Real Freedom Through Food and Water Self-Sufficiency

by Paul A. Phillips, Guest, Waking Times 

One of the many brutal truths about humans is that although it’s something we cannot do without, most of us are quite ignorant when it comes to knowing how our food and water is obtained. Spending very little time with nature, many of us have practically no knowledge of how to achieve food and water self-sufficiency.

We have allowed ourselves to become a mutant race: A major reason for our disconnection from Mother Nature and the resulting inability to be self-sufficient is that we have become overly dependent and taken over by electronics. We have become brainwashed into eking out our narrow everyday existences forever hooked into computers, TV’s, cell phones, mp3’s and ‘smart’ (dumb) technologies, threatening our health and wellbeing…

Put another way, we live in an electronic concentration camp where lawless statist control freak governments use and abuse their power through electronically hacking and spying on us, as confirmed by recent Wikileaks revelations.

-But there is an alternative way of life

In recent years a number of practical, innovative methodologies for cultivating and harvesting food and water have arisen. These small setups have allowed individuals and groups to be independent and self-sufficient.

They offer healthier alternative lifestyles to our electronic-based daily existences allowing us to connect to Mother Nature. Further, they provide alternatives to the big food and big agricultural corporate-based profit-driven owned and controlled industrial monocultures with their health and life-threatening toxins:

These food and agricultural mega-corporations with their mass-produced junk foods, synthetic pesticide toxins and genetically modified crops causing diseases and allergies, threatening species diversity and ecosystems… have failed to save the world. -If allowed to go on they could bring disastrous consequences for all of us.

Self-sufficiency through local farming

In contrast, a healthier natural-based alternative exists in the form of local farming. These small-scale operations made up of organic farms have shown great promise: With the adaptive and innovative skill sets acquired by their farmers for self-sufficiency, local farms are increasing exponentially in numbers all over the world.

They provide solutions for ending the ‘war on poverty,’ as recognized by governments who have helped with their development through funding. However, Big Food and Big Agriculture realize that local farms are a threat to their businesses and have persuaded governments to reduce funds.

Because of this, local farming pioneers know that they have a fight on their hands. If food freedom is to be achieved through thriving local farms then it’s necessary to fight the big corporations. Stop them from influencing politicians and persuade governments to provide more funding, otherwise the ‘war on poverty’ will be a complete farce.

Permaculture gardening and food communities

Harmonizing with nature, permaculture is another eco-friendly way of living. More than just gardening and farming, all the necessary  resources including water, health provisions, soil, building infrastructure… are provided for local community based living. If one resource is missing then another community can provide it. No one becomes isolated, lonely, poverty-stricken, hungry or homeless…

Thus, unlike the corporate and government based ways with their pyramid power structures focussing on competition, this new paradigm approach is flat, having no hierarchy and focuses on cooperation.

-For more on permaculture gardening and food communities go, here.

Biodynamic Organic Farming

As with local farms and permaculture communities, biodynamic farming produces organic food free from GMO’s and toxins found in herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. However, what makes biodynamic farming different is that it doesn’t use outside fertilizers. It has to produce its own compost and nutrient-based fertility, and has done this quite efficiently.

Further, unlike the others, it works on a number of principles originated by Rudolph Steiner: For efficient yields it may take into account the astrological positions and cycles of the moon and stars. For example, it has been said that a full moon is the best time for harvesting. In contrast, a new moon is the best time for planting… Other techniques include enriching the soil with various preparations such as cow’s manure and mineral solutions to promote good soil health.

Although there is much scepticism, lack of supporting scientific evidence for its claims, biodynamic farming has increased exponentially in recent times. It has grabbed the attention and interests of a number of pro-organic companies… Some have described it as the new organic farming.

Rainwater harvesting

The benefits of drinking frequent and regular supplies of good clean water for maintaining optimum health are numerous. However, over the years, the quality of our water supplies has deteriorated.

