Last year, I travelled with a car full of green-thumbed Pemberton woman to Squamish for a free all-day workshop on permaculture.
Dawn Johnson later explained the shift in her thinking that the workshop brought about:
When I used to think about permaculture, I thought of it more like the “old way of gardening”. Less intensive, lots of diversity, a closed loop system that tries to reduce our impact on the earth. A systems thinking that uses everything in multiple ways. Gut Gardening. Intuitive.
But, permaculture principles are rooted in science, and way more complex. Doing the right thing for the planet, for the patch of soil you are stewarding, is backed by scientific research. For my rational Western mind that sometimes needs things to be “scientifically proven,” that goes a long way. Science, fused with community. Science, fused with growing food, shelter, plants and systems that are good for the earth. Science, and changing our thinking patterns.
Our teachers at that event have recently shared this short video, that I think explains the shift in thinking at the heart of the permaculture approach, that goes so far beyond gardening… that we need to adopt wholesale in everything. If that starts in the garden, wonderful. But it could start anywhere.
Here is the transcript.
Starhawk speaks of this shift in thinking as a deep spiritual shift. I think of it as a re-orientation or a way to wake up and reclaim something that belonged to us a long time ago – a profound sense of belonging. I think of it as part of a process of decolonizing my mind and trying to indigenize my thinking… or as Amanda Ritchie expressed the other day to me, a process of unlearning, to be able to learn.
“There are many ways that permaculture can really help people. Some of them very practical and concrete; helping people grow food, helping people find systems that can regenerate a local economy, and helping people produce for their needs in ways that are regenerating the environment around them instead of destroying it. But I also think, something Looby Macnamara said earlier is that “Permaculture is a shift in our way of thinking”. To me, that is the core, a shift from thinking about separate isolated things to thinking about relationships, and systems and flows, how everything is in relationship. To me that is also a very deep spiritual shift. It is a shift that I have been talking about and writing about for 30 years, it’s the shift that science is going through at a deep level, from the old mechanistic model of the universe to a more string theory and new physics understanding that actually when you look for the smallest and smallest piece of stuff, you find is there is no stuff, there is only relationships, there is strings, there is harmonies and probabilities. I think if we can integrate this understanding, then we can actually reimagine our technologies, our science, our industries, and our ways of doing things, bringing them back to being in harmony with the natural world. ” – Starhawk
Starhawk @starhawk_spiral starhawk.org
Filmed on Location at the Sustainability Centre sustainability-centre.org
Credits: Interview Team
Interview Video by Dana. S. Wilson @aweandreverencemedia aweandreverencemedia.com
Envoy : Delvin Solkinson @visionary_permaculture visionarypermaculture.com
Kym Chil @giggling_chi_tree gigglingchitree.com
Annaliese Hordern @annaliesehordern symbioticnature.com.au