“As the world’s problems are growing ever more complicated, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple” – Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture.
Permaculture is described as a sustainable design science, rooted in nature. In other words, permaculture is the science behind living in harmony with our environment and creating independent relationships with our surroundings. This is not to say we have to give up on our way of life and forego the use of any technology. Instead, we must find ways to work with nature, not against it, and develop efficient technologies that permit us to keep our standard of living in an environmentally harmonious, responsible manner while eliminating pollution and food supply contamination.
As a child, I was constantly told to go play outside. In sunshine or rain, I would enjoy exploring, building, and playing outside, however; it seems this joy for the outdoors has dwindled over the past years. Less and less, children are playing outside and instead turn to video games, computers and other technologies to entertain themselves. On top of all these technologies, there is now a constant need for caution, especially for parents, as we’re told day in and day out about the dangers that await children if they’re not kept under constant supervision. Consequently as we steadily seal ourselves off from nature, there is an upswing in the number of mental disorders. According to the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers found childhood mental illnesses affect up to one in five kids and cost 247$ billion per year in medical bills, special education and juvenile justice. They also add that the number of kids diagnosed has been rising for more than a decade. The real disorder, however, is not rambunctious children who are less easily managed. The trouble is that we closed ourselves off from the essentials we need to survive, such as Vitamin D. Science has demonstrated that regular exposure to sunlight not only makes us feel better, but can actually alleviate illness. Our lifestyles have become increasingly sedentary, and with the lack of exercise comes illness. According to the CDC, inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. But the cure is not found in a pill bottle, a hypodermic syringe, or a counseling session. The underlying cause of these problems needs to be addressed, and that’s the alienation from nature that living in a modern environment creates. Sustainable living is not so much about growing your own food or using sustainable products, it is about regaining that connection with nature, while simultaneously benefiting from modern technology.
For us to survive, let alone flourish, we need to direct our energy and attention to the places it will do the most good for us and the world around us. Having advanced technology doesn’t mean much if we’re killing the planet and ourselves in the process of it. We need to let nature guide us, which is the primary directive of permaculture. By taking time to engage with nature, we can create solutions that better suit our needs and environment.