Feeling Hot Hot Hot: Solar Cooking in Action

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Solar cooking, parabolic, box cooker, panel cooker, solar, off-grid, self-reliance, cooking, food, technology

Despite looking futuristic – solar cooking has been used for many years

Cooking can be challenging in itself. Following recipes, getting the right ingredients and hoping it comes out tasting delicious – unless you’re a top class chef, everyone has had a fair few burnt dinners in their time. When you’re off-grid however it’s not just worrying about what it tastes like, but how to cook the food in the first place!

Harvesting the power of the sun for cooking has been a practice conducted for many years.

Solar cookers have been on the market since the mid-80s and have become a popular option for safe and easy cooking with no fires or fuel involved. There are obvious benefits to solar cooking, after the initial investment it is a free renewable source of energy. Not only this, but it is seen as a healthier way of cooking without smoke from fires etc.

Solar cookers convert the sun’s rays to infra-red radiation producing heat. Therefore, it is not the sun’s heat itself or the ambient air temperature outside the cooker that causes the food to cook.

There are three main types of solar cooker which can vary in their design and build.

The solar box cooker is derived from a box with reflectors that funnel the sun’s rays into the chamber which contains the food to be cooked. These models can reach very high temperatures, on average between 200-350°F, which is ideal for most baking needs. With a good heat retention and little need for supervision it is perfectly safe to leave food for long periods without fear of burning. Being a box shape these cookers are less likely to tip over and when constructed will have high levels of insulation.

The solar panel cooker on the other hand doesn’t reach temperatures quite as high; between 200-250°F. Essentially the design is a pot or pan within a plastic enclosure, with a 3-5 side reflective panel surrounding it to channel the sun’s rays. This type of design is best for slower longer cooking periods, leaving food very succulent. With no adjustments needed to track the sun, little supervision is needed.

Solar Cooking, food, cooking, solar, off-grid, technology

No need to worry about the risk of fire or burning food with solar cooking

Finally, the solar parabolic cooker can maintain the highest temperatures of the three main types and so can be used for grilling or even frying food. It can cook food much quicker, however usually smaller amounts than what can be held in the box or panel solar cookers. Also more attention is needed when cooking using this model, as the angle and direction of the cooker will need to be changed more frequently to track the sun.

There are many plans and designs for you to try if you want to have a go at a DIY solar cooker. Many designs include using materials commonly found around the home or are easily obtainable. For example, cardboard boxes, aluminium foil, black paint, some form of adhesive and even umbrellas!

If you don’t want the hassle of DIY or want a larger cooker with a guarantee, then there are several options on the market.

The All American Sun Oven is a box cooker design which can cook, bake, dehydrate and boil. Reaching temperatures of up to 400°F with even heating across the entire cooking chamber, the Sun Oven can do almost anything except frying. The built in thermometer also allows you to monitor the temperature. Weighing in at 23lbs the Sun Oven folds up like a suitcase, with its reflectors easily collapsing, making it easily portable. An adjustable leg prevents toppling and a levelling tray inside the cooking chamber ensures there’s no spillage when adjusting the Sun Oven.

Manufactured in Illinois, cooking times are similar to a standard electric cooker or oven after preheating. Factors that will affect the cooking time include the quality of sunlight at the time of cooking; the type and amount of food being cooked and how often the oven is refocused or the door opened. A typical rule of thumb stated on the Sun Oven website is to add between 10 to 15 minutes on to the cooking time, every time the oven door is opened. The model has an estimated life span of 15 years and can last a lifetime if cared for and maintained properly. The Sun Oven is available on Amazon at $298.00.

If you want something a little closer to the $200 mark, then the GoSun Sport is worth checking out.
Solar cooking, solar, food, cooking, off-grid, technology,

Small and compact the GoSun Sport and GoSun Dogger are perfect for fitting comfortably in an RV

This slightly futuristic looking design features parabolic reflectors and a solar vacuum cooking tube, which absorbs light and acts as an insulator. The tube converts approximately 80% of all the sunlight captured by the reflectors into useable heat for cooking – pretty impressive. With the parabolic shape of the reflectors, the GoSun Sport rarely needs readjusting as it captures light from a variety of angles. Not only this, but this model can cook in the cold and snow due to the high levels of insulation. Although, you will have to add up to 15 minutes onto the cooking time to allow the oven to heat fully.

With the cooking tube shape, food cooks evenly and in as little as 20 minutes, with temperatures of up to 550°F being reached! Despite this, the GoSun Sport is cool to the touch, easy and low maintenance and weighing only 7.5lbs is perfect for an RV or boat.

GoSun Ambassador Patrick Sweeney lives off-grid in his tiny trailer called Patcave. He told GoSun, “I love to cook and I love to be self-reliant. I also can’t afford to eat at restaurants. Living on the road in the Patcave, the GoSun stove allows me to cook great food anywhere the sun shines.”

The GoSun Sport retails at $229.00 on Amazon.

A smaller version of the GoSun Sport, the GoSun Solar Dogger, retails at $59.00 on the GoSun website. It is lightweight at only 2.5lbs and is perfect for hotdogs. Reviews on the Solar Dogger have shown that this model can be used for a wide variety of foods from oatmeal to fish.

The post Feeling Hot Hot Hot: Solar Cooking in Action appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Breathe easier: new tech monitors urban pollution

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Pollution, Technology, Smartphone, App, Off-grid, Air Quality, Monitoring

Smartphone Apps plot “toxic areas” on maps, so you can avoid them.

One of the many appeals about living off-grid is breathing in that fresh clean air.

It’s safe to say the air quality in any city isn’t exactly top notch! High levels of pollution have been linked to serious health conditions such as asthma and emphysema. A report in the Guardian has found that in heavily polluted cities exercising can do more harm than good because of the high levels of particulate matter in the air. But for many people going off-grid and leaving city life behind tomorrow isn’t exactly feasible.

So until then, monitoring the air quality in your home and as you’re out and about in your everyday life is a good way to go. Not only will it make you more aware of the air you breathe, it will also help you take preventative measures to improve it. Whether this be through taking a different route on your way back from work, opening the windows or switching on the ventilation when you’re cooking.

If you have tried any of the technologies discussed below, please comment and give us your feedback – we’d love to know how you’re getting on with them!

Only want to monitor your air quality at home?

Sources of particulate matter include burning wood and oil, smoking tobacco products, pesticides and even some household cleaners. The indoor air quality monitor Speck detects fine particulate matter in the air and informs you about the changes you can make to improve your air quality. The 4 inch by 3 inch model comes with a touch screen and only needs to be plugged in for you to start receiving feedback straight away. The toggle feature allows you to look back over the past 12 hours of data to see how your actions, like cooking or cleaning with certain products, influences your personal air quality. Not only this, but the Speck has enough memory to collect up to two years’ worth of data without any need to connect online.

Free Speck software or the mobile app lets you upload data to your computer, tablet or smartphone to monitor the data collected. The SpeckSensor app also allows you to compare your personal air quality to the government’s air quality index stations. If you want to check out the outdoor air quality in your area, you will need to be within 40 km of a regulated particulate matter station. Currently, this service is only available for customers in the US and parts of Canada and Mexico.

This Speck model currently can’t be used outdoors, however the development of an outdoor friendly model is currently in progress. Although, this is a pricey option at $200 per unit, the Speck is easy to use with a range of features.

If you want something for on the go – try these!

Atmotube is a portable air pollution monitor which detects volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide, as well as the temperature and humidity which can also affect air quality. This small robust device is titanium coated for longevity and sends data to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Weighing in at just 40 g (1.4 ounces) this device can be clipped on to clothing or bags, with the airflow mesh allowing the air to pass through its sensors.

Air Quality, Technology, Monitoring, Pollution, Smog, off-grid, app, smartphones

The LA skyline shrouded in smog – new mobile technology can notify you when air quality becomes low

The free app which can be downloaded from the Google Play App store or ITunes has a global air quality map which is free to access by absolutely everyone. So even if you don’t own an Atmotube, you can still benefit from the data collected from these devices. But only Atmotube owners can view their air quality history and get notifications to their phone if they are in a location with low air quality. Shipping worldwide, this nifty little device retails at $89.

The Flow Device is another small scale air quality monitor, being only the size of a pack of chewing gum. The aluminium shell houses a set of sensors that detect dust, exhaust fumes, temperature and humidity, amongst others. A set of LED lights on the device indicates the air quality in the immediate location. Whilst data is sent to a mobile app which displays it on a map. This then flags high pollution zones so you know where to avoid when you’re out and about. Coming with a dock and cable the device can be charged at home whilst monitoring your indoor air quality too. Designed by Paris based company PlumeLabs, beta testing of the Flow Device is set to begin in London over the next few months. Prices are yet to be confirmed.

If you don’t want to carry your own device, then the BreezoMeter may be worth checking out. This free app is now available in 28 countries including the US, Australia and the UK. Set up in Israel in 2014, the BreezoMeter gathers air quality and weather measurements from a wide range of sources – including 7,000 official air quality monitoring stations worldwide. This data produces real-time air quality maps and gives you notifications on changes in the outdoor air quality.

Tech-savvy and fancy building your own air quality monitor, well you can!
Smog, Pollution, Air Quality, monitoring, urban, off-grid, new technology, apps, smartphone,

You don’t have to go to extremes – apps available on your smartphone can give you air quality in real time, allowing you to avoid polluted areas – and wearing a mask!

This article at electronicsforu.com outlines how you can make your own air pollution meter and connect it to your smartphone. The set up uses the Blynk platform which displays readings from your homemade meter that is connected to an Arduino board. Of course you’ll need to buy the components in order to do that. This set up requires an Arduino board costing $20 from the online Arduino store (other websites sell boards that claim to be Arduino but are actually replicas). A Nova particulate matter sensor SDS011 is also used, which retails from $36 on Amazon. You will also require a Gas sensor model MQ-135, which range in price on Amazon from $2.45 to $16. A temperature and humidity sensor model DHT11 is also needed, once again ranging in price from $4.79 to $10.99 on Amazon.

Other projects elsewhere in the world have got volunteers to build their own air quality monitors. Greenpeace Bulgaria set up their own Dustcounter project in 2016, getting members of the local community to build their own air quality counters. Designed to be easy to assemble even for the not so technically minded (that’s me then), the schematics for building your own Dustcounter can be found here. (Google Translate will be needed because the instructions are in Bulgarian!) The charity is hoping to bring out the Dustcounter 2.0 later in 2017 after successful monitoring trials.

Alternatively, if there are any teachers out there who want to bring hands on practical sensor building to the classroom, this step by step guide and lesson plan outlines everything you will need. Making children and young people aware of air quality is an important issue that should be brought into the classroom environment.

The post Breathe easier: new tech monitors urban pollution appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts Video

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Going Off The Grid By Gary Collins First Thoughts

 

 

This week I got my hands on my friend Gary Collings New book, Going Off The Grid. Unlike most of my u

Unlike most of my unboxing videos, I wasn’t sent this book. You always want to support your friends so I bought this copy as soon as It was available. 

Like many of us, Gary got the bug to live a simpler life. And luckily for us, he has documented the whole process. 

In Going Off The Grid: The How-To Book Of Simply Living and Happiness, he provides a step-by-step guide for how to find a private piece of land and build a self-sustaining home. 

This doesn’t come from research alone but from experience. Gary has been building an off-grid home in northeast Washington state. 

You can watch some of the trials and tribulations on his Youtube channel.

Learning from others troubles can save you time and money. And from honest upfront people. 

If you watch many of the DIY tv shows you will have an unrealistic view of the process. Building an off grid home takes a lot of time and effort.

The reward is worth it, though. 

So if you are thinking about living a simpler less hectic lifestyle this is the book for you. Pick it up now before you need the info in here. 

Are you off the Grid? Wanting To Be? Let me know about your plans in the comments!

 

 

 

 
 

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DIY Hot Tub For Your Off-grid Hygiene

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Survivopedia DIY Hot Tub For Your Off Grid Hygiene

When it comes to off-grid survival, personal hygiene is one of those delicate subjects preppers seldom talk about.

Ok, I know that women preppers consider personal hygiene a priority even after a plane crash, but generally speaking, surviving off-grid means that you must have a roof over your head and some chow in your belly, and eventually a cushioned place to sleep in. That about sums it up until cavalry arrives and gets you outta’ there.

However, living off-grid is slowly becoming a trend among outdoors enthusiasts and maybe student loan beneficiaries who cannot afford to pay both the rent and what’s owed to the good ol’ Feral Gummint.

Here is where the off-grid lifestyle comes into play. But living off-grid is not easy; not by a long shot. There are so many problems and challenges in a world without electricity that I don’t know where to begin.

One of them is the aforementioned issue, the personal hygiene thing – an issue that never occurred to you until now because you’re probably living the 21st century life style, with hot water pouring out of the faucet and the whole nine yards.

Basically, we all take modern hygiene conveniences for granted and that’s normal, because we’ve benefited from these cool things for almost 2 centuries now.

But, if you’re living off-grid together with your family, you’re probably aware of the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness, not to mention that keeping you and your family members squeaky clean is actually a matter of survival in its own rights.

The secret to a long and happy life is to live in a clean environment, and you can take that statement to the bank. The lack of proper personal hygiene may get you sick very easily and also you may pass the disease around and all that jazz; that’s how epidemics occur.

The good news is that there are ways to maintain adequate hygiene even if you’re living somewhere in the neck of the woods, as off-grid as it gets.

These ancient survival lessons teach you how to stay clean when there isn’t anything to buy!

There’s an old saying, about “Real men building their own [insert item here]”. In our particular case, real preppers built their own hot tubs.

Why hot tubs, you may ask? Well, the hot tub used to be regarded by many as a luxury if not a whim. Remember that old saying: that one needs only two baths in his/her lifetime – one when you’re born and the other one when you’re dead?

Especially back in the day, hot tubs were pretty rare not too long ago (circa 1700s), when  getting one was a rare experience, familiar just to kings and queens. Alright, and the rest of the infamous 1%, maybe.

One of the benefits of soaking yourself for hours in hot water is that such activity relieves pains and aches, beside getting you clean in the process.

But after reading this article, you’ll understand how hillbilly hot tubs changed the world for ever. And you’ll also understand that getting your fingers pruney is a God-given right for every American, even for those living in the back woods.

Also, let’s not forget that one of the most popular pieces of gear for outdoors survival after a hard and long day doing God-knows-what is a hot tub, right?

I am only kidding folks, but if you don’t know how to build your very own personal hot tub, well, that’s why I am here. I’ve scoured the depths of the Internet and I brought together some of the best tutorials in the world for helping you building your little piece of heaven.

Building the Tank

To begin with the basics, a DIY hot tub consists of two main things: a tank which makes for the bathtub itself and a device for heating the water inside of the tank. That’s all there is to it; it’s pretty straight forward.

As far as tanks go, you have two options: to use a prefabricated one, like an IBC container or a stock watering tank, or to build your own bathtub from scratch from wood; just imagine a big barrel of sorts.

Soaking in a wood-fired hot tub requires some planning, at least a couple of hours in advance, but the involvement in one’s bath is part of the attraction.

Here’s a video tutorial about how to build a cedar wood hot tub using planks of cedar and lots of skill and materials.

Video first seen on Heritage Craft.

The end result is a reminiscent of a big barrel, which looks pretty cool actually, but you’ll require some mad skills to get this done.

You’ll also require beaucoup gear, like cedar wood suitable for cutting and shaping, saws, chine joints, nails, a power drill, a carpenter’s level, screws and insane wood-working skills. But it’s doable, after all that guy did it and it looks pretty awesome.

However, there are other ways.

The hardest part of our first project is to build the tank itself, as it requires serious carpentry skills, but you can always go for a hillbilly hot tub that uses an IBC container using, for example, a prefabricated hot tub, then you just have to worry about the water heating device.

Here are two different projects, both involving a DIY wood-fired hot tub. The first one uses an IBC container, a steel cage, an old gas cylinder and pallets, plus some plumbing connectors. Except for the container, the rest of materials were free scrap.

Video first seen on Chris Jamieson.

The IBC container holds 1000 liters, which is more than enough for a hot tub, while the steel cage and the pallets are used for making the structure that will keep the water-filled container firmly in place. The pallet wood is used for decorating the steel frame; it makes it look better and all that.

The Heating Source

As for the heating device, here’s where the old gas cylinder comes into play. Basically, you’ll use a stove water heater. How does it work, you may ask? Well, it’s pretty straightforward: the stove water heater uses a heat exchanger for transferring heat from the stove to the water.

Water is circulated through the heat exchanger when the fire is burning (the gas cylinder makes for the stove in our case) whilst the heat exchanger is basically a copper serpentine made from copper pipe mounted inside the stove.

In this project, the hot tub is filled with water which is slowly flowing via a garden hose through the copper pipe and it’s getting hot as it fills. The process is relatively slow, but it produces very hot water.

The second DIY wood-fired hot tub system is very similar to the previous one, just that it uses a galvanized stock tank instead of an IBC container. Also, the heat exchanger system is the same serpentine made from copper pipe, but for heating the water, this project relies on the thermosiphon principle.

Video first seen on HomeMadeModern.

Think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available stuff.

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months? Click the banner below and uncover their long forgotten secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2

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Creek, Food Preservation, Off-grid, Refrigeration, Spring House,

Want a spring house but have no spring? Diverting water from a small creek is an option

In Part I, I covered canning and smoking as food preservation methods. This aricle take a look at refrigeration and dehydration.

Freezing and refrigeration is the easy way to preserve food compared to some other methods. The only problem is, once frozen or cooled it has to stay that way until consumption.

Before the wonders of electricity and modern technology, how did people do this?

On farms and in small villages it was common to have a spring house which would provide natural refrigeration. A stone building with troughs dug into the ground on which the house stood would be built over a natural spring. Water from the spring would flow through the troughs and jugs of milk or other produce could be placed in the channels. These would then be kept cool as the water flowed around them. Ledges and hooks would also be provided in the spring house, to hang meat and vegetables in a cooler environment.

If the house wasn’t built over a natural spring, water could be redirected from a nearby creek. Initially some spring houses were made of wood, however this was prone to rotting. Stone therefore is the better material, not only does it hold the cold better but it won’t decompose or decay with time.

Fancy building your own spring house? You can find out more at Bright Hub.

Another option which was used before electricity and still used today is root cellars.

These underground rooms stay cool in the summer but above freezing in the winter – perfect for fruits, vegetables and canned goods. The cool temperatures prevent bacterial growth and the humidity prevents withering. Ideally the cellar will have temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, have low levels of sunshine, good insulation from materials such as straw or soil and be easily accessible.

Root cellars come in a variety of forms from walk in rooms to putting trash cans in the ground to create a “mini” cellar. If you’re on a tight budget, take a look at this video by the Walden Effect, who made a root cellar out of an old refrigerator.

Speaking of refrigerators, if you want to be a bit more tech-centric, then there are various options for off-grid cold food storage.
Propane fridge, RV, off-grid, food preservation, chest freezer, solar freezer

RV owners have relied on propane fridges for many years – but are they worth the cost?

Propane fridges have been a staple for many RV owners and in off-grid homes. Some models can run off propane, DC or AC, making them more flexible. Although these appliances are good for keeping food cold and frozen with ample storage, they do require some maintenance and if they break down can be expensive to repair. Not only this, propane may be unavailable or very expensive to get hold of in certain areas and some propane fridge models can be extremely “fuel hungry” – not exactly the most economical option. There is also an initial investment of over $1,000. Take the Dometic DM2652 on Amazon at $1,119.99. This model measures 24 x 23 x 53.8 inches and so is perfect size for an RV, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Solar power refrigerators are also gaining ground.

Some of which can be hooked up directly to solar panels, running off direct current. The EcoSolarCool Solar Refrigerator on Amazon operates on 12 or 24 DC volts and is reported to be the most efficient solar refrigerator when tested against two other leading brands also advertised on Amazon. Coming in at 121lb, this stand-alone 25.3 x 23.6 x 57.1 inch model is a good size with just over 9 cubic feet capacity for storage. It comes with an upper freezer compartment and a lower refrigerator compartment. With prices starting at $1299.00 though, this is also an appliance that comes with a rather large price tag.

Another alternative is investing in a chest freezer.

These range in price but can be fairly inexpensive and have good storage space. Plus they can average under 2 amps when running. However, because of its shape (it’s a chest) rummaging around for the food you want can be a pain. Chest freezers can also develop condensation and it is best to buy a separate thermostat to monitor the temperature. Some chest freezers come ready to be run by solar power such as the Sundanzer Solar-Powered Refrigerator – 1.8 Cubic Ft., “>Sundanzer Refrigerator, specifically designed for off-grid use.

If you want a more DIY approach and temporary refrigeration then a zeer pot could be the answer.

Popular in Africa, zeer pots are essentially one terracotta pot inside another. One pot must be small enough to fit inside the other pot, but large enough to hold whatever you want to keep cool. The gap between the two pots is filled with sand and then water. The process of evaporative cooling keeps the inner pot much cooler than the outside environment. Although this is not cool enough for meat storage, it is still an option for other produce such as vegetables. If you fancy making your own zeer pot, have a read of this.

From keeping things cold to heating things up! Another food preservation technique is dehydration.

Efficient with zero energy input and little hands on time required, dehydration is perhaps one of the easiest ways to preserve food. The downsides to dehydration are that even though foods weigh less and so are easier to store, there is a longer time for food preparation later when making meals. Also dehydrated food can have a different taste (and texture obviously) to fresh produce. If using a solar dehydration method then you are limited to when the sun is out. This may not be such a problem at lower latitudes, but higher latitudes can be very restricted in their “sun time”.

Dehydrator, food preservation, solar, off-grid

Dehydrating foods can be done in a variety of ways from drying in the sun to using an electric dehydrator

Herbs and greens are the easiest foods to dehydrate; they dry quickly with no slicing required. Fruits and veggies are a little trickier; they need to be sliced thinly or diced into small pieces for drying. Smaller fruits like blueberries should be punctured to allow the moisture to escape during the process. Meat and fish are the most challenging to dry safely. The cuts need to be sliced as thinly as possible and be kept in a constant supply of warm air. Salting first will help with the preservation. Meat and fish especially should be stored in a cool place after drying to ensure they last for a few months.

So what can you use for dehydrating?

Firstly, you could invest in an electric dehydrator. These are probably the most convenient option for setting up (with no babysitting) but require a power source. The Excalibur Food Dehydrator being sold on Amazon at $244.95 is one such appliance. With nine large trays boasting 15 square feet of drying space, you can hardly complain for lack of room. But despite this the whole body is not overly large at 17 x 19 x 12.5 inches. An adjustable thermostat ensures you dry at the temperature you want and a 26 hour timer means you can walk away without the fear of forgetting about your food!

If you want to go down the solar dehydrator route, there are pre-assembled options. For instance the Hanging Food Pantrie Solar Food Dehydrator has five drying trays and protects food from insects and pests whilst using the suns energy to dry the food. No noisy fans and it’s collapsible for easy storage after use. Retailing on Amazon at $59.99, this is an option if you want something that stores well but also has good drying space.

Alternatively, you can go the whole hog and build your own solar dehydrator.

There are many variations and the beauty of this option is you can adapt the design to suit your needs. The basic components are a heat collector and a drying box. The heat collector has a clear plastic top which heats the air inside causing it to rise up and into the drying box. This is typically made of plywood with trays to rest the food on top of. Strategically placed vents help to control the air flow into and out of the dehydrator box to keep a constant circulation around the food.

If you want more detailed information on building your own solar dehydrator, take a look at this guide.

The post Be Our Guest – Food Preserving Part 2 appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Off grid goes to Hollywood

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Hurwitz books are lessons in evading Big Brother

Living off grid isn’t just popular – it’s going mainstream.

New York Times bestselling author Gregg Hurwitz is achieving worldwide sales with his Orphan X series, which follows a spy living off the grid – and he’s currently writing the screen play for a film adaptation featuring Bradley Cooper, star of comedy franchise The Hangover.

Gregg, who has had 17 books on the New York Times bestseller list, is promoting his new one – The Nowhere Man, the second featuring the character Evan Smoak.

The first book in the series, Orphan X, introduces Smoak as a killer who was taken from an orphanage as a child and trained under secret government orders. He breaks free from the programme and vanishes off the grid to use his skills to help those unable to protect themselves.

The only way Smoak can be reached is through a technologically-protected phone number, each victim asked to pass the number along to one person in trouble. Lying low in a home base hidden behind layers of false internet connections and using sophisticated technology to insulate outside access, he creates his own rogue GSM site by using a yagi directional antenna, coaxial cable and omni stubble antenna mounted on a tripod – literally taking his devices off the grid by dodging all authentication between the base station and the cell tower. Smoak lives outside the boundaries of society with the freedom to travel at a moment’s notice.

In The Nowhere Man – Buy it on Amazon, released on February 1, Smoak goes from being the one who helps people, to needing help himself.

This is only the second time Gregg has stuck with a character for more than one book, and he said Smoak would be sticking around for a lot longer yet – he has signed with his publisher for at least five books about Smoak.

Gregg said when writing he always thought about the character’s point of view, and to get into the characters’ worlds he put himself in similar situations. This has seen him blow up cars and shoot weapons with navy seals.

“I spend more waking hours with my fictional characters then my wife and my kids,” he said.
“I’ve gone under cover in a mind-control cult. I will do whatever it is to be able to write about it effectively. If I don’t do it, I can’t write about it in a way that’s up close and personal.”

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Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I

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Canning, off-grid, cooking, food preservation, water bath, pressure canner

With the “know-how,” food preservation isn’t so daunting

Charcutier Sean Cannon is opening his first restaurant, Nape, in London this month. Born and bred in Norfolk, Sean told the Guardian how growing up in a self-sustaining community influenced his cooking. His best kept secret – preserving.

“Whether it’s killing an animal and having lots of fresh meat, or early summer and everything is ripe, knowing what to do with a glut is key.” Cannon said.

If you live off-grid you’ll know that preserving food for future use is essential. Not only does it provide food security, but also allows you to taste sweet summer berries in the winter. By doing this age old tradition, it also stops more modern thoughts and concerns of “what is actually in my food?” If you do the preparing and the preservation, you know exactly what has gone into the food you will be eating.

There are many ways to preserve food including canning, freezing, dehydrating and smoking.

Canning is a valuable and low-tech way to preserve food. There are two main methods for this, either water bath canning or pressure canning. It is worth noting that water bath canning should only be done for acidic fruits, such as berries and apples. If canning other produce such as meats and vegetables, pressure canning should be used; otherwise there is a high risk of food poisoning.

The basic process is to heat water in your canner (or large pan if water bath canning). This should not be filled to the top; 3-5 inches should be left for your jars of food. Jars should have lids secured and be placed carefully into the canner, being careful not to knock other jars, as they could crack or break under the high temperatures. The jars should be immersed in the canner with the water just covering the lids. The canner lid should be locked in place if pressure canning and the jars left for as long as needed according to the recipe. After the required time, the canner should be allowed to depressurise if using a pressure canner, before the jars are removed. Heat protection and necessary precautions should be taken to ensure you do not burn yourself. The jars should then be left to cool and seal for a minimum of 12 but ideally 24 hours. The sound of popping and pinging will mark your canning success!

Canning is so popular because of the wide variety of foods that can be preserved this way and the length of time they will remain edible for. Plus there’s no worry of keeping food frozen or cool!

Canning does however come with an initial start-up cost. If you’re only looking to preserve fruits and jams, then water bath canning in a large pan is of course an economical way to go. However, if you’re looking to preserve a wider variety of foods which includes meat and vegetables, then it would be wise to invest in a pressure canner.

The Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker comes in at a reasonable $86.44 on Amazon. This can double as a water bath canner and a pressure cooker. Made out of aluminium, the canner allows for fast and even heating and with a liquid capacity of just under 22 litres, seven quart jars fit comfortably inside. The lid has a strong lock and an over-pressure plug can relieve any build-up of steam. With a 12 year warranty and excellent reviews, this canner will certainly suit the needs of most canners.

Canning, food preservation, jars, canning, water canning, pressure canning, off-grid, storage

Good jars & lids are a must – there’s nothing like hearing the “pop” of sealing success!

The Presto’s rival is the All American Canner. This is a pricier option at $225.37 on Amazon and has many similar features, being made of aluminium and also holding 7 quart (or 19 pint) jars. This is a heavier unit though, coming in at 20lbs to the Presto’s 12lbs. A reviewer having access to both canner makes did however point out another comparison between the two. She noted that the All American Canner has a weighted gauge which needs less “babysitting” than the Presto with its dial gauge, which required her to keep adjusting the heat of her stove. However, she pointed out that when compared side by side, both the Presto and All American took the same amount of time to get to pressure, to can the produce and to bring back down ready to remove the jars.

Once the initial canner investment is made, there are a couple of other bits and pieces which you will need. Jars are a must and are reusable. However, if using second hand jars to try and save on cost, it is important not to have any that are cracked or damaged in any way – this could lead to some nasty accidents later on!

In terms of lids, these can either be replaced for around $3 per pack or you could spend a little extra and invest in some reusable Tattler lids. These are marketed at $8.88 on Amazon for a pack of 12 and are “indefinitely reusable”.

Other kit you might want to buy (and are recommended to prevent nasty burns) are a jar lifter and canning funnel. These can be bought separately or in a set with other equipment such as kitchen tongs, a jar wrench and magnetic lid lifter advertised on Amazon at $8.79.

For more detailed information on canning basics for beginners, check out Starry Hilder’s video on YouTube!

Another popular preservation method, especially for meat and fish is smoking.
Smokin' Hot! Only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

Smokin’ Hot! But only if you want to eat your meat straight away. If you want to preserve your meat, cold smoking is the way to go!

This involves long exposure to wood smoke at low temperatures, which is different to grilling over an open fire. Smoking preserves meat and fish by drying the produce and the smoke creates an acidic coating on the meat surface, preventing bacterial growth. The addition of a rich mouth-watering smoky flavour only adds to the appeal of this preservation method.

 

There are two types of smoking method. The first is called hot smoking and cooks the meat so it can be eaten straight away. This involves getting the temperature above 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat will still need to be cooked over a long time, leaving it very tender.

The second is cold smoking which doesn’t cook the meat for consumption straight away. Instead temperatures between 75 and 100 degree Fahrenheit are used to seal the meat and flavour it. The time meat or fish is left to smoke depends on the cuts and type of produce. Adding salt to the meat can help to speed up the process as it is a natural preservative. After drying the meat should be placed in an air tight container and stored at a cool temperature until consumed.

There is a wide range of smokers from electric or gas to charcoal and wood. This propane smoker from Amazon comes with a built in temperature gauge and retails at $211.40. Alternatively, instead of trying to find a smoker that suits your needs, why not build your own? That’s what this family has done!

 

Part II of “Be Our Guest – Food Preservation” will cover refrigeration and dehydrating.

The post Be Our Guest: Food Preservation Part I appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Emergency Fire-starter: Start A Fire With Bare Hands

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Starting a fire

Starting a fire with your bare hands may sound like the manliest activity you can do, doesn’t it? Bear Grylls has a couple of episodes about how to start a fire without any gear available, for cooking some crunchy worms, right?

I am kidding, of course, but knowing how to start a fire in a survival situation is a pretty useful skill to have. Without fire you can’t cook your food, you can’t get warm, you can’t dry your clothes, you don’t have light, you can’t signal your presence, you can’t disinfect water for safe drinking, and so on and so forth.

We rely on technology to survive; even when it comes to wilderness survival. We are comfortable thinking that it will be OK because we have a cool survival knife, even better than Rambo’s, not to mention our top of the line survival/emergency kit, which contains all the things we’ll ever need if SHTF, including some cool BIC lighters, impermeable matches and what not.

However, life has the unpleasant habit of ignoring our plans, and emergencies don’t seem to care about our personal inconveniences.

The question to be asked and answered is — what are you going to do if SHTF and you don’t have your survival gear on your person?  Well, you’ll have to improvise or die trying, right?

This scenario is pretty far-fetched at first glance; I mean, finding yourself alone and close to butt-naked somewhere in the woods, without any type of gear and all that jazz.

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

Fire is what separated the humans from the animal reign, along with the invention of the wheel and Facebook. (I’m kidding again, of course!)

But I can bet that even the invention of the wheel was somewhat related to fire, i.e. there are “cultures” in remote parts of the world who didn’t invent the wheel, but they know how to make a fire without a Zippo lighter. The idea is that if some troglodyte who still lives in the Neolithic period, technologically speaking, can make a fire using what’s naturally available, so should we.

And obviously, making a fire with minimal gear that you can do yourself will require a paleo approach, i.e. we’ll have to see how primitive cultures mitigate this problem.

As far as primitive fire starting goes, most of the methods (all of them actually, if I come to think about it) involve the 2nd law of thermodynamics, and I am talking about mechanical energy — friction in our case — which is converted into heat, another form of energy which leads to fire and a happy ending.

So, as the Greek philosopher and inventor Heraclitus said back in the day, everything changes, and so does energy. But enough with philosophy and let’s get down to business.

How To Start a Fire Using Sticks

The simplest method for making a fire via friction in dry climates is the hand drill. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to cut a V shaped notch into a piece of wood, or fire-board if you like, then to use a rock/knife or whatever you have at your disposal for making a small depression adjacent to the notch, where you’ll place a piece of bark which will eventually catch the ember and burst into flames.

In the next step you’ll have to put the spindle (a stick basically) in the depression and roll it vigorously between the palms of your hands. You know what I am talking about. You’ve seen endless “Wild Survival” documentaries about it.

Some tried it in real life and failed miserably, but this guy seems to have got the hang of it.

Video first seen on Videojug

It’s worth mentioning that two persons can do it better, i.e. one person will apply downward pressure to the drill constantly, while the other will use a shoelace or a piece of string to rapidly rotate the spindle.

How to Start a Fire by Friction

If you’re alone, you can use this method , which is way better than rolling the spindle in the palms of your hands, especially if you’re not used to manual labor. This method involves using a little bow for rolling the spindle and it’s order of magnitude is more efficient than doing it with your hands only.

Video first seen on AZ Film Company

How to Start a Fire Using a Cord Drill and a Pump Drill

Check out this guy who makes it all look very easy. Watching this clip, you’ll learn how to make a cord drill first, then to upgrade it to a pump drill (this can be used for making holes in things, which may prove useful). The cord drill is a spindle featuring a flywheel attached basically and it works very well for making fires and more.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

How to Start a Fire With the Fire Plow Technique

Another primitive method for making fire is the fire plow technique. The concept is pretty straightforward, as you’ll cut a groove in a soft piece of wood, which will be the fire-board for all intents and purposes, and then you’ll rub/plough the tip of a harder shaft up/down the groove.

This technique produces its own tinder as the sticks rubbed together will push out tiny particles of wood ahead of the friction.

Video first seen on Survival Lilly

How to Start a Fire With a Fire Piston

Here’s a cool method called the Fire Piston and it works under the principle that air gets very hot when compressed at high pressure.

If you’ve ever used a bicycle pump, you might have noticed the heat that is created in the cylinder. When you compress air inside a fire piston, it happens so quickly and efficiently that it can instantly ignite a piece of tinder placed at the end of the piston.

Video first seen on Discovery

Ancient methods of making fire pistons involve hardwood for the tube or even a horn. The tube must be closed at one end, accurately bored and very smooth inside. The gasket can be improvised from fiber or leather for creating a seal for the piston in order to get the compression required.

How to Start a Fire With Flint and Steel

A classic in the field of ancient fire making is flint and steel. If you strike a softer steel against flint (which is harder), you’ll produce sparks to ignite your fire. But you can also make fire with just what’s available out there, i.e. flint, marcasite, pyrite, fungus, grass/leaf and quartzite.

Video first seen on freejutube

Remember that fire provides you with a cooking flame so knowing how to start one with your bare hands will make your survival cooking easy as 1, 2, 3!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

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Survivopedia Read This Before Start Building An Utility Trailer

Even though there are plenty of pre-built new and used utility trailers on the market, they may not meet your exact needs. If you are going to use the trailer for any kind of prepper application, it is best to make sure you have everything you want in the design.

As with so many other things, this means you will more than likely need to design and build the trailer yourself. While this may cost more in terms of time and labor, in the end it may save your life and make living in the post crisis world easier than expected.

If you are looking to expand or upgrade your DIY skills, building a utility trailer will give you plenty of practice.

Stages of Building Your Trailer

These brutal financial times make it difficult to justify building a utility trailer that may or may not be needed to address some kind of major future crisis. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to build a utility trailer years, or even months in advance of a major social collapse.

By keeping the following points in mind, you can build a suitable trailer in just a few days, or even do so after a major crisis happens.

As you think about how long it will take to build a utility trailer, keep the following points in mind. You can divide the timeline into five main parts:

1. Planning and designing the trailer

You can plan and design a trailer at little or no cost. Make your basic plans on paper, and then do your research for free online. Look at other designs on the market, find out what materials are available, and get a good sense of how much all the parts will cost. Once you have the blueprint, parts list, and projected assembly plans, just about everything else can be done in a matter of days.

When of making up a parts list, include as many recycled or salvage parts as you can, and add at least 2 or 3 alternatives that suit your needs. This will make it easier to choose parts later. If you run out of time before acquiring all the building materials, you can use this list during and after a major crisis as a guide to viable materials.

2. Obtaining raw materials

Before you buy materials, purchase any tools that you might need. These tools can also be used for many other household and travel needs, so they won’t go to waste. The more time you spend using basic power and hand tools, the better off you will be in any situation.

The more time you have for obtaining building materials, the better. Aside from being able to budget more easily, you will see if there are reusable materials in flea markets, junk yards, or estate sales that might be of use.

Individuals that are building and maintaining comprehensive bug out plans should take the salvage and alternative material list along on test excursions. This is an excellent time to take note of what items may be available on the way to your bug out location.

3. Building the trailer

Preparing for an emergency is never easy, especially when you are concerned that all your hard work will be stolen by rioters or others. An utility trailer can be a bit hard to hide, and just about everyone that sees it will know what it is, or remember that you have one. Once a major crisis occurs,these people will be looking for you and ready to take anything of value that you might have.

This is the main reason why I don’t recommend building a utility trailer from the top down and having it all ready to go. Rather, it is better to build the trailer in units, test them out, and then be ready to assemble them at a moment’s notice. Many systems are small enough to be hidden in your home or garage, and then assembled later on when the need arises. If you make fast assembly and modular system designs part of your plans, this process may be easier than you would expect.

 4. Testing everything out

There is a definite trade off between testing out a completed trailer and keeping its existence as secret as possible. Doing your best to test specific modules may not be enough when you actually assemble the trailer.

Your best option will be to try and assemble the trailer in a quiet location where no one will know. Once you know everything works together as a unit, you can always take everything apart and then reassemble it in time of need.

5. Maintenance

As soon as you begin keeping supplies on hand, or materials to build the trailer itself, you will always need to be concerned about maintenance.

For example, if you purchased aluminum for the sides of the trailer or other parts, they may still need painting, lubrication, or other routine care to prevent them from being ruined.

Where to Get Materials From

Have you ever gone to a local hardware store, home improvement store, or automotive shop only to be disappointed by the inventory? You may find some items in these stores to get you started on a DIY product, while other items may not be available (thicker aluminum, for example).

Be careful how you shop online, and you should be able to keep your building plans secret.

Here are some other places where you might find building materials at a more reasonable price:

  • Local auctions and surplus events. Newspapers and websites dedicated to your town or city may list these venues as well as what kinds of materials are available.
  • Watch the classified ad listings in supermarkets, department stores, or other areas where estate sales, flea markets, or other private sales might be listed.
  • Military surplus outlets may also be of some use.

Check the end of the article for a list of websites that may help to salvage or find construction surplus materials.

Basic Parts

The absence of a means of propulsion doesn’t mean utility trailers are simple, or that you can build them with a lack of care and consideration. A poorly designed or constructed trailer can spell disaster. Do not cut corners or reduce quality if you want to build a reliable trailer!

Wheels, Axle, Suspension, and Braking Systems

The axle and suspension system must be able to support the entire weight of the trailer and everything in it. These parts must also have the flexibility to absorb shock as the trailer moves without bending excessively or breaking.

Many utility trailers have smaller wheels, but bear in mind that you might take the trailer off road or into areas with deep ruts, mud, or broken pavement. Spend a bit more on larger wheels with deeper and heavier treads so that the trailer passes more easily over these areas.

Basic Frame

The frame must work in conjunction with the suspension, axle, and braking system to provide a solid foundation for the rest of the trailer. No matter whether you choose an open design or a closed one, the suspension must be sturdy and durable. A frame that is built independent of the suspension will give you more options and also much better performance.

Coupler and Tongue Jack

If you do not have a good quality coupler and tongue jack on the trailer, it can lead to a number of problems including:

  • The trailer may break way from the vehicle pulling it along.
  • It may sway from side to side or be very hard to control when the pulling vehicle turns.
  • A poorly designed coupler may be difficult to connect and disconnect as needed.

Wall Frame

The wall frame must still be study enough to keep all of the items in the trailer secure no matter whether you design an open trailer or a closed one. Choose frame material that will not bend or buckle if objects inside the trailer hit it.

It is also best to choose a frame material that is sturdy enough to accommodate the weight of a roof and enclosure if you decide to make these changes later on. Even if you decide on low walls now, make sure that you can bolt on taller pieces later on without sacrificing on frame strength.

Roof Frame (optional)

Try to make the roof frame sturdy enough to accommodate the roof covering and storage for other items. It never hurts to create a roof top frame that can also be used to house solar panels, small wind turbines, or other devices used to generate electricity, gather water, or carry out other tasks.

Enclosure

If you are looking for a cheap easy way to enclose the trailer, start off with canvas, and then keep a vinyl covering for times when you need to keep the interior as dry as possible. As time and budget allow, enclose the trailer with aluminum or some other more permanent and durable material. As long as the roof is made from a solid material (polymer or resin might work), you could also generate power and still use canvas for the trailer sides.

Access Points

Most people that build low walled trailers do not worry about doors or windows. On the other hand, even if you plan to live in a canvas covered trailer, you’ll need to enter, exit, add to, and remove items from the trailer.

Ventilation and adequate air flow are also important so that you don’t wind up with moisture, mold, and mildew buildups inside the trailer. Doors and windows on solid side, enclosed trailers can also make it more comfortable to live in.

Security System

When all your worldly possessions are going to be packed in a trailer going a long distance, security systems are crucial.

You can use electronic surveillance systems as well as specialty locks and bolts. Just remember that these systems are only as good as the materials used to build the rest of the If the sides are made of canvas or vinyl, there will not be much sense in installing locks. Instead, think about what kind of weapons you can use to defend the trailer as well as any devices that can be used to deter people from approaching it.

Internal Features

Shelves, seats, tie down areas, and privacy enclosures are all important for a multi-purpose utility trailer. Keep weight down by using plastic furnishings or ones that can be packed away easily.

For example, beanbag chairs are lightweight and can be put together to make a bed. Alternatively, use plastic tubs to store your items and then put an air mattress on top of them. Just because internal features need to be light weight and simple, that does not mean you have to be uncomfortable or unable to enjoy whatever time you may need to spend in the trailer.

Electricity

Aside from running computers or other devices that store important data, electricity is important for power tools used to fix the trailer or build parts that were not complete before started using it. There are many devices that can be used to power a utility trailer, like different wind turbine designs that will lend themselves well to sitting on top of a trailer. As long as the trailer is in motion, the turbines will spin.

You can make a series of smaller turbines that are housed in other parts of the front of the trailer and then combine them into a single battery pack. This is especially important if you want your trailer to look as inconspicuous as possible. A few fans hidden behind grills will not be as noticeable as solar panels or a shell design turbine sitting on top of the trailer.

Make your home 100% immune from future power outages or blackouts with this DIY Home Energy System! 

Water and Sanitation

Many people that don’t plan on living in a utility trailer after a major crisis occurs think they can ignore water and sanitation issues.

On the other hand, you are always going to need clean water. As such, you should at least have some tools on hand so that you can purify water or pull it from other resources. Even if you store away plastic and a shovel so that you can retrieve water vapor as it evaporates from the ground, you will be ahead of the game.

Setting aside a small part of the trailer for sanitation and privacy needs is more important than you realize. At the very least, bring a few items along that you can use to meet these needs once they are assembled.

Tools and Skills You Need for the Project

You will need common tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, metal cutters, drills, and hand saws for building your trailer, but also other items. These tools require electricity to operate, but it’s not impossible to make a sturdy trailer without them.

  • Welder – you need a welder to join together steel rods used in the trailer frame. Even though welding is not especially difficult to learn, you need some practice before you weld the rods together. Remember to wear a welding hood, gloves, and an appropriate apron. No matter how fascinating welding and the sparks it makes may be, remember that you are working with very high temperatures and a light source that can blind you in a matter of seconds.
  • Circular saw, jig saw, and hand drill – these power tools make cutting boards and other materials much easier and faster. Perhaps I am a bit old fashioned in my preference for corded tools, however I have yet to find battery powered tools that lasted as long or provided as much power when I needed it most.
  • Hydraulic Jacks – you need at least 4 to support the frame while you are mounting the axles and wheels.
  • Hoists and Pulley Systems – if you start building in modules, hoists and pulleys make it possible to assemble completed parts in a matter of minutes.

Equipment and Furnishings: Buy or Make Your Own?

When you make your own racks, shelves, and other furnishings, it’s easy to create what you need and in the size that you need it. But if you don’t have the time or patience to make furniture, it can be a very tedious task. Unless you upcycle free wood palettes or other materials, you’ll find that the cost of making your own furnishings is about the same as buying pre-made models.

Research on camping and RV gear, and you’ll find all sorts of things that can be used to make the utility trailer more comfortable and convenient. In many cases, this equipment may not meet all of your needs. You may not be able to repair the items if they break down, or they may not be as durable as you would like.

If you want cutting edge designs or newer technologies, those devices may also be more expensive. For example, if you want to include a wind turbine, it may be impossible to find the best in a pre-fabricated form, so you’d better look at different bladeless turbine designs, and build something that meets your needs.

Newer polymers and other materials on the market can make this task as simple as working with a 3D printer and a few well designed templates. Aside from cost and innovative concerns, when you make your own equipment you can always add room for adaptability. If you need to scavenge parts or build systems that are easy to repair, there is nothing like developing your own designs.

DOs and DON’Ts When Building an Utility Trailer

Building an utility trailer is like many other things in life. There are some basic things you should always do, and others that you should avoid.

Here are some of the most common practices that lead to building a trailer that will be durable and useful or one that will not be worth the effort you put into it.

  • Do not cut costs on critical components such as the frame, suspension, axle, and coupler. Everything in the trailer depends on how sturdy and durable these items are. If you don’t know how to weld, or don’t have enough practice in metal working, make sure that you know what you are doing before you tackle building these parts.
  • Do seek training for everything you need to do. From wiring the trailer for electricity to installing windows and shelves, it never hurts to take a few courses on these and other building oriented topics.
  • Never work on the trailer when you are tired, angry, or sick. Most of the time, you will be working with power tools, chemicals, or something else that can cause injury or death. Exhaustion, excess emotions, and illness can make you careless and impatient. Even if you are not injured, the mistakes you may make can come back to haunt you when you put the trailer on the road and discover these “hidden features”.
  • Always observe safety precautions. Goggles, ear protection, gloves, aprons, steel toed boots, dust masks, and respirators are all necessary safety gear that should be used. While many people today recognize the need for goggles, far too many do not wear protective ear plugs and respirators. Never forget that everything you are working with will create some kind of dust, smoke, or gas. None of these fumes or dust are good for your lungs or your health.
  • Give yourself plenty of room to work. Over the years, I have seen many accidents caused by a simple lack of working space. Make sure that you have plenty of room to lay all the parts and tools out. Keep your work area neat and clean. No matter whether you are working indoors or outside, it is all to easy to take a step backwards and trip over something you forgot was back there.
  • Make sure that others working with you observe safety and good working habits. If you work with a team, it is all too easy for you, and others to put things where they can pose a risk to others. If everyone makes it a point to put things back where they belong, it will be much easier to avoid accidents.
  • Always keep detailed records of everything you did and how each system fits together. Later on, if you need to diagnose problems or make repairs, these notes will give you a valuable point of reference. Include photographs taken during the construction process, these will make it easier to orient and prepare for making any required changes. Do not forget to update your notes and photos once you are done.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol while working on the trailer. As soon as you lose any kind of control of yourself, both the tools you are using and the materials can also get out of control. This can lead to cuts, bruises, burns, and other serious injuries. If you must have a drink or take some kind of medication, stop for the day and then go back to it when your thinking and your reflexes are in better condition.

Take the time to design and build a custom utility trailer, and you’ll develop a perfect prepper solution!

While this task isn’t as difficult as it seems, you will need to put in a considerable amount of time, effort, and money. When a disaster strikes and you are able to move and live comfortably in the trailer, you will see that it is well worth the effort.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

References:

http://www.americanbuildersurplus.com/

http://www.salvex.com/

http://www.contractoryardsale.com/

http://www.bmomn.com/

http://www.govliquidation.com/Scrap-Metal.html

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10 Reasons To Have A Sewing Machine

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Survivopedia Resons to have a sewing machine

If you visit any department store or second hand store, you are bound to find more clothes than you know what to do with. No matter where you look, it seems like there is no end to cheap clothes that can be used for every occasion.

As a result, most people see sewing as a “hobby” or a skill that they don’t really need to learn. But many clothes will vanish very quickly after a disaster, so you might have a reason to buy a sewing machine and learn how to use it.

Here are ten things that may just change your mind on this matter.

What Kind of Sewing Machine is Best?

If you sew on a regular basis, choose a good quality, heavy duty sewing machine. Personally, I have always preferred Singer over any other brand. Modern sewing machines can be programmed for embroidery as well as many other complicated tasks. Do your research to make sure that the internal parts are sturdy enough to meet the challenges of stiff, bulky, or very thick material.

There are also many vintage models that still have metal gears and motors powerful enough to last for decades more. Just make sure that you have a finger guard installed if the machine doesn’t already have one.

It can be very dangerous if you don’t pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the needle. As dainty as the sewing machine and needle may look, the motor is strong enough to push the needle right through your finger.

In addition, sewing by machine can also be a very hypnotic task. It seems simple enough to keep your fingers away from the needle, but it is all too easy to loose track and wind up with a serious, and very painful injury.

As a prepper, think about what you will do with devices that require electricity. It does not matter whether this loss comes from an EMP or a hurricane. The fact remains that modern sewing machines require electricity in order to run. If you are not confident in generators or DIY power generation methods, then look for foot or treadle powered sewing machines.

Today, you can choose from antique machines as well as newer ones. For example, the Janome 712T does not have a motor and runs without electricity. It is more expensive than motor powered machines, however the expense may be worth it if you want to be sure you can sew regardless of the electricity situation.

Janome-712T-Sewing-Machine-Table-3-sm

As Clothes Wear Out You can Remake Them

Not so long ago, you could buy a sweater or pair of jeans and expect them to last for several years. Today, even more “rugged” garments wear out in just a year or two.

Since you will not find new garments in the post collapse world, you will have to find some way to make your clothes last a bit longer. In this case, you can take apart old clothes and use a sewing machine to piece together parts that are in better condition.

Here are some things you can do with a sewing machine that are difficult, if not impossible to do by hand:

  • Many fabrics today have a good bit of stretch to them. When these fabrics are sewn by machine, it is much easier to create sturdy overcast stitches (a stitch commonly used to prevent fabric from raveling) that will not come apart. Even though it is possible to make overcast stitches by hand, it is hard to control the spacing and tightness of each stitch when dealing with stretchy fabric. No matter whether you are trying to sew together pieces of jersey knit, spandex, or some other stretchy material, a sewing machine makes the job much easier.
  • When people make garments with elastic in them, they usually fold the fabric over and then sew the seam so that a column is left to draw the elastic through. If you look carefully at commercial garments, you will often see the elastic is sewn directly onto the fabric. Since there is no margin or extra material to work, it will be impossible make a column for the elastic to go through. This, in turn, means that you would have to try and resew the elastic onto the garment by hand if you did not have a sewing machine. I can tell you from personal experience that there is no pin in the world and no elastic stretching device that makes this a comfortable, let alone feasible task. On the other hand, when you have a sewing machine, the weight of the foot and the tractors beneath the fabric easily keep the fabric in position while you manually pull the elastic so that it fits properly on the material.

Easier to Darn Socks and Other Items That Develop Holes

Have you ever just tossed a sock in the trash because it developed a hole? If so, then you may also be very unhappy with the fact that modern socks really do seem to wear out a lot faster than ones made just a few years ago. While it is not especially difficult to darn sock holes by hand, this task is also much easier to accomplish with a sewing machine.

You will also find that it is much easier to use a sewing machine to patch small holes in other kinds of garments without using additional material to make a patch.

When you use a sewing machine to stitch across a flat piece of fabric, you don’t worry about the fabric bunching up or becoming uneven. If you have never done embroidery on thinner fabrics by hand, you won’t realize just how hard it can be to repair holes on garments without a sewing machine.

Even if you try to put the fabric in an embroidery hoop to keep it from bunching, you will have a hard time getting good quality stitches that don’t rub at your skin when wearing the garment.

Sew Heavier and Coarser Fabrics

Before sewing machines were invented, our ancestors routinely sewed together furs and other thick, heavy materials. If you have denim garments, or clothes made from other heavy, coarse materials, you will find it very hard to make, let alone repair them without a sewing machine.

You will face problems associated with manufacturers that compensate for using less fabric by using stronger stitches or patterns of stitches to make a durable garment.

During crisis, you’ll face constraints on the nature and amount of fabric that you have on hand to work with. If you’ll be using old garments as a pattern for new ones, then you can also use smaller margins and come out with a functional garment.

If you try to duplicate these stitches by hand, you will find that it takes more fabric. Since sewing machines also use two threads (one under the fabric from the bobbin, and one from above on thread spool), the stitches will always be stronger and tighter than ones done by people who have limited experience with sewing.

Many people feel they can sew heavy fabrics by hand as long as they take their time and focus on making even stitches. In most cases, it will take 2 – 3 times longer by hand, and leave you with both eye and hand strain.

You won’t have time to spare in a survival situation. If you don’t have time to mend clothes or make them by hand now, don’t expect to do it then. A sewing machine would solve this issue and leave time for other tasks.

Make Money as a Seamstress or Tailor

There is no question that people are becoming more frustrated with commercial garments that do not fit right (since when does a petite woman of 5’3” have an inseam of 32 – 36”?!), look hideous, cost a lot, and do not last for very long.

The cost of fabric, patterns, and notions aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but many people are taking up sewing in order to have nicer clothes. If you become proficient as a seamstress, you can make money now as well as after a social collapse.

Custom Design Clothes that Meet Your Needs

When you go on a shopping expedition for prepper clothes, you are bound to be overwhelmed by all the coveralls, heavy jackets, Thinsulate gear, and camouflage prints. What happens when you are in an actual disaster and find out that you need to move to a warmer climate, or that most of the clothes in your stockpile won’t meet your needs?

A sewing machine can be used to make any kind of garment, including camouflage. Store away patterns in different sizes as well as a range of fabrics to meet all your needs, rather than completed clothes. From waterproof fabrics to denim and fleece, it is easy enough to add these items to your stockpile and then use them as needed.

Being able to design clothes is also very important if you have children or expect to have a baby after a major crisis. Given how many growth spurts children go through, you’ll need clothes that can be let out at the seams, or adjusted as needed.

When you buy modern clothes, there is no extra fabric let alone a way to modify larger garments for smaller sizes. And if you look at modern patterns, you will find many places where you can cut the pieces a bit larger, and then simply leave more fabric at the seams.

As a prepper, you know that your body is going to change a lot after a major crisis occurs. If food is scare, or you get very sick and lose a lot of weight; or you may wind up putting on a lot of water or edema.

Either way, all those clothes you stocked away may not fit properly, and worse yet, may restrict your movement. It is very important to have a sewing machine and fabric on hand so that you can make new clothes that fit properly.

Make Blankets and Quilts for Many Purposes

Do you have blankets and quilts hanging around that have been part of your life for decades? If so, then you may not give much thought to the availability of these items during crisis. Both novice and advanced preppers have been known to only keep a foil emergency blanket in their bug out bag.

But what happens when disaster strikes, you are on the road, and need something a bit warmer and sturdier? Even if you can find fabric and some kind of filler to make the blanket warmer, it can take days or even weeks to sew a quilt or blanket by hand.

In most cases, however, you can sew the exact same blanket or quilt using a sewing machine in just a few hours. You can use anything from worn clothes to fabric set aside in your stockpile to make blankets and quilts with ease using a sewing machine.

Here are just a few situations where you might wind up needing more blankets than you have on hand:

  • If you are trying to shelter animals that no longer have a building to live in. Blanket can offer warmth and comfort to stressed animal. They can also be used to temporarily restrain the movement of animals that need medical care, or for other reasons.
  • As a temporary shelter when there are no materials available for a tent.
  • To cover supplies or anything else that needs to be protected from dirt and dust.
  • All the blankets in your stockpile were stolen, burned in a fire, or ruined in a flood involving municipal sewage or other contaminants. At the very least, if you had a few clothes or some fabric that escaped the destruction, you can still sew them into blankets or quilts with a sewing machine.

Get More Out of any Fabric You Come Across

Surviving a social collapse is going to involve a lot of innovative thinking and action. Regardless of how much you have in your stockpile, or how well run your homestead is, just about anything can come out of the blue and send you into a tailspin.

Once you are in the situation, the things you underestimated are apt to stick out like sore thumbs and hurt just as badly. In this case, not having a sewing machine can make it difficult or impossible to make use of any fabric that may be available.

Consider a situation where you are moving through an area with very little vegetation. You have a sewing machine with you and a portable power system that can be used to run the motor. As you pass through an abandoned junk pile, you find a stack of clothes that cannot be worn; but not the rope that you so desperately need.

To resolve this situation, all you have to do is cut the garments up into strips and sew them together into longer pieces to make a rope. When you have a sewing machine, you can make use of pieces that are only a few inches long and about 2 inches wide.

If you tried this same task with hand sewing, you would not be able to consistently make strong enough seams in a reasonable period of time.

Make Or Repair Furniture Covers

Do you have an old couch or recliner that either needs to be thrown out or reupholstered? As trivial as this problem may seem when compared to others, it will only get worse after society collapses.

In particular, if you are bugging in, there is a chance that floods or other disasters may ruin your furniture to the point where you can no longer use it. For example, if you have a couch, the cushions and any other soft parts will have to be discarded.

Rather than throw the entire piece of furniture out, you can at least try to salvage the wood or metal frame that supported all the soft parts. Once the frame is repaired and safe to use, just about any fabric and soft stuffing can be used to “reupholster” the furniture. If you have a sewing machine, you can also sew much heavier fabrics or layers of fabric in order to make something more durable.

Similar to many other things, there will be a time in the post crisis world when people will do as much as they can to make pre-existing items last for as long as possible.

This, in turn, means that you can barter or trade your furniture repair skills for other things that you might need. As time goes on, you can also shift your furniture repair trade to actively making furniture from raw materials that others begin putting together in larger quantities.

This is the only ultra-precise machine that can spit-out personalized pieces of woodwork!

Build Shelter Covers and Carrying Aides

One of the worst things you can do as a prepper is think that bugging in means you will have shelter and that you won’t need to bug out for some reason or other. It is very important to understand that a crisis can come from where you least expect in.

