Gosling on community renewable energy co-operatives

People’s Energy Charter – No need to re-invent the wheel. This can be the template for our Energy Transition Plan in Ireland

Concerned Co-operators

paul goslingIn the Newssome time ago,Paul Goslingsaid that reducing energy consumption in order to cut carbon emissions – thereby mitigating climate change – is one of the major political, social and economic challenges of our age.

Though the business model to improve energy conservation needs to be redesigned, the system for generating renewable energy through community co-operatives is showing enormous promise.

Gosling sees lower-cost, renewable energy sources as the focus for commercial interventions in the energy market in the UK.

community shares co-op logoAn excitingly large movement of community benefit societies and co-operatives are making community shares issues for renewable energy projects. Paul gives information from the Community Shares Marketplace, www.shares.coop, where 52 community share issues are currently on offer.

Of those 52, almost a third – 15 – are energy projects, ranging from wind turbines, to hydro, to solar panel installations.


alan simpsonLast year, former MP Alan…

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Enzymes, Pro-biotics, Chelators and other mysterious medicines

Enzymes, Pro-biotics, Chelators and other mysterious medicines.

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Fracking by Stealth – it’s starting in Antrim!

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How to make your own polytunnel

This is a friend’s version of a self-build tunnel, similar to the one we built 2 yrs ago and described in an earlier post.. good man Pat

Gardening & Permaculture Design


The first step is deciding where you want to possition the tunnel and how big you want to make it. The garden here runs North South with the house at the southern end. A line of tall conifers 35 feet high both shades and shelters the Western boundary. I decided to remove a line of hedging to make some room for the tunnel. Width was an issue and I did,nt have the space for a standard 10 foot wide tunnel.

After clearing the area I used the 3/4/5 pythagoras rule to set out the basis shape and using 10 mm reinforcing bar/string marked the footprint out as with any build.



Being over optomistic structurally I decided that it might be possible to span the 8 feet using 3/4 inch pipe. This was a mistake it’s much too flexible!. The rebar and 3/4 inch water pipe has come in handy since…

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The Secret’s In The Soil

“The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.”
― Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture

It has taken many years for this obvious but overlooked truth to sink into my head. But like anything that is slow to sink in.. it has set like concrete to form a foundation for all related knowledge to be built upon.

If we look back at our farmer-ancestors behaviour, we can plainly see that the fertility and health of the soil was foremost in their priorities. They understood their role as stewards of the land, maintaining a balance between human needs and nature’s leads. The soil teemed with life, the hedgerows were abundant sanctuaries for wildlife, and the water in the ditches was clean enough to drink. Today the picture is very different.

So, what can we do to help protect and build more of this most valuable resource?
Well, if you are lucky enough to have land, the first priority is to ensure that no chemicals are introduced. This includes synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, even household cleaners and chemical soaps can be detrimental if you are managing your own grey water [in reed-bed systems for instance].

The second step is to protect against erosion or other degradation, for example, from having too many animals in one field, or keeping large animals on wet land over winter, which causes destruction of soil structure, compaction and erosion through water run-off in muddy areas.

The soil must always be covered, either by living cover of some description or a mulch, preferably organic. If it is necessary to use a non-breathable membrane as a way to clear land of persistent weeds, it is important to remove it within 6 months. Soil, and the organisms within it, need to breathe.

There are several techniques for building soil fertility, but first it is useful to have a clear idea of the condition of your soil. There are several tests that will give you some idea of this. The basic tests, like soil acidity, can be carried out with a very simple test kit, which can be purchased at most gardening suppliers. For a more detailed picture, it is possible to have your soil professionally analysed. This can cost anything from 15 to 150€, depending on the number and type of elements tested for. There are numerous trace minerals and nutrients that should be present in a healthy soil, not to mention the average of several million living organisms in a cubic inch.. but these tests usually focus on the essential and most present elements.


Phosphate [P] -This is one of the “Big 3” in terms of vital ingredients for plant growth {NPK}. The best way to add it is through Colloidal Phosphate rock-dust. It should also be present in good compost, and is depleted through cultivation of crops, so it is advisable to supplement regularly, say once every 4 years, if you are growing intensively on the land.

