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Desert or Paradise

Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, including Lake and Pond Construction

S e P P H o l ze r

Desert or Paradise

The world agricultural report states that a quarter of all farmland has been lost through monocultures, industrial agriculture and the destruction of nature. In the picture: forest fires on the isle of La Palma.

we should not worry too much about creating employment or spaces to grow food in; both are already abundantly available. i worry about the loss of knowledge as so many people do not know how to grow healthy food anymore. Here is my ten Step plan to combat world hunger:

1. Restoring the Hydrological Balance

The first and most important step is to restore the hydrological balance. That is 70% of the work done. the human body and the surface of the earth are made up of 70% water. there is no life or fertility without water. a healthy hydrological balance enables the growing of healthy food without the need to fertilise. it supports biodiversity and the interactive symbioses in the soil. it prevents further desertification and floods. It is absolutely fine to use heavy machinery to create water retention spaces and terraces; this can be considered to be part of transitional ethics.

2. Abolishment of Industrial Livestock Farming

i have nothing against the consumption of meat, as long as the animals are kept naturally and are slaughtered humanely. the mass production of meat and other animal products is not only immoral, it also destroys our environment and is uneconomical. the immense areas needed to grow animal feed should be used to grow food for humans, animals should be integrated into natural cycles and permaculture needs to be used to cultivate the land in a sustainable manner.

A Strategy to Feed the World: Becoming a Gardener of the Earth

3. Developing of more Cultivated Areas

too much farmland lies fallow or is being used for monocultures worldwide. the world Food programme says that up to 7,000,000ha of farmland are lost annually through erosion, salinisation and the drying up of the soil. over the last 20 years about 1,000,000km2 of agricultural land have been lost due mainly to industrial cultivation. thats the size of central europe. a lot of this land could be made viable again by using natural methods. The fields could be decontaminated and reinstated. Burnt, dried up or flooded areas, inaccessible to machinery, could be cultivated by using the methods of Holzers permaculture.

4. Enlarging Areas under Cultivation

More food could be grown on existing land by using the methods of urban gardening, terracing, hugelkultur (see page 130) and crater gardening (see page 135). telegraph poles, bridge piers and house walls can be used to grow vegetables and herbs in cities. i have shown people living in slums how to grow vegetables on rubbish dumps.

5. Increasing Productivity
the productivity of most areas could be increased by co-operating with nature and by making use of the interactive symbioses in the soil. inaccessible areas could be cultivated by using animals, especially chickens and pigs. the Krameterhof is the best example; it shows how marginally used areas were transformed into highly productive ones.

6. Regionalisation instead of Globalisation

regional production and distribution is always better than doing it globally. any region or community should be able to cover their basic needs. Surplus or regional specialities could be sold. this is possible in any climate, when co-operating with nature.

7. Agrarian Reform
every citizen of this world is entitled to a piece of land. there should not be anyone without some land to work with. the majority of the land must not be owned by a few. land reform is much needed and people should only be allowed as much land as they are able to work with. the value of any piece of land is only as high as the owners ability to cultivate it, in my opinion. i think landowners should release 10% of their land to the poor: as spaces to experiment and learn, to co-create with nature and to teach our children. they should be given natural produce as compensation. this would enable everyone to be self-sufficient and our children would grow up in and with nature again. landowners would make friends and would not need barbed wire and guard dogs for protection anymore.

Desert or Paradise

8. Neighbourly Help and Community

in the face of the collapse of our worldwide systems skilled people, close to nature, should offer their help and assistance to others. By helping each other communities would grow and develop. i had a dream in which people travelled from community to community, each unique, they had names like Community of self-sufficiency, Community for you and me and Community of co-operation with sun, water and the earth.

9. Conservation and Promotion of Ancient Wisdom, e.g. Methods of Preservation

we need to learn and share the knowledge of preserving food with easy and natural methods. there are methods that do not require a fridge, freezer, electricity or other technical equipment. the air-drying of meat, curing, salting and keeping food in wood ash are some almost forgotten techniques. Desiccation and canning are old methods of preservation and nowadays there is also solar dehydration. Herb and medicinal plant lore also needs to be preserved, wild herbs as vegetables are incredibly healthy and potent.

10. Changing our Educational System

people need to learn to read nature. this is the best long-term measure to deal with world food production. our children are our best capital. they need to experience nature, we all do. this creates joyful living, followed by practical knowledge.