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Catch and Store Energy- Permaculture and Gardening

June 14, 2015

Bare Soil is Public Enemy #1! Find out why in this video with Permaculture teacher Loren Luyendyk as he explains  the Permaculture Principle of Catch and Store Energy to gardening.

This principle is already happening in your garden. Plants naturally Catch and Store solar energy in the form of photosynthesis and sugars.

In this video, Loren talks about how to design for optimal water storage and catchment. Loren talks about why he likes raised beds and how mulch-filled pathways can become water harvesting structures. These pathways don’t have to perfectly on contour and can have a little bit of slope. Water is stored and preserved in the mulch  and evaporation is reduced.  Don’t dehydrate your soil, keep it covered. Catch and Store it in your mulch.

Using permaculture principles in your garden helps create an environment for healthy plants to thrive. Happy Gardening!

Waste Is An Unused Resource- Permaculture Principles and Gardening

May 30, 2015

In Permaculture Design waste is an unused resource. In this short video, Part 2 in our Permaculture Principles and Gardening Series, Permaculture Designer and Teacher Loren Luyendyk talks about waste and how everything is food for something else.

Waste created in the garden and home can be seen as opportunities for re-use. Using waste onsite is a low-tech solution that will save you money, improve soil quality, and stop organic matter from going to the landfill.

Green Waste on a One Way Trip to the Landfill

The “problem” of garden and kitchen waste is a solution for the our depleted soils. By feeding the soil your waste, you can revitalize and enliven the soil food web. Green waste and food scraps can be sheet mulched directly into the ground, chopped and dropped for mulch, put into a compost pile, or fed to animals.

Food scraps can be fed to worms and other decomposers who will turn it into a premium soil amendment. By using your vermicompost on your garden, this waste will eventually be transformed into food, veggies, fruit and, if you have animals, eggs and meat.

Premium Vermicompost Created by the Decomposer Gang

Premium Vermicompost Created by the Decomposer Gang

Re-using waste like cardboard and newspaper doesn’t require as much energy, water, or processing as recycling does. When waste is recycled offsite, it’s often melted, ground, or pulped in order to make a new product. Before you send materials from your home and garden away, it’s a good idea to see if there are hidden opportunities for reuse. Cardboard can be used for sheet mulching and newspaper makes good bedding for a worm bin.

Both recycling and reuse can divert and permanently remove items from the dead end waste stream that leads to the landfill. A good goal is to keep waste streams cycling on your property as long as possible.


Applying Permaculture Principles to Gardening

May 11, 2015

Permaculture Designer and Teacher Loren Luyendyk talks about the Permaculture principles of Relative Location and Efficient Energy Planning – Zone Planning as it relates to your home garden. Permaculture is a design system of tools and techniques that can be used to create long-term, regenerative human settlements. Permaculture can be applied to any field, including architecture, agriculture, psychology, building, and business. Permaculture offers us ethics (Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share) and principles that teach us how to work with nature and not against it.

Make your life easier and your garden healthier by good design. Planting your garden in Zone 1, close to your house, will contribute to your garden’s success. Many people make the mistake of planting their gardens in Zones 2, 3, or 4 which are much farther from the daily paths they take. Here’s a short summary of Zones. A good rule is that the more you use or visit something, the closer it should be to your home. Zone 0 is your house. Zone 1 is very close to your home. Your garden, clothesline, chickens, compost pile, worm bin, and greenhouse can all go here. Frequent visits to these areas necessitate their location in Zone 1, unless you want to do a lot of walking! Other zones include Zone 2, which is not as close to the house, but still intensively maintained. This is a great place to put perennial plantings, shrubs, small orchard, and animals that need daily attention. Zone 3 might contain larger orchards, pastures, self-fed animals, and main crops. Zone 4 is semi-wild and only somewhat managed; this is the zone for wild food collecting and timber production. Zone 5 is wilderness- where we go to learn from nature.

In this series of short videos, Sustainable World Media meets with Permaculture Designers and Teachers to ask them how they use Permaculture in their work. Loren Luyendyk is the owner of Santa Barbara Organics, a Sustainable Landscape and Agriculture Design and Consultation Service. Loren has over 12 years of experience in environmentally sensitive green design. Loren is also a certified arborist and teaches Permaculture Courses around the world. To see a tour of one of Loren’s Permaculture designs, click here.
Stay tuned for more videos about applying Permaculture principles to your garden!

Is Soil A Solution to Climate Change?  Two Santa Barbara Filmmakers Say Yes! 

December 12, 2014

When filmmakers Carol Hirashima and Jill Cloutier first heard of the research being done about soil as a potential solution to the climate change crisis, they wanted to share it with the world.

“In 2010, when we began filming, information was just starting to trickle in about the connection between our carbon deficient soil and excess carbon, as CO2, in the atmosphere.” says Jill Cloutier. “If soil and land management could provide a low-cost, biological solution to climate change, why wasn’t everyone talking about it?”