Potassium[K]- The second element in the NPK combination {Nitrogen completes the trio}. There are huge amounts of this element readily available in biologically active soil, so if you can improve the health of your soil, the Potassium level will take care of itself.

Lime- The odd one out here, it isn’t added for it’s inherent qualities, but is quite effective in reducing the acidity in soils. The preferred level for most crops is around ph 6 to 7, with most soils coming in well below this level. Just like the human body, the soil is also prone to disease if it is in an acidic state.

Boron [B]- Essential for correct meri-stem growth and for carbohydrate metabolism, synthesis of nucleic acids and pollination.

Iron [Fe]- Essential for chlorophyll formation and protein synthesis.

Manganese [Mn] – Leaf colour, photosynthesis and protein synthesis.

Zinc [Zn] – Essential for the correct functioning of many enzyme systems and used in metabolism of  plant hormone “Auxim”.

Copper [Cu]- Needed for plant enzyme components such as nitrogen reductuse and is also required for management of lignin.

Magnesium [Mg] – A vital mineral in the functioning of a healthy system. It is believed that Magnesium deficiencies in the soil are a cause of widespread ill-health in the population, as the plants that grow in this soil are also deficient, therefore we are deprived of it.

Sodium [Na]- Another important element in all living systems.

In order to provide a depleted soil with a broad spectrum of these ingredients, it is possible to source rock-dust [the most effective being Basalt] and seaweed powder, both of which contain many of the above items. There is also a product called “greensand marl” which comprises of deposits from ancient sea beds.


One way to “mine” some of these minerals from deep in the sub-soil and bedrock, is to grow green manures. These are basically non-cash crops that can be ploughed back under to add fertility, especially nitrogen. The most popular green manures are those which “fix” nitrogen on their root nodules. This simply means that they sequester nitrogen from the atmosphere and convert it into a usable form underground. Examples of nitrogen-fixing or “leguminous” green manures would be Clover, Vetch and Field beans. If deep-rooting plants are sown, they  will bring up [mine] otherwise unavailable minerals and nutrients from the sub-soil, which will then be incorporated into the topsoil when the green manure is turned under.

Green manures can be fitted into a rotation system, they can also be used for grazing, which adds valuable animal manure to the list of benefits. Another technique that can have further advantages is to sow a green manure under an existing crop, which brings the extra benefit of suppressing weed growth and retaining moisture.


This constituent is arguably the most important, as it supports the soil-life and provides the bulk of the nitrogen for living plants. Some common sources of organic matter include; animal manure, seaweed, composted material, leaf mould [composted leaves], and of course, Seaweed, my personal favourite because it contains so many trace minerals that have been sequestered from the ocean and can easily be assimilated into the soil. I have found seaweed to be an excellent material to work with. Easy to apply, breaks down quickly, activates compost, and gives your spuds a lovely flavour!


In modern farming, there is a high dependence on outside inputs to “feed the plants”, with the soil acting merely as an anchor for the plant’s roots. This system makes the assumption that man can mimic perfectly the life-giving properties of a fertile soil, a dangerous delusion that translates to extremely damaging practices and produce which, at best, is empty of any nutritional value or goodness and at worst, is full of poisonous chemicals. The commonly-used NPK fertiliser is primarily composed of synthetic ingredients, some of which are products of the petroleum industry. in other words, we are eating crude oil in a refined state..

To illustrate the difference between the two farming methods, let me borrow a metaphor used by Eliot Coleman in his classic manual “The New Organic Grower”..

Imagine the plants are students, preparing for an exam. Feeding the plant with synthetic fertiliser and suppressing the weeds and pests with chemicals, would be like giving the student all the answers before the exam. Whereas feeding the soil, developing it’s life-force, achieving a healthy balance in the microbial life, allowing the soil to provide for the plants needs, is equivalent to cultivating an inquisitive mind and providing the access to information in the student. A healthy fertile soil will improve with each growing season,supporting plants that are less dependant on human intervention and more resilient to adversity, as will the student who is allowed to fulfil their potential.

