“If we win, then every coastal city in the world wins, every fishing village in the world wins.” Seychelles Ambassador to the UN Ronny Jumeau

2015 is big year for the world. A final draft of the Sustainable Development Goals are due by the time heads of state gather in New York for the UN Summit in September.

Ambassador Ronny Jumeau

Then, six weeks later diplomats gather in Paris for the last best chance at striking a global agreement on climate change. Today we are kicking off a regular series we are calling “Meet a 2015er” that will offer glimpses into the life of the UN officials, NGO people, diplomats and advocates as they help shape the international development and climate change agenda this year.

We kick off this series in with Ronny Jumeau, the Seychelles Ambassador to the United Nations. Jumeau often represents the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) in climate change negotiations, but wants to emphasize that these are his own views.

So, we’re sitting here in a snow storm in New York and you are headed to equally cold Geneva for the adaptation meeting of the UNFCC. Let’s talk about the climate change SDG. What is your role in all these negotiations?

My job is to explain things in a way that people understand, without the jargon. We need to move past that and look at the people involved in climate change. We can’t just focus on the science or graphs and figures.

How are the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) feeling about the pace and status of the climate SDG and the climate talks leading up to Paris?

There are so many issues [left] unresolved [by the Lima round of talks in December]. Everybody’s frustrated. Well, maybe not everybody but if you want a strong, ambitious agreement in Paris of course you’re frustrated!

It’s unfortunate that the climate change process has reached a stage where we always say…at least it’s better than nothing. That’s a poor judgement. We say, ‘it could have been worse.’ Everything could have been worse! As long as you’re not dead, it could have been worse.

Sounds quite depressing for the fate of the climate SDG and Paris agreement.

[Laughing] Most resilient of us all are the islands. We are certainly the ones who smile the most, it’s our way of coping. Once you know the worst that can happen [it’s not so bad] — it’s when you don’t know that is the worst. We already know the bottom line…our countries will disappear. We just don’t want that narrative to take over.

There are countries that have approached us who say, you do know if the science is right, that even if we cut all emissions tomorrow, sea level will continue rising. That’s one of the problems AOSIS faces, but the moment you start that conversation, then no one has to listen to you anymore.

What does that mean for how you look at parallel SDG negotiations and Paris climate talks?

The more we make climate change a development narrative, the more attention we get. Tackling climate change cannot be seen as a barrier to pulling people out of poverty. I think we’ve kept that divorced too much. Between pulling out of poverty and climate change, I know which ones will ‘win votes’ as a politician: it’s the poverty reduction.

Our first priority is to make sure that we are still around! So for us, the SDGs and climate change action are one in the same.

Every year AOSIS has a luncheon with the Secretary General. The last time we had lunch and the Ambassadors were speaking, I told them a weak climate agreement will ensure that the SDGs will not succeed. For the SIDS, there can be no sustainable development if the SIDS are not around [due to the affects of climate change.] They go hand in hand.

Can you explain that a bit further?

Most SIDS are heavily dependent on tourism and fisheries. How can we in the SIDS plan the sustainable development of our fisheries, if we don’t know what ocean acidification is going to do? And that’s a climate issue. So until we know how the climate is going to affect the oceans, we can’t plan our biggest industry. Same with agriculture.

Another example is the airport in Seychelles which [ according to the data] will need a new runway to be built at a level that is higher than the whole airport is currently. We need the additional runway to increase tourism, but how do you build it without knowing how high the ocean level will rise and when?

The Secretary General gets it. His Cabinet gets it. But politics comes into play.

We’ll continue the SDGs, of course, but…everyone is saying: whatever you say in the SDG on climate must not pre-judge the Paris agreement [without understanding] that the two cannot be divorced.

Is there hope for a more effective climate SDG

I think we’re going to have SDGs that sound strong, but as long as it’s not strong on the financing! They look good, until someone will say ‘by the way, how are we going to pay for all this?’

Is it really about finance?

It’s all about finance. I think the development narrative has more staying power than the climate narrative because development is about the politics of the developing world. It’s more tangible. That’s what people are elected to do; pull people out of poverty, create jobs. The climate part of that is creating ‘green’ jobs.

One of the ways of getting traction for climate is to say you cannot develop without climate action.

