But is it sustainable?

graphic produced by Llanfyllin High school student
Sometime in 1990 the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed the 350 ppm mark, from that point forward the influx of energy in the form of heat from the sun has exceeded the rate it has been leaving the earth’s atmosphere; the planet has literally been warming. This will continue to happen until the Co2 in the atmosphere returns to a level of 350 ppm or below, with levels currently over 400 ppm we can’t even begin to use the word sustainable with any meaning until we have achieved this momentous challenge.

Climate change isn’t even the problem, it is the symptom of a much deeper and more serious one; that of our almost total disconnect from the ecological reality of our finite planet. We live in denial of reality and that reality is going to catch us out big time unless we prepare ourselves emotionally, intellectually and physically for what is coming next.

Fixing this problem is not a technological issue as such, rather it is a total shift in our relationship with the living planet we occupy. New and enlightened economic, social and educational approaches are required to enable us to escape the disaster we are creating. To be clear we are no long talking about minimising or reducing the damage we cause; we are required to find strategies which actively repair the enormous amount of damage already done to the biosphere. We have to fix it. We call this regenerative development.

Sustainability is the starting point for such a process, it is not the objective but the barest minimum required.

Permaculture is about solutions, it is about finding the pathways to regenerative development. It is not just the earth’s living systems that have to be repaired; we have to address the social imbalance at the same time. The empowerment of all people to be fully able to take an active part in this process is central to any chance of success that might remain.

Permaculture sits at the intersection of economics and ecology. It is a design strategy that asks economic questions about how we meet our needs, personal and familial in a way that empowers others to do the same, not at their expense. Permaculture recognises that all of these economic decisions and transactions occur within a healthy living biosphere. We cannot stand outside of this biological relationship for more than a few moments, just how long can you hold your breath or go without water or food? Permaculture is about self empowerment and community enablement whilst caring for the earth by listening carefully to the feedback it gives us. To be good at permaculture you have to be good at listening and right now if you listen carefully the planet is screaming at us, make the change, join the movement, and get active!

Steve Jones August 2017.

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