In today’s world we appear to be drowning in problems. People feel overwhelmed by the worlds many crisis and calamities. Our government leaders are all leading us over the edge of a cliff. We vote in a new lot and we still head over the cliff. Why?
It seems the world operates on the Armageddon model. That’s the plan where we use up all the worlds natural resources, destroy the eco-system, get overrun with terrorists and blow up the planet with nuclear weapons. This plan culminates in the end of the world. Bad plan!
In my early years I was a soldier and after 10 years I could see clearly the Armageddon model was crazy and there must be a better way for humans to model their existence on. After a series of synchronistic events I tripped over permaculture. A voice in my heart said “why die for your country when you can live for your planet?” Metaphorically I dropped the gun and picked up the hoe. I haven’t looked back since.
It all started for me back in 1990 on my first PDC in Australia with Robyn Francis as my teacher. That 14-day course totally transformed my life. Immediately after doing my course I set up a small business doing edible landscaping in Brisbane, Australia. My first client was impressed with my design and asked me if I knew anyone who could do the landscaping. I told him it was that easy I could do it myself. From that moment on I built every design I ever made. Designing with a pencil is a lot easier than building the real thing I soon found out. As my field skills improved so did my designs. The field is always the best teacher I’ve found.
From there, my jobs got bigger and bigger. I went from backyards to full housing estates. I even built Australia’s first permaculture park in Redcliffe, Queensland back in 1992. That project led me to work with Aboriginal communities in the outback compelling me to become a permaculture trainer. The first outback, Aboriginal community was Wilcannia and in 1993 it was voted as Australia’s highest crime town per capita in Australia. It was a rough place to work but my project brought the crime down by 90%. Imagine the ripple effect in all those Aboriginal peoples lives just from one permaculture trainer coming to town for just over 2 years.
From there I went on to doing overseas aid work and developing a system to use permaculture to rebuild communities after disaster, war or general poverty. My system not only put the community back on its feet, it also repaired the ecosystem. There is no true sustainability without a healthy ecosystem. Each time I set up a project I set off a positive ripple effect. Most of that ripple I’ll never see because I never have time to follow up students. Once in a while I will get some email from someone from the past telling me what they’re doing or what is happening in their country from permaculture perspective.
In my 27 years of permaculture I’ve trained thousands of people from many walks of life and in many desperate places. If we can train young people to carry a gun and kill people we can also train the same young people to carry a shovel and repair the planet? It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than endless destruction. I’ve trained poor people, rich people, crazy people, drug addicts, ex-child soldiers, prisoners, indigenous people and disabled people. I’ve even trained ex soldiers and ex-rebels on the same course who once fought each other in a dirty guerilla war. I’ve also trained a few politicians, believe it or not. Every student changed their life in some positive way because of permaculture. For some reason permaculture training seems to activate something hidden deep inside people. I personally think it’s because permaculture teaches us to see solutions where we once saw problems. It also activates our latent positive creation abilities.
You don’t have to be in a war zone, poverty zone or a tsunami zone to appreciate permaculture. Many people are having their own personal crisis even though they may live in a wealthy country or live affluently compared to other people around them. Inside themselves they feel hollow and powerless because their lives seem to have no meaning. One problem most people have is they only consume and never create anything. In cities all over the world people have problems leading to drug addiction, depression, mental illness and ill health. No amount of shopping, dining out, partying or using gadgets seems to heal these problems.
I have seen many victims of the “Box-life” as I call life in the city, be reborn and healed through learning and applying permaculture somehow. Putting their hands in the earth and working with nature to produce their food, restores their vitality and sanity. All those damaged people are repaired by just learning self sufficiency and returning to natural living. So simple and so effective.
The Permaculture Plan will easily replace the Armageddon Plan. In the Permaculture Plan we each learn permaculture and practice permaculture somehow. We then train 2 more people to also do permaculture on the condition they also train 2 people each. In fact we train more than 2 people if we can. This action
will create an exponential ripple effect over time and eventually every person on the planet will be practicing some form of permaculture.
Cities can become green with clean energy and clean technology replacing our destructive brown technology. Cities can produce their own food in many innovative exciting ways that will employ and vitalize people. We will learn to bring nature back into our living systems and shun ways that destroy or damage our ecosystems or health. There are no good reasons why we follow the Armageddon plan. I believe it could be a collective mental illness of our current world leaders.
Permaculture will help us all find our way back to paradise and it all starts in a garden somewhere near you now. Begin with your self. Take the leap and get some permaculture training. From there proceed accordingly. Start your own ripple effect now. What have you got to lose?