Doughnuts, California bloom, and the Great Barrier Reef…

Hi, this is Geoff,

[Incorrect reference to 54 weeks deleted]

Let’s jump into this week’s Friday Five…

Vive la France: No, I’m not about to wade into France’s upcoming election, though it has been fascinating to watch the dynamics unfolding there. Instead, I want to touch base on something incredible that’s been recently mandated: “A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels…They are capable of retaining rainwater and reducing problems with runoff, and also offer birds a place to call home in the urban jungle.” Full details can be read here.

California Bloom: “In 2015, California finally got heavy rainfall again, leading to the “super bloom” of 2016, which was especially spectacular in Death Valley National Park. Wildflowers carpeted the barren desert terrain, attracting hordes of tourists seeking a glimpse of the blooms.” Some fascinating before and after photos can be seen in the overview here.

Great Barrier Reef: These words from the legendary David Attenborough, spoken almost a year ago, really hit home: “The twin perils brought by climate change, an increase in the temperature of the ocean and its acidity, if they continue to rise at the present rate the reefs will be gone within decades and that would be a global catastrophe…Do we really care so little about the earth on which we live that we don’t want to protect one of the world’s greatest wonders from the consequences of our behaviour?” The full interview can be read here, and Attenborough’s gorgeous and interactive site dedicated to just this issue is worth spending some time on. And if the topic feels heavy and you prefer some satire to lighten the mood, you can check out Betotta Advocate’s hilarious take on it – but be warned, there is some slightly graphic language here.

Doughnuts? No, I’m not talking about these delicious things. Rather, an insightful new book by the same name (Doughnut Economics), attempts to shed led on refreshing and alternative ways to think about economics and economic growth: “So what are we going to do about it? This is the only question worth asking. But the answers appear elusive. Faced with a multifaceted crisis – the capture of governments by billionaires and their lobbyists, extreme inequality, the rise of demagogues, above all the collapse of the living world – those to whom we look for leadership appear stunned, voiceless, clueless. Even if they had the courage to act, they have no idea what to do…We cannot hope to address our predicament without a new worldview. We cannot use the models that caused our crises to solve them. We need to reframe the problem. This is what the most inspiring book published so far this year has done.” An overview of the the book by Oxford’s Kate Raworth can be read here.

In case you missed it: A few interesting pieces this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute:

If you enjoy these posts, be sure to bookmark the site as several new articles go up weekly, or check out thousands of other past articles, here.  

That’s it for the Friday Five.

Again, if you have something to share with respect to the Friday Five share your comments and thoughts on the blog-version of this Friday Five below. This way, our entire community can benefit from your insights, and join the discussion.

Cheers, and have a great weekend

Your friend,


2017-04-16T15:39:00+00:00 Blog|16 Comments
  • Bev Vennik

    54 weeks in a year? That’s a new one in me 😂

    • Bill Crandall-TA

      Ah come on, Bev. Tell me you haven’t needed them. 😉

      • Thomas Jedensjö

        Ha ha ha! 🙂

    • Menonproactive solutions

      It was probably a typo error Bev 🙂

  • Wendy Renna

    That’s what I was thinking ____ we might like to have those extra weeks but I think it means squeezing more into the 52. Just starting with permaculture study but have been involved in organic gardening. I hope it is a new life for a seventy- four year old.

  • Eugene Fueyo

    Is 54 weeks a metric year? You know we Americans are ‘challenged’ when it comes to measurements.

  • John A. Johnson

    54 weeks in a year? What planet do you live on?

  • The ISO standard specifies the number of weeks in a given year. Some years are counted as having 53 weeks, sort of like every fourth year has 366 days. It’s complex enough that a sensible, all inclusive “54” seems much better!

  • DrFood

    Sadly, the article on the French rule about green roofs says the law didn’t get through parliament.

    • Jite Brume

      Yes. The article also dates from 2015 so we’re slightly out of date! Maybe Marcon can help in this respect

  • Marls Too

    Geoff, last time I looked there were 52 weeks in a year, not 54. Have I missed something?

    • Menonproactive solutions

      Must have been a typo error.:)

  • Edward Reeves

    Topic= swales (I do not know where else to post something I think is wonderful)
    Today at the Halifax. Nova Scotia museum of natural history, my husband and I spent a happy half hour with a boy about 7 around a sand table. That table and its technology taught us all about contour lines, water flows and levels of dryness. The little boy, named Matthew, scooped the sand up into a mini mountain.
    A projector about 9 feet above the table, added the colour of the terrain, the contour lines, and the flow of water. I never saw anything like it!
    I immediately thought of Geoff Lawton and the teaching of swales because as Matthew and I moved the sand (me trying to make swales and he digging his happy little fingers into the sand in unpredictable places, we saw, with no delays, the impact. I UNDERSTAND! and although I did not know Matthew, a regular little boy, we discussed the effect of altering landscapes and we both understood the impacts. His questions were clever and often challenging and I could explain that his salt water areas are different that my own mid-Canada landscapes.
    It clearly demonstrated how the water would flow if you made recesses in various places and directions. Most astoundingly to me was that the water would always come out at the lowest point first.
    I hope this technology is used by many people to really understand how the swale systems work.

    • Bill Crandall-TA

      If not, maybe Matthew will explain.

  • Rick Swan

    Thank you Geoff, for the Friday Five post, which has just arrived for me on Easter Sunday. I’ve shared your recent George Monbiot link on both Google Plus and FaceBook. I’ve only just (re?)discovered this connection, and that should not be too much of a surprise if one considers the overloads of information, web site and social networking that we are subject to. I hope to use this connection more often. You have been an inspiration for me, since I first saw your “Greening the Desert” video about a decade ago. Happy Easter, to you and your family and wider community !

  • Darren

    The Guardian Review/Discussion about Kate Raworth’s “Doughnut Economics” got me to buy the new book at full price! I’ve finished it this week. It was more delicious than any round, fried confection I’ve ever had. The book lays out positive ways to deal with the economy we’ve been born into. Among the most important points were things that permaculture already knows. Look to nature as example when designing solutions to problems. Balance is a more rational goal than endless growth. Systems provide more balance to problem solving than using false conclusions to beat a symptom that is only part of the cause (and applying patent protection to your symptom fighter).
    Doughnut Economics was a quick and easy read although it includes a load of notes at the end for further reading. Kate Raworth has done excellent work.
    I am very tempted to buy a case of these and ship a copy to every one of my local, regional and national policy makers. Thanks SO MUCH for including it in the Friday Five!!!!