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Sustainable... Are You?

Permaculture is the vehicle the human species can use to become truly sustainable on this planet... but sustainable has become one of those buzz words that gets thrown out there by marketing companies to sell their products. I doubt very much if you trapped one of these marketers in a room and asked him or her to give you a definition of 'sustainable,' they be able to give you a worthy response. I know this to be true because on the PDC courses that I teach I ask that exact question. What does it mean to be sustainable? My students, who generally have pretty green blood running through the veins, kind of understand what it means, they thrash around on its fringes, but they are hard pressed to come up with a really good definition or even sometimes, true comprehension. They just know it is ECO... oops, that's another one of those cheap marketing terms that have lost their original meaning but can sell a car, waffle iron or golf bag if thrown into the product description. These terms when used by marketer prey on the cognitive dissonance of the average Joe or Jo. By this I mean we have been trained throughout our lives to be consumers, it is how the world's economy works, creating the velocity of the currency driving our insane, system around. Against that we also have the new memes: the green meme, the recycling meme, the eco meme, the sustainable meme. Well, these memes should actually be at loggerheads with consumerism but are sadly, currently, actually, happily walking hand-in-hand. We are still 'consumerist' but now we're 'green consumerists,' the irony!

So what does Sustainable mean?

It means to have the ability to endure and the only way that this can be achieved is by doing an energy audit and ensuring there is more energy coming into the system than is leaving it. Or we could say, when the quantity of resources required in the system, is equal to the quantity of resources available, we have reached maximum carrying capacity, should we go beyond this we become unsustainable... and our current civilisation is absolutely gone well beyond this point.

The system we live in unfortunately considers currency to be energy and uses it in its accounting. We have gone all in to accumulate as much of this type of energy as we can but this does not wash with mother nature, the consequence are currently that she has to pay. Our reluctance to shoulder responsibility will ultimately will be our folly, mother nature will not be bribed with cash; that thought is laughable. She has uncoiled the rope and let us pull the noose tightly around our own necks, the moment for the trap door to be opened is coming. The externalities of our destructive damaging system will eventually lead to own extinction.

Should, however, permaculture be put into practice we have a chance of reversing these ethically corrupt trends. If we can spread the word of permaculture we might be able to save ourselves from the gallows. Mother nature is not merciless, despite the pain we have given to her. We have the skills and the tools, all we need to save ourselves is the inclination. It is when we have the full comprehension of what sustainable means that we start to stand a chance.

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