Ecology, the original economy
A practical guide for managing transition stress
Autumn 2018: Traffic jams. Stressed-out people. Not enough money/time. Frustration.
Is this what we really want?
The economy-paradigm, which has been ruling our culture for quite some time now, seemingly regards “economical growth” as more important than the rapidly diminishing biodiversity and loss of forests and water.
And so it mercilessly whips everyone forth: work more hours, build more roads and heavier internet network, for food it comes up with industrial production and ‘healthcare’ is reduced to expensive pills and medical interventions – do we really want that??
It is within the power of each individual to make small and larger shifts in our lives in order to change the course of things.
I suggest we follow our individual inner guidance as we’re shifting from the destructive era to an increasingly creative and nourishing times. Your Heart feels what is wrong and what is better, whereas your Mind might be programmed to think in a specific way by the society you grew up in. With every change, trust the voice of your Heart over your Head. Why?
Well, how does a seed become a tree? How do two lovers meet? At times in your life there are so many synchronities happening that you just can’t explain it, logically it’s ‘not possible’…
There is an underlying intelligence guiding Nature and its beings, a Life Force that penetrates all organic things, connecting us to our world, our home that we call planet Earth. And that, the intelligence of Nature, wants all its babies – yes, humans too – to thrive and flourish.
Nature speaks to its family – we might say: via intuition or telepathy, nudges, hunches and ideas. Some people hear words or get visions, others hear absolutely nothing but still get a sense of feeling good or bad as they’re about their things.
The permaculture movement uses nature as model and mimics its design. An excerpt from Wikipedia: “Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. “
I entered this eco-thinking via permaculture, but via trial and error I’ve found that dogmatic things don’t suit me too well. So, whilst I’m gladly giving credit to the permaculture movement for waking me up into another way of doing things, I’m still an advocate of finding your own way.
After some years of intimate connection with MotherEarth and thinking (at various degrees of intensity over time) about our society in relation to Nature, a few key principles* to get those creative thinking-juices going:
- nature is intelligent; observe and mimic actions in nature, take time to reflect
- be mindful with resources; collect, store and use wisely
- take what you need, don’t over harvest – leave the rest for others
- in nature there is no waste. Reflect before you discard; how can this be useful in another function or to someone else?
- I prefer local connections in food, resources and services… with the idea of strengthening personal connections, the local vitality and diversity
Nobody is perfect, we’re all a work in progress. Think and adjust, re-think and re-adjust. Have conversations about our actions and choices in relation to our quality of life with your children. Educate the children. Collect the trash thrown in nature by the arrogant (and leave it in a see-through bag at the doorstep of the arrogant).
Do what you can. Work towards making “what I can” a bigger space. Question. Have conversations. Nudge.towards.a.better.World.
And hopefully, before we know it, we’re in a much better scenario, with true freedom, vitality and joy!
* inspired by the ‘Twelve Permaculture design principles’ articulated by David Homgren;
- Observe and interact: By taking time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and store energy: By developing systems that collect resources at peak abundance, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield: Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the work that you are doing.
- Apply self-regulation and accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.
- Use and value renewable resources and services: Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce no waste: By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design from patterns to details: By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate rather than segregate: By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use small and slow solutions: Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and producing more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and value diversity: Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use edges and value the marginal: The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively use and respond to change: We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing, and then intervening at the right time.