It looks like the meeting in Ethiopia [The Conference on Financing For Development to be held in Addis Ababa this July] is everything. I think that meeting is becoming the whole thing, incredibly important. But, I think people will be saying [once they get to Addis], ‘we’re talking about financing for what now?’

If you take development as something separately from climate change, what are we discussing financing exactly – development projects or climate projects? For the SIDS and [Least Developed Countries] they still go hand in hand, especially in financing context.

Is it necessarily a bad thing to be so focused on finance?

When countries like China and U.S. are interested in solar power, its not because of climate change – it’s business and economic development. I’m not going to argue with that though – whatever it takes to get you to the table!

Will the climate SDG and any agreement that comes out of Paris be completely, separately formulated then?

They [SDGs and UNFCCC] will come together but unfortunately after 2015. We’re so focused now on delivering separately the SDGs, post-2015 development agenda, Paris agreement – but they’re all inter-related. I can understand if someone says, ‘look when it comes to climate change, let’s just develop Paris and not complicate it further.

The trouble is on the one hand: delivering it, on the other hand: are we going to deliver something weak and then start talking?

What happens if there is a weak climate SDG and subsequently, a weak deal in Paris? Why should other countries care what happens to the SIDS as a result?

At first we said ‘you can’t wipe out whole countries, ancient cultures, and so on.’ Then we realized, it’s not us vs. them.

If we win, then every coastal city in the world wins, every fishing village in the world wins.

You cannot take a globe and with blue paint, paint out all those little dots because every continental coastline will change too. We would have to redraw every single continent in the entire world. We’re trying now to say: you save us, you’re saving everybody. As long as we stay above water, everybody else does. If you sacrifice us, who’s next? If we go, we won’t go alone. Just because we disappear, at that point we’ll have runaway climate change, it won’t stop with us. More


Climate change will ‘cost world far more than estimated’

Lord Stern, the world’s most authoritative climate economist, has issued a stark warning that the financial damage caused by global warming will be considerably greater than current models predict.

This makes it more important than ever to take urgent and drastic action to curb climate change by reducing carbon emissions, he argues.

Lord Stern, who wrote a hugely influential review on the financial implications of climate change in 2006, says the economic models that have been used to calculate the fiscal fallout from climate change are woefully inadequate and severely underestimate the scale of the threat.

As a result, even the recent and hugely authoritative series of reports from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are significantly flawed, he said.

“It is extremely important to understand the severe limitations of standard economic models, such as those cited in the IPCC report, which have made assumptions that simply do not reflect current knowledge about climate change and its … impacts on the economy,” said Lord Stern, a professor at the Grantham Institute, a research centre at the London School of Economics.

Professor Stern and his colleague Dr Simon Dietz will today publish the peer-reviewed findings of their research into climate change economic modelling in the The Economic Journal.

Their review is highly critical of established economic models which, among other things, fail to acknowledge the full breadth of climate change’s likely impact on the economy and are predicated on assumptions about global warming’s effect on output that are “without scientific foundation”.

Professor Stern, whose earlier research said it is far cheaper to tackle climate change now than in the future, added: “I hope our paper will prompt … economists to strive for much better models [and] … help policy-makers and the public recognise the immensity of the potential risks of unmanaged climate change.”

“Models that assume catastrophic damages are not possible fail to take account of the magnitude of the issues and the implications of the science,” he said.

Professor Stern and Dr Dietz say their findings strengthen the case for strong cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and imply that, unless this happens, living standards could even start to decline later this century.

For the study, they modified key features of the “dynamic integrated climate-economy” (Dice) model, initially devised by William Nordhaus in the 1990s. The changes take into account the latest scientific findings and some of the uncertainties about the major risks of climate change that are usually omitted.

The standard Dice model has been used in a wide range of economic studies of the potential impacts of climate change, some of which have been cited in the most recent IPCC report which has been released in three parts over the past nine months.

Dr Dietz said: “While this standard economic model has been useful for economists who estimate the potential impacts of climate change, our paper shows some major improvements are needed before it can reflect the extent of the risks indicated by the science.”

Dr Dietz said his aim was to show how a new version of the model could produce a range of results that are much more representative of the science and economics of climate change, taking into account the uncertainties.

“The new version of this standard economic model, for instance, suggests that the risks from climate change are bigger than portrayed by previous economic models and therefore strengthens the case for strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases,” he said.

The new model differs in that it considers a wider temperature range when estimating the impact of doubling the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases – a measure of “climate sensitivity”.