For examples, rivers in the USA have been found to have high levels of pesticide and herbicide chemicals from nearby farming industry, as in the case of the river and other water supplies in Iowa. High toxicity in the form of cancer and hormone disrupting industrial chemicals has leached out into our drinking water supplies in many places across the nation. Disintegrating infrastructure has also contributed to the toxicity. Take for instance, the lead poisoning case in Flint, Michigan. Then there’s the ill-health caused by fluoride in the water and pollution through fracking…

As a solution a number of people have chosen to use water purification or filtration systems, such as reverse osmosis. That’s fine, but what happens if the electricity supply is disrupted? What if there was a long-term power cut..?

-To get ‘round this and sidestep the municipal water woes, an Arizona based man has invented what he and his family call a jerry-rigged rainwater harvesting system. Involving various infrastructure including gutters, downspouts, drains, pipes and a series of large polythene tanks, the system manages to collect rainwater which supplies 95% of the family’s water needs. –That’s quite an achievement when considering that the family live close to the desert, giving them only about 12 inches of rain over a year.

The layout can be seen in this video starting at 2:40 in. Or go here for how it works.

Final Thoughts

As the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ Adaptive and innovative methodologies for food and water self-sufficiency not only gives us the opportunity for going back to our roots and living the simpler life, but also serves to prepare for uncertain times to come.

About the Author

Paul A. Philips is the author of

This article (Real Freedom Through Food and Water Self-Sufficiency) was originally created and published by and is re-posted here with permission.


The last hollow laugh

Resultado de imagem para Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris.

Francis Fukuyama photographed in Paris. Photo by Stephane Grangier/Corbis/Getty

Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Paul Sagar is junior research fellow in politics and international relations at King’s College at the University of Cambridge.

Edited by Nigel Warburton

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man (1992). Rarely read but often denigrated, it might be the most maligned, unfairly dismissed and misunderstood book of the post-war era. Which is unfortunate for at least one reason: Fukuyama might have done a better job of predicting the political turmoil that engulfed Western democracies in 2016 – from Brexit, to Trump, to the Italian Referendum – than anybody else.

This should sound surprising. After all, Fukuyama’s name has for more than two decades been synonymous with a fin-de-siècle Western triumphalism. According to the conventional wisdom, he is supposed to have claimed that the collapse of the communist regimes in eastern Europe and the United States’ victory in the Cold War meant that liberal capitalist democracy was unambiguously the best form of human political organisation possible. To his popular critics – sometimes on the Right, but most especially on the Left – The End of History was thus a pseudo-intellectual justification for a hyper-liberal capitalist ideology, whose high-water mark was the disastrous administration of George W Bush. Fukuyama’s tagline – ‘the end of history’ – was seized upon by critics as proof that he was attempting to legitimate neoconservative hubris, cloaking a pernicious ideology with the façade of inevitability.

But (the conventional wisdom continues) hubris was soon followed by nemesis: the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent disaster of the Iraq War showed how wrong any triumphalist vision of liberal-capitalist world order was. Fukuyama took particularly heavy flak in this regard. Francis Wheen, in How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World (2004), was typical when he accused Fukuyama of being a shill for neo-con interests. In reply to the question ‘How do you get ahead by boldly making one of the worst predictions in social science?’ Wheen sniped: ‘If you are going to be wrong, be wrong as ostentatiously and extravagantly as possible.’ He claimed that Fukuyama ‘understood what was required to titillate the jaded palate of the chattering classes’ – and played on this for personal gain.

Yet all of this is incorrect. For a start, it is a gross misreading of The End of History to see it as any kind of triumphalism, let alone one subsequently disproved by the rise of radical Islam, or the stalling of capitalist democracies post-2008. It was also deeply unfair to Fukuyama himself. Although a public intellectual rather than a traditional academic, his infamous book displayed an erudition and depth of learning, combined with ambition and panache, that few tenured academics come close to. He might have been wrong, but he was never the dummy his critics made out.

To see this better, it’s worth elucidating the actual argument of The End of History. For a start, Fukuyama never suggested that events would somehow stop happening. Just like any other sane person, he believed that history (with a small h), the continuation of ordinary causal events, would go on as it always had. Elections would be held, sports matches would be won and lost, wars would break out, and so on. The interesting question for Fukuyama was about History (with a big H), a term that, for him, picked out a set of concerns about the deep structure of human social existence.

