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Greening the Desert II – Final

The Greening the Desert II video I shared with you recently was edited in Jordan. Now that I’m back at my desk again I’ve had time to edit it slightly. I’ve added the original five-minute Greening the Desert clip in to the front of it, to ensure viewers have context for Part II (and we’ve also had requests for both to be made available together), as well as cut a few minutes out of Part II to keep it flowing a little better. You can not only watch online below and embed on your own websites (click for embed code at top right of video screen), but it’s also available for download, so those who’d like to have a ‘hard copy’ to circulate are welcome to download, burn to disk or transfer to USB key, etc., and circulate freely.

Download: You’ll see the option to download the 913 megabyte MP4 file at bottom right side of this page.

Greening the Desert II (including Part I) – Greening the Middle East
(Duration: 36 mins)
Tips for playing: If it’s slow to load, turn off High Definition (HD) on the player.
If you still have problems, click play (on low or high def) and then after it’s started,
click on pause. The video will then continue to buffer into your computer.
Play once fully loaded.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Kelly Kellogg at this juncture. Kelly donated initial funding that enabled the purchase of the land for the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project site (aka ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’). But, upon watching the Greening the Desert Part II video, Kelly was inspired to donate an additional $20,000. These gifts are very encouraging to us as we try to solve problems at source (teach a man to fish…). Others who may feel inspired to donate to help us move this work forward faster can do so here.

A little background on the video follows:

Children in a school playground, Al Jawfa, Jordan Valley

When there’s no soil, no water, no shade, and where the sun beats down on you to the tune of over 50°C (122°F), the word ‘poverty’ begins to take on a whole new meaning. It is distinct and surreal. It’s a land of dust, flies, intense heat and almost complete dependency on supply lines outside of ones control. This is the remains of what was once called the ‘fertile crescent’. It is the result of thousands of years of abuse. It is a glimpse at a world where the environment – whose services provide for all human need – has all but completely abandoned us. This is a glimpse at the world our consumer society is inexorably moving towards, as our exponential-growth culture gorges itself at ever-increasing rates.

The original Greening the Desert video clip has been watched hundreds of thousands of times and has been posted to countless blogs and web pages in the datasphere. Although only five minutes long, it has inspired people around the globe, daring the lucid ones amongst us, those who can see the writing on the wall, to begin to hope and believe in an abundant future – a future where our survival doesn’t have to be based on undermining and depleting the very resources of soil, water, phosphorus, etc. that we depend on. The work profiled in that clip demonstrates that humanity can be a positive element within the biosphere. Man doesn’t have to destroy. Man can repair.

In the clip at top I introduce you today to Greening the Desert II. I shot the footage for this video last month (October 2009) and edited it on location in the Dead Sea Valley in Jordan – the lowest place on earth, at 400 metres below sea level. Much of it was shot in or near the village of Al Jawfa where I stayed, which is effectively a Palestinian refugee camp that has morphed over the decades since 1948 into something resembling a functional small town. It was first shown to delegates of the ninth International Permaculture Conference (IPC9) in Malawi, Africa at the very beginning of November and is now being released for general consumption. The video will take you to the original Greening the Desert site, letting you see its present condition after six years of neglect when funding ran out in 2003. You’ll also be introduced to our new project site – the Jordan Valley Permaculture Project, aka ‘Greening the Desert, the Sequel’ – and see some of the spin-off effects within Jordan from the influence of the original site; promises of much more to come.

The work we’re undertaking in Jordan is in accordance with what we call the ‘Permaculture Master Plan‘, where the project’s future is assured through funding from running educational courses. Project sites thus become self-sufficient, and self-replicating.

Geoff Lawton instructs students in a school yard in Jordan, one that PRI has
just created and begun the implementation of a design for, so its
many children can see, experience and learn permaculture first hand

Through this work we envision thousands of educational demonstration sites worldwide – all inspiring and teaching communities around them how to begin to tackle at root the massive challenges we now face after decades of short-term profit-based thinking has all but ‘consumed’ our planet and dismantled the social constructs that the human race has always depended on for its survival. Through this work we see desertification stopped in its tracks, and reversed. We see this century’s dire water issues getting resolved. We see productive work for millions in bypassing the irrelevant efforts of our ‘leaders’, to instead build a new kind of culture – a culture based on cooperative effort and learning. It’s a culture where its members have regained a sense of their place in creation, where they become land-based stewards of remaining resources; creating a culture where we at last find ultimate satisfaction – promoting and building peace and low-carbon, relocalised, community-based prosperity.

We have many such ‘Master Plan’ projects in various stages of development worldwide, and a steady stream of enquiries from people around the globe wanting to get involved and help widen this cooperative network. Perhaps it’s time you took a look at Permaculture? After all, do you have something more worthwhile to do?

Jordan Valley