Friday, July 30, 2010

Mongolian Permaculture: Day 31 - Sustainability is DEAD


Ankle is better this morning.

Did some washing, caught up with the blog, and checked in with home. Main mission today is to replenish my funds with a visit the ATM round the corner.

Typing, typing, writing, writing, blog blog blogging… was it really only 2 days ago I was joking around in the kitchen with my newfound Mongolian friends?

Sorting thru all the pics taken that day and I am taken right back to Tosontsengel, now wondering where students go and what they will do with the Permaculture Design skills and knowledge they have developed…

It would be so interesting to see where each project is 2, 5, 10 years from now.

It would be great to be able to come back and revisit, though this is not a certainty.

Peak Oil, Climate Change, continuing Global Economic Crises… we live in such uncertain times…

It could be so easy to throw up our hands in frustration and disgust, to go down that dark road of disillusionment with humanity… to buy into the thinking that we’ve destroyed ourselves, and it is just a matter of time before the bomb we’ve set explodes in our faces.

Or, we could play for the best in humanity.

I have glimpsed the depths of the resilience of the human spirit in the eyes of my companions over the last month. I have experienced heartfelt connection and generosity that transcends language barriers, cultural differences, and geographic separation.

I have seen light in the eyes of our brothers and sisters here in Mongolia, who live closer to the land than I ever have in this lifetime, who have so much less than I have ever had, who give and share so much and so freely of themselves, to welcome us into their hearts and homes.

The light I have seen in students' eyes here on the Steppe, is that same light that goes on in people’s eyes at the end of the PDCs I have been on in Australia, the light that says HOLY CRAP I GET IT… we don’t need to have all the answers, just figure out the right questions… because it is all right there in front of us…

We do truly live in a Garden of Eden, with everything that we need to create a beautiful, vibrant, healthy community and life right before us… if only we train our eyes and hearts to see…

...suddenly, problems become solutions, waste materials become valuable resources… all with a slight shift in perception and a simple foundation of ethics and principles to guide us.

Maybe we really can solve all of the world’s problems in a garden.

Nature moves in exponential cycles, hence the quickening we are experiencing now, this hurtling towards potential and spectacular impending doom… ecological, economic, and cultural disaster, all converging into a gigantic cosmic SPLAT…

...though if nature moves in exponential cycles, than might it not also possible to harness this energy, and use the forces of nature to reverse the cycle of damage we have done?

High-intellect, high-tech design won’t solve our problems - you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

Low-tech, remembered knowledge of how to move and work in harmony with the natural world around us is, well, the natural way...

…Head thinks. Heart knows.

Sustainability is not just a new, trendy buzzword that hipsters and hippies wax lyrical about in coffeehouses about town.

Sustainability is how we lived, out of necessity, for millenia.

Sustainability is simply living, living simply, within our means, and working with natural laws and forces, to expand that means, to expand our lives – not forcing and bending nature to our wills.

In nature, energy cycles, changes form, and comes back again, and if you ignore this law… you get modern society. The Piper always collects his due in the end.

It is time to move beyond Sustainability.

We get what we focus on, so let’s play bigger.

Instead of focusing on how to reduce our footprints, what if we were to focus on creating systems inspired by nature, using biological resources, in order to flourish?

What if we were to focus on re-discovering and re-organizing the vast amount of natural living resources we have all around us, and incorporating them into our designs to create multiple mutual beneficial relationships within our systems?

What if we were to focus on how much we could create and contribute to the world, instead of how much we can consume and accumulate?

What if we were to focus on how big a positive impact we could make, rather than how much we can shrink ourselves to minimize our impact?

What if we were to focus on
  • Restoring?
  • Regenerating?
  • Recreating?

…What kind of world could we create?


  1. Hi Matt, Great experience... Would like to put you into contact with potential employer in Indonesia? Interested? email or send me a message via facebook ...Keep in touch...Have a great week...

  2. Dear Worms,
    i am interested in learning more...
    ...however could you send me your email / fBook information to:

    Thank you!