Whereas the standard model usually assumes a single temperature for climate sensitivity of about 3C, the new model uses a range of 1.5C to 6C, which the authors say more accurately reflects the scientific consensus.

The standard model also “implausibly” suggests a loss of global output of 50 per cent would only result after a rise in global average temperature of 18C, even though such warming would likely render the Earth uninhabitable for most species, including humans, Dr Dietz contends.

The new model includes the possibility that such damage could occur at much lower levels of global warming. Standard economic models rule out the possibility that global warming of 5-6C above pre-industrial levels could cause catastrophic damages, even though such temperatures have not occurred on Earth for tens of millions of years. Such an assertion, he says, is without scientific foundation and embodies a false assumption that the risks are known, with great confidence, to be small.

The new model also takes into account that climate change can damage not just economic output, but productivity. The standard model assumes that rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere only affect economic growth in a very limited way, according to Dr Dietz. More



Permaculture Design Certification Course for International Development & Social Entrepreneurship


Permaculture Design Certification Course for International Development & Social Entrepreneurship

June 21 – July 5, 2014

14-day immersion course at Quail Springs permaculture farm and community nestled in the beautiful high desert spring-fed canyon wilderness of Southern California

  • Increased Food Security
  • Community-Based Development
  • Waste Cycling
  • Sustainability Education
  • Clean Water and Drought Proofing
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Sustainable Vocations & Enterprise

The course gives participants theory and practice for integrating Permaculture's systems-thinking and design strategies into their work and study, while gaining an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certification.

Lead Instructor

Warren Brush of Quail Springs, Casitas Valley Farms, and True Nature Design

Presenters & Guest Instructors

  • Jeanette Acosta – Tribal Indigenous Knowledge, Permaculture Teacher
  • Tara Blasco – Co-founder of Global Resource Alliance
  • Tom Cole – Former Director Save the Children Uganda, Consultant
  • Noah Jackson – Founder of Forest Voices
  • Jay Markert – Founder of Living Mandala
  • Alissa Sears – Leader of Strategic Planning & Global Betterment with Christie Communications
  • Janice Setser – Former Program Manager with Mercy Corps, Consultant
  • Melanie St. James – Co-Founder of Empowerment Works
  • Brenton Kelly, Andrew Clinard & Lindsay Allen – Quail Springs' Farm Management

Topics include: Integrated Design, Composting, Water Harvesting, Compost Toilets, Waste Cycling, Earthworks, Rocket Stoves, Design Priorities, Ecological Building, Aquaculture, Bio-Sand Filtration, Broad Acre Applications, Food Forestry, Bio-Engineering, Resilient Food Production, Greywater Systems, Livestock Integration, Soil building, Watershed Restoration, Integrated Pest Mgmt, Biomimicry, Appropriate Technology, Peacemaking, Conflict Resolution, Community Organizing, Drought Proofing Landscapes, Rebuilding Springs, Refugee Camp Strategies

Location & Hosting: The course is hosted at Quail Springs' 450-acre wilderness and working farm site focused on modeling and teaching the concepts and practices of sustainability. We are located 32 miles east of Santa Barbara and are surrounded by Los Padres National Forest. This land is an ideal drylands site for learning about Permaculture.

The Permaculture Design Course for International Development and Social Entrepreneurship is presented

by Quail Springs Permaculture

in association with

Casitas Valley Creamery & Farm

Christie Communications
Empowerment Works

Forest Voices

Global Resource Alliance
Living Mandala

Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya

Santa Barbara Permaculture Network

True Nature Design


Cost includes instruction, certification, catered meals, and camping accommodations.

Cost: $1,650 (a deposit of $300 reserves your space with the full balance due by June 10)

Special Promo: First 5 people to register in response to this announcement receive $300 off the course!


PDC Refresher – $200 discount for participants with a previous 72-hr PDC
Register with a friend or family member for $150 off each, or with 2 friends or family members for $200 off each.

