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Last night I had the opportunity to attend a presentation given by Matt Powers, author of The Permaculture Student. Matt's energy and excitement for permaculture was contagious and he re-inspired me to delve deeper and do more.
Here are my notes from his presentation:
Some Background on Matt
Matt was a bass player in New York City when his wife got cancer. The doctors cut it out and she got cancer a few more times. They stopped and reevaluated their lives and decided to move to the west coast. They started to eat cleaner and grow their own food. Matt found permaculture as a way to get clean food and fell in love with it. His wife has been cancer free for six years. Matt is now the author of The Permaculture Student a text book geared toward grade school aged kids and The Permaculture Student 2 which is written at a highschool level, but the material depth is college worthy.
The 5 steps to an Abundant Future
1. Build Soil
According to Time Magazine in 2012 we have 60 years of top soil left. Where is our top soil going? It is blowing away and washing down drainages to the ocean. The habit of spraying poisons and tilling is destroying the life in top soil that holds it together.
If you are worried about CO2 you should be worried about the destruction of soil. Our soils are becoming devoid of organic matter i.e. carbon. The rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is not from cars and factories, but the destruction of soil. Soil has the potential to hold many times the amount of CO2 in the air. Plants are CO2 devouring machines. Watch the video below and notice how in the spring (north hemisphere) the world is dominated on the red scale. Compare that to July or August. It is nearly gone, the plants ate it all up.
To rebuild our soils we need to practice organic, no-till farming practices. Which is essentially composting in place.
Want to learn more about building soil? Watch the free replay of Extreme Land Restoration 101 by Elaine Ingham.
2. Grow Forests
We have burned and destroyed most of the forests of the world for agriculture. This has led to widespread desertification. We can fix this. Humans are not the cancer, the system is. We need to supplant our current system of extraction and destruction with creation and abundance.
An example of how growing forests can completely change a region: The Loess Plateau Project in China.
3. Liberate Water
We need to ramp up ocean life. Fisheries need to be protected. All of the toxins getting put into the ocean and the loss of habit can be restored and mitigated if instead of extracting from the ocean and poisoning it, we protected it.
We need to re-wild the coasts, most life in the ocean happens on the coasts, on the edge. We need to see the restoration of the kelp forests of the ocean.
4. Support Biodiversity
Much of our seed diversity was lost. But now there are many people working on cultivating new varieties of fruits and vegetables that are bred with their wild ancestors. Bringing back genetic diversity.
We need to support biodiversity not just in plants, but in animals too. Life creates life, so the more life we help facilitate the more abundant our world.
5. Re-Wild Human Culture
Matt mentioned a lot of things here so I am just going to list them.
- Shrink the dollar economy and get involved in the seed economy. The seed economy has exponential returns. Example: raising rabbits, or saving seeds.
- Instead of "Return of Surplus" or "Fair Share" think of the third ethic of permaculture as "Care of the Future."
- Community building is the sharing/bartering/selling of resources, services, places, and communal activities (parties).
- Decentralization and localization of food, fiber, fuel, and medicine.
- Nonviolent Communication - developed by Marshall Rosenburg it is an empathic language technique that recognizes humans needs and the communication of those needs is the key to unlocking conflict.
- Our society is a mono-culture.
How to make these changes real?
- Education - share your knowledge. It is one resource that you get more of when you share it.
- By example - show people what is possible. Show them that the "impossible" is possible.
- By experience - your learn more by going out and doing.
Behaviorally challenging kids are challenging because they’re lacking the skills to not be challenging.
― Ross W. Greene,
The above quote applies to society at large. People lack the skills and knowledge they need to bring about a better world. We can change that by teaching, sharing, and showing.