The Bend is Nigh
Despite never having actually owned my own garden I had been secretly practicing the principles of permaculture, left and right and all over the world, for years- but not knowing it. I was like many folk who assumed that permaculture simply meant ‘permanent agriculture’ and how could I possibly do that if I didn’t actually live anywhere long enough to consider planting anything other than some basil and maybe a couple of tomatoes?
But what I couldn’t use myself, I shared. Years of gardening in many different environments taught me many things. It gave me the confidence to take a risk, for example – as what better way to learn than from your mistakes! But while I never had a great excess of tomatoes nor basil I could share my knowledge and thus lead people to go off and make mistakes all by themselves.
Central to Permaculture are 3 ethics- Care of the Earth, Care of the People, and Sharing the Surplus. In this case, I was simply sharing my knowledge.
I had always been passionate about caring for the earth- personal campaigns of pride in my neighbourhood as a child being a Tidy Kiwi collecting street-side rubbish progressed to planting trees all over the world, numbering in their thousands. And despite an apprenticeship in horticulture, and diploma in landscape design I didn’t really get it until I read my first Permaculture book. It’s as much a part of the permanence of agriculture as my garden is now to my greater environment.
We need to be looking at the Big Picture.
Without a community to support me I am a garden without bees.
My son plays a game. He sets up his train tracks, surrounds it with villages and forests. He places people and animals amongst the trees. He makes places for people to shop and to work. He then gets his big orange 4WD Tonka ute and smashes it all up. Game over. (He is only 2). But is this what Peak Oil looks like? Everyone’s heard of Climate Change and its potential to change our lives, but how often do you hear the politicians discuss its twin Peak Oil and its consequences? It’s true folks, the bend is nigh! But it doesn’t suit many politicians and economists to mention it as their economies are fueled by oil. By taking care of people- working together co-cooperatively, rather than in competition, we’d make our communities more self-reliant and resilient to the threats of Peak Oil. Local economies would thrive if we supported each other more.
So now I’m focusing a little more on my Care of the People ethic. I admit, some days it could use a little fine-tuning. But, I am a Grown-Up now, so I’m running out of excuses. I’m trying to do things that will make a difference- getting involved in my community, volunteering, helping out- I’m trying to get involved in some long-term sustainable projects.
And in my back garden I’m waiting patiently for spring. Patience is a new virtue for a former nomad. It always seemed easier to just move to the spring, rather than waiting for it to come to me!