For example, while the vast majority of preppers focus on problems that will affect the entire society, something may come along that affects only you or your family. This may include job loss, illness, or the sudden passing of a family member that enabled you to have shelter and security.

Even if you do a minimal amount of research on homeless people, you will find that it became impossible for them to afford shelter and the basics of life. No matter whether these people suffer from illness, addiction, or just plain bad luck, the fact remains they were not prepared for personal financial collapse.

Given the angst in our society these days against our incoming president, sabotage by those who dissent is entirely possible. Under these circumstances, you may find that one disaster after another will arise that leaves you without shelter.

Let me be clear in saying that a sewing machine won’t solve all your problems. However, you can use it to your advantage while you still have some assets to work with.

You can take old garments and sew them into blankets, carrying aides, and anything else that will make it easier for you to travel. If you can find a safe place to store the machine, then you may also be able to make some money with it and get back on your feet.

There is also no question that many homeless people today live in cars and trucks. While this may not seem like a good place to have a sewing machine, you can still use it to make shelters outside of the vehicle. If society does collapse further because of internal or external pressures, you will still have a viable trade and an important tool to work with.

Make Toys and Other Items for Children

When I was a little girl, the battery powered toy craze was just getting started. I remember my parents being unhappy about all the “plastic battery powered junk” that cost a lot and didn’t seem to last.

lot-of-8-original-vintage-cabbage-patch-kTo this day, some of my fondest memories are of my mother sewing little stuffed toys for me.

From iron on appliques to furry teddy bears, I spent hours watching these creations unfold on my mother’s sewing machine.

Later on, we did these projects together and had far more quality time than we would have had if she just bought me a bunch of plastic toys.

During illness or great distress, it is normal to look back on safer and more peaceful times. These days, it often seems like our children will have no such peaceful times to look back on. Even if they do remember their childhood, it is likely to be filled with violent video games, nonstop social pressure, and all sorts of other worries.

Sewing toys with your children is a simple, inexpensive way to give them, and you, peaceful times to look back on. While that may not seem important right now, just think back to the times when you were in crisis and what memories like this meant to in terms of helping you get through the situation.

Making toys for children isn’t just something that works well in a time of social collapse. It is something you can start doing now that will build bonds and give you and your children a chance to enjoy time together. Building custom toys can also give you a chance to innovate and perhaps come up with something marketable that other children might like to have.
Perhaps off topic, but never doubt the possibility that you can make a fortune with a sewing machine and a good idea for a toy. Anyone that remembers the Cabbage Patch Doll craze can certainly relate to the fact that sewn toys can easily become very popular in a short period of time.

As you will recall, the Cabbage Patch Kids were invented by Martha Nelson Thomas, a woman who learned quilting from her mother. Just remember, if you do come up with something that becomes popular, you will need to copyright patent, and trademark the design so that no one else can steal it and profit from theft of the design.

In the arena of prepping, there is always a sense that time is limited. When you don’t know what will happen, or what challenges must be overcome, it is very tempting to cut corners. For example, when it comes to clothes and other fabric based items, you will more than likely buy what you need or hope that you can make do with what you have.

Even though sewing by machine is often relegated to a “craft” or a “hobby” it is a vital survival skill that you may wind up needing. Today, you can increase the chances of surviving long after a major catastrophe by learning how to use a sewing machine and having one in your stockpile.

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia.

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Tech 101: All about Batteries

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Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Choosing the right battery can be positively overwhelming

New to off-grid living? Thinking about going off-grid? Have years of experience? Bet you’ve thought about batteries.

Having a back-up store of energy for those cloudy still days, when your renewable energy system isn’t exactly on top form, is a grand idea. But navigating through the types of battery and which is most suitable can seem like a bit of a minefield. Actually, quite a huge minefield.

Way back when…

Initially when off-grid living took off, people turned to car batteries for their storage needs. However, being designed to give out a large current in a short burst, they couldn’t take the strain of being used for longer periods. This usually ended in a burnt out battery after only a year or two of use (if you were very lucky). but a few folk DID get lucky and begged or bought old Fork-lift truck batteries – and found them to be ideal.

Enter Deep-cycle Lead Acid batteries

Designed for a steady current output over long periods and with several hundred discharge- recharge cycles over its lifetime,  these are perfect for partnering with renewable energy.

There are several different types of lead acid batteries which can be used off-grid. The most commonly used in conjunction with solar and wind power are: golf cart batteries, L16 batteries and industrial batteries. All of these are flooded with electrolyte which evaporates during charging, meaning maintenance is required. This extends to checking electrolyte level a minimum of once per month and topping up with distilled water when needed.

Golf cart batteries are good for those completely new to off-grid living, who have a small scale renewables system. The upfront cost of these units is low, meaning if first timers make any mistakes and ruin a battery, the financial loss is minimized. Lasting 4-5 years, these batteries have a reasonable lifespan. They are durable, and can withstand undercharging without too much impact on their storage capacity – reducing the chance you will be scratching our head and saying: “hmm this battery doesn’t seem to hold its charge as long as it used to”.

Batteries, lead acid, lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind

Car batteries for off-grid living are now a thing of the past – unlike Herbie, they weren’t exactly loveable!

Batteries can be scaled up in a bank, depending on the amount of storage required. A set of four 6 volt, 225 amp batteries in sequence can hold 4kWh, increase this number and you could potentially have a bank capable of storing up to 16kWh. With prices starting below $100 for one unit, this is by far the most economical option for those with small scale electricity needs.

 

If you want to step it up from a golf cart battery, then L16 batteries may be the way to go. Even though the units are twice as heavy at 120lbs! They can power small to medium set ups and have a lifespan of up to 8 years. There are also 2 volt models available, allowing for greater storage capacity if a lower voltage is not an issue. However, these units are between 2-3 times more expensive than your standard golf cart battery, but if you have a little extra cash to spend, this could be a good option to go for.

However, if you just want one battery rather than creating your own bank with multiple units, then an industrial battery might do the trick! At a hefty 300lbs these are not meant for RVs and boats. But with a 15-20 year lifespan and the ability to have them custom made to your specifications (including storage capacity) straight from the manufacturer, this does have its positives. But also a considerably higher price tag of between $2,000-10,000 per unit, depending on specs.

If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining a flooded battery you can always opt for a sealed lead acid one.

Instead of a fluid electrolyte, these units have gel or absorbed ones. This means the only thing they need to keep in good working order is proper charging. Alongside this, no gases are produced so you don’t have to worry about appropriate ventilation. They don’t suffer from corrosion either because there is no leakage. Models of these units such as Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) units are also easily stackable, taking up less space. However, despite all of these positives they are sensitive and can be easily overcharged. And the big whopper is they aren’t exactly a cost effective option, with prices that are double that of an industrial flooded lead acid battery, but with half the lifespan.

Alternatively, Lithium ion batteries are gaining ground, especially in light of this being the technology behind Tesla’s Powerwall.

They can deliver more discharge/recharge cycles over their lifespan (approximately 10 years), compared to lead acid batteries and can be charged at higher currents. They are lighter and take up less space also, making them easier to install and change. Due to their lightweight nature, they are also great for RVs and boats. Not only this, but when standing idle they lose only 1-3% storage capacity per month compared to up to 15% for lead acid batteries. So if you’re someone who only uses their RV or boat for vacations every few months, then this might be a better option.

However, there are some drawbacks to these types of batteries. Firstly, they need a Battery Management System (BMS) to monitor the voltage and temperature of the units. This is because even Lithium ion batteries made in the same batch can have variations in capacity. Therefore, when charging, some batteries can become full quicker than others, resulting in dangerously high voltages in some of the units. A BMS shunts the current away from full cells to still charging cells, protecting the system. It can also detect over-heating of cells and will shut off the charging pack to protect all the batteries.

Clearly, this all comes with a heftier price tag than a lead acid battery, for both the unit and associated BMS. And remember – in comparison to lead acid batteries the technology is relatively untested in terms of its longevity. Plus, Lithium ion batteries aren’t widely manufactured yet – so when it comes to replacement equipment or management systems it is not as easy to find what you need as lead acid batteries. However, when this technology becomes more widespread and the price of the units comes down, then there could well be a shift away from lead acid and towards lithium ion batteries.

Batteries, Lead Acid, Lithium ion, saltwater, off-grid, solar, wind, self-sustaining, storage

Could salt be the key to a new generation of batteries?

And just to throw a spanner in the works…

Aquion Energy have brought out a saltwater battery. Yes you read that correctly. Instead of using lithium salts or sulphuric acid for the electrolyte fluid, the Aspen battery uses a non-hazardous sodium sulphate solution. Coming in 24 volt and 48 volt models, the 260lb units are stackable and can be discharged 100% before recharging. The units can operate between -5 and 40°C. Currently, they are being tested in a pilot project in Vermont as part of an “off-grid package”, offered by utility company Green Mountain Power.

Although this is designed for long term stationary energy storage (sorry boat and RV owners) it is aimed at those living off-grid at a supposedly competitive price. The components of the battery are made from relatively cheap, abundant materials and each unit is easy to manufacture. Therefore, an inexpensive manufacturing process should pass on savings to the consumer. Aquion Energy have been given the North American Company of the Year award from the 2017 Global Clean Tech 100, and the Aspen Battery has been named in Building Green’s Top 10 products of 2017. So if you’re fancying something a little different, Aquion’s Aspen battery might be the thing for you. You can find out more about how many batteries you would need to meet your energy requirements here.

Hopefully, you haven’t been left too bamboozled by the battery minefield.

Essentially, what is going to be best for you depends greatly upon your circumstances and budget. If your budget is low and you don’t mind a bit of maintenance, then lead acid batteries are probably your best bet. However, if you have a larger budget, but only vacation in your RV or boat, then a Lithium ion battery with low rates of self-discharge might be a good option to consider. And if you want to break the mould and don’t mind being a bit of a guinea pig, perhaps give the saltwater battery a try – at least you won’t have the worry of your bank going up in flames!

The post Tech 101: All about Batteries appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

3 Steps To Start A Fire When Everything Is Wet

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Start a fire when everything is wet

Starting a fire in adverse weather, whether is rain or wind or both is a very important survival skill every outdoors aficionado must possess. The ability of igniting a fire when things are less than perfect is a fine art which must be learned and practiced until mastery is achieved.

The thing is, nature doesn’t care much about our best laid plans, mice and men alike and an emergency never comes alone. I mean, when confronted with a survival situation, you’d at least expect fine weather, cool breezes and sunshine.

In reality, your survival in an emergency situation will become much more complicated than initially thought and I would dare to say nine times out of ten, as you’ll end up not only lost in the woods or wherever, but you’ll also have to deal with rain, cold and high winds.

Emergencies almost always bring bad weather with them, it’s almost like a 2 for the price of 1 deal. And that’s fine as long you’re prepared both physically and mentally.

However, in critical times, your survival may depend on your ability to light a fire under rain and/or wind and any hardcore survivalist, even Bear Grylls will tell you that you should always carry at least 2 primary and 2 secondary tools for starting a fire.

The idea is that a regular fire starter may not always provide you with the best results, especially if it’s raining and it gets wet. Also, if it’s windy and rainy, your chances of igniting a fire with just one match are pretty slim. If it’s freezing cold, your BIC lighter (which uses butane) may not work at all.

Basically, starting a fire when it’s windy, cold and rainy is one of the worst situations imaginable, other than starting a fire under water, which is a skill only Chuck Norris masters (he uses phosphorus by the way).

I think I have already told you a dozen times in my previous articles about the holy trinity of survival, which includes fire as a means of providing you with (cooked) food, (safe) water and shelter (warmth, protection from wild animals etc), but also about the importance of location.

But do you know which survival essential is the first most important?

Find out how this little survival stove that fits in your pocket can save your life!

1. Find an Adequate Location for Making the Fire

Everything in life is location, as Van Helsing used to say back in the day, and the same mantra is true when it comes to making a fire.

The first thing to look for is an adequate location for making a fire in harsh weather conditions. The idea is to provide your fire with as much protection possible from both wind and rain if possible. And if you’re not in the middle of a frozen desert with no snow around, that’s not impossible.

Shelter means three basic things:

  • shelter from the wind
  • shelter from the rain
  • shelter from the ground water.

2. Shelter the Fire

Ideally, you should shelter your fire on more than one side (upwind).

Build a Windbreak

You can protect your fire by building a C shaped windbreak with the open side downwind. You can build a windbreak using wood, rocks, snow, dirt, just use your imagination.

To shelter your fire from the rain when outdoors is the hardest job, but it can be achieved.

Make the Fire Under a Tree

But pay attention! The easiest way is to make your fire under a tree, as evergreens can be regarded as a natural tent of sorts. All you have to do is to pick a big one and make your fire under the lowest branches.

Making a fire under a tree may not seem like the best idea, as there are inherent risks attached, like setting the tree on fire, but if you’re paying attention and keeping your fire under control, the chances of such an event happening are minor.

You can minimize the risks further by building a good fire pit with no combustible materials around the fire.

Build a Fire Pit

The third requirement is how to protect the fire from ground earth, with the previous two taken care of by now. The easiest method is to use rocks for building a fire pit on a spot where the ground is raised from the floor.

Or you can do that yourself, i.e. you can build a little mound and on top of the mound you’ll put a layer of rocks, thus preventing your fire from staying directly on the wet ground and also making sure any running water will be drained ASAP.

3. Tinder, Kindling and Fuel

So much for location folks, let’s move on to the next issue and I will start with an axiom: if you don’t have the Bear Grylls flame-thrower with you, starting a fire using wet wood is basically impossible and a no-go under any circumstances. You’ll waste your time and your gear, bet on a dead horse and the whole palaver.

Video first seen on CommonSenseOutdoors

However, there are ways, as Gandalf used to say, but ideally, you should try to find something dry for starting your fire. As a general rule of thumb, a fire gets started in 3 stages: tinder, kindling and fuel.

The tinder is a combustible material which is very easy to ignite, i.e. it will catch fire quick and easy.

The kindling can be improvised using pieces of finger-thick wood that will be lit from the kindle.

The rest is pretty straight forward, as far as your kindle gets ignited you’ll start the main fuel and you’ll have a fire burning in no time.

Two of the best survival-tinder (fire starters actually) which can be used for igniting a fire in adverse conditions (even with wet wood) are cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly and dryer lint mixed with paraffin. These will burn for at least 2-3 minutes, thus providing you with plenty of time to get your fire started. I’ve already written an article about this issue.

As an interesting factoid, even in the midst of a rainstorm, you can almost surely find dried branches under the bottom of big/old pine trees. Another great place to look for dry combustible is the underside of uprooted (or dead) trees.

Video first seen on IA Woodsman

How to Make the Best Fire Starter for Wet Wood

The best fire-starter for wet wood can be home-made using black powder (gunpowder) and nail polish remover (the one that contains acetone). The acetone will be the solvent for the gunpowder. The idea is to make something that burns slow and as hot as possible and the gunpowder/acetone mix is by far the best in this regard.

Making the mix is fairly easy, as you’ll start with a small quantity of gunpowder the size of a golf ball put inside a ceramic/glass bowl. Start adding nail polish remover so that the mound of gunpowder is totally covered then mix it together slowly and thoroughly (always wear rubber gloves).

Once the stuff inside the ball gets in a putty-state, you can pour off the extra nail polish and then start kneading the putty, just like when making bread. i.e. folding it over time and time again.

The purpose of the kneading is to create layers inside your fire-starter. In this way, the burn rate is more controlled. The more layers, the better your fire-starter will be. The finished putty can be stored in an airtight container, but keep in mind that you’ll want to use your putty when it’s still moist. If dried, it burns too fast.

This fire-starter burns at 3000 degrees Fahrenheit and a golf-ball sized piece will burn for more than 3 minutes. Basically, you can set anything on fire with this baby and even  dry out damp wood in the worst conditions imaginable.

One final thing, it would always be nice to use fire accelerants, like gasoline (or alcohol, paint thinner etc), for starting a fire in rain or wind.

If you have your car around, the better, as you can siphon out some gasoline from the tank and start a fire even with damp wood in a jiffy. Okay, you’ll not receive those extra bonus style points, but that’s okay.

You’ll always have the peace of mind knowing that no matter where you go and no matter how bad the weather is you’ll be able to start a fire and safely cook food and boil some water. Click the banner below to grab this offer!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

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How To Make Soap On A Rope For Survival

I can remember as a kid, my dad would get soap on a rope as a gift and it never made much sense to me. I thought, hmm, what a weird thing to do to soap. That’s life as a modern kid in a civilized world.

Soap on a rope was a novelty item, and now it’s practically unheard of. So, what was its purpose, and why do you need it as a survival item?

Originally, soap on a rope was invented by the English Leather Company in 1969 to keep their soap from getting soggy and dissolving. Yep, tricked me, too; I would have guessed that it’s much older than that, but apparently not. Still, I’d be amazed if at least one enterprising pioneer didn’t think to make this novelty, because it’s truly ingenious if you think about it.

Since soap can be made mostly with ingredients that you already have around the house, let’s make some soap on a rope.

Why would you want your soap on a rope?

Think about it. Many good soaps take months to cure properly, so wasting even one bar is foolish in a survival scenario because good hygiene is going to be what saves you from disease. Since it’s also going to be a huge trade commodity, you’ve literally lost what will equate to money if you lose a bar or soap or let it sit in a puddle and dissolve.

Enter soap on a rope. You can take it to the river with you and hang it around your neck or your wrist – a wrist rope seems more functional to me – so that you don’t lose it in the stream or drop it in the dirt. You can also hang it up to dry so that it’s not sitting in dirt or a puddle of water that will cause it to dissolve.

Soap on a rope is one of the most simply frugal ideas I can think of.

But, how do you make it?

The short answer: just like you make any other soap, except you put a rope in it.

The long answer? Well, OK. Let’s have a quick soap-making tutorial.

Can I make soap without lye?

In order to make a solid soap, you’re going to need wood ash, because of the lye (sodium hydroxide) in it. Of course, right now you can just buy lye, or buy melt-and-pour soap that’s already been saponified (the process that lye instigates that causes the liquids and fats to mix and gives soap it’s cleansing properties), but that won’t be the case if SHTF, so it’s good to know how to make it yourself. You’ll be surprised how simple the process is.

And think about our ancestors. They didn’t have the luxury of the modern industry but they were able to create their own hygiene products from simple, readily available ingredients.

These survival lessons from our ancestors will teach you how to take care of your hygiene when there isn’t anything to buy. 

The number one thing that you need to know about soap making is that you need to follow the number one rule in chemistry class – use safety equipment and precautions. Lye is extremely caustic, but if that worries you, just remember that fire is lethal too, but that doesn’t stop you from cooking and camping. Just be careful.

And no. You can’t make soap without lye. If you try to, you’ll just have a bucket full of fat and water. The lye causes the saponification process that allows them to mix and gives soap its cleansing properties.

If made correctly, there is not unreacted lye in the soap, but it’s important to use the right ratio of lye to water in order to make sure that this is the case. There are many soap calculators that you can find to help you with this process until you have it down.

A couple of safety tricks to remember – always add the lye to the water, not the water to the lye. As soon as you add the lye, the chemical reaction will start and the mixture will heat up ad steam for 30 seconds or so. Keep a bottle of white vinegar on hand to neutralize the lye if it splashes on something. It will eat a hole in cloth or burn your skin.

Stir immediately so that the lye doesn’t settle in the bottom and possibly cause an explosion (don’t be a baby – you can do this. Granny Clampett did and look how long she lived). Seriously, though, don’t worry about it overly much; just be careful and do it right and you’ll be fine.

Making the Soap

The only ingredients you actually NEED to make soap are water, lye, and fat. That’s it. Of course, smell-good agents, essential oils, and colors make it smell nice, add therapeutic properties, and make it look pretty, but they’re not necessary to make soap that will get you clean.

Now, to make soap on a rope, you obviously need the soap to be solid, so if you’re making your own lye, use wood ash from hardwoods. Otherwise, your soap will be soft.

There are a variety of fats that you can use, including tallow, lard, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or any of the “butters” – cocoa, shea, or mango butter. You’ll want to use a combination of fats and oils in order to have the right consistency.

There are two ways to make soap: hot processing and cold processing. As the names suggest, one method requires heat and the other doesn’t.

The main difference is that the heat in hot pressing speeds up the saponification process so that your soap is ready in days instead of weeks, like it would be with cold-processing.

Here’s a cold processing recipe from DIYNatural.com. She’s been a soap maker for many years, and actually teaches university classes on the subject.

Ingredients

The notes after the ingredients are hers, not mine, and I’m paraphrasing her directions. I’ve also added in the rope, and the rope instructions.

Soap on a rope ingredients

Process

First is the chemical reaction, so use gloves and goggles if you so choose. Measure out the water into a quart-sized canning jar and slowly add in the exact amount of lye, stirring as you add it. Stand back a bit so that you’re not breathing the fumes caused by the chemical reaction. Stir until the water starts to clear, then move to the next step.

In a smaller container, combine the oils. You should have almost exactly a pint. Heat them up for just a minute either in the microwave or by placing them in a glass jar and placing them in hot water. You want the temperature of the oils to be about 120 degrees.

By now, the lye mixture should have cooled to about the same temperature. Let the oils and the lye cool until they’re between 95 and 105 degrees F. This is an important stage because if it cools too much it’ll combine quickly but it’ll be crumbly.

When they’re both at the right temperature, pour the oils into a glass mixing bowl and slowly stir in the lye until it’s all mixed, and keep stirring for 5 minutes. The soap mixture will thicken and become lighter in color. Keep stirring either with by hand or with an immersion blender until it looks like vanilla pudding. When it does, add your colors, oils, or herbs.

Pour your soap into 4 molds, or one loaf pan or cardboard box lined with parchment paper that will make 1 solid piece that you can cut into smaller bars. Pour the soap into the molds or pan. Double the rope over into a loop and press the ends down into what will be the center of each bar of soap that will extend from one end of the bar to the other.

Wrap the mold in plastic wrap and then in a towel so that the saponification process can start.

Check it after 24 hours and if it’s still warm or soft, let it sit for an addition 12-24 hours. When it’s finally cold and firm, turn it out onto a piece of parchment paper.

If you made one solid piece, cut it into bars now, making sure to cut it so that the rope runs down the center of each bar.

Since this was a cold process, the soap will need to cure for 4 weeks or so. Turn it every week or so to expose all sides to air. You can also cure it on a rack and won’t have to turn it. Once your soap is completely dry, wrap it in wax paper or store in an airtight container because homemade soap makes its own glycerin, which attracts water.

Now you know how to make quick and easy soap on a rope!

Do you wonder how our forefathers took care of their personal hygiene when they traveled for months?

Click the banner below and uncover their secrets!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

http://soapcalc.net/calc/soapcalcwp.asp

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Regenerating the Eco-village

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Regen Villages, Off-grid, Sustainable, Eco-village, eco-friendly

Regen Villagers don’t need green thumb to live in greenhouse.

Self-sustaining communities that can talk to each other; sounds like something from the future doesn’t it? But Regen Villages is making this a reality – right now. The first Regen eco-village has begun building works in Almere, 25 minutes from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 15,500m² project will house 100 families and aims to be completed by 2018.

But what is a Regen Village?

Founded by James Ehrlich, a senior technologist at Stanford University, in 2015, Regen Villages has a holistic approach. A regenerative system combining new technology and renewable energy powered homes, with organic food production right on the doorstep.

The houses vary in size and are built inside a greenhouse “envelope”, with some even having terraces. Each home has a built in water collection system, solar panels and are passively heated. The community has a seasonal garden, biogas facility and aquaponics amongst other things.

The base of the villages is that the output of one system is the input to another. Waste from the homes is sorted into different categories. Bio-waste is used in the Biogas facility, whilst compost is used as food for livestock and small flies. The flies are fed to fish and the waste from both them and the livestock fertilises the seasonal gardens. The plants in the aquaponics facility and seasonal gardens produce fruit and vegetables for food, whilst the livestock and fish provide a source of protein. Rainwater is collected and stored at the houses and water produced at the biogas facility is also stored. Grey water is separated and used to irrigate the seasonal garden, whereas clean water is put into the aquaponics. Solar cells provide the energy for homes and also to the “smart grid” which can be used for charging electric cars.

Regen Villages, who are partnered with Danish architects EFFEKT, have been termed the “Tesla of ecovillages” paving the way for new innovative developments. Plans include villages being linked up to the cloud and being able to communicate with each other through the internet. In this way communities are self-reliant and off-grid but can still learn from each other.

What about the future?

At a conference held at Sliperiet, Umeå University, Sweden James Ehrlich spoke of the future for Regen Villages. After the completion of the Almere pilot, EU funding of a proposed 300 million euros (approximately $319 million) will enable projects in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Germany to go ahead. These are aimed to be carried out during 2018-2022. Sights are then set on developments across Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, India, China and parts of the US, with government investments. As Ehrlich outlined, by targeting a challenging cold environment first, Regen Villages can be adapted to suit different climatic needs.

Off-grid sustainable greenhouse communities are not at all futuristic and Ehrlich is keen to make them a reality.

The post Regenerating the Eco-village appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Solar TV: Entertainment Everywhere

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Solar Power, TV, Off-grid, Africa

Even in a remote location, the Solar TV can connect to satellite channels.

Living off-grid but want to keep dumbing down?

Cello Electronics have introduced what they claim is the first LED solar powered TV. With a screen size of 22 inches, the TV is still reasonably compact and so would fit well in an RV, hut or tiny home.

A built-in rechargeable battery and patented “Smart Energy Management System” ensures up to 10 hours of running time from a single charge! A smart antenna receives signals through a DVBT2 tuner giving the viewer HD quality. But if you’re located somewhere really remote where there is little or no TV signal, the built-in satellite tuner can still pick up satellite channels. This allows for TV entertainment, wherever you may be.

This unit can also play a more central role in powering an off-grid home. A 2.0 USB port can not only charge phones, but can also act as a connection or power source for other compatible devices. Not only this by connecting a flash disk to act as storage, the personal video recorder feature can be used. That’s right; this set offers the ability to record a show or series to watch when it’s more convenient for you.

A complete out-of-the-box solution:

The Solar TV package costs $300 and includes the TV, solar panel and antenna. All that needs to be done is to set up the TV with the solar panel (in a suitable location of course) and you’re good to go. A review of an “out of the box” opening can be found here.

UK based Cello Electronics launched the Solar TV at the third Solar Africa Expo in Kenya, last year. A large proportion of the African population do not have access to reliable electricity from the grid. Therefore, a TV that works completely off-grid offers a solution. Knowing that the $300 price tag could be a big barrier for poorer regions in Africa, the company set up a pay-as-you-go scheme. PAYGOTV allows the consumer to pay only for the TV they are watching by purchasing a code entered via the remote control. This also opens up a new market for customers that don’t have their own TV but have access to one in the local community.

Brian Palmer, CEO of Cello, recalled how it all started, saying in a press release, “Could we make a TV that was capable of working off-grid?” Seems the answer is, yes they could!

The post Solar TV: Entertainment Everywhere appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

How To Build Your Best Camouflage

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Survivopedia How To Build Your Best Camouflage

When talking about camouflage, there are basically two types of gear: camouflage clothes and ghillie suits.

Camouflage gear is is a must have piece of gear  if you’re a sniper, a soldier or a hunter. Ghillie suits were originally designed for hunting purposes, but later on they were used by military forces, because they’re great at making people invisible or very close to it.

Basically, regardless of your intents and purposes, if you want to blend into your surroundings, camouflage gear is essential.

The key elements for efficient camouflage are inspired from the animal reign (think polar bears or chameleons), i.e. the color scheme is essential, together with  efficient 3D dimensional textures, which is aimed at diffusing and blending your figure/silhouette into the surroundings, thus fooling the eye.

If these two work together as a whole, the color scheme and the 3D (three dimensional) textures, you’re hitting the sweet spot in terms of good camouflage, being basically unrecognizable and virtually invisible from the distance.

It’s just like in the cool meme, with the apprentice sniper being admonished by the sergeant, something like “Smith, I haven’t seen you at camouflage practice” and Smith going like: “Thank you Sir”.

Let’s take a closer look about camouflage basics and start from there.

So, commercial or home-made regular 2D (bi-dimensional) camouflage is pretty good at helping you blending into all sorts of backgrounds, but it can’t mitigate one of the most tell-tell signs of you presence, i.e. your silhouette.

Hard core hunters and veteran hiders, such as military snipers or undercover spooks always rely on 3D camouflage, which consists of entire suits that are built using billowy materials, which help with blurring their outline, thus allowing them to become virtually invisible or to disappear in plain sight.

So, there’s regular 2D camouflage and the ultimate 3D camouflage, namely the ghillies.

Ghillie suits were first invented by Scottish folk, game keepers who probably were pretty good at tax evasion too using those suits (just kidding).

To begin with, let’s quote Sun Tzu, the Chinese general who wrote The Art of War thousands of years ago:

“Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.”

Find out more on how to improve your defense techniques to survive disaster! 

Camouflage Clothes – the Basic Gear for Ghosts

The first step is to determine your required 3 base-colors i.e. the top three most prevalent colors which are to be found in the environment you want to blend in. Don’t worry about exact tones and hues, just choose general colors.

For example, go for dark green/dark brown/black clothes and don’t waste your time trying to find pine needle green or chestnut brown.

If you’ve already determined the color scheme required for your camouflage purposes, buy plain colored T shirts/long sleeve/whatever you need in the respective color and stay away from fancy/expensive brands, the name of the game is utility and economy, otherwise you can buy commercially available camo, right?

The same concept goes for the hat and pants. Here’s a video tutorial with a guy who made his own camo shirt and pants using just a few common items besides the clothes themselves, namely a spray paint, some spare newspapers and some foliage with leaves.

Video first seen on Random Things.

The trick is to spray paint the leaves pattern onto the clothes and that’s about it, you’ll end up with home made camo for dirt cheap prices, especially if you’ll be using old clothes. The end result is pretty convincing.

The Ghillie Suit

Ghillie suit Now, with the basics taken care of, let’s see about the really good stuff, namely the ghillie suit.

Ghillie suits are arguably the best type of camouflage one can wear, as it helps you to integrate seamlessly (if it’s proper made obviously) into your surroundings, as it uses branches, foliage and/or leaves to break up your silhouette.

You’ll start with your already-made camo clothes, i.e. normal clothing spray painted (you can also use fabric patches) to match your desired surroundings.

A ghillie suit is basically 3D camo and it’s usually built using burlap, netting, sewing needles, dental floss and glue. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive.

The thing is, there are two basic designs for ghillie suits: the simple net for fixed positions and the suit construction.

The simple net design has advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s pretty hard to use while on the move through forests/brush and it’s also very difficult to crawl in. The bright side is that simple net ghillies are light weight, hugely adaptable to fixed positions and they roll up forming a small bundle.

You can use camouflage netting which can be bought at army surplus stores, else you can always choose shrimp net or fish net (the former is the best as it’s treated with anti rot coating).

Suit construction requires a decoy bag, raffia grass, burlap, fabric dye, rubber bands, jute twine and seam reaper. Here’s a video on how to build a ghillie suit from the ground up using readily available and dirt cheap materials.

Video first seen on Zachary Crossman.

The most important customizing option for your ghillie suit it the use of natural vegetation, but this trick comes with the disadvantage that natural vegetation will wither and brown in a couple of hours. Here raffia grass comes into play, as it’s perfectly suited for dyeing and it’s extremely effective in desert, grassland and winter environments.

Other options include using spanish moss, carpet moss or even artificial vegetation and there’s a wide selection of artificial vegetation at hobby stores. You can mitigate its glossy appearance which is common with plastic made plants by using a flat spray paint in your desired color. Plastic vegetation can be painted/repainted ad nauseam,

Don’t worry, building your own ghillie suit doesn’t require mad skills, you’ll just have to know how to tie simple knots, to recognize plant shapes and mix different colors together.

What’s important before proceeding with your DIY job is proper fieldwork research, namely taking notes and photos that will help you with color matching your ghillie suit. Yes, you’ll have to do some scouting, going out to the grasslands/woods/desert plateau or wherever you plan to use your camo and observe the coloration of the terrain with your own eyes.

Building your own ghillie suit offers you some advantages and tactical options vs the commercially available ones (which are also pretty expensive).

For example, you can add a recoil pad pocket if you’re using your suit for hunting purposes, or a hydration pack for wearing it in warm climates, not to mention waterproofing on the areas that come in contact with moisture, thus helping you stay dry in wet environments.

Another advantage of a home made ghillie suit is that it will match accurately the color of your desired environment you wish to blend into, as opposed to commercial ones which are usually available for just 2 environments.

That about sums it up for today. I hope you enjoyed reading the article. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the dedicated section below. Good luck, and stay prepared folks!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: Are You Prepared For An EMP Attack?

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As we all know, the U.S. power grid is in danger and one thing is for sure: when the power will go out, the economy, the defense infrastructure and more than that, our own safety and health will go down. The U.S. Government

In this situation, the only thing we can do is to prepare for that moment when the lights go down rather than wait and see what happens in the aftermath.

That’s why, for this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 5 useful articles for some off-grid scenarios.

  1. Gov’t Reports Warns: Power Grid In ‘Imminent Danger’

blackout-doe-report

“ The U.S. power grid is in constant danger of a cyberattack that could cause widespread blackouts and impact millions of citizens, according to a new 492-page report from the Department of Energy that warns if nothing is done to protect the system, the nation likely will suffer.

“The U.S. grid faces imminent danger from cyberattacks,” the report, released Jan. 6, states. “Widespread disruption of electric service because of a transmission failure initiated by a cyberattack at various points of entry could undermine U.S. lifeline networks, critical defense infrastructure, and much of the economy; it could also endanger the health and safety of millions of citizens.”

The report, titled “Transforming the Nation’s Energy System,” notes that the electric grid in the 48 contiguous states is comprised of 21,500 substations and about 700,000 miles of power lines.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How to Protect Your Power System Against an EMP

electromagnetic-pulse“Hello my friend and welcome back! I received a letter from one of my readers who goes by the name of Dan.  What he wants to know is how he can protect his wind turbine and solar panels, as well as his electronics, from an EMP or another Carrington Event CME.  He also wants to know how deep his underground shelter needs to be to protect what he has there.  WOW!  That was a mouth full.  This is the subject of today’s post, so grab a cup of coffee my friend and have a seat while we visit.”

Read more on American Preppers Online.

  1. Living Off the Grid with Solar

“The moment you go off-grid, you rely entirely on a system that generates electrical energy and utilizes the same to support all your electrical solarappliances, either at home or on a business premise. For your system to be exclusively off-grid, it must have absolutely no link to the utility grid.

Going off-grid is possible, practical and beneficial to you in many ways. You will not have to pay utility bills and in the long run, you will save money! Other motivations include: environmental concerns and endeavoring to only use renewable energy; energy independence, you won’t have to rely on the blackout-prone utility; social values, which mean taking responsibility for your energy consumption effects; costs, when the distance to the grid is too big, your decision to go off grid becomes a lot cheaper.”

Read more on Ed That Matters.

  1. 7 Ways to Generate Power After a Disaster

7-ways-you-can-generate-power-after-a-disaster-wide-2

“Whether it’s a nuclear holocaust, a deadly plague, the perfect storm, or a large-scale terrorist attack, when a cataclysmic event goes down you can guarantee one thing: the power will go out. And while you don’t need electricity to be a hunter-gatherer for the rest of your life, if you want to help return human society to its former greatness—or just be able to have a James Bond movie marathon again—you’ll have to figure out how to generate your own power.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. 15 Things You Think You Know About Faraday Cages But You Don’t

EMP

“This article takes into consideration only the effects of a nuclear EMP, not a solar flare. A solar flare would only affect any electronics connected to the grid.

Will a microwave work as a Faraday cage?

No. If an EMP strikes, you will notice that all your electronic devices that you stored in a microwave oven will be rendered useless. The microwave is not a Faraday cage.

Will a refrigerator work as a Faraday cage?

No, most refrigerators do not work as a Faraday cage. I tested mine, and it’s definitely not a Faraday cage.”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Wilderness Survival: 5 Self Feeding Campfires

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Self feeding fire

If you’re an outdoors aficionado and you go camping often, today’s article will tick you in all the right places, as I will present you, dear readers, with 5 ways to start a self feeding campfire.

Making a campfire is arguably one of the most fun and interesting parts of camping, as it keeps you warm and safe on cool nights, not to mention that it gives you the opportunity to make the best barbecue you’ve ever had in your life.

You know, food cooked outdoors on wood-fires tastes best. However, there’s a downside to this kind of activity. I am talking about the boring job of keeping the fire alive and kicking.

We’ve all been in this situation – sitting and chilling by the fire, trying to relax and all that, when once again, we’re forced to get up and tend the fire. That’s pretty unpleasant when your belly is full of your latest barbecue, not to mention during the night when you’re sleeping like a baby, yet you awake frostbitten and what not.

However, there’s an answer to these problems with regard to camping, and I am talking about a self feeding fire. Think about our forefathers, they were the experts of this basic skill as for them, a self feeding fire lasting all nigh long meant they could take a nap after a harsh journey.

This may sound nothing short of miraculous to you, but I’ll present you with some videos and you’ll see that I am dead serious, as usual.

So, considering that you can’t really enjoy the warm glow from your campfire if you’re forced to constantly feed it with fresh logs, let’s see about some self feeding ideas which will keep your fire going forever and ever.

1. 15+ Hours Self Feeding Fire

The next idea is about a 15 hours-plus self feeding fire, which sounds pretty awesome providing that it really works; i.e. a fire that will burn for more than half a day all by itself, requiring zero maintenance. That almost beats central heating, don’t you think?

The self feeding fire was invented by the pioneers that had to travel for months. We still have a lot to learn about their skills, as they are depicted in Claude Davis’s book “The Lost Ways”, who unearths the long forgotten ways and lifestyles of the ancestors of ancient times.

Discover the ancient secrets that helped our forefathers survive in the wild!

This type of fire will work if you’re doing it right and proper. The idea is that you’ll have to work a little bit in order for it to function, but it will be worth it. The concept is pretty simple: you’ll have to build two ramps opposing each other and load them with big logs.

The logs will self-load as the ones in the middle get consumed by the fire, but check out the video tutorial about this method depicted in “The Lost Ways” book, and see the concept in action for yourself.

Video first seen on Know More.

As you have noticed, the ramps are constructed in a very easy-to-understand way; there’s nothing fancy involved here.

In order to get the fire started, you’ll have to remember to leave a gap in-between the two logs at the bottom by putting a couple of pieces of dead wood in there to keep them open. In this way, you’ll be able to start the fire, and that’s kind of important.

You’ll also have to cut pretty big (and flat-that’s crucial) logs and the trick is to start the fire from below and make sure the logs burn completely all the way down to succeed.

2. The Upside-down Fire

The second self feeding campfire idea is called the upside down fire. The general idea is that you put the biggest stuff at the bottom, like the big logs, in layers, in a crisscrossed pattern, and as you build the logs up, the woods will get smaller, ending up with the tender pile of the top.

This is a very efficient way of building a self feeding campfire and here’s a comprehensive video tutorial.

Video first seen on NorthSouthSurvival.

The idea works and it’s pretty easy to DIY, ending up with an almost maintenance-free fire which consumes itself from the top down. This method is also known as the fall-down fire.

3. Self Feeding Fire Cigarettes

The third idea is called self-feeding fire cigarettes, just another moniker for a self feeding, long-lasting campfire. The goal of this project is to build a small scale fire as opposed to the previous idea which involves big logs for creating a heavy duty campfire.

So, what we’ll be dealing with here is a minimal campfire, ideal for cooking and lighting your cigars and, you know, keeping the lights on, so to speak.

The concept is to make a hole in the ground and stick 4-5 fire cigarettes (wooden sticks basically) inside, light them up from the bottom and as they burn slowly, the burnt parts collapse under their own weight. This is elegant, very easy to put into practice, and it really works. You must remember to dig out the ventilation tunnels required for keeping the fire alive.

Video first seen on Redfuel Bushcraft

4. 18+ Hours Self Feeding Campfire

Next on our program is how to make a long-lasting, self-feeding campfire that will stay alive by itself for approximately 18 hours, give or take (depending on the size of the logs).

First things first: you’ll have to find 2 big logs. The thicker they are, the longer your fire is going to last.

The general idea is that you’ll put these 2 thick logs on top of each other and set a fire in between them using dead/dry debris or something similar. You’ll have to use 4 stakes, 2 on each side of the logs, for keeping the logs from rolling out; something like a safety precaution. It’s best to use green wood stakes, as these don’t burn so well.

It’s important how you set up the fire; i.e. it works especially well if you set up in the direction where the wind blows, as it will fan the fire for you.

Video first seen on coydog outdoors.

5. Finnish Rakovalkea Fire

Lastly, let me present you with a clever system to build a self feeding campfire which is very popular in Northern Europe, in Finland and Sweden respectively, where it’s known as rakovalkea and/or nying.

This self feeding system uses for two notched-out short logs for its base that keep the fire lifted up off the ground for better ventilation, or more oxygen if you like.

The rest of the job is pretty similar to the previous project; i.e. you’ll have two logs on top of each other with the fire being set in the middle. Both the log on the bottom and the one on the top have a flattened edge as they’ll be facing each other, and in between you’ll have to put the combustible materials required for starting the fire.

Two poles are used to keep the logs firmly in place (via nails). But take a look at this video tutorial and you’ll see what’s up.

Video first seen on Far North Bushcraft And Survival.

Click the banner below to discover more long-forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive the long journeys in the wilderness!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers

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SHTF Cooking Options for PreppersWhen it comes to SHTF cooking options for preppers there are quite a few options available. On the other side of that coin, there are many options that won’t be available to us in an off the grid situation, and many precautions we will need to take.

As preppers we need to not only think about how we are going to cook our food in a SHTF situation, but how we are going to do it without ringing the dinner bell for the entire neighborhood. We don’t give this much thought these days because when a neighbor smells us grilling outside, they don’t come running over.

In any sort of disaster situation that could be different. In a smaller situation like a power outage, it could be the inconvenience of having to turn people away. In a larger situation turning those people away will create resentment and enemies.

SPP186 SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers

This week in the show we talked about how to handle situations like these, and some cooking options we might have as preppers. We also talked about how our diet will change in an off the grid situation, and how what we do now will determine what we eat then.

Precautions & Dangers

If you look at what’s going on in Venezuela you see that when availability of food is limited, the people with it become powerful, and the people without food have no choice but to bend to their will. Criminals would be stealing food rather than televisions and cars, and drug dealers would be dealing food rather than cocaine and heroin.

Cooking Smells: I think of this like attracting the zombies. In the movies if you make any noise the zombies focus their attention on you. When you’re cooking in an off the grid situation, the real life zombies will be hungry (not just for brains) and follow that aroma back to you.

Smoke Signals: If you light a roaring camp fire, the odds are you will be giving off smoke signals to your neighbors and ringing the dinner bell. To avoid this use alternative cooking methods, or cook foods that won’t give off smoke.

Trash Removal: If you have a bunch of tin cans or long term food storage packaging laying around, people will know you have food long after you have been cooking. Burning your trash is probably not a good option, but burying it will keep it out of sight, and out of mind.

What You Cook: The different types of foods you cook, types of spices you use and how you cook it will all matter in an SHTF scenario. Boiling some Legacy food might not give off much of an aroma, but cooking it on a wood fire will. This is the main reason I love the Sun Oven so much.

The Changing Times

when good food goes badOur idea of what breakfast lunch and dinner are might (and probably will) change. If you look at what you have right now that doesn’t require refrigeration, and think about how you would cook it, you will see how your diet will change. The odds are you won’t be grilling a lot of meat, you won’t have milk or all the condiments in your refrigerator door.

When Good Food Goes Bad: I the show we talked about what you would need to do with food in your refrigerator. Most people will be having a “neighborhood BBQ” and we debated whether you should, or should not participate. You could also figure out a way to preserve that food as much as possible.

Neighborhood Cook Off: Participation in a neighborhood cook off would be a way of extending the olive branch to your neighbors. If you do this, make sure you are not giving out too much information. Make your neighbors think you are in the same boat as them.

Preserving Food: The first day or two after a disaster might be the safest time to get this done. Dehydrating, smoking or canning the meat in your freezer will extend their shelf lives… Just don’t let your neighbors see you doing it. Digging a hole and making a small root cellar could extend the shelf lives of some refrigerator foods as well.

Dinner Time? It might be a good idea to change when you cook. People are used to eating breakfast early in the morning, so think about cooking before they wake up. You could also wait until very late to cook dinner, although cooking at midnight could put you at a disadvantage because someone could sneak up to your house in the dark.

The “Inconvenient” Truth

There will be no more fast food, no more convenience stores or prepackaged frozen meals to cook. For most people this is going to be a huge adjustment, but as preppers we should be ready for this. Having food storage is one thing, knowing how to use it is another.

Below is a list of off the grid cooking options we might have available, but the most important part of this is knowing how to cook it. Knowing how to make bread, or knowing how to put together a soup is just as important as having these ingredients stored.

Off the Grid Cooking Options

Legacy Food Storage ProductLong Term Food (Dehydrated Food): The easiest solution (for several reasons) is long term food. While this isn’t a “cooking method” this can be cooked using any of the methods listed below. We sell the Legacy Food Storage products at the SHTFShop.com and they are great for cooking without alerting the neighborhood.

DIY Prepper StoveDIY Cooking Ideas: There are quite a few DIY cooking ideas like the Dakota Fire Pit, Yukon Stove, and the Rocket Stove. You can probably find a hundred ideas on YouTube and even come up with a few on your own.

Sterno LitSterno Fuel: There are very few indoor cooking options available when it comes to cooking off the grid. Sterno fuel won’t create enough heat to cook a steak, but you can heat up soups, long term food or a can of beans.

Coleman StoveCamp Stoves: There are quite a few options when it comes to camp stoves. The first that probably comes to everyone mind is the Coleman stove. There are also folding camp stoves, and small butane hiking stoves.

Blaze Grill PackageBlaze Charcoal: I recently teamed up with Expedition Research and started selling these Blaze Grills. These are a great off the grid option because they are smokeless and give off no smell. For more information on these watch this video.

Propane GrillPropane Grill: Most of us probably have a propane grill in the back yard or deck. These are great, but unless they are completely clean, they will give off that grilling smell. It’s also a good idea to get an extra tank (or 2) of propane for these.

sun oven smallAll American Sun Oven: This is by far my favorite off the grid cooking option. The only fuel you need is the sun, you can cook just about anything in a Sun Oven, and they don’t give off a cooking smell. You can even boil water in a Sun Oven. You can use this link to get $70 off.

Hot PlateHot Plates: These are another indoor cooking option, although not a very efficient one. Hot plates are high energy and would require a good solar setup, or the use of a generator. If you are trying to be “incognito” cranking on the generator is never a good idea, and I would save my solar energy for other uses.

Wood Burning StoveWood Stoves: If you happen to have a wood burning stove, or have the money to get one, they are fantastic. They can be used to heat your home and cook dinner at the same time. Keep in mind that a wood burning stove will give off a large amount of smoke.

thermal cookerThermal Cookers: From what I’ve read these seem to be a great option for cooking indoors, saving energy and even just keeping food warm. All you need to do is bring your food to a boil, and then place it in the thermal cooker to finish cooking it. I just purchased one and will be reviewing it in the near future.

tea light candlesCandles: Regular candles and even tea blight candles can be used to heat food up, but are not very hot or efficient. It would probably take quite a while to heat a can of soup with a tealight candle, but it’s better than nothing.

Lantern CookerLantern Cooker: Another indoor cooking option is a lantern cooker. This is basically an oil lantern that has a little cooking pot attached to the top. This is a great multipurpose item that will light a room while heating up some soup.

Keep the Zombies Away

There are quite a few options available for cooking off the grid, and there are quite a few precautions we need to consider as well. Understanding when we can safely cook, and how we can safely cook in a SHTF situation is critical to keeping our family safe, and keeping the zombies away.

The post SHTF Cooking Options for Preppers appeared first on Survivalist Prepper.

Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks

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Recycling, Eco-desks, Off-grid, school, South Africa

Waste for desks? Deal!

A cash-strapped performing arts school has traded a year’s worth of waste for 30 desks.

The off-grid school collected its community’s recycling, as well as its own, and bartered this for the recycled desks.

Set up in 2005, the grid wasn’t working for 65 pupil school Chistlehurst, Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa so they devised a plan. Stick with their eco-friendly ethos and remain off the grid.  Unlike an on-grid school, there is no sprinkler system, no heating in the winter and strictly no technology in the classroom. So things are done a little differently, students carry buckets of water from the rain water tanks to the gardens and huddle by a bonfire to keep warm on cold mornings.

“Our kids have had to learn how to get along without certain ‘luxuries’, which is something they take a little time to adjust to, but end up loving the ‘quietness’ of it all,” said Jacyn Fanner, Headteacher.

When they moved into their current building, there were no roofs, doors or windows. Let alone functioning taps and toilets! But after a lot of hard work, the school reached their off-grid goal. Rain water tanks fill the toilet cisterns, solar lighting illuminates the classrooms and batteries, gas and a small generator provide extra energy.

The school is also home to a frog pond, vegetable garden and a recycling village with 12 bins for different materials. This allows the school to recycle a range of materials from mixed paper and cans to plastic and styrofoam. The majority of cleaning products and equipment are sourced from the local community and are as eco-friendly as possible.

Off-grid, School, Recycling, South Africa, Eco-desks, Water Tanks,

Drama Free! Water tanks & solar panels mean Chistlehurst doesn’t have to rely on the grid.

The school partnered up with the Wildlands Conservancy Trust 6 years ago, through their desire to recycle. The NGO, which operates in 6 provinces, provided the school with the recycling bins which are filled every week – even during the holidays!

Students have taken their eco-friendly lessons from school to home, encouraging their families to reduce re-use and recycle. So now recycling from the local community is brought to the school for collection. Each year the school get a rebate from Wildlands for the recycling they collect. However at the end of 2016 this rebate was traded for the eco-desks. The staff and students are very pleased with how they look in their eco-school setting and Headteacher Jacyn Fanner wants to see them fill all of the classrooms in time.

So what’s next?

“We have so many ideas and plans – which include a fully solar powered media centre – and we are so excited for what the future holds for Chistlehurst,” Jacyn Fanner said.

The desks are made from 100% previously unrecycled materials, are hard wearing and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Chistlehurst are so pleased with the outcome, they are encouraging other schools to get involved with green initiatives such as Sustainable Schools and Recycling for Life programs.

 

Images courtesy of Roger Fanner.

The post Off-Grid School Gets Top Marks appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

First Aid During Winter: Can You Handle It?

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Winter First Aid

In an emergency situation, it’s difficult to provide good first aid even in good weather, but if you must tend to sickness or injury in freezing weather, your job is going to be twice as hard.

You’ll have greater difficulty getting to a warm place to provide treatment, and snow and freezing weather will make it difficult to start a fire or find healing herbs that would be abundant in warmer weather.

You will also have to take care of yourself by wearing appropriate cold weather gear, which may impair you.

In this article we’re going to discuss how to meet these challenges and provide adequate first aid even in freezing weather.

How to Reduce the Risk of Injury

The first problem that you’re going to face is that chances for injury are going to be much greater. You’ll be facing the risk of frostbite, hypothermia, falls and hunting injuries. As a provider of first aid, the first rule is to avoid injury yourself.

In freezing weather, it will be an uphill climb to provide life-saving treatment without risking yourself as well.

Get this lifesaving information about surviving when doctors, pharmacies and hospitals are shut down! 

Hypothermia

The first challenge that you’re going to face when providing first aid is avoiding hypothermia on top of treating the injury, or perhaps the injury is hypothermia. The problem is that in order to treat hypothermia, you need a way to warm up the person, which isn’t going to be easy if you’re stuck outdoors.

In severe temperatures, your core temperature can drop dangerously low when exposed to the elements in a matter of minutes even if you’re awake and active. If the patient is unconscious, their body temp drops even faster because they aren’t moving about to generate extra body heat.

When you sleep, your body temperature drops by as much as a couple of degrees, which can be critical since hypothermia, by definition, is a decrease in body temperature. When you’re in a deep sleep, you don’t shiver to maintain body temp.

Your body also pulls heat from the shell (your limbs) to maintain core temp, which puts the extremities at risk for frostbite. Loss of blood increases the chance because blood is basically the hot water in your body’s radiator – the warm blood in your vessels keeps the surrounding temperature warm.

The take-away here is to keep the person awake and warm, even if he or she is in pain and you would normally encourage sleep.

Though you may need to shed at least your gloves or mittens to provide treatment of wounds, it’s critical that you stay warm in order to prevent becoming hypothermic, too. If both of you are down, there’s a high probability that you’ll both die.

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Frostbite

If a person has an injury that requires removal of clothing, such as a gash or puncture wound, there’s a much greater risk of frostbite.

Like with hypothermia, it doesn’t take long in freezing temperatures for frostbite to set in and cause potentially permanent tissue damage that can result in loss of digits or limbs, or even gangrene.

The risk is particularly high around the wound area because it’s wet so it’s important to get it dry and keep it dry, or at least under a dry dressing so that the wet material and flesh isn’t exposed to the cold.

Ice

Ice presents many problems when traversing terrain in bad weather. The risk of broken bones, severe bruises, concussions, and just about any other injury is increased exponentially if you’re walking or traveling on ice. It will also make it much more difficult to get an injured person to safety.

If you have to provide first aid in an icy environment, don’t forget the first rule – keep yourself safe.

If a person has fallen through ice on a body of water and you’re trying to save them, do the best that you can to ensure your own safety. Tie yourself to a secure tree or fixed object before going after them, and if you have to go out onto the ice, lay flat so that your body weight is distributed over a larger area.

If you have a path that you use several times a day, use rock salt to melt the ice. You don’t have to use much, but you will need to reapply it at least once per day to keep the water from the melted ice from re-freezing.

Some ice on a shelter may act as an insulator, but if it gets too heavy for the structure to bear, you’ll find yourself without shelter. Monitor and do what needs to be done.

Inability to Travel

First aid is called that because it’s often meant to be the precursor to a higher level of medical treatment. For instance, if a person has severed a digit or limb, or has a severe injury, they’re going to need more than a bandage and some antibacterial ointment.

Tourniquets can only be used carefully and for a short amount of time without causing tissue death or damage and wounds such as gunshot wounds need surgery if the bullet or foreign object is still in the patient.

Freezing weather, especially in a SHTF scenario, makes travel much more difficult. Trying to travel in severe weather may result in further injury to the patient, or injury to you, and we already know that’s the last thing that needs to happen.

The best way to prepare for this is to know how to make snowshoes and to keep a means of transporting a patient, such as a sled, handy in case you absolutely have to get out.

Proper vehicle maintenance will go a long way here, too. It’s also good to know how to make a litter to carry somebody should they be injured away from home or camp.

How to Keep Supplies and Equipment from Freezing

All of those great balms, ointments, and elixirs that you have stored in your first aid kit are likely to freeze, and the lubrication in your equipment can freeze and make them difficult, if not impossible, to operate.

The same thing can happen to cloth bandages if they’re even remotely damp.

Any liquid treatment made with a large percentage of alcohol will likely be fine. That includes tinctures and rubbing alcohol. Peroxide will remain liquid up to -60 F or so. If you’re in temperatures that cold, you have bigger problems that a need for peroxide! Other meds such as cough syrup or saline bags will be popsicles.

One med that you really need to keep from freezing is insulin. Every package insert I researched was adamant about not freezing the product. I did some further study, thinking that this was, perhaps, Big Pharma’s way of keeping you from stockpiling product.

What I found was that “R” type insulin may survive freezing and still be viable, while “N” types don’t fare so well. That being said, I am certainly not a doctor, or even a diabetic, so if you have to use frozen insulin, do so at your own risk and monitor your levels closely. Also know that you’re going to be affected by cold weather more than your non-diabetic peers.

For your other antibacterial and special-use ointments, it seems prudent to store them in small enough packages that you can warm them just by holding them in your hands or placing them in your sock or somewhere else on your body.

Carrying MRE heaters or heat packs to warm them as well.

To keep vehicles running in freezing weather, make sure to use a lower viscosity oil in any internal combustion engine and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper antifreeze to use in the radiator.

Working with Layers of Clothing

If it’s below freezing, providing treatment while wearing gloves will be difficult. Another problem is that the injured person may need to have protective layers of clothing removed to be treated. In both of these scenarios, the risk of hypothermia and frostbite is increased.

To protect yourself, always carry rubber gloves. This will help in two ways – it will keep you from getting your gloves and skin wet, and rubber gloves will help keep your body temperature in at least a little.

To protect your patient, provide treatment as quickly as possible and get them re-dressed immediately.

Again, carrying heat packs such as hand warmers in your medical kit can help – you can tuck them into areas such as armpits where the heat will be best utilized.

A nice down-filled jacket that was keeping a person warm ten minutes ago can quickly turn into a body-heat sponge that wicks away warmth if it gets wet. Carrying extra clothing in a water-proof pack can be a life saver.

How to Stop Bleeding and Wound Care

When your body is cold, circulation is increased, which means that your blood pressure goes up. Depending on what type of wound you’re dealing with and whether or not blood flow has been restricted in favor of keeping the core warm, it may be harder to stop bleeding.

If the cut is deep and on the trunk, you may have increased blood flow, which means you’ll have to work harder to stop the bleeding.  If it’s on an extremity, you may not have problems stopping the bleeding, but will want to make very sure that your bandage is loose enough that it’s not restricting what little circulation is getting to that area.

The bleeding may be large, medium or small, but in the vast majority of cases, (in 80% of them) the bleeding stops through compression if you press down for 3 to 5 minutes. This is one of the things that I’ve learned from dr.Radu Scurtu after reading his book “Survival MD”, but believe me that it’s only a tiny piece of the medical survival knowledge you can get from his guide.

One more thing to learn in order to properly stop the bleeding: take a good look at the color of your blood since it will tell you how bad the wound is and how likely is to stop it by yourself, without involving specialized help. Arterial bleeding has red, purple blood, venous bleeding has black, dark blood. In the first case, you might stop it by compression, but the second one is much more life threatening, and it’s very likely you will need to get the victim to the hospital as soon as possible.

Caloric Intake

We already know that your body needs more calories to properly heal, but it also needs more calories and possibly even more water, to survive in extreme temperatures. Part of this is because every chore is harder because you’re traveling in snow and bad conditions wearing a ton of clothing, and part of it is because your body burns a ton more calories just keeping warm.

Don’t be surprised if you have people experiencing light-headedness or sugar lows, especially if they’re diabetic, if you’re treating them in freezing conditions. Yes, it may be the onset of hypothermia, but it may also simply be that their body is out of gas or dehydrated.

Make sure that everybody in your party makes allowances for up to twice the caloric intake and at least half again the water requirements to avoid this problem. In a pinch, you can always melt snow and ice for water.

Providing adequate first aid in freezing weather will be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The important thing is that you educate yourself and understand the adversities that you’ll face before going in. As in all things survival-related, knowing and being prepared is half the battle.

How to Stay Dry

Aside from gushing wounds or injuries that render you unconscious, being wet is probably the quickest way to die in freezing weather. Wet clothing, including wet shoes and socks, leeches your body heat and causes your core body temp to drop at least as quickly as if you were standing there naked.

