Why Permaculture?

The Dirt On Our Climate Future

The news cycle is so constant, so outrageous and often so distracting that it’s hard to tear our eyes away from the meltdown of our social and political worlds. But there’s another meltdown going on, one that will affect us and all of the planet for generations to come—the meltdown of the earths climatic system and the massive, global ecological degradation that it represents.

From the literal melting of the arctic ice to the massive floods, intensified hurricanes, droughts, devastating fires, and freaky weather of this past year—everything scientists have predicted about climate change is already coming to pass. Yet we spend very little time thinking, strategizing or organizing around it. Trump’s latest tweet or the newest erupting sex scandal claim far more headline space.

Perhaps we avoid climate change because it feels too big, too remote, too hard to have any impact. Yet there are many things we can do—and not just changing our light bulbs.

Real Solutions

If we think of climate change as representing massive ecosystem degradation, then what we need to do to counter it is massive ecosystem regeneration. And the good news is—we know how to do it!  It’s doable—and it has already been done in many places on large scales. Check out John Liu’s documentary, Green Gold, and see how China revitalized the Loess Plateau, an area the size of Belgium. 

Look at how World Vision has regenerated forests on hundreds of thousand of hectares in the Sahel.    

Or visit online some of the inspiring projects of Aranya Permaculture near Hyderabad, India—providing land, food and empowerment with a special focus on women. 

Or the Chikukwa Project, which has successfully revitalized a whole region in Zimbabwe.

Or some of the great work being done with urban agriculture in Detroit

There are many feel-good stories, but they don’t make me complacent. In fact, I’m even madder because I know that farmers can provide abundance for their families and communities while rebuilding soil and sequestering carbon, that we can reforest the desert edge and turn blighted areas of our cities into gardens, that we can regenerate whole ecosystems on a large scale.

Permaculture: Designing Systems of Regeneration

Knowing about these solutions and doing something about them are different things. That’s why I spend so much of my time teaching permaculture—a powerful, integrated system of ecological design that works with nature to provide for our human needs while healing the environment around us.  For me, it’s the practical complement to the earth-based spirituality I practice that honors the sacredness of nature and straws strength and hope from her beauty and diversity.

If you want to know how to take a piece of damaged ground and restore it to health, whether it’s a clear-cut forest or an abandoned city lot, if you want your work to make a positive difference, if you long to contribute to the healing that the earth so desperately needs, you need the understandings, the skills and tool-box that permaculture can provide.  

Maybe you’re a young person who dreams of growing food in the country, or a teacher who wants your students to learn lessons in the garden. 

Maybe you’re looking for your life’s work, or seeking to change careers in mid-life, or wondering what to do with your retirement? 

Permaculture is not just about gardening or homesteading—it’s about designing systems, which include the social, economic and political systems that determine what happens to our farms and lands.  It’s for entrepreneurs, policy makers, and activist citizens who want to know what policies to advocate.  Really, it’s for everybody—it’s the basic, grounded set of skills we all should have learned in school and mostly didn’t, for designing fulfilling lives that make a contribution to the great challenges of our times.

Get Your Hands Dirty

Earth Activist Training, an organization that I co-founded, offers a variety of courses, from two-week permaculture design certificate courses to intensives in social permaculture and a Sacred Earth Apprenticeship.  You can learn more about them and see all of our upcoming courses HERE. If our courses don’t work for you, there are many, many other opportunities to learn these vital tools.

If you happen to be on the east coast of the U.S., I have an upcoming course at the beautiful Rowe Center in Massachusetts in May-June. We have a special discount available for this course for two or more friends/family who register together- save $250 each! More details and registration HERE

If you’re in Western Europe, I will be co-teaching a Permaculture Certificate Program in Switzerland in July.

Yes, the Situation is Dire…

…and the timing urgent, but this is no moment to despair. We can regenerate our human and natural communities, and you have a unique role to play in making the transformation happen. A flourishing, abundant world of beauty and balance is everybody’s birthright. Together we can bring it into being.

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