For many people completing a PDC can be a life changing event. Not least become they come to the subject looking for a catalyst to accelerate changes in themselves which are often already well underway. Permaculture puts flesh onto the bones, it enables a person to move from defining themselves by what they don’t like or approve of, to what they positively do strive for.
Modern societies greatest fallacy has been to externalise the environment. We are encouraged to see the living world as something outside of our selves, where of course nothing could be further from the case. By externalising the natural world we have lost sight of our own place within it.
Permaculture begins within you. It starts as way of seeing, of thinking about the world that makes ourselves active players, spectators no more, we become participants. Sustainability is just an idea really until we really take it on board and think about what we mean. If something is not sustainable it by definition leads to collapse or implosion. It doesn’t matter on what level it is happening the outcome will be the same. It is no co-incidence that so many people feel a deep sense of disconnection from a global society that seems hell bent on its own self destruction.
Permaculture teaches us that nothing exists in isolation, we are all the product of interactions between living things. We humans are as intricately bound into the web of life as are the plants, fungi and animal around us. We couldn’t digest our food with out the yeasts and bacteria in our gut, our waste would not decompose and plants couldn’t extract nutrients from the soil. The air we breath is full of oxygen released by plants and all life* draws its energy from the sun.
*(Actually there are some weird and wonderful life forms that draw on geo thermal energy to exist, but they are far removed from anything we recognise).
Why the Cathedral?
Permaculture design is for everyone, it teaches how to live on this planet without destroying it, it is not an exclusive club for greens. Although many of its pioneers are hardened environmentalists as a club it is open to all for membership. We all have a stake in a living planet, not everyone has fully realised that yet maybe, but the wake up point comes to everyone at some point.
The 2 week residential course is out of reach for all but the most dedicated students. Although it is a fantastic experience every time it is also hard to squeeze into busy lives, childcare and work responsibilities. At Chester we created a modular course based on evening classes of 3 hours, supported by home study directed by resource pages and videos.
This pattern has enabled students to weave the course around their existing commitments with a degree of flexibility.
We are excited to announce we are invited back to Chester this October to run the course again and build on what we set in motion on the first course.
I am writing this on my phone as I wait for train to Heathrow to pull out of Shrewsbury station. The next Sector39 course kicks off in Kamuli Uganda next weekend with 25 African farmers, teachers, students and civil servants. We are partnering with the Permaculture Research Institute of Uganda who are keen to connect us with Government and funding bodies out there. We will see how it all goes, delivering an excellent PDC is our first goal but are keen to develop peer to pèer learning models to enable us to launch a permaculture academy and create 1000s of new designers and teachers. Permaculture and Africa go beautifully together, an explosion of creativity just waiting to happen. Watch this space.