Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Short grass

Are the emission from cars the biggest threat for environment or is it short cutted laws? We need new eyes and new structures to see the full picture with new solutions.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Destructions of rights to resources and erosion of democratic control of natural resources, the economy and the means of production undermine cultural identity. With identity no longer coming from the positive experience of being a farmer, a craftperson, a teacher, or a nurse, culture is reduced to negative shell where one identity is in competition with the "other" over scare resources that define economic and political power.

- Another World is Possible- Popular alternatives to globalization at the world social forum, 2003 W.F. Fisher and T. Ponniah

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Social construction of reality

Man is biologically predestined to construct and to inhabit a world with others. This world becomes for him the dominant and definitive reality. Its limits are set by nature, but once constructed, this world acts back upon nature. In the dialectic between nature and the socially constructed world the human organism itself is transformed. In this same dialectic man produces reality and thereby produces himself.

-The social construction of reality, 1966 by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luchmann


Robert Merton (1957, Social Theory and Social Structure) describes the situation where we end up wrongly labeling others, and through this we actually influence their action, and they eventually become and act according to the label that then reaffirms our original label.
"You are a dumb student"; you begin to act like a dumb student; eventually you come to think of yourself and act as a dumb student.
And then we, in turn, are able to proudly declare that we knew who you were a long time ago. Merton call this "the self-fulfilling prophecy. "Yes. I guess this is who I am." Identity is a powerful aspect in everyone's definition of the situation. "Who we are" and "who they are" guide almost everyone in social interaction one way or another. [As people can talk without words, i.e with body language, the sentence "you are a dumb student" doesn't need to bee spoken. And as we are able to talk to our selves, we can also say that "You a dumb student", to ourselves.. never do]
More generally, the idea that even then we say nothing our clothes are talking noisily to everyone who sees us, telling them who we are, where we come from, what we like to do in bed and a dozen other intimate things, may be unsettling. To wear what "everyone else" is wearing is no solution to the problem, any more than it would be to say what everyone else is saying. We all know people who try to do this; even if their imitation of "everyone" is successful, their clothes do not shut up; rather thay broadcast without stopping the information that this is a timid and conventional man or woman, and possible an untrustworthy one. We can lie in the language of dress, or try to tell the truth; but unless we are naked and bald it is impossible to be silent.
 (Alison Lurie, 1982. The Language of Clothes)

 Interactions is also responsible for society. It is through it that society is formed, reaffirmed, and altered. It is through the absence of continuous interaction that society ceases to exist. Society depends on individuals continuously interaction with one another and with themselves.
The work of Goffman reminds us that creating identity is an active negotiation process between who others tell us we are and our continuous attempts to present who we think we are to others.
Social interactions, then, takes on further importance now. It is not only the basis of our human nature qualities; it is not only an important cause of how we act in situations; but it is also the negotioation process through which we create one another's identity. Through social interaction we become who in the world we are.

All text from the book Symbolic Interactionism, An introduction, an interpretation, an integration, Joel M. Charon, 2009

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Detective work

“I have already explained to you that what
is out of the common is usually a guide rather
than a hindrance. In solving a problem of this
sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason
backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment,
and a very easy one, but people do not
practise it much. In the every-day affairs of
life it is more useful to reason forwards, and
so the other comes to be neglected. There are
fifty who can reason synthetically for one who
can reason analytically.”

[swedish translation from which I read it would
be, last section;
"Only one man of fifty has the ability
to think analytically, the rest is dedicated to
puzzles all the parts together and hope to
thus obtain an overall picture in the end"]

-A study in Scarlet, 1887 (Sherlock Holmes), by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To build up a forest

I'm in the middle of the agricultural area in the county Scania, southern Sweden. This is the best place for agriculture in Sweden and now heavily industrialized, with mile-long section of arable land in each direction and only few trees. Although Linnaeus said in the 1700's that soil erosion was a big problem in Scania and would be even worse in the future, and the solution for that in the 1800's; miles of willows planted as wind barrier and animal food, has now been saw down in favor of wider roads for cars, this in the 1900's. So soil erosion has been prevalent in recent years, and may be worse with a different climate (link to a report of a longer study on the correlation between weather and soil erosion in the area). Farmers, government, or any, must become better to build up barriers between the fields, to prevent the soil to move.

Here, in the middle of the agricultural area, some of those "any"; namely two brothers, began to plant trees at their own land. When the family bought more land, they planted more trees and a plan to grow a whole forest was in their minds.

