Societies around the world are entering an era of interconnected challenges. Most experts indeed agree on the fact that "crisis" through its various forms (economic, ecologic, societal) will be more and more recurrent; the time to prepare our societies to get more resilient in the years to come is now! ...and that's what permaculture is all about!
As "a design system for creating sustainable human environments." (Bill Mollison), permaculture offers a holistic solution-driven approach and stands as an alternative to current linear models. Basing their actions on three ethics - earth care, people care and fair share - permaculturists are striving to conceive regenerative systems within a wide range of areas including farming, building, economics or education. With the common goal to achieve sustainable livelihood for all, many initiatives around the globe are being taken to secure basic human needs (clean water and food, adequate shelter and companionship) without undermining natural resources: all-encompassing towards healthy societies.
Happening every two years, the International Permaculture Convergence is a very special occasion offered to practitioners from around the world to share their experiences, learn from each other and strategize about the future of the permaculture movement!
Change is already happening! Will you be a part of it?
Mahatma Gandhi had said "be the change you wish to see in the world". This quote holds true for both men and women. Women continue to produce 80% of food in developing countries and it is critical to extend their role as the 'protectors' and 'nurturers' of their loved ones to 'protectors' and 'promoters' of healthy societies. By harnessing their knowledge, providing more leadership opportunities and creating a gender equal environment, we can take decisive steps towards creating a resilient world.
As said by Bill Mollison, "The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children." People Care is this core ethic which begins with ourselves and expands to include our families, neighbours and companions, spreading the Fair Share mindset among everyone, no matter their age or status. Collaborative and educational efforts that instill the values of care, compassion, gift economy, harmony and justice will lead us towards an inclusive society, that is free of oppression and inequality.
As a playground for human-scale experiments, grassroots permaculture is essential to make new ecological and social solutions emerge. Through concrete and localized achievements like commons, participatory initiatives, or sociocracy, it puts the people at the heart of systems and policies - even during crises situations (refugees camps). From site-specific to duplicable or upscaling ideas, always leaning on the power of community, grassroots initiatives move people into action with a holistic approach rather than isolated pieces, enabling them to handle their resources and needs in a fecund and democratic manner.
Cultural diversity and traditions formed over the centuries make this world a rich place. Globalization-mania has weakened vernacular cultures that have thrived in their environment. Standardized solutions and products tend to become the norm even in the agricultural world. Permaculture roots it philosophy into ancient practices, revitalizes them with the fusion of modern, relevant techniques and innovations to revive the empirical know-how accumulated over many generations. This establishes a fruitful and respectful dialogue between different cultures and times.
Drought and its alter ego, flood, are likely to happen more and more often in the future. In many countries where drylands and erosion have extended their boundaries during the past decades, water shortages and sudden heavy rains are already every days challenges. Yet, if water is a critical resource for humans, it is critical for life on earth as well. Sustainable water management is a cornerstone of any healthy society. Through permaculture principles, we have a toolbox within easy reach to handle diverse sources of water (rainwater, water table, glaciers, aquifers, etc.) responsibly and regeneratively.
Very few doubt that climate is going to get more extreme and erratic in the coming years. With its holistic approach, permaculture appears as a suitable answer to slow down climate change, mitigate its effects and protect us from disasters. Resilient ecosystems of food forests and living soils can limit greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to food production. Putting activism and embodied energy at the heart of its philosophy, permaculture provides new patterns to bring effective transition in our consumption and build sustainable models that reduce fossil fuels extraction and wastage of the limited resources we have.
Dr. Venkat, India's own permaculture pioneer, led thousands people with his vision, kindness and dedication. He and Bill worked together on several occasions with great fondness and respect for each other. They featured together in the film "The Global Gardener".
Bill Mollison was a living inspiration to all the permaculturists and thousands of others. His foresight and his insight together gave the world a way of integrating all human lives with living and non living things. At this convergence we remember and celebrate Bill's gift to the present and the future.
It is with a very heavy heart that we learnt this August that our dearest friend Ali Sharif has passed. It is a huge loss for the permaculture community.
Ali Sharif was a Permaculture pioneer who over 30 years ago took a Permaculture Design Course taught by Bill Mollison. At the end of the course Bill Mollison approached each students and asked them pointedly "just what are you going to do with this knowledge, right now?"
Ali answered immediately "I'm in Bill, I will dedicate my life to Permaculture" and Bill pointed him to South America and said "go there", and he did, spending the next 27 years in the Amazon. He then went on to Mozambique in Africa where he did some exceptional work.
Ali Sharif was a great permaculture expert who has worked with communities tirelessly to establish several dozen projects on three continents. Ali Sharif, you will be greatly missed during IPC India 2017.