Living through a collapse is a curious experience. Perhaps the most curious part is that nobody wants to admit it’s a collapse.
by Paul Kingsnorth
The results of half a century of debt-fuelled “growth” are becoming impossible to convincingly deny, but even as economies and certainties crumble, our appointed leaders bravely hold the line. No one wants to be the first to say the dam is cracked beyond repair.
To listen to a political leader at this moment in history is like sitting through a sermon by a priest who has lost his faith but is desperately trying not to admit it, even to himself. Watch Nick Clegg, David Cameron or Ed Miliband mouthing tough-guy platitudes to the party faithful. Listen to Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy or George Papandreou pretending that all will be well in the eurozone. Study the expressions on the faces of Barack Obama or Ben Bernanke talking about “growth” as if it were a heathen god to be appeased by tipping another cauldron’s worth of fictional money into the mouth of a volcano.
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In Part One of this series we introduced Holistic Management and went through the process of defining a whole under management. In Part Two we looked at articulating an Holistic Context for that whole under management, using VEG’s holistic context as an example. Now, in the third and final installment, we tackle the fine art of leaping back into the flow of life and…
Putting your Holistic Context to work
Fantastic, you think! I now have myself (or we have ourselves) a whiz-bang holistic context that captures what is most important to this or that whole I am part of managing. Let’s stick it up on the kitchen or staff-room wall and start enjoying its magical power to transform our lives.
Well, unfortunately it doesn’t work quite like that. As intimated above, articulating your holistic context is pretext to actually starting to get to the whole point and meaning of Holistic Management — namely, managing holistically. What the holistic context, and the discussion and clarification that happened during its formation, does, is give you a reference or anchor point that then guides decisions and actions. It is like you have now captured the ‘true north’ of your whole, and you can start managing the whole towards it. Let’s take a look at what that looks like, as well as a few other ways we have found our holistic context useful in managing our company.
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More and more couples world over are resisting large expensive marriages and are embracing the concept of eco-marriage with a conscious effort to reduce their environmental footprint.
Watch this video as the eco-conscious Tokyo couple Shigeru Komori and Tomoko Hoshino opt for a low carbon-emitting, socially responsible, energy efficient wedding celebration. Both are passionate about the environment and so practising their eco-philosophy on their wedding day was a true reflection of who they are and what is important to them.
Our relationship with the earth changed fundamentally when we began practicing agriculture some ten thousand years ago. The transition from nomadic to settler life allowed for the evolution of great civilizations, and the growth of human cultures. Agriculture also made possible the increased rise in population, which in turn created the need for more agriculture, and the cyclical relationship between the two put a greater and greater strain on the environment. Civilizations fell when they exceeded the carrying capacity of their locale, or depleted their resource base, and others emerged elsewhere in their stead. However, for the most part the growth continued unhampered as human beings mined millions of years of energy storage. Then came the industrial revolution, followed a century or so later by the green revolution, allowing for greater exploitation of the earth’s resources.
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From the moment that we really understand permaculture and what it is all about, we enter some kind of transition. Permaculture is not just what goes on in our gardens, rather it is what we brush our teeth with, every single thing we buy, everything we throw away and, in fact, what we do with every moment of the day.
It requires us to take personal responsibility and it informs how we live. Quite often it challenges major aspects of our existing lives and the pull to be working on the land and engaged in permaculture activities is immense. It makes it hard to be indoors and hard to be involved in activities that are not in line with permaculture principles.
The question on many ‘born again’ Permaculturist’s lips is: How can I make the transition from where I am now to where I want to be?
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Got 10 minutes? Here’s a great little video of Geoff Lawton outlining the construction of food forests across three different climate zones.
Whether you live in the tropics, drylands or the cool to cold North American climate, there is something to glean from this instructional and entertaining video.
Watch it now!
Lorna from Uganda shows how they re-use plastic drink bottles on their small rural farm in Kumi. From solar lights to drip irrigation, the bottles make themselves very useful in many aspects of life.
Come along for a retrospective look at the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence (IPC11) that was hosted by Cuba in late 2013, and witness the experience through the lens of Andrew Millison.
Click for larger view
In Part One of this series we introduced Holistic Management as a decision making process in use by VEG and the first step in applying it — defining the whole under management. Now, we move on to consider…
Articulating an holistic context
This is where the real work begins. What Savory in the past called the Holistic Goal, and nowadays calls the Holistic Context, is the heart of managing holistically. An holistic context has four aspects. Let us tackle each in turn. Note that in the quotations below, which are all from the second edition of Savory’s Holistic Management, I have substituted holistic goal with holistic context to reflect his current usage (which Savory introduced and explained in this PDF).
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We have teamed up with Food Democracy Now! and others to tell Wall Street to Dump Monsanto this Friday. Read more for how you can take action too!
Did you know?
Millions of hardworking Americans, maybe even yourself, are investing their hard-earned income in the stock market in an effort to save for their children’s college fund or their retirement nest egg to provide financial stability for the future. Unfortunately, unless you’re paying close attention, you might be investing in a mutual or retirement fund that profits from Monsanto’s toxic chemicals and flawed GMO seed technologies.
After a 6-month investigation into the top shareholders of Monsanto, Food Democracy Now! (FDN) learned that the largest shareholders of Monsanto stock are massive institutional investors. They are some of the world’s largest and most popular mutual funds — names like Vanguard, Fidelity and State Street. This is where millions of Americans invest their hard-earned money, and they are the top shareholders for Monsanto. Even worse, if you haven’t checked, Monsanto could be hiding in your 401K or pension fund as well.
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For the last several years, VEG has been using something called Holistic Management as its core operating system. It has been a game changer and a blessing, and here, as well as sharing how we have applied it, I want to have a go at explaining what it is. After a brief introduction, I will go through some of its core aspects, using the VEG example to:
- communicate the essence of what VEG is about and how it rolls
- make the application of Holistic Management in a non-farming context more accessible to others, and
- share our particular applications and adaptations of Holistic Management in the interests of getting feedback and advice from more experienced practitioners.
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Awareness course group, Tipwere orphanage, Malawi
Five years ago, I never would have thought it possible to experience a journey and transformation in my life like this. My whole world-view and belief system changed. With it came a change in eating and sleeping habits, a reduction in consumption of all kinds of unnecessary products, a more positive state of mind manifested, through satisfying work outside the city or office environment in beautiful outdoor settings, and getting to meet and share time with interesting people from all around the world.
How did that come to be?
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