Fires are raging through many countries at the moment. The current droughts in Australia appear to be the worst on record for 800 years. The emerging climate crisis is something that more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of as we start to see and feel the impacts.
Climate change is probably being discussed in most households. We see or hear it mentioned almost continuously in our media…perhaps multiple times daily. We think that we are making a difference by composting our kitchen waste, by ensuring our recycling goes into the correct bin, by reducing our use of plastic, and by perhaps even walking the distance when we would have normally taken the car. It’s true, doing these things helps to change the status quo, but how many of us have chosen to change perhaps the biggest thing that impacts our life on this planet? How many have thought about it deeply enough? The way we eat…
Impacts of monocultural agriculture
It still hasn’t penetrated the awareness of the masses that the number one destructive influence on the planet today is conventional mono-cultural agriculture. And if it has penetrated, it hasn’t really sunk in. It is the very way we eat as a species that supports the greatest man-made destructive influence this planet has ever seen, short of a true, world-wide war, or nuclear devastation.
And yet we find it so hard to change our way of eating; to change the fact that sometimes we just want to eat what we want to eat. After a hard days work or work-week, it’s one of the easiest and quickest ways for us to take some moments of time out and pleasure.
Changing our Habits
We all need to eat, and let’s face it, we all want access to cheap food. Many don’t care about the quality either, so long as it looks and tastes good, nutritional depth for some just doesn’t factor into the equation. Or have they just resigned themselves to the fact that the better quality food is usually grown in a way that puts it outside of their price range?
Why is it then that so many resent the hard work of our farmers, doing their best to bring in a commodity that for the most part, the market continuously demands? Let alone the fact that our farms have become so large and specialised…to account for the return on investment required to surmount ever increasing mechanisation costs, that our farmers can’t even feed themselves (literally)…in times of plenty…let alone when disaster strikes.
It is being said that this is the worst drought in living memory here on the Australian eastern seaboard, perhaps in Australia. Crops are failing and being blown away as dust, and cattle have died or been put down in their thousands. And in typical fashion, due to our general complete lack of eco-management wisdom, we set ourselves up for devastating floods, destroying further cropland, washing away our precious soils, and drowning the remaining cattle on our poorly managed lands.
There are many who feel that we should just leave our farmers to perish, let the profession and the tactics and strategies that they employ go the way of the Dodo. We say “we don’t need these destructive growing practices anymore, and we certainly don’t want them”…but what then, are we going to eat? How many have thought it through?
How many people in the industrialized nations grow their own food?
How many people who grow their own food survive 100% on the fruits of their own efforts?
How many people who actually do grow their own food, still depend in some way on the products of industrialized farming? Yes…still depend on it…as destructive as it is, and this includes the products of the ‘organic food’ industry, whose soil creation strategies, for the most part, still leave a lot to be desired?
Encouraged by government, by politicians, by policy makers ignorant of the natural principles that allow an ecosystem to remain balanced and flourish, our farmers just do their best to produce inline with the dictates of our mandated production targets.
Encouraged by the demand of markets, artificially inflated by the lobbyists representing the entrenched power and deep pockets of industry, subsidized by government, seeking to maintain levels in Gross Domestic Product, our farmers receive large loans from sectors of finance, to keep themselves afloat, so long as they remain within the dictates of what is considered normal. They don’t know anything else, because no one else has shown them.
It’s not as if these things have been written into law; it’s just that the fear of economic survival has them caged into patterns set out for them by preceding generations. Though it isn’t really that long ago that our farming practices changed so drastically.
Our farmers are human, and they are bound by the same fears and troubles that we all share in life, and most of us certainly wouldn’t be here without them. They deserve our respect…and they deserve our help and protection.
I know of farmers who were in so much fear and disillusionment of a system that they feel is abandoning them, that when approached by people offering them genuine aid, with no strings attached, they were distrustful and refusing of contact. Data from the National Coronial Information System (AUS.) shows that suicide amongst ‘farming, forestry and gardening’ workers were second only to those in ‘construction and mining’.
We can change this system from the inside out. But how do we get inside the defenses of those whose trust in ‘solutions’ has been worn out? Who can’t see light at the end of the tunnel for the increasing debt those failed solutions, temporary that they are, has left for them?
It starts with us reaching out. By letting them know that we are here…that we care…that we are here to help…and that we truly do have the means with which to do it.
Not just empty promises.
The Permaculture Solution
Permaculture is the top-down design science, complete in its own right, with the means to change the face of the industrialised food growing industry. Its adherence to natural principles means that its methods build soil, not kill it…regenerate land, not destroy it…rebalance ecological cycles, not poison them.
We can disrupt the drought-flood cycle of Australian farms and restore them to abundance and prosperity. We can bring sanity back to this most environmentally destructive of all industries, so that we can eat of this food, truly guilt free, knowing that its growing benefits the earth, just as its nutrition benefits us.
Permaculture is not just about growing vegetable gardens, it is about transforming our planetary culture; the way we live on the earth. The people who have ever completed a Permaculture Design Certificate course know this to be true.
So let’s help out. If there ever was a cause…this is it. If there was something…an ideal…worth giving to, this is the one.
We can feed seven and half billion people easily with this system, and we can do it while reversing the effects of environmental degradation.
We can mitigate the effects of climate change, and bring balance to the world we live in.
Please consider helping out. How much is our future worth?
A personal message and plea from Geoff Lawton…
This news article is very special. We have some really exciting news to share with you!
The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia (PRI) can now undertake charity projects, and all of your donations towards these projects are 100% tax deductible! PRI has merged with Holistic Sustainable Development (Holistic SD). As one organisation, we can deliver sustainable and ethical charity projects to both local and global situations, creating a huge impact for those in need.
Here is a really critical and exciting project. One that will positively affect and bring marked relief to the lives of well over five thousand people. We have embarked on a massive project to provide 196,000L of clean water to the severe drought affected region of Stanthorpe QLD.
The drought in Australia has been billed as the “worst drought in living memory”, however things are about to go from bad to worse in the southern Queensland town of Stanthorpe. The town’s water supply is just weeks away from drying up and the locals fear the ‘community cannot bear the cost’ of this drought.
As a long-term solution the Permaculture Research Institute is committed to developing drought proof farming in Australia, which will help our farmers endure long drought periods. Through our drought relief efforts to help farmers in these emergency conditions we are now being invited to help with long- term sustainable solutions using the design science approach of Permaculture.
We know we can help by installing thoughtfully designed rehydration earthworks that can begin the essential process of regenerating landscapes. This will provide ecological diversity, stability and productivity that will greatly benefit the region and local communities.
Our offer to help with design education and the implementation and establishment of demonstrations is being enthusiastically received. We can work with any farmer who wants to convert their land stage by stage as they personally witness the results for themselves and further benefits become obvious.
Right now though, urgent relief work is also required to help our fellow Aussies.
PRI is planning to dispatch water trucks to Stanthorpe, which will deliver the following:
• 100 X 1000L Water Tanks (reusable) with clean water.
• 9,600 x 10L bottled water.
For us to make this happen we need your support. For $57, you can help purchase 100L of water for drought affected farmers and locals who are desperately in need of water.
On Saturday the 7th September 2019 our first lot of water tanks made their way to Stanthorpe, where major bush fires have been fought.
Please visit www.holisticsd.org to donate now.
Our sincere thanks