We are heading for an era when fossil fuels will not be so readily available, increasing ill-health, partly due to mineral deficiencies and polluted environments, will cripple our economies and deplete our standard of living. Barren soils are being washed out to sea and our greatest allies, the birds, bees and worms are being decimated by chemical industrial agriculture. This all begins and ends with the health of our soil, the greatest resource at our disposal is rapidly being depleted by our actions. When we buy the produce of this agricultural model, we support it.. while being slowly poisoned.

We must make a stand on this precious earth, to protect our life-support system, and that of our co-inhabitants. The soil is the key to our health, our wealth and our legacy to every living thing that comes after us.

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Imbolc- The celebration of new beginnings.. and Mother Nature.

Imbolc-Fire-FestivalToday we pagans celebrate Imbolc [meaning in-belly], an ancient Celtic festival which pays homage to the lengthening of the days, the first signs of Spring and a time to start making preparations for the growing season ahead. The catholic church are celebrating the feast day of the good Naomh Brid, one of our patron saints, however there is an interesting theory about this Brigit, as she is also known..

brighidSome scholars suggest that believers syncretised St Brigid with the pagan goddess Brighid. According to medievalist Pamela Berger, Christian “monks took the ancient figure of the mother goddess and grafted her name and functions onto her Christian counterpart.”

[..from wikipedia]


This image was borrowed from Lily Wight’s blogpost about Imbolc @ http://lilywight.com/2013/02/02/imbolc-the-beginners-guide-to-the-wheel-of-the-year/

This fits into the pattern of “absorption” of pagan figures and feast days, a well-used strategy of the religious orders to ensure a smooth transition from heathen to holy.

Either way, we can appreciate the connection between this time of the year and the goddess of birth, nurturing and nature. We are halfway between the Winter solstice and the Spring Equinox, the first lambs arriving and the early buds are visible, lets hope they don’t perish in the coming heavy frosts.

Anyone who grows their own food, and those who do it for a living, are ordering seeds, planning the sowing regime, perhaps sowing the first seeds in heated propagators. In my plot the broad beans and garlic sown last Autumn are beginning to show signs of growth after a 2 month stasis. The purple sprouting broccoli is finally producing, hopefully this will help fill my hungry gap, along with a healthy-looking bed of rainbow chard and perpetual spinach. I’m also cropping the odd leek, a few new leaves of kale and the last of the brussels sprouts.

Joy Larkcom’s “Grow your own Vegetables” includes a very useful Seasonal guide, which recommends for this period,  the under-cover sowing of broad beans, beetroot, summer cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, lettuce, peas, onions, radish, cress, komatsuna, oriental saladini, rocket, sugar-loaf chicory and texsel greens. It’s worth noting that local climate needs to be taken account of, sometimes it’s still too cold for germination to occur.

Out in the garden, if the weather allows, we can be planting more garlic [on light soils] and rhubarb sets.

That should keep us busy for a while. I’m still struggling to get the beds in order and stockpile seaweed [this is a traditional time for collecting seaweed because of high tides here in Ireland].

on that note .. I’m off to the beach..if the weather holds off I can light a bonfire to Welcome the coming Spring and pay my respects to Brighid.


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Quicksilver bullets – A story of toxic exposure from the mercury in amalgam fillings

It was once believed to be safe practice, in some countries [like Ireland] it still is, but there is now a mountain of evidence indicating that amalgam tooth fillings, which contain a healthy dose of mercury, can be extremely harmful to those unfortunate enough to be carrying them around in their heads.

I became aware of this unnerving information many years ago, and realising that the two fillings in my head were amalgam, I looked into getting them out. The dentists that I called were all of the same opinion.. don’t bother. It would be very expensive and removal may cause more exposure to mercury than if I left them there. I wasn’t wholly satisfied with this response, but the cost was prohibitive at the time, and I didn’t realise exactly how dangerous these fillings could be.

