Is Permaculture Increasingly At The Heart Of The UK's News?

Tony Rollinson
Thursday, 21st July 2011

This morning's edition of the BBC's Breakfast TV programme featured its normal array of features. Watching it closely throws up the question: is permaculture thinking increasingly influencing the news and does this indicate a gradual shift in media perception?

Today's edition of the show featured a whole series of reports that to most people could be considered an average day. But, perhaps to permaculturists the connections are now becoming more evident?

The big stories of the day were economics and the Eurozone debt crisis and the escalating famine crisis in North East Africa. We have featured both of these stories on this site over the past few days and connected up permaculture thinking about these issues.

But, there were also stories more local to the UK which are as equally readable in a permaculture context and evidence of an expanding consciousness in these shores.

One of the stories looked at the increasing numbers of jellyfish in the seas around Britain. The piece reported that our waters are warming encouraging more jellyfish and overfishing is causing the decline of jellyfish predators. This is a significant effect of climate change that directly affects UK holiday makers and is something which marine biologists are flagging up as a major shift.

The other two stories concerned solar power feed-in tariffs and the growth in ownership of smallwoods in the UK.

Smallwood ownership has increased in the UK by over 100% since 2005, from 1,000 to 2,000 owners. A typical 5 acre site can be bought for around £39,000. Around 125 woods per year are being bought. This renaissance is attributed to some of the current economic factors we are experiencing as is the lifestyle choice. Perhaps Channel 4's Grand Design with Ben Law is a significant inspiration for people? Ben's first book, The Woodland Way, is still a blueprint on how to sustainably manage a woodland and obtain a financial yield from it.

The UK government looks set to significantly reduce the financial incentives for larger scale solar suppliers, such as the UK's largest site the Hawton Solar Farm in Nottinghamshire. The development of renewable energy should be something that attracts further investment and development, so a disincentive like this has to be of great concern. The better news within this story is that the government is seeking to make money available for solar home users and other smaller scale solar usage but their allocation of funds is the lowest in Europe.

What each of this morning's stories show us is that things are changing. For permaculturists these range of earth care, people care and global fair share connections are becoming ever more apparent in our lives but government policies are lagging far behind. We are joined to this planet and to each other. The choices we make should not be just for shareholders but should take into account our future energy provision, our woodlands, the very real changes happening in our seas and climate change. As we are seeing, our decisions are effecting others around the world right now and we have to respond and plan positively for change.

We would love to hear your personal experiences of changes you are seeing that connect you to permaculture, climate change and people around the world, however simple and brief. We want those stories to be told, preserved and passed on. Please contact us!

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