Check or Money Order – $25 discount, payment by check or money order

Please contact us at info@quailsprings.org for more info or to register



Warren Brush

Warren Brush

True Nature Design, Founder / Owner

Quail Springs Permaculture, Co-founder

Warren Brush is a certified Permaculture designer and teacher as well as a mentor and storyteller. He has worked for over 25 years in inspiring people of all ages to discover, nurture and express their inherent gifts while living in a sustainable manner. Warren is co-founder of Quail Springs Permaculture, Casitas Valley Farm, and his Permaculture design company, True Nature Design. He works extensively in Permaculture education and sustainable systems design in North America, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. He has devoted many years to mentoring youth and adults to inspire and equip them to live in a sustainable manner with integrity and a hopeful outlook. His mentoring includes working with those who are former child soldiers, orphans, indigenous peoples, youth, young adults and families.

Project Highlight: Casitas Valley Creamery & Farm, a Regenerative Earth enterprise, is a multi family and friend endeavor where we are demonstrating how we can create an investment vehicle that integrates permaculture design for ecological equitability and stability, community food resilience and economic viability. This 49 acre property located outside of Carpinteria, California is growing its multi enterprises to support a local culture that truly honors that which sustains us and is wrapped in our family hearth.

Jeanette Acosta

Jeanette Acosta

Tribal Indigenous Knowledge, Permaculture Teacher

Jeanette's ancestors were Native Americans. She serves indigenous people with her participation in numerous committees and groups, including a growing emphasis on building collaboration among Native American nations to protect sacred burial and ceremonial sites. Jeanette is a certified teacher and designer for permaculture and specializes in maritime culture, herbalism, ethnobotany and biodynamic principles. In her work, she emphasizes humankind's symbiotic relationship between earth and sky. Moreover, she is a spiritual counselor, couples' counselor, integrative medicine health care provider as well as a certified level 1 and level 2 Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher and teacher trainer. Her experience dealing with international business people, world diplomats, heads of states, renowned artists/celebrities, and politicians gives her a unique perspective on various cultures and customs.

Janice Setser

Janice Setser

International Development Consultant

Mercy Corps, Former Program Manager Tajikistan

Although Janice has lived, studied, and/or worked for the last 18 years in Bolivia, Ireland, Honduras, Cambodia, and Burma (Myanmar), it is Tajikistan that has held her attention and her passions for the longest period of time. For over nine years, she has managed a variety of development projects on health, nutrition, agriculture, disaster preparedness, economic development, and ecological restoration while working for the organization Mercy Corps.

Janice experienced an unusual sense of belonging, home, and even freedom in the mountainous region of Tajikistan. Through her work she developed a sensitive understanding of the physical, economic, environmental, social, and cultural constraints that locals face. Her dedication to the people in the region led her to venture into private sector development when her programs ended with Mercy Corps.


Project Highlight: Working independently for two years, Janice pursued her passion to empower the marginalized through social entrepreneurship and capacity building projects. To this end she cooperated with local beekeepers to develop the market for honey, worked with youth on their professional development, and collaborated with locals to sensitively advance tourism. Janice also personally dedicated herself to raising awareness about the possibilities for ecological restoration in the region.

Melanie St. James

Melanie St. James

Empowerment WORKS, Executive Director / Founder

The Global Summit, Executive Producer & Co-chair

Melanie is a creative social entrepreneur, dedicated to building a thriving world from the ground up. Melanie's global social change journey began in 1994 with a semester abroad to mainland China. After completing an international education in Spain, Italy, Cuba and Africa, with sustainable development field studies in Senegal and Zimbabwe (and being inspired by many creative social entrepreneurs there), Melanie identified Empowerment WORKS' flagship approach to turning local resources into solutions, now called, “7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS)”. In 2001, Melanie formed “Empowerment Works” as a global sustainability think-tank in action continuously working to connect the world's most culturally rich, yet economically challenged communities with the access to markets, tools and partners they need to thrive. In 2007 after participating in the World Social Forum in Kenya, Melanie co-developed and produced The Global Summit (2008- 2020) to unite social, economic and environmental movements for a sustainable future.

Project Highlight: Inspired in Senegal and Zimbabwe in 1999 & 2000, and registered in the USA as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization in 2001, Empowerment WORKS (EW) is a global sustainability think-tank in action dedicated to the advancement of whole-system, locally-led solutions for a thriving world. In the world's most culturally rich, yet economically challenged communities, access to markets, appropriate technologies and education can empower people to transform critical problems into opportunities for lasting social change. Empowerment WORKS brings these vital tools within the grasp of citizens on the front lines of poverty and climate change.