With regards to History, Fukuyama advanced a complex thesis about the way opposing forces play themselves out in social development. Here, he drew inspiration from the work of the German philosopher Georg Hegel, via the reinterpretations of the Russian émigré Alexandre Kojève. Hegel (and Kojève) proposed that History is a process by which contradictions in the ordering of societies work themselves out by eventually overcoming conflict, so as to move to a higher order of integration, where previous contradictions drop away because the underlying oppositions have been solved. The most famous instance of such a ‘dialectical’ view is Karl Marx’s (also made under Hegel’s influence): that the bourgeoisie and the proletariat would eventually move past their combative opposition, via a period of revolution against capitalism, into the harmony of communism.

In essence, big-H history was, for Fukuyama, an understanding of human development as a logical progression (or dialectical working out of contradictions), generating a grand-narrative of progress, in which each step forward sees the world becoming a more rational place. For Fukuyama, the long-run development of humanity was clearly discernible: from the Dark Ages, to the Renaissance, and then crucially the Enlightenment, with its inventions of secularism, egalitarianism and rational social organisation, paving the way in turn for democratic liberal capitalism. This was the cumulative, and thus far upward-curving, arc of human development…




Will 90 Become The New 60?


As our lifespans have increased, so too have our active years. Can that go on?

Immortality: Trust us, you wouldn’t like it.

It’s a comforting message, in a sour-grapes sort of way. It sounds wise and mature, suggesting that we put aside childish dreams and accept once and for all that there can be no vital Veg-O-Matic that slices mortality and dices infirmity. Gerontologists like it, being particularly eager to put on a respectable front and escape the whiff of snake oil that clings to the field of life extension.

In 1946 the newly founded Gerontological Society of America cited, in the first article of the first issue of its Journal of Gerontology, the need to concern ourselves to add “not more years to life, but more life to years.” The dictum was famously sharpened 15 years later by Robert Kennedy when he told the delegates at the first White House Conference on Aging “We have added years to life; it is time to think about how we add life to years.” Political theorist and futurist Francis Fukuyama was particularly eloquent but hardly alone when he warned two decades ago that if we maintain our obsession with extending life at all costs, society may “increasingly come to resemble a giant nursing home.”

Robert Holland / Getty Images

Around the same time noted aging researchers S. Jay Olshansky and Bruce Carnes wrote in ominous tones that we were treading into the realm of “manufactured survival time,” warning that “this success has been accompanied by a rise in frailty and disability in the general population.1 This is a consequence that neither the medical community nor society was prepared for.” A celebrated article by epidemiologist E.M. Gruenberg in 1977 bemoaned the “failures of success”: “at the same time that persons suffering from chronic diseases are getting an extension of life, they are also getting an extension of disease and disability.”

This message is particularly dire if lifespans rise over extended periods of time—which they have done. In 1936 Louis Dublin, the chief actuary of Metropolitan Life teamed up with the esteemed mathematical demographer Alfred Lotka, to calculate the maximum life expectancy theoretically possible. They came up with a limit of 69.93 years. This limit was exceeded by women in Iceland five years later, by American women in 1949, and by American men in 1979. Life expectancies have been increasing at a steady rate of 3 months per year for the past 175 years, and on average, expert calculations of the maximum possible human lifespan have been exceeded an average of five years after being made. In some cases, they had already been overtaken by events somewhere in the world at the time they were issued.