Only when the subject arose on two occasions recently, with a well-informed friend who had recently had hers removed, and then with a practitioner of alternative medicine, did I reconsider the necessity of getting rid of this possible hazard. In fact, the man of medicine made quite a convincing case, with his own experience of patients who had been suffering from a range of symptoms which had disappeared soon after the removal of the amalgam fillings. The same man gave me the number of an holistic dentist who specialises in amalgam removal. Holistic dentist?,you may ask, it was a concept which was new to me too, but struck a chord immediately. I had an almost subconscious instinct about the teeth being more than just tools to process our food with. It made a lot of sense to look at our teeth as part of the whole body, especially when we have to interfere with them in any way. Soon I would learn the extent to which this gut feeling bore truth.

20140122_122758The above diagram illustrates the relationship that each of our teeth has with our major organs and also with the rest of our body {Excuse the quality, this is a photo of the diagram from the wall of the dentist’s office, I couldn’t find the original on-line}. When reading it, imagine you the mouth depicted is facing you, so tooth one would be your upper right molar. It is based on the now widely-accepted knowledge that our body is one of energy, with meridian lines carrying this energy and connecting the whole system. Western medicine took a long time to catch up, indeed it is sadly far behind in many aspects, but at last it has recognised the wisdom of energy medicine, if only in the form of acupuncture and reflexology. How western doctors could deny the logic and benefits of these practices for so long defies belief. It only goes to show how entrenched and closed-minded certain elements of the western medical profession is. but that’s a whole other story.. back to the teeth.

I wasn’t fully convinced of a connection between my own health issues and the two lumps of mercury in my head, until I actually found myself in Dr. John Murphy’s chair. The first bombshell to be dropped on me that morning was the reading from a device which measures the level of mercury vapour in the mouth. 15 parts per million was by no means a high reading, I was assured that readings of several hundred parts per million were not unheard of, usually when the filling had been corrupted in some way, or when they are very old and leaky.. but it still shocked me to think there was ANY mercury vapour dissipating from my fillings. Surely this has some consequences? I was informed that the dissipation is accelerated by increases in temperature, say by hot beverages.. my mind was reeling with the idea that every cup of tea, coffee or bowl of soup I had consumed in the last twenty years had carried a miniature dose of poison. If you would like to see visual evidence of this phenomenon, click below, it makes for disturbing watching, especially if you have these type of fillings;

The next bombshell was dropped in the form of my x-ray, which clearly displayed my two toxic fillings. When we compared the x-ray to the above diagram, displaying the connection each tooth has with various parts of the body and organs, the blood drained from my head, I saw a clear correlation between the symptoms I was experiencing and the teeth affected. I experienced a strange mix of anger, frustration, despair and relief. Obviously I felt angry at the idea that all my suffering was the result of such stupidity and negligence on the part of the dentist who put them in, at the wider community of dental associations who still condone this practice, despair at the thought of all the amalgam fillings slowly poisoning our families and friends, that these fillings were still being used today, and right here in Ireland! We are filling the mouths of our young with one of the most toxic substances we can imagine, even without the over-whelming evidence available, this amounts to a criminal act in my view.

The relief of finally getting to the root cause of my previously unexplainable symptoms and the knowledge that I would soon be free of them, was flooding through my consciousness in the same breath. As with any fundamental truth, it felt like a nugget of knowledge that has always been lying in a forgotten corner of your mind, waiting to be discovered and dusted-off.

At this stage I was shell-shocked into an emotionally numb state, so when the the Doc took some photos of my fillings and pointed out on his computer screen where evidence of mercurial leakage could be plainly seen, by black staining around the teeth, I took it all in relatively calmly! There was nothing to be done about it now, except to rigidly stick to the prescribed detoxification program. This program commenced when I first made the appointment last December. I was advised to begin taking Chlorella [I will dedicate a future post to this wonderful substance] and Milk Thistle, both are tremendous agents of detoxification of the organs. On my departure from Dr. Murphy’s surgery with my new white composite fillings, he advised me to continue the course of Chlorella and Milk Thistle for a further three months, to ensure any remaining deposits of mercury or related toxins are expelled.

