Temple Trees

Most of China’s ancient forests have been cut down for firewood and lumber, just like in Europe. However, the temple grounds have saved some of the specimens. Even in monasteries that have been abandoned, the sacred grounds protect the remaining giants of the past. In Shaolin, as in many temples … Continue reading


Fresh air behind the behind

The classic Chinese children’s trousers are more common in the smaller cities. In Shanghai it is almost gone, after an assault by the international diaper industry. Huggies and Pampers’ brand managers try to create an aura of modernity and progress to purchase plastic to ‘protect’ the babies’ bottoms.

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Fresh air keeps the baby bottom smooth as silk.

The Chinese system makes all children self-regulating much faster than the literally ‘pampered’ toddlers in the west. I think this is great!

Shanghai Urban Farming – Meetup in our garden

We had a meetup with the “Shanghai Urban Farmer”-group at our place last Saturday. (See MeetUp.com for more interesting groups near you.) We enjoyed a sunny afternoon with inspiring stories about sustainability and individual initiatives. We discussed how to best grow beans and which compost format is superior. (Goran is … Continue reading

Ginger Ale – Homemade Happiness

A healthy sweet-and-sour softdrink for sunny days – what is better than homemade ginger ale? I always thought that home-bottled softdrinks = SodaStreamer, which is doubly dubious after the revelation that those machines are made on the occupied Palestine Territories. However, in the last few months we have experienced another … Continue reading

The Tragedy of the Plastic Bags

In the village of Banjar Ngis, like in every village across South East Asia where we have been, the plastic bag has made its entrance. It provides watertight protection and bright color branding for potato chips, shampoo and instant coffee. The marketeers and product developers of Unilever, Mars, Procter& Gamble … Continue reading

Permaculture Pioneers

Xiao Zhu and Thomas are leading the way in the sustainable farming practice called “Permaculture” in China. Three hours south of Shanghai, in the beautiful village Xiatushan is the mountainside where they are establishing the Hangzhou Institute of Permaculture. Permaculture is an ecological farming/gardening philosophy originating from Australia (by Mollison … Continue reading

How Muchrooms can Help Save the World

Paul Stamets is a mushroom evangelist, scientist and entrepreneur. He is also a gifted writer, I realized when I started reading his masterpiece “Mycelium Running”. The book is a celebration to all living mushrooms and mycelia, describing the multitude of useful functions that the mycelia perform in our soils. Little … Continue reading

Wood into Food

Eat a tree? Forests are fantastic for capturing sunlight and carbon dioxide, much better than any traditional agricultural cropland. Rain is absorbed and sunshine is intercepted at various levels, from the canopy down to the leaf litter on the ground. From a food point of view, it may seem scarce … Continue reading