The world is being destroyed,
so what is Permaculture going to do about it?
Permaculture? How to create a futureproof, abundant world!
The problem that the world faces today is global and of great threat to all people on this planet.
Both human and fish people, gazelle people too I guess. Could trees be considered a people? Because they are in rather big trouble as well… Let alone rivers, marshlands and other natural places. Ever heard of mountaintop removal? Its a kind of mining where human people literally remove the tops of mountains because its easier to bring stuff down than carry it up. Speaking about mines… they tend to pollute things more than anything else we know of.
Quite destructive things, mines
Oh lets not forget agriculture…. Millions of acres of soil, life and habitat lost to feed a couple billion humans. And that leads me to the chemicals we use. Ugh, there is a reason nature uses only a couple of them: they are toxic to life!
And I haven´t even begun to project this kind of destruction into the future! Now that really gets the ball rolling. I mean, can you imagine what the world might look like with 9, or 15 billion people on it? And climate change affecting every corner of it?
Civilization has managed to deforest half the planet in about 60 years, what will happen to the other half of the earth’s forests in the coming 60?
If we have already seen a 90% destruction of the fisheries now…. how much do you believe will be left in 50 years? Sorry to say it, but none according to scientists… Can you imagine never eating sea fish again? Can you imagine telling your children about how this was happening and how we never really did anything about it?
Anyway, its bad.
You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t feel this at the core of your being.
I’m not here to lecture you on how bad humans are, just on how bad the situation is. In case you were wondering, I am trying to reach out to that sense of urgency that most of us feel. The ‘oooowshitometer‘ that we have from back when we didn’t feel we were above nature. That sense of connection we evolved from living in balance with nature for about one million years.
That’s the feeling I’d like to connect with.
With that in mind, lets get back to the original promise of this article, that Permaculture might do something about this situation.
Some history on Permaculture.
So yeah. In the 70’s Donella Meadows and her colleagues wrote a book that influenced the world quite a bit. It was called The Limits To Growth. In its essence it points out a single core flaw in the design of civilization, one that would end up destroying everything in its path even if we were the most earthloving hippies ever: that flaw is the need for civilization to continually grow. There are limits to growth.
Perhaps this book can be considered the real start of the environmental movement.
Fast forward a few years. Bill Mollison was someone that had spent quite a few years out in the wilderness documenting invertebrates for the Australian fishery department. There and in other places he was seeing how messed up the situation in the world was becoming.
He realized quickly enough that just going back to the land was not enough and got a job at the university teaching environmental psychology.
At some point Bill Mollison and David Holmgren meet up and start mingling their ideas. Out of that came the Permaculture concept.
In its infancy it was seen as a mixture of Permanent and Agriculture. How to make a kind of agriculture that functions like an ecosystem, removing the huge inputs of human labor and replacing them with ecosystem functions.
But the concepts and guidelines they developed for designing healthy human ecosystems also turned out to apply to other things. Like homes, and village planning, organizing humans and even to thinking.
Permaculture applies common sense Design to sustainable human settlement.
After writing the first book and doing both theoretical research and practical implementation, Bill Mollison started teaching these things called Permaculture Design Courses. And handing out Certificates. And write a couple more books. And travel the world to teach and implement Permaculture.
Permaculture took on a life of its own and eventually got to a different meaning: Permanent Culture.
What can I do now to change this situation for the better?
Is this a question that you ask yourself? If its not, I would like this to be your one thing that you take away from reading this article. If it is, I congratulate you for being a proactive human! We need more of you out there In either case I thought I might elaborate on this concept a bit.
Circle of Concern vs Circle of Influence.
In the 90’s a book came out by Stephen Covey, called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It contains a model of thinking that can be useful for operating effectively as a permaculturist. The model describes how you can work more effectively by mainly focusing your attention and actions on the things you can control (your thoughts, your actions, your choices, the people you hang out with).
As opposed making yourself passive by paying attention only to the things you are concerned about but cannot change easily (the weather, global politics, other people’s opinions). And when I say control I really don’t mean the kind of Control that Darth Vader uses. I mean control of your actions, within your life’s journey.
Are you concerned with the state of the world? But have trouble to look within yourself for what you can do to co-create a better one?
Then this model can be especially useful for you. I advise printing out the image on the right to help move your attention from what concerns you to what you can control within yourself.
As a last note, I would like to ask you to use that newfound influence to really observe the world around you. See plants, humans and other animals as individuals with their own life, their own struggles and triumphs.
The Permaculture Design Certificate Course.
Its also called PDC for short. You’ll hear that term being thrown around a lot so store it for later.
A PDC is a course in which you get taught the basics of Permaculture Design. It teaches you how to organize the world around you to take care of you and the other human and non-human people you share space with. You know, like nature tends to do…
It teaches you how to observe nature and learn from it.
It teaches you strategies and techniques for coming up with good designs.
It teaches you about life, about the sun, about soil, about plants and trees, about geography and landforms, about animals and finally about the beneficial connections all these elements must have in order to become a functioning ecosystem.
It teaches you about finance and how to correctly apply it as an appropriate tool.
A good course also teaches you about yourself, about how humans work alone and in groups. And how to inter-act and organ-ize ourselves effectively for change.
So yeah, it teaches you to become the kind of response-able human we would like to see in the future. A future in which we have survived the current crisis and learned from it.
So how would that look? What would the world look like to you if you did a PDC or educated yourself in Permaculture?
I must admit that these are the benefits that come to my mind. Someone from Madagascar might take different lessons out of it completely, and that is fine.
- Trust. You end up with a great reservoir of trust. In humanity, in the wisdom of nature and in its inherent resilience. It gives you trust that in the ‘you are either part of the problem or the solution’ dilemma, you know squarely which side you are on.
- Skills. You gain a set of skills that is extremely useful. A toolbox for making a sustainable future happen. If that wasn’t motivation enough, the world is going through great changes. These skills can and do come in handy when an already uncertain future turns more sour.
- Insurance. No, not the kind that exists on paper. This insurance will be alive and constantly growing and evolving. Your garden, farm or ecoysystem and your friends and social networks will become more and more diverse and resilient. Walking through a food producing forest will give you a sense of security no piece of paper can ever equal.
- Culture and community. The seeds of this permanent culture have already been sown. And one way to get on board is by getting involved in the permaculture movement. It is a strong network of motivated, pro-active people. People you can build on and with.
- Income. If every PDC produced only teachers or designers then the world might still not be effected fast enough… And not every PDC produces teachers and designers, many people might only design their own space. With this as the current situation you can understand that the Permaculture movement needs people to be active designers and teachers. This can and should be done for a profit. You can earn your income from doing a good thing for the world!
- Connection. I promise you that learning about Permaculture has deepened my connection to many things. To myself, to others and the natural world. It is an amazing journey and I’m happy to be on it.
Well, there’s not much more I can tell you right now… I believe that I have put forth quite a strong case why people that care about this world and its people should benefit from taking a Permaculture Design Course. Its up to you what to do with that
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