Competition – next steps

Many thanks to all our fabulous eco-affluent photographers!

Winners of the eco-affluent next steps competition are …

Winner of the  main prize: Karl D from Suffolk with his photos, Breakfast, Plan Bee – facebook like and Smiling away from the camera. But  most impressively Karl’s next step towards eco-affluence will be to “understand the principle further and look to apply it locally by creating more meaningful “Twin Towns” at the community level.” Go Karl! Keep us updated!

Runners up are: John L from Essex and Bart R from London.

The winning pics and a selection of our faves are below. Thank you and well done everyone that entered, we hope you had fun being eco-affluent 🙂



Plan Bee - Facebook Like

Plan Bee - Facebook Like

Smiling away from the camera

Smiling away from the camera

Walking in the rain

Walking in the rain

Veggie something

Veggie something



not organic = stays on the shelf

not organic = stays on the shelf

from the allotment

from the allotment




The competition …

1st prize in the Next Steps competitionTo celebrate our fun weekend out at the London Green Fair on the 4th and 5th of June we have a competition for you!

Start taking eco-affluent steps now and you’ll be in with a chance of winning a bag load of eco-goodies!

WARNING: This competition challenges you to increase your real wealth …

The prizes

1st prize: RAPANUI Panda t-shirt, 1 years subscription to PERMACULTURE magazine, Woodpecker (shake) torch, Powermeter, fridge thermometer, wildflower seeds, signed copy of The Book of Rubbish IdeasDo Good Lives have to Cost the Earth book and more!

2 runners up: RAPANUI t-shirt, 1 years subscription to PERMACULTURE magazine, fridge thermometer, and a couple more bits and pieces.

The challenge

  1. eat a vegetarian meal, go vegan if you dare!
    hint: eating from one of those big fast-food chains really isn’t trying and is definitely not an eco-affluent act!
  2. do something to help the bees.
    hint: visit the Co-operative’s Plan Bee site or ask a lovely bee-keeper
  3. have fun exercising!
    hint: we really want to see those smiles!

How to enter

  • Complete the three tasks above
  • Evidence your tasks with a photograph (or if you go for signing an online petition for task 2 , an image of your computer screen will be fine)
  • Email your three images (with some words telling us what you’re doing) to along with no more than 25 words completing the following sentence

My next step towards eco-affluence will be to ………………(plus 25 words max)

Competition deadline

Entries must be received by 12 noon on Saturday the 11th of June and will be judged on smiley creativeness.

Many thanks to RAPANUI, PERMACULTURE magazine, Tracey Smith and the Good Energy Shop for the prizes

Terms and conditions

  • By entering this competition, you agree to these terms and conditions.
  • This competition is open to anyone with an address in the UK.
  • If you are under 18, your entry must be submitted by your parent or legal guardian, who by submitting an entry are agreeing to these terms and conditions on behalf of their child.
  • By emailing photos to us you allow us to use the photos on our website and in future Green Frontier promotions.
  • The photos must be your own and must not be offensive or unlawful.
  • Only one entry per email address.
  • If you don’t want to register for our e-newsletter, please say so in your email. You would expect to receive an e-newsletter about once a month.
  • We will not pass your email address on to any other party.
  • The prizes are as stated, there are no cash alternatives. We reserve the right to change the prizes at anytime during the competition.
  • The winners will be announced on or around Monday 13th June 2011 and contacted by email. If a winner has not claimed a prize after 14 days, we may award the prize to the next placed entry. Green Frontier’s decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into.

Have fun!

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London Green Fair

London Green FairWe’ll be at the free festival in Regents Park on the 4th and 5th of June. Visit us in the Permaculture zone to find out about eco-affluent convergence.

At 6pm on Sunday we’ll be talking about eco-affluence in the Permaculture workshop marquee. There are talks all day with some great subjects including Polly Higgins talking about ecocide.

All weekend you can take part in our cool competition for a chance of winning clothing from eco-fashion designers Rapanui! More details nearer the time, so do watch this space!

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LED Lamps and Ecoaffluent Convergence

To help explain this concept consider for example the use of kerosene lamps in Sub-Saharan Africa and India. A friend of ours who is based in Burkina Faso has explained that very poor people can spend up to a dollar a day on kerosene for lighting alone. Kerosene causes terrible respiratory problems in general use and horrific burns after accidents. It is also a hydrocarbon and its use emits greenhouse gases.Meanwhile in the Global North, we still haven’t legislated properly against the use of incandescent light bulbs (the old-fashioned filament bulbs). Eco-affluent convergence would see both people in the North and the South transitioning towards the use of solid state LEDs. This will benefit everyone. Eco-affluent convergence aims to link people on a peer-to-peer, community-to-community basis so that, for example, people in the transition town movement in a UK town could assist a rural community in Burkina Faso with the initial capital costs to purchase solar-panels, batteries and LED lamps, while pledging to move in the same direction themselves – ensuring they replace all incandescent bulbs as a first step and purchasing solar panels, or a green (a real one not a greenwash one) electricity tariff.If the community in Burkina also receive a laptop, a camera (people in SSA may already have camera phones) and access to an internet connection then the two communities can communicate as friends and equals over a social network.