If you have a patient that’s gotten wet, the first thing that you need to do, after treating severe bleeding or more life-threatening conditions, is to get them dry. Pack extra clothes in a way that they won’t get wet.

Another point that you may not consider is that sweating makes your clothing wet. For this reason, dress in layers, with the layer next to your skin being made of a wicking material such as wool. This goes for your feet as well as the rest of your body.

If you’re wet, get dry immediately before the doctor … err, first aider … becomes the patient.

Building a Fire

First order of business when setting up camp should be to find a way to get and stay warm and cook food. Building a fire in snow isn’t nearly as easy as it is in warmer conditions but it’s definitely possible, especially if you have a good fire starter.

Carry a fire starting kit to help you kick start your fire.

Finding or Building Shelter

In warm weather, it may be just fine to sleep under the stars but in freezing conditions, you need something that’s going to hold in heat and protect you from the wind and freezing temperatures. In the end, it’s a survival situation and the rule of three is still applying.

If you’ve studied up on your bush craft, you should already know several ways to build a shelter that will sustain the conditions and hold in heat.

You can even build a snow shelter, though it’s a lot of work and takes hours to do. Ice and snow can act as insulators, though that seems counterintuitive. If for no other reason than building a wind-proof shelter, you should carry garbage bags, moon blankets, or tarps.

In addition to making the walls secure against the weather, you also need to make a floor that will protect you. Lying on cold ground will suck the heat right out of your body. You can use tree boughs, tarps, a thick sleeping bag, or even layers of clothing or newspaper to do this.

How to Avoid Detection

If you’re in a survival situation, you may need to avoid detection. That means that you won’t be able to build a fire during the day because of smoke, at least in an open area, and you’ll need to shield the light from dangerous entities at night.

Since a fire is just about a necessity in freezing weather, learn your local terrain and how to use it to build a fire that will keep you warm without giving away your location. If it’s absolutely not possible, you may have to resort to shared body heat to stay warm.

When I lived in WV and CO, there were numerous caves that could be used both as shelter and as a means to have a fire without being detected, but in many places, that’s not an option. Just know your area and work out ways to make this happen.

If you can think of other challenges to providing first aid in freezing weather, please share them with us in the comments section below. And remember that knowledge is the only doctor that can help you survive when there is no medical help around you!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

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Survival, Camping or Bushcraft?

If survival is what you are interested in & preparing for, then that is what you need to concentrate on. Camping is not survival, unless it is primitive camping, in which case there are skills to be learnt there. Bushcraft in the main is not about survival, it is about inventing new so called “skills” that you can practice & share but have no real practicle survival value. Modern camping & bushcraft is about gadgetry, new gadgets & tents are being produced all the time to lure the gadget oriented person into spending more money on stuff that has no real practicle value. Camping used to be about practicle skills & basic equipment, now it is an industry.


Lost survival is different from shtf survival. Lost survival involves people who fail to notify anyone where they are going & how long they will be, or they change their plans without telling anyone. SHTF survival is about surviving a major catastrophe, surviving an event that endangers your life & your living standards. If you are in the city you will have to leave & find somewhere safer in the country. If you are living in the country already you will need to step up your security measures. In both cases you will need to know primitive skills, & you will need basic tools to help you survive long term. Modern gadgets & modern tents won’t cut it. They will not last or stand up to the rigors of primitive living conditions & once they are gone you are left with nothing.

The author’s .62 caliber flintlock smoothbore fusil.
You need to choose a period pre 19th century & equip yourself with the tools & equipment of that period. Why? Because these tools will last, these tools were designed with a specific purpose in mind, survival, & once you are equipped in this fashion you will never drop below that level of comfort. Some 20th century tools will be very useful if you are already living in the country or are intending to move to a retreat. We are talking “hand tools” here, basic hand tools that do not rely on electricity or fuel to operate. You may well be living off grid using solar power electricity, but there is no guarantee that this will last. One of our batteries now has a dead cell, the system is still holding up, but for how long we can not tell.
So, think long & hard & seriously about how you equip yourself. Think about what will be required of the tools that you choose. A short bladed bushcraft knife will not kill as quickly as a longer bladed hunting knife if used for stabbing. Modern methods of fire lighting may not be the best, get a real flint, steel & tinderbox. This will last a lifetime & using it will teach you more fire lighting skills than using a ferrocerium rod. 
12 gauge Black Powder breechloader shotgun with brass cartridges.
When it comes to guns modern firearms are best for defence at your home in the bush, but if you have to “bug-out” with no dwelling to go to, then I recommend you carry a flintlock muzzleloading gun & a bow. Modern ammunition is heavy & bulky & if a modern firearm malfunctions, you are left with a fancy club or a goat stake! People are for ever rubbishing the flintlock muzzleloading gun, in favour of a more modern firearm. Yes having a 9mm Glock on your belt would be very reassuring, IF you can obtain one! My argument is that I can have a flintlock pistol right now, & I would sooner have a flintlock pistol than no handgun at all. Besides which there are many advantages to using a flintlock that are not available to you if you are using a modern breechloader.
.32 caliber flintlock rifle. Accurate, more power than a .22 rimfire & practicle for long term wilderness living.

So make up your mind now if you are really serious about shtf survival. If you genuinely think that something major could go down in the future that could threaten you (& your family);your life & your way of living, then stop wasting your time & money on modern gadgets & tents. Learn primitive skills & equip yourselves with primitive gear that will last long term. You will find that it is less expensive in the long run anyway.
Belt axe/tomahawk. Far more practicle than a machete.
Hunting knife for skinning, butchering & self-defence.
.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol for defence.
Exceptions? Possibly water filters, these could be useful if you have to leave the city & go bush. Maybe not of long term use, but they may help in your escape. Medical. You can’t beat good modern medical supplies. By all means use herbal remedies, but do not rely solely on herbs for your survival.

Medical supplies are very important.

The author’s hunting sword. A good basic self-defence tool to carry after the fall.


6 Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarter Kits

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Survivopedia ^ Ways To DIY Emergency Firestarte kits

To begin with, I’d take it as an axiom that any respectable prepper should know how to start a fire in an emergency. Also, I am a firm believer in the theory that any bug out bag or survival kit should pack a fire starter, together with a couple of Bic lighters, just in case.

If you’re wondering why, well, you should contemplate the fact that fire is maybe the most important invention in the history of mankind.

For starters, fire keeps you warm and that’s quite important during the winter season, especially when confronted with a survival situation, i.e. you get lost out in the big bad wood or whatever.

I am aware of the fact that we live in a day and age when people don’t go out much, especially in the woods/in the wilderness. Getting lost is a pretty rare occurrence as we’re surrounded by high-tech GPS capable gadgets, Google Maps at our fingertips, mobile internet, offline maps and whatnot.

However, nasty things can happen at any given moment. The likes of earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks or good-old power outages may render your central heating system useless in no time.

There are also still folks out there, in flyover country, so to speak, who still go out hiking and hunting (in my time it was called having fun), even in the winter, so you may face a situation where having a fire starting kit will save your life.

So, ranting aside, besides keeping you warm and preventing frostbite from incapacitating you in an emergency, fire will allow you to cook your food, purify water for medical treatment or drinking, keep wild animals away, and signal your presence during the night or during the day via smoke signals.

Survival isn’t all that fire is about though; it’s also needed for complex things that made civilization possible, like metallurgy or pottery.

Yes indeed folks, fire is pretty important in almost all aspects of our modern life, yet we seem to take it for granted, as we got lazy due to our high-tech dominated and lavish lifestyle.

Start a fire anywhere using concealed fire-starting tools worn right on your shoes. Click here to grab these amazing fire laces!

Getting back to our story, let’s talk about a few ideas with regard to DIY-ing emergency fire starters.

To begin with, I bet you’ve already watched a dozen movies where Crocodile Dundee or that weird dude which has the improbable name of Bear Grylls is rubbing 2 sticks together and somehow a fire magically appears. Believe me folks, that’s next to impossible if you’re a regular guy who never tried that before (like 200 times).

Here, the fire starter kit comes into play because, after all, we’re living in the 21st century and we’re supposedly smarter than your average troglodyte in the Amazonian jungle (I am not sure all of those guys discovered fire yet).

An emergency fire starter kit is aimed at making your survival story more pleasant and interesting to tell to your friends, and also more probable, as in “Staying Alive”, if you know that Bee Gees song.

What I am trying to tell you is that even if lighters or matches, are the easiest way to start a fire, having an emergency survival kit is pretty cool and it will make you stand out in the prepper crowd.

Joking aside, the main purpose of a fire starter kit is to help you with making a fire in adverse weather conditions (read rain, wind, snow or any combination of 2), when a simple lighter will not suffice.

1. Mini Fire Starter Kit

The first DIY project is the Micro Fire Starter Kit and it’s my personal favorite because it involves a Bic lighter, obviously.

The genius of this DIY fire starter kit is its simplicity. All you need is an old empty Bic lighter which is cut in half with a saw/knife or whatever. This creates a very small fire starter.

The striker still works obviously, and you’ll also use the storage chamber underneath (where the lighter fluid used to be) for your fishing hook.

You’ll also use cotton and the phosphorus paper, all of which are the must-have ingredients for an old school fire starter, sealed and waterproofed with hot glue for using in survival situations. I know what you’re thinking: you’d prefer a  brand new/working Bic lighter instead of that DIY fire starter kit, but life is not always easy folks.

Video first seen on American Hacker.

2. Micro Emergency Fire Starter Kit

Here’s another idea for DIY-ing an emergency fire starting kit using another Bic lighter for creating an ultra-light and uber-tiny keychain survival tool.

This project involves some tinkering with the lighter, but you’ll end up with a very small emergency fire kit which uses the same principle, i.e. the working striker of a Bic lighter combined with cotton balls mixed with petroleum jelly as combustibles, that are stored inside the cut-down lighter’s innards.

Video first seen on MeZillch.

3. Pocket Size Fire Starter Kit

For another idea, take a look at this pocket-sized fire starter kit which is made from an old pain reliever tube and nothing much else. By nothing much else I mean old wax, a Ferro rod and a striker. But just watch the video and you’ll discover a very clever way for making a fire starter from scratch, and most importantly, one that really works well (I tried it myself).

Video first seen on supergokue1

4. Self Igniting Fire Starters

Here’s a (clumsy) compilation of some of the best DIY self-igniting fire starters and combinations – a kit of sorts – which contains cool stuff like:

  • a self-igniting pine pitch fire stick fire starter
  • self-igniting dust fire starters
  • pine pitch fireball fire starters
  • pine pitch fire bomb fire starters
  • fire crackle fire starters, fatwood fire stick fire starters

This also includes char rope, char cloth, and a fire light candle. The idea is that you can buy all these gizmos from eBay and see how they’re made, then try to reverse engineer them if you think they’re worth the stretch.

Video first seen on The Tera Farley Channel

5. Chemical Based Fire Starters

Now with the old-school fire starter kits taken care of, let’s see how a chemist would make a fire in the absence of lighters, matches, Ferro rods, sticks and stones, etc.

Truth be told, this is something resembling a chemistry class, as the video tutorial will show you some pretty cool chemical reactions – four oxidation processes respectively –  which will all result into an open flame, provided you have the materials at the ready.

Basically, you’ll learn how to make a fire without matches if you get lost in your chemistry lab or something along these lines. The idea is that you’ll require sulfuric acid, potassium permanganate (these are hard to get over the counter), potassium chlorate, zinc powder, glycerol, acetone, ammonium nitrate and several other chemicals. It’s never a bad idea to know how to make fires this way because you don’t know what situation you may find yourself in.

However, as far as chemistry experiments go, these ideas are among the best out there, being nothing short of spectacular. Just don’t let your kids see the video, okay?

Video first seen on Thoisoi2 – Chemical Experiments!

6. How to Make Fire With a Lemon

I saved the best for last, as you can imagine. Now, sit down, take a deep breath and learn how to make a fire with a lemon.

Yes, folks, you can make a fire with a lemon if you’re from Sweden and you have a thick accent. Okay, and you have lemons, obviously.

This is not a joke, as the principle behind the lemon fire starter is pretty straightforward: the lemon is an acidic fruit, the juice inside is the electrolyte, and sticking a few copper/zinc pins (think electrodes) into the lemon will make for a primitive circuit which provides you with electricity when closed. You see where this is going, right?

The battery will be used for creating basically a short circuit via a thin wire, which will go incandescent in the process, meaning that you’ll be able to use it for lighting up dry tinder, thus making for a good fire starter by any measure.

Take a look at the video and see for yourself. It’s massive fun. As far as out-of-the-box workable ideas go, this one is the best in the world. I mean, if life gives you lemons, make a fire with them.

Video first seen on NorthSurvival

And yes, it works, I’ve tried it.

If you have other ideas or comments, feel free to express them in the dedicated section below.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Powerwall 2 takes homes off-grid

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Powering through, Tesla are expanding from cars to batteries

The sun is a huge energy source that can be taken advantage of using solar panels. But how to store the excess energy that solar panels capture has been a little tricky…until now. Tesla has come up with the solution – the Powerwall 2.

This wall or floor mounted battery pack stores excess energy captured by solar panels to be used anytime. This gives the consumer a reliable, available power source 24/7. Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, cited climate change and the need to move to a sustainable energy source at the product launch, claiming the Powerwall 2 could power all the sockets, lights and fridge of a four bedroom house indefinitely with solar power. The 14kWh battery would also provide a back-up energy source if there were a power outage, allowing peace of mind.

Each pack has up to a 7kWh power output, with an average 5kWh continuous power output. A liquid thermal control (coolant) system helps to regulate the internal temperature of the battery, maximising its performance. Whilst the water resistant, dust proof casing allows for outdoor or indoor installation.

For those who do not have solar panels, the Powerwall 2 can be charged at night (when energy is in less demand and less expensive). Then it can be used as a power source during the day time. Tesla is also in the process of bringing out their range of solar tiles. These come in four styles, from Tuscan to slate glass. They are opaque from the street but transparent from above, allowing the suns rays to penetrate the tile and the solar panels within to capture energy.

The use of a Powerwall 2 pack with solar panels enables homes to become self-sufficient in providing their own energy. Musk has a clear vision of an affordable, integrated power generation and storage system which can be rolled out across whole neighbourhoods, allowing whole streets and communities to be off-grid.

One 755mm x 1150 mm x 115 mm 14kWh Powerwall 2 battery costs $5,500 (£5,400) with installation costs starting at $1,500 (£950). The first installations are due to begin in early 2017. Prices of the new Tesla solar tile range are yet to be released.

The post Powerwall 2 takes homes off-grid appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

Prep Blog Review: 8+ Food Crops To Grow In Your Survival Garden

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Growing your own food makes you more independent, helps you save a lot of money and allows you to enjoy fresh ingredients any time of the year.

It may be challenging to start growing your own food, but you will thank yourself later, in a survival situation, when all the shelves will be empty and you will have fresh crops to feed the bellies of your loved ones.

Starting your own survival gardening is on your resolutions list for this year? For this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered five articles on this topic.

If you have other suggestions, please share them in the comment section.

  1. Eight Efficient Food Crops To Grow

Eight-Efficient-Food-Crops-to-grow

“Becoming self-sufficient is one of the many good reasons to want to grow your own vegetables. Nothing beats home grown food and for many people, there’s a great appeal to grow efficient food crops. The food you grow is cheaper, fresher and often better tasting than the one you get from the supermarket.

Starting your own garden may be challenging and most people give up after the first try. To boost your confidence, you should start by growing efficient food crops. After you acquire the proper experience, you can try growing more challenging crops.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

  1. Plant These Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Edible-Flowers

“The first edible flower I ever ate was a nasturtium. We had giant nasturtium plants growing in our herb garden, nearly taking over, in fact, and decided we would start consuming the orange and yellow blossoms and leaves. They have a peppery flavor with a little bit of a kick. It’s always fun to discover plants in your own backyard you can eat.

Nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flower that is commonly found in backyards and growing wild. Here is a list of some of the most common. This list is by no means complete, but is meant to be a starting point for further study of the flowers you have in your yard. Just because you see the name of a flower on this list, do not assume you can run right out and start eating them.”

Read more on Preparedness Advice.

  1. Indoor Gardening Ideas

3437003584_015070dee9_b-225x300“There are certain times of the year where, no matter your climate, you’ll have a hard time getting vegetables to grow in your outdoor garden.

However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go without fresh, home-grown veggies, or buy them from the grocery story.

Instead, you can grow some vegetables indoors, wherever you have space. Here’s how.”

Read more on Be Self Sufficient.

  1. Container Gardening: Grow a Fig Tree in a Pot

figs-purple

“Tight on garden space? Maybe you live in an apartment with only a balcony for growing food. Maybe you have a rental place and you can’t dig up the back yard. Or just maybe you have a postage stamp yard with no room for a garden. Fig trees grown in containers may be ideal for your limited space or limited opportunity situation.”

Read more on Attainable-Sustainable.

  1. 3 Great Ways to Stop Weeds This Year Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Weeds1

“Weeds can ruin more than the just the look of your property. By robbing the soil of vital nutrients, they also wreak havoc on yields in the garden, and can keep flowerbeds from staying healthy and vibrant.

But before all hope is lost, there are actually some great ways to reduce or even eliminate your weed woes completely. Even better, none  require the use of harsh, man-made, synthetic chemicals. Here are 3 of our favorites.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

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Surviving Off-Grid: 4 Recipes To Cook In A Haybox

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Haybox cooking

I have to admit, this was a new one for me, and I thought that I’d tried every method of outdoor cooking invented since cavemen sporked frogs and roasted them over an open fire. As it turns out, haybox cooking is a combination of two of my favorite cooking vessels – a Dutch oven and a slow cooker.

This method came about during WWII when cooking oil was rationed for the war effort. The air spaces in the hay trap the heat, as will anything similar, such as shredded newspaper or corn husks. You want the hay to be fine, though, so that you can pack it tightly. You don’t want stems and brambles.

The basic premise is that you heat the food in its own juices, or water, and then once you bring it to a boil, you put it in the haybox, which insulates it, and let it finish cooking all on its own. Of course, this is a method that requires food that is in a broth, but that’s about the only limitation that I can think of.

You can use it for roasting, boiling, simmering, or steaming; as long as there’s liquid to hold the heat.

This would serve you well if you were traveling and couldn’t cook along the way, or if you don’t want to use a ton of fuel by cooking it over heat all day. For that matter, it’s great just to help you save on your electric bill! All in all, it’s an extremely efficient way of cooking.

Learn the secrets that helped our grandparents survive the Great Depression! 

What Is a Haybox Cooker and How to Build One

HayboxA haybox cooker is exactly what it sounds like – it’s a box full of hay that you cook in.

The idea is that the hay is packed around a Dutch oven that has food in it that’s already cooked to boiling. You transfer it from the heat source immediately to the haybox, pack the hay around it, close it up as tightly as you can, and go about your business.

It’s a natural slow cooker, and just like cooking with its electric-dependent sisters, it takes several hours for food to cook. How long exactly, depends on the initial cook time of the dish, how long it’s already cooked, how tightly the hay is packed, and how air-tight the box is.

As you can imagine, it’s hard to give an exact time, but a good haybox will hold usable heat for up to 8 hours.

If you already have a trunk or old military locker/box that’s about 30 inches cubed, then you’re already good to go. If not, build one.

Start by building a sturdy wooden box that’s as airtight as you can get it – try to score some scrap tongue and groove from your local mill or home-improvement store.

Build a box with a sturdy, tight-fitting lid. Line the box with sturdy paper or cardboard to seal any cracks that remain so that the heat can’t escape.

To cook in your box, pack it with about 3/4 of the way full of hay, then form a little nest in the center for your Dutch oven and pack it as tightly as you can get it.

How to Cook With a Haybox Cooker

Bring your food to a boil or simmer, then transfer immediately to the hay box. Pack the top and remaining sides with more hay as tightly as you can pack it and shut the lid. Let it cook, and you’re good to go.

Note: You can even make you haybox in a hole in the ground – how handy is THAT for living in the woods in a survival situation? In that case, you could use dried grass and leaves, or whatever you could find lying around as insulation.

Oh, and did I mention that you can also use the haybox to make frozen treats such as ice cream?

Just make your favorite ice cream recipe and pour it into a coffee can with a lid. Find a bucket that’s 4 inches deeper and 8 inches (total) wider than your can. Put 4 inches of ice and coarse salt in the bottom of the bucket, put the can on top of the ice, and pace more ice and salt around the can. Put it in the haybox and seal it up. You’ll have ice cream in about 4 hours! 

Video first seen on Organikmechanic. 

4 Delicious Haybox Recipes

1. Hearty Beef and Cabbage Soup

This soup is especially filling and comforting. It’s a great meal-in-a-bowl for busy weeknights – just turn it on in the morning and come home to a wonderful-smelling pot of soup.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a large heavy skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat, just until browned, breaking up with a spatula periodically until meat is crumbly. Drain all but 1 teaspoon or so of oil/drippings and return to heat.

Add the cabbages, onion, carrots, garlic, celery seed, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until it reaches a rolling boil.

Add all to the Dutch oven and add bay leaf and broth. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Transfer to hay box for 8 hours.

2. Steak Chili

Sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a good chili!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds top sirloin steak, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 12-oz cans dark red kidney beans
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 10-ounce cans beef broth or 2 ½ cups beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and then brown the steak (in batches if necessary) on all sides for about 4-5 minutes.

Add all of the vegetables to the Dutch oven, pour in the broth and add the seasonings. Stir well to mix. Add the steak, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Transfer to haybox and leave there for 8 hours.

3. Slow Cooker Beef or Venison Stew

There are few things that say “comfort food” better than a hearty beef stew. Slow cooking means the meat is always succulent and tender and you’re welcomed home with wonderful aromas.

  • 1 ½ pounds beef or venison stew meat
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on 1-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh kale, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups beef broth or stock, with ¼ cup reserved

Trim the stew meat of visible fat and cut into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat and brown the stew meat, in batches if necessary, about 4-5 minutes until browned on all sides.

Add carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, bay leaf and parsley to Dutch oven, then add meat. Pour 2 3/4 cups broth over all. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to haybox for 8 hours.

4. Vanilla Ice Cream

Delight your loved ones with this classic and delicious frozen treat you can make in a haybox.

You will need:

  • 1 can sweetened milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Add fruits or nuts after it’s frozen.

Have you tried haybox cooking? If so, please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Learn to Love Ecovillage Life

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Permaculture is a sustainable way of living – not a trending hairstyle!

Want to test out living off-grid but don’t want to do it alone? If you have $6000 to spare you can with the School of Integrated Living (SOIL).

So if you want to try living off-grid in a community of over 80 people, consider the Permaculture and Ecovillage Immersion Experience. This two month residency running from June 10th to August 11th is less of a course and more of an eco-cultural learning experience.

Located in the aspiring ecovillage Earthaven near Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll gain new skills on a wide curriculum. From learning about ecological farming to efficient irrigation techniques and eco-spirituality, there is something for everyone. Most days will begin with a meditation session before getting stuck into the day. There will be unstructured time, but most weeks will cover approximately 50 hours of learning. A Permaculture Design Certification course is also included, which will take place in mid-June.

Earthaven was founded in 1994 and sits in 329 acres of land. A completely off-grid community powered with solar panels and two small hydropower stations. The buildings are made of environmentally friendly materials, usually lumber, with metal roofs for water catchment. Most are passively solar heated and propane burners help to keep them warm during colder months. The huts and residences have either individual or shared solar systems which supply their electricity. Batteries and generators are also charged by the micro hydropower stations for back up supplies. Although most of the residents get around by foot or bike, three solar powered golf carts can also be used.

Course participants will camp on site, with the majority of spots being for two person tents. A tarp covered kitchen with propane burners and a composting toilet are all available for use. Food is also included and most is sourced from the local environment and small farms in the village.

The cost of the course is $6,800 including tuition, food, camping, field trips and the permaculture design certificate. There is a $400 discount if booked before February 10th.

If you don’t want to spend two months at Earthaven but would still like to visit – you can! Workshops and tours are open to the public. Camping is also offered for $15 per adult per night, or $20 for two adults sharing a tent. The camping season runs from March 31st to November 5th.

The post Learn to Love Ecovillage Life appeared first on Living Off the Grid: Free Yourself.

17 Ways A Prepper Can Reuse Motor Oil

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Motor oil is commonly considered a waste material, but it may become something of value to people trying to put their lives back together in a post-crisis world. People will try to scavenge whatever may be of use, and it’s understandable since it will take some time for mechanization to re-emerge with new products.

You’ll also have to deal with what you have, so learn to speak multipurpose, and don’t skip motor oil from this equation. So here’s how to reuse motor oil regardless of whether there is a major crisis to deal with or not.

Where to Find Used Motor Oil

Right now, used motor oil is more of a nuisance than something else you might consider valuable in the post crisis world.

For the most part, mechanic shops and recycling facilities will be the first places to go for used motor oil, but you should also consider:

  • Abandoned cars – any car that has been abandoned may still have motor oil in the bottom pan. While you are scavenging, don’t forget to look for other things that may be of value such as wire, springs, and anything else that can be reused.
  • Abandoned home garages – even though many people take their car to a shop for basic maintenance, just about everyone has a quart or two of used motor oil hanging around in the garage.
  • Junk yards – no matter whether the junk yard caters to cars or other kinds of abandoned equipment, you are likely to find motor oil in many different places.  As with any other abandoned car, you are sure to find any number of useful items once you start looking around.
  • Trash piles, back yards, or rubbish storage sites – aside from looking for used motor oil stored in containers, be on the lookout for oil filters that appear to be intact.  If the filter does not have a hole punched through the top of the dome, there is a good chance that some motor oil can be found inside the filter.  To release, the oil, simply punch a hole in the top of the filter, and let the oil escape from the bottom into a clean container.

Read This BEFORE Reusing Motor Oil

While used motor oil is a common part of daily life, that does not mean it can be handled without precautions, and here are a few of them.

  • At a minimum, wear latex or rubber gloves. Aside from tiny bits of metal, reused motor oil also contains all kinds of chemicals that can cause rashes, dizziness, nausea, or other ailments if they get absorbed by your skin.  It is best to use oil resistant gloves, or ones that are rated for use with a wide range of toxic chemicals.
  • Oil resistant garments – any kind of spill can allow oil to get through your clothing and into contact with your skin. It does not matter if this contact occurs on your face, neck, hands, or other body parts. The toxins from the oil can still get past your skin and wreak havoc.
  • Oil resistant shoes or boots – make sure that the soles are also oil resistant.
  • If you don’t handle motor oil very often, it may not make much sense to wear a mask. On the other hand, if you are going to repurpose motor oil, then the amount of exposure might be enough to irritate or harm your lungs. Therefore, get a breathing mask or respirator that will filter out any harmful agents that might be found in the motor oil.

17 Uses to Keep in Mind

And finally, here’s how to use the motor oil instead of throwing it away.

1. Mix with Creosote to Weatherize Wood

Even though many people have used plain motor oil to preserve wood over the years, it is best to mix it with some creosote in order to avoid dry rot. You will also find that used motor oil can make a very slick surface.

While this may be ok for fence posts, it can pose problems for floors or other areas where you need some traction.

Video first seen on Anlex Garden Centre

2. Protect Wood From Insects and Animals

When people think about protecting wood from the elements, they are usually most concerned with water and dampness. Insects and animals can also wreak havoc on wood and cause it to be destroyed very quickly.

In particular, if you have a homestead or farm with horses or other large animals, they might want to chew on wooden posts or other objects.  Motor oil mixed into creosote will create a taste these animals do not like; and thus deter them from chewing on the wood.

3. Mix With Diesel to Make Penetrating Oil

If you are plagued by corroded or stuck bolts, screws, or other fasteners, then you may be well accustomed to using penetrating oil to try and loosen them up. While you may already have a few cans of good quality oil in your stockpile, the need for penetrating oil will never end as long as there are metal fasteners to contend with.

If you have some diesel and used motor oil, you can mix them together to make penetrating oil. Give this a try now to see how it works when compared to other formulas. Knowing when and how to use this replacement can help reduce the need to draw from your stockpile as well as enable you to innovate during an actual crisis.

4. Burn as Fuel

When you have nothing else for fuel, used motor oil can be burned to provide heat.

But used motor oil has many contaminants in it that can be toxic when burned and then released in the air. You will be better served by burning used motor oil outdoors.

Aside from reducing the smell of burning fumes in your home, tent, or other enclosure, you will also avoid deposits of toxins on the walls and ceilings.

5. Make a Torch

As plentiful as flashlights and batteries might be right now, that can all change faster than you realize. If you find yourself in a situation where you only have motor oil, some rags, and a wooden stick on hand, you can still make a torch that will produce light and heat.

Just remember to use the torch in a well ventilated area so that the fumes from it do not make you sick.

Video first seen on Jennies Garage

6. Prevent Attackers from Scaling a Wall

There is no question that many people wind up thinking about high tech or “modern” solutions when it comes to protecting their home from invaders. On the other hand, sometimes the simplest and cheapest answers may be found in items such as used motor oil.

For example, if you want to keep attackers from scaling a fence, or even climbing up to the roof of your home, just pour used motor oil on the walls.

If you are fortunate enough to have stone walls far enough away from your home, you can also set the oil on fire and make the invaders even more uncomfortable.

7. Fireballs for a Siege Engine

It is fair to say if you have a few acres of land, eventually you will become a target for roaming gangs of thugs and others that will want to take what you have. When it comes to military grade fortifications or weapons to strike attackers, you may find it difficult or impossible to get useful systems for your property.

Siege engines, on the other hand, have been used successfully for centuries as attack and perimeter defense devices. You can do some research on siege engines construction plans and make your own with relatively few problems.

If you need to stave off attackers, you can simply lob fireballs fueled by used motor oil at the attackers and have a reasonable chance of stopping them in their tracks.

Dead Simple Trick Brings Any Battery Back To Life (Never Buy Batteries Again)

8. Kill Mange, Mites, and Fleas

If you have pets, then you have probably also encountered flea infestations. Chances are, you have also felt quite helpless when your pets developed allergies to modern flea medications, or worse yet, got very sick from them.  Surprisingly enough, motor oil can be used to get rid of fleas, mites, and mange.

Just be sure to wash it off thoroughly and use with caution.  Motor oil can be used both in a crisis and in these times if you have no other remedy available for these problems.

9. Keep Hand Tools Clean and Rust Free

Hand saws, drills, and many other hand tools require cleaning and oiling in order to keep them in the best possible condition. No matter how much lubricating oil you keep on hand, chances are your stock pile will run out long before your hand tools need to be discarded.

You can always try used motor oil to keep your tools free of dirt and rust.

10. Filter and Reuse as a Lubricant

Once motor oil is too dirty for use in an auto engine, there is no point to trying to filter it and reuse it for that purpose. There are still many other devices that build up less heat or have less stringent tolerances between parts that may still benefit from used motor oil as a lubricant.

Just be sure to filter out the oil so that you remove as much debris as possible.

When using discarded motor oil as a lubricant, it is also important to bear in mind that the oil itself may have broken down a good bit from heat generated by the engine.

Even if you filter the oil, it will not alleviate this problem.

You may need to change the oil more often, or pay more attention to device operation in order to avoid the kinds of damage that would normally be avoided by using oil as a lubricant.

11. Mix With Gas to Run Tractors

Unlike motor vehicles, older style tractors can run on a surprising number of different fuels without being damaged.  In this case, you can stretch fuel reserves for your tractor by adding some motor oil. You may be well served by filtering out the oil so that stray bits of metal or other contaminants do not damage the tractor engine.

Since every tractor is a bit different, you should start off with small amounts of oil and then see how the engine performs.  The last thing you will want to do is add too much oil and wind up with a seized engine.

12. Start a  Fire

Rainy weather, damp wood, and other conditions require something a bit more than a match to ignite.  A little bit of used motor oil can help you start and maintain a fire in just about any situation.

Video first seen on sixtyfiveford

13. Kill Mosquitoes in Stagnant Water

The vast majority of preppers already suspect that insects such as mosquitoes will multiply beyond belief when a social collapse occurs. While these insects do play a role in nature, they still spread enormous amounts of disease and wreak havoc among humans.

You can use discarded motor oil to seal off stagnant water and kill off mosquito eggs before they have a chance to hatch. When using motor oil for this purpose, remember that even small amounts can contaminate large amounts of water and the ground that the water seeps into.

If you must use motor oil on stagnant water, make sure that the water is fully contained and cannot get into the ground or some other source of water.

Do not be surprised if you find that it is easier to simply dump out or drain stagnant pools of water as opposed to trying to treat them with used motor oil.

14. Use With Steel Wool to Remove Rust

If you are scavenging for all kinds of metal items, you’re also very likely to find that possible replacements for needed items have a good bit of rust on them.

Rather than discard these items on sight, you can use motor oil and steel wool to clean the items up a bit. Needless to say, if you have items in your stockpile with rust on them, you can also use this method to remove the rust and restore them to good order.

15. Soften or Clean Leather Boots

Unless you have a stockpile full of shoes and boots made from synthetic materials, it is likely that you will need to use leather conditioners to keep footwear in good condition. You will also wind up making shoes from leather that must also be kept clean and soft.

Using discarded motor oil for this purpose will work well enough now as well as in a crisis situation.

16. Temper Steel

It is fair to say that the art and science of forging metals into knives and other useful items can be very complex. If you study metallurgy carefully, however you will find that the tools and materials required are not especially difficult to build and maintain.

In this case, if you want to temper or harden steel, you can dip the item in used motor oil to cool or “quench” it from the red hot stage down to black.

17. Attract Wild Hogs

Individuals that believe they can live off the land after a social collapse occurs are apt to find they need to expand their list of edible plants and animals. In this case, you can draw wild hogs to you by leaving some used motor oil around. As may be expected, you should be well prepared to kill the hogs and remain safe while you are attempting to take them for food.

Used motor oil is one of those materials that you may believe is useless now, and probably serves no purpose in a crisis situation. If you look at the basic properties of used motor oil, you will soon realize that it can be effectively used for heat, home defense, and even keeping tools in good condition.

Rather than throw away this valuable resource, go ahead and store some away for future use, or make a list of places where you can obtain used motor oil in time of need. And keep these tips in mind, they might save you one day!

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This article has been written by Carmela Tyrell for Survivopedia. 

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Winter Survival: How To Start A Fire In The Snow

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With winter here and global warming a thing of the past (now it’s climate change or something), knowing how to start a fire in the snow may save your life someday. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but in my neck of the woods it’s been snowing for days.

If you’re asking yourself why you should learn how to start a fire in the snow, well, the simple answer is: you never know, so be prepared for any situation.

Winter time is arguably the hardest in terms of outdoor survival and if you can’t build a fire, you’re dead meat regardless of the gear you have at your disposal.

And if you’re out there, stranded in the snow in the middle of nowhere and waiting impatiently for help from above, knowing how to make a fire will make the difference between life and certain death.

As night falls, the temperature will plummet, making you feel like you’re in an icebox. If you can’t make a fire, you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation if there ever was one. In addition to keeping you from freezing to death, fire keeps wild animals away and it allows you to cook (or defrost) your food, and even make water by melting snow or ice.

Fire is your best friend when it comes to wilderness survival, as it takes care of all that’s important for a prepper: food, water, and shelter (warmth).

For most modern folk, especially youngsters who live their lives pecking at their smartphones, starting a fire in any type of outdoor scenario is a rare occurrence, let alone making fire in extreme weather conditions (snow, wind).

On the other hand, if you never leave your house or the city, you may think bad things will never come to you. That works for hobbits, yes indeed, but then again, there are plenty of scenarios when your bubble can burst in a matter of hours.

For example, what will you do as you get trapped in the snow during your vacation in the Rocky Mountains or wherever, with a blizzard coming out of nowhere, blocking the roads and/or your car somewhere in the middle of…well, you see where this is going, right?

How to Start a Fire in the Snow

Getting back to our “story”, starting a fire in the snow is the second hardest thing after trying to do it during a rainstorm.

Starting a fire in the snow will present you with two basic problems.

First things first – snow will definitely melt at some point and the water may quench your hard work, together with the flames.

Another thing to contemplate about fires, snow, and winter is that cold comes into play, i.e. you’ll have to raise the temperature of your combustible materials farther than in the summertime in order to ignite them. That means that making a fire during the winter is more difficult than in the summertime, as it starts slower than “normal”, provided you know what normal is.

Video first seen on The Outside Files

Choose the Right Spot

Everything in life is location, and the same principle applies to starting a fire in the snow, obviously. Selecting a proper site is the first thing to consider and is exceptionally important for your success (survival). The location should ideally be protected from wind, water, and snow.

Folks traveling outdoors during the winter prefer to make a fire under a tree most of the time, but be aware of trees carrying a lot of snow on their branches, as the snow may fall into your fire as it melts and put it out. And then you’ll be in a world of pain.

If you’re going to start your fire under a tree, make sure you knock the snow off the branches first. That eliminates the aforementioned risk and also, it will make sure you don’t have to clear your spot twice.

Start with a Clean Spot

This brings us to the next step: clearing the snow from your desired fire location. You can’t actually make a fire directly on snow, maybe on ice though, provided you can build a platform from rocks/logs.

You can clear the snow by brushing it away or you may walk on it in order to tamp it down. If you’re going for the tamping, you must realize that the snow will melt at some point, so make sure the water resulting from melted snow can drain away from your fire.

Also remember to clear the snow off the ground on a place near the fire for storing your extra wood, and, if possible, try to use rocks for raising your wood storage spot above the ground. If you don’t have enough rocks, you can use sticks laid cross-ways or make a platform using branches (the same can be used for the fireplace itself in case you can’t find rocks).

Both ways are good for keeping the wood from coming in contact with the ground, thus offering it the chance to get as dry as possible before using it.

When it comes to starting a fire in the snow, or in rainy weather for that matter, it would be ideal to use a large, flat stone as the fire-floor.

Video first seen on ExploringWithGeorge.

Prepare Your Tools

Raising the combustible materials just 1’’ or 2’’ above the ground will make all the difference in the world by offering the water the required drainage channels to run off through.

Another thing to consider and that is hugely important is the heat reflector because, after all, starting a fire in the snow is all about keeping you warm, and a good heat-reflector is aimed at accomplishing exactly that.

A cliff face makes for a good heat reflector, also a big tree or a large rock. You can always improvise one from a blanket, the silver survival types, using the silver side which will provide you with the best reflection.

Read more about these 52 ways to save your life while laughing!

Starting the Fire

Now, with the “preamble” taken care of, let’s talk a little bit about the actual fire-starting procedure. Lesson learned the hard way: along with a first aid kit, always carry something that can be used as a fire starter. A packet of waterproof matches and a couple of BIC butane lighters are a must-have item in any survival kit.

Ideally, you should also carry a dedicated fire-starter kit, which consists of a block of paraffin and sawdust mix, available just about anywhere. You can DIY a good fire starter using cotton balls soaked with Vaseline (petroleum jelly), carried inside a film canister.

The idea is to use a fire starter that doesn’t die out fast whilst providing a lot of heat at the same time.

If you don’t have a dedicated fire starter, you can always use small pieces of dry wood, which may be a problem, but these fellas are usually easy to spot near the trunk of trees. Avoid wood that was in contact with the snow, as it definitely has a high moisture content.

If you can’t find small dry pieces of wood, get your knife, find the driest dead  branch possible, and whittle down until you hit dry wood. If you don’t even have a knife, I don’t know what you’re doing outdoors, really. You’ll have to get creative.

Tips to Remember

  • Always collect enough fuel to keep the fire burning for a long time. You don’t want to stop in the middle of the “show” to get more wood, as the fire may die out while you’re hunting for combustibles and you’ll have to start again from the beginning.
  • Always remember to gather large pieces of wood if possible, along with tinder kindling and smaller pieces for the initial fire.
  • The big chunks of wood are excellent for keeping the fire burning overnight, thus keeping you warm and allowing you to go to sleep without worrying about your fire dying and all that.
  • To get the most out of your fire, you’ll have to make sure that the fire and your shelter (if any) are as close together as possible.
  • Try to build your fire right at the shelter’s entrance and to use rescue blankets on the roof and at the back of the shelter for keeping the heat inside, thus keeping you warmer.
  • Don’t set it close enough that it’s going to catch your tent or shelter on fire, though.
  • Always travel with several rescue blankets in your survival kit; they’re hugely important and you’ll always want one of them between you and the ground, right?

You can also heat rocks into the fire and use them for warming your bed before going to sleep, or wrap a heated rock using a sweater or something like that and use it as a heater (yes, sleeping with a rock, a true love story). If it gets cold enough, you’ll see what I mean.

One thing to remember: coals generate the most heat in a fire, so make sure you keep adding enough wood to your fire so it can burn and turn to charcoal.

If you have any ideas or comments, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. Stay safe, stay warm.

If you want more tips, click the banner below and discover the survival secrets that helped our ancestors survive harsh winters!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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8 Bentonite Clay Uses For Survival

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Bentonite clay has been used for centuries for everything from treating constipation to making toothpaste. There are so many practical uses for this versatile material that it’s a must-have for any prepper or homesteader.

Let’s talk about why this wonderfully useful clay should have a place in your survival planning or homesteading daily life.

Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite, is composed largely of volcanic ash. It should be light grey or cream colored and should feel silky. If the clay that you get is white, it’s unlikely that it’s pure Bentonite. It’s also odorless and won’t stain your clothes, which is one reason why it’s used in so many different personal hygiene items.

There are two main types of Bentonite clay: Sodium Bentonite and Calcium Bentonite.

The primary difference is that Sodium Bentonite swells up to six times its size and has the most electromagnetic properties. It’s the one that you want to use for your face masks and external detoxifying.

Calcium Bentonite has smaller particles that don’t particularly swell like Sodium Bentonite particles do. This makes it better for ingestion because the smaller particles can pass through the colon and into the bloodstream. There, it does pretty much what Sodium Bentonite does; it attaches to the toxins in your body and leaves minerals behind.

1. Removing Impurities

Bentonite clay is named such because of the primary, huge deposit of the clay is located at Fort Benton, Wyoming. It’s unique in that it develops an electrical charge, a negative electric charge to be specific, when it’s wet.

This is important because toxins, heavy metals have a positive charge, so Bentonite clay can bond to them and carry them out of your body.

How? Bentonite swells and opens like a sponge when it comes into contact with water. The negative charge of the clay attracts the positive charge of heavy metals and other toxins and the toxin is absorbed into the clay and carried out of the body.

During this process, the minerals in the clay are also released into the body, so it’s taking the bad parts and leaving good.

2. Deodorant

First, bentonite clay can be used as an ingredient in your personal hygiene items. It may make your toothpaste or deodorant look a little more like mud than what you’re used to seeing, but because of its absorbent properties, it’s great to use as an antiperspirant.

Commercial deodorants are packed with chemicals that stop odor and prevent your pores from perspiring. These include aluminum, phthalates, talc, parabens, diethyl alcohol, and others.

To make deodorant, simply mix bentonite clay with equal parts baking soda (neutralizes odor), arrowroot or cornstarch (absorbs moisture), and a few drops of your favorite antibacterial essential oil.

Once you combine the powdered ingredients, add enough coconut oil to make it a smooth, thick paste, then add your food-grade essential oils. Remember that coconut oil liquefies at 74 degrees, so depending upon the temperature in your house, it may be the consistency of butter or it may be liquid. If you keep it in the fridge, it will be closer to the consistency of lard.

Video first seen on Steven Parente

3. Face Masks

Many people also like to use it because of its ability to draw toxins out of the skin. This is one of the main reasons that it’s used in face masks. In addition to drawing toxins out with its negatively charged ions, the texture of the clay makes for a gentle exfoliant. This, along with the antibacterial properties of the clay, helps keep your skin free of blemishes.

Video first seen on Healthy Living on a Budget

4. Wounds, Bites, Skin Ulcers, Eczema

A study conducted by Arizona State University shows that minerals in Bentonite clay have the potential to kill many antibiotic-resistant bacteria including MRSA, e.Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and others.

It’s already been shown to effectively treat Buruli ulcers, and the only other treatment option is remove the lesion surgically and hope for the best. That’s saying something, even if it did take months of treatment with the clay to completely heal the wound.

To use it, for wound dressing or treatment of other conditions, make a poultice and apply it directly to the wound, changing it out when it dries. Remove the sting and itch of bites, burns, cuts, and scrapes by applying Bentonite clay and letting it dry.

Treat eczema in the same way daily. There are many different remedies for skin conditions that would meld well with bentonite clay.

For centuries, our ancestors survived using natural remedies to heal their wounds and other health problems. Click the banner below to discover more survival remedies for our forefathers!

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5. Baby Powder

You’ve likely read about the link between talc and cancer. If not, check in to it, because it’s a big deal. Bentonite clay is a great option because it’s absorbent and has healing properties that may help prevent infections that love warm, moist environments.

6. Toothpaste

Bentonite clay is a great additive for your toothpowder because it may help brighten and re-mineralize your teeth. Some people also like to mix it up in water and use it as a mouthwash to kill oral bacteria than can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Simply add the clay to your standard tooth powder or toothpaste recipe.

Video first seen on Live Healthy and Blessed

7. Morning Sickness and Nausea

Pregnant women who have tried taking 1/2 tsp. of Bentonite clay in a small glass of water to treat morning sickness have reported success in reducing nausea. Most doctors and midwives say this is fine, but check with you doctor before starting it, just in case.

People suffering from other digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and even parasites report positive results from simply drinking a 1/2 to 1 tsp. of Bentonite clay to water or juice daily.

Don’t use more than that, and drink a glass of plain water after you ingest the clay in order to keep the clay from settling in your stomach or digestive tract. Taking too much can also cause constipation.

8. Digestive Cleanses

Toxin buildups cause many symptoms including fatigue, allergies, headaches, skin conditions, and other conditions that apparently have no cause. Add a teaspoon of clay to your water, juice, or smoothie.

Though I couldn’t find any research supporting it (that’s pretty common with natural remedies because Big Pharma doesn’t want cheap, natural remedies to cut into their profits), it seems to me that if Bentonite clay removes heavy metals, it may be at least partially effective in removing radioactive substances. It certainly couldn’t hurt.

The most important things to remember about taking Bentonite clay are that need to follow it with plenty of fresh water so that it flushes through your system without settling, and that you shouldn’t take more than a teaspoonful a day.

Personally, I’m more interested in the external healing effects of the clay, but there are many who firmly believe in the benefits of taking it internally as well.

That decision is, of course, up to you.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2413170/

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Survival Lessons From The Old: One Pot Meals

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For eons, entire meals from stews to casseroles have been made in one pot.

The cowboys and settlers did it because they only had the luxury of one pot on the trail, and we do it today because of the convenience and simply because there are so many recipes out there that are delicious as well as fast.

We follow their example, and learn from their knowledge. Here’s what we should know about this old way of cooking!

As preppers, it’s important that we know how to cook without electricity, and though I’ve included slow cookers in this article, the rest of them don’t require anything other than fire and the vessel.

There are some rules for cooking in a single pot if you want the meal to be delicious and safe to eat, but for the most part, they’re quick and easy to prepare and clean up.

Adjust Cooking Times of Veggies

First, you want your vegetables to cook evenly, so if you’re standing over the pot, you may want to throw hard veggies like carrots in 15 minutes or so before you add the rest.

For soft veggies such as cabbage and broccoli, put them in at the last minute since they only take 10 or 15 minutes to cook in a pot. This isn’t a necessity, if you’re throwing something in the crockpot and leaving, so just know that some veggies may be a little mushy if you put them in all at once.

Sear Your Meat

Next, searing your meat adds flavor to the meal. This is especially true of large pieces of meat such as roasts, pork chops, beef tips, and other meats that are thick and solid. You don’t have to do this, but if you do, it will add an extra layer of flavor. Hamburger and Salisbury steak has a crispier texture if you sear it beforehand.

Beware of Pathogens

You must make sure that your meat cooks all the way through, especially if it’s poultry. This isn’t such a big deal with red meat as long as you don’t mind it a bit rare in the middle, but birds carry salmonella.

Trust me – one bout of food poisoning from that and you’ll make sure it never happens again! USDA guidelines say that red meat should be cooked to 145 degrees F, ground meats should cook to 160 degrees, and poultry should be 165 degrees.

When you’re finished eating, make sure that you refrigerate it. Bacteria begin to grow quickly between the temperatures of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F, so too avoid the risk of food poisoning, refrigerate your food within 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature outside is above 90 degrees) after it comes off the heat.

Cold foods, especially ones that contain mayo or eggs, should be kept at 40 degrees, so just put them in a bowl of ice if they’re going to sit out, and stir it frequently to keep the entire dish cold.

Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days as long as their stored in containers, and can be frozen almost indefinitely, but they’ll begin to lose flavor after a month or so depending upon the food.

Types of Cookers

There are several types of cookers that you can use depending upon the dish and the circumstances. Especially if you’re cooking over a fire, you’ll want to cook as efficiently as you can, and one pot meals are certainly the best way to do that.

Since our primary concern is cooking in a survival situation, we’ll start with those methods.

Dutch Ovens

This is one of my favorite ways to cook outside because you can quite literally cook anything that you want to in them. Whether you want to make stew, chopped steak, or breads, a Dutch oven will do the trick. They steam the food internally, which keeps it moist and tender. You can buy aluminum and cast iron Dutch ovens, though the cast iron, in my opinion, is far superior in nearly every way.

The history of the Dutch oven is believed to date back to Holland in the early 1700s, and was brought to America with the first settlers. They were popular with settlers and other people, such as ranch trail cooks, and were used in work camps during WW1. Paul Revere improved the design by adding a flanged lid and made some other modifications, likely to improve the strength and consistency of the cooking.

Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee that still produces arguably the highest quality Dutch ovens and iron skillets available today.

They come in different sizes and two primary designs – the bean pot or kitchen oven, best for use indoors or placing on a rack over an open fire, and the camp or outdoor oven, which has a flanged lid that can also serve as a skillet. It also has legs, a flat bottom, and a sturdy wire handle so that you can hang it or lift it from the coals.

They’re great for cooking indoors or out and can be used in the oven, over a campfire, or buried in the coals, depending upon your needs and what you’re cooking. Cooking with a Dutch oven is simple, too, once you get the hang of it.

Solar Oven

Cooking with a solar oven is a great alternative when you don’t have (or don’t want to use) electricity. Though you can convert many of your own personal favorites and use them with your solar oven, here’s a recipe written specifically for that cooking method. You will surely love this pot roast cooked on your solar oven.

Ingredients for this tasty recipe are:

  • 3 pound rump roast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 carrots, cut into 2 inch chucks
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 c beef broth (or 2 cups water with 2 bouillon cubes).

Put the roast in a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the veggies around the roast and then pour the bouillon in. Place in your solar oven and bake for 3 hours or until tender.

Stop asking yourself if the solar oven works during winter, because it does, and here’s the proof!

Video first seen on jnull0.

Let’s celebrate the Winter Solstice with a special offer for Survivopedia readers!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

Iron Skillets

Thank you again, Joseph Lodge for making iron skillets of the highest quality readily available in the US. The original iron skillet dates back to 1707, when Abraham Darby invented a process to make cast iron in large quantities so that they could be produced for common use.

Iron skillets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, often with lids, and are great for cooking one pot meals in smaller quantity. They’re not quite as versatile as the Dutch oven, but certainly have value, especially for cooking quick meals such as breakfast scrambles and meals that don’t require a deep pot or long cooking times, such as Salisbury steaks, cornbread, camp biscuits, and fried chicken.

Slow Cookers

Ahh, possibly one of the best cooking inventions of modern times. Just as with man, the slow cooker started as something quite a bit different than what it is today. In 1952, West Bend came out with the electric bean pot, which was just a ceramic pot that sat on top of an electric heating element. This wasn’t much different than cooking on a stove, but was perhaps the first commercial attempt at a portable cooking vessel.

Enter Irving Naxon. He had developed the idea of a portable cooker that would have a crock sitting inside a casing that contained a heating element, thus providing even heating. He applied for the patent on May 21, 1936 and received it in January of 1940.

Naxon credited the idea to his Lithuanian grandma, who told him about how she used to cook dish called cholent after hours at a local bakery. She would prepare the meal, then place it in the oven so that the fading heat would slowly cook it overnight. This provided his inspiration for “low and slow” cooking.

He brought his idea, called the beanery, to market in the 50s and in 1970, Rival manufacturing hired Naxon, rebranded his product as the Crock Pot, and put it on shelves across America for $25. Surprisingly enough, that price hasn’t increased by more than a few dollars for a standard version since then.

There are, of course, improved versions with fancier technology and higher capacity that cost more.

Slow cookers are absolutely fabulous for all sorts of meals from stews to ribs that you want to cook slow and low while you’re away from the house or busy doing other things.

Canning

As survivalists, we would be remiss to leave out this method of preparing one pot meals.

We’ve discussed in another article how to put these together and, like our other cooking methods, canning is a great way to prepare both meals and desserts. You can also dry-can meals using dry ingredients that only require that you add water.

The one benefit that makes canning stand out is that you can eat the meal right out of the jar. It is, of course, more delicious if you heat it up, but if you’re without power and don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a fire, eating straight out of the jar may be your only option.

Another benefit here is that you can prepare the meals years in advance as opposed to cooking them on the spot. In a survival situation, that’s a huge plus.

The Beauty of One Pot Meals

There are a ton of reasons why a one pot meal is so appealing, but from a survival perspective, the ease of cooking is probably the biggest one.

You can cook a pot roast complete with all the fixings in a Dutch oven and you can even cook such meals as chicken and dumplings. They’re not just for soups and stews.

Having a variety of delicious meals is a huge morale booster as well as a way to get all of your nutrition out of one pot. Though beans and cornbread are delicious and filling, it gets old after a few days and isn’t a well-rounded meal.

One Pot Cooking Ideas

A quick internet search will net you a ton of great ideas for one pot meals, but you can always just use your imagination. There are also some recipes that you should know by heart. They aren’t necessarily one pot meals, but they are essentials that will help you keep your crew full and nourished.

  • Want fried potatoes, eggs, and sausage for breakfast? Toss your potatoes in first, then add your sausage and cook both til they’re done and throw in your eggs. Scramble them all together, and you’ve got a delicious one pot meal.
  • How about beef tips with gravy and a baked potato? Toss your beef tips into your crock pot or Dutch oven, wrap your potatoes in foil and toss those in with it. When they’re done, remove the potatoes and add some flour and milk to the beef tips. Cook it for a few minutes until the gravy thickens and you’ve got dinner.
  • Soups and stews, of course, are obvious, but how about ribs with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes? Easy peasy. Cut your potatoes into cubes and toss them in your seasoning. Wrap them in foil packs. Do the same with the corn after you break the ears into halves, or cut it off the cob. Put your rub or sauce on your ribs and toss them all into your Dutch oven or crock pot and you’re good to go. You can also do the potatoes and corn in the coals.

One pot meals are, for the most part, only limited by your imagination. They’re easy to throw together, toss into your cooking vessel of choice, and forget about. Also, you’re getting many more nutrients than you would if you only cooked a single item. That makes them a great survival food.

There is a great opportunity for Survivopedia readers to prepare for cooking in the sun, so grab this offer available only for a few days!

Use the promocode SurvivoSolstice and get 10% discount to boost your cooking! 

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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11 Tips On How To Survive A Polar Vortex

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The term “polar vortex” isn’t one that most people became familiar with until just recently. We had to face it last winter, and we have to face it again these days.

Now, however, it’s a serious concern and needs to be figured into your potential disaster events if you live in areas that may be affected.

Read the following article to find out what a polar vortex is, what it isn’t (if you haven’t been affected by one), and what you need to do to prepare!

What is a Polar Vortex?

We have two polar vortexes – one around each pole. It’s an area of low pressure that circulates counterclockwise in the stratosphere around the pole all the time, but weakens in the winter time.

Sometimes it wobbles a bit and throws a surge of bitter cold south into the US, and other countries in equivalent latitudes around the world.

When this happens, it can drop temperatures below zero. It’s a phenomenon that is always around, but we just don’t notice it until it puffs a blast of freezing air toward us.

scientific-american

It actually plays a big part in the weather worldwide throughout the year. Think about it – how often do you ever hear of cold fronts coming from the south?

Usually, polar vortexes force temperatures down into the single digits in areas of higher latitude such as the Dakotas and Michigan, but the temperatures go up farther down the map.

Still, even if temperatures drop into the teens or twenties, even a light wind will make that temperature seem exponentially colder.

What a Polar Vortex Isn’t

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about polar vortexes, so let’s clear some of them up. First, they’re not a sign or result of global warming. Though many weather anomalies of recent years are linked to the warming of the Earth, polar vortices aren’t. They’ve existed exactly as they are since we started tracking them and the frequency or intensity hasn’t changed.

Next, a polar vortex doesn’t bring snow with it. Weather events such as rain and snow occur in the lower level of the atmosphere and polar vortices occur right above that. They bring bitter cold that can make snowstorms much worse, but they don’t actually bring snow or freezing rain with them.

What you need to Know about a Polar Vortex

The first and most important thing that you need to know about a polar vortex is that it can be lethal.

Even if you’re in a warmer part of the area that’s affected by the vortex, temperatures combined with wind chill can easily drop to temperatures that can cause frostbite and hypothermia quickly if you’re not bundled up.

Polar vortexes also tend to set in fairly quickly and hang around for at least a few days. If you don’t have to go outside during one, don’t. Avoid driving anywhere if you can, because it’s a guarantee that the roads are going to be icy even if it does snow.

If snow or freezing rain is going to happen right before or during a polar vortex, that danger is going to be amplified because temperatures that low can cause several disasters including car crashes, hypothermia, collapsed rooves, limbs, and powerlines, and burst water pipes.

Obviously, even one of those can be horrible, but they may also occur in tandem. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your roof can collapse while your power is out. That’s why you need to take precautions and be prepared.

How to Prepare for a Polar Vortex

There are relatively small steps that you can take in advance that will help keep you safe. Other steps will need to be taken during/after the snow, but they’re relatively minor.

Technically, to prepare for just a polar vortex, you only need to worry about the cold, but since it often coincides with a snow storm, we’re going to assume that the worst case scenario and prepare for both a polar vortex and a snow storm.

1. Stockpile Food and Water

You may have a tough time getting to the store because of ice or snow, so make sure that you have at least a week’s worth of food and water stored back.

Yes, you’ll have access to plenty of snow, but if you want to drink that, you’ll have to filter and purify it. Stockpile at least 2 gallons of water per person per day. You’ll need to drink more because, oddly enough, water needs increase with extremes in temperature.

Regarding food, figure on at around 2000 calories if you’re going to be outside for more than just a few minutes at a time because your body burns a lot of fuel just to keep warm when temperatures drop that low.

You typically have several days of warning, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

2. Stay Inside

Seriously. If you don’t have to be outside, don’t be. In temperatures in the single digits, it only takes 15 minutes or so for frostbite to become a possibility, and when the temperatures are below zero, that time decreases even more.

Hypothermia is also a problem and, like frostbite, increases the colder it gets. Wind plays a big factor in the onset of both conditions.

Also, it’s a guarantee that there’s ice on the road, so there’s no reason to risk it if you don’t have to. Be prepared in advance, because crashing your car for a gallon of milk is bad, but dying for it just isn’t worth it.

3. Wrap Your Pipes

If you can access them, wrap your pipes to protect them from freezing. This tape keeps your pipes warm enough that the water in your pipes won’t freeze. If you don’t know how to do it, read our article about how to insulate your heating system.

