What’s so problematic about monocultures?
The practice of growing only one crop on a piece of land has come to dominate modern industrial agriculture. Monocultures promise efficiency by lowering maintenance and harvesting costs, and the introduction of artificial fertilizer finally made the isolation of individual plants from their natural ecosystems possible. Over the last decades, if not centuries, this view…Read more
What is permaculture?
The word ‘permaculture’ was coined in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren as a hybrid from ‘permanent’ and ‘agriculture’. ‘Permanence’ here refers to sustainability, to the cyclic nature of agriculture rather than the dependence on finite resources imported from outside. They soon realized though that this permanence was not achievable when dealing with…Read more
Transformation of the Refugio: from wasteland to wildlife sanctuary
In 2016, I came to Costa Rica in search of a land challenged by the methods of human activity. My goal was to restore it and create as many habitats for animals as possible while producing enough food for ourselves to become largely self-sufficient. I found this land in the South-West of the country: an…Read more
All-natural phosphorus fertilizer: the Mexican sunflower
Every living cell needs large amounts of phosphorus to flourish – from phosphate-backbones in their DNA to ATP in their energy production system and many other things. But contrary to the equally essential elements nitrogen and carbon that exist abundantly in the air, phosphorus is added to the soil just by weathering (dissolving of minerals…Read more
Feng Shui, Wilhelm Reich, and adaptive reuse: the architecture at the Refugio
Despite studying natural sciences in Vienna, my professional life did not begin in the field of nature conservation, but in theater design and the fine arts. Decades later, the subtleties of aesthetics and design I learned and practiced all these years came in handy when I designed and constructed the buildings at the Refugio. The…Read more
My odyssey from art and science to nature conservancy
Ever since my childhood, I have been, like many other people, driven by the questions of who I am and why things are as they are. To answer these questions, for me, any tool would do: natural sciences, fine arts, music, philosophy, meditation – or preferably all of them. So I started out with studying…Read more