Without a rebellion there might be nothing left. The tide is turning and necessarily so.
Roxy Piper, Strategy Designer at the Permaculture Association. Twitter @synergyroxy. Views my own.
An international rebellion has begun. I am writing this as a call to action for humanity and permaculture enthusiasts everywhere. I want to take a few minutes to share my story, and perhaps you will be inspired by a world that is waking up. The sea is rising and so are we.
I will finish with some practical ways you can get involved in the rebellion and what you can do after.
10 years ago I did a course in Permaculture Design and it changed my life. I no longer felt alone in seeking solutions to global warming and ecological disasters like mass deforestation. I had found my people⎯ agrarian systems thinkers and community activists with a deep connection to the world around them. And much to my relief a network of curious people with the will to design a world that works alongside nature!
Permaculture designers have been acting to mitigate the climate emergency and ecological breakdown since the 70’s. The approaches used in permaculture have inspired a generation to redesign the places that they live. Permaculture networks, the Permaculture Association and groups like Transition Towns have done much of the groundwork for grassroots action for ‘systems change, not climate change’ in the UK and beyond.
The permaculture approach helps design intelligent systems which meet human needs whilst enhancing biodiversity, reducing our impact on the planet, and creating a fairer world for us all.
We will need grassroots movements like permaculture systems thinking and design to reinvent the way we design our society so that we can meet the our needs whilst working in harmony with our planet. Without approaching our challenges in this systematic way we do not have a chance to innovate and make integrated policy changes needed meet the Paris agreement or the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Last year, I kept hearing from so many friends and acquaintances that they were joining the extinction rebellion, some I was really surprised at as they don't really have time for that kind of action, preferring to try to live a low impact lifestyle and experience the joys of life.
Naturally curious about social change, I went along to see what all the fuss was about. I took time off work and family life to attend the first extinction ‘rebellion day’. The experience moved me almost as much as my permaculture design course. People were connecting to their sense of grief and compassion, they expressed educated urgency to halt the ecological destruction that is accelerating at an alarming and potentially unstoppable rate.
Though I spent most of my time volunteering in the Extinction Rebellion (XR) office where I feel at home, the rebel in me took me to the westminster bridge blockade where we held a citizens assembly and impassioned dialogue.
These rebels are organised and from a cross section of society, some academics, some veteran environmentalist campaigners but many ‘ordinary’ citizens had never been involved in direct action. I felt the upsurge of energy and another sigh of relief- this was going to be huge.
That was it for me, some time reading about their position and tactics, a few days of office support, dialogue with fellow volunteers and founding members, followed by then a bit of direct action - I really began to understand that this movement could capture the hearts and minds of enough people to make the catalyse the largest permaculture style redesign ever instigated.
Since then it has grown into an unprecedented international movement, with no borders. Coupled with the #fridaysforfuture #SchoolsStrikeForClimate, inspired by young teenager Greta Thunburg who stood outside the Swedish parliament every friday to ask politicians to take climate change seriously. The world held its breath as she told world leaders how they are stealing our future.
Gerald Winstanley was founder of the diggers/ true levellers movement which instigated a peasants revolt in 1600’s- he said ‘the earth is a common treasury for all’. He was not wrong.
Social change movements are now coming together and are no longer waiting for governments to act, like CTRLshift: an emergency summit for change, held last year. People are coming out of their silos. And if these movements have shown us anything, it’s that if we join forces and mobilise then decision makers will have to act. As Greta Thunburg says, "Change is coming whether you like it or not."
8 ways you can take action:
1. Become a member of the Permaculture Association to join our networks of systems thinkers, activists, educators, businesses and community organisers who designing and implementing solutions to 21st century problems. Watch this space to see how you can get involved in our 2030 strategy. We have been working with members to understand what we will do next. With 11 years to turn things around and our biodiversity diminishing our members want to be more ambitious than ever, to make these things happen we need the support of thousands more people.
3. Offer land and respite to extinction rebels. If you are willing to take activists on respite for a few days and in many cases, provide food please contact: [email protected]
6. Help us get permaculture education in schools by letting teachers and educators know about the Children in Permaculture manual available in different languages.
8. Visit a permaculture LAND Centre near you to get ideas and inspiration for what comes after (and during) the rebellion.