This not only saves you a ton of money if your pipes burst, but also ensures that you have access to your water and heat as long as you have city water or a generator for your pump.

4. Trim your Trees

There’s nothing cozier than sitting around a tree limb that’s fallen through your roof and into your living room. Oh wait – yes there is.

This is a relatively easy disaster to avoid – simply keep your trees trimmed back from your house. Here’s a short guide on how to prepare your garden for winter.

5. Bundle Up

If you absolutely must go outside, bundle up. Make sure that your fingers, ears, nose, and toes are particularly protected because when you get cold, your body automatically pulls the blood flow to the center of your body to preserve heat. This leaves your extremities vulnerable to frostbite.

You also naturally lose more heat through the top of your head, the bottom of your feet, and your palms, so make sure they’re covered well to preserve that heat.

Mittens are actually better than gloves because they keep your fingers together and allow the heat that emanates from your palms to warm your entire hand.

mittens

6. Your Animals

Your animals are going to need some special attention depending upon what kind they are. Regardless of their species, they’re going to need to stay warm and they’re likely going to need extra food and water to meet the caloric needs required to stay warm.

Extremes in temperature can also cause animals such as milk cows and chickens to stop producing milk and eggs, so it’s especially important to keep them comfortable.

Winterize your barn and coop by sealing it up, but leave ventilation going through in order to keep the air fresh. Know your animals and adjust to meet their needs.

7. Check your Roof

Before winter even sets in, check your roof and rafters for damage and stability. This is one of the biggest risks you have in the case of a polar vortex and snow storm clashing.

If temperatures drop enough to make building materials brittle, then heavy snow is piled on top, the odds of your roof collapsing increases quite a bit.

8. Seal Windows and Doors

Your heating system is working hard enough to keep you warm even if your house is well insulated and sealed.

Cracks around windows and doors can really dampen that effort and make it nearly impossible to keep your house warm, so take care of that before winter sets in. It will also help save you money in the summer by keeping cold air in.

Read this Survivopedia article to find out how to build your own frames for insulating windows.

9. Winterize Your Car

This may not seem like a big deal, but it can save your life. You need good tires, but not as much for traction (nothing really sticks to ice though good tread does do much better in snow and mud) as to make sure that you don’t get a flat.

Chains for your tires, adequate anti-freeze, winter-grade thinner-viscosity oil, and just a general winterizing is important. Getting stranded in freezing weather is extremely dangerous.

On that note, make sure that you have a get-home bag in your car. You need a full change of clothes, extra socks and gloves, and even extra shoes. Also, have several bottles of water, hand warmers, several protein bars or MREs, and flares.

Blankets, at least emergency blankets, should be in there, too, and a fire-starter wouldn’t hurt. Besides these essentials, you just need to know your circumstances and build the rest of the bag around your needs.

10. Have Alternate Heat

If you rely on electricity for heat, you REALLY need to have an alternative heat source. Installing a wood burner is probably your best option, but a generator or wood for your fireplace (if you have one) are good, too.

Whatever you decide on, have plenty of fuel and the equipment to start it. Be realistic and base your heating needs on your house and your family, not some ideal version of them.

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11. Include Games and Activities in your Stockpile

You’re going to get bored pretty quickly, especially if you lose cable and power. Make sure that you have several different games, books, or hobby supplies on hand to alleviate stress and boredom.

Being prepared for a polar vortex is extremely similar to preparing for a blizzard, except you need to make some modifications for the extreme temperatures that you may have to deal with.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that I’ve missed here, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

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Dripping Survivalism to Neophytes

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I was talking to a friend of mine this past weekend. He knows generally that I am a prepper but he does not know to what extent. He (we’ll call him Bill) said that prior to the Presidential election he was concerned about the country falling in anarchy. So much in fact that he bought a gun. Bill told me he had inherited a 12 gauge “bird hunting’ shotgun from his father, but never had plans to buy another gun until he got ‘scared’ – for his family and himself. So he went out and bought as Glock 9mm handgun. He didn’t even know what model number.

Bill is some sort of a financial planner, trust funds or something, I really don’t remember and could not give a shit less, but I could not pass up the opportunity to educate him and used that angle to get him thinking:

UrbanMan: Well Bill, having a gun, several guns in fact, are a good idea for protection especially when the security situation becomes worse, but you need training and well as have some ammunition stocked up for the time when it gets scarce. Ammunition, as well as food, batteries, water, etc., will be the first to fly off the shelves – and before it flies off the shelves the price will raise dramatically.

Bill: I guess you are right. I have a box of 50 bullets for the Glock.

UrbanMan: Bill, if I were you I would buy another 150 or 200 rounds of ammunition and continue to buy at least a box a month until he have 1,000 rounds minimum. Plus you need to have some 12 gauge bird shot and buck shot, as well as some slug shotgun shells also.

Bill: That’s a lot of ammo! Do you really think I need that much? Although you are right about the shotgun. I don’t have any ammunition for that.

UrbanMan: Yes, you need plenty of ammunition. You don’t want to wait until you need it. At that point it will be expensive, maybe very hard to find and you will expose your safety going to gun shops trying to find it. Go buy two boxes of bird shot, which would be 50 shot shells, five boxes of 00 buckshot (total of 25 rounds) and two boxes of one ounce slugs (10 rounds). Buy a couple boxes of each, every month until you have two to three hundred of each load. Get an old Army metal ammunition can and keep it in your closet. It won’t take up much room and it’ll give you peace of mind.

Bill: I don;t know. That’s a lot of money.

UrbanMan: Jesus Bill, you make a lot of money, so stop buying beer or ice cream or movie tickets of whatever else you don’t need every week and invest in your survival insurance. Also what are you going to do if the banks close or the dollar tanks or the ATM stops working or the government says you can only withdraw $100 a day and food prices go up 1000%.

Bill: Well, I think we’ll have more problems than money if that happens.

UrbanMan: That’s right, hence the guns. And the food you have stocked up in your pantry and garage. And the safe place you have a plan to get to rather than staying in the suburbs.

Bill: I am really uncomfortable planning on the world to collapse.

UrbanMan: Uncomfortable? How about not being able to protect or feed your family? That in my book would be a lot more uncomfortable. All I am suggesting is a modicum of planning and preparation. You deal in the financial world. Is diversification of investments generally a good thing?

Bill: Generally, it is. You don’t want to have all your assets in one area, say stock funds.

UrbanMan: Well, consider a little prepping as diversification of your survival portfolio. Do you track the precious metals exchange?

Bill: Yes, I have clients who own gold and silver stocks. And come to think of it, I do field questions from existing clients on adding that to their portfolios. I really don;t recommend too much resources devoted to that investment.

UrbanMan: You are talking about ‘paper’ gold and silver, which will do you no good if everything collapses. You should think about buying at least some silver each month and put it away as a hedge if the dollar collapse or hyper inflation hits. Silver is about $16.75 an ounce right now, but if you research it, you’ll see that U.S. silver production is declining significantly over the past couple of months and expected to decline further. So solely as an investment I’ll think you see silver increasingly around $3 to $5 an ounce within the next three months. Just a few months ago it was around $21 an ounce and remember it wasn’t too long ago when silver hit $48 an ounce.

Bill: You may be right, but the precious metals market changes from time to time under forces we never fully understand,…everything from price manipulation to large purchases by various countries.

UrbanMan: Exactly. That’s why you need to protect yourself. I am not advocating an 180 degree change in your financial planning or monthly spending. I am just talking about small changes, re-directional really, that plug holes in your ability to survive.

Bill: Okay. Well I’ll think about it.

UrbanMan: Ok, you think about it. In the meantime, I’m going to send you some website and recommended reading. Don’t be the dumb ass left out.

Survival Cooking: How To Use A Dutch Oven

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How To Use A Dutch Oven

Pioneers no doubt had to make some rough choices about what to take and what to leave behind when they made the voyage west. One thing that they didn’t even consider leaving behind, though, was their Dutch oven.

This marvelous piece of cookware is so versatile that it warranted a spot in the precious little space inside a covered wagon.

When you think about camping, you probably don’t think about making bread, biscuits, or cookies – other than s’mores of course! That’s because you’re not familiar with how a Dutch oven works.

In short, it’s magic.

A Dutch oven actually consists of two pieces: a pot and a lid. The lid seals over the pot when needs must, and serves as a skillet, too. You can use a Dutch oven on a stove or in an oven just like you’d use any other pan or skillet, but it’s so much more useful than that.

First, cast iron cookware in general is just fabulous to cook on. Other cookware, such as those made from aluminum or coated in Teflon, can be toxic to us over time. Teflon starts to flake off into your food after a few months or maybe a year. Then you run the risk of getting cancer. Aluminum has been associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Cast iron, on the other hand, has been associated with family treasures that are passed down from generation to generation.

Cookware made from cast iron can quite literally last hundreds of years – I have a skillet that’s nearly 150 years old and it’s seriously the best skillet I own. I have a square one that I bought 25 years ago, and I won’t make cornbread in anything else. I use it at home on the stove, in the oven, and on the grill. I take it camping and use it over an open fire.

So, I’m not just preaching it from the handbook, I’m drinking my own Kool-Aid. Cast iron rules.

Now that you know how I feel about the material, I want to get on to the exact piece of cast iron cookware that we’re discussing today: the Dutch oven.

Simply surviving isn’t good enough if you’re to stay happy and healthy in the long run. You need good food, companionship, and hope. A Dutch oven can’t do much about who you eat with, but it can be used to cook luxury foods that keep morale up. Cornbread, biscuits, cake, hot rolls, and desserts such as cobbler are all possible as long as you have the ingredients, a fire, and a Dutch oven.

Video first seen on Cooking With Cast Iron.

You don’t need electricity or gas, nor do you need an actual oven because a Dutch oven IS an oven. If you know the basics of cooking with one and have the ingredients, you can make anything that you want.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about how to cook with a Dutch oven.

Aluminum or Cast Iron Dutch Oven

I know, I’ve just expounded on the benefits of using cast iron, and even knocked aluminum cookware a bit. I personally don’t like to cook in it because studies have shown that the aluminum does leach into food, especially if the food is extremely basic (baking powder), or extremely acidic (tomato juice, vinegar, or fruit juices).

Studies show that anodized aluminum doesn’t pose this risk, so if you opt to go with an aluminum Dutch oven, make sure that it’s anodized. There are some benefits to cooking with an aluminum Dutch oven, primarily the weight. A cast-iron Dutch oven weighs about 7 pounds as opposed to the 18 pounds or so that you’ll be toting if you’re carrying a cast iron one.

Aluminum also doesn’t require seasoning like cast iron does, nor will it rust if you don’t care for it after you wash it. Many even come with a non-stick surface, but cast iron will become non-stick if you season it correctly.

Aluminum heats faster, but that’s not necessarily a good thing because the heat fluctuates in it, and aluminum will melt if it gets hot enough. Still, aluminum may be better for baking bread or making sauces and gravies than cast iron.

Cast iron holds heat evenly and for longer periods of time. It will actually keep cooking your foods for quite a while even if your coals cool down so you don’t need as much fuel to cook with it. The lid is heavy enough that it seals and steams your food so that it doesn’t dry out. This is why I said above that aluminum may be better for baking bread.

So, there are the differences. If you have to carry it, aluminum may be worth the downfalls to you. If you don’t, I’d say that cast iron wins hands down. I’m sure that there are those that disagree.

Types of Dutch Ovens

If you’re standing in the pot aisle at the store trying to figure out what the heck you need, or researching online before you go buy one, it can be confusing.

First, know that a camp oven and an outdoor oven are the same thing. These will usually have feet and a handle that you can use to hang the pot over the fire. The lid will also be flat and have a lip that seals the oven so that coals can’t get into it. You can use the lid as a skillet, too.

Kitchen pots and bean pots are also two names for the same sort of pot. They won’t have feet. Bean pots aren’t just for beans so don’t let the name fool you. It’s actually a cooking method that was common back in colonial days. These pots will have a flat bottom and a domed lid that may have spikes for basting inside of it. The steam rises, then drips off the spikes down onto the food.

Don’t be afraid to buy a used Dutch oven. As a matter of fact, I got mine from a yard sale for $5. Just be aware of what you’re buying.

  • First, don’t buy it if it has riveted tabs. You want the oven to be cast together, not riveted.
  • Look for inconsistencies in the thickness. That will lead to inconsistent heating and cooking
  • Don’t be scared away by a little rust. As long as it’s just surface rust, it will clean right up with steel wool.
  • Make sure that the bottom is level. It shouldn’t rock.
  • Make sure the lid fits well – not too loose, and not too tight, and it doesn’t rock.
  • Check for chips and cracks as well as imperfections in the casting.
  • If you’re buying a camp oven, make sure that the wire handle is sturdy.

Seasoning your Dutch Oven

Cast iron takes a bit of time to reach that non-stick state. This is called seasoning. Basically, the iron needs to absorb fat so that it develops a patina that keeps the iron from absorbing your food, causing it to stick. Seasoning also prevents the iron from rusting and makes cleanup much easier.

New ovens (or any cast iron) come with a protective coating from the manufacturer. The same is true with aluminum but all you need to do in that case is wash the aluminum with hot soap and water to remove the coating.

Cast iron takes a bit more work on the front end, but it will be well worth it in the end because you’ll have a piece that will be good for the rest of your life, and your children’s lives for that matter.

Before you season your skillet, wash it well. Some people use soap, others don’t. I use soap when I get a new one, or a used one that isn’t seasoned or has rust. I’m not like most people though, who only use hot water and steel wool.

Once you have your Dutch oven clean, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. You may want to turn off the smoke alarm, just in case.

  • Put the Dutch oven and the lid in the oven long enough that it’s so hot that it’s almost too hot to handle, then remove them.
  • Dribble a bit of olive oil, solid shortening, or vegetable oil. Don’t use butter, margarine, or cooking spray.
  • Use a paper towel to smear the oil over the entire surface of the pot and lid, inside and out.
  • Put the pot and lid back in the oven bake them for an hour. You should probably put a cookie sheet on the rack under them in case they drip. No need to burn the house down while you’re doing this.
  • Turn off the oven and let the pot and lid cool completely, then repeat the process.
  • Wipe down, and you’re done!

Video first seen on JRKFamilyOutdoors

Of course, the more you use your oven, the more seasoned it will become. Every time you use it, you need to clean it, then heat it to get the water out of it and wipe it down with a thin layer of oil again; just a tiny amount on a paper towel while the pan is cooling.

Avoid cooking super acidic or high-sugar foods the first few times you use your oven because these will break down your seasoning before it has time to harden.

Using a Dutch Oven in Coals

You may not know it, but the ashes under the fire are actually usually hotter than the fire itself. The ashes are compact and hold in heat. This makes for an excellent cooking environment. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens in your oven at home, right?

Maybe you’ve cooked ears of corn or potatoes wrapped in foil in the coals of your fire, but it’s pretty tough to bake a piece of apple pie like that? Well that’s where your Dutch oven comes in. Different foods cook better depending upon how the Dutch oven is situated in the coals, and you can cook entire meals in it, too. Casseroles, desserts, stews: they’re all within your reach.

First, you need to decide if you’re cooking IN the Dutch oven, or WITH it. You can either cook your food directly in the oven or you can put the food in another container, such as a pie plate, and cook in on a trivet or rack inside of the oven. This is usually done to keep the food from burning, or to make cleaning your oven easier.

If you’re cooking a dessert and your oven is still relatively new, you may want to use this method so that the sugar and acids in the fruit don’t eat away your seasoning.

If you’re using your oven for frying, or boiling, all of the heat should come from the bottom. In other words, place the oven on top of the coals or a grill rack (or hang it over the fire).

If you’re stewing or simmering, the majority of the heat should come from the bottom. Place the pot in the ashes with most of it buried, but put some of the coals on top, about 4:1 bottom to top.

If you’re roasting food, heat should come from the top and bottom equally. Place coals under and on top.

If you’re baking, most of the heat should come from the top. The ratio should be 1 part on bottom and 3 parts on top.

If you’re wondering about specific foods, typically soups and stews should be cooked with most of the heat on the bottom (2/3 or so on the bottom, and 1/3 of the coals on top. Meats, veggies, and cobblers should have equal heat distribution, and cakes, biscuits, bread and cookies should have 2/3 of the coals on top and 1/3 on the bottom.

Dutch Oven Temperature

Bread and biscuits help you get a lot more mileage out of a meal and are comfort foods. They’re also the trail version of fast foods. You can cook extra and if you get hungry along the trail, you can pull out a roll or a biscuit and eat it on the run. Neither of these would be possible in large quantity without a Dutch oven.

You can make biscuits inside of the oven, or right on the lid – just butter or oil both sides so that they brown equally.

Bread or rolls are best if you let the final proof take place inside the oven, then bake them immediately. Some old recipes call for coating the inside of the oven with flour before you put your bread in to rise/cook. The flour will burn but your bread will be fine.

If you’d rather not use the flour, just oil the inside of the oven and the top of the lid, then let your bread proof. Put your oven in the coals, with 2/3 of them on top. When there are 5 or 6 minutes left for the bread to cook, take of the lid and butter the top of the bread. Put the lid back on and let it finish cooking. Bread is done when you peck on the top and it sounds hollow.

There are different ways to cook with your Dutch oven, but these are the basics. You can pick up a good Dutch oven for as little as $35 or so, and that’s for a Lodge, which is American-made and arguably the best brand of cast iron skillets out there.

There are, of course, gourmet chefs coming out with their own lines of cast iron cookware too, and some of them are even pre-seasoned, but you’re likely going to pay quite a bit more for them. It’s up to you, though. There are definite advantages to buying a pre-seasoned piece, but I’m old-school and take a certain pleasure in doing things for myself.

Learn how to make your own food based on survival ancient recipes from our forefathers. Click the banner below and uncover more survival secrets, and stay close for a great offer that will boost your survival cooking!

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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POLITICIANS ACT AS AGENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS TO ENFORCE AGENDA 21 UPON AUSTRALIANS

