I’m just putting the finishing touches to my permaculture diploma, which I’m presenting for accreditation this Sunday. It’s the culmination of nearly five years of work, during which I was designing and creating resilient systems in response to climate change and peak oil. When I took the introduction to permaculture course about 25 years ago, followed a few years later by a two week design course, it revolutionised me. Here was a holistic, systemic approach to life that had a brilliant ethos at its core: earth care, people care, fare share. That ethic applies even more today when the problems identified then are now threatening life on earth.
Five years ago, when I left Lewes New School, which I’d co-founded, I wanted to devote myself as a permaculturalist to the urgent issues of the day and decided to take on this self-managed learning course, which includes meeting with tutors and fellow designers. In five years I’ve helped establish Transition Town Lewes, and have been deeply involved in several of its projects, including the Lewes Pound and communications. In that time I’ve also co-started a community car club, made our house more energy resilient and also a generator of both heat and electricity. I’ve established several growing places, including my allotment, woodland and small forest garden near our house. I’ve become a natural beekeeper. And I’ve written about all this for Viva Lewes online. It’s been fun.
I’ve been able to focus on this work mainly without pay by reducing our costs – we buy very little stuff any more – to the point that we can live on one income. For me, whether I’m paid or not, recognised or not, successful or not, it’s my path. I’m deeply grateful for permaculture as a practical way of making sense of life.
Three people are accrediting in Lewes and two in Worthing this weekend – all leaders who are helping design resilient communities. You are welcome to attend. 2 – 5.30pm this Sunday 4 September at Lewes New School. You can read my 10-module diploma here.