Friday, 9 May 2008

The joys of resilience

One of the cornerstone ideas of the Transition movement is resilience. It means the ability to recover from shock, illness or misfortune. My preferred definition is the quality of flexibility, springiness, suppleness. It’s a concept worth mulling over. In the transition context it mainly means reducing our dependence on oil: working closer to home, replacing electric goods with good quality hand tools, using money wisely, producing our own energy and food where possible, learning new skills, etc. Our family has been building resilience, in this positive way, in to our life since we first realised that big change was ahead.

But it’s working with nature where I’ve had the greatest learning. Last night I harvested a salad of perennials and self-seeding annuals. The rocket, fennel, chives, young kale, red orach, sweet cicely and various flower petals are rich in minerals, taste, life zest and ease of growing. Those and a dozen others yield the family salads for nine months of the year. They are also resilient to slug and snail attack. Compared to these permaculture plants, the lettuce seedlings are simply rich pickings for the armies of pests roaming my small patch, and will probably not even make it out of the ground. Far from being a doomy reaction to what’s ahead, resilience building is creative, life affirming, and downright common sense.

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