Permaculture and the Debt Crisis

Permaculture magazine
Wednesday, 13th July 2011

More worrying news about European debt today, but what is permaculture's potential role in all of this?

As we all switch on our TVs, computers and pick-up our newspapers today we will be reading about increased concerns about the level of debt across Europe.

Today it is the people of Italy who are waking-up to the news that the world's financial community believes they have been living beyond their means. Taken with the crises in Greece, Portugal and Ireland, this seems to signal a need for information as to what we can each start to do to live within our planet's means.

In a very real sense this is where permaculture and the Transition Town initiatives come in. The thinking behind both of these "can do" movements is the idea that we can make changes to our current lifestyles that support us all as we start to understand the implications of climate change and shrinking supplies of cheap energy.

But, both of these initiatives also seek to engage with what we need to do within our communities, countries and as a whole planet. It is not something we should be fearful of engaging with, but rather something necessary, positive and something that can lead to greater resilience.

There are various excellent books and films that you can dip into as regards alternative economics. Two we will recommend for you today are the book Gaian Economics: Living Well Within Planetary Limits (edited by Jonathan Dawson, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Ross Jackson, and available in print or as a free eBook download) and the DVD, The Economics Of Happiness.

Certainly, these are uncertain economic times, but these times don't have to give us nightmares. Rather, they should be a time to take stock and understand where our real resources come from and what we need to do to prepare for a changing environmental and economic future.