permaculture

WANTED. Planet in crisis seeks leaders up to the job

V leadership-transition

When the essence of leadership tends in the direction of doing injury and inflicting harm, it is a collapse of leadership, for which we do not have a name. – Stephen C Rose, in the introduction to his book: The Coming Collapse of Leadership.

Why is it that slow food, slow money and slow travel are so appealing, but that there’s nothing quite as dull as a slow catastrophe?

Perhaps it’s because when you slow down food, money and travel, it allows you to more fully savour the genuine rich pleasures to be had in the senses and in the moment.

Whereas if you slow down a catastrophe, that doesn’t work at all, because catastrophes are meant to be enjoyed at pace. (more…)

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Pink pants, red herrings and life’s work

(or: More than my job’s worth, part 2)

The snickett where the pants lay.

Some weeks ago I made a decision. Except that it wasn’t me that was making the decision, I thought, it was the pants. They had been lying there, in the path, for probably more than a year. It’s a muddy, narrow path between hedge and houses; the route to school that I walk with my son every morning. A dozen parents had casually side-stepped the pants a thousand times apiece, perhaps not noticing them, perhaps embarrassed; but surely all, like me, wondering secretly: whose were they? How had they fallen off? Were they missed? Surely someone should pick them up. Should I pick them up?

Yet month in, month out, they lay there, unloved and ignored, covered in turn by summer dust, autumn leaves and winter snowfalls, exposed after every wind or thaw to reveal an ever more crumpled, downtrodden repose, their pinkness struggling to be heard beneath the deepening coating of mud and algae.

The day I decided to pick them up would be the day my life would change, I thought. The pants had called me. And if you respond to the call, the pants are yours. (more…)

On belonging

As this placeless world spreads, and as progress is increasingly defined as the ability to look out of a hotel window in any city and see the same neon-lit corporate logos, the most radical thing to do is to belong. To belong to a place, a piece of land, a community – to know it and to be prepared to defend it.
Paul Kingsnorth, 2004

I’ve been wondering about belonging. What is it? Is it important? Where can we get some? How do we hold on to it?Home

A decade ago I returned with my young family to live in the area where I had enjoyed my happiest childhood days.

I refamiliarised myself with the landscape, the trees and plants and birds and rivers, in all their colour and variety. I took the plunge into community activism. I made and renewed good friends in the area. It is a welcoming and beautiful place to live; I feel lucky to be here and generally content.

Yet I’ve rarely enjoyed a deep feeling of belonging. In my gloomier moments I can feel adrift, struggling to find any point of reference. (more…)

Update: new blog showing my nerdy side

This is a short note to anyone interested in permaculture or sustainable food production (I know there’s at least one out there!) to flag up another blog I’ve started, documenting my permaculture journey. It won’t be of interest to everyone but if you like pretty pictures of lettuces and straw bale buildings it might be for you!

Find it at Slow Worm.

Meanderings on belonging will be the subject of my next Vivid article, in the pipeline now.

The loops of eternity vs The loops of never coming back

All thoughts now are with the people of Japan as they bow to the terrifying might of mother nature and the folly of man; and to the people of the Middle East as they face down brutal oppression.

But I promised I’d come back with tales of vivid things and at such times as these of fear and change perhaps vivid things are needed most of all.

It didn’t actually take me nine months to find those things; the delay has been due to other commitments and a winter go-slow. Thank you for coming back. (more…)

Catching up, switching on

Leaf behind barsEvo Morales has been at it again, saying bold and beautiful things that other world leaders will likely dismiss as radical or simply ignore, instead of recognising his brave attempts to get us to value Earth’s life support systems before it’s too late. On Earth Day, April 22nd, Morales addressed the United Nations calling for the countries of the world to accept a set of principles that would protect the planet’s resources and ‘right to life’. (more…)

Science: shining beacon or siren on the rocks?

CTIO at sunset, (c) NOAO/AURA/NSFIt’s that time again: time for governments to pump up science as panacea to world ills, for ministers to commission national surveys to discover why young people won’t study it (and most people still don’t get excited about it) and for public-engagement experts to work out new strategies for getting us to see the light. (more…)