Imagine the world without anger, without greed. We have the power, the tools, the skills and the resources right now to build a peaceful world, where people live in harmony with the Earth and each other. This blog explores ways we are doing just that, one post, one change, one day at a time. Join me. Tell your stories. Ask for help. Spread your ideas for making the vision real and, well, ordinary.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Greening the desert, turning sand to rich, dark soil

Six years after funding ran out for the Greening the Desert permaculture project in Jordan, two kilometers from the Dead Sea, Geoff Lawton and his team returned to the site. What they found surprised even these seasoned permaculture evangelists.

Way back in college, in Geology 101 and Soils 101, we were taught that it takes Ma Nature millions of years to build a few inches or a few feet of soil, but permaculture is changing what science knows about that.

We can do this, We're in charge now

When Lawton says, "We're in charge, now," he refers to his organization Permaculture Planet funding the Greening the Desert project, but he's right in a broader sense. We are in charge now. We always were, and when he says we can do this, he refers to all of us. By our individual and collective choices, we changed the world. More than ever before, we understand that how it changes is entirely up to us. We decide.

While you're shopping today take charge

Many of us go shopping on Saturday, buying supplies and groceries for the week, running errands, picking up the dry cleaning and the tools and gadgets we need to complete our home projects. Every one of those stops is a vote for the future, an example of living consciously (or not) for the next seven generations. How are you voting?

What choices are you making as you dash from store to store? What tiny changes are you making in your buying patterns that show you're in charge?

One thing I've learned from you is that your ideas and actions, some so easy I slap my noggin with "Why didn't I think of that," are the most valuable part of this blogging exercise. Old ideas, new ones, they're all important and sure to be of use to someone. Share one or two of them with the rest of us, won't you?


Posted with gratitude to blogger gmoke of solarray, from whom I learned of this new Greening the Desert video.

We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.


Hayden said...

wonderful, wonderful news!

I know that the earth can become, quite literally, a Garden of Eden once again. I know this in my bones, and the science is indisputable.

Still, the phrase "we're in charge" disturbs me because when I hear it, I hear the same old hubris and humans first bias that has gotten us into so much trouble.

It's absolute fact that the earth can become green and hospitable beyond our wildest imaginings, and it's true that it can become a worn out husk. We can contribute to the direction and have much influence, but you'll never hear the words "we're in charge' come from me.

One could also stand everything on its head and suggest that Mother Earth is slapping us upside the head until we figure out how to get along and stop destroying our non-human brethren.

Both are unproved assumptions based on a particular point of view.

For me, it's enough to know that we can choose to undo the damage we've done, without reaching further.

Kathryn Grace said...

Hayden, thank you so much for challeging my assertion that "We are in charge." You are absolutely correct: Humankind has attempted repeatedly to prove this true and, unfailingly, Nature has shown otherwise. I have railed against such hubris many times.

In fact, if you haven't already, you'll probably see me contradict that statement from time to time--that we are in charge. There's the rub. Few issues are black and white for me. I've spent the past few days pondering my contention that we can be in charge, and thank you for that, because you've led me on a trail that goes back years, through many teachings, many learnings, many Aha! moments, and many philosophical and spiritual discussions.

Repeatedly, I've awakened with the words of the guru my friend visited, in his hermitage high on a difficult to scale mountain, reachable only by foot over days of treacherous path, when she asked him the searing question of her life, something about life and death, something so surely not paradoxical that it must have an either this is true or that is true, black or white, answer. The guru dumbfounded her when he said simply: Both are true, and dismissed her to make her way down the rubbly path, through days of torturous descent, carrying her backpack and tent.

On a grand scale, I agree. Human beings are not in charge. Never have been. Never can be. (Oh, the discussions we could have about that, one way and another!) On a personal scale, we must accept responsbility for the far-reaching consequences of our everyday actions, however small they seem. (I know you do.) That is where we are in charge (though one might easily debate that as well). We are in charge of ourselves, in charge of our choices, and we must begin to realize that it is our personal choices that ripple through everything else. Understanding this is how we empower ourselves to effect the change so vital to survival of our species (Ah! but is that so very important?) and the hope of leaving a better, more sustainable, more peaceful world to the generations to come.

Over-reaching? Yes. In the context of the piece, and without further discussion, I went too far, stating that we are in charge and always have been, that change is entirely up to us. I'm glad I did, because of the experience you've given me of exploring basic tenets I have held, some since childhood, and due for review.

So your comment and my reply remain in context, I'll let the piece stand. I welcome continuing dialogue, if it warrants your time and energy. Perhaps we'll spark more discussion! I hope so.

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