(Health Secrets) Which will be our future as a people, survivalist communities or permaculture? Maybe you remember Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, a 1985 Australian post-apocalyptic film about survivalists run amok in search of oil and water, or Conspiracy Theory, a 1997 American action thriller in which the US government creates assassins through mind control drugs. Seemingly there are some people who are convinced this is our future and this future is almost here. They are busy building survivalist communities, hoarding guns and canned food, and practicing military tactics to protect their chosen group of friends. They are anti-collectivism except for those who think like they do.
Is it wrong to care about the collective good? Probably not, because the choice of the kind of world we create to live in is ours. We can live a fear-based life believing in survival of the fittest, (very Darwinian), and assuming every one we meet is out to take what is ours. Or we can assume stewardship of our world, in which there is a valued place for everyone and everything.
One way of working together as stewards to create a sustainable world is through permaculture. This is a combination of the words permanent, agriculture, and culture. Bill Mollison, Australian ecologist and University of Tasmania professor in the 1970’s, initiated the concept of permaculture. From his original focus of sustainable food production, the philosophy of permaculture has evolved and expanded to encompass economic and social systems. Some individuals are even integrating spirituality and personal growth work into the permaculture framework.
Mollison believed sustainable living needed to be based on the patterns observed in nature. Natural systems, such as forests and wetlands, are sustainable because they provide for their own energy needs and recycle their own wastes. Under permaculture, all of the different parts of a natural ecosystem work together and each unit of the system performs important tasks. By applying an integrated understanding of the ecosystem into Mollison’s design, sustainable agricultural systems may be created.
Bill Wilson, of Midwest Permaculture, says:
“Our cities and suburbs have value and advantages but they are also incredibly dependent upon support from the outside. Except for the air and sun, and possibly water, almost every other need is generated and collected elsewhere and brought into the cities and suburbs, everything from food, to clothing, to building materials, to power, to transportation…everything. Within the coming generation (coming years possibly) the imbalances we have created in the world economies, the supply systems and the natural world will become even more apparent, more immediate. There are stresses everywhere in our culture with peak oil, peak water, peak soil and climate change pushing us even more.”
Growing populations means the amount of natural resources available for each of us is dwindling. Should we stick our collective heads in the sand and ignore this problem? Do we pick up a gun and live on a limited supply of canned food and bottled water? Or do we accept Mother Nature’s cycle of life and say all things come to an end, farewell to this epoch of humanity? One possibility is that we make a conscious effort to modify our behavior and adapt to new challenges.
Maybe you are wondering how permaculture works in a suburban or urban environment. Erik Ohlsen of Permaculture Artisans gives an excellent introduction to permaculture design principles, which features a stunning, abundant food forest design. View his ideas at the first source below.
The permaculture specialists are aware that many of us are not naturally gardeners. The design approach is to integrate the surrounding natural areas with our homes, apartments and other buildings to produce an abundance of food, shelter, energy and other services. Ultimately the system is set up to function with a minimum of effort and should be more like recreation than work. In fact even now there is a growing cadre of urban farmers willing to plant and maintain your backyard garden.
Slow Food is an international organization that defends biodiversity in our food supply, promotes food and taste education, and connects sustainable producers to co-producers through events and building networks. The members identify themselves as Slow Food because the emphasis is on taking your time when dining, and the act of people eating a meal together stands at the crossroads of ecology and gastronomy, ethics and pleasure.
The Slow Food website states that it opposes the standardization of taste and culture, and the unrestrained power of the food industry multinationals and industrial agriculture. The group believes that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Many cities in the US and world wide have Slow Food groups you can attend. They even sponsor travel experiences.
The creation of the future can be based on permaculture design. We can fulfill our roles as stewards of the earth with a well designed ecosystem, which integrates surrounding natural areas with our homes, apartments and other buildings and produces an abundance of food, shelter, energy and other services through meaningful work. This is achievable when we give up attitudes that foster a sense of lack, selfishness and greed. Invention, creativity and collective cooperation may be the best paths to abundance.
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