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POLITICIANS ACT AS AGENTS OF THE UNITED NATIONS TO ENFORCE AGENDA 21 UPON AUSTRALIANS Politicians Show Preference for Covert Undemocratic AG21 Policy Graham Williamson Revised edition January 2013 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This paper is about Agenda 21 and its implementation in Australia. Its primary purpose is to examine the implementation process and assess its democratic foundations and whether the public have truly been permitted to make an informed democratic choice. Its secondary purpose is to evaluate whether Agenda 21 is beneficial and necessary for Australians. Using extensive documentary evidence from experts, combined with personal correspondence documented in the Appendices, the following fundamental facts have been established. 1. Agenda 21 is a fundamentally undemocratic, sovereignty threatening, UN designed and monitored program which is being banned overseas because of the threat it poses to fundamental human rights. Agenda 21 is found to pose a serious risk to freedom and human rights and is unnecessarily foreign in its origin and control. 2. All three levels of government have been undemocratically implementing this program throughout Australia, on behalf of the UN, for 10-20 years. All the evidence indicates the consistent political refusal to publicly declare AG21 policy has been non-negotiable & bipartisan. 3. In 20 years, all major political parties have refused to openly declare their Agenda 21 policy during elections to enable citizens to make an informed democratic choice. All major parties have preferred to implement Agenda 21 as undeclared or covert policy. As a result, community ignorance about AG21 and its implications are widespread. 4. Although pervasively embedded into government (undeclared) policy at all levels, when directly questioned about AG21 our elected representatives go to extraordinary lengths to either avoid the subject or pretend it is not being implemented. From all my enquiries, not one politician or bureaucrat eagerly responded by openly detailing the many ways in which the tentacles of AG21 are being implemented through the various government departments. Implementation of Agenda 21 is based upon a failure to accurately and truthfully inform Australians. It is based upon deception and trashing of democracy. AG21 is a policy far bigger than any other policy. It is a policy of 20 years duration. It is a policy implemented by both major parties and all 3 levels of government around Australia. It has penetrated from Canberra to local communities everywhere. It shapes our legal system, our economic system, our environmental system, our political system, and even the education of our children. It is not possible to imagine a more massive political policy, yet it is excluded from the electoral agenda and the official policies of all major parties. This policy is being enforced upon us and we have been denied any democratic choice. Why? This is a massive scandal and it is why our politicians are desperately trying to shut the debate down. It is a scandal that dwarfs even the CO2 tax and climate change which form just one part of it. The past 20 years, and my correspondence detailed in the Appendix, show quite clearly that a change of government will not solve this issue. What is needed is a return to democracy, dramatically increased political accountability, strengthening of sovereignty, and a renewed political commitment of allegiance to the people rather than an allegiance to the UN. Introduction All 3 levels of government in Australia, and all major political parties, have chosen to implement a foreign United Nations designed and monitored ‘sustainability’ program called Agenda 21. Governments have been implementing this program around Australia for 10-20 years although all major parties have been unanimous in their decision not to give Australians a democratic choice on this issue at election time. Further, this foreign program has pervasively infiltrated local councils and the legal system so that property rights are being insidiously and progressively transferred from humans to plants and the environment. And our politicians, without the knowledge or permission of the overwhelming majority of Australians, have even seen fit to embed this foreign program into the school curriculum to ensure our children are indoctrinated with UN propaganda. In view of these developments I contacted various political parties in an attempt to clarify their policy regarding Agenda 21. This paper documents more than 12 months research into Agenda 21 & the response of political parties & elected representatives to simple questions regarding the implementation of this foreign UN program. It documents the difficulties involved in obtaining clear truthful answers from our elected representatives, irrespective of the party they represent. And it documents the death of democracy in Australia as political parties present one policy to the people during elections, but when elected they proceed to implement undeclared or covert policies, or policies of which they are apparently so ashamed they refuse to openly discuss them. This paper documents this disturbing abandonment of democracy. How is it possible to have a pervasive far reaching program such as Agenda 21 implemented by government departments and councils throughout Australia for 10-20 years and yet this program is omitted from official policy? And when our elected representatives are directly questioned about implementation of this UN program, why do they feel the need to go to extraordinary lengths to refuse to discuss it or even pretend it is not being implemented? It is astonishing that my exhaustive attempts to obtain simple answers from our elected representatives have met with such a solid brick wall of deception or obfuscation. In order to supply background information, and evidence from experts and from government departments, I have included the following detailed Appendices below. Most of the Appendices are self-explanatory. Appendix J documents some of the real life results of the government drive to support the ecocentric rewriting of the legal system and the erosion of property rights as proposed by Agenda 21. Appendix K documents the involvement of councils which are at the forefront of the implementation of UN AG21 restriction of land use and property rights while Appendix L documents my complaint to the NSW Ombudsman regarding council involvement. Appendix A – Introduction & Background to Agenda 21. Appendix B – Evidence of the Extent to Which Governments Having been Implementing AG21 Around Australia Without Giving Australians any Democratic Choice. Appendix C – Rewriting the Legal System to Support Ecocentrism & Transfer Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment. Appendix D – Response to Correspondence from the Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell. Appendix E – Correspondence with the NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell Appendix F – Correspondence with the NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker. Appendix G – Correspondence with the NSW Attorney General Greg Smith. Appendix H – Correspondence with the Minister for Local Government Don Page Appendix I – Correspondence with the NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard Appendix J – Transferring Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment: Submission to the NSW Government BioBanking review Appendix K – Correspondence With Eurobodalla Shire Council Appendix L – Complaint to NSW Ombudsman Appendix M – Correspondence With Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Witness below the extraordinary determination of politicians not to openly discuss a policy they have been enforcing upon Australians for up to 20 years. And witness their continuing determination to implement Agenda 21 covertly and prevent Australians from having any say. The Politicians Speak, or Refuse to Speak, About AG21 On 8th September 2012 I asked the following politicians or political parties to state their policy regarding Agenda 21. That correspondence, based upon the fact that the WA Greens are the only party that openly state Agenda 21 policy, typically asked as follows: Dear Sir, I notice that the WA Greens openly endorse the Agenda 21 program in their policy platform as below. Do you, and the NSW Liberal Party, agree with this policy and support Agenda 21 also? If so, why is it not included in your official policy? Since the NSW Liberal Party has been endorsing Agenda 21 or implementing it for nearly 20 years, will you be adding it to your official policies or do you prefer to continue to implement it without mentioning it in your policies? Why? If you have no intention of adding it to your official policies will you be proactively seeking to ban it as has been done in Alabama? Regards Graham Williamson http://wa.greens.org.au/policies/local-government-0 The Greens (WA) want: · the Local Government Act amended to require the principles of ecological sustainable development in Agenda 211 be the basis of local government policy This correspondence was directed to the following. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell The NSW Liberal Party The Queensland Liberal National Party The Liberal Party of Victoria Vic Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell Leader of the National Party of Australia – Warren Truss The National Party of Australia The NSW National Party Deputy Premier & Leader of NSW National Party Andrew Stoner The Greens NSW Liberal Party of Australia Opposition Leader – Tony Abbott Australian Greens – Senator Christine Milne The Queensland Greens The Australian Greens Victoria In addition, detailed questions regarding Agenda 21 were addressed to NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, NSW Attorney General Greg Smith, NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker, NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard, Minister for Local Government Don Page, & Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage. The responses & non-responses of our elected representatives to very simple questions are alarming in their consistent evasiveness & dismissiveness. These responses are documented below. NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell – See Appendix E In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Premier on 21st July 2012, 8th September, 23rd September, 24th September, 25th November, & 2nd December, no response has yet been received. Yet, in spite of this non-response, the issues raised with the Premier were very serious, including deceit and misinformation about AG21 and the abandonment of Ministerial responsibilities by the Attorney General. NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker – See Appendix F Correspondence with the NSW Minister for the Environment is documented in Appendix E. Since I received no response to my correspondence of 4th October, I sent a further reminder to the Minister on the 25th November. No attempt has been made by the Minister to answer the issues I raised and I have yet to receive any response to this correspondence. NSW Attorney General & Minister for Justice Greg Smith – See Appendix G Correspondence with the NSW Attorney General is documented in Appendix F. When I wrote to the Minister asking about the use of laws based upon foreign programs like AG21 to penalise NSW citizens, and the conversion of the NSW judicial system from its traditional anthropocentric basis to an ecocentric basis, he responded that “The matters raised do not fall under the portfolio responsibility of the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice.” But when I responded by asking him: “Please explain why you consider that overseeing the direction of the legal system of NSW is not your responsibility and please name the person who is responsible?”; he opted to completely avoid all the issues I raised by issuing the following evasive dismissive response. Dear Mr Williamson (final response from Minister – 30th Nov 2012) If you have concerns about Australia’s adoption of Agenda 21 you should contact the Federal Government. If you have concerns about the adoption of a particular policy associated with Agenda 21 then you should contact the Minister, Council etc responsible for that decision. Elections are regularly held at a local, state and federal level. This affords you the opportunity to vote for the candidate that you believe best reflects your policy preferences. I have referred your matter to a number of Ministers and should you send further correspondence this will be placed on file without response. Kind regards Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. The Attorney General clearly seems to agree with other Ministers that Agenda 21 must continue to be implemented while pretending to the public that it is not happening and denying them any democratic choice. The NSW Minister for Local Government Don Page – see Appendix H In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Minister on 21st July 2012, 23rd July, 25 th September & 25th November, no meaningful response has yet been received. The final response received from the Minister’s office, dated 17th Dec 2012, continued the same dismissiveness and evasiveness. In my correspondence I asked various questions of the Minister including: 1. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 2. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 3. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? 4. Although you are overseeing the implementation of AG 21 at the local government level you not only expressed no concern whatsoever about the above matters, you even chose to pretend implementation of Agenda 21 by local government in NSW is not your responsibility. Why? In response to these questions regarding AG21 the Minister’s office replied: The government’s determination to implement AG21 without giving residents any choice, and without even discussing it, is once again made perfectly clear by the Minister’s refusal to respond. The NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard – see Appendix I In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Minister on 29th June, 21st July 2012, 31st July, 9 th August, 23 rd September & 25th November, no meaningful response has yet been received. The response from the Minister’s office dated 19th Dec is also evasive and completely avoids all the issues I raised concerning AG21. The NSW Liberal Party After writing to the leader of the NSW Liberal Party on 8 th September, 23rd September, & the 25th November, I received the following response on the 26th November. Dear Graham, The Liberal Party is committed to environmental action and is why we are establishing a Green Army which will deliver real benefits to local communities. It is suggested you contact your local member to find out more about this. Kind Regards, Liberal Campaign Headquarters LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA (NSW DIVISION) T 02 8356 0300 | F 02 9331 4480 | E chq@nsw.liberal.org.au The Queensland Liberal National Party In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Queensland Liberal National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The Liberal Party of Victoria The Liberal Party of Victoria responded on 25th September stating they had nothing to do with policy & I should contact the Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powell. Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell – See Appendix D On 23rd of November I received a response from the Minister’s office, signed by Chief of Staff, James Lantry. Mr Lantry stated, on behalf of the Minister: “Please note that the Victorian Government has not adopted the Agenda 21 policy platform as part of its policies, but continues to undertake actions in accordance with sound environmental policies for the benefit of all Victorians.” Of course this is totally untrue which I point out in my response which is documented below in Appendix D, below. Government documents I cite clearly confirm that the government has in fact been implementing Agenda 21 programs in Victoria for more than 10 years. The Minister’s denial of the facts raise serious questions, as I indicate in my response: “Unless you can supply current documentation proving you have outlawed or banned UN Agenda 21 and other imported sustainability programs from Victoria, then to suggest your government is not part of the implementation of this program is at best extremely misleading, and at worst, a deliberate untruth designed to deliberately deceive the public. Which is it? Why is it apparently so important to you NOT to openly declare this program as policy? Or will you immediately ban it and all such imported programs?” To date I have received no further response from the Minister. Leader of the National Party of Australia – Warren Truss In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the leader of the National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The National Party of Australia In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. The NSW National Party In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the NSW National Party on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Deputy Premier & Leader of NSW National Party Andrew Stoner After writing to the leader of the NSW National Party on 8 th September & 23rd September, I received the following response on the 24th September. Dear Mr Williamson Thank you for your emails dated 8 September 2012 and 23 September 2012. Your request is currently receiving attention and a response is forthcoming. Kind regards Office of the NSW Deputy Premier. Due to the fact that I received no further response from Mr Stoner, in spite of the promise made by his office, I sent a further reminder to him on the 25th November. No response has yet been received. The Greens NSW After writing to the NSW Greens on 8 th September, 23rd September, & 25th November, I received the following response from NSW Greens MP, Mr David Shoebridge, on the 30th November. Dear Graham, Thank you for your email. Australian Greens constituent bodies (i.e. states and territories) create policies independently of each other, within the broader framework of the Australian Greens. It would probably be incorrect to assume that simply because one state mentioned an item in their policy and another didn’t that this means the states are at loggerheads over the issue. All Greens parties in Australia develop policies based on local circumstances through grassroots processes. To my knowledge Agenda 21 has not been raised in NSW as part of our Local Government policy development process in the past. If you are interested, you can find the Greens NSW local government policy online here: http://nsw.greens.org.au/policies/local-government. The Greens NSW will be working through a process of reviewing all of our policies ahead of the next state election through our grassroots democratic processes. If you are interested in policy development in the area of local government, and supportive of the four main principles of the Greens, I recommend you join the party (if you are not already) and get involved with the grassroots discussions with other members. Thanks again for your email. David David Shoebridge Greens MP in the NSW Legislative Council P: (02) 9230 3030 |Media: 0433 753 376 |T: @ShoebridgeMLC SIGN UP TO STAY IN TOUCH at davidshoebridge.org.au/sign-up Liberal Party of Australia In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Liberal Party of Australia on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Opposition Leader – Tony Abbott In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from Mr Abbott on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Australian Greens – Senator Christine Milne After writing to the leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Christine Milne, on the 8 th September, I received the following response from her office on the 23rdth of September. Dear Graham Thank you for your e-mail. Agenda 21 is an international blueprint that outlines actions that governments, international organisations, industries and the community can take to achieve sustainability. These actions recognise the impacts of human behaviours on the environment and on the sustainability of systems of production. The objective of Agenda 21 is the alleviation of poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide while halting the deterioration of ecosystems which sustain life. As such it provides a framework and statement of principles that you will find incorporated into many Australian Greens policies – copies of which you can find at http://greens.org.au/policies . The Australian Greens Party is a federation within which the WA Greens are entitled to establish their own policies relevant to their specific areas of interest and responsibility. They have chosen to apply one aspect of Agenda 21 – “the principles of ecological sustainable development” to underpin the operations of the Local Government Act in WA. This falls a long way short of “openly endorsing the Agenda 21 program in their policy platform” as you claim. Regards John Dodd Office of Senator Christine Milne Leader of the Australian Greens Level 1 Murray St Pier Hobart 7000 | Ph: 03 6224 8899 | Fax: 03 6224 7599 www.christinemilne.org.au | http://greens.org.au On 23rd September I sent the following response to Mr Dodd from Senator Milne’s office. Dear John, Thank you for your response. You state that “the objective of Agenda 21 is the alleviation of poverty, hunger, sickness and illiteracy worldwide while halting the deterioration of ecosystems which sustain life,” but yet you claim that the Greens (WA & National?)do not fully endorse the Agenda 21 program. Which objectives do you support and which do you find unacceptable? You failed to answer the following queries which I therefore repeat below. 1. Do you, or the Australian Greens, agree with this policy and support Agenda 21 also? 2. If so, why is it not included in your official policy? 3. Will you be adding it to your policies or do you disagree with the WA Greens? 4. If you have no intention of adding it to your official policies will you be proactively seeking to ban it? Regards Graham Williamson Due to the fact that no further response was received from the office of Senator Milne, I sent a further reminder on the 25th November. No response has yet been received. The Queensland Greens After writing to the Queensland Greens on the 8 th September & the 23rd September, I received the following response from the office of Senator Larissa Waters on the 9 th of October. Hi Graham, Apologies for the delay in getting back to you on this! Larissa had a quick through of your question and wanted to let you know that the concepts in Agenda 21 are imbued through all of the party’s policy platform, whether explicitly outlined or not. I’ve copied in a recent report which came out of our office regarding commitments which were made in Rio 20 years ago and where we’re up to now. Hope that helps Graham, Dominic DOMINIC JARVIS Office Manager Office of Senator Larissa Waters Australian Greens Senator for Queensland http://larissa-waters.greensmps.org.au/ Amazingly, It seems there are 2 fundamental types of political policies, namely, openly declared policies, or, on the other hand, concealed or embedded policies. Since Agenda 21 is an embedded policy there is apparently no need for the democratic approval of the electorate. The Australian Greens Victoria In spite of repeated attempts to obtain answers from the Victorian Greens on 8 th September, 23rd September & 25th November, no response has yet been received. Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage In my correspondence with Greg Hunt I asked the following questions with his partial responses in blue below (see Appendix M for details). 1. When your government warned in their 2006 SOE report that councils around Australia were exceeding their legislative authority in implementing Agenda 21, what steps did you or the Liberal party take to prevent this? Did you lobby the state parties? Did you or the party follow this up? What action was taken? Do you still agree with this assessment? 2. So what will your Agenda 21 policy be should you win government? Will you be seeking to work with the Premiers to discipline Councils which are implementing Agenda 21? Or will you be more proactive and encourage Premiers to introduce legislation banning Agenda 21, as is occurring overseas? To summarise. Fact 1 Agenda 21 is being implemented nationwide by state governments and councils. (see encl) Do you deny this? Fact 2 Though you claim that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions” in fact it was included in 2006 SOE report under your watch. Do you deny this? Fact 3 Since the continuing implementation of AG21 is a simple fact, this raises serious questions about who is taking political responsibility for this since the electorate has never been given a democratic choice and politicians, like yourself, deny knowledge of it even though bureaucrats under their portfolio are implementing it (as is clearly evidenced from enclosed) Do you deny this?. Part of the problem of course was the decision by successive governments that Australia needed an imported sustainability program, one that was designed by a foreign agency and was monitored by the CSD(part of UN). Of course, governments, such as the Howard government, were required to send annual implementation reports to the CSD. Response from Greg Hunt. “There is nothing to ban. It is a 20 year old non binding declaration. I can honestly tell you that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions….. For the final time i had never heard of the issue, heard it raised by Ministers, MP’s or constituents until 19 years after the ing was apparently signed…… Given that for the first 19 years the issue appears to have escaped both of our attention can I respectfully suggest that the discovery of a dead, irrelevant declaration 19 years after the fact may cause everyone to be calm…… I will respectfully draw this engagement to a conclusion and encourage you from here to approach State based Governments as we have no powers over local Governments.” I replied to Greg by citing well documented evidence from his former government of the extensive government resources used to comply with the implementation requirements of AG21 (see Appendix M), arrangements which he claims complete ignorance about. I have as yet received no response. If we are to believe Greg’s claim of his complete ignorance of AG21 then the extreme level of incompetence that this would necessarily involve would immediately disqualify him from suitability for parliamentary office. Of course, should this be the case, then Greg, now his ignorance has been rectified, would be itching at the bit to now put things right by banning AG21. But alas, this is not the case. He refused to answer any of my questions about the Liberal Party’s AG21 policy at the next election. Conclusion It is clear that AG21 has been pervasively and undemocratically embedded into government (undeclared) policy at all levels. It is also clear that when directly questioned about AG21 our elected representatives go to extraordinary lengths to either avoid the subject or pretend it is not being implemented. From all my enquiries, not one politician or bureaucrat eagerly responded by proudly detailing the many ways in which the tentacles of AG21 are being implemented, and are benefiting Australia, by the various government departments. Implementation of Agenda 21 is based upon a failure to accurately and truthfully inform Australians. It is based upon deception and trashing of democracy. So far, the AG21 policy of both major political parties is…’more of the same’. In other words continue to implement AG21 but continue to do this covertly and refuse to give voters a choice at the next election. This of course is entirely consistent with their historical bipartisan determination NOT to give Australians a democratic choice by openly declaring their AG21 policy during the election campaigns of the past 20 years. The past 20 years, and my correspondence detailed in the Appendix, show quite clearly that a change of government will not solve this issue. What is needed is a return to democracy, dramatically increased political accountability, strengthening of sovereignty, and a renewed political commitment of allegiance to the people rather than an allegiance to the UN. It is up to you. Do you care enough? APPENDIX APPENDIX A Introduction & Background to Agenda 21 · AG21 is a foreign United Nations (UN) program aimed at controlling all aspects of people’s lives. It reduces or eliminates individual human rights such as private property rights (1, 2, 3, 4). AG21 is a UN program adopted by the Keating government in 1992, later ratified by the Howard government, & implemented by successive federal, state & local governments of all political persuasions ever since. In 20 years of implementation, neither of the two major political parties has declared AG 21 as official policy, nor given voters a democratic choice. · AG21 is an attempt to undemocratically enforce upon Australians a ‘foreign solution’ for what are termed “sustainability” issues. It is vitally important to understand that AG21 is undemocratic. It is an imported agenda that has been designed by, & its implementation monitored by, a foreign agency (the UN). Control must be increasingly surrendered to the UN & its foreign agencies with absolutely no limits being placed upon this process. · AG21 is very much a blank cheque with no clearly defined goals & no clearly defined limits regarding costs, legislative changes, loss of sovereignty, as well as loss of individual rights & democracy. · Implementation of Agenda 21 around the world has been monitored by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Participating countries are required to report back to the UN on a regular basis (5, 5a, 5b, 6, 7, 8). The CSD, which included despotic dictators from other countries, has been overseeing Australia’s compliance! The CSD however, is now being dissolved to be replaced by a high level political forum to be established in 2013 while ECOSOC will become responsible for sustainability & Agenda 21. The Australian government approves of these changes. · The guiding principle behind AG21 is a belief in Gaia or ecocentrism (22, 23, 24), or the supremacy of the rights of plants & the environment (25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35) & an abandonment of traditional anthropocentrism (36). In other words, rights are progressively transferred from humans to plants & the environment with the result that private property rights are being surrendered, piece by piece (37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43). · Two fundamental concepts upon which AG21 is based are intragenerational equity & intergenerational equity. a) Intragenerational equity states that common goods such as nature, environment, the ecosystem & therefore private property, must be shared amongst all. No one has exclusive rights of ownership (44, 45, 46, 47). According to the principle of intragenerational equity, the rights of those who have less may be used to take from those who have more, simply because of this disparity & not because of the existence of any legal debt. b) Intergenerational equity grants equal rights to those who may exist in the future but who are not yet born (44, 45, 46, 47). With this bold new sense of ‘justice’ an assumption is made that the actions of one or more persons currently in existence will somehow reduce the quality of life of one or more persons who do not yet exist! Of course we should all be mindful of our responsibility to care for the environment, but to legally convict a perpetrator when the victim cannot be named, does not exist, & his/her degree of suffering cannot be determined, is an astonishing corruption of traditional legal & moral principles. Yet, this has now become reality. · Under Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 the UN established Local Agenda 21 or LA 21 for implementation by local councils around the world (48, 49, 50, 51,52 ,53 , 54, 55,56 , 57, 58 , 59). Though Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 suggests that “each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations & private enterprises & adopt a local Agenda 21”, in practice the public has largely been kept ignorant of AG 21 & has been denied a democratic choice by councils & governments around Australia. These concepts are currently being used by councils & state governments in Australia to tie up land use with regulations, LEP’s, zonings & green tape so that private landholders are progressively losing control of their land, with resultant loss in land value. · Implementation of LA21 is also promoted by ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the name now being changed to Local Governments for Sustainability. In fact, Section 7.21 of Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI. According to Maurice Strong in the Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide, “The task of mobilizing & technically supporting Local Agenda 21 planning in these communities has been led by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) & national associations of local government.” ICLEI supports the “Cities for Climate Protection Campaign & the Local Agenda 21 Initiative.” · The UN Tentacles of ICLEI in Local Councils ICLEI “will continue connecting cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies” and ICLEI will “serve as a global entry point for cities and local governments to engage with the United Nations and international and national policy processes” and will “pursue more radical solutions.” ICLEI will “Advocate direct access to climate finance and other funds by local governments and an inversion of climate finance mechanisms to enable the implementation of needs-driven local development.” ICLEI will promote “Management of global environmental goods” such as” Climate, Biodiversity, Water, Food.” In other words, ICLEI intends to convert them to controllable tradeable commodities. ICLEI will promote “Municipal planning and management” or, in other words, they will help councils control land use. ICLEI will promote Local Agenda 21, that is, ICLEI will continue to assist councils to undemocratically implement foreign UN monitored sustainability programs. ICLEI will “Maintain and enhance ecosystems services” and “Promote the global implementation of “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) chapter for Local and Regional Decision Makers” developed under UNEP.” Economic services are defined: “Ecosystem services are the transformation of a set of natural assets (soil, plants and animals, air and water) into things that we value. For example, when fungi, worms and bacteria transform the raw “ingredients” of sunlight, carbon and nitrogen into fertile soil this transformation is an ecosystem service.” ICLEI will also “Continue Local Government climate advocacy through the Local Government Climate Roadmap. Continue supporting and acting as Secretariat of the World Mayors Council on Climate Change.” No need for scientific evidence—no exit strategy if cooling continues. ICLEI will “Develop EcoMobility program modules” to help councils get rid of cars. ICLEI will “Support local governments in introducing a local “happiness index” drawing on the Kingdom of Bhutan’s experiences with replacing the GDP through “Gross National Happiness”. · Many authorities prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21”, using instead terms such as (60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management”, “local environmental plans” or Sustainable Development 21 or SD21 (66, 66b, 67, 68, 69). Some local authorities have also changed the name of Local Agenda 21 to ‘Local Climate Strategy’ (66, 66a, 66b). The United Nations Sustainable Cities program is yet another spin off of Local Agenda 21 & the UN Habitat agenda (70, 71, 72, 73, 74). Deliberate deception or failure to fully inform the public is fundamental to the success of the program (75, 76). · Some local authorities overseas are now moving to ban Agenda 21 because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature & the threat it poses to basic human rights, not least, our property rights (9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21). According to Agenda 21 (77, 78), Australians can only have “improved living standards”, a “more prosperous future” & “managed ecosystems”, if we form a “global partnership”, a partnership of course which will ultimately be under the control of one global authority. By ourselves we are doomed to failure according to Agenda 21 (77, 78). Chapter 8.31 of Agenda 21 states that countries are required to (80 ) “incorporate environmental costs in the decisions of producers & consumers, to reverse the tendency to treat the environment as a ‘free good’ & to pass these costs on to other parts of society, other countries, or to future generations.” This is described in Agenda 21 as a (80) “fundamental objective.” Ratepayers & ordinary Australians will be increasingly required to fund local UN Agenda 21 schemes & ‘green’ programs with growing rates & taxes such as the CO2 tax. However, these funds will be diverted AWAY from local infrastructure projects to further the global ambitions of the UN, not least their stated goals of central World Governance. Agenda 21 & LA 21, inspired by Mikhail Gorbachev & Maurice Strong who formed the original Earth Charter, amounts to a global power grab & land grab to control & outlaw private land ownership (81, 82, 83, 84, 85). Agenda 21 & Local Agenda 21 aims to change our lives, that of our children & future descendants, forever. And yet the political promoters of this program have continually refused to expose this program to the light of truth during an election campaign. It is urgent that we restore democracy to our local area & insist that the voting public are permitted to make an informed democratic choice. APPENDIX B Evidence of the Extent to Which Governments Having been Implementing AG21 Around Australia Without Giving Australians any Democratic Choice · Agenda 21: The political program that has been implemented around Australia by all 3 levels of government for 20 years without giving voters a democratic choice. · Agenda 21: The program that all major political parties have decided, for the past 20 years, is best to implement without including in official party policy. · Agenda 21: The bipartisan supported program which both political parties have consistently decided to exclude from electoral campaigns. · Agenda 21: For 20 years the most universally politically popular and democratically and electorally unpopular program which has been completely ignored by the mainstream media. The undemocratic invasion of Australia by the United Nations Agenda 21 Agenda 21 is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). It is absolutely disgraceful that such anti-democratic sovereignty undermining foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been implemented by all three levels of government throughout Australia for 20 years. Further, during this 20 year implementation, both major political parties have consistently decided it best to exclude Agenda 21 from their official policies to prevent voters from having a democratic choice. The Australian government has paved the way for the undemocratic infiltration of Agenda 21 in Australia by the support of the United Nations Earth Summit by the Howard government followed by ratification by the Keating government and implementation by successive governments (5, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 51 ). No doubt because of the undemocratic regressive nature of Agenda 21, various experts and government officials often prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21” and using instead terms such as (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (45): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have to do is look for the keywords……..Everything associated with this program is deceptive. The language they use, the names they give the projects, the means by which they lure local governments into the trap and then slam the door – absolutely everything is deceptive from beginning to end.” And the deceit about the full implications and origin of AG21 is endemic throughout Australia (46): “Throughout Australia it seems that there has been widespread uncertainty about the meaning, scope and value of the term ‘Local Agenda 21’……..Some councils have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to call their initiatives ‘LA21′ “…….”However, this is not to say that LA21 is not happening within Australia. On the contrary there is Local Agenda 21 activity in every state and territory and many councils are working on projects that have at their core the processes of LA21, although they may not necessarily be using that terminology.” Since many aspects of AG21 need to be enforced at the local level, the federal government was compelled to enlist the co-operation of state and local governments in order to satisfy the implementation requirements of the United Nations. As a result, all Australian states, including NSW (47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70 , 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 100, 101, 102, 103 ), Queensland (104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114) Victoria (115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126), SA (127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144), and WA (145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151), proceeded to implement Agenda by changes to state legislation and by enforcing local changes at the local council level. In fact, so important were local councils in the global plans of the UN that the UN specifically incorporated a section promoting so called ‘Local Agenda 21’ or’ LA 21’ into Chapter 28 of the Agenda 21 document. Local Agenda 21 has been adopted by Councils around Australia under the guidance of their respective state governments (46, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 70 , 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 104, 110, 111, 112, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159). In Victoria, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) “has established a statewide partnership of councils involved in ecological sustainable development (ESD) /Triple Bottom Line/Local Agenda 21(LA21) initiatives. A successful first meeting of 17 member councils from around the State was held on 15th August 2001 to establish the MAV Victorian Local Sustainability Partnership.” And “By 2001, at least 20 local councils in Victoria were working towards implementing Local Agenda 21 action plans to help their communities become involved in sustainable development. “ Eric Smith draws attention to some of the regressive effects of AG 21 in Melbourne: “Has anyone noticed that the streets around Melbourne aren’t as bright as they used to be?…….. That’s because various local councils have been rolling out “energy-efficient” street lights, which cost the tax-payer a fortune, while making our streets significantly darker and hence less safe……It’s all being done under a United Nations treaty, signed and ratified by Australia in the early 1990s, known as Agenda 21, which is a manifesto for sending humanity back to the pre-industrial era, a time when you had to wash your clothes in the local river and the average life expectancy was little more than 30.” Smith cites The Municipal Association of Victoria: “Local government has a key role to play in promoting environmental sustainability and taking action that sees the concept incorporated into everyday life. Steps toward this are part of the Local Agenda 21 model and the MAV is helping to push the sustainability agenda further through various council networks, showcase forums and other initiatives.” To further disguise the true goals of Agenda 21 the name has been changed to Sustainable Development 21 or SD21 (160, 161, 162, 163, 163a), while some local authorities have changed the name of Local Agenda 21 to ‘Local Climate Strategy’ (161, 161b, 161a). The United Nations Sustainable Cities program is yet another spin off of Agenda 21 and the UN Habitat agenda (173, 174, 175, 176, 177). The United Nations has found from 20 years experience that implementation of their global agenda by local authorities has been their most effective strategy (160, 161, 162), especially given the impediments of national sovereignty. Not surprisingly, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development in the 21st Century Summary for Policymakers, the future of their global agenda depends largely upon giving more power and recognition to local councils (161): “Empowering lower levels with means to act on their own Progress towards more sustainable outcomes does not need to wait for a hypothetical consensus on what the future of the world should be, or how global affairs should be managed. Actions at lower levels can and should be taken as soon as possible……… Empower lower levels of governments to act as agents of change on their own and try new approaches to sustainability…. Local governments also have a critical role to play as agents of change, as their closeness to their constituents enable them to embark on bold experiments of different paths to sustainability…… Providing appropriate mandates and resources to all levels of governments Ultimately, the success or failure of sustainable development will largely depend on decisions and actions that are taken at the local level. This was well recognized by Agenda 21.” But the UN went further in their Review of Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Principles (Draft – Jan 2012), even suggesting that local governments should be empowered by state and federal governments to communicate directly with the United Nations (160): “All governance levels from local through global need to be vertically interconnected for bottom-up energy to meet top-down support. In order to bridge the gaps between different levels of governance well as between agenda and action, local governments need to be given a more prominent role in global UN processes. The intergovernmental level should recognize that local authorities have similar legitimacy compared to national governments, and with many local authorities governing bigger populations than the 150 smallest UN member states, it would be reasonable if they could get voting rights in the UN. New institutional arrangements for sustainability should be based on a multi-level concept of governance and include elected representatives from local, sub-national, national, regional and ultimately global levels. In the other direction, it is imperative that decentralization policies are accompanied with all the needed political, legal and financial support that local authorities need for implementing their localized strategies for sustainability.” Since the United Nations have issued their directives for governments around the world, it is hardly surprising that the current Labor government plans to conduct a referendum at the next election to constitutionally recognise and give more rights to local councils (163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168). The commitment to hold a referendum was part of an agreement signed by the Greens Party and the ALP in order to form government (166, 168, 169). Astonishingly, even though ecologically sustainable development in Australia is enforced by state law (86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 170, 171, 172), the public have yet to be made aware of either its UN Agenda 21 origins or the totality of its global goals. APPENDIX C Rewriting the Legal System to Support Ecocentrism & Transfer Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment Agenda 21 is firmly rooted in the Gaia philosophy of the Earth Charter and Agenda 21 architects such as Maurice Strong. The Gaians or earth worshippers support a biocentric world view or ecocentric world view where humans become of secondary importance to the environment and ecosystem. In other words, plants come first humans come last. This biocentric or ecocentric Gaian world view is pervasively infiltrating our legal and political systems and scientific facts no longer matter. As has been noted by Henry Lamb in The Rise of Global Green Religion: “The paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to biocentrism is increasingly evident in public policy and in the documents which emanate from the United Nations and from the federal government. Public policies are being formulated in response to biocentric enlightenment, rather than in response to scientific evidence.” According to Bosselmann and Taylor in their essay about the Significance of the Earth Charter in International Law, The Earth Charter “challenges the anthropocentric idea of justice”. The Earth Charter was initiated by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev , and was adopted by the Australian government in 2005. Anthropocentrism, the traditional basis of NSW laws (32), has now been overturned and replaced by a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 ecocentric world view where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” In regard to an ecocentric view of property rights, Peter Burdon notes in his thesis, Earth jurisprudence: private property and earth community: “The central argument of this thesis is that the institution of private property reflects an anthropocentric worldview and is contributing to the current environmental crisis. ……It advocates a paradigm shift in law from anthropocentrism to the concept of Earth community. The thesis first provides an example laws anthropocentrism by exploring the legal philosophical concept of private property. ….It concludes that the dominant rights-based theory of private property is anthropocentric and facilitates environmental harm. The second component of the thesis explores contemporary scientific evidence supporting the ecocentric concept of Earth community. This concept argues that human beings are deeply connected and dependent on nature. It also describes the Earth as a community of subjects and not a collection of objects. Assuming that the social sphere is an important source for law, this thesis considers how a paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism can influence the development of legal concepts. To catalyse this shift, it considers the ‘new story’ proposed by cultural historian and theologian Thomas Berry. This story describes contemporary scientific insights such as interconnectedness in a narrative form Third, the thesis uses the alternative paradigm of Earth community to articulate an emerging legal philosophy called Earth Jurisprudence. It describes Earth Jurisprudence as a theory of natural law and advocates for the recognition of two kinds of law, organised in a hierarchical relationship. At the apex is the Great Law, which represents the principle of Earth community. Beneath the Great Law is Human Law, which represents rules articulated by human authorities, which are consistent with the Great Law and enacted for the common good of the comprehensive Earth Community. In regard to the interrelationship between these two legal categories, two points are crucial. Human Law derives its legal quality from the Great Law and any law in contravention of this standard is considered a corruption of law and not morally binding on a population. Finally, the thesis constructs an alternative concept of private property based on the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence. It describes private property as a relationship between members of the Earth community, through tangible or intangible items. To be consistent with the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, the concept of private property must recognise human social relationships, include nonreciprocal duties and obligations; and respond to the ‘thing’ which is the subject matter of a property relationship. A theory of private property that overlooks any of these considerations is defective and deserves to be labelled such.” Supporters of this world view, who believe property rights should be transferred from humans to plants and the environment, are insidiously rewriting our laws to support their bizarre world view. According to Justice Preston, Chief Judge of the NSW Land & Environment Court, Earth should be run like a spaceship: “An increasing recognition of the first law of ecology – that everything is connected to everything else27 – and that the Earth’s ecosystem is, in a sense, a spaceship,28 may necessitate more sweeping positive obligations on landowners. Sax argues that ‘property owners must bear affirmative obligations to use their property in the service of habitable planet’. Sax recommends that: ‘We increasingly will have to employ land and other natural resources to maintain and restore the natural functioning of natural systems. More forest land will have to be left as forest, both to play a role in climate and as habitat. More water will have to be left instream to maintain marine ecosystems. More coastal wetland will have to be left as zones of biological productivity. We already recognise that there is no right to use air and water as waste sinks, and no right to contaminate the underground with toxic residue. In short there will be – there is being – imposed a servitude on our resources, a first call on them to play a role in maintaining a habitable and congenial planet … We shall have to move that way, for only when the demands of the abovementioned public servitude of habitability has been met will resources be available for private benefits. To fulfil the demands of that servitude, each owner will have to bear an affirmative responsibility, to act as a trustee insofar as the fate of the earth is entrusted to him. Each inhabitant will effectively have a right in all such property sufficient to ensure servitude is enforced. Every opportunity for private gain will have to yield to the exigencies of a life-sustaining planet.’ Sax’s call for private gain to yield to the existences of a life-sustaining planet is encapsulated in the concept of ecologically sustainable development.” Justice Preston summarises ecocentrism thus: “Ecocentrism involves taking a nature-centred rather than a human-centred approach, where the earth is valued not as a commodity belonging to us but a community to which we belong. Development of an earth jurisprudence requires the internalisation of ecocentrism in environmental law. It involves listening to the earth and adapting law to ecology. It values and gives voice to the environment. This paper surveys some ways in which environmental law can embrace ecocentrism” The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related biocentric/ecocentric programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). The decision of the NSW government not to utilise a democratic locally designed sustainability program, but rather to import an ecocentric sustainability policy which has been designed by a foreign agency (UN), and is monitored and supervised by a foreign agency (UN), poses a fundamental and ongoing threat to the sovereignty and democracy of NSW and all of its residents. Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the ecocentric principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Otherwise law abiding citizens are being dragged into court as politicians and lawyers seek to enforce their ecocentric philosophy upon ordinary people. How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the ecocentric dictates of the UN? This new environment centred ecocentric philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85). According to David Farrier and Paul Stein in the Environmental Law Handbook: Planning and Land Use in NSW: “The perspective presented by the law has been quite clearly human-centred, or anthropocentric. Instead of looking at the natural environment as having value in its own right, we have looked at it from the point of view of humans. Before a 1997 amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, ‘environment’ was defined in it as including ‘all aspects of the surroundings of man whether affecting him as an individual or in his social groupings’ (s.4(1)). The problem with the human-centred approach to the natural environment is that it leads to an irresistible temptation to view it simply as a resource to be used for our benefit. Decisions are made on the basis of what is good for people rather than what is good for the natural environment. The natural environment becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Perhaps this is inevitable, given that it is human beings who make the law and the decisions. No matter how motivated the human decision-maker is to give some kind of equal status to the integrity of the natural environment, we cannot avoid the fact that a human interpretation of the needs of the natural world will prevail. Recently, there have been attempts to modify the anthropocentric focus of environmental law. There is a changing consciousness about the interconnectedness of all living species and systems, encapsulated in a concern for the conservation of biological diversity. This has given rise to a new definition of ‘environment’ in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act (see page 4), and the enactment of legislation such as the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, which seeks to protect ecological communities and the critical habitat of threatened species (see chapter 11). This change in emphasis, however, can also be justified in terms of the future interests of humanity. For example, restrictions on certain developments can be justified because of the need to preserve plants whose pharmacological properties have not yet been identified. And there are ecological processes, many of them still poorly understood, that provide ecosystem services such as water purification and soil fertilisation. Humans ultimately depend on, and benefit from, these processes.” The decline of anthropocentrism and the rise of modern environmentalism is creating a future where basic human rights, including the right to private property, will be challenged on environmental grounds. Not only the rights of plants and ecosystems, but also the rights of future generations will be utilised to justify removal of the human rights of the present generation. We can therefore look forward to a future where fundamental human rights will be considered secondary to the rights of the “environment” and persons who do not exist. According to Justice McClellan: “It cannot be assumed that environmental law and the role of the Land and Environment Court will be free of controversy in the future. Some of the issues which the Court must deal with raise questions of fundamental human rights. All of them affect the lives of some or a group of people in our community. Many will involve very substantial money profits or losses to individuals or corporations. The court must contribute to the task of balancing the immediate needs of the present generation with the trust we hold for those who will come after us.” Increasingly, the rights of private land owners are being eroded under the guise of environmental concerns, the UN biodiversity programme and Agenda 21, and the principles of distributive justice and intergenerational justice. According to Gerry Bates at the Conference on Rural Land Use Change: “Government has progressively moved to wrest management of natural resources away from private control and unlimited public access. It is common now for water, fish and biodiversity to be vested in and controlled by the Crown*. Legislation then creates government authorities charged with the task of managing these resources, and implementing and enforcing the statutory scheme. Environmental restrictions imposed by legislation, of course, cut across common law rights; but centuries of legal and cultural tradition that support the pre-eminence of the rights of private landowners cannot be easily overcome; and such rights still have a considerable influence on the development of environmental policy and therefore of environmental law. The governmental approach to environmental management and protection has had to be applied in the context of a social system, supported by the common law, that hitherto placed few restrictions on the exploitation of natural resources by private landowners.” *Emphasis added Agenda 21, which all levels of government continue to enthusiastically embrace, is an undemocratic biocentric/ecocentric United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored biocentric/ecocentric programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. APPENDIX D Response to Correspondence from the Victorian Minister for Local Government – Jeanette Powell (Please note: My response to the Minister also included the following 3 back up documents not included here: The Australian Government Agenda for the 21st Century – The Invasion of Australia by the United Nations; Local Environmental Plans & the Covert UN Agenda 21 Takeover: Councils, Property Rights & Democracy, What you Should Know) Vivien Leizer|Reception Office of the Hon Jeanette Powell MP Minister for Local Government |Aboriginal Affairs 17/8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne VIC 3002 Phone(03) 9637 8938 | Fax(03) 9637 8920 Email vivien.e.leizer@dse.vic.gov.au Dear Vivien, Thank you for your forwarding the response on behalf of the Minister. I refer the following extremely serious matters to the Minister’s urgent attention. I refer to the following part of the Minister’s response. In spite of this claim, according to the voluminous evidence below and enclosed, your government has clearly been implementing, and permitting to be implemented, the Agenda 21 program for near 20 years, yet you have never declared it as policy. Why? Are you saying you have now banned Agenda 21 from Victoria and you now utilise a local sustainability program with no UN connections? Will you be officially declaring it as policy at the next election or do you prefer to continue implementing it without declaring it as policy? Why? Please refer me to relevant documentation. And do you now reject the Commonwealth Governments Local Agenda 21 guide? And have you now prevented Victorian Councils from importing foreign UN sustainability programs such as Agenda 21? Could you please supply documentation? Will you be taking legal action against the Municipal Association and Victorian councils (below) for implementing Agenda 21 when you have not approved it? Or will you be deregistering them? Let’s cut to the chase here. Unless you can supply current documentation proving you have outlawed or banned UN Agenda 21 and other imported sustainability programs from Victoria, then to suggest your government is not part of the implementation of this program is at best extremely misleading, and at worst, a deliberate untruth designed to deliberately deceive the public. Which is it? Why is it apparently so important to you NOT to openly declare this program as policy? Or will you immediately ban it and all such imported programs? Regards Graham Williamson http://www.regional.org.au/au/soc/2002/4/lyon.htm The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has established a statewide partnership of councils involved in ecological sustainable development (ESD) /Triple Bottom Line/Local Agenda 21(LA21) initiatives. A successful first meeting of 17 member councils from around the State was held on 15th August 2001 to establish the MAV Victorian Local Sustainability Partnership…….In Victoria over the past ten years, about 15–20 local governments have embarked on local processes to engage with their communities and develop a strategic plan to address sustainability. Much of the work of leading councils in this area has developed on the back of the Local Conservation Strategy (LCS) program of the Cain and Kirner Labour governments of the early 90s. During the 6 years of the Kennett government there was no explicit support or acknowledgment of Local Agenda 21 or environment planning initiatives at the local government level. Despite this lack of State support, leading Victorian local governments have developed innovative approaches to sustainability. However, more recently at a State level there has been an explicit focus on ‘sustainability’ with a number of approaches. The Brack’s Labour government elected almost three years ago had an election platform to create a ‘Commissioner for ESD’ and the government has undertaken extensive consultation on the proposed Commissioner. A final government response to these consultations is still being developed. Additionally the Brack’s government has highlighted the importance of triple bottom line (TBL) approaches and sustainability in the ‘Growing Victoria Together’2 policy statement. The still to be released Metro Strategy is to be a major statement by Government on the future of Melbourne, particularly focusing on the growth corridors of outer Melbourne, the urban–rural interface issues and the issues of integrated planning and transport across greater Melbourne. While these major initiatives have still to be launched, many of the programs now being developed by different Victorian government agencies to address sustainability still do not explicitly acknowledge and provide support of local government approaches to ESD such as Local Agenda 21. In fact, a number of recent initiatives could be argued to duplicate or cut across municipal approaches, and in a sense ‘re-invent’ much of the successful local sustainability work already underway through local government. The Liveable Neighbourhood approach attempts to develop a community driven local approach to environmental management, providing a planning tool that is more responsive to community and to arguments for greater local autonomy and control of planning and environment issues.3 Like Local Agenda 21, the NEIP model seeks to tackle sustainability at the local level by creating a form of local community involvement. However, as with the Victorian residential planning system where a Minister or VCAT (administrative tribunal) can override a local planning decision, the EPA is the final approver and arbiter of NEIPs. While the work in developing an NEIP is undertaken by a local council (or other ‘protection agency’) and though a community process, the plan is still at the end of the day sanctioned or ‘approved’ by the State though the EPA. http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/40787/73366_1.pdf?sequence=1 Examples of governments’ reluctance to devolve power and control can be found in attempts to implement the Agenda 21 at the local level. For instance, as part of the sustainability discourse, local governments were ascribed the role of promoting better public dialogue to deal with complex environmental issues (Khakee, 2001). At the centre of that rhetoric was the establishment of the Agenda 21 at the local level (Bulkeley, 2000). Khakee (2001) states that the public dialogue advocated with Agenda 21 was a community-wide learning process which could assist in the definition of objectives as well as install institutional capital that would enable the achievement of sustainability. However, a study about the implementation of the Agenda 21 in the Victorian context (Mercer & Jotkowits, 2000) suggests that the fact that local governments’ role changed from being one which governs to a more administrative entity did not result in the devolution of power and control; instead, it contributed to impede the implementation of programmes with a more structural changing character such as the one proposed by the Agenda 21. Governments, particularly at the local scale, appear to prefer to embrace less contentious initiatives such as the ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection Campaign (CCPC) (Bulkeley, 2000). While this campaign has established as one of its objectives the strengthening of local communities, its key outcomes are heavily associated with tangible results. These include targets and timetables and related economic benefits rather than more comprehensive measures which would demand better public engagement (Lindseth, 2004). Thus when faced with the challenge of implementing major structural changes and policies similar to the ones advocated by the Agenda 21, local authorities tend to buy time by implementing easier policies (Whittaker, 1997). Additionally, they also tend to do business-as-usual and repack existing programmes under new banners as observed in the case of adoption of the CCPC by American cities (Betsill, 2000). https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/common/public/documents/8cbc79e88419896- EnvironmentManagementStrategy2006-2011.pdf Council recognised the importance of sound environmental management in the late 1990’s when it adopted its first Environmental Management Strategy- Local Agenda 21 in February 1999……. In 1992 a meeting of the World Commission on Environment and Development met in Rio de Janeiro at the Earth Summit. A strategy called Agenda 21 was adopted by over 100 countries to encourage more sustainable development. A Local Agenda 21 is a strategy prepared by government and all sections of the community to establish a vision and to integrate programs for change. The City’s new Environment Management Strategy is Council’s Local Agenda 21 and represents a commitment to addressing global issues at the local level. http://www.nre.vic.gov.au/melbourne2030online/content/policies_initiatives/07h_policy78.html Melbourne 2030 – Local sustainability initiatives in Victoria Local Agenda 21 This is based on the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, which aimed to establish a global agenda for social, economic and environmental sustainability. Australia joined with 177 other member nations to adopt Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and subsequently local authorities were encouraged to prepare a ‘Local Agenda 21’ with their communities. Since then, some 100 local governments throughout Australia have made a commitment to Local Agenda 21 or ecologically sustainable development through municipal plans and strategies. By 2001, at least 20 local councils in Victoria were working towards implementing Local Agenda 21 action plans to help their communities become involved in sustainable development. http://www.gswreportcard.org/_opes/publications/IntegratingRegionalSustainabilityProgram.pdf Local governments across Australia have recognised an integrative role in community sustainability and thus traditionally address local sustainability through the Local Agenda 21 model. Local Agenda 21 encourages all local authorities to enter into dialogue with their communities on developing an action plan for sustainability that seeks to integrate social, ecological and economic sustainability. This approach was reendorsed in 2002 by local government representatives at the Johannesburg World Summit. The next step for those attempting to implement such action plans is to be able to demonstrate that such plans and strategies are making a difference. http://www.markbirrell.com/Vital.htm (Speech on the Agenda 21 infrastructure initiatives for our Capital City – outlining progress in implementing the Liberal/National policy on Melbourne first announced by Mark Birrell on 16th. August, 1991) In this address I wish to outline the aims and objectives of the Coalition Government’s agenda for our capital city. It is important for me first of all to put on record my thanks to the Institute for the work that it has done to assist us in progressing elements of the “Agenda 21″ program. http://www.la.org.au/opinion/011010/back-dark-ages-melbourne%E2%80%99s-streets Has anyone noticed that the streets around Melbourne aren’t as bright as they used to be?…….. That’s because various local councils have been rolling out “energy-efficient” street lights, which cost the tax-payer a fortune, while making our streets significantly darker and hence less safe……It’s all being done under a United Nations treaty, signed and ratified by Australia in the early 1990s, known as Agenda 21, which is a manifesto for sending humanity back to the pre-industrial era, a time when you had to wash your clothes in the local river and the average life expectancy was little more than 30. The Municipal Association of Victoria states on its website: “Local government has a key role to play in promoting environmental sustainability and taking action that sees the concept incorporated into everyday life. Steps toward this are part of the Local Agenda 21 model and the MAV is helping to push the sustainability agenda further through various council networks, showcase forums and other initiatives.” http://www.ccmaknowledgebase.vic.gov.au/resources/COGG.pdf A Local Agenda 21 is an environment strategy prepared by government and all sections of the community to establish a vision and to integrate programs for change. This EMS is therefore Council’s Local Agenda 21 and represents a commitment to addressing global issues at the local level…. The importance of ESD was highlighted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where agreements aimed at providing a broad framework for global sustainable development such as Agenda 21, to which Australia is a signatory, were signed. The emphasis of Agenda 21 is the achievement of the objectives of ESD at the global scale through action at the local level, which is encapsulated in the statement `think globally, act locally’. A copy of Chapter 28 from the Agenda 21 Charter is attached as Appendix One. In the Australian context, the concept of sustainable development has been incorporated into National policy documents, such as the 1992 Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment and the 1995 CommonwealthLocal Government Accord on the Environment. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is a party to these, which place responsibilities on all local Councils to prepare strategies and policies that will foster sound environmental management and sustainable development. ALGA is also a signatory to `The Newcastle Declaration’, which was endorsed at the International Conference – Pathways to Sustainability in June 1997. A copy of this is attached as Appendix Two… This EMS is the City of Greater Geelong’s response to acting locally and will be Geelong’s Local Agenda 21 Action Plan. It is an action-oriented document outlining a range of actions that can be undertaken within the municipality to achieve ecologically sustainable development. Background – the undemocratic invasion of Australia by the United Nations Agenda 21 Graham Williamson Agenda 21 is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). It is absolutely disgraceful that such anti-democratic sovereignty undermining foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been implemented by all three levels of government throughout Australia for 20 years. Further, during this 20 year implementation, both major political parties have consistently decided it best to exclude Agenda 21 from their official policies to prevent voters from having a democratic choice. The Australian government has paved the way for the undemocratic infiltration of Agenda 21 in Australia by the support of the United Nations Earth Summit by the Howard government followed by ratification by the Keating government and implementation by successive governments (5, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 51 ). No doubt because of the undemocratic regressive nature of Agenda 21, various experts and government officials often prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21” and using instead terms such as (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (45): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have to do is look for the keywords……..Everything associated with this program is deceptive. The language they use, the names they give the projects, the means by which they lure local governments into the trap and then slam the door – absolutely everything is deceptive from beginning to end.” And the deceit about the full implications and origin of AG21 is endemic throughout Australia (46): “Throughout Australia it seems that there has been widespread uncertainty about the meaning, scope and value of the term ‘Local Agenda 21’……..Some councils have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to call their initiatives ‘LA21’ “…….”However, this is not to say that LA21 is not happening within Australia. On the contrary there is Local Agenda 21 activity in every state and territory and many councils are working on projects that have at their core the processes of LA21, although they may not necessarily be using that terminology.” Since many aspects of AG21 need to be enforced at the local level, the federal government was compelled to enlist the co-operation of state and local governments in order to satisfy the implementation requirements of the United Nations. As a result, all Australian states, including NSW (47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70 , 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 100, 101, 102, 103 ), Queensland (104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114) Victoria (115, 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126), SA (127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144), and WA (145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151), proceeded to implement Agenda by changes to state legislation and by enforcing local changes at the local council level. In fact, so important were local councils in the global plans of the UN that the UN specifically incorporated a section promoting so called ‘Local Agenda 21’ or’ LA 21’ into Chapter 28 of the Agenda 21 document. Local Agenda 21 has been adopted by Councils around Australia under the guidance of their respective state governments (46, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 70 , 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 104, 110, 111, 112, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159). To further disguise the true goals of Agenda 21 the name has been changed to Sustainable Development 21 or SD21 (160, 161, 162, 163), while some local authorities have changed the name of Local Agenda 21 to ‘Local Climate Strategy’ (160). The United Nations Sustainable Cities program is yet another spin off of Agenda 21 and the UN Habitat agenda (173, 174, 175, 176, 177). The United Nations has found from 20 years experience that implementation of their global agenda by local authorities has been their most effective strategy (160, 161, 162), especially given the impediments of national sovereignty. Not surprisingly, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development in the 21st Century Summary for Policymakers, the future of their global agenda depends largely upon giving more power and recognition to local councils (161): “Empowering lower levels with means to act on their own Progress towards more sustainable outcomes does not need to wait for a hypothetical consensus on what the future of the world should be, or how global affairs should be managed. Actions at lower levels can and should be taken as soon as possible……… Empower lower levels of governments to act as agents of change on their own and try new approaches to sustainability…. Local governments also have a critical role to play as agents of change, as their closeness to their constituents enable them to embark on bold experiments of different paths to sustainability…… Providing appropriate mandates and resources to all levels of governments Ultimately, the success or failure of sustainable development will largely depend on decisions and actions that are taken at the local level. This was well recognized by Agenda 21.” But the UN went further in their Review of Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Rio Principles (Draft – Jan 2012), even suggesting that local governments should be empowered by state and federal governments to communicate directly with the United Nations (160): “All governance levels from local through global need to be vertically interconnected for bottom-up energy to meet top-down support. In order to bridge the gaps between different levels of governance well as between agenda and action, local governments need to be given a more prominent role in global UN processes. The intergovernmental level should recognize that local authorities have similar legitimacy compared to national governments, and with many local authorities governing bigger populations than the 150 smallest UN member states, it would be reasonable if they could get voting rights in the UN. New institutional arrangements for sustainability should be based on a multi-level concept of governance and include elected representatives from local, sub-national, national, regional and ultimately global levels. In the other direction, it is imperative that decentralization policies are accompanied with all the needed political, legal and financial support that local authorities need for implementing their localized strategies for sustainability.” Since the United Nations have issued their directives for governments around the world, it is hardly surprising that the current Labor government plans to conduct a referendum at the next election to constitutionally recognise and give more rights to local councils (163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168). The commitment to hold a referendum was part of an agreement signed by the Greens Party and the ALP in order to form government (166, 168, 169). Astonishingly, even though ecologically sustainable development in Australia is enforced by state law (86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,94 ,95, 96, 170, 171, 172), the public have yet to be made aware of either its UN Agenda 21 origins or the totality of its global goals. In further support of the global implementation of LA21 is ICLEI , the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, the name now being changed to Local Governments for Sustainability. In fact, Section 7.21 of Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI. According to Maurice Strong in the Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide (173), “The task of mobilizing and technically supporting Local Agenda 21 planning in these communities has been led by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and national associations of local government.” And further, according to ICLEI, the UN requested that ICLEI present a draft of Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 including a mandate for all local authorities to prepare a ‘local Agenda 21’.” In fact, ICLEI stated they had two fundamental programs, the “Cities for Climate Protection Campaign and the Local Agenda 21 Initiative.” According to ICLEI (174): “In 1991, at the invitation of Secretariat for the UN Conference on Environment and Development, ICLEI presented a draft of Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 including the mandate for all local authorities to prepare a “local Agenda 21.” The final version of Chapter 28 approved at the Earth Summit stipulates that “by 1996 , most local authorities in each country should have undertaken a consultative process with their population and achieved a consensus on a local Agenda 21 for the(ir) communities.” Following the adoption of the LA21 at the Earth Summit, ICLEI began organizing to ensure that this mandate would be used to advance sustainable development. In particular, ICLEI was concerned that LA21 processes be truly participatory and that they result in new commitments by municipalities and their communities to improve and extend urban services in a sustainable way. To address these concerns, ICLEI established a Local Agenda 21 Initiative with three elements. The Local Agenda 21 Model Communities Programme was a research and development project which supported a select group of municipalities to design, test, and evaluate planning frameworks for sustainable development. These local frameworks were guided by a general ICLEI framework called “Strategic Services Planning” which addresses many of the organizational and institutional problems related to governance and public sector service delivery in the sustainable development context. With the creation of its Local Agenda 21 Campaign, ICLEI has positioned itself in the growing LA 21 “movement”-which presently counts more than 2,000 communities involved-as a developer and promoter of standards for LA 21 planning. The LA 21 Model Communities Programme established the guiding principles for LA 21 planning and tested a variety of participatory planning tools. The experiences of the MCP participants resulted in the publication, in English, Spanish, and now Turkish, of the ICLEI Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide: An Introduction to Sustainable Development Planning(1996). This guide is being increasingly used in university and local government institute training courses around the world. ICLEI also developed with participating municipalities, the Local Agenda 21 Declaration. This declaration consists of a set of milestones and principles which are formally adopted by local councils as their standard for LA 21 planning. In 1998, ICLEI directly assisted more than 180 municipalities in the establishment of LA 21 planning and projects that are consistent with the declaration’s standards. According to the United Nations, Agenda 21 requires that local authorities, as part of their new global role, also enter into partnerships with (175) “relevant organs and organizations such as UNDP, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and UNEP, the World Bank, regional banks, the International Union of Local Authorities, the World Association of the Major Metropolises, Summit of Great Cities of the World, the United Towns Organization.” This has given rise to bottom up movements where local government and local councils are given progressively more power as compared to national governments. The implementation of Agenda 21 is of course, monitored by the UN, participating countries being required to report back to the UN on a regular basis (176, 177, 178, 179). The UN describes the monitoring and reporting provisions for Agenda 21 in chapter 38.11. The Commonwealth of course, provides these reports to the UN from implementation progress at state and local government levels. In fact, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development was established to oversee the implementation of Agenda 21 around the world (176, 177, 179). According to the Commonwealth Government in this regard (179): “The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a mandate to review implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in particular progress in the implementation of the program of action known as Agenda 21. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since. The 10-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21 culminated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (September, 2002). While the CSD successfully built a profile and improved understanding of sustainable development during its first 10 years, it was recognised at the WSSD that some reforms were required to ensure the continued relevance of its work. The WSSD Plan of Implementation (POI) called for reform of the CSD within its existing mandate (as adopted un UNGA resolution 47/191). In particular, the POI recommended : · Limiting negotiating sessions to every two years; · Re-considering the scheduling and duration of intersessional meetings; and · Limiting the number of themes addressed in each session. An enhanced role for the CSD in monitoring and reporting on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and in facilitation of partnerships was also recommended.” Strangely, membership of the CSD which oversees Australia’s compliance with the requirements of Agenda 21, includes various extremist and despotic regimes who deny basic human rights to their own citizens. So at a time when (180) “many of the world’s worst violators of human rights and democratic standards have joined in loose coalitions at the United Nations to deflect attention from their records of repression”, the United Nations and the Australian government want such countries to judge Australia’s sustainability progress. But as if all this isn’t bad enough, representatives of Iran, Cuba, North Korea, and Libya in the United Nations Human Rights Council, recently criticised human rights violations in the USA (181,182): “Recommendations to improve the U.S. human rights record included Cuba’s advice to end “violations against migrants and mentally ill persons” and “ensure the right to food and health.” Iran – currently poised to stone an Iranian woman for adultery – told the U.S. “effectively to combat violence against women.” North Korea – which systematically starves a captive population – told the U.S. “to address inequalities in housing, employment and education” and “prohibit brutality…by law enforcement officials.” Libya complained about U.S. “racism, racial discrimination and intolerance.” Interestingly, “North Korea is not only on the Human Rights Council. It was appointed to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) even though many of its people routinely suffer from starvation because of the regime’s totalitarian nature”(181, 183). APPENDIX E Mr Barry O’Farrell, MP Level 40 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, As you can see below, the NSW Attorney General was unwilling to answer simple questions regarding the use of the ecocentric principles of the Agenda 21 program to rewrite and reshape the NSW legal system (as backed up by voluminous evidence of implementation across numerous government departments). I asked the Attorney the following specific questions. Please explain why you consider that overseeing the direction of the legal system of NSW is not your responsibility and please name the person who is responsible? Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). I then asked: How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the dictates of the UN? For some reason you chose to ignore this legal question and refer it to other Ministers such as the Minister for Planning and Minister for the Environment? Why? Do you feel they are better qualified to answer legal questions about human rights, property rights, and NSW sovereignty? But the Attorney General refused to answer, seeking to avoid the subject of implementation of AG21 by NSW and even go so far as to pretend it is only a Commonwealth matter. I quote: “If you have concerns about Australia’s adoption of Agenda 21 you should contact the Federal Government.” Clearly this is ridiculous. We have a situation in NSW where numerous judges and legal experts acknowledge that the NSW legal system is being restructured to support the ecocentric principles of the United Nations Agenda 21 program and yet we have an Attorney General who accepts no responsibility and seems to profess complete ignorance. Could he possibly be so ignorant, or is he being deliberately misleading or deceptive. Either way, he should be instantly dismissed. Will you be sacking him? Could you please state what action you will be taking and the government’s policy in regard to implementation of the foreign UN Agenda 21 program? Will you be banning it? Or do you intend to continue to implement it throughout the various state departments which have embedded it into policy? And could you please advise who is responsible for overseeing the direction of the NSW legal system and administration of justice in NSW as the Attorney General continually seeks to distance himself from any such responsibility. Regards Graham Williamson From: Public Smith’s Office Email [mailto:Office@smith.minister.nsw.gov.au] Sent: Friday, 30 November 2012 10:33 AM To: grahamhw@iprimus.com.au Subject: FW: TRIM: FW: Ecocentrism – who is responsible for overseeing NSW laws Dear Mr Williamson If you have concerns about Australia’s adoption of Agenda 21 you should contact the Federal Government. If you have concerns about the adoption of a particular policy associated with Agenda 21 then you should contact the Minister, Council etc responsible for that decision. Elections are regularly held at a local, state and federal level. This affords you the opportunity to vote for the candidate that you believe best reflects your policy preferences. I have referred your matter to a number of Ministers and should you send further correspondence this will be placed on file without response. Kind regards Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Mr Barry O’Farrell Premier Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Mr O’Farrell, The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent it is frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Traditionally NSW laws have been based upon “anthropocentrism” (32), the belief that humankind had dominion over the environment and the plants and animals of which it is comprised. In recent years however, this has been reversed so that our legal system is now increasingly based upon a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 world view where anthropocentrism is overturned and is replaced by a new order where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” This new environment centred philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) as opposed to a human centred or anthropocentric philosophy, has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57). Agenda 21 however is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. What will you do about this? Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 5. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 6. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 7. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? I look forward to receiving clarification of these vitally important matters. Regards Graham Williamson APPENDIX F Correspondence with NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker. Ms Robyn Parker, MP Minister for the Environment Level 32 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Re response from Ms Danielle Lautrec MD12/3442; MD12/4303 Dear Ms Parker, Thank you for your response, courtesy of Ms Lautrec. As you know, my correspondence (included below) was about various aspects of Agenda 21, none of which Ms Lautrec was able to respond to. To quote Ms Lautrec: The claim that “the decision for Australia to commit to the principals of Agenda 21 was a decision made by the Federal Government” is of course, completely false if you are attempting to deny the NSW state government, and Local Governments, are implementing this program. This statement is at best, extremely and deceptively misleading, and at worst, it is deliberate deception and denial of the facts. Do you condone this dishonesty? Are you denying that both the NSW Government, and Local Councils, are implementing this program and have been doing so for nearly two decades? As you of course realise, the Federal Government is reliant upon State and Local Governments to implement the many local requirements of Agenda 21. Knowing this, why would you feel the need to pretend it was just a “decision made by the Federal Government” and imply it has nothing to do with state and local governments? Let me remind you of some of the issues you failed to address from my earlier correspondence (below). First let me stress that my enquiry is about the 500 page foreign United Nations designed and monitored Agenda 21 program. As I stated previously: The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent it is frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Do you approve of this adoption of this foreign program and its use to penalise NSW residents? Will you be including this program in official Liberal Party Policy or do you prefer to continue to implement it while excluding it from policy? I continued in my earlier communication: Agenda 21 however is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. What will you do about this? Even though these matters are of vital importance to residents of NSW you expressed no concern whatsoever and failed to advise what action you would take to protect the sovereignty of NSW and the rights of NSW land owners. Why? I continued: Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” I then asked: Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? But you once again chose to completely ignore this question, apparently preferring NOT to offer NSW land owners any such protections. Is this correct? When will you take decisive action to protect the rights of NSW residents? I continued: In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 8. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). You were unable to supply even one NSW Government notice alerting residents to these facts. Why? 9. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. Once again you were unable to supply any such documentation. Why? 10. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? You were completely unable to confirm that you had offered residents any such local program at all, your only option being to force upon NSW residents a foreign (UN) designed and monitored program. Why? As is perfectly clear, the above issues are of vital importance, yet your preferred response was to ignore all of them. When can I expect a meaningful response? Regards Graham Williamson Ms Robyn Parker, MP Minister for the Environment Level 32 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Ms Parker, The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent it is frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Traditionally NSW laws have been based upon “anthropocentrism” (32), the belief that humankind had dominion over the environment and the plants and animals of which it is comprised. In recent years however, this has been reversed so that our legal system is now increasingly based upon a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 world view where anthropocentrism is overturned and is replaced by a new order where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” This new environment centred philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) as opposed to a human centred or anthropocentric philosophy, has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57). Agenda 21 however is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. What will you do about this? Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 11. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 12. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 13. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? I look forward to receiving clarification of these vitally important matters. Regards Graham Williamson APPENDIX G Correspondence with NSW Attorney General Greg Smith. Dear Mr Williamson (final response from Minister – 30th Nov 2012) If you have concerns about Australia’s adoption of Agenda 21 you should contact the Federal Government. If you have concerns about the adoption of a particular policy associated with Agenda 21 then you should contact the Minister, Council etc responsible for that decision. Elections are regularly held at a local, state and federal level. This affords you the opportunity to vote for the candidate that you believe best reflects your policy preferences. I have referred your matter to a number of Ministers and should you send further correspondence this will be placed on file without response. Kind regards Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice. From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Sunday, 25 November 2012 7:20 AM To: Public Smith’s Office Email Subject: TRIM: FW: Ecocentrism – who is responsible for overseeing NSW laws Mr Greg Smith, MP Attorney General and Minister for Justice Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, I have still received no response to the vitally important issues raised in the below email. When can I expect a meaningful response? Is your continuing non-response indicative of your complete lack of concern about these issues? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Sunday, 23 September 2012 9:18 AM To: office@smith..minister.nsw.gov.au; epping@parliament.nsw.gov.au Cc: office@premier.nsw.gov.au Subject: FW: Ecocentrism – who is responsible for overseeing NSW laws Mr Greg Smith, MP Attorney General and Minister for Justice Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Mr Smith, The below email remains unanswered. When can I expect an answer to the extremely important issues contained therein? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Wednesday, 15 August 2012 8:25 PM To: office@smith..minister.nsw.gov.au; ‘epping@parliament.nsw.gov.au’ Cc: office@premier.nsw.gov.au; ‘kuringgai@parliament.nsw.gov.au’ Subject: Ecocentrism – who is responsible for overseeing NSW laws Mr Greg Smith, MP Attorney General and Minister for Justice Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, In response to my previous communication below, which you referred to other Ministers, you stated “The matters raised do not fall under the portfolio responsibility of the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice.” Please explain why you consider that overseeing the direction of the legal system of NSW is not your responsibility and please name the person who is responsible? Incidentally, since as a result of my earlier correspondence you have declared that the matters I referred to, including the overseeing of the direction of the NSW legal system, has nothing to do with you, I have cc’d the Premier. Previously I stated as follows. Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). I then asked: How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the dictates of the UN? For some reason you chose to ignore this legal question and refer it to other Ministers such as the Minister for Planning and Minister for the Environment? Why? Do you feel they are better qualified to answer legal questions about human rights, property rights, and NSW sovereignty? Traditionally NSW laws have been based upon “anthropocentrism” (32), the belief that humankind had dominion over the environment and the plants and animals of which it is comprised. In recent years however, this has been reversed so that our legal system is now increasingly based upon a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 world view where anthropocentrism is overturned and is replaced by a new order where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” This new environment centred philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) as opposed to a human centred or anthropocentric philosophy, has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85). I then asked: Do you support the Gaia inspired UN driven reversal of our traditional anthropocentric legal system and its replacement with a ‘plants come first humans come last’ biocentric system? Have you advised the public about this? You decided to completely ignore this legal question, preferring instead to refer it to other Ministers such as the Minister for Education. Why? Do you feel you are not qualified to answer legal questions? If you are not responsible for overseeing the direction of the NSW legal system please explain why and refer me to the person who is responsible. I provide further documentary evidence below and ask again: Do you support the Gaia inspired UN driven reversal of our traditional anthropocentric legal system and its replacement with a ‘plants come first humans come last’ biocentric system? Have you advised the public about this? Justice Preston and others confirm that the anthropocentric basis of the NSW legal system is being undermined so the system is being converted into a virtual plants come first humans come last ecocentric system. You are overseeing this process. Are you directly responsible for these changes? Do you approve of these changes? If not, what will you do to restore anthropocentrism in the NSW legal system? REWRITING THE LEGAL SYSTEM TO ENFORCE THE RIGHTS OF PLANTS & THE ENVIRONMENT Agenda 21 is firmly rooted in the Gaia philosophy of the Earth Charter and Agenda 21 architects such as Maurice Strong. The Gaians or earth worshippers support a biocentric world view or ecocentric world view where humans become of secondary importance to the environment and ecosystem. In other words, plants come first humans come last. This biocentric or ecocentric Gaian world view is pervasively infiltrating our legal and political systems and scientific facts no longer matter. As has been noted by Henry Lamb in The Rise of Global Green Religion: “The paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to biocentrism is increasingly evident in public policy and in the documents which emanate from the United Nations and from the federal government. Public policies are being formulated in response to biocentric enlightenment, rather than in response to scientific evidence.” According to Bosselmann and Taylor in their essay about the Significance of the Earth Charter in International Law, The Earth Charter “challenges the anthropocentric idea of justice”. The Earth Charter was initiated by Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev , and was adopted by the Australian government in 2005. Anthropocentrism, the traditional basis of NSW laws (32), has now been overturned and replaced by a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 ecocentric world view where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” In regard to an ecocentric view of property rights, Peter Burdon notes in his thesis, Earth jurisprudence: private property and earth community: “The central argument of this thesis is that the institution of private property reflects an anthropocentric worldview and is contributing to the current environmental crisis. ……It advocates a paradigm shift in law from anthropocentrism to the concept of Earth community. The thesis first provides an example laws anthropocentrism by exploring the legal philosophical concept of private property. ….It concludes that the dominant rightsbased theory of private property is anthropocentric and facilitates environmental harm. The second component of the thesis explores contemporary scientific evidence supporting the ecocentric concept of Earth community.. This concept argues that human beings are deeply connected and dependent on nature. It also describes the Earth as a community of subjects and not a collection of objects. Assuming that the social sphere is an important source for law, this thesis considers how a paradigm shift from anthropocentrism to ecocentrism can influence the development of legal concepts. To catalyse this shift, it considers the ‘new story’ proposed by cultural historian and theologian Thomas Berry. This story describes contemporary scientific insights such as interconnectedness in a narrative form Third, the thesis uses the alternative paradigm of Earth community to articulate an emerging legal philosophy called Earth Jurisprudence. It describes Earth Jurisprudence as a theory of natural law and advocates for the recognition of two kinds of law, organised in a hierarchical relationship. At the apex is the Great Law, which represents the principle of Earth community. Beneath the Great Law is Human Law, which represents rules articulated by human authorities, which are consistent with the Great Law and enacted for the common good of the comprehensive Earth Community. In regard to the interrelationship between these two legal categories, two points are crucial. Human Law derives its legal quality from the Great Law and any law in contravention of this standard is considered a corruption of law and not morally binding on a population. Finally, the thesis constructs an alternative concept of private property based on the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence. It describes private property as a relationship between members of the Earth community, through tangible or intangible items. To be consistent with the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, the concept of private property must recognise human social relationships, include nonreciprocal duties and obligations; and respond to the ‘thing’ which is the subject matter of a property relationship. A theory of private property that overlooks any of these considerations is defective and deserves to be labelled such.” Supporters of this world view, who believe property rights should be transferred from humans to plants and the environment, are insidiously rewriting our laws to support their bizarre world view. According to Justice Preston, Chief Judge of the NSW Land & Environment Court, Earth should be run like a spaceship: “An increasing recognition of the first law of ecology – that everything is connected to everything else27 – and that the Earth’s ecosystem is, in a sense, a spaceship,28 may necessitate more sweeping positive obligations on landowners. Sax argues that ‘property owners must bear affirmative obligations to use their property in the service of habitable planet’. Sax recommends that: ‘We increasingly will have to employ land and other natural resources to maintain and restore the natural functioning of natural systems. More forest land will have to be left as forest, both to play a role in climate and as habitat. More water will have to be left instream to maintain marine ecosystems. More coastal wetland will have to be left as zones of biological productivity. We already recognise that there is no right to use air and water as waste sinks, and no right to contaminate the underground with toxic residue. In short there will be – there is being – imposed a servitude on our resources, a first call on them to play a role in maintaining a habitable and congenial planet … We shall have to move that way, for only when the demands of the abovementioned public servitude of habitability has been met will resources be available for private benefits. To fulfil the demands of that servitude, each owner will have to bear an affirmative responsibility, to act as a trustee insofar as the fate of the earth is entrusted to him. Each inhabitant will effectively have a right in all such property sufficient to ensure servitude is enforced. Every opportunity for private gain will have to yield to the exigencies of a life-sustaining planet.’ Sax’s call for private gain to yield to the existences of a life-sustaining planet is encapsulated in the concept of ecologically sustainable development.” Justice Preston summarises ecocentrism thus: “Ecocentrism involves taking a nature-centred rather than a human-centred approach, where the earth is valued not as a commodity belonging to us but a community to which we belong. Development of an earth jurisprudence requires the internalisation of ecocentrism in environmental law. It involves listening to the earth and adapting law to ecology. It values and gives voice to the environment. This paper surveys some ways in which environmental law can embrace ecocentrism” The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related biocentric/ecocentric programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). The decision of the NSW government not to utilise a democratic locally designed sustainability program, but rather to import an ecocentric sustainability policy which has been designed by a foreign agency (UN), and is monitored and supervised by a foreign agency (UN), poses a fundamental and ongoing threat to the sovereignty and democracy of NSW and all of its residents. Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the ecocentric principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Otherwise law abiding citizens are being dragged into court as politicians and lawyers seek to enforce their ecocentric philosophy upon ordinary people. How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the ecocentric dictates of the UN? This new environment centred ecocentric philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85). According to David Farrier and Paul Stein in the Environmental Law Handbook: Planning and Land Use in NSW: “The perspective presented by the law has been quite clearly human-centred, or anthropocentric. Instead of looking at the natural environment as having value in its own right, we have looked at it from the point of view of humans. Before a 1997 amendment to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, ‘environment’ was defined in it as including ‘all aspects of the surroundings of man whether affecting him as an individual or in his social groupings’ (s.4(1)). The problem with the human-centred approach to the natural environment is that it leads to an irresistible temptation to view it simply as a resource to be used for our benefit. Decisions are made on the basis of what is good for people rather than what is good for the natural environment. The natural environment becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself. Perhaps this is inevitable, given that it is human beings who make the law and the decisions. No matter how motivated the human decision-maker is to give some kind of equal status to the integrity of the natural environment, we cannot avoid the fact that a human interpretation of the needs of the natural world will prevail. Recently, there have been attempts to modify the anthropocentric focus of environmental law. There is a changing consciousness about the interconnectedness of all living species and systems, encapsulated in a concern for the conservation of biological diversity. This has given rise to a new definition of ‘environment’ in the Protection of the Environment Administration Act (see page 4), and the enactment of legislation such as the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, which seeks to protect ecological communities and the critical habitat of threatened species (see chapter 11). This change in emphasis, however, can also be justified in terms of the future interests of humanity. For example, restrictions on certain developments can be justified because of the need to preserve plants whose pharmacological properties have not yet been identified. And there are ecological processes, many of them still poorly understood, that provide ecosystem services such as water purification and soil fertilisation. Humans ultimately depend on, and benefit from, these processes.” The decline of anthropocentrism and the rise of modern environmentalism is creating a future where basic human rights, including the right to private property, will be challenged on environmental grounds. Not only the rights of plants and ecosystems, but also the rights of future generations will be utilised to justify removal of the human rights of the present generation. We can therefore look forward to a future where fundamental human rights will be considered secondary to the rights of the “environment” and persons who do not exist. According to Justice McClellan: “It cannot be assumed that environmental law and the role of the Land and Environment Court will be free of controversy in the future. Some of the issues which the Court must deal with raise questions of fundamental human rights. All of them affect the lives of some or a group of people in our community. Many will involve very substantial money profits or losses to individuals or corporations. The court must contribute to the task of balancing the immediate needs of the present generation with the trust we hold for those who will come after us.” Increasingly, the rights of private land owners are being eroded under the guise of environmental concerns, the UN biodiversity programme and Agenda 21, and the principles of distributive justice and intergenerational justice. According to Gerry Bates at the Conference on Rural Land Use Change: “Government has progressively moved to wrest management of natural resources away from private control and unlimited public access. It is common now for water, fish and biodiversity to be vested in and controlled by the Crown*. Legislation then creates government authorities charged with the task of managing these resources, and implementing and enforcing the statutory scheme. Environmental restrictions imposed by legislation, of course, cut across common law rights; but centuries of legal and cultural tradition that support the pre-eminence of the rights of private landowners cannot be easily overcome; and such rights still have a considerable influence on the development of environmental policy and therefore of environmental law. The governmental approach to environmental management and protection has had to be applied in the context of a social system, supported by the common law, that hitherto placed few restrictions on the exploitation of natural resources by private landowners.” *Emphasis added Agenda 21, which all levels of government continue to enthusiastically embrace, is an undemocratic biocentric/ecocentric United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored biocentric/ecocentric programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. You are the Minister responsible for justice. What do you intend to do regarding this unjust treatment and betrayal of NSW residents? And do you intend to continue to support the insidious undemocratic conversion of the NSW legal system to an ecocentric system? If not, what action will you take to prevent this and when? Regards Graham Williamson Dear Mr Williamson Thank you for your recent correspondence to the office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, the Hon Greg Smith SC MP. The matters raised do not fall under the portfolio responsibility of the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Justice. Therefore, we have forwarded your correspondence to; 1. The Hon. Robyn Parker MP Minister for the Environment 2. The Hon. Brad Hazzard MP Minister for Planning and Infrastructure &Minister Assisting the Premier on Infrastructure NSW 3. The Hon. Adrian Piccoli MP Minister for Education 4. The Hon. Don Page MP Minister for Local Government I trust your correspondence will receive attention as soon as possible… Kind regards Mr Greg Smith, MP Attorney General and Minister for Justice Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). The decision of the NSW government not to utilise a democratic locally designed sustainability program, but rather to import a sustainability policy which has been designed by a foreign agency (UN), and is monitored and supervised by a foreign agency (UN), poses a fundamental and ongoing threat to the sovereignty and democracy of NSW and all of its residents. Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent the principles of this imported undemocratic sustainability program are frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). How is this possible? How can any democratic NSW government permit an undemocratic foreign agency such as the UN to attack the human rights, particularly property rights, of NSW residents by legislating to enforce the dictates of the UN? Traditionally NSW laws have been based upon “anthropocentrism” (32), the belief that humankind had dominion over the environment and the plants and animals of which it is comprised. In recent years however, this has been reversed so that our legal system is now increasingly based upon a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 world view where anthropocentrism is overturned and is replaced by a new order where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” This new environment centred philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) as opposed to a human centred or anthropocentric philosophy, has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85). Do you support the Gaia inspired UN driven reversal of our traditional anthropocentric legal system and its replacement with a ‘plants come first humans come last’ biocentric system? Have you advised the public about this? Agenda 21, which your government continues to enthusiastically embrace, is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77)… It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. What will you do about this? Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 1. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 2. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 3. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? I look forward to receiving clarification of these vitally important matters. Regards Graham Williamson APPENDIX H Correspondence with Minister for Local Government, Don Page Mr Donald Page MP Minister for Local Government Level 33 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, I have yet to receive a response to the issues below. Could you please advise your time frame for a meaningful response to these vitally important issues? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Tuesday, 25 September 2012 8:04 PM To: office@page.minister.nsw.gov.au Cc: ‘Anne Rinaudo’ Subject: RE: Agenda item 21 Mr Donald Page MP Minister for Local Government Level 33 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, In my previous emails (see below) I asked about your policy in regard to Agenda 21(1, 1a) and its implementation at the local government level. I also provided voluminous back up documentation showing the implementation of Agenda by the NSW government, and by local governments of NSW ( 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23), none of which was refuted by you. Given the fact that the Department of Local Government is overseeing the implementation of Agenda 21 by local Councils throughout NSW ( 24 , 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39) under your guidance, I was absolutely astonished to receive the following response from you: “Dear Mr Williamson Thank you for your emails. However, the matters you raise in relation to the United Nations and changes in laws in Alabama are not issues which fall under the responsibilities of the Minister for Local Government and Minister for the North Coast.” Are you deliberately, for some reason, attempting to avoid discussing your policy regarding implementation of Agenda 21 at the local government level in NSW? If so. Why? Why would you seek to abandon ministerial responsibility for the local government portfolio in such a fashion? Even the Attorney General’s Department has advised me it is your responsibility so your abandonment of your ministerial responsibility raises serious questions indeed. Given your responsibility for the implementation of AG 21 at the local government level I also drew your attention to the undemocratic and foreign nature of this program: Agenda 21 however is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” I then asked: Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 14. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 15. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 16. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? Although you are overseeing the implementation of AG 21 at the local government level you not only expressed no concern whatsoever about the above matters, you even chose to pretend implementation of Agenda 21 by local government in NSW is not your responsibility. Why? I further noted that according to various experts government officials often prefer to mislead the public by avoiding the term “Agenda 21” and using instead terms such as (40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (45): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have to do is look for the keywords……..Everything associated with this program is deceptive. The language they use, the names they give the projects, the means by which they lure local governments into the trap and then slam the door – absolutely everything is deceptive from beginning to end.” And the deceit is endemic throughout Australia (46): “Throughout Australia it seems that there has been widespread uncertainty about the meaning, scope and value of the term ‘Local Agenda 21’……..Some councils have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to call their initiatives ‘LA21’ “…….”However, this is not to say that LA21 is not happening within Australia. On the contrary there is Local Agenda 21 activity in every state and territory and many councils are working on projects that have at their core the processes of LA21, although they may not necessarily be using that terminology.” Will you be promoting a more honest and open policy in regard to educating the public about Agenda 21? As you realise, the implementation of Agenda 21 is also monitored by the UN, participating countries being required to report back to the UN on a regular basis (47, 48, 49, 50). The UN describes the monitoring and reporting provisions for Agenda 21 in chapter 38.11. The Commonwealth of course, provides these reports to the UN from implementation progress at state and local government levels. In fact, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development was established to oversee the implementation of Agenda 21 around the world (47, 48, 50). According to the Commonwealth Government in this regard (50): “The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a mandate to review implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in particular progress in the implementation of the program of action known as Agenda 21. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since. The 10-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21 culminated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (September, 2002). While the CSD successfully built a profile and improved understanding of sustainable development during its first 10 years, it was recognised at the WSSD that some reforms were required to ensure the continued relevance of its work. The WSSD Plan of Implementation (POI) called for reform of the CSD within its existing mandate (as adopted un UNGA resolution 47/191). In particular, the POI recommended : · Limiting negotiating sessions to every two years; · Re-considering the scheduling and duration of intersessional meetings; and · Limiting the number of themes addressed in each session. An enhanced role for the CSD in monitoring and reporting on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and in facilitation of partnerships was also recommended.” Following are some of the typical United Nations land use questions the government is required to answer to check implementation of Agenda 21 at the local level (51): “4. Agenda 21 called for the review and development of policies to support the best possible use of land and sustainable management of land resources, with a target date not later than 1996. Please describe progress that your country has made towards meeting this target. 6. Please explain briefly, to what extent are plans for expansion of human settlements reviewed with respect to the impacts on farmlands, landscape, forest land, wetlands and biological diversity. ANNEX: OVERALL EVALUATION OF INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND RESOURCES The following section is designed to facilitate an overall evaluation of the progress achieved in various related activities as outlined in Chapter 10. 1. Please provide qualitative rankings on different aspects of integrated land use planning and management that your Government has been able to achieve at different levels of success since UNCED. In order to guide your answers (i.e. giving a rating to every box) the qualitative rankings are ordered on a scale from 1-5: 5 – distinguishing or outstanding achievements 4 – clear and apparent achievements 3 – only slight achievements 2 – no achievements at all 1 – worse than before UNCED Rankings Activities [4] Development of a national policy or strategy on integrated land management [4] Development of policies that have encouraged sustainable land use and management of land resources [5] Review of the regulatory frameworks related to land use and management [4] Formulation and adoption of land use zoning [3] Institutional set-up for monitoring land use regulations [4] Formulation and adoption of market-based measures [4] Information compilation and land capability analysis [5] Identification of data gaps [5] Identification of major challenges and issues related to the implementation of integrated land use and management approach at nation-wide level 82 2. What level of importance is attached to the different functions of land in your country? Please provide qualitative ranking of the major functions or characteristics of land (i.e. give a rating to every box) on a scale from 1-4. 4 – Very high importance 3 – Highly important 2 – only slightly important 1 – not important at all Ranking Major functions/characteristics of land [1] Food security [4] Rural development [4] Rural viability [4] Environmental sustainability (protection/recovery/rehabilitation/enhancement) [4] Improved policies and institutions [4] Economic development [4] Poverty reduction and equity [4] Social cohesion” Will you be publicising the above facts and educating the public (and councils) about the full details and end goals of Local Agenda 21? Will the government be officially including Agenda 21 in government policy or do you prefer to continue to implement this program through local governments without including it as a policy? Regards Graham Williamson From: Anne Rinaudo [mailto:Anne.Rinaudo@minister.nsw.gov.au] Sent: Tuesday, 25 September 2012 9:51 AM To: grahamhw@iprimus.com.au Subject: FW: Agenda item 21 Dear Mr Williamson, Please accept my apologies, unfortunately the email reply to your request was mistakenly sent to an incorrect email address. The reply is below. Kind regards Anne Rinaudo Policy Advisor Minister for Local Government and the North Coast _____________________________________________ Email: anne.rinaudo@minister.nsw.gov.au Tel: 02 9228 3403 Fax: 02 9228 3442 This message is intended for the addressee named and may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete it and notify the sender. Views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, and are not necessarily those of the office of the Minister. Please consider the environment before printing this email. From: Public Page’s Office Email Sent: Monday, 6 August 2012 11:56 AM To: ‘grahamw@iprimus.com.au’ Subject: Agenda item 21 Dear Mr Williamson Thank you for your emails. However, the matters you raise in relation to the United Nations and changes in laws in Alabama are not issues which fall under the responsibilities of the Minister for Local Government and Minister for the North Coast. Kind regards Anne Rinaudo Policy Advisor Minister for Local Government and the North Coast _____________________________________________ Email: anne.rinaudo@minister.nsw.gov.au Tel: 02 9228 3403 Fax: 02 9228 3442 APPENDIX I Correspondence with the NSW Minister for Planning & Infrastructure Brad Hazzard Mr Brad Hazzard, MP Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Sir, I have still received no response to the vitally important issues raised in the below email. When can I expect a meaningful response? Is your continuing non-response indicative of your complete lack of concern about these issues? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Sunday, 23 September 2012 9:11 AM To: office@hazzard.minister.nsw.gov.au Cc: office@premier.nsw.gov.au Subject: FW: Agenda 21 policy Mr Brad Hazzard, MP Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Mr Hazzard, The below emails remain unanswered. When can I expect an answer to the extremely important issues contained therein? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Tuesday, 31 July 2012 7:31 PM To: office@hazzard.minister.nsw.gov.au Cc: office@premier.nsw.gov.au Subject: FW: Agenda 21 policy Mr Brad Hazzard, MP Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Mr Hazzard, The below emails remain unanswered. When can I expect an answer to the extremely important issues contained therein? Regards Graham Williamson From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Saturday, 21 July 2012 7:16 AM To: office@hazzard.minister.nsw.gov.au Subject: Agenda 21 policy Mr Brad Hazzard, MP Level 31 Governor Macquarie Tower 1 Farrer Place SYDNEY NSW 2000 Dear Mr Hazzard, The NSW government has integrated Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 related programs into its environmental/sustainability policies, its planning policies, its local government policies, and its education policies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23). Indeed, so entrenched has Agenda 21 become that it has even infiltrated the legal system of NSW to the extent it is frequently used to pass judgement upon, and penalise, NSW citizens (24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31,43 ,44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50). Traditionally NSW laws have been based upon “anthropocentrism” (32), the belief that humankind had dominion over the environment and the plants and animals of which it is comprised. In recent years however, this has been reversed so that our legal system is now increasingly based upon a Gaia driven (39, 40) UN Agenda 21 world view where anthropocentrism is overturned and is replaced by a new order where the environment, and animals, reign supreme and man’s place in the world is secondary (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38). This philosophy now forms the basis of new environmental laws and the flourishing NSW environmental legal system (25, 26 ). As has been noted by Pain (25, 26): “environmental legislation has moved away from being ‘anthropocentric-and-development orientated’ towards legislation that is ‘more environment-centred’.” This new environment centred philosophy or environmental ethics (41, 42 ) as opposed to a human centred or anthropocentric philosophy, has led to an explosion in both the complexity and number of new environmental laws (25 ) and these laws are increasingly being undemocratically used by State and local government to override and erode property rights of NSW landholders (50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57). Agenda 21 however is an undemocratic United Nations designed and monitored program (58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64), which is being banned overseas because of its fundamentally undemocratic regressive nature and the threat it poses to basic human rights, including property rights (65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77). It is absolutely astonishing and completely unacceptable that foreign designed and monitored programs such as Agenda 21 have been actively and pervasively embedded into NSW planning and legislation while residents have NEVER been given a democratic choice. What will you do about this? Recently, because of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 and the serious threat it poses to human rights, particularly property rights, the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (78): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” Are you prepared to represent the interests of NSW residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? In view of the above facts I seek answers to the following questions. 1. Has the NSW government warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc). 2. Does the NSW government have a clear policy to ban all such UN derived Agenda 21 related policies to protect local residents? Please supply documentary evidence, including the time frame for implementation. 3. Has the NSW government offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? I look forward to receiving clarification of these vitally important matters. Regards Graham Williamson UNANSWERED EMAIL OF 29th JUNE Dear Sir, I am alarmed at the pervasive infiltration of foreign UN Agenda 21 (1) associated programs at all levels of state and local government in NSW (3, 4, 5, 6 , 7 ,8 , 9 , 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15 , 16, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61) and the continuing refusal of the NSW government to reverse this undemocratic trend. Rather than inform Australians about the UN origins of Agenda 21 or the intended radical end results of the total agenda, government officials often seek to conceal the truth by using terms such as (2, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28) “sustainability”, “smart growth”, “growth management” or “local environmental plans”. Deliberate deception of the public it seems, is fundamental to the success of the program (28): “Agenda 21 is being implemented in the U.S. under various names to deceive the unsuspecting public as to the source and real purpose of the program. However identifying the programs is relatively easy. All you have to do is look for the keywords……..Everything associated with this program is deceptive. The language they use, the names they give the projects, the means by which they lure local governments into the trap and then slam the door – absolutely everything is deceptive from beginning to end.” And the deceit is endemic throughout Australia also (29): “Throughout Australia it seems that there has been widespread uncertainty about the meaning, scope and value of the term ‘Local Agenda 21’……..Some councils have chosen, for a variety of reasons, not to call their initiatives ‘LA21’ “…….”However, this is not to say that LA21 is not happening within Australia. On the contrary there is Local Agenda 21 activity in every state and territory and many councils are working on projects that have at their core the processes of LA21, although they may not necessarily be using that terminology.” Agenda 21 and LA 21, inspired by Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong who formed the Earth Charter, amounts to a socialistic global land grab to control and outlaw private land ownership (62, 63, 64, 65, 66). Those behind the United Nations global sustainability push believe more in the rights of animals, plants, and people not yet born, than they do about everyday Australians and their families. Do you support this gaia driven biocentric philosophy which forms the basis of Agenda 21? But, most conspicuously, as with all these United Nations motivated visions for the future, Commonwealth, State, and local governments, seem to have abandoned any concept of democracy, freedom, and ensuring individual rights. Our elected representatives are spending billions of dollars on protecting the rights of plants, animals, and people not yet born. At the same time they are attacking the rights and freedoms of real people and real families. What sort of vision do we have if we do not include exact details of our plans to protect freedom and democracy? Increasingly, the rights of private land owners are being eroded by Australian governments acting as agents of the UN against the interests of the Australian people, all under the guise of environmental concerns (68 ): “Government has progressively moved to wrest management of natural resources away from private control and unlimited public access. It is common now for water, fish and biodiversity to be vested in and controlled by the Crown*. Legislation then creates government authorities charged with the task of managing these resources, and implementing and enforcing the statutory scheme. Environmental restrictions imposed by legislation, of course, cut across common law rights; but centuries of legal and cultural tradition that support the pre-eminence of the rights of private landowners cannot be easily overcome; and such rights still have a considerable influence on the development of environmental policy and therefore of environmental law. The governmental approach to environmental management and protection has had to be applied in the context of a social system, supported by the common law, that hitherto placed few restrictions on the exploitation of natural resources by private landowners.” *Emphasis added Do you support this UN driven process of using environmental concerns to control & restrict the rights of land owners? In Chapter 38 of Agenda 21 the United Nations describes the necessary powers to administer and implement Agenda 21 and initiates the formation of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to oversee and monitor the implementation of Agenda 21. According to Chapter 39 countries should ensure they cooperate with the requirements of Agenda 21 as set out by the United Nations (67 ): “The parties to international agreements should consider procedures and mechanisms to promote and review their effective, full and prompt implementation. To that effect, States could, inter alia: (a) Establish efficient and practical reporting systems on the effective, full and prompt implementation of international legal instruments; (b) Consider appropriate ways in which relevant international bodies, such as UNEP, might contribute towards the further development of such mechanisms.” Strangely, membership of the CSD which will oversee Australia’s compliance with the requirements of Agenda 21, includes various extremist and despotic regimes who deny basic human rights to their own citizens. According to Windsor (110) “many of the world’s worst violators of human rights and democratic standards have joined in loose coalitions at the United Nations to deflect attention from their records of repression.” Interestingly, “North Korea is not only on the Human Rights Council, It was appointed to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) even though many of its people routinely suffer from starvation because of the regime’s totalitarian nature”(111, 112). In fact, the CSD is comprised of many undemocratic totalitarian countries (112, 113). These countries will be overseeing Australia’s progress. Do you approve of this and why haven’t you advised the people of NSW? Meanwhile, Australian schoolchildren are being ‘educated’ in line with the instructions contained within the United Nations global ecological sustainability program ( 69, 70, 71 , 72, 73, 90 ). These educational initiatives are in response to the United Nations Agenda 21 program and their global sustainability requirements (74 ). According to John Aquilina (69): “The New South Wales Government is a world leader in supporting environmental education in schools, with particular attention being given to Agenda 21, a global policy outcome of the 1992 Earth Summit. Agenda 21 has been recognised by the New South Wales Government as the basis for an internationally agreed course of action towards sustainability. This has led to legislation in a number of areas, including the Protection of the Environment Amendment (Environmental Education) Act, 1998.” Do you support this UN driven indoctrination of schoolchildren? Not only have the people of NSW never been given a democratic choice about the NSW government’s implementation of UN based Agenda 21 associated initiatives, but from the evidence above it is clear there have even been attempts to deliberately conceal the true UN origin and goals of the program by the use of more innocuous names. This persistent refusal of the government to properly inform Australians about Agenda 21 and the United Nations global sustainability campaign is not only in breach of fundamental freedoms and the ability to make an informed democratic choice, it is also in direct violation of the basic human right to participate in elections and political processes. These rights (75) “are protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR).” The right to participate in Agenda 21 and other political or public policy processes (which of course, should also include the right not to participate – but that is another matter!) includes the right to be correctly and fully informed, as is noted by Picolotti (76): “Informative participation Informative participation implies an exchange of information and knowledge on certain issues of concern to the community. The community provides information to the state and vice versa, enabling each to make proper decisions about how they administer resources, which leads to more optimal resource management.” Successive Australian & NSW governments have not only been guilty of gross negligence in refusing to fully inform Australians of the long term goals and totality of the Agenda 21 and sustainability initiatives, but further, they are also guilty of consistently violating fundamental human rights relating to the right to participate. Not only have they failed to inform the voting public of the totality and long term goals of the UN Agenda 21 sustainability initiatives, but further, there is even evidence that attempts have been made to conceal the truth by the use of innocuous descriptive labels the aim of which is to distance Australian initiatives from the their UN global origins. But this violation of human rights is still continuing as the government still refuses to publicise the totality and goals of their agenda, thereby actively preventing Australians from making an informed democratic choice. Do you continue to support this removal of democratic choice and refusal to clearly spell out the UN origin of the Agenda 21 program? Or will you follow the overseas precedent (77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89) and ban UN gaia driven (94) Agenda 21 associated programs until residents of NSW have been granted a genuine informed democratic choice? Currently the rights of NSW residents, particularly landowners, are under attack on so many fronts and yet the NSW government appears to be part of the problem, with their UN driven gaia motivated legal pursuit of landowners, rather than part of the solution (91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109). Will you change this? Will you take immediate action to protect landowners and all Australians from intrusive UN driven ‘sustainability’ programs? Will you ban such programs and show allegiance to NSW residents by enabling them to determine their own environmental future or do you feel our future should be determined by foreign undemocratic agencies in a process which is overseen by foreign dictators? Regards Graham Williamson APPENDIX J Transferring Property Rights from Humans to Plants & the Environment: Submission to the NSW Government BioBanking review 1. Putting a Price on Nature: Morality & Responsibility The NSW government seeks to put a price on nature, a price on every blade of grass, every animal, every insect, even microrganisms and the ecosystem itself. Since the ecosystem will be valued and revalued at the whim of government, this of course, includes every rock, leaf, log, or dead tree. A dead tree or log harbouring termites after all, is an important part of the ecosystem. And the government wants the power to control the value of all these components of nature. This clearly is a full out frontal attack on private property, the rights of all land holders (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). It is unjust, immoral, and fundamentally antiAustralian. This aspect has recently been addressed by David Leyonhjelm in an article entitled (3) “Property rights gone for the ‘general good’.” According to Leyonhjelm (3): WHEN the great William Blackstone codified the English common law in the 1760s, he placed great significance on property rights. In his view: ‘So great moreover is the regard of the law for private property, that it will not authorize the least violation of it; no, not even for the general good of the whole community.’ Although they are among the inheritors of the common law, farmers have watched in dismay as their property rights have dwindled in the face of government encroachments, always defended as for the “general good of the whole community”. The rain that falls on their property may now comprise part of the water rights owned by someone else. There are major restrictions on the subdivision of land for lifestyle blocks. Riparian rights and biodiversity corridors reduce property options. Mineral rights are owned by the Crown, allowing others to explore without permission. Justin Jefferson has also acknowledged the threat to private property posed by the NSW Native Vegetation Act (2): “For starters, here in the Monaro the overwhelming effect of the Act in practice is actually to promote the spread and restrict the fighting of African lovegrass. This means more weeds and less native vegetation, less biodiversity and less sustainability. So the Act is selfdefeating. It can’t justified be even in its own terms. But it gets worse. The Act simply 1: ASSUMES that all property should and does belong to the state; 2: ASSUMES that the state knows best in all and any decision-making; and it; 3: ASSUMES that social co-operation based on force and threats and central planning is intrinsically better than social co-operation based on consent and freedom and property. All these assumptions are wrong and offensive. They have been disproved both in theory and in practice over and over and over again at enormous cost in human suffering. The Act reverses the onus of proof: you’re guilty until proven innocent. It authorises intrusive search without a warrant. It abolishes the right to silence: it compels you to incriminate yourself. It authorises evidence by executive decree. It effectively confiscates freehold property rights without compensation in breach of the Constitution. The Act is oppressive and abusive.” As has recently been pointed out by Lorraine Finlay (8), the government attack on private property rights, which is occurring on many fronts, is completely at odds with frequent public statements about human rights or individual rights. The fundamental importance of private property rights in regard to human freedom have also been noted by Finlay (8): “the protection of property rights has evolved to mean owners have the right to obtain benefits from their property, including the right to put it to productive use and to dispose of it through sale”8. Property rights therefore encompass “the right to own property, the right to dispose of property and the right to exclude others”9. Since that time leading philosophers and political thinkers have emphasized the link between private property rights and the protection of individual liberty. This was noted by 4 Henry Maine, who claimed that the history of individual property rights and history of civilization “cannot be disentangled”11. Similarly, John Adams observed that12: ‘Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty … The moment that the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of god, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist’. This paper argues that private property rights are just as important today as in the past. The link between property rights and individual liberty remains relevant in the modern context, and the foundations for both individual freedoms and economic security may be found in private property rights. In relation to this point, it has been emphasized that19: ‘Without private property rights there is no way to check the power of the state over the individual. When the state gains control over private property rights the ability to create wealth stagnates or even declines, thereby creating poverty and misery rather than freedom and wealth’. There is a well established causal link between property rights and higher standards of living21, with the ownership of private property motivating individuals ‘to improve the productivity and value of assets in the realization that family and designated heirs may benefit from such endeavour’22. In short, ‘*the evidence is irrefutable that the protection of property rights is the key to wealth accumulation and secure and stable societies’23.” But in spite of the fundamental importance of private property rights, the NSW government is busily involved in plotting against landholders and tying their properties up in so much green tape they become unusable and worthless (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). One case in point is the disgraceful case of Peter Spencer (8). As Finlay indicates, these problems have been noted by the Productivity Commission (8): “In the 2004 Inquiry Report into the Impacts of Native Vegetation and Biodiversity Regulations the Productivity Commission concluded that while the retention, management and rehabilitation of native vegetation and biodiversity were important objectives, “existing regulatory approaches are not as effective as they could be in promoting these objectives and impose significant costs”64. In particular, it was concluded that the effectiveness of the clearing restrictions had been compromised, that “perverse environmental outcomes” often resulted and that landholders “… are being prevented from developing their properties, switching to more profitable land use, and from introducing costsaving innovations. Arbitrary reclassification of regrowth vegetation as remnant and restrictions on clearing woodland thickening in some jurisdictions are reducing yields and areas that can be used for agricultural production”65 Since the Zimbabwe experience shows exactly what happens when private property rights are lost (8), it is up to all Australian governments to respect private property rights, respect landowners, and respect freedom which is so fundamental to all Australians (8): “If we are not able to build an environment in which the general public, politicians and government bureaucrats are all encouraged to respect and value private property rights, then we will continue to see the gradual erosion of property rights regardless of any changes that may be made to the surrounding legal framework.” The moral acceptability of putting a price on everything (17, 18, 19) including water and the air we exhale, is clearly paving the way for putting a price on every component of nature, commonly referred to as ecological economics (20, 21). Of course the idea that a monetary value can be placed upon every animal, plant, insect, microorganism, and ecosystem is not only ridiculous, it is morally reprehensible and scientifically impossible. In fact, reducing nature to a monetary value is necessarily a move to devalue nature and give humans the ability to decide the absolute and relative worth of not only living things, but also systems. It is fundamentally and intrinsically hypocritical and contradictory to suggest that nature will become more valuable, and more readily conserved, by devaluing it and defining it in terms of human currency. According to Monbiot (20): “The UK government’s assessment of the “value” of nature is pure reductionist gobbledegook, dressed up in the language of objectivity and reason but ascribing prices to emotional responses: prices, which, for all the high-falutin’ language it uses, can only be arbitrary. It has been constructed by people who feel safe only with numbers, who must drag the whole world into their comfort zone in order to feel that they have it under control…………The second problem is that it delivers the natural world into the hands of those who would destroy it. Picture, for example, a planning enquiry for an opencast coal mine. The public benefits arising from the forests and meadows it will destroy have been costed at £1m per year. The income from opening the mine will be £10m per year. No further argument needs to be made. The coal mine’s barrister, presenting these figures to the enquiry, has an indefeasible case: public objections have already been addressed by the pricing exercise; there is nothing more to be discussed. When you turn nature into an accounting exercise, its destruction can be justified as soon as the business case comes out right. It almost always comes out right……………….This is the machine into which nature must now be fed. The National Ecosystem Assessment hands the biosphere on a plate to the construction industry. It’s the definitive neoliberal triumph: the monetisation and marketisation of nature, its reduction to a tradeable asset.” The cost of calculating the value of nature seems incomprehensible. It has recently been calculated that in Canberra the planting of 400,000 trees has had (22) “a combined energy reduction, pollution mitigation and carbon sequestration value of US$20–67 million during the period 2008–2012,” or around 11c daily per tree. Whether this allows for the tree having a bad day (or year) from attack by insects is not clear. Clearly there is no moral or scientific basis for reducing nature to a marketable commodity. We have seen that there has been an attack on private property rights by the NSW government as they busily use the environment to tie up landholders. But is their environmental zealotry genuine, or is it just a deliberate devious land grab? What ways has the NSW government legislated to protect the rights of land owners? 2. The Effectiveness of Biobanking or Market Mechanisms for Maintaining or Improving Biodiversity Everyone is concerned about the environment, but is the NSW government drive to control the land of private landowners really about the environment? Historically, as noted by David Leyonhjelm (3), evidence of the environmental benefits of government policies are lacking: “The perverse thing about all this is that there is plenty of evidence to show the environment does better when it is in private hands, away from the tentacles of government. We saw that very clearly in the difference in environmental quality between the former Communist countries and the west when communism collapsed. Here at home we see uncontrolled weeds and feral animals in our government-owned national parks. Quite simply, government control is incompatible with the promotion of environmental values. And as Blackstone would say, the government should stop violating private property”. Indeed, there is no argument that historically it is the governments at all levels who must shoulder the responsibility for degradation of the environment for it is they who have formulated the policies, permitted land development, and organised land planning and land use strategies. In fact, the biodiversity loss and environmental situation today is the result of present and previous government policies (9). Not only have governments presided over wilful habitat destruction and poor town planning, but also they are responsible for most of the enormous environmental damage and biodiversity loss caused by invasive species (9, 10, 11, 12). According to McFadyen (11): “In the 200 years since the arrival of Europeans, over 28,000 foreign plants have been brought to Australia, most deliberately imported for pasture, horticulture or as ornamentals. Their impact is enormous – invasive plants are the main threat to 45% of threatened and endangered species and ecosystems in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith and Downey 2006), and the cost to Australian agriculture is at least $3.5bn per year in lost production and control costs (Sinden et al. 2004). Further, according to the the Australian Terrestrial Biodiversity Assessment 2008 (12), “Invasive species and pathogens represent one of the most potent, persistent and widespread threats to Australian biodiversity.” But what have successive government’s done about this? And how is it envisaged that biobanking and other market schemes will reverse or prevent this major threat? Clearly the matter of invasive species alone exposes the whole biobanking/biodiversity marketing scheme as a fraud, somewhat synonymous with the idea that we can control climate by economic instruments. This is highly significant because if environmental policies or biobanking are to be just and have a sound moral basis then the system must be firmly based upon science, and be cost effective, and responsibility for environmental damage must be correctly attributed . The matter of historical responsibility has been considered of the utmost importance when it comes to climate change and a clear precedent has been established in this regard (13, 14, 15, 16). Historical responsibility in fact, because it permits a cumulative assessment of responsibility (13), “is one of the main lines of argument underlying the principle of common but differentiated responsibility for climate change, and the polluter pays principle more generally.” In fact the cumulative aspect is far more important when it comes to biodiversity loss as the permanence and irreversibility are not disputed, unlike CO2. Whether from the point of view of habitat destruction or invasive species, there is absolutely no doubt that all 3 levels of government share most of the responsibility for cumulative biodiversity loss in Australia and therefore, in keeping with a moral and just conservation program, financial penalties should be targeted accordingly. But has biobanking or biodiversity trading been environmentally effective? What are the expectations? Given the above, it is hardly surprising that biobanking or biodiversity trading does not have a history of positive environmental outcomes (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29). As has been pointed out by the Productivity Commission (28): The high scientific uncertainty associated with biodiversity conservation and salinity mitigation could mean that market creation schemes for these ecosystem services are subject to considerable sovereign risk. In particular, there may be a high probability that the property right associated with a market creation scheme would need to be changed in the future because of new scientific discoveries. This uncertainty could diminish the value of the property right and hence the likelihood that market creation would be effective. We use the term market creation to refer to government intervention to indirectly form markets for ecosystem services whose ownership cannot be enforced. Such intervention involves the definition of a new property right that is both linked to an ecosystem service and can be exchanged for reward. A property right is an entitlement to use a particular good or service in a certain way. For example, the property right for a car entitles its owner to use the car, prevent others from using it, and to sell it to another party.” So the government seeks to redefine every creature, plant or ecosystem as separate property rights and then value, revalue, or devalue each or all at will. But as has been pointed out by the Clarence Environment Centre (29), although scientists have predicted a loss of at least 30% of world diversity due to climate change, “BioBanking proposes to lock landowners into contracts that demand biodiversity values be ‘maintained or improved’ in perpetuity. At the same time it is made clear that: “If participants fail to meet their commitments under the scheme, penalties can be applied”. According to the CEC these requirements are bordering on fraud. The CEC further notes that biobanking is structured to favour developers (29) a view confirmed by Ian Cohen (30), and therefore will result in a net loss of biodiversity (29). Indeed, it must be admitted that the Act is user friendly to developers, the purpose of biobanking being to (31) “streamline biodiversity assessment for development”. Biobanking even offers developers (31) immunity from legal appeals in the Land and Environment Court and (31) “certainty for developers and consent authorities with respect to meeting their threatened species responsibilities.” Landowners however, once locked into biobanking, agree to surrender extensive control of their property forever and this encumbrance, since it is automatically passed to any new land owner, would be expected to devalue the land (31): “Biobanking agreements are registered on the land title and run with the land to bind future landowners. The agreements create a permanent legal obligation for the owner to manage the land either passively or actively, depending on the number of credits sold from the site. Agreements also restrict development, commercial and industrial uses and certain other activities on the land that may have a detrimental effect on biodiversity.” So sweeping and pervasive are these powers that land owners even lose control of the rocks and dead trees on their property (31). Since the emphasis is on the eco “system” rather than individual components of the system, the virtual loss of title surrendered by the land owner is considerable. And if the landholder fails to comply with these requirements there are a range of severe penalties, including an application to have the land title transferred to the Minister under Section 1270 of the Threatened Species Conservation Act (31, 32, 33 ). The transfer of land title under Section 1270 is possible under the following circumstances (33): “(3) An order may be made under this section only where the Court is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities: (a) that there is a serious risk to the biodiversity values protected by the biobanking agreement because of the contravention by the person, or (b) that there is no reasonable likelihood of the person complying with the obligations imposed by the biobanking agreement, or (c) that the person has previously committed frequent contraventions of the biobanking agreement, or (d) that the person has persistently and unreasonably delayed complying with the obligations imposed by the biobanking agreement. (4) If the Court makes the order requested, the Court may impose such conditions on the conveyance or transfer of the land as the Court thinks fit. (5) Where land is conveyed or transferred to the Minister, or to a person or body nominated by the Minister, in accordance with an order made under this section, the consideration payable by the Minister, person or body, is to be determined in the same way as the compensation payable under the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 in respect of an acquisition of land, but is to be reduced by the amount that, in the opinion of the Court, is equivalent to any outstanding liability of the person to the Minister arising out of contravention of the biobanking agreement. (6) In calculating the consideration payable as referred to in subsection (5), the value of the land is to be determined having regard to the fact that it is subject to a biobanking agreement, and any increase in the value of the land attributable to anything done or omitted to be done in contravention of the biobanking agreement is to be disregarded.” Already these proposals are tying up private land, particularly in rural areas. According to Damien Rogers, these proposals are well advanced in Eurobodalla Shire (36): “Biodiversity Certification is basically a forced version of Biobanking. Few know about it, and fewer understand it. But it is essentially a Development Rights Credit Trading Scheme! Trading development “Credits” taken from land owners, without Just Compensation, or even a requirement to notify owners. Just like Carbon Trading, only this time designed with the cooperation of all three levels of Government (and environmental groups). It is to be run by councils, the DOP and a State Bureaucracy, called the OEH (Office of Environment and Heritage)………..First councils use the “Standard Template LEP” to cover undeveloped Urban and Rural land with numerous restrictive “Overlay” maps, and new Environmental zonings, which severely restrict or stop development. As mentioned, in our Shire, these covered at least 80% (and probably more) of all the private land area of the Shire. (which is already approximately 90% state forest and national parks) Councils can then earn 25% Development Credits for land they restrict in this way. Then when owners on mainly Rural land want to build something, it triggers expensive studies, and funnels most owners into unavoidable “Perpetual Voluntary Agreements”. The more council or the OEH restrict the land, the more Credits they can earn, for perpetual agreements its more like 90%. These “agreements” must then be attached to the owners title deeds, and may now restrict the land forever…….. So here is the real motive. Council, with the DOP and OEH can now control and profit from virtually all future land releases and development. As, for example, unlocking an area of undeveloped urban land, will now likely require a perpetual agreement, and/or that it to be “Biocertified” first. This involves packaging an urban area with a nearby rural area. “Taking” credits from the rural owners (now called “offset” lands). Without Just Compensation, or even a requirement to personally notify owners. Then compelling Urban land owners and developers to bargain with council or the OEH for these Development “Credits”, which were ‘taken’ from others. The deals councils and the OEH make will be in confidential contracts. As developers have pointed out, this will make the cost of new urban land very expensive. But as most Rural blocks will loose their building entitlements, or be sterilized with environmental overlays and zonings, there will be little competition or alternatives for future potential buyers. Giving Councils and the OEH total control, and in effect, a massive monopoly control over urban land development, for their own benefit! Another big plus for Councils and the OEH, is that any urban or rural land they sterilize will then plummet in value.” The suggestion that biobanking schemes may be compulsory, completely and permanently locking up the land of private landholders, is absolutely alarming. Clearly we need a broad ranging enquiry into this exploitation of environmental concerns for short sighted self-interested political agendas. There must be extensive community consultation regarding environmental marketing schemes and biobanking. While the powers over the private landholder are incredibly extensive, the same cannot be said for developers. Under Section 127U and 127S of the Act mining or petroleum activities are specifically exempted, allowing mining companies to trash the environment at will, and existing biobank contracts may be cancelled without compensation (34, 35): “Nothing in this Division: (a) prevents the grant of a mining authority or petroleum title in respect of a biobank site in accordance with the Mining Act 1992 or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 , or (b) prevents the carrying out, on or in respect of a biobank site, of any activity authorised by a mining authority or petroleum title in accordance with the Mining Act 1992 or the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 .” 127S Prospecting and mining on biobank sites (1) The Minister may, by order published in the Gazette, vary or terminate a biobanking agreement without the consent of the owner of the biobank site if a mining authority or petroleum title is granted in respect of the biobank site and the Minister is of the opinion that the activity authorised by the mining authority or petroleum title: (a) will adversely affect any management actions that may be carried out on the land under the biobanking agreement, or (b) will adversely affect the biodiversity values protected by the biobanking agreement. (2) If the Minister varies or terminates the biobanking agreement under this section, the Minister may, by order in writing to the holder of the mining authority or petroleum title, direct the holder to retire biodiversity credits of a number and class (if any) specified by the Minister within a time specified in the order. (3) A direction may be given to a person under subsection (2) only if biodiversity credits have already been created in respect of management actions that were carried out or proposed to be carried out on the biobank site and have been transferred to any person. (4) The maximum number of biodiversity credits that the holder of the mining authority or petroleum title may be required to retire under the direction is the number of biodiversity credits that have been created in respect of the biobank site. (5) A person must not, without reasonable excuse, fail to comply with a direction under subsection (2). Maximum penalty: 10,000 penalty units. (6) It is not an excuse for a failure to comply with a direction under this section that the person who is the subject of the direction does not, at the time the direction is given, hold a sufficient number of biodiversity credits to comply with the direction. Note: If the person who is the subject of the direction does not hold a sufficient number of credits to comply with the direction, the person may obtain the required number by purchasing them. (7) A court that convicts a person of an offence under subsection (5) may, in addition to or in substitution for any pecuniary penalty for the offence, by order direct the person to retire, in accordance with this Part, biodiversity credits of a specified number and class (if applicable) within a time specified in the order and, if the person does not hold sufficient biodiversity credits to comply with the direction, to acquire the necessary biodiversity credits for the purpose of retiring them. (8) The owner of a biobank site is not entitled to any compensation as a result of the variation or termination of an agreement under this section. (9) Subsection (8) does not affect any right to compensation the owner may have under the Mining Act 1992 , the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 or any other legislation in respect of the grant of the mining authority or petroleum title. (10) In this section: “conviction” includes the making of an order under section 10 of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 . CONCLUSION The fact that Biobanking/biodiversity trading schemes are primarily marketing schemes and are therefore NOT primarily intended to generate positive environmental outcomes is evidenced by the following fundamental facts. 1. These schemes completely avoid targeting one of the main causes of biodiversity loss, namely the problem of invasive species. 2. Instead of addressing the causes of cumulative biodiversity loss and pursuing those responsible (governments), responsibility for biodiversity loss is shifted AWAY from those responsible and transferred to current landholders. 3. The underlying philosophy that nature will be conserved by devaluing it and reducing it to a marketable commodity is completely immoral, unjust, and devoid of any semblance of common sense or logic. 4. Biobanking is proposed as a scheme to “streamline” development and prevent legal appeals to the Land & Environment Court. 5. The Act specifically empowers mining companies and oil companies to avoid any environmental responsibilities. The true spirit and essence of environmentalism is completely betrayed by biodiversity trading schemes which are a direct attack on private property rights and an attempt to transfer to government the power to control and put a price on nature. We need to get back to genuine environmentalism and stop exploiting environmentalism for personal or political gain and short sighted self-interested agendas (21): “The scientistic and self-referential controversies in which ecological economists engage drain away the moral power that once sustained environmentalism. This moral power may return if environmentalists employ science not to prescribe goals to society but to help society to achieve goals it already has. Environmentalists may then shape the natural environment of the future rather than model and monetize the environment of the past.” The cost effectiveness of biobanking is a completely unknown quantity. Though I have written to the Department seeking this information I have received no response whatsoever, not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement. Clearly the complete costs of this scheme must be publicised and there must be complete transparency and accountability. The scheme should be discontinued until this is done. Recently there has been an erosion of private property rights under the guise of short sighted self-interested government promoted environmentalism. This exploitation of environmentalism must cease. Property rights should be restored by extensive consultation with landholders. Since the government has no mandate for biodiversity trading schemes such schemes should cease until such a mandate is obtained. Not only has there been no mandate, the level of public ignorance about these schemes is alarming and must be immediately rectified by an extensive education campaign. There should be extensive community consultation, especially with rural landholders. References 1. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/truth-gets-lost-amid-the-debate-onnational-parks-catherine-cusack/story-e6frezz0-1226389879077 2. http://www.abc.net.au/rural/content/2012/s3535098.htm?site=gippsland 3. http://theland.farmonline.com.au/blogs/agribuzz-with-david-leyonhjelm/property-rightsgone-for-the-general-good/2594167.aspx?storypage=0 4. http://www.nswfarmers.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/62247/Native_Veg_Case_Stud y.pdf 5. https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions/comittees/viewdocument.aspx?id=ef282b1a-43d5- 44d3-a1e8-e613ee9f4ccb 6. https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions/comittees/viewdocument.aspx?id=0088ed5f-025e- 4164-81fd-05d062568ff7 7. http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/doomed-planet/2009/12/peter-spencer 8. http://www.familyfirst.org.au/files/The-Attack-on-Property-Rights-Finlay.pdf 9. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/1301.0Feature%20Article1200 9%E2%80%9310?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=1301.0&issue=2009%9610& num=&view 10. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/index.html 11. http://www.weeds.org.au/docs/intro_flora_australia.pdf 12. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/terrestrialassessment/pubs/terrestrial-assessment.pdf 13. http://www.oxfordclimatepolicy.org/publications/documents/Ellermannetal.pdf 14. http://150.229.66.66/bmrc/basic/cawcr-wksp1/papers/Raupach.pdf 15. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/datablog/2009/sep/02/co2-emissions-historical 16. http://globalcitizen.net/Data/Pages/1291/papers/2009103014156814.pdf 17. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/what-isn-8217-t-for-sale/8902/ 18. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/what-money-cant-buythe-moral-limits-of-markets-by-michael-sandel-7711785.html 19. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/what-isn-8217-t-for-sale/8902/ 20. http://climateandcapitalism.com/2011/06/07/putting-a-price-on-nature-a-destructivedelusion/ 21. http://breakthroughjournal.org/content/authors/mark-sagoff/the-rise-and-fall-ofecologica.shtml 22. http://www.fs.fed.us/psw/programs/uesd/uep/products/12/psw_cufr704_Brack_Pollution_ Mitig_Urban_Forest.pdf 23. http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1053209/biobanking-land-purchase-to-go-ahead 24. http://www.colongwilderness.org.au/media-releases/2010/06/biobanking-credibility-sinksconservation-site-undermined 25. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/mine-plan-shows-biobanking-fails-say-green-groups- 20100624-z3px.html 26. http://www.edo.org.au/edonsw/site/pdf/subs/071130assessment_methodology.pdf 27. http://www.thefifthestate.com.au/archives/12356 28. http://www.pc.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/8484/cmfes.pdf 29. http://www.cec.org.au/sub/BioBanking.Submission/index.htm 30. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hanstrans.nsf/v3ByKey/LC20061025 31. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/biobanking/20120062bbrevdp.pdf 32. http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/biobanking/08346biobankingcas.pdf 33. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/tsca1995323/s127o.html 34. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/tsca1995323/s127u.html 35. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/tsca1995323/s127s.html 36. http://justgroundsonline.com/forum/topics/fighting-the-nsw-standard-lep-what-if-we-alljoined-forces?xg_source=activity APPENDIX K Correspondence With Eurobodalla Shire Council Mark Hitchenson Land Use Planning Coordinator Eurobodalla Shire Council Dear Mark, Thank you for your email. Although I am trying to move forward in an attempt to resolve the vitally important issues we have been discussing, you are tending to revisit matters we have already resolved while at the same time completely ignoring fundamental questions from my earlier emails. The matters discussed below are of vital importance to local ratepayers and of vital importance for the upcoming elections. If any of my assertions below are in any way inaccurate, please supply documentary evidence from the vast resources of Council to demonstrate my error/s so that the matters may be resolved. Your inability to do this to date merely prolongs the correspondence and raises more questions. I look forward to resolving the issues below in the interests of local ratepayers and in the interests of the wider community as well. For clarity I will reproduce some of the unanswered questions from previous correspondence at the conclusion of this email and I hope that you will make a meaningful attempt to respond to them. Previously I stated the following facts which you now, for some reason seem to dispute. FACT: Eurobodalla Council has decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined and monitored by an undemocratic foreign agency (the UN), utilising the principles of their Agenda 21/sustainability program. You will note that I have cited authoritative evidence in support of this claim, including evidence from your Settlement Strategy and from the UN but although you disputed the above you were unable to supply any supportive documentation whatsoever to support your position. In fact, the documentation you did provide (Settlement Strategy) supports my claim that Council policy is indeed based upon the UN Agenda 21 program. It is a simple fact that you state the “Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy sets out the Councils policies and strategies for managing land use within the Shire” and it is also a simple fact that this Settlement Strategy clearly states (1): “Eurobodalla Shire Council is committed to the concept and principles of sustainable development and the implementation of Local Agenda 21”. It is also a simple fact that Agenda 21 is a United Nations program, designed by the UN (2, 3, 4, 5). But as you no doubt realise, the implementation of Agenda 21 is also monitored by the UN, participating countries being required to report back to the UN on a regular basis (2, 6, 7, 8). The UN describes the monitoring and reporting provisions for Agenda 21 in chapter 38.11. The Commonwealth of course, provides these reports to the UN from implementation progress at state and local government levels. In fact, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development was established to oversee the implementation of Agenda 21 around the world (2, 6, 8). According to the Commonwealth Government in this regard (8): “The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with a mandate to review implementation of the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in particular progress in the implementation of the program of action known as Agenda 21. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since. The 10-year review of the implementation of Agenda 21 culminated in the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (September, 2002). While the CSD successfully built a profile and improved understanding of sustainable development during its first 10 years, it was recognised at the WSSD that some reforms were required to ensure the continued relevance of its work. The WSSD Plan of Implementation (POI) called for reform of the CSD within its existing mandate (as adopted un UNGA resolution 47/191). In particular, the POI recommended : · Limiting negotiating sessions to every two years; · Re-considering the scheduling and duration of intersessional meetings; and · Limiting the number of themes addressed in each session. An enhanced role for the CSD in monitoring and reporting on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and in facilitation of partnerships was also recommended.” Following are some of the typical United Nations land use questions the government is required to answer to check implementation of Agenda 21 at the local level (7): “4. Agenda 21 called for the review and development of policies to support the best possible use of land and sustainable management of land resources, with a target date not later than 1996. Please describe progress that your country has made towards meeting this target. 6. Please explain briefly, to what extent are plans for expansion of human settlements reviewed with respect to the impacts on farmlands, landscape, forest land, wetlands and biological diversity. ANNEX: OVERALL EVALUATION OF INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND RESOURCES The following section is designed to facilitate an overall evaluation of the progress achieved in various related activities as outlined in Chapter 10. 1. Please provide qualitative rankings on different aspects of integrated land use planning and management that your Government has been able to achieve at different levels of success since UNCED. In order to guide your answers (i.e. giving a rating to every box) the qualitative rankings are ordered on a scale from 1-5: 5 – distinguishing or outstanding achievements 4 – clear and apparent achievements 3 – only slight achievements 2 – no achievements at all 1 – worse than before UNCED Rankings Activities [4] Development of a national policy or strategy on integrated land management [4] Development of policies that have encouraged sustainable land use and management of land resources [5] Review of the regulatory frameworks related to land use and management [4] Formulation and adoption of land use zoning [3] Institutional set-up for monitoring land use regulations [4] Formulation and adoption of market-based measures [4] Information compilation and land capability analysis [5] Identification of data gaps [5] Identification of major challenges and issues related to the implementation of integrated land use and management approach at nation-wide level 82 2. What level of importance is attached to the different functions of land in your country? Please provide qualitative ranking of the major functions or characteristics of land (i.e. give a rating to every box) on a scale from 1-4. 4 – Very high importance 3 – Highly important 2 – only slightly important 1 – not important at all Ranking Major functions/characteristics of land [1] Food security [4] Rural development [4] Rural viability [4] Environmental sustainability (protection/recovery/rehabilitation/enhancement) [4] Improved policies and institutions [4] Economic development [4] Poverty reduction and equity [4] Social cohesion” Since the United Nations origin, and monitoring provisions for implementation of Agenda 21, are indisputable, it would seem you must disagree with Council’s commitment to Agenda 21 as stated in the Settlement Strategy. Clearly this would be ridiculous. I was hoping for a more meaningful response, more in accord with the seriousness of these matters. To continue to dispute simple facts while ratepayers struggle with the results of Council policy creates a perception of extreme self-interest and complete indifference towards the everyday concerns of ratepayers. I also asserted in my previous communication: FACT: Eurobodalla Council has decided to continue to deny residents a democratic choice as to whether they prefer Council land use/sustainability policies determined locally, by local authorities and ratepayers, or by an undemocratic foreign agency as is presently the case. Has the situation changed? Has Council decided to fully inform residents of the UN origin and end goals of AG21 at the upcoming election so they make an informed choice? As I asked previously: You are suggesting that if I were to conduct a survey in the local area and ask residents the following questions then I would mostly obtain correct answers. 1. Did you realise council’s sustainability policy is based upon the UN Agenda 21 program? 2. Did council explain the full details and goals of Agenda 21 to you prior to adopting this policy? 3. Did council give you an informed democratic choice and offer you a locally based policy as distinct from a foreign UN policy? Is it true council has been communicating with residents so they can answer these very basic questions? Not only was this question completely ignored by you, but further, In your response you were unable to supply any documentary evidence whatsoever (media releases, ratepayers notices) confirming that Council had fully advised residents of the UN origin, end goals, and UN monitoring, of Agenda 21 prior to its introduction and incorporation into Council policy. Why do you continue to refuse to supply this information if in fact you have accurately and truthfully advised residents as you claim? I have repeated some of your statements below with my responses in red. “Agenda 21 is an international framework agreement for pursuing global sustainable development that was endorsed by national governments, including the Australian Government, at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.” Correct, it is a program designed by the UN and overseen and monitored by the UN as noted above, but it appears you did not explain this to ratepayers. Eurobodalla Shire Council is not a signatory to the framework.” The fact that Council is implementing Agenda 21, without giving residents an informed democratic choice has already been established. The fact that you may not be a direct (Council of course must answer to state and federal governments which in turn answer to the UN) ‘signatory’ is completely irrelevant. “Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined by any foreign agency.” You have already conceded that Council’s Settlement Strategy, is based upon the dictates of the United Nations Agenda 21 program. Are you suggesting the UN is not a foreign agency? “Council does not report to the United Nations or any other foreign agency. No foreign agency has any involvement in Council’s processes for determining environmental or land use policy. There is no monitoring of Council’s environmental or land use policies by any foreign agency.” You have stated in your Settlement Strategy (1): “Eurobodalla Shire Council is committed to the concept and principles of sustainable development and the implementation of Local Agenda 21”. How is it possible that you have based the Shire Settlement Strategy on Agenda 21, which states in chapter 38.11, that the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development will be established to monitor progress and implementation, and yet you claim no involvement from the UN or a foreign agency? Of course, whether it is monitored directly, or indirectly through state or federal governments, is irrelevant. “Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to deny residents a democratic choice in terms of the setting of environmental or land use policy.” Council has so far been unable to provide any evidence whatsoever that it fully informed residents of the UN origin and total goals of Agenda 21 before implementation. “Further, Eurobodalla Shire Council is not promoting or implementing any foreign based and initiated restrictions on Eurobodalla land owners. All of Council’s environmental and land use policies are determined by Council in consultation with the Eurobodalla community.” I have already dealt with these issues above. Council agreed to implement Agenda 21 and one of the provisions of Agenda 21 is an agreement to be monitored by the UNCSD as already noted. “All of Councils policies are set by the democratically elected Council of the day, this includes the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy which sets out the Councils policies and strategies for managing land use within the Shire.” Since the Settlement Strategy, which is based upon the UN Agenda 21 program, will determine “Councils policies and strategies for managing land use within the Shire,” does this mean you will be following the lead of US States and Councils which are banning the UN Agenda 21 program? I note that Minister for Planning, Brad Hazzard, has recently passed the new LEP (9, 10,) in spite of the numerous protests and complaints from local ratepayers, including a petition with 5000 signatures (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25) and in spite of your claims that you continue to work with local residents rather than against them. I note the long list of complaints and adverse results of Council policies (12): “· Lost sales due to new Overlays / E-Zones · Owners cost of DA applications and associated expensive consultancy studies i.e., native vegetation, endangered species, aboriginal artefacts, environmental impact, sea inundation, acid soil test, flora and fauna studies, bush fire report, catchment management study, energy rating report, geotechnical report and section 94 contributions · Owners/buyers being compelled to sign agreements to further restrict land uses or forced to donate private land to get a DA approved. · Council requesting owners to submit DA’s despite knowing the DA would be rejected on crucial issues · Council applying new Draft (LEP) to current DA applications · More recently the Council not wanting DA’s submitted until the new LEP is adopted · 1c zoned land owners are losing their entitlements · Subdivision approved with onerous restrictions – i.e. No hoofed animals allowed on lifestyle properties (Hobby farms) · Increasing minimum size lots from 450m² to 550m² · Council selling public land · Private buyers finding the Eurobodalla Council too difficult and frustrating to deal with and therefore abandon their pursuit of buying within the shire · Commercial developers claiming similar issues as above · Council becoming a Quasi Developer – viewed as a conflict of interest and possibly anticompetitive · Some residents have left the area and others are looking to leave due to frustrations with Council · Council stating to purchasers not to touch certain properties “With a 40 foot pole” · Down-zoning land for Councils’ future acquisition with no communication to owners · The implementation of Bio-certification is inequitable and will divide our Community. This will also add further costs and restrictions to landowners and developers, further exasperating our struggling economy · Owners restricted from removing dead wood and slashing/mowing their land · Property owners promised 4-5 lot subdivision and eventually badgered into accepting a 1 lot subdivision · The Rural Lands Strategy Steering Committee will neither remedy nor compensate negatively affected land owners.” I urge you to reconsider your stance and ban UN/Agenda 21 associated policies as mentioned below. How do you propose to protect landowners from restrictive repressive anti-Australian Agenda 21 policies? When will you commence such action? Regards Graham Williamson PREVIOUS UNANSWERED QUESTIONS Recently the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (1): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” Are you prepared to represent the interests of Eurobodalla residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? If you prefer to continue to have landowners property rights determined and monitored by a foreign agency, will you make this an election issue at the upcoming elections so residents may make an informed democratic choice? When the local government of College Station in Texas recently withdrew from Agenda 21, Councilman Jess Fields commented (2, 3): “I am truly excited to announce that the proposed 2013 College Station budget will not include funding for this organization (ICLEI-an Agenda 21 organisation)…..It is an insidious, extreme institution that does not represent our citizens, and for our taxpayers to continue to fund it would be ridiculous…. This organization is a threat to our individual rights and our local government’s sovereignty in decision-making…..ICLEI’s Charter and its Strategic Plan both reinforce what could already be surmised by examining its founding and history…..This is an international organization with an extreme environmentalist bent, which desires to impose its vision of ‘sustainability’ on the citizens of member cities and connect to the United Nations in a way that furthers that goal……..We do not need international organizations leading the way for us in how we develop our planning and development tools and regulations. It is better for policies to reflect the actual needs of our community than some amorphous concept of greenness or sustainability, promoted by an overarching international body.” Do you agree or disagree? Do Eurobodalla residents “need international organizations leading the way for us in how we develop our planning and development tools and regulations?” Are Eurobodalla residents any less deserving of having their property rights protected from foreign agencies? “Especially since the restrictive requirements of Agenda 21 are being banned overseas (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15), why is Council moving in the opposite direction? Does Council intend to continue following the dictates of Agenda 21 program or do you intend to ban this foreign interference and represent the interests of ratepayers instead?” From: Mark Hitchenson [mailto:mark.hitchenson@eurocoast.nsw.gov.au] Sent: Monday, 16 July 2012 4:30 PM To: ‘Graham’ Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher; Shannon Burt Subject: RE: Land use Dear Graham, Apologies for the delay in replying to your email. Your concerns regarding the process of determining local land use and sustainability policies are unfounded. Agenda 21 is an international framework agreement for pursuing global sustainable development that was endorsed by national governments, including the Australian Government, at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Eurobodalla Shire Council is not a signatory to the framework. Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined by any foreign agency. Council does not report to the United Nations or any other foreign agency. No foreign agency has any involvement in Council’s processes for determining environmental or land use policy. There is no monitoring of Council’s environmental or land use policies by any foreign agency. Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to deny residents a democratic choice in terms of the setting of environmental or land use policy. Further, Eurobodalla Shire Council is not promoting or implementing any foreign based and initiated restrictions on Eurobodalla land owners. All of Council’s environmental and land use policies are determined by Council in consultation with the Eurobodalla community. As I have previously advised, the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy was developed in consultation with the Eurobodalla community. I have also previously advised that there was extensive community consultation in the preparation of the Eurobodalla Community Strategic Plan. In both of these consultation processes, the community told Council that protection of the environment was important to them. Council will therefore continue to work with the community to develop local solutions to local environmental issues. All of Councils policies are set by the democratically elected Council of the day, this includes the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy which sets out the Councils policies and strategies for managing land use within the Shire. This should leave you in no doubt that Council has and will continue to provide all Eurobodalla residents with the opportunity to be involved in the setting of local policies and that Council is not undemocratically implementing any foreign agenda. As all of your questions have now been fully answered, there should be no need for any further correspondence on the matter. Regards, Mark Mark Hitchenson Land Use Planning Coordinator t 02 4474 1314 | m 0400 784 515| f 02 4474 1234 From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Thursday, 12 July 2012 7:49 AM To: Mark Hitchenson Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Mark, I have yet to receive a response to my communication of 2nd July and the issues raised therein (see below). When can I expect a response to these issues and questions? If you feel incapable of making a meaningful response could you please forward this communication to the appropriate authority. In order to save your valuable time, the matters may be summarised as below. FACT: Eurobodalla Council has decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined and monitored by an undemocratic foreign agency (the UN), utilising the principles of their Agenda 21/sustainability program. FACT: Eurobodalla Council has decided to continue to deny residents a democratic choice as to whether they prefer Council land use/sustainability policies determined locally, by local authorities and ratepayers, or by an undemocratic foreign agency as is presently the case. Recently the following law was passed by the legislature in Alabama banning Agenda 21 (1): Senate Bill 477 “Section 1. (b) The State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not adopt or implement policy recommendations that deliberately or inadvertently infringe or restrict private property rights without due process, as may be required by policy recommendations originating in, or traceable to ‘Agenda 21’, adopted by the United Nations in 1992 at its Conference on Environment and Development or any other international law or ancillary plan of action that contravenes the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Alabama. (c) Since the United Nations has accredited and enlisted numerous non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations to assist in the implementation of its policies relative to Agenda 21 around the world, the State of Alabama and all political subdivisions may not enter into any agreement, expend any sum of money, or receive funds contracting services, or giving financial aid to or from those non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations as defined in Agenda 21.” FACT: Your council is unashamedly still promoting and implementing these same undemocratic foreign based and initiated restrictions upon the rights of local landowners. Are you prepared to represent the interests of Eurobodalla residents by giving them this same protection, as enacted in Alabama, from foreign attempts to infringe upon the property rights of local landholders? If not, why not? If you prefer to continue to have landowners property rights determined and monitored by a foreign agency, will you make this an election issue at the upcoming elections so residents may make an informed democratic choice? When the local government of College Station in Texas recently withdrew from Agenda 21, Councilman Jess Fields commented (2, 3): “I am truly excited to announce that the proposed 2013 College Station budget will not include funding for this organization (ICLEI-an Agenda 21 organisation)…..It is an insidious, extreme institution that does not represent our citizens, and for our taxpayers to continue to fund it would be ridiculous…. This organization is a threat to our individual rights and our local government’s sovereignty in decision-making…..ICLEI’s Charter and its Strategic Plan both reinforce what could already be surmised by examining its founding and history…..This is an international organization with an extreme environmentalist bent, which desires to impose its vision of ‘sustainability’ on the citizens of member cities and connect to the United Nations in a way that furthers that goal……..We do not need international organizations leading the way for us in how we develop our planning and development tools and regulations. It is better for policies to reflect the actual needs of our community than some amorphous concept of greenness or sustainability, promoted by an overarching international body.” Do you agree or disagree? Do Eurobodalla residents “need international organizations leading the way for us in how we develop our planning and development tools and regulations?” Are Eurobodalla residents any less deserving of having their property rights protected from foreign agencies? Regards Graham Williamson Dear Mark, Once again you have overlooked the main points I have made. 1. Your environmental policy, in spite of your initial denial, is UN Agenda 21 (1) based as stated quite clearly in your settlement strategy. Agenda 21 environmental policies are planned and monitored by an undemocratic foreign agency, the UN. In fact, In Chapter 38 of Agenda 21 the United Nations describes the necessary powers to administer and implement Agenda 21 and initiates the formation of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to oversee and monitor the implementation of Agenda 21. Have you fully informed residents about this and given them a democratic choice? I repeat the unanswered questions from my previous email. “Especially since the restrictive requirements of Agenda 21 are being banned overseas (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15), why is Council moving in the opposite direction? Does Council intend to continue following the dictates of Agenda 21 program or do you intend to ban this foreign interference and represent the interests of ratepayers instead?” You state in your response: With regards to your specific questions about Agenda 21, I wish to advise that Council is required by law to act in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, for example, has a number of objects, including “to encourage…the protection of the environment…” and “ecologically sustainable development”. In addition, one of the purposes of Local Government Act, 1993 is “to require councils, councillors and council employees to have regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development in carrying out their responsibilities.” Local Agenda 21 is about establishing a dialogue between Council and the community on ways to address sustainable development issues locally. Council regularly has this dialogue with the Eurobodalla community, most recently in the development of the Eurobodalla Community Strategic Plan “Eurobodalla 2030”. One of the key messages to emerge from the community in the development of Eurobodalla 2030 was that “the natural environment is important”. Once again you overlook the main point which is not about sustainability but rather whether council should be acting as an agent of the UN by implementing UN environmental policies which will also be overseen by the UN, or whether council should reject interference from undemocratic foreign agencies and instead implement its own policies. Is council incapable of implementing its own sustainability policy, controlled and monitored locally? And did council give residents a democratic choice about this, fully informing them they had decided to seek foreign control of their environmental policies instead of acting independently in accord with the desire of ratepayers? You seem to suggest that it is impossible to act sustainably unless council conforms to the dictates of the UN. Is this your meaning? You further state: “Council’s support for local action to achieve sustainable development is based on communication with the local community and local actions to achieve the community’s vision.” Is this true? You are suggesting that if I were to conduct a survey in the local area and ask residents the following questions then I would mostly obtain correct answers. 1. Did you realise council’s sustainability policy is based upon the UN Agenda 21 program? 2. Did council explain the full details and goals of Agenda 21 to you prior to adopting this policy? 3. Did council give you an informed democratic choice and offer you a locally based policy as distinct from a foreign UN policy? Is it true council has been communicating with residents so they can answer these very basic questions? Will council continue to support intrusive, regressive UN policies which are being banned overseas? Or will council reconsider and represent ratepayers instead? Regards Graham Williamson From: Mark Hitchenson [mailto:mark.hitchenson@eurocoast.nsw..gov.au] Sent: Monday, 2 July 2012 11:56 AM To: ‘Graham’ Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Graham, The purpose of my previous reply to your email was to confirm that Council undertakes extensive consultations with the Eurobodalla community in the development of planning strategies and to outline how the Draft LEP makes provision for a range of development in rural areas. This was to show how Council supports Eurobodalla residents and ratepayers and that our policy is not regressive as suggested. You expressed an interest in rural properties, so my reply was focused on our planning for rural areas. With regards to your specific questions about Agenda 21, I wish to advise that Council is required by law to act in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, for example, has a number of objects, including “to encourage…the protection of the environment…” and “ecologically sustainable development”. In addition, one of the purposes of Local Government Act, 1993 is “to require councils, councillors and council employees to have regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development in carrying out their responsibilities.” Local Agenda 21 is about establishing a dialogue between Council and the community on ways to address sustainable development issues locally. Council regularly has this dialogue with the Eurobodalla community, most recently in the development of the Eurobodalla Community Strategic Plan “Eurobodalla 2030”. One of the key messages to emerge from the community in the development of Eurobodalla 2030 was that “the natural environment is important”. As a further example of local dialogue on actions relating to achieving the principles of ecologically sustainable development, Council is currently exhibiting a Greenhouse Action Plan to seek community input into the ways Council can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in response to the issue of climate change. Council’s support for local action to achieve sustainable development is based on communication with the local community and local actions to achieve the community’s vision. I trust this clarifies the situation for you. Regards, Mark From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Thursday, 28 June 2012 6:03 PM To: Mark Hitchenson Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Mark, Thank you for your prompt reply. It does appear you have misunderstood or perhaps you have been misinformed. I asked if Council policy is based upon a foreign UN Agenda 21 program or whether Council is following overseas precedents in banning such programs to protect ratepayers. You responded by stating “unfortunately the information you have been given is incorrect”, however, you referred me to your Settlement Strategy (1) to back up your claim that I had been misadvised. When I checked this document I found that it directly contradicted your claim that your policies are NOT UN Agenda 21 based and actually confirmed what I had heard about Council resorting to implementation of regressive UN Agenda 21 policy. According to the Settlement Strategy (1): “Eurobodalla Shire Council is committed to the concept and principles of sustainable development and the implementation of Local Agenda 21”. I am alarmed that Council seems to be acting as an agent of the UN in forcing ratepayers to comply with the dictates of such a regressive intrusive program as Agenda 21. Has Council given ratepayers an informed choice about this? Especially since the restrictive requirements of Agenda 21 are being banned overseas, why is Council moving in the opposite direction? Does Council intend to continue following the dictates of Agenda 21 program or do you intend to ban this foreign interference and represent the interests of ratepayers instead? I am particularly interested in ascertaining your future intentions in this regard. Council has made their allegiance to the UN quite clear in their above statement, but what about your allegiance to ratepayers? Will you move to ban all Agenda 21 associated policies to protect the interests of ratepayers? Regards Graham Williamson From: Mark Hitchenson [mailto:mark.hitchenson@eurocoast.nsw…gov.au] Sent: Thursday, 28 June 2012 3:41 PM To: ‘Graham’ Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Mr Williamson, Unfortunately the information you have been given is incorrect. Councils Rural Local Environmental Plan (RLEP 1987) and the soon to be adopted Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan (ELEP 2012) both provide for a full range of agricultural land uses and primary production industries on rural zoned lands across the Shire. Aside from traditional agricultural pursuits such as dairying, horticultural and husbandry activities, the ELEP 2012 permits a range of additional land uses such as tourist and visitor accommodation and nurseries through to home based child care with consent in rural areas. The ELEP 2012 also includes secondary dwellings and dual occupancy development to accommodate growing families or rural workers. It is anticipated that the ELEP 2012 will be approved by the NSW Government in the very near future and will then be available to view from Council’s website www.esc.nsw.gov.au. If you would like to learn more about the rural values of the Shire and Council’s aims for rural land management, you may like to review the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy, available on Council’s website at http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/services/planning-anddevelopment/plans-policies-and-strategies/. The ESS is a 30 year plan that makes explicit the policy positioning of Council and State Government which in turn are in response to community expectations. The Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy involved extensive public consultation, community survey work, community visioning and planning and development with State Agencies. Eurobodalla’s rural land planning and policy is consistent with the South Coast Regional Strategy (available at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/StrategicPlanning/Regionalstrategies/tabid/161/language /en-AU/Default.aspx)that underpins the planning framework for all South Coast LGAs. Additionally, the preparation of a Rural Lands Strategy is about to commence and will inform land use planning decisions on rural developments and industries into the future. This Strategy will be conducted in consultation with the rural community. You can find more information on this process at Council’s website at http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/services/planning-and-development/plans-policies-andstrategies/eurobodalla-rural-lands-strategy/ . I hope this advice clarifies the situation for you and I encourage you to review the information referred to. If you would like further information Council staff would be happy to assist. Regards, Mark Mark Hitchenson Land Use Planning Coordinator t 02 4474 1314 | m 0400 784 515| f 02 4474 1234 From: Mark Hitchenson [mailto:mark.hitchenson@eurocoast.nsw..gov.au] Sent: Monday, 2 July 2012 11:56 AM To: ‘Graham’ Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Graham, The purpose of my previous reply to your email was to confirm that Council undertakes extensive consultations with the Eurobodalla community in the development of planning strategies and to outline how the Draft LEP makes provision for a range of development in rural areas. This was to show how Council supports Eurobodalla residents and ratepayers and that our policy is not regressive as suggested. You expressed an interest in rural properties, so my reply was focused on our planning for rural areas. With regards to your specific questions about Agenda 21, I wish to advise that Council is required by law to act in an environmentally sustainable manner. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979, for example, has a number of objects, including “to encourage…the protection of the environment…” and “ecologically sustainable development”. In addition, one of the purposes of Local Government Act, 1993 is “to require councils, councillors and council employees to have regard to the principles of ecologically sustainable development in carrying out their responsibilities.” Local Agenda 21 is about establishing a dialogue between Council and the community on ways to address sustainable development issues locally. Council regularly has this dialogue with the Eurobodalla community, most recently in the development of the Eurobodalla Community Strategic Plan “Eurobodalla 2030”. One of the key messages to emerge from the community in the development of Eurobodalla 2030 was that “the natural environment is important”. As a further example of local dialogue on actions relating to achieving the principles of ecologically sustainable development, Council is currently exhibiting a Greenhouse Action Plan to seek community input into the ways Council can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in response to the issue of climate change. Council’s support for local action to achieve sustainable development is based on communication with the local community and local actions to achieve the community’s vision. I trust this clarifies the situation for you. Regards, Mark From: Graham [mailto:grahamhw@iprimus.com.au] Sent: Thursday, 28 June 2012 6:03 PM To: Mark Hitchenson Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Mark, Thank you for your prompt reply. It does appear you have misunderstood or perhaps you have been misinformed. I asked if Council policy is based upon a foreign UN Agenda 21 program or whether Council is following overseas precedents in banning such programs to protect ratepayers. You responded by stating “unfortunately the information you have been given is incorrect”, however, you referred me to your Settlement Strategy (1) to back up your claim that I had been misadvised. When I checked this document I found that it directly contradicted your claim that your policies are NOT UN Agenda 21 based and actually confirmed what I had heard about Council resorting to implementation of regressive UN Agenda 21 policy. According to the Settlement Strategy (1): “Eurobodalla Shire Council is committed to the concept and principles of sustainable development and the implementation of Local Agenda 21”. I am alarmed that Council seems to be acting as an agent of the UN in forcing ratepayers to comply with the dictates of such a regressive intrusive program as Agenda 21. Has Council given ratepayers an informed choice about this? Especially since the restrictive requirements of Agenda 21 are being banned overseas, why is Council moving in the opposite direction? Does Council intend to continue following the dictates of Agenda 21 program or do you intend to ban this foreign interference and represent the interests of ratepayers instead? I am particularly interested in ascertaining your future intentions in this regard. Council has made their allegiance to the UN quite clear in their above statement, but what about your allegiance to ratepayers? Will you move to ban all Agenda 21 associated policies to protect the interests of ratepayers? Regards Graham Williamson From: Mark Hitchenson [mailto:mark.hitchenson@eurocoast.nsw…gov.au] Sent: Thursday, 28 June 2012 3:41 PM To: ‘Graham’ Cc: Clr Fergus Thomson; Paula Pollock; Lindsay Usher Subject: RE: Land use Dear Mr Williamson, Unfortunately the information you have been given is incorrect. Councils Rural Local Environmental Plan (RLEP 1987) and the soon to be adopted Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan (ELEP 2012) both provide for a full range of agricultural land uses and primary production industries on rural zoned lands across the Shire. Aside from traditional agricultural pursuits such as dairying, horticultural and husbandry activities, the ELEP 2012 permits a range of additional land uses such as tourist and visitor accommodation and nurseries through to home based child care with consent in rural areas. The ELEP 2012 also includes secondary dwellings and dual occupancy development to accommodate growing families or rural workers. It is anticipated that the ELEP 2012 will be approved by the NSW Government in the very near future and will then be available to view from Council’s website www.esc.nsw.gov.au. If you would like to learn more about the rural values of the Shire and Council’s aims for rural land management, you may like to review the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy, available on Council’s website at http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/services/planning-anddevelopment/plans-policies-and-strategies/. The ESS is a 30 year plan that makes explicit the policy positioning of Council and State Government which in turn are in response to community expectations. The Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy involved extensive public consultation, community survey work, community visioning and planning and development with State Agencies. Eurobodalla’s rural land planning and policy is consistent with the South Coast Regional Strategy (available at http://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/StrategicPlanning/Regionalstrategies/tabid/161/language /en-AU/Default.aspx)that underpins the planning framework for all South Coast LGAs. Additionally, the preparation of a Rural Lands Strategy is about to commence and will inform land use planning decisions on rural developments and industries into the future. This Strategy will be conducted in consultation with the rural community. You can find more information on this process at Council’s website at http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/services/planning-and-development/plans-policies-andstrategies/eurobodalla-rural-lands-strategy/ . I hope this advice clarifies the situation for you and I encourage you to review the information referred to. If you would like further information Council staff would be happy to assist. Regards, Mark APPENDIX L Complaint to NSW Ombudsman SUMMARY Three important issues resulted from my correspondence with Eurobodalla Council and the NSW Ombudsman. 1. Truthfulness of Council. This includes both the supplying of complete and factual information in response to my enquiry and also the commitment shown by Council to fully and truthfully inform residents of the full details of Agenda 21. 2. The legislative authority of Council in regard to enforcing upon local residents the dictates of a foreign program such as the UN Agenda 21 program. 3. Response of the Ombudsman. This includes not only the Ombudsman’s refuting of evidence provided in my complaint, but also the “repackaging” of my complaint by the Ombudsman and internal disagreements within the Ombudsman’s office regarding the subject of my complaint. 1. Truthfulness of Council a. Accuracy of information supplied by Council in response to my enquiry My assertion to Council that the Agenda 21 program, which they admitted forms the basis of their Settlement Strategy, is a foreign program, the implementation of which is also monitored by a foreign organisation (the UN), was completely denied by Council. Council statements clearly contradicted the facts, as evidenced by extensive documentary evidence from the United Nations, the Commonwealth government, and the NSW government. In spite of this, the NSW Ombudsman stated they agreed with Council claims that Agenda 21 is NOT a foreign program and its implementation is NOT monitored by a foreign agency (the UN). The NSW Ombudsman has here apparently acted to condone or reinforce the dishonesty of Council and the supplying of misleading or deliberately false information by Council. b. Commitment shown by Council to fully and truthfully inform residents of the full details of Agenda 21. Because of the UN origin of AG21, the complexity of the program, and the threat it poses to fundamental human rights, it is vitally important that the Council has shown a clear commitment to accurately convey all these details to local residents. However, in response to my enquiry asking Council to provide evidence of media releases or Council notices to explain the details of AG21 to local residents, Council were unable to provide even one such notice. I concluded that “the high level of ignorance about AG 21 in the local community is patently obvious and is a sad reflection of Council’s community spirit and its total abandonment of community education, its duty of care, and any sense of social conscience or commitment.” While the Ombudsman made no direct reference to this allegation, he did note however that of the various “community consultations” conducted by Council he was unable to document even one which was designed by Council to educate local residents regarding the full details of AG21. Evidence from the Ombudsman therefore reinforces the claim that enforcement of AG 21 by Eurobodalla Council is fundamentally undemocratic. 2. The legislative authority of Council in regard to enforcing upon local residents the dictates of a foreign program such as the UN Agenda 21 program. As I notified the NSW Ombudsman, according to the Commonwealth government “Many local governments work in areas beyond statutory requirements, such as Local Agenda 21 and Cities for Climate Protection.” In response the Ombudsman was careful NOT to deny Council had exceeded its legislative authority. He simply made the point that he did not have the information “before” him to confirm any such abuse of Council powers. The Ombudsman however, carefully avoided responding to my quote from the Commonwealth government that Councils have no legislative authority to enforce AG21. The fact remains that Eurobodalla Council ARE enforcing AG21 and the Commonwealth government says they do not have the legislative power to enforce it. The NSW Ombudsman clearly, and no doubt wisely, refused to contradict the Commonwealth, preferring instead to suggest he did not have sufficient information. Perhaps this issue can only be resolved in the Courts. Obviously a distinction must be made between enforcing provisions of AG21 and enforcing provisions of NSW state legislation. 3. Response From the Ombudsman’s Office According to Phoebe Tan, my complaint to the Ombudsman was about “council’s environmental and land use policies being determined and monitored by the United Nations (UN) as the council have stated that it supports the UN’s Agenda 21 policy.” For some reason Ms Tan chose to confine my complaint to land use policies (my complaint was about the totality of AG21) and completely omit all my complaints about Council’s dishonesty and Council’s failure to supply truthful and complete information to local residents. Why does the Ombudsman’s office assume the role of processing and altering the substance of complaints they receive? As a result of my objections to the initial response of the Ombudsman’s office from Phoebe Tan, I received a second response from Ombudsman Bruce Barbour. According to Ombudsman Bruce Barbour’s new description of my complaint, my complaint was about the “legislative authority” of Council, not the “land use policies” as asserted by Phoebe Tan. Like Phoebe Tan however, Bruce Barbour chose not to include my complaint about honesty and accuracy of information supplied by Council. The reader can see that I have made my complaints perfectly clear but yet the Ombudsman’s office was obviously very confused with Phoebe Tan and Bruce Barbour contradicting each other regarding the fundamental nature of my complaint. In Barbour’s defence however, it should be noted that Tan’s claim that my complaint was confined to “land use policies” was apparently invented by her. However, though I asked why this fictitious complaint about land use policies had been invented by the Ombudsman’s office, Barbour refused to comment upon this, preferring instead to state that he agreed with Tan’s analysis even though he changed my complaint to a complaint about the “legislative authority” of Council. Tan’s acknowledgement of my concerns about the UN monitoring of Council Agenda 21 policies was of course correct, but for some reason Barbour, in further apparent disagreement with Tan, deleted this from his analysis of the subject of my complaint. The Ombudsmans office is clearly in complete disarray with complainants having their complaints twisted and censored and staff openly contradicting each othar about the subject of a complaint. The Ombudsman’s office accepts a complaint, then processes and sterilises the complaint and spits out a completely new complaint, then, after arguing about the subject of the complaint, adjudicates on the merits of the complaint. How can they ever arrive at a correct and just decision? Given the above it is hardly surprising that the Ombudsman’s office was unable to refute the voluminous documentary evidence I supplied to them. My evidence may have been indisputable, but my complaint was dismissed nevertheless. I repeat my concerns made to the Ombudsman regarding the specific failings of the Ombudsman’s office in regard to my complaint: “I am concerned that the NSW Ombudsman, in responding to my complaint, has failed or completely abandoned his responsibility which (20) “is to make sure that agencies we watch over fulfil their functions properly and improve their delivery of services to the public.” You have also failed or abandoned your responsibility to oversee Council activities (21), “We handle complaints about local councils and help make sure councils act fairly and reasonably. We can look at the conduct of councillors and council employees and the administrative conduct of the council itself.” You have failed in 3 specific areas. 1. Firstly, Council states quite clearly that it is implementing the provisions of the 500 page United Nations plan called “Agenda 21”. The Commonwealth government says Council has no legislative power to implement this program and I have asked you if this is correct, whether Council has the legal power to introduce this program, or any other foreign program for that matter, and from whence does Council derive the legal authority to enforce any or all of the Agenda 21 package. You responded by completely avoiding my complaint and my questions and instead you fabricated a new fictitious complaint about LEP’s and land use and proceeded to answer this new complaint which was created by you. 2. Although Agenda 21 is United Nations program, you approved as factual and accurate Council’s claim that Agenda 21 is a local program which has no relationship to any foreign agency. Clearly you are seeking to condone or cover up Council untruths here. I supplied voluminous evidence regarding improper conduct of Council but once again you completely ignored all this evidence. Introduction Eurobodalla Shire Council, like many councils, has been busy using the provisions of the United Nations Agenda 21 program to undermine human rights and freedoms, particularly property rights (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). To make matters worse, the public have not been informed of the implications of Agenda 21 and are kept in a high state of ignorance by all three levels of government. In fact this public ignorance is one of the hallmarks of the program and seems to be a prerequisite for the successful implementation of what otherwise would be a democratically unacceptable foreign program. In view of these facts I expressed my concerns to Eurobodalla Council in a series of emails which are documented in Appendix A. However, the dismissing of my concerns by council ultimately resulted in my contacting the NSW Ombudsman. On 1st of August 2012 I submitted a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman regarding Eurobodalla Councils implementation of the United Nations Agenda 21 program. This paper documents that complaint and the response from the Ombudsman. The reader should note however, that since this complaint was initiated there have been Council elections with the consequent restructuring of Eurobodalla Council. Summary of Initial Complaint to Ombudsman Initially, in my complaint, I documented the responsibility of Council to truthfully inform the public. Council notes the unacceptability of “illegal decisions”, “decisions not in the public interest”, “decisions which would not withstand public scrutiny,” “conflicts of interest”, but also dishonest decisions or those reflecting poorly on Council integrity are also unacceptable. But in forcing upon local residents, with absolutely no legislative authority, a program which was produced by a foreign agency, and is monitored by a foreign agency, Council has gone way beyond its legal authority and has relied upon fictitious powers to force its will upon residents. Furthermore, Councils complete failure to properly inform and educate the local community regarding the foreign nature of this program, the foreign monitoring of the program, and the totality or end goals of the program, reveals that Council has completely abrogated its role as a Council and working with the community in the interests of the community. So complete has been Councils failure to truthfully inform the public that the prospect of deliberate deception must be very carefully investigated. I then proceeded to summarise my complaint and supply back up evidence. Summary of Complaint 1. Council Enforcing Foreign Program With no Legislative Support Council, as confirmed by its own Settlement Strategy document (16), is attempting to enforce upon the local community the provisions of a foreign UN initiated and monitored program called Agenda 21. As is aptly pointed out by the Commonwealth Government (17), there is no statutory basis for enforcing this program upon the community. Why is Eurobodalla Council being permitted to enforce a foreign initiative upon the local community without any legislative requirement? Is Council empowered to respond directly to foreign agencies? What limits have been imposed upon this? Is any Local Government empowered to indiscriminately enforce foreign programs upon local residents? What action will you take about this and when? 2. Council resorting to dishonesty or misleading information. Initially I asked Council : “I was advised that Council supports a regressive rural land policy based upon the requirements of the UN Agenda 21 program, a program currently being banned overseas. Is this correct? On behalf of Council, Mr Hitchenson responded: “Unfortunately the information you have been given is incorrect.” However, as noted above and below, Mr Hitchenson’s response is not true or accurate since Council admits its policy is indeed based upon Agenda 21. What disciplinary action will be taken about this and when? Subsequently Mr Hitchenson responded in regard to Agenda 21: “With regards to your specific questions about Agenda 21, I wish to advise that Council is required by law to act in an environmentally sustainable manner.” So though Council claims I had been incorrectly advised about Council implementing Agenda 21, now Council claims, re Agenda 21, they are “required to act by law.” As already noted however, AG 21 has no legislative basis. Council also goes to some length to repeatedly emphasise their policies have no foreign connection whatsoever but have been locally formulated. According to Council: “Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined by any foreign agency – Council does not report to the United Nations or any other foreign agency. No foreign agency has any involvement in Council’s processes for determining environmental or land use policy – There is no monitoring of Council’s environmental or land use policies by any foreign agency – Further, Eurobodalla Shire Council is not promoting or implementing any foreign based and initiated restrictions on Eurobodalla land owners.” As I point out to Council however, “Council admits its policies are based upon AG 21 and AG21 is a UN policy and the UN is a foreign agency; if any of this is incorrect please supply proof, if not, let us cease arguing about simple facts – council has agreed to the provisions of Agenda 21 and chapter 38.11 of AG 21 clearly sets out the UN’s monitoring provisions, which are of course carried out with the assistance of all 3 levels of government. Since Council agreed to adopt Agenda 21 Council would also have been aware of the monitoring provisions which are an integral part of the program.” Council further underlines the dependence of its environmental/sustainability policies upon Agenda 21 and foreign agencies with its admission in its Greenhouse Action Plan that such policies are derived from ICLEI (2), an Agenda 21 promotional organisation. In fact, Section 7.21 of Agenda 21, specifically recommends involvement with ICLEI. According to Maurice Strong in the Local Agenda 21 Planning Guide (4), “The task of mobilizing and technically supporting Local Agenda 21 planning in these communities has been led by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and national associations of local government.” And further, according to ICLEI, “In 1991, at the invitation of Secretariat for the UN Conference on Environment and Development, ICLEI presented a draft of Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 including the mandate for all local authorities to prepare a ‘local Agenda 21’.” Once again information supplied by Council is false, unless of course Council is either declaring its own documents to be false or claiming the UN is not a foreign agency. What disciplinary action will you take about this and when? 3. Abandonment of Democracy, Divisiveness, and Acting Against the Interests of Ratepayers, and Refusing to Truthfully Advise Ratepayers. I asked Council the following questions as evidenced below: “Has Council offered local residents the choice between a locally designed, monitored and implemented environmental/sustainability plan as an alternative to plans designed and monitored by a foreign agency (the UN)? Council has completely ignored this question. Do you intend to clearly state your policies in regard to the above matters for the upcoming local elections?” Council has completely ignored this question. “Has Council warned residents of the undemocratic nature of Agenda 21 plans, their UN origin, and their full agenda and final goals? If so please supply documentary evidence (notices, media releases etc)? In response Council stated: “Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to deny residents a democratic choice in terms of the setting of environmental or land use policy – All of Council’s environmental and land use policies are determined by Council in consultation with the Eurobodalla community- As I have previously advised, the Eurobodalla Settlement Strategy was developed in consultation with the Eurobodalla community. I have also previously advised that there was extensive community consultation in the preparation of the Eurobodalla Community Strategic Plan – Council will therefore continue to work with the community to develop local solutions to local environmental issues.” So far Council has not been able to produce even one document they have produced with the purpose of educating the public about the UN origin of Agenda 21, and the totality or end goals of Agenda 21. As a result, I responded to Council: “I have repeatedly asked Council to provide copies of media releases or council notices informing residents of the UN origin and monitoring of AG21 and the full agenda or long term goals of AG21 but so far council has been unable to produce even one document in support of their claim that they have communicated with the community and given them a democratic choice – I have asked why the Council felt unable to utilise its own locally produced and monitored sustainability plan but instead felt the need to import a UN plan but have received no answer to this. Has this been explained to residents during your consultation with them?” The high level of ignorance about AG 21 in the local community is patently obvious and is a sad reflection of Council’s community spirit and its total abandonment of community education, its duty of care, and any sense of social conscience or commitment. What disciplinary action will you take about this and when? Ombudsman’s Response to Initial Complaint In my complaint to the Ombudsman I first made the following point. “Council Enforcing Foreign Program With no Legislative Support Council, as confirmed by its own Settlement Strategy document (16), is attempting to enforce upon the local community the provisions of a foreign UN initiated and monitored program called Agenda 21. As is aptly pointed out by the Commonwealth Government (17), there is no statutory basis for enforcing this program upon the community. Why is Eurobodalla Council being permitted to enforce a foreign initiative upon the local community without any legislative requirement? Is Council empowered to respond directly to foreign agencies? What limits have been imposed upon this? Is any Local Government empowered to indiscriminately enforce foreign programs upon local residents? What action will you take about this and when?” I received the following response from Phoebe Tan of the Ombudsman’s office: “Council’s decision to consider Agenda 21 when developing their environmental and land use policies is a discretionary decision and doing so does not avoid the requirement that such policies must be deemed to comply with the Act by the Director-General of the Department of Planning and ultimately, the Minister for Planning.” In reply I pointed out to the Ombudsman that my complaint did not specifically mention land use policies and nowhere in Council documentation did Council claim its implementation of AG 21 was limited to the land use policies of the AG21 program. “Seems for some reason you have decided to limit your Agenda 21 comments to “land use policies” whereas this was not my complaint. Why do you suggest my complaint about AG21 is only about “land use policies” when I did not state this? Council states quite clearly that they endorse ALL the provisions of Agenda 21” (16). I then outlined some of the requirements of Agenda 21, requirements which were endorsed by Eurobodalla Council since Council did not seek to qualify or limit their endorsement of Agenda 21 in any way. According to the UN, Agenda 21 is (18) “a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” These provisions include control of pollution, land use, limiting consumption, conservation, health, development, agriculture, biodiversity, water, women, farming, to name but a few. Additionally, participants in Agenda 21 agree to UN supervision and monitoring. In specific connection with local government AG21 states (19): “All local authorities in each country should be encouraged to implement and monitor programmes which aim at ensuring that women and youth are represented in decision-making, planning and implementation processes. Activities 28.3. Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organizations and private enterprises and adopt “a local Agenda 21″. Through consultation and consensusbuilding, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organizations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies. The process of consultation would increase household awareness of sustainable development issues. Local authority programmes, policies, laws and regulations to achieve Agenda 21 objectives would be assessed and modified, based on local programmes adopted. Strategies could also be used in supporting proposals for local, national, regional and international funding. 28.4. Partnerships should be fostered among relevant organs and organizations such as UNDP, the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) and UNEP, the World Bank, regional banks, the International Union of Local Authorities, the World Association of the Major Metropolises, Summit of Great Cities of the World, the United Towns Organization and other relevant partners, with a view to mobilizing increased international support for local authority programmes. An important goal would be to support, extend and improve existing institutions working in the field of local authority capacity-building and local environment management. For this purpose: (a) Habitat and other relevant organs and organizations of the United Nations system are called upon to strengthen services in collecting information on strategies of local authorities, in particular for those that need international support; (b) Periodic consultations involving both international partners and developing countries could review strategies and consider how such international support could best be mobilized. Such a sectoral consultation would complement concurrent country-focused consultations, such as those taking place in consultative groups and round tables.” The Ombudsman was unable to refute any of this information of course since it is taken directly from the Agenda 21 document published by the United Nations. I asked the Ombudsman again: “Why is Eurobodalla Council being permitted to enforce a foreign initiative upon the local community without any legislative requirement? Is Council empowered to respond directly to foreign agencies? What limits have been imposed upon this? Is any Local Government empowered to indiscriminately enforce foreign programs upon local residents? What action will you take about this and when?” My questions regarding implementation were NOT limited to land use decisions though for some reason you have chosen to make this claim. Council has nowhere limited its implementation of AG21 to land use decisions only in spite of your apparent conclusion in this regard. Especially since the Commonwealth government has said Council has no legal power (17) to implement the provisions of “Agenda 21”, how are they permitted to implement this foreign program? The mere statement by Council that it is implementing AG21 is, according to Commonwealth, a violation of its own powers. Are you contradicting the Commonwealth and suggesting Council is legally entitled to enforce any or all of the provisions of the Agenda 21 package? FACT: Eurobodalla Council has confirmed it is implementing the extensive UN package of reforms described as “Agenda 21”. FACT: Agenda 21 is a comprehensive UN program which has no clear end point but which contains hundreds of provisions which aim to control our lives and yet you, for some reason, have chosen to ignore my complaint and confine the discussion to land use policies only. FACT: The Commonwealth government has stated Council has no legislative authority to implement AG21.” The Ombudsman, though unable to refute my evidence, failed to respond to any of my above points. I asked the Ombudsman again: “For some reason you have sought to turn my complaint into a complaint about land use only and ignore the actual facts of my complaint which relate to AG21 itself and the behaviour and authority of Council. Why?” In my complaint I also drew attention to supply of inaccurate, misleading, or untruthful information by council but the Ombudsman’s only response to Council deception was: “I acknowledge your complaint that council has answered none of your questions. I have read your complaint and the supporting documentation you have provided, including several responses from Mr Mark Hitchenson, Land Use Planning Coordinator for the council. Mr Hitchenson’s emails to you demonstrate that the council has been appropriately responsive to your contact and the issues you have raised. That the council has not answered ‘every’ question is not wrong conduct that warrants further investigation by this office.” I replied to the Ombudsman: “You have made absolutely no comment or judgement about the accuracy or truthfulness of Council’s responses but yet this was fundamental to my complaint. Why? Are you suggesting Council was truthful, accurate and open? Are you suggesting Council did not breach the Council Code of Conduct? FACT: Council readily admits it is implementing Agenda 21; FACT: Agenda 21 is a foreign UN program; FACT: The UN monitors implementation of AG21 FACT: Council has repeatedly denied their policies have any connection with a foreign agency. Council claims are blatantly false and untrue and yet you have described this as being “appropriately responsive”. Why, and on what basis, do you consider factual inaccuracies and untruths as an appropriate response? Please reveal where Council responded “appropriately” by accurately informing me about the UN basis and monitoring of AG21. If you cannot show me this then my question remains; why are you seeking to condone or cover up their dishonesty? Is this your personal decision, or an official decision of the Ombudsman’s office? Council has made repeated statements which are factually inaccurate and untruthful and yet you have concluded that this dishonesty is quite acceptable. Why? On what basis do you condone this dishonesty? Are you suggesting this dishonesty conforms to the Code of Conduct? As a result of the Ombudsman’s response I responded thus: So are you endorsing and supporting the numerous untruths told by Council, and the misinformation supplied by Council, which is in direct breach of the Council Code of conduct? Is this correct? Or are you suggesting the Council told no untruths, did not supply misinformation, and did not violate the Code of Conduct? I further expressed my concern regarding the Ombudsman’s response and detailed specific failings of the Ombudsman’s office in regard to my complaint: “I am concerned that the NSW Ombudsman, in responding to my complaint, has failed or completely abandoned his responsibility which (20) “is to make sure that agencies we watch over fulfil their functions properly and improve their delivery of services to the public.” You have also failed or abandoned your responsibility to oversee Council activities (21), “We handle complaints about local councils and help make sure councils act fairly and reasonably. We can look at the conduct of councillors and council employees and the administrative conduct of the council itself.” You have failed in 3 specific areas. 3. Firstly, Council states quite clearly that it is implementing the provisions of the 500 page United Nations plan called “Agenda 21”. The Commonwealth government says Council has no legislative power to implement this program and I have asked you if this is correct, whether Council has the legal power to introduce this program, or any other foreign program for that matter, and from whence does Council derive the legal authority to enforce any or all of the Agenda 21 package. You responded by completely avoiding my complaint and my questions and instead you fabricated a new fictitious complaint about LEP’s and land use and proceeded to answer this new complaint which was created by you. 4. Although Agenda 21 is United Nations program, you approved as factual and accurate Council’s claim that Agenda 21 is a local program which has no relationship to any foreign agency. Clearly you are seeking to condone or cover up Council untruths here. 5. I supplied voluminous evidence regarding improper conduct of Council but once again you completely ignored all this evidence. I continued to express my concerns to the Ombudsman regarding his response. “In your response you stated as in red below. Council’s environmental and land use policies When councils develops its planning policies such as the Local Environment Plan (LEP), council must follow the process set out in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act). More specifically, councils must publicly exhibit amendments to the LEP, invite public comment and consider any submissions received. The draft LEP is then sent to the DirectorGeneral of the Department of Planning for a report to the Minister for Planning who makes the final decision to amend the LEP. The Director-General must report to the Minister on whether the draft LEP has met all the requirements of the Act. This office generally does not take up complaints about the changes to the content of LEPs because the Minister for Planning makes the final decision on a proposal to rezone land, and we have no power to investigate the conduct of a Minister.” “While I thank you for the information, what has all this got to do with my complaint? I did not mention land use and LEP’s but yet here you are answering a complaint I did not make. Why? Why invent a new complaint that I did not make and then proceed to answer it? I repeat: FACT: Eurobodalla Council has confirmed it is implementing the extensive UN package of reforms described as “Agenda 21”. FACT: Agenda 21 is a comprehensive UN program which has no clear end point but which contains hundreds of provisions which aim to control our lives and yet you, for some reason, have chosen to ignore my complaint and confine the discussion to land use policies only. FACT: The Commonwealth government has stated Council has no legislative authority to implement AG21. FACT: Council readily admits it is implementing Agenda 21; FACT: Agenda 21 is a foreign UN program; FACT: The UN monitors implementation of AG21 FACT: Council has repeatedly denied their policies have any connection with a foreign agency. I have provided extensive documentation from the United Nations, the government, and Council, to substantiate ALL of the above facts. You have not been able to dispute or disprove ANY of that evidence. You describe Council’s dishonesty about the United Nations origin of Agenda 21 thus: “Mr Hitchenson’s emails to you demonstrate that the council has been appropriately responsive to your contact and the issues you have raised.” So according to the Office of the NSW Ombudsman, concealing the truth, or blatant dishonesty, is an “appropriate” Council response and does not violate the Council Code of Conduct. Is this correct? If not, in light of the above facts, please explain how their denial of foreign involvement is truthful. Are you suggesting both the government and the United Nations are wrong about the foreign origin of AG21?” The above points I made in my complaint, backed up by extensive evidence from the United Nations, the Australian government, and Eurobodalla Council, were not refuted by the Ombudsman even though my complaints were nevertheless dismissed. The Council was untruthful and supplied misleading or deliberately false information about the foreign UN origin of Agenda 21 and yet this dishonesty was apparently approved by the Ombudsman. Adding to this deception was the fact that the Council were unable to supply a copy of even one press release or council notice explaining to residents the full details of AG 21 and its UN origins. Nevertheless, the Ombudsman seemingly gave his seal of approval to Council’s deceptive and misleading behaviour and their determination NOT to explain to residents the full implications of AG 21. Second Response from Ombudsman’s Office – from Ombudsman Bruce Barbour As a result of my above objections to the initial response of the Ombudsman’s office from Phoebe Tan, the matter was then referred to Ombudsman Bruce Barbour for further consideration. But for some reason, the Ombudsman chose to completely omit all my complaints about Council’s dishonesty and Council’s responsibility to supply truthful information. According to Ombudsman Bruce Barbour’s new description of my complaint, my complaint was only about the “legislative authority” of Council. Barbour’s analysis of my complaint contrasts sharply with the earlier analysis by Phoebe Tan. “You complain that the council’s environmental and land use policies are being determined and monitored by the United Nations (UN) as the council have stated that it supports the UN’s Agenda 21 policy.” The reader can see that I have made my complaint perfectly clear but yet the Ombudsman’s office was obviously very confused with Phoebe Tan and Bruce Barbour contradicting each other regarding the fundamental nature of my complaint. In Barbour’s defence however, it should be noted that Tan’s claim that my complaint was confined to “land use policies” was apparently invented by her. However, though I asked why this fictitious complaint about land use policies had been invented by the Ombudsman’s office, Barbour refused to comment upon this, preferring instead to state that he agreed with Tan’s analysis even though he changed my complaint to a complaint about the “legislative authority” of Council. Tan’s acknowledgement of my concerns about the UN monitoring of Council Agenda 21 policies was of course correct, but for some reason Barbour, in further apparent disagreement with Tan, deleted this from his analysis of the subject of my complaint. The Ombudsmans office is clearly in complete disarray with complainants having their complaints twisted and censored and staff openly contradicting each othar about the subject of a complaint. The Ombudsman’s office accepts a complaint, then processes and sterilises the complaint and spits out a completely new complaint, then, after arguing about the subject of the complaint, adjudicates on the merits of the complaint. How can they ever arrive at a correct and just decision? Barbour went on to say he agreed with the reply I received from Mark Hitchenson of Eurobodalla Council: The comments made by Hitchenson, with which the Ombudsman fully agrees, are as follows: “Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to have its environmental and land use policies determined by any foreign agency. Council does not report to the United Nations or any other foreign agency. No foreign agency has any involvement in Council’s processes for determining environmental or land use policy. There is no monitoring of Council’s environmental or land use policies by any foreign agency. Eurobodalla Shire Council has not decided to deny residents a democratic choice in terms of the setting of environmental or land use policy. Further, Eurobodalla Shire Council is not promoting or implementing any foreign based and initiated restrictions on Eurobodalla land owners. All of Council’s environmental and land use policies are determined by Council in consultation with the Eurobodalla community……This should leave you in no doubt that Council has and will continue to provide all Eurobodalla residents with the opportunity to be involved in the setting of local policies and that Council is not undemocratically implementing any foreign agenda.” The fact that Agenda 21 is a foreign UN program, and it is program monitored by a foreign Agency (the UN) is simply indisputable as is clear from the above evidence. Also perfectly clear is the fact that Eurobodalla Council not only failed to publicise and inform the community about these facts, but even worse, when I questioned them they concealed the truth and supplied highly misleading and deceptive information. Additionally, the Council was unable to supply even one media release or Council notice showing they had attempted to explain to residents the full implications of AG 21. In spite of all these facts, the NSW Ombudsman has endorsed and stated his agreement with the above misinformation supplied by Eurobodalla Council. The NSW Ombudsman continued to offer the following explanation of his response in his letter. This information of course is completely irrelevant to my complaint and the reason for its inclusion in the Ombudsman’s response is unclear. Of course I have never suggested the Council is a signatory to the agreement. Quite the opposite in fact since I pointed out that Council had no legislative authority to enforce AG21 upon local residents. Signatory or not, the fact remains that implementation is monitored by the United Nations. The Ombudsman continues in his letter. The reason the Ombudsman included this information is also unclear, unless he was somehow meaning to suggest that the “community consultations” he referred to in some way indicate that Council has attempted to honestly inform the public about AG21. Quite the opposite is true in fact. The Ombudsman has seemingly confirmed that he was unable to document any community consultations conducted by Council which were intended to convey to the public the full implications of AG21 and its United Nations origin. In all of these community consultations, the Ombudsman has confirmed that not one was designed to explain the full implications of AG21 to residents. The Council it seems, specifically avoided explaining the full details of AG 21 to local residents. Even though the Ombudsman is supplying further evidence here to support my allegation that Council has not even attempted to explain the full implications of AG21 to local residents, nevertheless, somehow he dismissed my complaint! The Ombudsman continues in his letter. The Ombudsman is careful here NOT to deny Council has exceeded its legislative authority. He simply makes the point that he does not have the information “before” him to confirm any such abuse of Council powers. The Ombudsman carefully avoided responding to my quote from the Commonwealth government that Councils have no legislative authority to enforce AG21 (2) : “Many local governments work in areas beyond statutory requirements, such as Local Agenda 21 and Cities for Climate Protection.” The fact remains that Eurobodalla Council ARE enforcing AG21 and the Commonwealth government says they do not have the legislative power to enforce it. The NSW Ombudsman clearly, and no doubt wisely, refused to contradict the Commonwealth, preferring instead to suggest he did not have sufficient information. APPENDIX M Correspondence With Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage Unanswered email of 22/12/2012 Hi Greg, Unfortunately, though you prefer to ” draw this engagement to a conclusion”, this matter is just emerging and will be a factor at the next election. Australians are looking for politicians with a commitment to Australia, not a commitment to importing everything, including UN sustainability programs. But Australians are also looking for a commitment to democracy, truth and political integrity, not backroom deals and covert undeclared policies in which they have no say. Ignoring these matters will fracture the conservative vote and encourage new parties. I find it interesting that you mentioned global government and global conspiracy in regard to Agenda 21. I did not mention these terms or make this connection although of course I acknowledge an awareness of discussions about this, including discussions in the Federal parliament. I also acknowledge statements from the UN to the effect that the limitations of state sovereignty are restricting their global governance aspirations. I also acknowledge the simple fact that the independence and sovereignty of Australia has been progressively reduced over the past 2 decades by various political mechanisms. Are all these changes accidental or deliberate? You would know the answer to this better than I would. Suffice to say that successive governments conspicuously avoid arresting this process by strengthening our sovereignty and independence. What is your policy? More of the same? Or would you adopt a policy of strengthening Australia’s sovereignty and independence? Your question “Can I ask if you honestly think that John Howard was involved in some global Government Green left conspiracy” is curious and irrelevant. I find it interesting that you prefer to waste time with such a question and avoid all the real issues I raised. You seem to be more concerned about what you label ‘conspiracies’ than about the nationwide implementation of AG21 to which I referred. You seem more concerned with conspiracies than the warning your government issued about councils exceeding their legislative authority. And you expressed no concern whatsoever that according to legal experts AG21 is being used to destroy the traditional anthropocentric values of our legal system(see previous encl), even though, being a lawyer, you would be well aware of this. Are these legal experts all wrong? When you describe AG21 as a “dead, irrelevant declaration”, are you suggesting our laws are not being rewritten to endorse the ecocentric principles of AG21 as legal experts claim? And are you suggesting AG21 is not currently being implemented around Australia? And are you suggesting that your government was wrong when they acknowledged in their 2006 SOE report that AG21 is being introduced by councils? If you look on the government’s web site http://www.environment.gov.au/about/international/uncsd/index.html#agenda21 you will see “Australia’s commitment to Agenda 21 is reflected in a strong national response to meet our obligations under this international agreement.” Is this what you mean by a dead irrelevant declaration? You mentioned John Howard. As you must be aware, the Howard government complied with the dictates of the UN that they must send regular implementation reports to the UN to confirm the details of implementation (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Of course this was done undemocratically with no declared policy Australians could vote on. These reports of course involved huge government resources and involved a huge number of bureaucrats and politicians as you can see here (8): How Was This Report Written? The preparation of this report was overseen by an editorial committee composed of the following members: National (Commonwealth Government) members: · the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories (convenor); · the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; · the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; · the Department of Primary Industries and Energy; and · the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). State and Local Government members: · a representative of the Government of the State of Victoria, nominated by the Intergovernmental Committee for Ecologically Sustainable Development to represent all States and Territories; and · the Australian Local Government Association. Non-government organisation members: · the Australian Conservation Foundation; · the Australian Council for Overseas Aid; and · the Business Council of Australia. Initial drafts of each chapter of the report were prepared by a Commonwealth Government department or agency with the relevant domestic responsibility. These drafts were provided to the editorial committee, all State, Territory and Local Government members of the Intergovernmental Committee for Ecologically Sustainable Development, and to approximately twenty non-government organisations (NGOs) with interests in the subject matter of the reports. Comments and suggestions from all groups were referred to the editorial committee and the report was finalised on the basis of the committee’s recommendations. The editorial committee took the view that, wherever possible, NGO suggestions on matters of fact or emphasis should be reflected in the body of the report. Where comments critical of government policy could not be accommodated in the official response to the CSD guidelines, text reflecting the comments provided by NGOs was agreed by the editorial committee and included in the report as an identified NGO comment. The report was drafted prior to the March 1996 Federal election which brought about a change of government. It has been approved by the new Government as a document describing policies and programs which were in effect prior to or as at the end of 1995. The final report was approved by the following Ministers: · the Minister for the Environment, Senator the Hon Robert Hill; · the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Alexander Downer MP; · the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, the Hon John Anderson MP; and · the Minister for Resources and Energy, Senator the Hon Warwick Parer. And again here (9): UNCSD – NATIONAL LEVEL COORDINATION STRUCTURE OF AGENDA 21 ACTIONS (Fact Sheet – CSD 1999) 1. Key National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism(s) (e.g, Councils, Commissions, Inter-Ministerial Working Groups). Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Working Groups The principle of sustainable development is now broadly accepted and built into the working programs of the key bodies of national governance which bring together the National and State governments. An example of these key bodies are Ministerial Councils, including: Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC) Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand (ARMCANZ) Australian and New Zealand Minerals and Energy Council (ANZMEC) Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture (MCFFA) Australian Transport Council 2. Membership/Composition/Chairperson 2a. List of ministries and government agencies involved: Agencies involved in COAG are: Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet New South Wales Cabinet Office Victorian Department of the Premier and Cabinet Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet Western Australian Ministry of the Premier and Cabinet South Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet Tasmanian Department of the Premier and Cabinet Northern Territory Department of the Chief Minister Australian Capital Territory Chief minister’s Department Other Ministries that contribute to other coordination mechanisms such as the Ministerial Councils include: Australian Greenhouse Office Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade New South Wales Environment Protection Authority New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service New South Wales Department of Land and Water Conservation New South Wales Fisheries New South Wales State Forests Victorian Environment Protection Agency Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment Queensland Department of Natural Resources Queensland Department of Primary Industries Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Western Australian Department of Environmental Protection Western Australian Department of Conservation and Land Management Western Australian Fisheries South Australian Department of Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs South Australian Department of Primary Industries and Resources Tasmanian Department of the Primary Industries, Water and Environment Northern Territory Department of Lands, Planning and Environment Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries Australian Capital Territory Department of Urban Services 2b. Names of para-statal bodies and institutions involved, as well as participation of academic and private sectors: A range of groups may be consulted on an issues basis, including: Association of Australian Ports and Marine Authorities Inc. Australian Local Government Association National Academies Forum National Environmental Law Association Royal Australian Planning Institute Australian Business Chamber Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australian Industry Greenhouse Network Sustainable Technologies Australia Australian Chamber of Manufacturers Australian Institute of Petroleum Ltd Minerals Council of Australia National Association of Forest Industries National Farmers’ Federation Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association Business Council of Australia The Institution of Engineers, Australia Pulp and Paper Manufacturers Federation of Australia Environment Management Industry Association of Australia Waste Management Association of Australia Australian Seafood Industry Council Recfish Australia Australian Automobile Association Australian Coal Association Australian Gas Association Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Ltd. Electricity Supply Association of Australia Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Metal trades industry Association Road Transport Forum Tourism Council Australia 2c. Names of non-governmental organisations: A number of non-government organisations are consulted on an issues basis, including: Australian Council for Overseas Aid Australian Conservation Foundation Greenpeace Australia World Wide Fund for Nature OzChild Australian Council of Social Services Australian Council of National Trustees Australian Marine Conservation Society Australian National Parks Council Humane Society International Clean Up Australia Ltd. Keep Australia Beautiful Association Birds Australia National Toxics Network Urban Ecology Australia Inc. Ecological Society of Australia Environs Australia Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales Queensland Conservation Council Conservation Council of South Australia Conservation Council of Western Australia Tasmanian Conservation Trust Inc. The Environment Centre Northern Territory CONSERAC Victorian National Parks Association 3. Mandate/role of above mechanism/council: COAG’s objectives include increasing cooperation among governments in the national interest, and consultation on major whole-of-government issues arising from Ministerial Council deliberations and on major initiatives of one government which impact on other governments. Groups such as ANZECC, ANZMEC, ARMCANZ, MCFFA report to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). When considering intergovernmental matters which have implications beyond the areas of responsibility of Ministers on a Council, liaison between Ministerial Councils is carried out through the respective Chairs, to ensure that relevant factors are taken into account. Chairs of Ministerial Councils may then report to Heads of Government on issues which have major cross-portfolio or whole-of-government implications. Submitted by Name: Andrew Ross Signature: Title: Director, Intergovernment Unit Date: Ministry/Office: Environment Australia Telephone: + 61 2 6274 1387 Fax: + 61 2 6274 1858 e-mail: Andrew.Ross@ea.gov.au Your claims that AG21 is a non-binding dead agreement (and you are unaware of the above) clearly contradict testimony by your own political party and your own colleagues. You are, for some reason, simply denying the truth, denying the facts. But it gets worse since you claim “we have no powers over local Governments.” I notice you failed to mention former Minister for Environment Robert Hill’s endorsement of the Commonwealth’s Local Agenda 21 guide for councils. According to the Minister: In 1992, the United Nations released a ground-breaking action plan for sustainable development called Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is a blueprint that sets out actions we can all take to contribute to global sustainability in the 21st century. It recognises that most environmental challenges have their roots in local activities and therefore encourages Local Governments to promote local environmental, economic and social sustainability by translating the principles of sustainable development into strategies that are meaningful to local communities. This process is called Local Agenda 21 (LA21). The importance of LA21 was recognised in June 1997 by APEC Ministers for Sustainable Development when they set an APEC-wide target of doubling the number of Councils with LA21s by 2003. At the time there were approximately 61 councils in Australia with LA21 programs in place. The importance of local ESD has been further recognised by Environment ministers from all Australian jurisdictions (meeting as the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC)) when they agreed to encourage the implementation of LA21 in their own jurisdictions in order to meet the APEC LA21 target in Australia. In July 1999 ANZECC Ministers agreed to encourage LA21 in their jurisdictions through an ANZECC LA21 Achievement Award. The award will promote LA21 by recognising best practice and raising the profile of LA21 amongst Local Government. Since the Pathways to Sustainability Conference in June 1997 and the release of the Newcastle Declaration, we have seen the growth of Local Agenda 21 initiatives and the LA21 movement in Australia. Moving ahead on sustainable development is not an easy task but it is essential to secure Australia’s future. Australia needs leadership on sustainable development and many Australian Local Governments are providing that leadership… We are now starting to see strong synergies in Australia between LA21 and other sustainable development issues like greenhouse gas emission reduction, integrated coastal management, biodiversity conservation and the objectives of the Natural Heritage Trust.” Are you suggesting that Robert Hill was also unaware AG21 is “dead”? Let us be serious Greg. We both know AG21 is being implemented nationwide and this is being done without giving Australians a democratic choice. To deny this is to deny reality and suggest you are incompetent and unintelligent which I do not believe is so. So let us move on. Instead of constantly denying reality and arguing in the negative, what positive policies will you bring to the election to restore democracy and counter AG21. In the interests of Australian citizens, will you follow the American lead and ban all imported sustainability programs such as AG21? Are you prepared to take positive action, or merely continue arguing and pretending reality is not happening? I have been very patient and given you every opportunity only to have you insult my intelligence by denying simple facts. Isn’t Australia more important to you than that? Regards Graham Williamson —–Original Message—– From: Hunt, Greg (MP) [mailto:Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au] Sent: Friday, 21 December 2012 8:30 PM To: Graham Subject: Re: Mitigation strategy For the final time i had never heard of the issue, heard it raised by Ministers, MP’s pr constituents until 19 years after the ing was apparently signed. Given that you are int he same position we a subject to the same degree of knowledge. Can I ask if you honestly think that John Howard was involved in some global Government Green left conspiracy? Given that for the first 19 years the issue appears to have escaped both of our attention can I respectfully suggest that the discovery of a dead, irrelevant declaration 19 years after the fact may cause everyone to be calm. I respect your views and encourage you to find and approach any councils directly and to attend Council meetings to announce and denounce any actions which you believe are part of a global conspiracy. I genuinely respect your rights on this front. I will respectfully draw this engagement to a conclusion and encourage you from here to approach State based Governments as we have no powers over local Governments. Sent from my iPad On 21/12/2012, at 6:54 PM, “Graham” wrote: Hi Greg, My interest has gradually increased over the past 12 months as I have learned more about it. You can see the summarised results of 12 months research enclosed. While I of course respect what you have said, it is very much at odds with reality as is evidenced by enclosed. Councils right around Australia are implementing Agenda 21 with the assistance of state governments. This is a simple fact. As you can see, state governments have even incorporated AG into the school curriculum. And your government has acknowledged councils continue to introduce it without legislative authority. The fact that there is such extensive nationwide implementation of this program without politicians prepared to accept responsibility is an enormous problem in itself and raises serious questions. The fact that it is being implemented without being a binding agreement raises even more questions as to why this is so. As you no doubt realise however, experts have pointed out(including human rights commission) that non binding international agreements commonly end up being incorporated into state laws. To summarise. Fact 1 Agenda 21 is being implemented nationwide by state governments and councils. (see encl) Do you deny this? Fact 2 Though you claim that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions” in fact it was included in 2006 SOE report under your watch. Do you deny this? Fact 3 Since the continuing implementation of AG21 is a simple fact, this raises serious questions about who is taking political responsibility for this since the electorate has never been given a democratic choice and politicians, like yourself, deny knowledge of it even though bureaucrats under their portfolio are implementing it (as is clearly evidenced from enclosed) Do you deny this?. Part of the problem of course was the decision by successive governments that Australia needed an imported sustainability program, one that was designed by a foreign agency and was monitored by the CSD(part of UN). Of course, governments, such as the Howard government, were required to send annual implementation reports to the CSD. You seem to be denying all this is happening and the politicians, bureaucrats, and other experts cited in the enclosed are all mistaken or not telling the truth. Is this correct? Australians are very concerned about what is happening to this great country and when hundreds of politicians, bureaucrats and other experts say AG21 is being implemented and yet no current politician is prepared to accept responsibility or even give the people a choice, it reflects very poorly upon the credibility of politicians. The clear impression is created that politicians are not to be trusted and I think you deserve the opportunity to correct this. It will not be corrected by denial of the facts. You are after all, asking me to believe you had absolutely no idea about implementation of AG21 around Australia and even the warning in your government’s 2006 SOE report. Of course you are all busy with so many issues to attend to. You are however aware of it now. What will your policy be regarding AG21? Regards Graham Williamson From: Hunt, Greg (MP) [mailto:Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au] Sent: Friday, 21 December 2012 5:59 PM To: Graham Subject: Re: Mitigation strategy There is nothing to ban. It is a 20 year old non binding declaration. Councils can use any number of excuses to justify their actions. The only thing that matters is whether it is within the State alas which control them. I would also be interested to know at what point in the last 20 years yu formed the conclusion that this declaration was a gross threat. I can honestly tell you that I had never heard of it raised once during the entire period of the Howard Government in the party room or in ministerial discussions. Sent from my iPad On 21/12/2012, at 5:44 PM, “Graham” grahamhw@iprimus.com.au> wrote: Hi Greg, Thanks for that. So what will your Agenda 21 policy be should you win government? Will you be seeking to work with the Premiers to discipline Councils which are implementing Agenda 21? Or will you be more proactive and encourage Premiers to introduce legislation banning Agenda 21, as is occurring overseas? Regards Graham Williamson From: Hunt, Greg (MP) [mailto:Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au] Sent: Friday, 21 December 2012 4:32 PM To: Graham Subject: Re: Mitigation strategy Councils should not misuse a 20 year old agreement. Sent from my iPad On 21/12/2012, at 1:17 PM, “Graham” grahamhw@iprimus.com.au> wrote: Hi Greg, Thanks for that. And what about the warning issued by your government in the 2006 SOE report regarding councils exceeding their legislative authority by implementing Agenda 21? Did you or the party follow this up? What action was taken? Do you still agree with this assessment? Regards Graham Williamson From: Hunt, Greg (MP) [mailto:Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au] Sent: Friday, 21 December 2012 10:06 AM To: Graham Subject: Re: Mitigation strategy No we do not endorse a per capita budget. Sent from my iPad On 21/12/2012, at 9:00 AM, “Graham” grahamhw@iprimus.com.au> wrote: Hi Greg, As per enclosed, do you endorse the per capita approach to emissions (see encl)? One other thing, when your government warned in their 2006 SOE report that councils around Australia were exceeding their legislative authority in implementing Agenda 21, what steps did you or the Liberal party take to prevent this? Did you lobby the state parties? May I wish you and your family a safe Christmas and wonderful New Year. 
Regards Graham Williamson.