The two filmmakers started documenting the field work being done by researchers at the Marin Carbon Project in Northern California. “We felt it was important to get this information out. What if a solution to climate change lay in the ground beneath our feet?”

Their film, a 28 minute documentary, The Soil Solution to Climate Change was completed in 2013 and features ranchers, scientists, farmers and environmentalists all bearing the same message, “Whatever we do to increase soil fertility, is a step in reversing climate change.”

Hirashima and Cloutier’s self-funded film premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2012 and went on to screen at seven festivals, including SausalitoDavisOneEarth and the Wild and Scenic Film Tour. The film was also one of thirteen documentaries chosen by and the TRUST Campaign for their Climate of Change Tour, that visited college campuses across the U.S.

When the filmmakers heard that the 68th UN General Assembly declared December 5th, 2014 as World Soil Day and 2015 as the International Year of Soils, Cloutier and Hirashima decided that it was the ideal time to offer their film for free viewing around the world.

“We really want to spread the word that we don’t have to depend on technology or corporations to get us out of this climate change mess. Nature already has the answers- plants, soil, photosynthesis, the soil food web, and the carbon cycle.” says Cloutier  “We want as many people as possible to know that they can participate in the soil solution to climate change. Once we manage our land for optimal carbon sequestration and storage, we will see atmospheric CO2 levels drop to non-catastrophic levels.”

Click here to view The Soil Solution to Climate Change online, or visit the Sustainable World YouTube Channel at

Top Five Sustainable World Media Videos

June 11, 2014

At Sustainable World Media we love educating about the natural world, Permaculture, rainwater harvesting, organic gardening, natural building and other topics related to reducing our environmental footprint. Our Sustainable World Channel has been on YouTube for over five years now. Here are our top five videos ranked by views.

1) TumbleWeed Tours with Jay Shafer– This one is a short tour of a very tiny mobile home. 


2) Rainwater Harvesting Basics With Brad Lancaster- This one is especially timely with the drought.


3)Rainwater Harvesting- In this one, Brad Lancaster does a short demo illustrating how earth works can keep water on property.


4) The Art of Aquaponics- We visit Santa Barbara Aquaponics to learn more about this closed loop system and method of organic agriculture.


5) Bunyip Building- Have you ever wanted to make a water level to find the highs and lows of your landscape? Learn how here!

To see more videos visit the Sustainable World YouTube Channel. 

An Old Lawn Is Transformed Into A Water Saving Oasis

April 1, 2014

Have you ever wanted to turn your water sucking lawn into a water saving landscape? We did. To learn how, we visited rainwater harvesting expert Jeff Adams at the recently installed rain garden at the Santa Barbara City College Center for Life Long Learning. In this video, Jeff , owner of Terra Sophia and Project Manager with the Watershed Management Group, talks about designing landscapes that retain water, create habitat, lessen runoff and look fabulous. In this short video, Jeff talks about how water harvesting techniques, combined with drought tolerant landscaping and use of native species, contributes to long-term water efficiencies.

Keep your garden beautiful through times of drought and intermittent rainfall. Turn your lawn into a water saving landscape that saves you money, helps the environment and looks absolutely gorgeous.

For more videos about water conservation, rainwater harvesting, Permaculture and farming visit our YouTube Channel here. 


Watch The Soil Solution Online

March 14, 2014

The Soil Solution is now on Amazon and available as a rental and instant download. You can also purchase the DVD. The Soil Solution is our first film and we’re proud that we were some of the initial filmmakers that documented the potential that soil may hold in reversing climate change.

Why should you watch The Soil Solution? We made the film because we felt that it’s time to offer some solutions to the climate change crisis and to educate viewers about the relationship between soil and carbon.  After researching the many ways to build healthy soil, we decided to focus on grazing and livestock, because of the huge and mostly detrimental impact they have on soil fertility and carbon sequestration. We included regenerative farming in the first cut of the film, but decided to edit that section out since we wanted the film to be short and easily digestible (and not two hours long).

SoilSolution-Producton_Still2 cropped

The Soil Solution has screened at many festivals, including the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Sausalito Film Fest, and more recently at the One Earth Film Fest in Chicago. Our film toured with the Wild and Scenic 2013 Tour and was one of thirteen films chosen for the Climate of Change Tour sponsored by, the TRUST Campaign and Wild and Scenic.

The Soil Solution Poster

When we first started to play with the idea of making a film about soil, our working title was Soil, The Musical. Now that we’re done with the film, we firmly believe that soil and the soil food web are like an orchestra. Each organism and element contributing its part to creating a masterpiece- healthy soil.  The good news is that we can have a positive role to play in creating fertile soil and in sequestering atmospheric carbon. Through our actions we can speed up the process… or destroy it.

