Permaculture . . . all out, everybody change for climate change

“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” ~ Bill Mollison

For me, part of gaining an understanding about permaculture is not only the how and what but the why. One of the things I learned is… if permaculture is the answer, climate change is the question.

Climate change is an issue many of us, including me, are coming to terms with. It is real, and is causing major shifts in the way humans live and societies operate. Permaculture begins at a personal level, then local, proceeding to a collective and global level, exactly where we’re feeling the effects of climate change, and why we should apply permaculture’s three core ethics to how we live.

• Care of the Earth.
• Care of People (starting with yourself).
• Fair Share (of resources and abundance).

I thought I was climate change aware but a research project for my Certificate IV Permaculture via Tafe NSW and the National Environment Centre flexible online learning asking me to share three resources useful to either explain or give more information about climate change, two of which, below, I’m long familiar with but the third led me to David Attenborough – Climate Change: The Facts, a documentary, which led to further viewing… Climate Change: The Evidence.

I was somewhat shocked to learn that we are at a tipping point, perplexed by a screen grab of Donald Trump inferring the climate change industry is all about money making, discomforted digesting facts that individual efforts will not accomplish enough to mitigate climate change if global corporate practices and government policies are not enacted. Some comfort lay in solutions and actions proffered: changes in individual energy, diet and consumption along with collective activism, and my resolution to do more in my own small way, consuming less and advocating more beginning with Australia’s elected officials.

Barbara Kingsolver is a favourite author I’ve long admired for her passion for the environment. I’ve read all her novels including the ecological themed Prodigal Summer (2000) and non-fiction Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007). However, Flight Behavior (2012) crystallised the significance of climate change. Although a fictional novel set in rural Tennessee, the plot hinges on the occurrence of millions of migrating Monarch Butterflies in a valley where they’ve never been before: an alarming indicator of ecological imbalance attributable to human activities occasioning critical displacement of a species from their typical wintering location in Mexico due to the effects of deforestation to a habitat that experiences harsh winters they are not at all equipped to survive, and loss of migratory habitat due to monocropping of land along their flight path. Flight Behavior’s central premise is a very real story about the causes and consequences of global climate change and the polarities of societal attitudes.

It led to further reading on the Monarch Butterfly. I learned local effects have global consequences: in the Northern Hemisphere Monarch butterflies ordinarily migrate from Canada and North America to Mexico however industrial agricultural practices, illegal logging, deforestation and extreme weather are a threat to the species.

I read Flight Behavior in 2013, sparking greater awareness: prompting me to actively pursue reduction of my personal ecological footprint. Since, I’ve been an advocate for climate change awareness and Monarch Butterflies, following the species’ plight and seeking out information sources such as 2016 article Mexico’s Monarch Butterfly Reserve: 40% Decline in Illegal Logging; Threats from Climate Rage on and more recent 2019 article The Vanishing Flights of the Monarch Butterfly.

Over a decade ago I attended a talk by Natalie Isaacs, founder of 1 Million Women who was on her way to building a global movement to empower women everywhere to act on climate change through the way they live. I joined. Since then 1 Million Women via its contributors, social media platforms and campaigns has inspired and informed me about climate change and the many ways I can make a difference every day in my own life such as: Live a Low Carbon Life; My Nana Says; Leave it on the Shelf; Eat Your Leftovers; Less Meat More Beans; 1 Million Conversations, etc.

“I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

Your thoughts? Comments welcome.



13 thoughts on “Permaculture . . . all out, everybody change for climate change

  1. The thing that really kicked it into focus for me was the Al Gore: An Inconvenient Truth film. I was so hoping he’d win the presidential race, instead of which we got Dubbya. The world could have been well on its way to a more responsible way of living, but now we have a moron in the White House whose cynical selective blindness is so great he attributes the concept of global warming to scaremongers aiming to make money from it….


    1. I need to put that on my watch list, it’s still relevant. Words failed me as I was watching Trump, who I usually avoid. And closer to home our current leaders don’t inspire confidence. I’m guilty of thinking the obvious was obvious and that everyone would be onboard but it’s apparent I was hopelessly hopeful. More work to be done.


  2. My place is on a steep block, and I’ve had to put in small terraces to stop the soil erosion, but also to slow the water so it has a chance to soak in. As Climate Change kicks in harder, hanging on to every drop of moisture we can will become a necessity. My garden revolves around water and the alpacas…ie. stopping the alpacas from eating everything I plant! lol


      1. To be honest, I’m not quite sure. When I shovel up the fresh top layer of droppings, the ground underneath is full of worms. But would there be worms under any concentrated food source? Weeds definitely grow like crazy around the edge of an alpaca pile of poop, but again, no real idea how significant that is.
        I figure any manure is better than no manure, esp. here where the native soil is really poor and runoff is a problem.
        If you learn something I’d really love to know!


        1. OMG! You’re a genius. Thank you thank you. Just saved that whole article. I’ve never been game to put the pellets directly on the garden beds. Now I will. As soon as it stops raining, lol.


  3. To me it just makes sense. I’ve been reading the Dr Seuss book ‘The Lorax’ to my 3 yo grandson lately and he loves it. Interesting that was first published in 1972 extolling the message about the real cost of deforestation, greed and environmental damage. I don’t think we’ve moved any further ahead tbh. We both said years ago one day the tipping point would be hit. I’m not holding my breath that much will change if we are relying on mandatory behaviour by business.


    1. Oh yes, The Lorax… still relevant today, unfortunately… “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”. I agree, I thought my part was my individual actions among many doing the same to make a difference, but I now realise it’s our numbers holding accountable business and government that plays an equal part. Because just like in The Lorax they will keep doing what they do to get what they get.


  4. I suspect we have reached our tipping point with the burning of the Amazon. It is a very depressing statement to make.
    A couple of tangential suggestions for you: Bill Gamage’s ‘The greatest estate on Earth” and Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”. Both look at Aboriginal land use, using settler/explorer diaries etc to understand how the land was sustainably farmed for tens of thousands of years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. According to the commentary on David Attenborough’s documentary we already have reached tipping point, which makes the Amazon burning of even greater concern. Great suggestions and like thinking… I just recently found and bought a second hand copy of The Greatest State on Earth, and Dark Emu is on my to read ASAP list.


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