In the course of my two sessions in the good Doctor’s chair, he related numerous cases of severe mercury poisoning that he had encountered in his years of practice. The common theme was the arrival of a very ill and desperate soul coming to him as a last resort, after confounding several specialists. Usually the victims of this poisoning were clutching at straws, but each one experienced a complete recovery after the mercury was purged from their systems. He told me about one young woman who had come to him in a state of severe ill-health, carrying a number serious symptoms. She had only one old and leaky amalgam filling, and her mercury vapour reading was off the scale.. she went from death’s door to the picture of health in 3 months.. another case of severe poisoning turned out to be the result of another, even more toxic element, called Thallium, which can be sometimes found in these amalgam fillings. How does it get there? Well this sounds bizarre, but the theory was based on the fact that Thallium is added to the mercury in thermometers that are designed for use in Arctic conditions, to prevent the mercury from freezing, since Thallium has a freezing point of -58 degrees Celsius, while mercury will freeze at -38. The mercury from these thermometers is then recycled into amalgam fillings! It may seem a stretch, but there is no other explanation for this occurrence. More information on this can be found here:


For any readers in Ireland, the above link will bring you to Dr. Murphy’s dental practice website.

When I realised just how many symptoms can be brought on by even minuscule doses of mercury, the more common ones being chronic fatigue, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches and arthritis,  I began to wonder how many people out there were putting up with niggling symptoms which might make their life slightly more uncomfortable, and all the others at the extreme end of the scale, whose lives are being threatened by exposure to mercury.

So this brings me to the big questions. Why are we still using this toxic substance when the evidence exists to prove it is unsafe? And how do we go about getting amalgam fillings banned in countries where they are still being used.

Well, the answer to the first question is the same answer we encounter too frequently in these matters.. money! Amalgam fillings are cheaper, and in this country the Health Service will only cover cost of the cheaper amalgam fillings for those with a medical card. The lack of awareness about the seriousness of this health risk is another factor. If the public was aware of the implications, they would certainly find the extra cash to get composite fillings fitted.. but the truth is not told when they are sitting in that chair. The “party-line” of the Irish Dental Association is that these ticking time-bombs are perfectly safe, a line that is obediently towed by any dentist who is brain-washed into believing it. These are the same idiots who condone and support the addition of fluoride to our drinking water.. but that’s a whole other story too.. the best way to end this absurd and dangerous situation, is to expose it to the public, to bring it into the open and inform ourselves. We have to learn that doctors and dentists are not the superior beings we seem to think they are. They are just human, easily corrupted, misled and usually covering their ignorance with a thick layer of arrogance.  We must learn to take responsibility for our own health and well-being by examining the conventionally accepted wisdom.

Amalgam fillings have already been banned in several countries, including Sweden, Germany and Romania!

I would STRONGLY advise anyone with amalgam fillings to have them replaced as soon as possible. The expense and hassle might put you off, but your health is your wealth. Don’t forget that.

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For those of you in the vicinity of Alentejo..

Aldeia das Amoreiras Odemira

Domingo 9 Fevereiro 9h30 – 12h30


com Duarte Alvim

  • Como adaptar uma colmeia convencional?
  • Como comprar um enxame e adaptá-lo às nossas colmeias?
  • Propostas de construção de caça enxames adaptados a este método.

Contacto para inscrições: Telemóvel 96 845 91 31 Email monicapbarbosa@gmail.com

Investimento: 12 abelhas (2 bolsas disponíveis para participação gratuita)

Organização: Casa Verde Amoreiras http://casaverdeamoreiras.blogspot.com



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Jose Mujica – El Presidente de Uruguay, talks to Al Jazeera

This interview gives us an insight into the philosophy and beliefs of what must be one of the most progressive and admirable leaders of our time. What would our world look like if his counterparts followed his lead?

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Mr. T. Mc Kenna at his best

“You can see the thumb-prints of editors on the film of our reality, if you pay enough attention”
Terence McKenna

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