-Poldark

Versatile – Scything can be used for a wide variety of tasks, big or small, and with different types of vegetation.

Workout – It’s also a great way to workout; especially for the chest, legs and abdominal muscles.

 

 

Using a scythe, one person can scythe up to an acre a day, and it’s a great way to ensure a thorough connection with the land by experiencing it closely.

What Is Permaculture?

I thought it would be useful, as an organisation which has permaculture at its core, to give a basic definition of permaculture. However, I was stopped short, while there are some great definitions of permaculture out there already, one thing that runs as a theme is that there isn’t really one, singular definition of ‘permaculture’.

At conception, permaculture was a contraction of ‘permanent agriculture’ referring to a sustainable system of crop growth taking into account inter-related internal and external factors for combined tree crop growth. But since then, permaculture has taken on a broader meaning; as a philosophy which can be applied in all situations – the idea is of considering wider inter-related factors with a focus on sustainability. This, very broad, philosophy can be interpreted and applied in many ways; the Permaculture association says:

“Permaculture combines three key aspects:

1. An ethical framework

2. Understandings of how nature works

3. A design approach”

And Permaculture Magazine describes permaculture as:

“1. Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living.

2.It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere.”

To bring this to TreeThinker’s application of permaculture and to put it succinctly, it is possible to define permaculture as the implementation of agricultural techniques and design processes which work with nature to be sustainable, not only in terms of local food growth but also in terms of the wider ecosystem.

The Climate Change Debate Is Over

Some people still talk about the ‘climate change debate’ despite the evidence showing that humans are causing global warming, some people say they don’t ‘believe’ in climate change but belief no longer comes into it.
Human caused climate change has been proven beyond reasonable doubt
Just like weather changes with seasons, climate undergoes periodic changes; in the last 650,000 years, there have been 7 cycles in global temperature. We know this because temperature affects rock formation in a similar way to how it affects tree growth, and just like you can see variations in the seasons over time by looking at a cross section, you can see the growth rate of rocks over a much longer time frame.
The cycle, called the milankovitch cycle, has been consistent for hundreds of thousands of years, but in the last 1300 years the cycle has been broken (1).
Satelite technology has enabled us to see the full picture when it comes to climate at the affects are continuing.
How do we know that it’s caused by humans?
We’ve known about the greenhouse effect since the 1800s – greenhouse gases (mainly water vapour and carbon dioxide) act as a kind of heat shield, keeping warmed air in around the earth and stopping it escaping into space. We also know that human activity causes carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere (2), especially activities which involve the burning of fossil fuels for power which takes carbon out of the ground and allows it to reach the atmosphere. This can be seen really clearly in the ‘Keeling curve’ a chart showing the atmospheric carbon dioxide levels taken from a fixed point, and how they’ve changed over time:
Mauna_Loa_CO2_monthly_mean_concentration.svg.png
You can see they have increased dramatically since the 60s. To put that into context, the following shows how that fits into the bigger picture. The data from before recording began has been found by analysing ice which freezes the atmosphere at the time of freezing in with the water.
Climate graph.jpeg
Source: NASA
What about the opposing arguments? Don’t we have to give them a voice?
By giving the other side equal attention it suggests the view may be equally weighted, by using very little or often poor evidence to compare to the strong evidence showing climate change, it suggests that both are equal (or near to it) but they are decidedly not.
97% of climate research agrees that humans are causing global warming (3). Of the 3% remaining there is no consensus between them and suggested causes of global warming include aliens on more than one occasion. Does that seem strange? It may be helpful to know that in October 2015 a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that scientists that had taken corporate funding from the likes of Exxon and the Kochs were more likely to produce material designed to polarise the climate change issue – make of that what you will.

Consensus:

Quick fire round

A lot of people who dispute climate change will give clumsy, unsupported arguments and claim that it’s just as reasonable as points from the other side, since those don’t have evidence either – in reality the evidence proving climate change is well established, here are my top three incidences of this:

“The climate is always changing, it has nothing to do with us”
Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing – READ MORE.

“But Hey, it’s getting warmer, tat can’t be a bad thing’
Negative impacts of global warming on agriculture, health & environment far outweigh any positives – READ MORE.

“It will be ok, life adapts”
Global warming will cause mass extinctions of species that cannot adapt on short time scales READ MORE.

Conclusion

The evidence is clear, man made climate change is not a matter of opinion, it’s one of fact. Even calling it the ‘climate change debate’ implies it isn’t a known entity, when in reality, we might as well have a ”Gravity debate’ or a ‘The moon is made of cheese debate” (incidentally there is a fun example of this here – which, I think, reads a lot like the “climate change debate”).

 

References

(1) IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, p. 5

B.D. Santer et.al., “A search for human influences on the thermal structure of the atmosphere,” Nature vol 382, 4 July 1996, 39-46

Gabriele C. Hegerl, “Detecting Greenhouse-Gas-Induced Climate Change with an Optimal Fingerprint Method,” Journal of Climate, v. 9, October 1996, 2281-2306

V. Ramaswamy et.al., “Anthropogenic and Natural Influences in the Evolution of Lower Stratospheric Cooling,” Science 311 (24 February 2006), 1138-1141

B.D. Santer et.al., “Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes,” Science vol. 301 (25 July 2003), 479-483.

(2)

“Enhanced Greenhouse Effect”. Ace.mmu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2010-10-15.

(3) J. Cook, et al, “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming,” Environmental Research Letters Vol. 11 No. 4, (13 April 2016); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

Quotation from page 6: “The number of papers rejecting AGW [Anthropogenic, or human-caused, Global Warming] is a miniscule proportion of the published research, with the percentage slightly decreasing over time. Among papers expressing a position on AGW, an overwhelming percentage (97.2% based on self-ratings, 97.1% based on abstract ratings) endorses the scientific consensus on AGW.”