Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Introducing Permaculture People

by Phil Moore

Questioning things isn't always easy. Especially when you're distracted by the routine tasks of daily living. Not wholly satisfied and always busy we knew there was more to see. As the world turned and we went about our busy London bubbles we wanted to bring permaculture into the centre of our lives.

We hunkered down, saved money, and planned our exit from the city. A year later Lauren, my girlfriend, and I, landed in Mexico to begin an incredible two year journey exploring permaculture and sustainable communities through Central and South America. 

We had taken an introduction to permaculture course in 2009 with the Brighton Permaculture Trust and were hooked. We had worked in our own ways within activist communities, most notably Lauren having produced the film 'Just Do It - a tale of modern-day outlaws'. 

"We hunkered down, saved money, and planned our exit from the city."
Disappointment flew on the bitter winds of December 2009 as we watched the COP15 negotiations in a wintry Copenhagen come to nothing and Danish police beat on peaceful demonstrations from civil society and journalists and the pre-emptive arrests of activists. In 2010 a Danish judge deemed the action of the Danish Police as illegal. 

For us permaculture is about creating the world we want to see, more than fighting against the world we don't want. Direct action and activism has its place and is vital. As we got into permaculture, we felt more comfortable however with its emphasis on creation. As Bill Mollison says in A Designer's Manual being responsible for our actions is about taking matters into our own hands which we view as an inherently positive stance -- and one central to the tenets of permaculture. 

Learning a new language, challenging ourselves and seeing new lands broadened our horizons and our mind. With permaculture as the narrative we explored our own feelings and attitudes to how we want to conduct ourselves and our time on this planet. As students of permaculture we learnt many new skills as well as reading key texts as we travelled from Mexico to Argentina overland.

It was on a quiet bench in a little neglected park in Oaxaca City, Mexico (our first country on the road) we put pen to paper and started bringing to life our dream: to build a natural, energy independent homestead that we’d develop into a welcome space where we’ll run courses, produce food, house guests, and so much more. 

In Peru our ideas began to evolve as we thought of home and what home might look like. We want to live as self sufficient a life as possible and share this ideal with those around us and future generations. A large part of this involves redefining how we live, work & play. Moving away from an economy premised on exploitation we must learn to see the whole and make use of every part of it to thrive, and to live peacefully and productively.

Our journey has been a shift in perspective. Our minds cleaved open as we’ve poured ourselves into exploring what permaculture means and how it can look. In kind, good folk have opened their homes and life’s work, giving us the inspiration and material for a new way of being. It is a re-enchantment with the idea of home, or ‘eikos’ which is where we get the word ecology.

Now, back in the UK we've decided to continue our travels into the summer to check out the scene in the UK as we embark on the next stage of our journey: acquiring a piece of land and building our future. 

Lauren and Phil will be presenting a session at this year's Convergence, 'Permaculture Pilgrimage: Two years discovery in Central and South America'.

Lauren and Phil are Permaculture People
They run an (ir)regular blog at www.permaculturepeopleuk.tumblr.com
Tweet them at @permapeople 

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