World on fire – time to send the fire brigade

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Is it Portugal, Spain, California? Right now it feels that the parts of the World not under water are on fire.

How many super-storms does it take before we notice something deeply terrifying is happening?

There is a shit storm of consequences coming our way and precious little we can do about it sat at home on the sofa. We have 30 years of change before us and the sooner we start the better. I think a great many people are now feeling an increasing sense of alarm as the symptoms of the climate crisis present themselves with increasing regularity.

This is what J H Kunstler calls a clusterfuck.

  • Un-seasonal weather, cycles of deluge and drought stress the forests and create conditions where whole landscapes become vulnerable to outside forces.
  • Austerity strapped authorities cut back on essential maintenance and services, staff and resources are trimmed from budgets.
  • Hurricane and gales of a ferocity never seen before sweep in, turbo-charged by the extra warm oceans, reaching areas never before exposed to such forces.
  • Be it  the firestorm that just engulfed central Portugal or the deluge that drowned Houston or the ferocious winds that destroyed whole island nations such as Puerto Rico, the scene is set for catastrophe.

We have to learn to think and plan differently.

We will need to realise that authorities and services will not be there if they are not invested in and trained for new challenges. Time and time again we see essential services breaking down or overloaded when these events happen, consequently the first thing we need to prepare ourselves for is partial or temporary systems collapse.

The key word is RESILIENCE, community resilience is our first line of defense to help us overcome whatever catastrophes might be waiting for us.

Tesco’s distribution centre might get carpet bombed by the Taliban, three feet of snow may cover the nation for a month or maybe a freeze so hard every pipe bursts – we don’t know where the next challenge might come from. In a world where we are not much more than three meals away from social breakdown, the just in time delivery model of the highly specialised modern world does not stand up well to external shocks.

How do you create clean drinking water or cook from basics? How long can we live without power or internet? Could we manage for long without proper sanitation? How long would it take us to recreate a more local food economy? Addressing these and a great many more issues through training, skills sharing and innovation is becoming an imperative.

Puerto Ricans are being told it might be a year before normal service is resumed, what if another super-storm happens in the meantime?

The world is not having a run of bad luck, it has entered a new reality; a climate changed reality where extreme weather events not only become more common but they join together to create monster catastrophes that we might struggle to ever fully recover from.

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What comes next? Ecological development

Yes we have to organise to build resilience from the ground up but we also need to pursue a new long-term strategy. Lets call it ecological development for now. China have already embraced this model; recognising that development has to complement and enhance the living world not just be slightly less damaging than before. This really is new thinking for a government and they are dead serious about it as well.

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Cities that can capture CO2 and clean the air, whilst providing water filtration and wildlife habitat, food and waste processing.

We call that Permaculture design

Shiny new green cities aside, as sexy as they are may not be the full solution. Most of our cities are already built, suburbs too, and the greater challenge is to redesign and repurpose the resources we already have invested in.

There isn’t a simple solution but we need to find a consensus of what is happening to us and use that to formulate a bigger plan. Here at Sector39 we are looking for the teachers, leaders, innovators and change makers who can help create new options and build that consensus.

We have been teaching and demonstrating permaculture in many ways since the 1990’s and much of that experience has been channeled into our groundbreaking courses.

Our PDC is ground breaking and life changing, bringing together teachers and practitioners, projects and enterprises. We keep our charges as low as possible and offer a life changing experience that for many is the start of a new direction in their own lives.

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We would love to hear from you if you are interested in being part of this course. Together we can build a new reality and create new possibilities.

Chester dues

Permaculture at the Cathedral. Fascinating evening in Chester last night and hopefully laying the ground for our next permaculture design course with our partners at the Cathedral.

Surely the church could be leading the way in the fight against the ongoing impacts of climate change with its ability to mobilise a great many people and resources. I for one would welcome the sight of key institutions moving in the direction of promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation as a strategic priority. We are unprepared for the many changes climate change will bring as well as the economic shocks that will accompany it. Can the church find itself a key role at the heart of re-energised and resilient climate ready community?

At the same time the Cathedral is hosting a major art exhibition including works by Damien Hirst, resulting in a striking visual impact (pics by Lachlan Mckenzie). To my eyes the golden calf, the focus of false adulation in the Old Testament times powerfully represents the false gods of consumerism and distraction we now worship so readily!

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Permaculture Academy, investing in resilience

We are a coalition of 3 enterprises, developing permaculture ducation through a Wales/ Uganda/ Kenya mutual support link.

  • Sector39
    Permaculture design and education Wales
  • BEU permaculture
    Broadfield Enterprises Uganda – facilitation & training
  • PRI-UG
    Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda.

We need your input, involvement and help. Together we are forming a Permaculture Academy and planning for an East Africa PDC and Convergence in May 2018.

We recognise the amazing value and potential for permaculture education in East Africa and need your help to realise it!!

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PDCUG18 will be at Sabina school, celebrating 10 years of permaculture with East Africa’s first permaculture convergence