Spring Beekeeping Workshop

Spring Beekeeping Workshop
Demonstration Hive

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Courses Offered

I will be teaching the following courses at Gateway Community College, North Haven, CT:

Soils and Land Care:
Practical Applications for Sustainable Development
What is soil and what is it composed of? Understand the soil food web ecosystem and its ability to sustain life on earth. This intensive session shows how soils influence non-toxic edible food and human nutrition. Learn about soil minerals, organic matter and chemical characteristics.

Learn how soil is classified using soil survey information and topographic maps to assess soil on a particular piece of land. Understand what soil composition and analysis mean on a practical level in relation to landscaping, gardening, and building construction. Learn what steps we can take to improve soil in home gardens to enhance nutrition plus measures we can take in our communities to reduce environmental pollution. Understand how “vermi-composting” – indoor small-scale worm composting – can be used to improve soil.

CRN: 2732 1 Session: 5/22
Day: Saturday
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: North Haven – TBD
Course Fee: $35
Instructor: Rabinowitz
Contact for More Information:Cynthia

Landscaping to Protect the Environment
Protect the environment when landscaping by employing time-honored practices. Learn to consider the communal environment, as well as your personal needs and wants, when landscaping your home grounds.Learn about aquifer protection, water quality protection, biodiversity and waste management by designing rain gardens, dense, multi-purpose plantings, reducing lawns, creating peaceful outdoor seating areas and front entry gardens. Increase habitat for birds and butterflies. Plan gardens to grow beautiful ornamental and edible plants for your own consumption.

This class will cover site assessment and site design and the use of maps and simple diagrams to develop landscape plans. Learn about absorbing the essence of a place by developing your intuition and observational skills. This three-hour class includes lecture and practicum. Participants are encouraged to bring a map or drawing of their home property.

CRN: 2734 1 Session: 6/5
Day: Saturday
Time: 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Location: North Haven – TBD
Course Fee: $35
Instructor: Rabinowitz
Contact for More Information:Cynthia Rabinowitz: cynthia@hgconnsoil.com, www.connsoil.com,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Educational Programs Coming Up

I will be speaking at the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition public educational event on Saturday, March 20, 2010. My talk is entitled "Landscape Design to Protect the Environment". Please check PRWC's website for location details. The program is free to the public.

Stuart and I will be speaking on May 1, 2010 at the EcoCreative Collaborative event at the Litchfield Community Center, Litchfield, CT. We will be talking about what we learnt in the Permaculture Design Certification Program we are just completing. We also will have a table display during the entire event. I will give more details here as I get them.

Also, I will be teaching a soils course at Gateway Community College on May 22, 2010. It is a half day class and the charge is $35. As I get more information about registration, I will post it here.

Thank you to all the people following my postings. I love to get the feedback! Thank you!

Peak Oil and Climate Change

When I think about PEAK OIL and CLIMATE CHANGE, there are obvious concerns that are worrying, but there are also opportunities too.

A lot of people are concerned about the ramifications of oil running out. Even economists working for oil companies recognize that this is going to happen, or is already happening.

To quote Asia Newspaper, 4 May 2005, "Fifty years ago, the world was consuming 4 billion barrels of oil per year and the average discovery was around 30 billion. Today we consume 30 billion barrels per year and the discovery rate is approaching 4 billion barrels of crude per year."

Fox News, of 28 April 2006 stated "Energy experts no longer debate about whether Hubbert's peak will occur, but when." M. King Hubbert, geologist, predicted in 1956 that the US would peak in production in 1970, was ridiculed but then proved correct. (The Transition Handbook, Hopkins, P22.)

In the Sunday Times of 9 September 2007, Zac Goldsmith says "Peak oil informs everything. People ought to know about that, but they don't. When it's going to peak or if it's happened already I don't know, but if oil ran out tomorrow we would be stuffed. We depend on it for everything."

If you haven't read about this issue for yourself, by now you are probably thinking I've lost my marbles or that I'm one of those people who believe in doomsday - that the end of the world is coming and all that kind of stuff. But that would be wrong. I am an optimistic person and I believe we have a chance to sort ourselves out before it is too late.

Nevertheless, I do have worries. How will my family travel to see each other when getting to other countries or parts of this country will become like getting to the moon?

How will people feed, clothe, and house themselves when we are dependent on oil to bring EVERYTHING to our locales? If you don't believe this, check the products around your house to see where they are made. How many are made in your town? Your state? Even your country? Think about the products you depend on every day and how they are made. Most need oil as part of their material and all need it for transportation. How about the medication you rely on? How about the latex gloves you protect your hands with? Your household cleaners? Cosmetics? Clothing fabric? Insulation? Fertilizer? Pesticide? Food? Grocery bags? CD's, DVD's? No point in going on, you get the picture.

At our house, we have taken steps over the past 30 years to become more self-sufficient and could, with adaptations live here with little or no electricity or petroleum. We know how to do it even though it will feel like deprivation after our easy life of oil dependency.

But what about the community or world at large? People are not preparing. I worry about war and chaos resulting from the coming lack of oil. Our government is arguing over distractions that keep them busy from addressing the real problems we are facing. They are certainly not telling the public what even the big oil companies know and have acknowledged in industry-wide publications or forums.

My POSITIVE vision for the future is everyone pulling together. We do not need to wait for the government to tell us what to do. We need to draw together as bioregional communities to grow and distribute food, building materials, clothing fiber, fuel, and, of course, water.

I believe we CAN do this if enough people start waking up and working together to plan for the transition into cooperative communities instead of the consumptive "every household for itself" mode of living we are seeing now.

I highly recommend the book "The Transition Handbook:From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience" by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement, published by Chelsea Green.

It is normal to dismiss this kind of thing as alarmist nonsense and continue on in denial. That would be a mistake.