– Bill Mollison Permaculture Design Course 1983 –
“Hunger is rising, absolute hunger is rising, food’s badly distributed, not distributed at all often. The waste of food, the whole deal of it….its eh, a shocking situation, it’s just inhuman. It’s what nobody would intend, and somehow what we’ve arrived at, and we arrived at it by the erection of financial structures, totally divorced from resources. So that the fiscal economy has been a runaway system. We’ve gotta tackle that head on. That is, what I’m trying to tell you, it’s no good any longer just being an organic gardener or farmer, we have to be effective financial and political units. And we’re gonna have to face that. Just as it was very hard for us to learn to garden, then hard for us to learn to collect seeds, once the multinationals took over the open-pollinated seed market; we had to become seed growers. Now its very difficult, we have to become bankers. There’s no good trying to pretend we don’t have to. We can run away to the bush, build a mud hut and grow ducks in the garden, it’s not gonna do it. The coals will still be burnt, the land will still be eroded, and the forests will still be cleared for newsprint if we run away to the bush. So, there’s no escape, we’ve just gotta stop running away, stay where we are and start to face up and fight.”
That was said 28 years ago! And it takes the words out of my mouth today. And breaks and fortifies my heart at once. The permaculture movement has been inspired by the kind awareness of reality that is finally spilling over, onto the streets. Permies have had a lot of time to figure out solutions for the challenges we face.
Mollison’s words are heartbreaking because they arrive so clearly from the past, calling for the moment we are finally having. Through time, from a younger Earth, whose Oceans were not yet as full of plastic, radioactive or infused with oil. Trillions had not yet been stolen from us, and a perverted war had not yet been declared on terror and privacy. America wasn’t publicly torturing. We had a lot more ozone layer. We had much more Rain forest left. And so many more Polar Bears.
At the same time, his words fill the heart with the kind of hope that is tangible, that electrifies the body and gives the spirit real strength. Because the words have hovered in space, to reach us at this perfect time, to assure us that what we are doing is right. Mollison and so many great men have been waiting for decades for the a spark to finally catch. The work they have done, and the great things they have achieved are of infinite value to those who are only now realizing changes to our lifestyles need to be made. In quintessentially human style, we procrastinated. We knew we needed to get started, but we didn’t. When a universally recognizable symbolic spark failed to appear, eventually someone lit himself on fire. And everyone realized it was last call. We are finally snapping out of our personal preoccupations and distractions, to address our collective deadline.