Some trees (oak, hazel,
beech, cherries and wild apples, some showed
in the pictures) was planted
here as seeds, and
seedlings and are today
over 2 meter tall trees. But still, here is no forest. It's just a plan for a small forest, which is waiting and is planned to be here. Trees are carefully planted in the soil, and planned to not come too close to each other. And thoughts goes through my so-called ecologist mind, of how a forest grow back naturally, and how long this strategy would take to build up a forest. Even if its a small one. What can you can do with the land, when you are waiting; (my (ironic) solution were); build a private amusement park, a golf course or a wetland (with trees on its side).

The land is too big to use for permaculture or anything like that and a small vegetable plot is already there. So it is just a long wait, for a forest to take place. A land for the nature and with nature, a place where nature grows back. Even if more animals like deers are desired, the small trees need protection so the forest can take place and more food for them can grow here. Again a small contradiction of pure nature and a helping hand.

Some of the trees are newly planted in the soil, and are just tiny seedlings, so to protect them against grazing animals such as deer, some protection was invented (shown in the pictures, nets, baskets and wood strips).

This week, with a report in my mind on how the present of hazel give a clue that we had a open landscape in the past as a result from grazing by large herbivores (article from Dr. Frans Vera, who argue that hazel and oaks needs open space, but to protect from grazing animals, they grow up with a protection of bushes with thorns, can't find the right ones but another; page 5, The effects of large herbivores on vegetation dynamics in temperate Europe), we went for an ecological experiment; small raspberry plants were found, dug up and we plant them around the small tree seedlings to protect them from grazing (first picture below).

Some of the older trees got a better soil from a tip from a girlfriends father. We went out and dug some square meters around 10 of the trees to take away competition from grass and herbs, then some mulch and a lot of water. On the top we placed newspaper, with rocks and grass to hold it, to make it moist and free from new grass (second picture below).

I think we did a good job. But this is a slow process. If any have a similar experience.. this project need some more good tips.

In this part of Scania, plans to try to plant (back) some of the old willow rows are ongoing. A dialog shall start this year, from which farmers and land owners can have a say and would be convinced to plant willows on their land, the dialogue is organized from Leader Söderslätt, as a part of the Swedish rural area program, under the EU LEADER initiative. The strongest argument is that willow rows is a part of the cultural history (article about the willow planting dialog, in Swedish), but more willows would, if the rows are more connected to each other, allow animals to walk longer distances, which would be good for biodiversity but what about arable land and grazing on vegetables? Truth is that heavily industrialized agriculture doesn't need animals.

Most and first, we need to see that there is enough trees to prevent soil erosion. Sweden have many programs in other countries with tree planting and other actions to build up better arable land and prevent soil erosion, from our aid organization SIDA, maybe they should go to southern Sweden and help out a little too?

This part of Scania is so beautiful, with the open landscape and a stormy ocean so close that it is easy to forget about the problems here, but projects as those mentioned, is a prove that some very interested people around here wants to uncover the difficult truth, to make it a better place from the holistic view to ensure future living.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Learning, doing and groupwork

The only thing that endures over time is the law of the farm: I must prepare the ground, put in the seeds, cultivate it, water it, then gradually nature growth and development to full maturity.. there is no quick fix.
-Stephen Covey

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Balance of nature

Besides of intra and inter- specific competition (competition between individuals within a species and between species) there is also a "kind side" of nature, the trophic levels. Those trophic levels are not limited by competion between individuals or by species, but from energy. With a ratio of 1:10, those tropic levels shapes a pyramid, with few food-chains longer than 4 steps.

In the trophic pyramid, humans effect it everywhere; from being the producers, the consumers, predators and decomposers. Well, our way of doing it is always worse than nature and extra energy is needed always and biproducts seems to be inavitable.

However. My idea was to see people more as producers, with a lot of knowledge both scientific but also like a human knowledge, we know how we live, what's working, what's not and so on. If humans was seen more as producers in the food-chain, everything would be dependend on them later on. If humans would be seen more as producers than consumers that needs a fixed ground (the plants in the ecosystem, the society with structures and buildings in the human system), we would gain more energy in the higher level, that means a more effective work with less competition.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What shape has the watch?

"Why should anyone claim the shape of a watch is round - a manifestly false proposition -since it appears in profile as a narrow rectangular construction, elliptic on three sides; and why the devil should one only have noticed its shape at the moment of telling the time?

-Alfred Jarry

Monday, June 14, 2010

Old reuse update

Society in modern times is about consumption, and consumption is about resources. When we do new things for higher consumption, we also have a reduction of valuable resources and often have a major impact on the environment. What companies want is to sell more things, it does not matter if it is, excuse me when I say this, cheap crap that breaks down directly, it's pretty good actually, if it does, so the store can sell the new stuff tomorrow .

