Permaculture and the planet

I have always thought Permaculture was a bit too fancy a name, but I have also always supported what it stands for, which is sustainable, Permanent ecosystems.

My good pal in Laos sent me this link on Autotrophic Infrastructure, which just made you reach for the brandy maybe, but the basic line of argument is that ‘The ecosystem services that are provided by the natural world form the basis of all wealth creation.’

When the people of East Africa face drought yet again they are getting this as a double whammy. First, they are getting the consequences of climate change, not created by them but by us rich folks who feel we ‘Need’ our latest gismos in the same way some in Africa need 2 litres of water just to get through the day.

Second, they are getting it locally, because their own food supply management no longer suits the new conditions. Keeping cows no longer works.

Before jumping up and down and saying how it is all their own fault though, we maybe want to reflect on how the cow and the goat were a good way to deal with seasons, because they provided ways of storing food to eke out the year. When it rains you fatten up your cows and goats (2 of each if you are lucky) and when supplies run out your cow survives on almost nothing for quite a while, and in the end can be meat if you need it. But the cow/goat system does not work for a 2 season drought.

I have been reading Geoffrey Blainey’s ‘A Very Short History of the World‘, and it is a very clear message from the early civilisations of the world, to whom we owe the invention of the basis of our agriculture and society, civilisations like those along the Nile, the Indus and Tigris and the Euphrates. As you use up the local resources faster than they can be replenished things go wrong.

Requests for money for people in disaster zones are likely to be on the increase. Each one seems totally justified, and if you were faced with the one single child you could save you would do so without hesitation. What we need to do is feel for how our donation is going to save a child while also adding a little more to enable the agencies concerned to help the people change. They will have to change.

And so will we. We are not out of the picture, we don’t have a future that is guaranteed for our children and maybe not even for ourselves (Gas price rise anyone?).

Autotrophic-infrastructure is how we must learn to survive, starting now.

If you want to find out more you can go to The Sustainability Centre in Hampshire, UK, and talk to the people there, including the experts who run The Permaculture Magazine.

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