Feral children know how to survive
Feral children can fight for their lives
Feral children hear what no one knows
There’s no words for the infinity of ghosts
The infinity of ghosts
Beth Orton, Feral Children
I just watched part of a video on CNN about Permaculture. As is so often the case, they brought up critics of the system, claiming that PC is too labor intensive, taking far more time investment than modern techniques. Especially in the start up phase.
As is so often the case, this is a question of perspective.
In conventional farming, 10 calories of energy are expended for every calorie of food provided. If a person were to invest that much energy into food production, he would quickly find himself starving to death. No question about it. But because conventional systems externalize their costs, civilization has found a way to make it work. At least in the short term.
Permaculture, by comparison, invests a significant amount of work energy into developing a system that, in time, will cost almost nothing to maintain. Well, no, let me rephrase that. In time a system will develop that will cost less then it provides. That is why I have been investigating and imagining beyond permaculture. Creating systems that are, in all significant respects, rewilded.
Rewilding involves not only looking at the plants basic natures, natural ecologies and local conditions, but also rewilding our own world view. I want to invest in systems that will, in time, go on without me, evolving and adapting as appropriate to the local conditions, regardless of whether there is a place for traditional agricultural plants or not.
As such, my focus is on creating an environment where a resilient, long term ecology can thrive and then allowing it to determine the best way to do so. If that means that I need to invest in developing hundreds of acres simply to provide enough food for myself and my community, then so be it. I hope to one day be able to forage on land that has recovered from the abuses of civilization, that has adapted to the toxins, acid rain, changing weather patterns brought about by civilization. Land that I have invested my time and energy into with the hope that it will one day support a community descended from me and mine (genetically or not). Land that I begin to create a relationship with so that those that come after will have a sense of place, of belonging, of interconnectedness.
All of this is merely to say that I realize, once more, how critical world view is to the way we approach the post-crash world. We can engage in permaculture and build something more or less sustainable, but still, inextricably, something we attempt to control – or we can move beyond control and into relationship. Homo sapiens fera What a beautiful world that could be.