That is why we must reverse the high consumption of resources to a high consumption of things, things that we already have. We can change things we do not want more. But it is not a flea market or second hand stores, this time, neither the private second-hand shopping between people from advertisements in newspapers and the Internet, no- this may be a company that buys things from customers and sell it back to the store, which can sell it to new customers. It's fairly easy to implement in some stores that have their own brands, such as clothing stores, eyewear and footwear. Or why not in the market for tools and materials for construction? Video game stores have a system already in stores, when they buy used games from customers and sell them to new customers, nothing wrong with that, but if you go back to your dress, blouse or shirt that you used once at a party and want no more, it could be more than strange to go back to the store and want money back for it - today.

A company in the customer-business in a direction opposite from today, can be a good way to have contact with customers, as it would not be too fun to go back to the store and "give the clothes back", so REuse fix that instead, the customer will get money in advance and the clothes goes back to "the starting store", the store that sold it originally or the store that wants to buy it "back". It should also be marked as a REuse thing. Large stores which sells a lot of things can have a special corner or area with REuse things, a corner which can attract new customers to the store, when the price is lowered ..

The main point would be that things have a "second rate", such as cars, boats and houses has today. So the customers can consume things to different types of events, and after the party or camping trip, they can get some money for it instead of having a lot of junk in their house! The customers can see that things are worth money even if they are little used, in a much simpler way than today, where you have to be active in searching for and advertising for both old and "cheaper" stuff.

If the company REuse would start and get a bigger venue, it can change the world a little bit for the better. We can still have a high consumption, but it becomes a different type. And it's good for the environment, shops, and us.

Since there were things we wanted to have, right? We never believed that they must be cheap and bad for the environment? Good quality and longevity will be the next thing for many stores. And it can lead to increased consumption, because money can recycle also. The only loss is for customers who wants new things, but it is their choice (it can also be a slogan .. REuse, it's up to you how to choose) and they can acually buy more with less money even if things would be more expensive, because of the oportunity to "give it back". So even small stuff can be handle with care, when they have a value even after they left the store and the price paper taken off. The company REuse, shops, customers and the environment benefits from this system so why not just start reuse?

I made a small scheme to get an overview. Read the image from the people box. Business 1, 2 and 3 may be a hiking shop, HoM and a shoe company. Black lines show the way of things and pink lines, the money flow. Pink lines should also be between company 1,2 and 3 and REuse.

A little summary list of REuse

  • Less garbage

  • Can lead to better usage and handling of products

  • A second value to small stuff like cloths, camping, video games (already have it), constructing market, glasses, bicycles, electric stuff, carpets, furnitures, lamps etc

  • A value in “old crap”

  • Is a company- so its just for the store to buy it “again” from the company

  • Stores get a stronger name- you can get the same brand and stuff but a bit cheaper- reused
    - which can lead new custumers to the store

  • The loss for the custumer “that wants more” gets it back when she/he can sell things easy and not bunker things in their homes

  • The stores will make a profit

  • Can lead to better products, products which last longer

  • The company REuse can be as a brand but instead of being a labeling for good things, it is a profit company too

  • This shape a circular usage instead of a linear

  • Can effect stores to start renting out stuff instead of sell everything

  • A mix of new and "old" in the same store, makes the old stuff more valued than hiding it in a corner of a flea market

Like it? Well, go ahead. Implement it for real. Steal my idea and make it big!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Human justice- environmental issues

a toe infection, a psychopath makes life terrible for an ex girlfriend and an innocent woman drags into a money fraud. how can we start to talk about things like recycling glas or paper in those cases? environmental problems are not about silly things like that and we need to understand that without a society where people feel that they can make a different, nothing will ever change. what we need to understand is that human justice is a basic need for future development and to get to environmental issues, the basic needs have to be fixed first. and after that we need to build up a more environmental friendly system, which also works without to much of a pain. so to fix the task; ask people what they need and how, that means a good environment (human life) is needed for a good environment (future life). what this is al about tonight, is that things are not easy to fix, because we live and respond to the human society and therefore humans who live in that system knows what is difficult. ask them, do not just give them facts to follow. we need more real bounds.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Treehotel- a hotel in a tree

Come closer to nature, live in a tree!
Go and feel nature, sleep in a treehut, one hour drive from Luleå, in Harads, North Sweden. Plan is to make 24 of them. Inspiration came from the movie Trädälskaren.

17th of July is the first night you can book. But you can take a look at the concept at their homepage here.

More treehouses can be found at the Treehouse by design blog