Noah Jackson

Noah Jackson

Forest Voices, Director / Co-founder

Noah Jackson is a conservation consultant and storyteller whose work combines photography, writing, and new media to document conservation and community issues. He has worked in Asia and Africa for over a decade, starting as a Peace Corps volunteer, and continuing through graduate work, a Fulbright fellowship, independent projects, and as an auditor and farmer trainer for the Rainforest Alliance. His storytelling work can be found in publications such as the National Geographic Traveler, the Rainforest Alliance Blog and Canopy newsletter.

Project Highlight: Forest Voices works to preserve the knowledge of forest communities and foster meaningful connections between people of different geographical regions and lifestyles. We employ diverse techniques-writing, video, photography-to nurture dialog within and between communities through storytelling programs, student courses, and direct trade programs. We help consumers of globally traded products such as coffee, tea and cocoa, understand and directly experience how good practices of trade and agroforestry can enhance the lives of farmers and conserve surrounding ecosystems.

Alissa Sears

Alissa Sears

Christie Communications, Strategic Planning / Global Betterment

Christie CommUnity Foundation, Executive Director

Alissa leads Christie Communications' Strategic Planning Division to develop results-oriented, comprehensive strategies across multiple industries for clients ranging from natural product companies to impact investment groups, social entrepreneurs to natural food and beverage products, green building to non-profit organizations and community groups.

She has also helped to create social enterprises and sustainable development programs in communities in Northern Sri Lanka, Sudan, Rwanda, Cambodia, Malawi, Chad, Bolivia, Mexico, in the US, and beyond. Alissa first began working in Northern Sri Lanka helping to develop Sri Lankan-run educational and leadership/sustainable development programs in the war-torn NorthEast. With the programs still running locally, Alissa has continued working to build integrated, scalable, market-based models that integrate the local community with local and international organizations and businesses for the benefit of the communities.

She is a Board Member of Safe Water International, The California Coast Venture Forum/Clean Business Investment Summit, the Weidemann Foundation, HumaniTourism, and an advisor to the 300in6 Initiative, Blue Ocean Sciences, Ocean Lovers Collective, The Chad Relief Foundation, Create Global Healing, the Playful Planet Foundation, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, and others.

Jay Markert

Jay Markert

Living Mandala, Founder

Jay Markert, known as Jay Ma, is a permaculture designer, facilitator, natural builder, and community organizer committed to cultural healing through Peacemaker Principles. Jay is a graduate of the pioneering two-year training intensive in Regenerative Design & Nature Awareness. Jay has facilitated educational programs, retreats, workshops, and events as well as community land development projects with organizations including the Regenerative Design Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Gaia University, Omega Institute, Harmony Festival, and others. Jay is co-founder and director of programs and development of Living Mandala, and works with other regenerative educators and institutions organizing educational courses, workshops, and events for ecological and social regeneration in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He is currently an associate with Gaia University in Organized Learning for Eco-Social Regeneration. Jay is also a certified Permaculture Teacher, a Fire Walk Instructor through Sundoor International, and is passionate about renewing Rites of Passage experiential programs for people of all ages.

Brenton Kelly

Brenton Kelly

Quail Springs Permaculture, Farm Director & Educator

Brenton has over 25 years experience in soil building, gardening, non-toxic land management and animal husbandry. He co-owned Island Seed and Feed in Goleta for 10 years before joining the Quail Springs team, and has taught 1000s of folks about pastured poultry, bees, worms, vegetables, and more!

Lindsay Allen

Lindsay Allen

Quail Springs Permaculture, Farm Management Team

FoodWaterShelter, Permaculture Advisor

Lindsay joined the Quail Springs team this past winter after making the long trek across the country from her Massachusetts home. Before coming to Quail Springs she worked in organic farming and Permaculture in Massachusetts, Illinois, East Africa and Panama. She is currently co-managing the farm, helping to facilitate courses at Quail Springs, and is also the permaculture advisor for the non-profit FoodWaterShelter in Tanzania. These days, Lindsay is enjoying teaching and sharing the wonderful world of permaculture farming with others.

Payment plans are also available. Contact Kolmi Majumdar at info@quailsprings.org for more info.

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Quail Springs Permaculture is nonprofit organization dedicated to demonstrating and teaching holistic ways of designing human environments, restoring and revitalizing the land and community, and facilitating deeper understandings of ourselves and one another through immersive experiences in nature.

Quail Springs Permaculture