Last Saturday, Bill Mollison, the man who founded the Permaculture movement, died. An outpouring of testimonies on the significance of his work by hundreds, if not thousands, of people followed. A memorial page for him on Facebook flooded with comments about how Bill changed people’s thinking (and through that their life) within a day after the page opened and more are posted every hour. There is a growing consciousness that these changes in thinking and working are way overdue. I think we’re witnessing an epic shift taking place and his death might very well be what will make us come together to make a major push towards a new paradigm for our planet.
With the internet we have access to enormous amounts of information. So much even that it is almost paralyzing. How can we find a focus for what we read, look at, think about and work on? How about this one: make this earth a better place. Give our children, friends and families a better future. Because we each have the power to do that. Right now by our own actions or by our own inactivity and chosen ignorance we do the opposite. Every day, we’re unknowingly busy destroying our planet a little bit more. The earth is warning us, our climate becomes more erratic and extreme, we loose fertile land at alarming rates, we pollute our water sources, pump our wells dry, pollute the air. All in the amazingly stupid notion that doing all that will somehow give us a more comfortable life. But does it?
Bill Mollison was onto this decades ago and his greatest achievement was defining solutions. His work was aimed at creating a framework for life, that can be used by everybody without doing harm to our planet. He even taught us how to repair the damage already done. By just following the logic of nature, reminding us that nature is where we ourselves come from and fully depend on. Nature is not some freak show out there, full of dangers and scary creepies. Nature is just like us, lots of living things that made this planet what it is. The real freak show is our so called modern society with all of us under stress, widespread poverty and inequality, governments threatening one another, power struggles, corruption and lies. All of these ills can be reversed, but we need to take action to do it and we need to do it ourselves.
What we really need is quality, not quantity. We need quality time with the people we love, we need quality food to live healthy not the processed crap from the supermarket that slowly makes us sick, we need quality materials that last a lifetime not the plastic sh#t full of chemicals that break within a year so we have to keep on buying it again and again. Most of all we need a quality planet, one that thrives with life and beauty, instead of the over polluted wastelands we are now creating. We can achieve all of that, by our own actions. Because everything we need is out there. We just need to take control back and find ways to do things ourselves, together with our families, our friends and our neighbors.
So instead of talking about it, let’s just do it, all of us in our own way. Become aware what the problems and solutions are. Once you’re aware start making changes, vote with your wallet, look for cooperation, support people who are already working on these issues, there are many things each of us can do and a lot of it is easy.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, then inform yourself. Search for “land degradation” “desertification” “biodiversity loss” “climate change” “deforestation” etc, so you can understand the scope of these rising problems. By the time you get depressed search for “Permaculture” or read this blog. Because the solutions are what we need.
Change what you buy. Our wallets are powerful tools that influence change. Buy quality things, if possible things made by local craftsmen, avoid plastics and other unnatural chemicals like the plague they are. Repair stuff, don’t throw it away if it can be fixed. Avoid products from big corporations because they are almost never held accountable for any damage they do. Don’t buy what you don’t need, it will end up in your trash anyway and in a landfill after that. You’ll save money as well, but use that wisely, because we all then tend to buy more stuff we don’t need when we have a bit extra to spend. Instead use what you save to make life better. Spend it on energy saving, on education, or to buy that more expensive but quality durable non-plastic tool you could really use. Donate it towards repairing the earth, use it in a positive way!
Buy more fresh food instead of processed crap wrapped in plastic. Anything that has its shelve life extended is treated in a way that makes it unnatural. Think about it, if bacteria do not want to eat your food, how do you think the bacteria in your gut, those that keep us healthy, respond to it? Even better, buy organic fresh food, better still: demand food that is grown in natural systems, if you can find it. Or grow it yourself, in your garden, or even on your balcony or your window still. Study Permaculture if you like the idea of growing your own food, because as soon as you understand the cycles and the patterns of nature it becomes a much more interesting activity. Involve your kids in it, for them it’s as magical as for you to see things grow!
Change how you look at nature. We’re part of it. All life has a function on this planet and is worth protecting. Although we want to keep bugs out of our houses and kitchens, they need a place outside where they can live. Only by respecting all other life can we ourselves continue to live. If anything out there looks scary to you it only means you don’t understand it very well. Most things in nature don’t look for a confrontation, so instead of squashing it, allow it to get away. Weeds are just plants, with a job to do to promote life and function. They are part of the great community that made life on our planet resilient. There is so much to explain on this subject that we could go on for hours. Respect life, it’s in our own best interest.
If you want to be more involved in the needed repair of our planet’s functions, study Permaculture. It’s a life changing thing to suddenly start realizing what life is all about. It opens literary a whole new world to you. Priorities will shift in your head, nothing ever looks the same anymore. If you cannot imagine this, read the tributes people wrote on Bill Mollisons memorial Facebook page.
If you like to support positive change, done by normal people, John Dennis Liu, the man from the documentary ‘green gold‘ is looking for 1000 founding members for the Earth Restoration Cooperative, to start Earth Restoration Camps (facebook page) all over the planet to repair damaged landscapes and bring them back to function. They have over 400 people now who pledged 10 EUR per month, so 120 per year. We think it’s a great initiative. It’s just one example how you can help. If you like the work we do here in Colombia, we’re going through a pretty rough time ourselves caused by last year’s El Niño. We’re still short in raising the 6000 USD we need to get back on track. More information on our support us page.
This article is dedicated to you Bill Mollison. As a big thank you for all the work you did. For taking the effort to pass on your knowledge to so many people including us. For changing our life. For giving us hope. For helping us to understand that we can create a paradise on earth. For giving us the chance to act with responsibility and understanding. For putting ethics at the center of Permaculture! We wish for your spirit to fly ever higher and higher!