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Thesis completed – What is the potential for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels through solar-desalinated irrigated vegetation of the Sahara and Arabian deserts?

I have finally completed my MSc thesis: What is the potential for reducing atmospheric CO2 levels through solar-desalinated irrigated vegetation of the Sahara and Arabian deserts? The purpose of this thesis was to estimate how much carbon could be sequestered annually in the Sahara and Arabian deserts if those deserts were irrigated with seawater that had been desalinated using CSP, allowing the establishment of vegetation and formation of soil. Successful sequestration of carbon in this manner would constitute climate change mitigation, defined by the IPCC working group as ‘An anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.’ (Metz et al., 2001, p.716). The research in this thesis is restricted to carbon from CO2 emissions and does not consider other GHGs. The full thesis can be downloaded: Craig Embleton MSc Architecture Thesis.

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350ppm pyramid illustration

It takes a lot of wood to store enough carbon from carbon dioxide (CO2) to get the atmospheric CO2 down to 350ppm (methodology described in the CO2 Pyramids post).

In these illustrations, the smaller pyramid is the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The larger one illustrates the amount of wood needed.

The Pyramid of Giza (left) in Central park NYC

The Pyramid of Giza (left) in Central Park NYC

The tip of the Carbon pyramid

The tip of the Carbon pyramid

Central park and the wooden carbon pyramid to get to 350ppm

Central park and the wooden carbon pyramid to get to 350ppm

350ppm carbon pyramid from the air in New York City

350ppm carbon pyramid from the air in New York City

Which of the illustrations do you think helps show the extent of the problem best?

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CO2 pyramids

In 2006 in ‘the revenge of gaia’ Lovelock writes that if the world’s annual 27 Giga tonnes (Gt) of CO2 emissions were stored as frozen CO2 at – 80°C it would form a mountain one mile high and twelve miles in circumference. Lovelock uses this as an example of the difficulties of carbon capture and storage as a solution to climate change.

In 2008 the annual CO2 emissions were 32 Gt of CO2 (8.7 Gt of Carbon). Pretty much all of the 8.7 Gt of carbon were emitted through fossil-fuel burning and cement manufacture – the two biggest CO2 outputting processes.

One proven process of carbon capture is photosynthesis. If captured carbon were stored as timber how large would the pile be? If air-dried timber – the  kind you buy at a DIY store – at 12% moisture is taken as having a density of 568 kg m3 and a carbon content of 44% (based on 50% dry weight, 1m3 of timber will contain 0.25 tonnes of carbon.

Using the timber formula above that would mean 17.4 billion tonnes or 34.8 billion m3 of air-dried timber would need to be sustainably harvested and permanently stored to sequester 8.7 Gt of carbon.

To put this into context consider the Great Pyramid of Giza. This structure was originally 0.1466 km tall on a square base of side length 0.2304 km. If it were a solid mass, the volume would be 0.0026 km3.

Solid pyramids of wood in New York

The Great Pyramid of Giza to the left of the Empire State Building. A solid wood pyramid capturing Carbon from annual fossil fuels and cement industry behind.

To store the 8.7 Gt of carbon emitted into the atmosphere every year as air-dried timber would require a pyramid with 13,415 times the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Constructed of solid wood this pyramid would have a base length of 5.47 km, and a height of 3.48 km. This pyramid would cover 30km2, and stand 7.86 times the height of the Empire State Building.

To sequester the annual 27 Gt of CO2, the wooden pyramid would need to be 3 times the volume again!

Back to 350ppm

Pyramids of wood near Mount Everest

Answer - far left: the Carbon needed to get down to 350ppm. Left of Mount Everest: Emissions since industrialisation that have remained in the atmosphere. Right of Everest: Emissions since industrialisation.

So how large would the wooden pyramid need to be to get the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere down to 350ppm?

350ppm – the figure many scientists, climate experts, and progressive national governments are saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere –

(Many thanks to Google Earth, the wonderful sketchup community and the talented Green Frontier team for the graphics).

