There is such a huge difference between “knowing about” something and “knowing” something. Over the last 30+ years I have read so much about the environment, education, economics (not too much of this!), wildlife, nature, gardening and a bit of permaculture and, as a result, I feel that I know something about them all. This weekend has made me realise that I don’t “know” them that well. To get to know them I will have to put them into practice. As Confucius supposedly said:
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
I ought to know this, I consider myself to be an educationalist!
What has been great about this first weekend has been the underlying permaculture ethos of “People care, planet care, fair shares”. The team leading the course have run it in such a way as to encourage us to share a bit about our journeys so far with each other, as well as sharing a little of their journeys. And these journeys are so organic! There are no straight edges, no tick box solutions, no “right” answers (except perhaps in the end of weekend quiz!) The permaculture life seems to be about a journey of discovery, of observing, analysing, designing, implementing, maintaining, evaluating – and then going back over this process again and again as we observe new things and find different ways of doing things. This is much more exciting approach to life than having someone provide you with a solution, an “out of the box” way of making it all work that just needs more money and oil to keep it going when it starts to fail. Permaculture seems to be so much more than a fix to our broken system, it’s a way of life that involves discovery, learning, doing, being and celebrating.
But, as one of the team pointed out, perma-cult-ure is not a cult! It has answers but not THE answer. It provides ways of living but is not THE way. It is a holistic method but doesn’t provide THE whole.
I am really excited by what I have learnt and experienced this weekend and look forward to next steps on this journey.