Winter Survival: 5 Tips To Boost Your Dairy Cows

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Dairy Cows

Winter, in most parts of the US, is never a good time for animals. It’s cold and often wet, the days are short, and fresh grass is non-existent. It’s no wonder that milk production may slow down a bit.

For example, cows get stressed when it’s cold, and they don’t produce as much milk as cows that are comfortable. Routines change, it’s colder, the food is different, there are many factors that stress your cow, but the number one stressor is cold.

We talked about how to get more eggs. This time, let’s see what to do to boost your dairy cows and keep the milk coming in the freezing winter days!

1. Have Your Cows in Good Condition

cowBefore winter sets in, it’s important that your cow is in good physical condition.

She needs to be at a good weight, and she needs time to acclimate to the cold so that she can grow her winter coat.

If she’s going to be outside for winter, leave her outside as the days grow shorter and the weather drops.

If she’s used to being in a barn during the summer, she’ll need to stay in it during the winter, too.

Assess your cows a couple of months before winter. Body fat is going to be one of the top two factors that help her stay warm. If you only have one or two cows, this obviously isn’t as difficult as if you have a herd.

Still, if your girls are a little on the thin side, increase their feed so that they’re carrying the right amount of weight heading into winter. This will keep them from stressing so much from the cold.

If they’re thin, they’ll use what fat stores they have to keep warm instead of giving milk. Thin cows may also produce weak calves, have problems producing colostrum, and take longer to come back into heat.

How your cow should look depends upon her breed and age – two year olds are the toughest if they’re breeding because she’s giving milk, growing, and eating to feed a baby, too. She may need A LOT of feed. Know your cows and know what they need.

On the other end of the spectrum, if your cow is obese, she’s not going to winter as well either. Just like people, obesity in an animal does not contribute to good health. Adjust feed as necessary.

In addition to keeping her milk production up, being at a good weight will also help her give birth easier if she’s pregnant, and will help her regain her weight and come into heat earlier after she gives birth.

2. Feed them Enough of the Right Feed

Throughout winter, your cows are going to need more food that they do during the summer. It’s also important that they have access to plenty of water and a salt lick as well.

Roughage – hay – is what helps a cow produce the energy she needs to stay warm and happy. If she doesn’t have enough hay, the weight will fall off of her.

This is because the fermentation and breakdown of the cellulose in the hay creates energy. High quality alfalfa may provide plenty of nutrients, but alone, it won’t provide enough roughage for your cows to stay warm.

You may not know it, (if you don’t, you should) but cows shiver. If they get that cold, they’re burning calories like mad. You need to avoid that. Give them plenty of hay.

Just so you know, a cow’s energy needs increase by anywhere from 17-50 percent after giving birth, so there’s a starting point for you.

Next, consider the temperature. A cow in good physical condition that has acclimated to winter by growing a good coat is good to go on regular winter rations until she reaches her critical temperature.

That temperature is around 20-30 degrees F. At that point, she’s burning fat to keep warm and you need to increase her feed in order to keep getting milk. A rough rule of thumb is to increase her rations by 1 percent for each 2 degrees below critical temperature.

Once the temperature drops below zero, she may be eating up to a third more than she would at 50 degrees just to maintain her body heat.

Don’t forget to factor in wind chill, length of the cold snap, and whether or not she’s wet. Even the best winter coat doesn’t trap body heat if it’s wet – imagine going outside in wet clothing.

3. Give them a Morning Boost

This goes along with feed, but I thought that it merited its own section because it’s just that important. If you’re counting on pasture to provide part of your rations, you may need to give your ladies a little push in the mornings with some hay to get them warm.

Even though there’s pasture available, if they’re cold, they’ll stand huddled to preserve body heat instead of going out to graze. Give them some hay in the morning to get their bodies producing heat and then they’ll go out and graze.

4. Build a Shelter

You know that even if it’s 40 or 50 degrees, if there’s a good wind blowing, you’re going to pull up your collar and huddle into your coat. If it’s raining, it’s even worse. It feels a lot colder than it actually is. Your cows feel the same way.

It’s important that your cows have shelter. If you don’t have to worry about much snow or wet, then a windbreak may do, but if it’s raining or snowing much, they need a at least a lean-to to shelter in. A barn is preferable. Whichever route you go, your cows need to have a warm, dry place to get in out of the weather if it’s cold.

If you keep them in a barn, make sure that it’s well-ventilated. Damp and moisture lead to respiratory conditions in cows.

If you’re getting a blizzard, you can partially close some of the vents to keep the snow from blowing in, but you want at least a half inch of open ventilation for each 10 feet of building width, no matter what.

Provide Adequate Bedding

If you have free stalls or lean-tos where your cows sleep, provide adequate bedding in them. This means that it should be dry and there should be enough to provide some warmth.

5. Protect Her Teats

Just like our delicate lips, faces, and hands get chapped in the cold, so do a cow’s teats.

It’s extremely important that you make sure that her teats are dry when she leaves the milking stall or feed area, and you should also provide windbreaks around the barn, too.

Bag balm is called that for a reason. It helps sooth bags and teats that may be moderately irritated.

Dip teats before milking and after milking. Though it adds a few seconds to the process, it’s worth it because it really does help reduce mastitis both directly by killing bacteria and because chapped, cracked teats inhibit the milk from dropping, which leads to infection.

Video first seen on MonkeySee

Use germicidal dips that also contain 5-12 percent skin conditioners. Don’t wash them because that washes off the natural protective oils, and make sure that the teats are dry before they leave the milk shed.

Warm, well-cared-for cows are happy, healthy cows who give lots of milk. If she’s stressed so much by being cold, or is so cold that she uses  all her energy staying warm, or if her teats are chapped and sore, she’s not going to give good milk.

Your goals should be keeping her warm and healthy, and these are all steps toward that outcome.

Are you prepared for a coming food crisis? Click the banner below and discover how you can feed your family with healthy foods during any collapse!

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This article has been wrriten by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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Winter Survival: How To Build A Snow Shelter

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Do you remember the holy trinity of survival? Food, water, shelter: does that ring a bell? Also, do you know the rule of threes? You can survive for 3 minutes without oxygen, for 3 days without water and for 3 weeks without food.

Well, how about hypothermia? Do you have any idea how long will you last out there in the cold during a wintertime apocalypse?

The thing is that in an extremely cold environment, if you cannot find or you cannot build an emergency shelter, you’ll die from exposure in a matter of hours. It’s also worth noting that you’ll be totally incapacitated a long time before your actual death. Cold has this effect on people, you know.

In a winter outdoors survival situation, your worst enemies are frostbite and hypothermia along with other conditions like dehydration, but let’s concentrate upon what will kill you first.

Besides wearing the proper (layered) clothing, knowing how to build a snow shelter in an emergency situation in order to maintain a proper body temperature should be mandatory for any outdoors enthusiast.

Winter presents many survival challenges but also a lot of lessons. Now is the time to practice unique survival skills.

CLICK HERE to subscribe to Survivopedia’s newsletter and get this month’s Free Report about how to practice your survival skills during winter.

The best thing about snow is that it makes for an excellent insulator. We’ve already talked about it in our article about how to insulate your homestead using snow during the cold winter months in order to save on your energy bill.

How To Build a Snow Shelter

Snow can be used for building a survival shelter, also known as a quinzee, which is basically a large pile of snow, a mound of sorts, that has been hollowed out, thus making for a cave-like place to rest, sleep, keep yourself alive and so on and so forth.

Basically, a quinzee is a man-made snow cave inspired most probably from what dogs and wolves do when a blizzard’s coming their way: i.e. they dig a hole in the snow and they wait for the storm to pass.

The thing is, for building a quinzee you’ll definitely require a snow shovel or something similar, as you’ll have to move around and dig out a lot of snow.

quinzee

The best design in an emergency survival scenario, especially if you’re out there alone and you lack basic tools, is the snow trench shelter which is easier to build using just your hands. To begin with, you should be aware of 2 main things:

  1. First, practice makes perfect. Therefore, you should practice building a snow shelter in your backyard using meager means for as long as it takes. Don’t use snow blowers and high-tech stuff. That’s cheating. I am talking about acquiring the skills first because theoretical knowledge alone won’t save your life in a survival scenario; it’s just not enough.
  2. Second, while practicing DIY-ing a snow shelter, you’ll realize the amount of effort and elbow grease that it takes for piling and packing snow, then removing some of it for just a one-person space.

Even if it’s 10 degrees outside, you’ll be breaking a sweat constantly, and that’s particularly dangerous from multiple points of view in a real life winter survival scenario, because of the risk of dehydration and hypothermia, not to mention exhaustion.

Most experts agree that building a snow shelter is not a feasible endeavor for just one person, especially if you try to do it in a hurry and you lack basic tools (like a shovel), so fair warning. However, it’s also very true that when confronted with imminent death, humans actually gain superpowers in the form of adrenaline kicks, hence you might have a chance after all, so don’t despair just yet.

Another thing to remember is to never travel alone, even if we’re talking about short distances. You can easily get lost in a blizzard and find yourself in a world of pain.

Now, the equipment you have at your disposal and the environment will determine the type of snow shelter you can build: a quinzee or a snow trench.

Step 1. Find a proper location

As usual, location is everything, so before starting digging, you should select the proper spot for your snow shelter. Always avoid windy slopes and areas of rockfall. In other words, never dig your snow shelter in the path of a potential rockfall or avalanche.

Also, if you’re building on a windy slope, where the wind blows against your shelter, is very dangerous as snow can easily clog the entrance of your shelter overnight when you’re sleeping, thus preventing fresh air to get inside. You know what happens with asphyxia, right? In short, you’ll be dead without even knowing it.

Step 2: Find an are with deep snow 

Next, try to find an area with deep snow, thus saving a lot of work. Ideally, you should look for a snowdrift that’s at least 5 feet deep. The consistency of the snow is another factor, as fresh snow tends to be powdery, thus pretty difficult to work with because it’s prone to collapsing when you’re trying to make a cave.

The good news is that once disturbed, snow tends to harden, so if time is on your side, you should pile it up and wait for nature to take its course.

So, considering that you’ve already determined the size of the snow shelter you want to build and you’ve located the sweet spot for it, you should begin with stomping out the diameter of the snow shelter (a quinzee in this particular case) while wearing snow-shoes (provided you have them) thus packing the interior down.

In this way, you’ll create a strong platform upon which to build your snow shelter by eliminating layers in the snow.

Video first seen on OutsideFun1.

Step 3: Pile up the snow 

Now it’s time to start piling up the snow, assuming you have a shovel. As I already warned you, this may take a while, especially if you want to let the mound set up for a few hours, during which you may start building a fire, take a bite to eat while you wait, etc.

This wait time is essential when building a quinzee, as it allows for sintering to kick in. Sintering is a fancy word which depicts the energy released by snow while moving inside the mound you’ve created, making for the snow crystals to bond together, thus acquiring structural integrity.

Basically, sintering prevents the cave from collapsing over you while you’re sleeping inside; that’s the lesson to be taken home.

Step 4: Dig a tunnel into the snow pile 

Now, provided your mound has firmed up, you have to start digging your hole and you should begin with punching a few sticks (a foot long) through the mound, as they’ll serve as guides while you dig up your slumber chamber.

In the next phase, you’ll start digging the entry tunnel. You can plan on spending 2 or 3 hours digging the chamber area.

You can use tarps, pans or snow shoes to scoop out/remove the snow that resulted from digging. When you’ve reached your guide sticks, stop digging.

The ideal wall thickness is about 10 inches, so keep that in mind when designing your quinzee and putting your thickness markers in. Always remember to punch a few fist-size holes to let fresh air in.

How To Build a Snow Trench Survival Shelter 

If the quinzee is not an option because you don’t have the time, the energy, the tools or none of the above (or you’re alone), you must go for a snow trench instead.

Video first seen on Snowy Range Survival.

In an emergency survival scenario, the best alternative is to dig a trench in the snow and use a tarp or something similar (wood branches covered with snow for example) as a roof of sorts.

You can use tree branches or ski poles to prop the tarp up. Snow tranches are easier and faster to dig, but they’ll lack both the comfort and the warmth of a proper-made quinzee. Also, you can be buried in case of a heavy snowstorm, so keep that in mind too.

As for my final words: if you’re the outdoors type and you’re roaming in the wild during the winter on a regular basis, always make sure you have the proper clothing and equipment that you’ll require in a survival scenario, including a compact snow shovel and never travel alone.

Think about our ancestors, how they survived during the biggest winters in history and what mistakes they did – you don’t want to repeat them, trust me!

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If you’ve ever built a snow shelter or have any questions, please share them with us in the comment section below.

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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What Would It Take To Go Completely Off Grid?

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Most people have no idea how much their lifestyles depend on the rest of society. As Leonard Read explained in his famous essay, I Pencil, even the construction of a single pencil requires the cooperation of countless people. If a single pencil is that complicated, then how complicated would it be to leave behind the […]

The post What Would It Take To Go Completely Off Grid? appeared first on Urban Survival Site.

EMP Survival: 3 Ways To Build A Faraday Cage

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DIY Faraday Cage

Storing a few key electronics that would be of use in a protracted power grid failure will ensure that you’ll still receive information, communicate and carry out other critical functions in the event of an HEMP. It’s common knowledge that a Faraday cage is the safest way to protect them.

Faraday cages shield their contents from electromagnetic energy. If you have ever had a magnetic resonance imaging or you have been inside one, though you may not have even noticed.

How hard is it to build this device by yourself? Read this article to see three simple Faraday cage designs you can build at home!

A HEMP is a multi-pulse of strong electromagnetic fields generated when a nuclear weapon is detonated high in the atmosphere which could cripple the power grid of a city, or even the entire lower 48 states if more than one weapon is used, or a weapon is detonated at sufficient altitude.

Faraday cages are not necessary to protect most electronics from the type of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) caused by solar storms (magnetohydrodynamic EMP.) To protect most electronics from that EMP, you just need to make sure that your equipment is not connected to the grid and then have a renewable energy source to power it without the electrical grid.

I hosted a series of EMP Q&A sessions at PrepperCon 2016 for Survivopedia and a lot of people asked questions this subject there too. Given the importance of EMP preparedness, I would like to get as many questions answered as possible.

Faraday Cage Construction

One common thread throughout many readers’ questions is that there is conflicting information online about Faraday cages. While building a Faraday cage does not have to be a complicated endeavor (if you keep it small and simple with no penetrations in the shielded envelope), there are some gaps in the public sector knowledge on the subject and quite a bit of conflicting information online.

Faraday cages are EM (electromagnetic) shielding and must be properly designed and implemented or they can cause more harm than good by acting like an EMP antenna instead of an EMP shield.

How to Build a Faraday Cage

Building a Faraday cage can be very simple. Here are a couple of designs to build by yourself:

1. Aluminum Pressure Cooker Faraday Cage

Line an aluminum pressure cooker with a large heavy duty freezer bag. You’re done! Equipment goes in the bag. Secure the lid and you are good to go.

This cage is compact and an aluminum pressure cooker provides more shielding than any other object you are likely to have in your home that I can think of.

I like this cage because it is very simple and provides so much shielding that it should protect the contents against even a super EMP weapon even if sky zero was close by. Second hand stores such as Good Will, Salvation Army or Deseret Industries are great places to find an aluminum pressure cooker cheap.

Pressure cookers are also very useful multipurpose survival items long after a nuclear HEMP or should you experience some other catastrophe as opposed to HEMP:

  • Pressure canning: Pressure can food to store until the next growing season or future years.
  • Sterilization: Sterilize bandages, sutures and instruments for medical procedures.
  • Cooking: Loosen the lid and use a pressure cooker as a stock pot to create stews. Stews preserve more nutrients and caloric content than grilling foods and having fats and oils that are difficult to replace under survival conditions drip into your cooking fire.
  • Distillation of water: You can make a number still designs with a pressure cooker and some designs using pressure cookers are more efficient than with a simple stock pot if you store a little copper tubing and a collection vessel will be cooled.

2. Locking Lid Trash Can/Faraday Bag Faraday Cage

I like this build and use it often. Faraday Cage

It is easy to access the contents and they can store quite a bit depending on the size of trash you can get.

Step 1: Line a new locking lid, galvanized steel trash can with a tight-fitting lid, like the rodent-resistant cans made by Behren’s (often used to store feed or protect the contents form animals) lined with a rubberized, waterproof pack liner or dry bag.

Step 2:  Line the pack liner or dry bag with a large Faraday Bag. The pack liner or dry bag is a non-conductive layer which will insulate the Faraday bag from the conductive trash can and provide an added measure of waterproofing and dustproofing in case this is an outdoor Faraday cage or in case indoors becomes outdoors in the course of a catastrophe.

General preparedness will serve you better than the reality TV negative stereotype of preparing for a single calamity to the exclusion of all others. You should be able to find waterproof pack liners or dry bags any place that sells military surplus or sporting goods.

Step 3: Line the pack liner or dry bag with an XL Faraday Bag and place the gear you want to protect inside the Faraday Bag. The Faraday bag provides about 45 dB of shielding by itself, protects the contents from water and provides a non-conductive layer to insulate the contents of the bag from the conductive layers so lining it with another layer of non-conductor is not necessary.

Alternating layers of conductor/non-conductor is more effective than a single layer of the same thickness. Alternating conductive and non-conductive layers prevents the Faraday cage from re-radiating EM energy into the space you are trying to protect. Good Faraday bags such as the one I recommended incorporate alternating conductive and non-conductive layers.

Step 4: Button everything up tight. Zip up the Faraday Bag. Tie a goose neck in the pack liner or fold and buckle it, depending on the type of bag. Place the lid on the trash can, making sure that it seals tightly all the way around and raise the locking bail/handle. You’re done!

3. Ammo Can/Static Bag Faraday Cage

People use ammo cans every day and most survivalists have plenty of them knocking around. They are also frequently used to house battery systems and radios, so it sure would be handy if they could count on them to protect their radio equipment from EMP.

This would add a whole new dimension to some popular product lines so I’ll give them a few pointers. This is a slightly more involved, but still relatively simple build, if you have a few tools on hand.

tools-and-supplies

Step 1: Remove the rubber gasket from the lid of the ammo can. It is held in place by 4 metal tabs. Use a hooked tool (like the one you see in the picture above) to remove it.