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Population for a reforested Sahara

Population and land area

The sahara is 9,000,000 square kilometres or 900,000,000 hectares. The population of the world is predicted to stabilize at 9,000,000,000 by 2050. If the entire world population moved to a transformed sahara the population density would be 10 people per hectare – or 0.1 hectares available per person – see CIA factbook. This is more land available than to a Bangladeshi today (0.09 hectares), but less than almost every country in the world. Even the overcrowded UK has 0.4 hectares available per person. But, on a per family basis (consisting of 2 adults and 2 children) this does mean about 1 acre per family.

Of course the entire world population would not all move to the transformed sahara. If, the region were to take only the extra 2.5 billion people that will be born before we reach peak population, then the population density of the sahara would be 0.36 per hectare, which would be less dense than Japan, Haiti, or the Philippines.

A middle way would be perhaps the most beneficial to humanity and the planet. In this scenario the sahara would be occupied by the additional 2.5 billion people and the current poorest 2 billion people in the world – making a total population of 4.5 million – roughly half the world population in 2050. So 0.2 hectares will be available per person. This is slightly less than current day South Korea.

In the year 2000, Cuban high-yield urban gardens were producing 25 kg of vegetables per m2 per year – equivalent to 250 tonnes a hectare. Most of the sahara lies in the tropics and with enough water and nutrients should yield the same rate of vegetables as Cuba if similar biointensive gardening techniques are employed.

Of course one peak population is reached, and the sahara is home to 4.5 billion ecoaffluent people, the population will begin to drop freeing up land for wildlife and more space for people.

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Reforest Haiti

Haiti could be rebuilt and reforested at the same time, turning it from the poorest nation in the Americas into a tropical paradise.
Haiti is a tropical island next to Cuba. With a population of 9,035,536 people and a land mass of 2,775,000 hectares there is 0.31 hectares available per person. The country currently has a female fertility rate of 3.81. If a family averages two adults and two children, each family group could be allocated 1 hectare of land – Put another way, each Haitian family could be allocated over 1 hectare of land, amounting to 1,505,922 hectares, or 54% of the country.
10,000 western individuals, families or groups could buy in to the project investing perhaps £50,000 each for a hectare of land and an eco-house that would be constructed by themselves, other trained permaculturists and trainee Haitians. This would bring £500,000,000 into the country. A further 10,000 permaculture experts could be brought in from neighbouring Cuba to set up the organic food production systems. Even if the Cubans settled too, less than 1.5% of the allocated land would be distributed to non-Haitians. Thus 1,525,922 hectares of land could be allocated to families to farm/garden including forest gardens within permaculture systems. Five percent of the country (138,750) to could given over to other infrastructure needs. This would leave in total (2,775,000 – (1,525,922 + 138,750)) 1,110,328 hectares of the country. A quarter of this could be set aside for colonisation by the population while it was stabilising and a further quarter could be given over to over agriculture/food forest production. The remaining 555,164 hectares, representing 20% of the country could be given completely over to indigenous forest restoration projects. If half the family plots and other farmland consisted of forest gardens, this would add an extra 1,040,543 of woodland – or 37% of the country.

Thus a country that currently has about two percent forest cover and over half the population living in poverty, could be a tropical paradise inhabited by eco-affluent individuals living in a land with 57% forest cover.

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Swale on contour

Swale on Contour
Swale on Contour
Swale on contour (pictured left) between nitrogen fixing trees and date palms at the gently sloping Greening the Desert site in Jordan. The line of trees to the right of the photo marks another swale.
Synonyms: banquette,
berm and basin
Category: Water management

Swale on contour is used to control and capture water runoff. It is essentially a shallow ditch cut perpendicular to the sloping land (like elevation lines on a map) which catches water that would otherwise run quickly downhill and take soil and nutrients with it.

With a swale on contour, the water instead puddles in the swales and slowly infiltrates the land.


Swales on contour can be used on gently sloping sites where the fall of the land is no greater than 3:1 1. For sites with a steeper slope terraces should be constructed.

How to construct a swale on contour

Equipment and materials

Low Tech High Tech
Siting tools water level or A frame dumpy level, laser level or other automatic level
Construction tools shovel, pick, rake excavator with bucket or scoop
Advantages low cost, minimal soil disturbance and compaction quick, good for large areas

Step 1 –

See also

  • Terraces


  1. ^ Lancaster, Brad. Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol II. 2008.
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Green Frontier!

Welcome to the blog of the Green Frontier website. This area will contain general entries before they are catalogued into toolkit items. The purpose of the blog is to post items of interest and importance, so as to make the available before there have been placed in context with the rest of the information offered by this site.

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