Good Morning folks!
I'm Jonathan Hansen, I'm an Eagle Scout and the Senior Patrol Leader for a National Youth Leadership Training course, taking place this July.
I've been studying Permaculture for about two and a half years, and am now studying under Geoff Lawton in his online PDC. Now, I’m here to talk to you about Positive Solutions and Permaculture.
So what is Permaculture?
-Perma-Culture. “Perma” meaning permanent and Culture meaning human settlement. - Permaculture is an ethical design science that can create support systems for mankind in a way that is positive for the people involved and the surrounding environment. For anything to be called Permaculture it must be beneficial to everyone and involved. When answering a comment in his online PDC about this topic, Geoff Lawton said “...yes everybody has to win.”
We do this by following the three ethics of Permaculture. Which are:
Return of Surplus
These ethics were derived from many different cultures and belief systems.
Earth Care: This seems like a given, but we must keep this in mind as we make decisions. All of the wealth in the world originates from the soil and ultimately, sunlight. By continuing to degrade and deplete our soils with agro-chemicals like RoundUp and bad farming practices we are robbing ourselves of our own future.
There was a time when it was said that a squirrel could travel from the Atlantic ocean to the Mississippi river without setting paw to the ground. All that ancient forest has been cut and cleared to be replaced by a farmland desert.
This agricultural system has degraded the fertility and killed the soil life all the while decreasing the nutritional value of the food produced. Not only that, but it has also caused terrible things like The Dust Bowl.
The only reason that this horrible system continues is because of government subsidies, which enslaves the farmer, and because of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides, which poison us!
So as we design we have to keep Earth Care in mind. It only makes sense to take care of that which feeds and sustains us.
People Care: This one is hugely important! So often these days both of the of argument (big agriculture vs the green movement) will hurt people.
Big agriculture, poisons us, enslaves the farmer, and exploits the system with the help of the government.
The green movement is notorious for valuing wildlife or an endangered plant over the needs or the lives of people. We’ve even heard sentiments like “Oh, if only humanity would just die off, then the planet would recover!” NO! This is so shortsighted, untrue and lazy!
In many places the damage done is much more severe than what natural systems can repair. We must be the ones to repair and be the positive change in the world!
We must not harm people. Not by exploiting them or treating them badly.
Return of Surplus: A good way of stating this ethic is: Don’t Waste.
All energy produced must be cycled back through the system to promote regeneration and self replication, which is sustainability.
These are fantastic and all encompassing ethics to live by. But by the most overriding thing (by design) is The Prime Directive.
"The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children."
Please note, it does not say, “take responsibility for your neighbor.” or “vote for a better political liar into office so he can fix it”. You must be responsible for yourself.
Picture if you will, two concentric circles. One smaller circle inside of a larger one.
The larger circle is your “circle of concern”. The smaller one is your “circle of influence”.
The larger circle encompasses things like: climate change, economic upheaval. international wars and disasters, which government toady gets voted in this year, and other huge things we can’t influence,
The smaller circle encompasses those things that we can influence. Things like: how we treat our family, what we eat, how we behave at our job, and how we act within our community.
We must shrink our circles of concern to focus more heavily on what we can affect. When we worry and focus on things we can't change, we increase our stress levels and decrease our positive productivity. The things that we can influence are the things we need to invest our energy into.
By doing this, we are behaving in a much more proactive and positive way., which in turn makes our lives and the lives of those around us better and our actions are seen by others. Who, inspired by you, make their own lives better. Because:
Positive actions are contagious!
We’ve all heard of the “Pay it forward” concept, (one good deed is not to be payed back but to be repeated to another person). One good deed encourages another.
I’ve seen this firsthand where I work. One person will pay for his own food and then go on to pay for the next person’s food as well. His only request is that the next person also do the same and “pay it forward”. And they do! I’ve seen this positive action go down a line as long as 30 people.
I’ve found that most folks believe that they are good people and would jump at the chance to good things. The biggest thing stopping these people is the fear of embarrassment and failure and most of all, apathy.
We can be the make the most positive change by being the leaders of today and tomorrow. The way to do this is to live boldly, without fear.
Seize the Day! Whenever you see an opportunity to make a difference in your life, take it! Your actions matter, so be active in shaping your destiny. You are the one to make your world better.
“Make your own way and the others will follow. The revolution is you!”