The Climate Change Diet

February 14, 2014

I’m going on a diet. A Climate Change Diet. An eating regime that not only makes me healthier, but also affects the earth and ecosystem in beneficial ways. If enough of us signed up for the Climate Change Diet or Climate Diet, we might have a positive impact on the global climate crisis.

The Climate Diet differs from other diets in that I won’t be counting calories. I won’t be required to exercise anymore than I already do.  There are no restrictions as far as having to adopt a vegetarian, vegan or paleo diet. After being on the Climate Diet for a few months, I may not look any better in a little black dress, but chances are, I and future generations will continue to have many opportunities to wear that dress!

The Climate Diet is simple. You can do it if you grow your own food or if you purchase all or most of of your groceries from a store.

Here is its only rule:

Do your best to eat food that was grown in a responsible manner by someone who, through their growing methods, increases soil fertility.

That’s it. Buy food from someone who takes care of the soil. If you grow food, take care of your soil. Good land stewards have a direct influence on climate change because their agriculture and grazing methods directly affect the amount of carbon in their soil.

Farmers and ranchers can sequester excess carbon from the atmosphere and put it to beneficial use in soil through managed grazing, no or low till agriculture, cover cropping, composting, mulching and using bio-based fertilizers and soil amendments instead of synthetic toxins that harm soil fertility.

On the Climate Diet, you would most likely buy organically grown food and meat. Synthetic pesticides and herbicides decrease microbial life within the soil. A soil rich with microbes is alive and fertile. These microbes, especially mycorrhizal fungi, can increase the amount of carbon in the soil. Most of the world’s soils are carbon-depleted.  By choosing to eat the Climate Diet way, we are creating the conditions for soil carbon-sequestration to happen!

As an added bonus, when plants are grown in healthy soil, they are usually more nutrient rich, which is good news for our health. Plus, synthetic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are usually made of fossil fuels which have a devastating impact on our environment and contribute greatly to climate change.

If you eat meat, the Climate Diet means buying grass fed beef and other animal products from a ranch or farm where the animals are grazed in a way that increases grass growth, soil fertility and carbon sequestration. Grasses, especially perennial native grasses can act like big straws sucking carbon out of the air. The carbon can then be stored in the soil for a long time in the grasses’ long tap roots until it is disturbed.  In this type of land management, animal waste, instead of being a pollutant (like it is in crowded feedlots) becomes a natural soil amendment.

Soil Solution Production Still 3

However we do it, increasing soil fertility could be a giant step in reversing climate change.

Let’s adopt the Climate Diet and see what happens… our dietary choices might lead us to a greener, healthier world and a more stable climate.


Rainwater Harvesting Basics

January 26, 2014

When the governor of California, Jerry Brown declared that the state was facing a drought situation, he voiced what many Californians were already feeling and noticing. 2013 was the driest year on record and so far, 2014 has been a dry year.

In this 3 part YouTube video series, Brad Lancaster author of Rainwater Harvesting For Drylands, talks about water, water conservation, building resiliency in the system and how to slow, spread and sink the water that (hopefully!) falls on your land.

As Brad Lancaster says in this video, “We need to strive to do things in such a way that the natural resource base is at worst, maintained but at best, steadily enhanced.”

For more videos about rainwater harvesting and water conservation visit the Sustainable World Media’s YouTube Channel.

Best Sustainable World Media Blog Posts of 2013

January 1, 2014

We’ve had a busy 2013 at Sustainable World Media. We’ve added lots of videos to our YouTube Channel and finished our documentary The Soil Solution To Climate Change.

We also wrote on our blog. Our top posts for 2013 were:

May The Flock Be With You– We met chicken expert and soil builder Pat Foreman while we were filming The Soil Solution. Pat talked with us about the many virtues of these wonderful creatures who through their actions can increase soil health, save you money on garden inputs, give you delicious food and decrease your carbon footprint.

Agriculture As Art–  We were thrilled that our five-part YouTube video series on Keyline Design with Permaculturist Darren Doherty was featured in an art exhibition in Sydney,  Australia in November. The exhibition highlights the work of Australian farmer and engineer PA Yeomans whose work is now used on farms throughout the world. Yeomans developed the Keyline System- an agricultural method that increases soil fertility, conserves water and regenerates land.

Increasing Soil Fertility Is A Job For Us All– We learned so much about the importance of soil while filming The Soil Solution. In this post, we wrote about ways to build healthy soil, even if you don’t have a garden or yard. An example: When you buy food,support farmers and ranchers who treat the soil like gold, who use non-toxic/organic methods of growing food including: low-till plowing, composting, cover cropping and mulching.

Tea Time For The Soil! How To Brew Your Own Compost Tea– Compost Tea contains billions of microbes and beneficial organisms that help plants maintain a healthy immune function. Keep your Soil Food Web alive and thriving. It’s Tea Time! Learn how to brew this nutrient rich tea in our YouTube Video with Oscar Carmona.

Thanks to everyone for your support and interest in our educational environmental videos.

Happy New Year from Sustainable World Media!