If you do not remove it, the rubber gasket is not conductive and will impede the free flow of electrons through the shielded envelope, re-radiating EMP into the interior you are trying to protect.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket

Step 2: Remove paint along all surfaces of both the lid and body of the ammo can where the lid will mate to the body of the ammo can and where you will install a conductive gasket to replace the non-conductive rubber gasket.

I used a rotary tool, some diamond coated bits and a small sanding drum. The corners are the most time consuming but it didn’t take long.

non-conductive-rubber-gasket-pulled-from-ammo-can-lid-paint-removed-from-now-conductive-mating-surfaces

Step 3: Repaint mating surfaces with conductive paint if desired. If you don’t want to go to the expense, don’t. Government agencies and police departments pay big money for rugged Faraday cages installed in vehicles and the mating surfaces are unpainted and have no conductive paint or coatings so I am going to skip this step in my build.

Step 4: Install a conductive gasket. If you don’t want to go to the expense of buying conductive gasket material, you can just layer aluminum foil or sheeting and cut it to the shape you desire.

making-a-conductive-gasket

conductive-tinfoil-gasket-cut-to-size

installing-the-conductive-tinfoil-gasket

While a little harder to procure and more costly, a conductive metal gasket would be more durable and a nice touch.

conductive-gasket-installed-under-gasket-retention-tabs

Maybe I’ll build some ammo can Faraday cages for radio and battery kits with conductive gaskets but since most of you will use tin foil, I will demonstrate the technique in this build.

I used about 24 layers of heavy duty tin foil. If you use thicker foil sheeting, you will use fewer layers. I used a box cutter and a ruler the first time, but a pair of tin snips or multipurpose shears made future jobs a lot easier.

If you cut or bend the gasket and it doesn’t go in beautifully, you can either redo it or just patch it with some tin foil. The electrons won’t care, but you might. It may not hold up for as many opening/closing cycles of you patch it and you should check the gasket every time you close it.

The cage will be just fine as long as there are not any gaps greater than ¼” in any direction. If you use an adhesive, be sure that the adhesive is a conductive adhesive, or just don’t use adhesive if you use tinfoil. A tinfoil gasket will stay in place without adhesive thanks to the tabs that held the rubber gasket in place.

Step 5: Line the ammo can with a non-conductive layer such as a small pack liner or a 2-ply zippered-seal freezer bag to protect your gear from the conductive shielded layer.

If you have the space, this could in turn be lined with a Faraday bag, but for tight builds like radio kits, you may have to shave down some pieces a millimeter or so in order to nest the kit inside the non-conductive layer and still fit the assembly inside the ammo can, so you may not have enough extra room to line it with a Faraday bag.

now-conductive-mating-surfaces-tools-used

Step 6: Seal it up tight. Close up the lining and lock the lid down, making sure that there are no gaps greater than ¼”. Pay special attention to the tinfoil gasket.

finished-ammo-can-faraday-cage

There you go!

Three easy Faraday cage builds are available at once!

A Note on Grounding

You may have noticed that these small, simple cages are not grounded. That is intentional. For a simple cage like this, built by a novice, grounding would cause more problems that it would solve. There is no need to ground a simple cage like this and it will do its job without being grounded.

There are some applications where Faraday cages should be grounded, so I am not saying never ground.

Large cages that could have their integrity damaged by lightning, and cages that have penetrations in the shielded envelope or which run mains power inside may indeed benefit from grounding, but those are more complicated builds well beyond the scope of this article.

After studying what our enemies, leaders and strategists have said on the subject and exactly what it would take to get the job done, for many years now, it is a wonder and blessing that we haven’t had an HEMP attack occur already.

Please do not waste the opportunity to protect yourself against this threat!

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Be aware that protecting some basic electronics will make a huge difference for you after a nuclear HEMP attack. If you still have questions about your specific situation, please ask in the comments below!

This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia.

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8 Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

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Survival Hacks Using Plastic Wrap

You’ve probably battled with your fair share of plastic wrap while trying to cover a bowl of leftovers, but that stickiness is one of its biggest assets when it comes to using it for survival.

That’s right – you can use plastic wrap for many different things if SHTF, so keep several rolls of it in your stockpile!

When I say plastic wrap, you can use the kitchen plastic wrap in a pinch, but you can also buy an entire roll of clear or green translucent plastic wrap at the hardware store that they use to wrap pallets. This type is much more durable than the plastic wrap meant for use in the kitchen. It’s dirt cheap, too.

1. Staying Warm and Dry

Possibly the best thing about plastic wrap is that it’s pretty much impermeable. That means that air and water can’t pass through it, so if you’re stuck in a storm or have to venture out in the cold, plastic wrap can be one of your best friends.

Not only does it keep air and moisture out, it keeps body heat in, so if you wrap your torso, limbs, and feet in it, you  can preserve a ton of body heat and stay dry at the same time, which will also help you stay warm.

The only thing to remember when you’re using it this way is that your skin needs to breathe. That means that as soon as you get someplace warm and dry, you need to take it off.

2. Collecting Rain Water

There are a couple of different  ways that you can use plastic wrap to collect water. The first way is the obvious way –hang a sheet of it so that it’s horizontal to the ground and let it collect either rainwater or dew.

If you have a bucket or container, even better – set the bucket underneath the plastic and use a stone to tilt it to one side, so that the water pours off of the plastic into the bucket.

If you just set the bucket out when it rains, you’ll only catch the water that directly drops into the bucket, but the plastic wrap will give you a larger area for the rain to hit, thus collecting much more water.

3. Create a Solar Still

The second way that you can use plastic to collect water is to build a solar still. This sounds a lot fancier than it actually is.

Dig a hole in soil that is in direct sunlight – this is important because you’re using the sun to dehydrate the moisture from the damp soil.

Solar Still

As the soil dehydrates, the water evaporates and rises, creating condensation on the plastic. Here’s how to do it:

  • Dig a hole in direct sunlight, preferably early in the morning. Make the hole a foot or two deep – the more damp soil you have exposed, the more water you’ll get.
  • Place a mug, bowl, or some other vessel to collect the water in the center of the hole.
  • Fill around the cup with any damp vegetation that you can find. The more moisture, the better.
  • Cover the hole completely with plastic wrap.
  • Place sand, dirt, and rocks around the outside perimeter of the hole to seal the plastic wrap to the ground.
  • Place a small stone or some dirt on the plastic directly over the center of the cup so that it forms a V into the cup. The plastic can’t touch the cup, though.
  • Leave the still there as long as possible – either until the dirt dries up or the sun goes down, whichever comes first.
  • If the hole dries up, either dig it deeper to reach more damp soil, or dig another hole and start over.
  • Enjoy the water. You won’t collect much this way, but in a survival situation, some is better than none!

You can also use plastic wrap to make a solar still to distill dirty water or salt water into drinking water. For a better visual for this purpose, check out this video.

Video first seen on desertsun02.

4. Build a Shelter or a Greenhouse

Yup, you read that right. You can build a shelter using plastic wrap. As a matter of fact, we just built one to use as a make-shift paint booth. We used the skeleton from a picnic tarp for the frame, but trees would do just as well.

Simply wrap the plastic wrap around the trees, or poles that you cut, then cover the top of it, too. We used a piece of cardboard to fashion a door, but you could just as easily cut a small, 3-sided entrance in the hole then wrap a stick around the vertical side and stick it in the ground to “close” the door.

Seal it up from the inside with another piece of plastic. You’re creative – I’m sure you can figure out an entrance.

It also collected dew on the top, so your plastic wrap house serves double duty as a water collector. This will make a wind-proof, waterproof shelter that is actually fairly durable and will hold heat inside.

This trait would also make it excellent material for building a greenhouse.

5. Start a Fire

You can use plastic wrap to start a fire. I didn’t really believe this was possible until I found a video that proved it. The idea is that water in a piece of plastic wrap acts as a magnifying glass.

Video first seen on The Outdoor Adventure.

The paper actually caught fire fairly quickly – within a couple of minutes, so it’s not something that I would discount.

Actually, starting the fire with the plastic and water seemed easier than using a bow, so if those were my only two options, I’d probably try the plastic wrap and water first. We have other great ideas for staring fires.

6. Waterproofing Your Gear

There’s nothing worse than trekking through a downpour and stopping for the night only to find that everything in your pack is soaked, too.

Maybe you’ve dropped it in a stream that you were crossing, or had to swim at some point. In any of these scenarios, plastic wrap would have kept your gear dry.

It’s not a total waterproofer, but I have used it when I’m out on a long distance ride – I don’t have saddlebags – to keep my pack dry. I just have a piece folded up in the bottom of my bag and when I need it, I unfold it and wrap my bag in it.

It probably wouldn’t do a lot of good if my bag was submerged, but it would give me a few extra seconds to catch it if I dropped it in the lake. You could also use it to cover things such as your firewood in camp to protect it from a downpour.

7. Rope or Lashing Material

Yes, rope is always good to have on hand. There’s no doubt about it. Plastic wrap used for shrink wrap is extremely strong and if you twist a piece into a rope (you have to twist it), it will stretch to about three times its original length then hold there. We tested it and it held 115 pounds without threatening to give.

That’s pretty solid for some plastic, especially when you consider that you can untwist it and use it for other things.

8. First Aid

There are several ways you can use plastic wrap for first aid.

First, a sucking chest would needs to be covered with plastic. You could also use it as a non-stick covering to keep water and debris out of a wound. It would work as a sling, or you could wrap it around as a binding. Throw some in your first aid kit.

In a survival situation think of what you can do with what you have. This is what our ancestors used to do.

Click the banner below and discover their most valuable survival secrets!

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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DIY Fuel: How To Turn Wood Into Briquettes 

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DIY Fuel

Let me start today’s article with an axiom: despite the fact that DIY-ing briquettes is a hard and messy job, if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, you can make a reasonable income by selling (your extra) charcoal/wood briquettes.

The idea is that you can make DIY briquettes for your homestead provided you’re fine with “dirty jobs” whilst making an extra buck by selling some of them to your neighbors.

The demand for these babies is pretty high, so there’s definitely money to be made from briquettes.

Just remember that the coal industry in the US is expected to boom under Donald Trump‘s administration after it was eviscerated by the global warming cabal. Let that sink in real good folks.

So, not only you can save a lot of money on your heating bill by DIY-ing briquettes for your homestead, but you’ll be able to supplement your income by selling what’s extra. I don’t know about you, but to me this sounds like a definite win-win situation.

Now, as per the dirty part of the job, the hardest and dirtiest part of DIY-ing briquettes is represented by the charcoal dust, which must be crushed and mixed.

To begin with, briquettes are blocks made from compressed charcoal dust, coal dust, wood chips, sawdust, biomass etc, which are used as a fuel in boilers, stoves and what not.

Basically anything that burns can be used in making briquettes, but some materials are better than others with regard to their caloric output. In other words, some burn better and give more heat than others.

Today we will concentrate on the best stuff around for DIY-ing briquettes, which is wood and its derivative (charcoal).

How to Transform Wood into Briquettes in Three Easy Steps

Of course, I am not talking about getting out in the forest and chopping wood like an old school lumberjack. The idea is to use wood shavings, wood chips or sawdust which are byproducts of wood processing factories. Also, these materials are almost the ideal stuff for making fuel briquettes.

Actually, many of these factories (furniture/woodworking businesses) are buying wood briquette machines for processing the wood residues and making a few bucks from what others may consider waste.

Now, if you’ve got what it takes, i.e. the will power, skill, the briquette-machine, and the aforementioned raw materials, let’s talk about the specifics of DIY-ing briquettes from wood residues.

1.Prepare the Raw Material

First things first: you’ll have to take your wood raw material and get it ready for the manufacturing process. You’ll have to transform the big chunks of wood chips and/or wood shavings into sawdust, which is much smaller and thus more malleable. If you’re already in the possession of sawdust, you’re all set.

Generally speaking, sawdust can be more or less humid, depending upon how it was transported, stored and so on.

If there’s too much moisture trapped inside, you’ll have to dry it with a the dryer or whatever means you have at your disposal, as moist sawdust is not suitable for making briquettes. You’ll have to do this if the moisture level is over 16 percent. The lower the moisture, the better.

Truth be told, dryers are regularly used in large scale briquetting operations, but you can always air-dry your sawdust by spreading it out on the ground and letting it dry.

Obviously, the weather is key in this endeavor, so you’ll have to choose a sunny period that’s as close to dry as the Sahara desert as you can get. Just find a piece of smooth, clean ground and have patience. Drying your sawdust indoors would be the best idea, provided you have the means.

2. Put the Raw Material Inside the Briquetting Machine

Now, for the second part, you’ll have to put your nice and clean sawdust inside a briquetting machine. Usually, the feeding mechanism is an elevator, but you can feed the machine yourself, though you’ll have to be cautious and take care about the feeding-speed, so you don’t block the machine.

Video first seen on Rajkumar Agro Engineers Pvt Ltd.

There are basically two main types of wood briquetting machines: the screw briquette machine and the mechanical stamping wood briquette machine.

The latter can be used for making both thick briquettes and thin pellets while the former is regularly used for charcoal briquettes and/or barbecue briquettes. These are the droids you’re looking for. More about charcoal in a moment, right after the break.

3. Prepare the Briquettes for Storage

In the last step, after you’ve already made sawdust-briquettes, they must be cooled for storage and stored or sold, or whatever.

The idea is that if you have plenty of wood residues available, spending some money  on a wood briquette machine would be a clever investment, as you will become more energy/fuel efficient, get off the grid in small incremental steps.

Also, you’ll be able to make some extra money selling your excess briquettes to your friends and neighbors. Go in together with a friend on a second-hand piece of gear if you need to. Ideally, you should go for a briquetting machine which can build both wood and charcoal briquettes.

How to Make Briquettes from Charcoal

If you were wondering what’s up with the charcoal briquettes, well, charcoal is made of wood, alright folks? Hence, charcoal briquettes are basically the same thing as wood ones, just better.

The only messy thing about making charcoal briquettes is the crushing and the mixing of the charcoal dust itself, which is a dirty job by any measure.

Video first seen on Primitive Technology.

Transforming the charcoal dust into fuel briquettes will require a binder – something like the Force, which binds the universe together. I am talking about an agglomerating material which must be added to the charcoal dust to keep it together after enough pressure is applied to transform that dust into a solid and stable briquette.

Video first seen on roonymanfo.

Charcoal briquettes have higher caloric power than wood briquettes; they burn for longer and they produce more heat and less (almost zero) smoke. Also, they’re lighter.

In order to DIY charcoal/char, you’ll require wood scraps. The best material for making charcoal is hardwood such as birch, beech, hickory, maple and oak.

Charcoal briquettes are basically 90% charcoal/char dust and 10 percent “minor” ingredients, including the binding agent I already told you about above, which is typically starch made from wheat or corn, an accelerant (sawdust or nitrite for hard-core chemists), and lime as an ash whitening agent.

Here are some recipes for making your own charcoal briquettes:

  • 10 kilos of charcoal/dust fines and 0.3 kilos of starch or
  • 40 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 4 kilos of sawdust, 2.5 kilos of starch, 1 kilos of lime (or calcium carbonate) or
  • 100 kilos of charcoal/dust fines, 3 kilos sodium nitrate, 7 kilos starch, 2 kilos of lime.

Video first seen on fireman7753.

The accelerant is important because charcoal briquettes need the stuff to burn faster because, due to the compacting process, the briquette cannot absorb enough oxygen for a proper combustion, unlike a lump of charcoal for example. Here the accelerant comes into play.

You’ll require 3-4% of sodium nitrate (this is an oxidant which releases oxygen when heated and accelerates the burning process)  in your charcoal briquette or 10-20 percent sawdust.

Keep in mind that if you’re using uncarbonized sawdust, your briquettes will be smoky; hence if you’ll be going for sawdust as an accelerant, it would be ideal to ferment it for 4-5 days by keeping the sawdust in water in order to reduce the smoke.

The ash whitening agent is an indicator in charcoal briquettes. When the briquette are burning inside your stove turn white, it means that they’re ready. The white ashes are very appealing in briquettes especially if you’re going to sell them.

To use starch as a binding agent, you’ll have to gelatinize it first, which in laymen’s terms means that you’ll have to make a porridge from your starch and then use the porridge to bind the charcoal dust together. You can also use mashed waste paper pulp as a binder if you don’t have starch or it’s too expensive.

Now that you have enough info to start making your own briquettes, it only takes some will to proceed with this project. Or maybe you already have any experience in making this type of fuel? This is a great skill that you would need for surviving an energy crisis or even an EMP.

Click the banner below to find out more about surviving this disaster, and even much more than that!

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How To Keep Your Winter Stockpile Safe

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Winter Stockpile

Building your stockpiles is only part of the equation for survival. Once you have items stored up, you also must protect them all year long.

This winter, your reserves can be threatened in numerous ways. Are yours going to make it through until spring comes?

Here are five common threats that winter can bring. So you can adequately prepare, you’ll also find tips on how to avoid these threats. That way you can make it through the cold season with your supply stores intact.

1.      Threats from Extreme Cold

Have you ever put a can of pop in the freeze to cool off and forgotten about it? I did once in high-school, and it’s not a fun mess to clean up!

When liquids freeze, they expand. This can lead to containers breaking, loss of supplies, and a mess.

Similarly, canned goods can bulge when frozen, breaking the seal. Water stored improperly can freeze and burst.

Additionally, any items you’ve stockpiled with a high liquid content can suffer changes in texture and may separate into different layers. This includes things like:

  • Toothpaste
  • Hand soap
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Paint
  • Chemicals
  • Foods with a lot of liquid like: condiments, evaporated milk, canned soup

To prevent damage and loss from extremely cold weather, make sure your supplies aren’t in an unheated area. If you must keep them where it’s cold, like in a garage or other outbuilding, take precautionary steps.

Run a small heater to keep the temperature above the freezing point. Or, add an extra layer of insulation to the area. You can even use straw bales to create a barrier around your stockpiles.

Here you can read more about protecting your water stores this winter. Do what you need to do to keep any items that could be damaged from freezing temperatures.

2.      Threats from Flooding

Are your stockpiles in a room with water pipes running through? If your pipes freeze, they’re going to get soaked. Water can ruin many supplies quickly.

Mold is also a concern where there’s water damage. You definitely don’t want mold to get into your stockpiles.

To avoid any damage, ensure your pipes are ready for freezing weather. Insulate them. Run heat in the room. Keep some water flowing at night.

Video first seen on This Old House.

Patch any leaks before the dripping water freezes and causes problems. If you need a short-term solution, use plastic bottles to help.

You can also move your stores into containers that are more waterproof. For instance, large plastic totes can hold a lot, and will keep most of the moisture out if a pipe bursts.

Water pipes bursting aren’t the only threat water threat to your supplies. Check your storage areas. Be aware of other sources of water such as leaky cement walls, condensation and runoff from the thaw.

3.      Threats from Pests

Do you know what the insects, mice, and other pests do when it gets cold outside? They typically try to find someplace warm to stay before winter sets in. That could be inside your home, outbuildings, or garage.

Stinkbugs and mice are more common to see indoors in the winter where I live. They start trying to get indoors in late fall, typically before the first snow. You might have different critters in your region.

No matter what pests are trying to get inside, you need to make sure your stockpiles are protected. Because it’s not fun to find a mouse nest inside your emergency go bag. Or mouse droppings on top of your food stores.

Those rodents can gnaw through so many things! You must store your stockpile properly to avoid spoilage.

Your stockpile should be pest proof year-round, but now is the perfect time to double check. Make sure the lids are tight on your containers. Ensure they are rodent and insect proof.

You might consider setting out traps for mice or other rodents as a prevention measure. Here is how to make a simple mouse trap.

Video first seen on Chris Notap

If flying insects are a problem, hang up some fly strips to help eliminate them. That way you can stop the problem before it escalates.

After all, these emergency stores are for you and your family. Not to keep pests alive all winter long.

4.      Threats from Loss of Service

Blackouts happen no matter where you live, especially in the winter. Entire cities have been left in the dark after damage to the grid caused by high winds. Damage from an EMP would be even more severe.

You must be prepared for loss of service. It’s a definite threat to your reserves.

Freezers Going Out

Are you relying on freezers to store most of your long-term food stores that you’ve prepared? In a power outage, your freezer won’t maintain the right temperature for more than a few days.

A generator can help. So can the great outdoors if your temperatures are below freezing. But you must have a plan in place to know where to move everything when the time comes.

A longer-term solution would be to move your stores to the pantry through canning or dehydration. Canned goods are shelf-stable and aren’t threatened by loss of power, if they don’t freeze.

Water Freezing

When there’s no power, there’s no way to pump water. If you live in the city, you might not always lose your water for a short power outage, but those out in the country will. Regardless, you need water on hand.

Water freezes when it the temperature drops. But, you’ll still need liquid drinking water each day, along with enough water to take care of hygiene and everything else.

If you have a woodstove with a cooktop, you can melt your stored ice until it turns back into a liquid. But, that adds time and energy exertion to your day.

Keep at least a few days’ worth of water stored in your house where it won’t freeze. That’ll give you a few days to figure out your long-term plan. If you have animals, remember you’ll also need a way to keep them hydrated for the duration of the outage.

Heat Source

What’s your backup plan for heat? When services go out, you’ll need to make sure you and your stockpiles don’t freeze.

Ice buildup can cause problems even with your backup energy, so be sure to think through a winter plan.

Light

Will you be able to find what you need in your stores if you’re working in the dark? You don’t want to knock over and break something while you’re pawing around.

To prepare, make sure you have a couple of flashlights or oil lanterns easily accessible. Along with those should be batteries or the fuel you need. Check on these a few times throughout winter and ensure everything is in good working order.

Then when the power goes out, you’ll know exactly where to go for light. You’ll be able to see your reserves clearly and avoid damaging anything.

5.      Threats from Thieves

Not everyone believes in the necessity of building a stockpile. When times get tough, like they can over a long, hard winter, those unprepared people can quickly run out of needed items. If they know that you have plenty, or can see your supplies while driving by, you’re at bigger risk for thievery.

Thievery isn’t only limited to harsh weather, so take time now to secure your stores and make them harder to access. Here are some tips for keeping possession of your goods:

  • Build your woodpile out of sight of the main road, along with any other items stored outdoors.
  • Learn how to make your stores blend in naturally to their surroundings, hiding them in plain sight.
  • Hide your valuables in unusual locations instead of places thieves commonly look
  • Don’t tell your neighbors or anyone details about your stockpile. Stay silent.
  • Stay under the radar when the power goes out. Don’t flash your powerful generator, your ability to prepare food, or anything else.

You don’t want everything you worked hard to prepare to be snatched. It can happen when you least expect it.

Also, make sure you check on your stores frequently. My family once had several cords of wood stolen out of our barn during the daytime, while we were out. We noticed it right away because we accessed the wood daily, and the thieves knocked over a good chunk of our woodpile.

It looked different, and we went over to investigate. A lot of wood was missing, and there were tire tracks all over the fresh snow.

Instead of just lamenting over the loss, we acted. We realized that our woodpile was visible to anyone who drove up the driveway. So we jumped in and moved it right away.

Learn from my mistake, and do your analyzing before a thief does. Keep your goods out of sight and safe, and check on them throughout the winter.

Click the banner below for a great offer for completing your stockpile!

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This article has been written by Lisa Tanner for Survivopedia. 

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Why Vertical Gardening Is The Way To Go For Survival

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Vertical Garden Survival

One of the biggest problems for many of us when it comes to gardening is space. Not everybody has a few acres to spare to grow a full, standard garden.

Another problem for many people is physical limitations. A regular garden requires a lot of labor that some people just can’t handle.

Many of us also worry that people will find our food source if SHTF.

An open garden planted on flat earth is painfully obvious to just about anybody passing by, but if you can build a vertical garden that is out of sight or even portable so that you can move it out of sight if you need to.

Vertical gardening solves many problems.

4 Benefits of Vertical Gardening

We just touched on a few of the benefits of vertical gardening but let’s get into it a bit further, because this is seriously great way for just about anybody to grow food.

Demands Much Less Physical Labor

When you’re growing a garden, you already know that it’s going to be a ton of work. You’re going to need to till the space, then plant the seeds or plants. You have to weed the gardens so that your plants thrive, and you have to keep the soil loose around them. Then, of course, you have to harvest your crops.

Nearly all of this requires a lot of bending, kneeling, and twisting. That’s great if you’re 25, fully healthy, and WANT to do that much work.

However for many of you, that level of physical labor is difficult or even impossible. Growing a vertical garden eliminates all of these issues.

It’s Easier to Hide

Another benefit is that, even if somebody happens to glance at your back yard, they’re not necessarily going to pay attention to something growing on a wall, especially if you’ve planted flowers among your vegetables.

Looters won’t be prone to look too hard because they’re in a hurry looking for an easy mark.

Vertical gardens are a bit easier to camouflage than an acre-wide garden. Also, you can make your garden so that it faces the back of your house, which would make it virtually impossible to see.

Finally, you can always make your vertical gardens portable so that you can move them out of the line of sight of looters.

Covers Plain Walls with Beautiful Plants

There’s nothing particularly pretty about a blank wall, so cover it up with a beautiful, and possibly edible, wall of plants! Don’t want to look at that privacy fence between you and your neighbors? Cover them in plants.

There’s just something cozy about a backyard with vine-and-flower covered fences and walls. It gives the whole place a homey feeling.

Easier Quality Control

When your plants are growing in pots or planters that you’re managing, you know exactly what’s in the dirt and you’ve possibly made your own fertilizer so chemicals aren’t an issue.

There’s no need to worry about the quality of the nutrients in your dirt; you put them there. You also control the amount of moisture and can feel when the plant needs more or less because all you need to do is stick your fingers into the dirt.

Plants that are off the ground are easier to inspect for insects and fungi that can wipe out all of your plants before you get to taste even one morsel of them.

You can also nip the sucker leaves off and provide all the care that your plants need from a much more comfortable position. When you’re comfortable, you can take your time and care for your plants properly.

Different Types of Vertical Gardens

A vertical garden is exactly what it sounds like – a garden planted vertically instead of on the ground. There are many different ways that you can do this depending upon your space, what you want to grow, and how you want to do it. Your garden, your decision!

Aquaponics System

Aquaponics is the art of growing plants and fish together. The plants provide the fish with nutrients that they need and the fish byproducts provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for the plants.

The system can be as simple or as complex as you’d like to build it. You can use dirt or start an aquaponics system. As a matter of fact, you can build an aquaponics system that’s very nearly a vertical garden itself, and it gives you fish AND plants.

Latticework with Baskets or Boxes

Another way to build a vertical garden is to use hanging baskets and latticework. This type of garden is good for plants that don’t grow out or get too tall.

Plants such as peppers, strawberries, onions, garlic, lettuce, and spinach are great for  the baskets. To help your space do double duty, use the lattice work to grow vining plants such beans or tomatoes.

An alternative to baskets is to hang planters from the latticework. This will allow you to grow plants that vine out a bit or need more room to grow, such as potatoes, carrots, or squash.

You can stagger the boxes as needed to accommodate the space requirements of the plant. Again, you can grow vining or heavy plants on or at the base of, the latticework.

Gardening Walls

If you have an empty wall – it could be the side of your house, an outbuilding, or a garden wall – then you have a place to put a vertical garden. Plus, you’ll be covering up a plain wall with beautiful plants.

Be sure when you use a wall that you allow space for the extra moisture so that you don’t damage your wall.

You can use just about any construction material that you want. Chicken wire, lattice work, and trellises are all good choices.

You can also use gardening bags, which are made from a variety materials including burlap and canvas. One of the good things about using bags is that the extra moisture drains right out the bottom. You can use this system to water the plants below if you’d like.

Gutter System

I saw this in a magazine and fully plan on making it my next project. The problem is that I don’t have access to old gutters. It’s a simple yet brilliant design.

Just drill drainage holes in the bottom of old gutters and hang them on a wall of some sort. The holes will keep the moisture content at a good level and will even allow for trickle-down watering.

Vertical Towers or Walls

I love these systems. I’m currently using one right now and even though I’ve just started, I absolutely love it. It’s easy to use and has an aquaponics watering system that makes my life much easier while keeping my plants happy, too.

Usually I build my own stuff, but this one looked too good to pass up, so I bought it. It’s a tower farm wall and the short video above was made while unboxing the package.

Possibly the best thing about  the wall is that it’s easy to put together regardless of your skill level, and it’s easy to take care of.

The trays are set at heights that are easy to reach regardless of how tall you are and if you were to anchor it, it would be free-standing with very little modification. Low maintenance is always a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Towers are always a fun way to go. For instance, you can cut out holes from a length of PVC, fill the pipe with dirt, then plant strawberries or other similar plants in the holes. You can also make a tower using round planters.

Use a large one on the bottom, then use two mediums – 1 turned upside down inside the big one for support, and the other one upright to hold dirt. Repeat this step with 2 smaller pots. Fill with dirt and you have a 3-tier plant tower. You can add to the levels if you like.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Though making your own vertical gardening structures is awesome, it’s not always practical. If not, then consider the Tower Farm Wall that I discussed above. I really am having a good time with it and the customer support is great.

Start growing your own food right now and you will not have to worry if SHTF. Click the banner below to discover how to provide as much food as your family needs in a crisis, with only 10 minutes a day.

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This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

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How To Make Briquettes From Daily Waste

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Briquettes

Do you remember that old saying that one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure? The same principle applies to our daily wastes.

In case you did not know it, Americans are among the most wasteful civilization in history. Actually, I would dare to say that we are the champions, my friends, and that’s nothing to be proud of.

We waste at an incredible rate: absolutely anything, including food, where we lead the world by a wide margin. Also, as a nation, the United States generates more municipal solid-waste per person/per day than any other developed/industrial country in the world, boasting 7.1 pounds of solid waste a day, per person.

If you crunch these numbers– 365 days a year x 330 million people x 7.1 pounds of solid waste – you’ll come up with astonishing numbers.

Putting Waste to Work for Energy

It was a Greek philosopher who once said 2000 years ago that nothing gets wasted – everything gets transformed, or something along these lines. To follow this guy’s axiom, we can transform waste into an excellent and basically perpetual source of energy.

We, the preppers, can help mitigate the “disaster” and put that amount of waste to good use, by making briquettes using daily wastes.

Briquettes are traditionally defined as compressed blocks of combustible material – usually coal dust, wood chips, paper, peat or sawdust – that are used to start a fire. The terms derives from the French language and it means “brick.”

Biomass briquettes are starting to become all the rage nowadays and daily waste is basically biomass. Traditionally, biomass briquettes are built from agricultural waste and they’re used as a “green” replacement for hydrocarbons (coal, oil etc) in all sorts of applications, including industrial stuff like heating boilers and whatnot.

Currently, almost half of the world’s population is using charcoal and/or wood for heating and cooking purposes.

Cutting the forest for subsistence farming or for cooking your food or heating your home is not a great idea if you have better alternatives, and that’s the whole purpose of technology: making the world a better place and improving the quality of life for humans, right?

Any household can reduce their need for charcoal and wood by creating their own fuel so to speak, by making “fuel briquettes” using waste plant material which is readily available in their own environment.

How to Make the Briquettes

So, what type of wastes can be re-used for making fuel briquettes?

  • Paper
  • Sawdust
  • Leaves
  • Husks
  • Charcoal fines
  • Any other type of agricultural waste.

It’s important to realize that not all waste is created equal, and this is where the calorific value of each type of waste comes into play.

As a general rule of thumb, the aforementioned materials are the best when it comes to DIY fuel briquettes (sawdust, paper etc), but you’ll have to use a home-made press for achieving legendary status, i.e becoming energy self-sufficient as much as humanly possible.

There are also commercially available presses. You’ll just have to look for them on the internet or in your local hardware store.

The fuel briquettes are being made around the world using mini Bryant and Peterson presses. You can also make them by hand or using a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

You can also use a plastic mold.

Video first seen on The Do It Yourself World.

Basically, you can use a plastic bottle or any other type of plastic container in order to shape the briquette. You’ll also need something that you can use as a piston that fits into the respective container to press it, in order to get the water out of the mix. You can use something like a tin can or a piece of wood as the piston along with a plastic bag, a knife and some wire.

Here’s a cool idea about DIY-ing a mold-press biomass fuel briquette using an old DVD container. The possibilities are basically endless.

Video first seen on nobodyprepper.

How to Make Briquettes in Easy Steps 

Step 1 – preparing the briquette mix

For example, if you’re going to use waste paper and sawdust (the simplest to DIY and very efficient and cost effective), you’ll have to soak the paper in water for a couple of days in order to soften it and to allow the fibers to be released, as these fibers will later bind the materials together.

In the next step, you’ll have to thoroughly homogenize the soaked paper using your hands until the stuff reaches the consistency of porridge or mashed potatoes, i.e. no pieces are evident in the “soup”. This step is very important but it takes some time and you’ll have to do it well.

To speed up the process, you can use tools such as a mortar and pestle or a dedicated pounding tool for processing the paper mix quickly and more efficiently.

The simplest mix for homemade briquettes consists of one part soaked paper and 3/4 parts sawdust. You can also add pine needles, rice husks, chopped leaves/grass, charcoal fines and any other flammable materials you can think of into the mix, as they’ll add to the flavor. You’ll have to use roughly 20% paper though – that’s the lesson to be taken home.

You can alternatively swap paper for cassava peels/flour, which can replace the paper’s binding properties into the sawdust-mix. You’ll have to boil the cassava until it gets very soft, but in sufficient amounts, the cassava paste will successfully replace the paper for the purpose of binding the sawdust together.

In the next step, you’ll have to mix the paper or cassava mixture with the sawdust along with enough water. The mix must hold together if squeezed; that’s how you determine the ideal consistency.

Step 2 – prepare the press

This step depends on whether you’re using a cool home press or an improvised device. Let’s say you’re on the low-tech side and you’re using a plastic bottle mold as an improvised briquette-making device.

You’ll have to cut the upper quarter of the plastic bottle (a soda bottle will do) and perforate the bottom, making 10-12 drainage holes. You can use a hot wire to burn the holes.

Then you’ll require a thin plastic bag to be used as a liner to help you remove the finished briquette from bottle. Don’t forget to punch drainage holes in the plastic bag too, both on the sides and in the bottom, so the water can be expelled during the pressing process.

Obviously, you can use something bigger than a plastic bottle, like a plastic bucket or a plastic flower pot. Ideally you’ll have two of each: one for playing the role of the mold and the second to act as a piston.  Don’t forget to put drainage holes in the plastic liner though – otherwise, the water won’t drain and you’re wasting your time.

Step 3 – press the mix

In this step, you’ll have to put a quantity of briquette-mix inside the plastic liner (bag) and then insert the bag into the mold. Then you’ll have to add more mix to the bag and press it with the improvised piston (a can, the other bucket/another bottle or whatever fits into the mold) so the water gets pushed out of the mix.

Push as hard as you can – the harder the better. Then you’ll have to pull the bag out of the mold and here’s your first briquette, folks.

Step 4 – dry your briquettes

But it’s not over yet. You’ll have to dry your briquettes for about a week outside in the sun. If they’re not properly dried, the briquettes will smoke when burned and that’s unpleasant to say the least.

If you can’t improvise a mold and/or a press, you can always make fuel-briquettes with just your hands, squeezing the mix in your bare hands and building fuel balls and you’ll have to dry these out too, obviously.

There are so many survival things you can do by yourself. Click the banner below to discover how to make your own wood creations.

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This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia. 

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Prep Blog Review: About Living Off-grid

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Living Off grid

People today have become overly dependent on energy and this is the main reason why starting living off-grid seems difficult. But it is not. Think about the fact that people lived before the grid even existed.

As we all know, an EMP attack is a disaster most of us are preparing for. When our electricity driven society will suddenly fall, how long will you survive?

From today’s Prep Blog Review you will find out how it is like to live off-grid for 37 years, how to build a faraday cage or how to build your off-grid cooking stove.

  1. Confessions Off A Man Who Lived 37 Years Off-grid

Living Off Grid

“Imagine if you can, a homestead nestled deep in the forest, fronting a beautiful lake. Oh sure… that sounds dreamy and might be reality for a lucky few.

But now let’s take it a step further. The homestead sits on the shore of a remote, pristine lake which is located 100 miles in the wilderness.

No roads, no trails, no neighbors. Only forest, water, animals and silence. Float plane is the only way in and out. When the float plane drops you off, accelerates down the lake, lifts off the surface and becomes a speck on the horizon, you then realize your last physical connection with humanity just left.

Standing on the dock, you have the overwhelming sense you are the only person left on the planet. Exciting!”

Read more on Ask A Prepper.

  1. The Smokeless & Easy-To-Build Off-Grid Cooking Stove

Off grid stove

“Outdoor cooking is a major part of my off-grid experience, and so a reliable outdoor stove was a must-have. And with many options of wood-burning stoves out there, fuel-efficiency and minimal smoke were at the top of my list.

After much research, the rocket stove because our outdoor stove of choice. In this article, I will share with you the concept of the rocket stove, how we built two of them, and its advantages and disadvantages.

A wood-burning smokeless stove sounds impossible, right? Let me explain it this way. Smoke is un-burned fuel. The rocket stove makes use of all the fuel. Everything gets burned in the combustion chamber before leaving the chimney. This concept is also seen in the Dakota fire pit.

The rocket stove, when fired up, sounds similar to that of a rocket taking off – hence, its name.”

Read more on Off The Grid News.

  1. How To Build A Faraday Cage To Protect Your Electronics

Faraday cage “One of the things that gives us the most troubled sleep of all is the risk of, and outcomes from, an EMP attack on the US.  In case you’re not fully up to speed on this draconian danger, we discuss EMP attacks – what they are, how fearsome their impacts would be, and how easy they are to stage – in several articles here.

Our sense is that the danger of an EMP event is steadily increasing.  To be blunt, the world is becoming an increasingly unfriendly place, and with growing sophistication of both nuclear weapons and their associated delivery systems (ie missiles) by both North Korea and Iran (as well as other countries that aren’t being quite so public about their actions) and some threats that translate quite clearly to ‘if we need to, we’ll use an EMP device to bring your country to its knees’, the thought of an EMP attack is far from impossible to countenance.

At the same time, our lives continue to become more and more dependent on electronics for everything we do.”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 10 Widespread Disaster That Could Happen At Any Time

Disasters

“When preparing for a widespread disaster, it’s helpful to have a specific type of disaster in mind. Envisioning a particular survival scenario helps you to be more focused and think of preparations that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

How would a pandemic play out in your town? Or a terrorist attack? Or an economic collapse? What specifically would happen to your community, and how would it affect you and your family? And based on that, are there any other preparations you could make to ensure your family’s safety?

As you can see, mentally walking yourself through various types of disasters will help you to be more prepared. With that in mind, here is a list of the 10 most likely widespread disasters. You should seriously consider the possibility of experiencing these events. I’m not saying you should obsess over them–don’t spend your life in fear–but you should do your best to be ready for them.”

Read more on Urban Survival Site.

  1. Starting Your Off-grid Living With Solar Power

starting-your-off-grid-living-with-solar-power

“Harnessing the sun’s power has become a popular trend in the last ten years and we now have a large array of options for powering our homes using solar power.

Living off the grid requires a lot of work and innovation in order to reach a certain level of self-sufficiency. Things get easier if you are able to harness the power of the sun and use it for all your needs.

From passive cooling to batch solar water heaters, everything is now available when it comes to DIY solar power projects.

People are beginning to understand that solar power is not as complicated as certain individuals would want you to believe.

This is a technology that has become extremely accessible in our modern times and you just need a few basic skills in order to make your own project.”

Read more on Prepper’s Will.

You can generate power and keep your loved ones safe with the right power generator. You can choose your right now.

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This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order: What Does It Mean?

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Cosmic Weather Executive Order

Does the government know something that we don’t about what is going to happen to our power grid?

The latest executive order on cosmic weather certainly has some folks in the survival community scratching their heads. Do you know why? Because it doesn’t help you much, but leaves you survive on your own.

President Obama says he recognizes that naturally occurring EMP’s “could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.

First off, understand that the type of EMP caused by cosmic weather would only affect equipment connected to the power grid, land lines or other very long conductors, so it would not affect your car … until you need to buy gasoline or you phone … until you need to connect to the internet or a cell tower.

What we are most concerned about with this type of EMP is damage to the infrastructure that we all depend on, specifically the large transformers in the power grid which are custom built (mostly overseas) and have lead times measured in years.

Why only address naturally-occurring EMP and not nuclear high-altitude EMP?

I think the answer to that is simply that existing executive orders, COG (Continuity of Government) and NIPP (National Infrastructure Protection Plan) already cover protection of key infrastructure in the event of acts of war or terror attacks, so that train has already left the station – no power or budget to grab or rights to infringe upon there.

Why is important, other than that your internet will be down and credit and bank cards won’t work, is that a severe space weather event could knock out the US power grid and reshape the balance of power in the world.

Russia claims its grid is hardened against EMP and China runs major EMP-response exercises. Every former superpower is making preparations in case of EMP attack and virtually all substantial enemies of the US either are in the process of developing or already have EMP weapons.

The US has EMP weapons programs and we have upgraded a few key segments of our communications infrastructure, so it is clear that our leadership is aware of the threat EMP poses, but we haven’t funded any significant national preparation.

Scientists have been beating politicians over the heads with EMP scenarios for decades now, but they don’t seem to care much about it.

Why hasn’t the US already made preparations in case of EMP?

According to Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, the power industry is afraid of over-regulation.

That is why it is using its considerable power to lobby against any EMP preparation and crank out junk science a la “lead is good for you because it occurs naturally,” “smoking is not harmful to your health,” and “we would starve without GMO foods and high fructose corn syrup” only this time it’s “EMP only affects the power grid in movies.”

Don’t let the fact that the rest of the world is united on the matter that the EMP is a threat fool you. Here in the USA, we reserve the right to be ignorant and listen to K Street lobbyists and the best scientists they can buy instead of our best scientific minds.

Warning have yielded both grassroots and congressional efforts, such as the Shield Act, which have been blocked at every turn by the power lobby for well over a decade now. This opened the door for Barrack Obama, who claims not to need congress because he has a phone and a pen, to step in an issue the executive order.

In October of last year, the White House published the 2015 National Space Weather Plan, which sets two goals: to improve our detection capabilities (warn us a few hours before the EMP), and to strengthen our capability to respond to the needs of the people after an EMP has damaged the grid.

Why not a comprehensive EMP plan to harden the grid against both types of EMP?

Because existing executive orders already cover EMP of the nuclear high-altitude variety under war and terrorism, so there wasn’t any additional power or funding to grab.

At a glance, the plan seems like perhaps a step in the right direction, but dig deeper and its more social programs and less privacy, thinly disguised as a preparedness plan. About the only thing that could make this plan worse is if it was truly this president’s best effort to protect the nation from EMP.

Cosmic weather

Why am I not excited about the government finally creating a plan to deal with EMP, even if it is only naturally-occurring EMP?

  • The Obama regime used this as pretext to violate privacy rights by making GPS constellation data publicly available.
  • Obama’s plans for EMP preparedness don’t mean boo unless they are funded and they will not be funded without congress. Simply passing an executive order does not change that. Most of page 2 of the White House plan is basically a disclaimer that the plan is not a budget document and that funds to carry out the plan would granted through the budget process. An effective POTUS does not simply throw out an idea and then blame congress for not approving funds that don’t exist to implement a plan when there was already another, better plan on the table.
  • Instead of the one-time investment of $2 billion to fix the problem and harden the US electrical again against BOTH kinds of EMP that the Shield Act asks for, it would invest in capability to warn us a few hours ahead of an EMP and then attempt to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after our large transformers have melted. This is a reactive, “social aspirin and Band-aid” patch job that invests in social programs instead of a proactive permanent fix for the chronic problem.
  • No funding for joint DOD – FEMA Training Exercises. Instead he directs the heads of agencies to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities” referring to the 2015 National Space Weather Action Plan.

Somebody needs to tell the White House that it won’t matter if people have health insurance if they are going to be without electricity for up to 4 years. Maybe that is a length of time they can get their heads around.

The US has been operating in an utter leadership vacuum for nearly two terms now, arguably much, much longer. We could permanently fix the EMP threat to our grid for about what we spend on climate change research in a year.

The US could have long ago joined the growing list of nations making earnest preparations against EMP, but is not course our benevolent leader has chosen.

The FEMA – DOD turf war is going to cost untold millions of lives in a severely damaging EMP

Hurricane Katrina was a minor event when compared to losing the US electrical grid for years, but it serves as an example of the consequences of the FEMA – DOD turf war. The states tried to handle the disaster themselves to capture Federal funding and everyone had to sit on their hands until they asked for help.

But by then, they had trouble even contacting the Federal Government to ask for help, so precious time was lost, which translated to lives lost. Then the Federal government sends in FEMA, who sealed off the disaster area and takes its shot at the prize budget money.

The military still couldn’t do anything until they were asked. FEMA ended up running around like a chicken with its head cut off because it was also outclassed by the scope of the event, losing more time and lives until FEMA finally asks for DOD.

Why did the DOD need to be involved in Katrina and will they inevitably need to be involved in a large-scale EMP?

Because FEMA has thousands of employees where DOD has millions. FEMA can call subcontractors and pay them to deliver trailers or loads of supplies. DOD can coordinate colossal airlifts and entire fleets of ships. We cannot handle an emergency of this magnitude without the DOD, so FEMA needs to get let that sink in now, BEFORE an EMP.

The FEMA budget is not going to matter. FEMA is going to go down in history as crewing the Titanic in this scenario and the post-EMP agency that replaces FEMA will not resemble the pre-EMP FEMA, that is, if the USA even still exists as such after China lays down the terms for the replacement of our large transformers.

What would a competent leader would have done

  • Fund NASA and the National Foundation of Sciences Studies that would debunk the junk science funded by the power industry lobby.
  • Educate the public about the threat.
  • Pass the Shield Act and harden the grid against space weather and nuclear EMP alike instead of an unfunded plan followed by an executive order.
  • Get the DOD and FEMA working and training together before the catastrophe and give them funding to do it instead of just telling the directors to work together “consistent with their ongoing activities.”

So what does Obama’s executive order on cosmic weather mean for you?

It means that, as usual, you are largely on your own. The only preparations that you can count on are ones you have made yourself and with those you trust in your local community. This may actually be better for you than being lied to that your government has everything under control.

You are better off preparing independently as opposed to believing that Uncle Sam, or someone else, is going to bail you out.

Be prepared! Get your power generator. Click the banner below to grab this offer and pay in installments for the right power generator for your EMP survival!

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This article has been written by Cache Valley Prepper for Survivopedia. 

References:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/10/13/executive-order-coordinating-efforts-prepare-nation-space-weather-events

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How To Live Off the Grid

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How To Live Off the Grid Living off the grid basically means living without the supply of gas, electricity and even water provided by local authorities. Living off the grid is becoming one of the popular long-term lifestyles that people embrace. In the survival community, most are more concern with short-term ways to live off …

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Product Review: Power Whisperer Pro Version

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survivopedia-power-whisperer-pro

The folks at Independent Living have done it again. They’ve taken their popular Power Whisperer emergency power generator and done a second upgrade, making it even better than before.

This new upgrade essentially doubles the capacity of the original unit, meaning that it will provide power to meet even more of a family’s needs, for an even longer period of time.

I’ll tell you more about this update so keep reading the article below!

One of the biggest risks we face today is that of an EMP attack. As a nation, we have enemies who are working hard to develop the technology necessary to allow them to hit the United States with such an attack. If they ever get to that point, a successful attack will set this country back over 100 years. Most electronic devices will be destroyed, but worse than that, the electrical power grid that we all depend on will be out of commission; probably for the rest of our lives.

The only electronics which will survive such an attack are those which are shielded from EMP. Outside of the military, there is little that is made, which is shielded in such a manner. Yet the Power Whisperer has been designed with this possibility in mind, and is encased in 5052 aluminum. That’s more than enough to stop the EMP from touching the unit, ensuring that you’ll have electrical power, when everyone else’s lights are out.

I was impressed with the quality of the original Power Whisperer and the M model. These are well-built, rugged units, designed to, as Timex says, “Take a licking and keep on ticking.” But I don’t think even the designer of the Power Whisperer realized how rugged a unit he built.

See below a video of a Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) that had a disagreement with a truck. Apparently the unit was being shipped when this happened. I don’t know if the truck was trying to take the unit to the wrong address and it refused to be shipped there or the two of them got into a political argument.

All I know is that the truck and the Power Whisperer tried to break a law of physics and occupy the same place at the same time. To be fair, the Power Whisperer was there first, and I really can’t say that the truck had any excuse, like not seeing the unit, after all, it hit it head on.

Well, the results of that altercation left the Power Whisperer looking like a pile of scrap. In the video, someone in the Independent Living warehouse decided to unwrap the pile of scrap and test it out. Amazingly enough, it still provided power. That’s after being hit by a truck, all but torn limb from limb and then sitting in the warehouse, being ignored for a couple of months.

I hope my Power Whisperer never has to be tried by fire like that, but it’s nice to know that the one that was survived its trial. Granted, it doesn’t look too good now, but at least it works. In an emergency situation, that’s what’s important.

So now they’ve decided to go ahead and upgrade this rugged beast. That intrigued me when I heard about it, because I really wasn’t sure what they’d upgrade. But I’ll have to say, they did it right. They didn’t add whistles and bells that you don’t need, they increased the capacity.

Let’s Upgrade!

As far as I’m concerned, electrical power in a grid-down situation is like memory in a computer… you’ve never got enough. While the Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) had enough power to make it through an emergency caused by a power outage, the new one – PowerWhisperer PRO, has double that capacity but also some other features that I’m going to address in seconds.

The Power Whisperer M (Classic Model) comes with a 100 amp-hour capacity. That means that it can run an electronic device that requires 100 amps of 12 volt power for 1 hour or that it can run a device that requires 1 amp of 12 volt power for 100 hours, or anything in between. There’s also a Power Whisperer M-Plus model that comes with an extra solar panel and battery that literally double your power, while all the specifications are the same.

The Power Whisperer PRO model comes with the same voltage inverter, so you still have 2000 watts of 120 volt power available at any one time. In addition, there is a 12 volt outlet, so that you can power devices which are intended to run off of 12 volts.

pwpro

Do you have any camping equipment, tools or electronics which are intended for running off your car’s cigarette lighter/accessory connector? They’ll all plug into either the M model or the new Pro model as well.

To help with recharging the larger storage capacity, Lee Bellinger, the designer of the Power Whisperer has also added a second, 100 watt solar panel, increasing the charge capacity as well. You can either recharge the Model M in half the time or recharge both the M model and the extra power pack at the same time. With this extra solar panel, you can charge both in the time that it used to take to charge the Model M alone.

And the unit is expandable beyond that as well. The M model generator has enough connectors to attach up to four solar panels, increasing the recharge rate and total power available from the unit. You can also add another auxiliary power pack if you desire, increasing the overall power you have available in an emergency situation even more.

These units are totally safe, using proven battery and battery charging technology which avoids “thermal runaway.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems that people have been having with the Samsung phones, well the charge technology used in the Power Whisperer prevent the possibility of that happening. The unit is not only safe from being hit by a truck, but from exploding as well.

Seeing as the Power Whisperer was inspired by military technology and intended for survival use, it even comes complete with a camouflage net system, so that you can keep your unit away from prying eyes, whether you are using it for a bug in or you’re providing power to your survival retreat in a bug out.

This is a well thought out unit, which will provide the electrical power your family needs, when you are faced by the next disaster. Built in America and built to withstand whatever is thrown at it, the Power Whisperer Pro gives your family a level of security you won’t find just anywhere.

Now is the moment to get your power generator and solve your energy problem for years. You’ll also get 3 exclusive Survivopedia bonuses worth $150 when you invest in your Power Whisperer.

Click the banner below and grab the opportunity of paying in monthly installments instead of paying for it all at once!

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This article has been written by Bill White for Survivopedia.

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10 Problems That Kill Your Rural Survival

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Rural Survival

If you are a rural town dweller, or live on a farm or off-grid, you already have an expanded set of survival skills. Your isolation along with these skills are the keys to your survival, but you still must expect the unexpected.

Here are ten problems that you may not even give much thought but they still can cause a lot of troubles in turbulent times.

1. Lack of Key Supplements for Livestock

Modern farming methods can feed their livestock any number of things that might have been out of the question in the past. For example, today, many farmers think that it is safe to feed alfalfa to cattle because they also include a supplement in the feed.

Without this supplement, cattle and other sensitive animals will suffer from stomach bloat and die. You have a big pile of these supplements for now, but you will run out of them.

Therefore, be aware of the natural nutritional needs of all livestock in your care, and know exactly why you are giving various supplements to livestock.

Make it a point to see if you can replace these supplements with something you can make on your own or find out how to eliminate them altogether.

Adjust farming methods so that you no longer need antibiotics or other chemicals that won’t be available after a crisis hits.

Your animals will be healthier, and your body won’t be absorbing all those chemicals and toxins through animal based meat, milk, and eggs.

2. Insufficient Genetic Material for Plant and Animal Based Sources of Food

If you do some research, you will find that many animal based industries are already having problems with lack of sufficient genetic variation. For example pedigree dogs and thoroughbred horses are rapidly becoming a point of scandal and derision because of the serious genetic defects that lead to disease and early death.

Now consider a situation where you have just one bull and 5 or 6 milk cows, and that the cows are from all different blood lines. Even though the bull may be different from them, within just a few generations the animals produced will be sicker and weaker.

No matter whether you are raising chickens, cattle, goats, sheep, cats, dogs, horses, or other animals, make sure that you have enough genetic variation in both the males and females.

While one gender may not be as valuable as the other in terms of producing meat or eggs, the genetic variance is truly far more important than the inconvenience of keeping a few extra animals for the sake of genetic diversity.

This is also very important to consider when growing plants for food. Always use heirloom seeds, and try to get them from as many different places as possible. As long as the species and strain are the same, you can keep the plants strong and genetically viable from one generation to the next.

The last thing you will want to do is be ten, or even twenty years into a survival scenario only to realize that major staple plants are less robust or becoming weaker despite proper care of the water and soil. Needless to say, you should also store away triple, or even quadruple the number of seeds that you plan to use during an active crisis scenario.

At the very least, if genetic viability proves to be a problem, you will still have some to start over with, and then look for resources in other locations. This may include studying wild plants in the local area and cultivating them on a larger scale if needed.

3, Inadvertent Hybridization of Key Food and Medicine Bearing Organisms

If you currently use hybrid seeds because they offer more disease resistant plants or other benefits, you may not be thinking about the long term consequences of hybridization.

A hybrid is defined as a cross between two species that are close enough to produce viable offspring, however the offspring usually cannot produce a viable next generation.

For example, if you have two fields of heirloom corn or plant two strains close together, hybridization will occur. From there, the next year’s crop may grow, however, the seeds for the third year may not even sprout let alone produce a mature plant.

When growing plants, be very careful about where you plant different strains as well as which pollinators can create hybrids without your knowing. This includes bees which can carry pollen for miles as well as the wind itself which can transmit pollen from one field to another.

If at all possible, only grow one strain of a plant per year. It is also very important to be aware of:

  • wild plants from a related species that might provide pollen
  • plants grown by other survivors in the area that may be of a different, but related strain

4. Loss of Soil Fertility

Together with soil erosion, loss of soil fertility is a huge problem and apt to get worse in a survival situation.

Many farmers today rely on a range of fertilizers to enhance the soil. While this may produce edible plants, the lack of micronutrients is showing up in poor health and increased risk for disease for consumers.

Since you will be using the same soil over and over again to grow foods, this problem may cause serious health problems sooner than expected.

Take the time now to know how the soil on you farm differs from undisturbed land nearby. Make sure that you know how it differs in key nutrients that you expect to absorb from the foods.

If you find lacking nutrients, then look for ways to naturally recondition the soil in order to restore those nutrients. Some options may include:

  • expand the types of plants used on composting to include wild plants and leaves from surrounding areas
  • find ways to add animal bones and other parts in order to create a natural fertilizer. For example, eggshells are an excellent soil conditioner that you can get from chickens being raised on the farm
  • research safe ways to compost human excrement. It should be noted that there is a good bit of controversy on this matter as human feces and urine carry diseases that have left your body. While animal excrement can also be very dangerous to your health, at least the pathogens are not already established and accustomed to the human immune system, and therefore readily able to evade it.

Soil

5. Loss of Key Species Due to Overhunting or Overfishing

Many people think that as long as they live in a country setting, all they will have to do is go out into the woods and shoot a deer or some other animal for food. Aside from the fact that larger populations of people will easily cause animal depletion, there are some other problems with this idea:

  • Overhunting and over fishing can also occur when injured animals get away. Not only is the meat from them lost, the hunter will more than likely go out and shoot at one or more animals until they catch one.

If the person in question is not a very good hunter, this means dozens of animals may be knocked out of the gene pool and also made unavailable to people that need the food from these animals. As the gene pool of target species becomes less diverse, illness and fewer offspring will result.

Just take a look at the changes in deer spot patterns and white deer that signal pending collapse of a herd.

  • Unknown stresses from social collapse may impact vital species. Consider a situation where you are in a rural area that is surrounded by mines or factories. Even though they may appear far enough away to prevent damage to the land in your area, they can still pose a hazard during a collapse.

In particular, waste from factories and mines can be carried for hundreds of miles down a river, or seep into the air and soil via other means. Once these toxins get into the deer, rabbits, and other animals of interest, these animals will die off and leave you with very few, if any to hunt.

In order to mitigate these problems, you must always be aware of how many animals are being taken from the land for food as well as make sure you know how many got away and were never found.

It is very important to keep security patrols going through hunt areas so that you can stop strangers and prevent them from interfering with the wild herds you depend on.

You should also have longer ranging scouts take periodic trips to factories, rivers, and other water features that may impact your local area.

At the very least, if you know that a mine or factory has released a dangerous toxin, you may just have enough time to drive animal herds to another area where they can continue to live and reproduce.

6. Loss of Key Habitats

Wood No matter whether you chop down trees to provide wood for fires or use a nearby pond for potable water and irrigating crops, your activities will change the land around you. This, in turn, can lead to the loss of forests and other key habitats that you depend on for raw survival materials.

As rural families expand or more people find their way out of the cities, this problem will get even worse. You have only to look at the mess of an inner city to see what becomes of areas that were once as filled with trees and other natural landmarks.

As with protecting wild animals used for food, you must also protect the trees and other natural resources that you rely on. Do your best to patrol areas where loggers or scavengers may be looking to cut trees and take them away. Make sure that you know who is coming into the local area and how to keep them away from valuable land so that it is not destroyed.

While you may be inclined to share some of your resources, remember that you can never truly own a tree or the land it grows on. Be careful with these resources so that they will be available to future generations.

Since clearing land is unavoidable, you must replace what was taken. For example, if you cleared some land for farming, look for abandoned areas nearby that no longer have trees or other plants. You can always take tree seeds or even hand started seedlings and plant them in these areas.

If the soil in these areas is toxic or has many contaminants, you can try growing carrots, certain mushrooms, and conifers to clean the soil as quickly as possible. Once the soil is cleared of heavy metals and other contaminants, then you can plant maple trees or other forest bearing trees that will be of use to you.

7. Inadequate Sewage and Sanitation Systems

If you currently have a septic tank and leach field, then you may not realize just how easily your sewage system can become useless in a crisis situation. Among other things, if you don’t have a pump system to clean out the tank, then backing up toilets, sinks, and tubs, can easily force you out of your home. Some things you can do to avoid these problems include:

  • keep a go