But what if long lifespans don’t necessarily mean more years of disability? At the turn of the present century George C. Williams, celebrated evolutionary theorist of aging, attacked what he termed the “Tithonus error.” Tithonus, son of a nymph, lover of a goddess, was granted the boon of eternal life. But the further gift of eternal youth was unattainable. Frail, bent, and suffering he shriveled at last into a cricket. Williams’ argument was almost a trivial one, from the perspective of evolutionary biology: The very aged are rare, hence there is unlikely to have been any evolutionary pressure to shape the timing of the end of life, in the way that the timing of early development has been shaped. What we see as the “natural lifespan” is simply a balance between the wear of daily life and the limited ability of repair mechanisms to undo it fully. Shifting the balance, either by increasing the rate or efficiency of repair, or by reducing the rate of damage, must surely stretch out the whole process. Actually, it should do even better than that: The end stage, where most of our suffering is found, ought to be the least susceptible to extension, since it requires maintaining the function of an organism that is failing on multiple levels. This is consistent with the observation that, while mortality rates have been falling at all ages, the pace of progress has been slowest at advanced ages. Youth, according to this argument, should take up a greater portion of our lifespan over time. In 1980 the medical researcher James Fries called this process “compression of morbidity.”



Get ready for robots made with human flesh

 Oh hey, could you zip up my flesh? I can’t reach.

Humanoid robots would “wear” tissue grafts before transplantation.

Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue, and they say the technology is there if we only choose to develop it. Writing in Science Robotics, Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr argue that humanoid robots could be the exact tool we need to create muscle and tendon grafts that actually work.

That’s where robots come in. The researchers propose a “humanoid-bioreactor system” with “structures, dimensions, and mechanics similar to those of the human body.” As the robot interacted with its environment, tissues growing on its body would receive the typical strains and twists that they would if they grew on an actual human. The result would be healthy tissue, grown for the exact area on the body it was destined to replace. Mouthuy and Carr note that this would be especially helpful for “bone-tendon-muscle grafts… because failure during healing often occurs at the interface between tissues.”

What would this humanoid-bioreactor system look like? It could possibly be built on top of a humanoid robot with “soft robotics” muscles made from electroactive polymers, and the growing muscles could piggyback on those to get their exercise. It would also need to be covered in soft, stretchable sensors to monitor the health of the growing tissues. The result might look a bit like the University of Tokyo’s Kenshiro robot, whose actuators make realistically human movements. Its body would be covered in squishy, fluid-filled bags of engineered tissue. Patients needing tendon replacements in their hands might be able to shake hands or play piano with a robot who is wearing their future tendon grafts.

University of Oxford researchers Mouthuy and Carr suggest their humanoid-bioreactor system might look like this Kinshiro bot, only with human tissue growing on it.

Looking to the future, Mouthuy and Carr suggest that this could be the first step toward “biohybrid humanoids” with “cell-based actuators.” In other words, this robot would be like the Terminator, whose metal endoskeleton is covered in human muscles, tendons, and skin. Obviously, if we want to create truly humanoid robots, it would make sense to eventually create ones whose musculoskeletal systems are made from cellular tissue rather than stretchy polymers. After all, this tissue is self-repairing and perfectly designed to stretch and contract.

MIT roboticist Rodney Brooks predicted many years ago that humans wouldn’t be replaced by robots—we would become them. In this paper about tissue engineering, we can see one possible way that prediction might come true.



Who Needs Dollars? Russia and China Are Now Dominating Global Gold Production

Cheap paper for gold. Not a bad deal. At all.

Devalued paper for gold. Not a bad deal. And in partnership with China — an ally, BRICS member, and fellow petrodollar-dumper.

You can file this one under “Russia’s economy is about to collapse”.

Despite what the New York Times may have told you, the devaluation of the ruble has tremendous benefits for Russia’s economy.

The major benefit is that a cheap ruble makes “made in Russia” highly competitive in foreign markets.

Agriculture, manufacturing — even gold is now cheaper to produce in Russia. And Moscow is reaping the rewards:

Russia remained the world’s third largest gold producer in 2016 behind China and Australia, data from the Finance Ministry showed on Tuesday.

Russia’s gold mining industry has benefited from strong gold prices, up 8.5% in dollar terms last year, and the impact of domestic currency weakness, hit by a fall in oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s role in Ukrainian crisis.

This is really the giant cherry on top of the “Russia is about to collapse” cake.

The ruble “apocalypse” not only breathed fresh life into Russian industries — it also allowed Moscow to convert cheap paper into gold.

Isn’t that called alchemy?

