The entire permaculture approach can be transferred into all aspects of our lives from our fundamental basic necessities for survival and sustenance to abundance; food, water, shelter and energy to social, political, environmental and economic. All are connected and can be addressed within permaculture’s three ethical mantras; earth care, people care and fair share.
Permaculture’s vital impact for solutions on all levels
We often hear stories about neighbourhoods, communities and regions being affected by loss of power or access to water, food and interaction with your local community through; environmental crisis, economic downturns, authoritative imposed measures and personal circumstances just to name a few. All these resulting in a struggle to find ways to provide for basic survival needs, community value, wealth, joy, fulfillment and purpose.
These bring our focus to the fact that we take for granted these basic needs every day, not just ourselves but also with our fellow neighbours.
We also often only hear of these disasters and crises on a large or global scale, and it seems far-fetched, highly unlikely or a ‘not in my lifetime’ occurrence. It reinforces the ingrained belief that ‘our’ local access will always be there.
But have you stopped to consider what would happen if your local access was cut off? What would you do? How long would you be able to survive? Supermarkets only stock a couple of days’ worth of food, and a couple of shelves full of water. How would you support yourself and your family with food, water and energy? Or even still, what if you could not afford for the public services that we pay for to ‘provide’ us with these needs?
A good permaculture design addresses all these factors because essentially it is a mini self-supporting, living, breathing eco-system in your backyard. We start becoming less dependent on external commercial sources and providers, and more dependent on ourselves, our fellow man and our neighbours with an excess of produce to share.
A good permaculture design will result in less dependence on commercial products and exchange and less worry about losing access to these needs at a time of crisis or financial downturn, because you will always be armed with what you require, even in the most difficult of times.
In a society where materialism and consumerism have hit record highs, we seem to be leading increasingly disconnected lives – disconnected from human to human interaction. We seem to ignore or at best, know very little about our neighbours. We pay less and less attention to where and how our food is ‘manufactured’. We are distracted from paying attention to our internal ethical compass and value system. We are unconsciously disconnected from ourselves and rarely even realize it. We are driven more and more by “what’s in it for me”, my possessions, a mine vs. yours mentality that continually drives a wedge between connection and wholeness. And in a materialist and capitalist society, this is all necessary (and by design) for the structure to be maintained.
A good permaculture design indirectly addresses this by being interactive, helpful and social towards your fellow neighbour. It brings back the ‘unity’ in community.
We are social beings by nature and, just like the strength of a bicycle chain is defined by its weakest link, so too is our social aspect defined by its weakest link. If our social dynamics are weak it doesn’t matter how strong we feel we are as individuals separately, we will fail as a collective.
When your neighbour is in need of a tool, offer them yours. When they are short of apples offer them your excess produce or an exchange for an excess of their produce or resources that you are in need of.
A good permaculture design indirectly changes our mindset away from ours and yours to fair share; even more so, an even greater goal of abundance for all. We can look after ourselves with more understanding towards each other, because we are not separate from each other. Scarcity is a ‘design’ feature of the western capitalist model. Abundance is available to all, and is present in the inherent ‘design’ of nature, and so is inherent in the ‘design’ of permaculture.
We are constantly bombarded with politics, from news to simple small talk with friends or colleagues. But those topics and that knowledge is mostly presupposed on a false narrative that our elected officials have our best interests at heart.
We often look to our political figures as leaders for change and saviours in our time of need. This reinforces an unconscious belief system that we can’t take care of ourselves and that we can’t be trusted to live freely in the way that we were intended to do.
We are restricted by the rules and regulations forced upon us, constantly telling us what we can and cannot do, limiting our sovereignty, privacy and any action toward positive change - ultimately controlling our freedom. “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change and it has to start today.” (- Greta Thunberg)
We look to our political figures for; solutions to problems we’ve created but fail to see, solutions we have within us but fail to see and solutions that are in our best interest to implement. Where our governments have, and continually fall short, is in areas we have the capacity to effect change in ourselves. We wait for our governments to take action where we can solve our problem now ourselves; effectively, quickly and powerfully.
Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be treated like servants when in fact we, the people, are the ones who have created governments to look after our best interests, not the other way around. He who creates is the master. He who is created is the servant. We have utterly and quickly lost sight of this throughout the generations. So it’s time for us to reclaim our sovereignty and not allow our public ‘servants’ continue to be our ‘masters’.
A good permaculture design indirectly redresses our need for government intervention in the first place. We have the power, and responsibility, to look after ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbours, and not outsource that responsibility to political figures that do not have our best interests at heart. We have the power to do so without political interference. A good permaculture design will indirectly reduce our need for public services, assistance and intervention. And ultimately, removing our reliance on the systems in place is a danger to those very systems. Money can’t be extracted from you if you’re self-sufficient.
Mother Earth is dying simply because we are killing her. Over the course of 2 generations we have done more damage than all the previous centuries combined, losing nearly half of our forests in the last 30 years and nearly half of our wildlife in the last 40 years alone, accordingly to the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Forest Resource Assessment respectively. Allow that proportion relative to the history of time to absorb for a second or two. Our governments have known of our environmental damage for decades and yet, in the last 40 years, have proceeded to do nothing to address the issue except continue a political debate. Only arbitrary actions like recycling programs, governments charging taxes to offenders (and where exactly does that money go to is another discussion), tax offsets to helpers or spending for panel expert discussions (with no real outcome) only gives the illusion that they are combating the issues. Charging taxes doesn’t address and solve the problem. It only holds rich corporations with a larger bill. But rich corporations with a large enough bank account (often from handsome handouts, and tax avoidance from said governments no less), continue to contribute to damaging actions.
What is clear is that changing the earth in a positive way is not happening. And in the meantime, forests are depleting, rivers are going dry, our major food bowl farmers are going out of business and overseas companies are buying up land to continue expanding coal energy, despite the fact we have abundant green resources; even an abundance of free energy having been developed and available to us all, are being suppressed for the good of capitalism.
We must ask ourselves the question, what’s really going on behind the scenes? Our governments are either incompetent or their actions are intentional. Either way they can’t be trusted.
We are out of time. The only solution is for us to do it ourselves. “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.” (- Greta Thunberg)
A good permaculture design provides a natural and efficient reversal of these issues to; repair soils, reduce waste, improve air and water quality, produce fresher foods, decrease food miles, save and reestablish natural habitats for species to thrive as well as preparing for and being resilient through the events of a natural disaster and devastation.
We are constantly faced with living expenses on the rise (and never at an equal rate to wage increases) thus having us consumed and focused on making enough money to pay for utility services, groceries and items to manage our waste on a daily basis. We hear news about the impending economic crisis and our future financial situation, forcing us to think about large retirement savings plans, investing wisely and saving up for those ‘rainy days’ that have us driven for high paying jobs; jobs that often have us overworked, undervalued, stressed and taking time away from family, friends and the simple joyous activities we desire more of.
A good permaculture design and approach also lessen the burden on our economic requirements, by reducing our overall need for money and the very reasons we seek jobs and money in the first place; to pay for our basic necessities. A good permaculture design and incorporating permaculture principles into your lives will satisfy your necessities within your own home.
A good permaculture design IS your best form of currency.
When we start applying permaculture principles on a small scale in our daily lives, we begin to see the positive effects it brings into our environment and routine. We become more aware of how dependent we are on the systems that provide us with our basic needs for survival and how a simple shift in thought and practice can lessen that dependency. And even better than that, we reduce our living expenses, so we get to enjoy that freedom and security in more ways.
It begins to show us how we can take steps to empower our own lives by meeting more of our own needs ourselves. We begin to see how it strengthens and enriches our lives. We see the connections of permaculture systems at work with each other and in our daily life, small and large. We see the effect of the holistic system when one (or more elements) are disrupted. Mostly, we begin to see how vital it is that we move back in line with nature and her natural cycles, to ensure we and our families are provided for now and in the future.
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