Weaving a New Narrative with Permaculture


Permaculture gives us a new story. An uplifting story that challenges the dominant narrative in our culture today.

Underlying the ongoing degradation of the planet is the crushing story that humans are at odds with nature. That we are ‘Bad for the Planet.”

This is a very dangerous story. While there is no doubt that humans can damage ecosystems, there is nothing innately unnatural or bad about us. Yet, everywhere around us, the message is clear. Humans are destroying the planet. We are supposed to be consuming less. Moving around less. 

In fact, I had come to believe, prior to finding permaculture, that even the mere fact that I was alive and in need of food, water, and shelter put me at direct odds with the ecosystem and the planet as a whole. Reduce my footprint. Because every time I take a step, I am destroying the planet. 

It took me years to really challenge this culturally ingrained idea that humans are bad for the planet. But since the beginning, it never felt right. Looking back, I find myself thinking, “Wow. Just wow. That is messed up.”

The whole idea of nature conservation says that humans should not interact with a delicate ecosystem, because they will inevitably destroy it. Strangely, this is almost a license for humans to destroy ‘un-conserved’ land. It basically says, “Hey, humans are bad for the planet and will always end up destroying the places they live and work in, so let’s at least keep some land off limits from this horrible species.”

The worst part of all this is that young people grow up without any connection to nature and with a belief that if they interact with nature they will destroy it. We have become completely severed from the beauty, wisdom, and abundance of nature. This is not only sad, it is dangerous.

I began to see how damaging this idea is for the culture of humanity. How can we ever be at home? How can we ever feel welcomed to bring our gifts into this world, when at the core level, we have internalized the idea that we are bad for the planet.

The new story that Permaculture gives us, and the truth that I now live, is that when acting appropriately, humans can have a deep positive impact on the ecological systems upon which we all depend on to survive and thrive. 

The most important thing that permaculture teaches us is that we can enhance the environments in which we live and work. We can make them better. As crazy as that sounds, it is true. We can make the environment more beautiful, more diverse, and more resilient than any version of the ecosystem that excludes human beings.

Permaculture gives us a framework for designing human behavior that is ethical and ecological. It gives us the tools to build resilient systems that meet our needs while simultaneously enhancing the ecosystem they are a part of. In permaculture, we design ecosystems that are human inclusive. In permaculture, we recognize the innate gifts of human beings and seek to implement these gifts for the betterment of all living beings. It is not only possible, it is fun, and it is beautiful.

Learn the essentials of Permaculture Ethics, Principles, and Design Methodologies in our upcoming Online Permaculture Design Certification Course. 

Grateful for this global community of change makers!

Shad Qudsi

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