China is way ahead in gold production — 453 metric tons in 2016. And Russia isn’t far behind second-place Australia with 288 metric tons.

Russia surpassed U.S. gold production for the first time in 25 years back in 2014. With cheap operational costs, expect the Russian gold rush to continue.

Russia and China are already actively dumping U.S. Treasuries for gold. And together they are now openly defying Washington’s geopolitical plots.

Devalued paper for gold. And in partnership with China — an ally, BRICS member, and fellow petrodollar-dumper.

Things are looking up!


What is global history now?

Resultado de imagem para Storm clouds gather above ships waiting to dock in Singapore.

Storm clouds gather above ships waiting to dock in Singapore. Photo by Edgar Su/Reuters

Historians cheered globalism with work about cosmopolitans and border-crossing, but the power of place never went away

Jeremy Adelman is the Henry Charles Lea professor of history and director of the Global History Lab at Princeton University. His latest books are Worldly Philosopher: the Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman (2013) and the co-authored Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (4th ed, 2014). 

Well, that was a short ride. Not long ago, one of the world’s leading historians, Lynn Hunt, stated with confidence in Writing History in the Global Era (2014) that a more global approach to the past would do for our age what national history did in the heyday of nation-building: it would, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau had said was necessary of the nation-builders, remake people from the inside out. Global history would produce tolerant and cosmopolitan global citizens. It rendered the past a mirror on our future border-crossing selves – not unlike Barack Obama, the son of a Kenyan father and white American mother, raised in Indonesia and educated in the Ivy League, who became the passing figure of our fading dreams of meritocracy without walls.

The mild-mannered German historian Jürgen Osterhammel might serve as an example of that global turn. When his book The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the 19th Century (2014) came out in English, one reviewer baptised him the new Fernand Braudel. It was already a sensation in Germany. One day, Osterhammel’s office phone at the University of Konstanz rang. On the other end of the line was the country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. ‘You don’t check your SMSs,’ she scolded lightly. At the time, Merkel was on the mend from a broken pelvis and the political fallout of the Eurocrisis. While recovering, she’d read Osterhammel’s 1,200-page book for therapy. She was calling to invite the author to her 60th-birthday party to lecture her guests about time and global perspectives. Obsessed with the rise of China and the consequences of digitalisation, she had turned to the sage of the moment: the global historian.

It’s hard to imagine Osterhammel getting invited to the party now. In our fevered present of Nation-X First, of resurgent ethno-nationalism, what’s the point of recovering global pasts? Merkel, daughter of the East, might be the improbable last voice of Atlantic Charter internationalism. Two years after her 60th birthday, the vision of an integrated future and spreading tolerance is beating a hasty retreat.

What is to become of this approach to the past, one that a short time ago promised to re-image a vintage discipline? What would global narratives look like in the age of an anti-global backlash? Does the rise of ‘America First’, ‘China First’, ‘India First’ and ‘Russia First’ mean that the dreams and work of globe-narrating historians were just a bender, a neo-liberal joyride?

Until very recently, the practice of modern history centred on, and was dominated by, the nation state. Most history was the history of the nation. If you wander through the history and biography aisles of either brick-and-mortar or virtual bookstores, the characters and heroes of patriotism dominate. In the United States, authors such as Walter Isaacson, David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin have helped to give millions of readers their understanding of the past and the present. Inevitably, they wrote page-turning profiles of heroic nation-builders. Every nation cherishes its national history, and every country has a cadre of flame-keepers.

Then, along came globalisation and the shake-up of old, bordered imaginations. Historians quickly responded to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the crumbling protective ramparts of national capitalism, the boom in container shipping, and the rise of the cosmopolis. New scales and new concepts came to life. Europe’s Schengen Agreement, inked in 1985, the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, and the founding of the World Trade Organization in 1995, heralded new levels of international fusion. These now-imperilled treaties promised a borderless world. ‘The world is being flattened,’ Thomas Friedman’s popular manifesto of globalisation, The World Is Flat (2005), concluded. ‘I didn’t start it and you can’t stop it,’ Friedman wrote in an open letter to his daughter, ‘except at great cost to human development and your own future.’…