Love vs. Fear

Imagine if we could help someone change their life for the better permanently, in under three years. Or imagine being in direct contact with the people on the ground, turning their semi-desert home back to an abundant food forest using permaculture, perhaps even going over and helping out…. Imagine being able to offer advice and expertise, or just encouragement and support, while a family solves their problems. No middlemen, no expenses taken out, no bureaucracy. If only!

After spending some years and a lot of money (to me) trying to set up a conventional non-profit to promote permaculture, I came across an alarming and incredible statistic, one which caused me to reappraise everything I was doing and start something else. According to statista.com, in the USA alone, non-profits reported expenses of 1.89 trillion U.S. dollars in 2009. I wanted to be sure, because sometimes a billion is a hundred million, instead of a thousand million (presumably to distinguish top millionaires from the riffraff). But that’s not the case here. A trillion is a one followed by 12 zeros, so in 2009, US non-profits’ expenses were 1,890,000,000,000 dollars.

And that’s just the USA. We could safely double it for worldwide non-profits, and still be well below the actual figure. To be conservative, let’s say 3 trillion of our dollars each year goes on the kinds of projects that non-profits are allowed to do (essentially, making the world a better place). Think what you could do with just one million dollars. Now think of that times three million! Or imagine if three million people went out into the world, each with a million dollars to spend on projects beneficial to the community. Every year!

 

Read the rest at permaculturenews.org

Non-native species – introduce with care!

We tend to get carried away, impressed by our knowledge, while forgetting that what we don’t know is vastly greater than what we do. We introduce non-native species to an area because, in another part of the world, they do something we like. What’s quoted below is from the book “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith. She goes into great detail about the lives of plants and this gives us an insight into just how ignorant we are about the intricacies of ecosystems.

We have to understand that the permaculture designs we make are but a pale imitation of the real world; a vastly simplified system designed to provide food for us. We should approach this with humility and care. The quotes within the text are from a book called “The Lost Language of Plants” by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

Buhner talks about archipelagoes of plant communities, groupings of intercommunicating plants around a dominant or keystone species, usually a tree. These archipelagoes form in response to mysterious and unpredictable cues, and often announce the wholesale movement of ecosystems. The process begins with an outrider or pioneer plant, who literally prepares the soil for its cohorts. When the soil is ready, the nurse plant sends out the chemical message: join me. What happens next is astounding.  Continue reading “Non-native species – introduce with care!”

Permaculture Master Plan: Planting up the Global Garden

“The Permaculture Master Plan – Permaculture Centres Worldwide” is different not just in its broadness of vision and scope, but also, and I believe more crucially, in how it is being implemented. The PRI is making no demands on us as a local organization, they are not trying to take over or control us in any way. This is a common phenomenon among the relatively big organizations; they get bigger by assimilating smaller projects they are supposedly helping out. Everything they do has an underlying urge to make the organization bigger, and aims and intentions become subservient to that imperative. In this way most big organizations, while they may have started out with the best of intentions, end up mirroring the ways of the system that caused the problems in the first place.
More on the Permaculture Research Insttute website.

Permaculture Design Course in Morocco

Berber Farm in ait AttabWe are proud to announce a Permaculture Design Certificate course in Ait Attab, in the beautiful Atlas Mountains of Morocco, where our project is. Taking this course in Morocco will subsidize the training of local people, helping to establish permaculture systems to restore this delicate environment. It will run from 17 to 30 April 2010. Continue reading “Permaculture Design Course in Morocco”