As Christmas Day approaches, my memory leisurely strolls back over the years until it finally rests in the child’s delight that was Christmas when I was young. A smile grows as I recall those Christmas mornings; the gifts, the laughter, squeals of joy and, most importantly, the feeling of love and safety that flowed through the day.
Around our world, far too many people do not have similar memories, their memories are of want, hunger and deprivation; cruel reminders of how harsh life can be.
The Holiday Season ought to bring celebration, joy and togetherness but all too often serves to intensify anger and guilt.
This harsh reality was the subject of a lunch conversation I had with an acquaintance, a psychiatrist. He was expressing his mounting concern about the increase in the number of people who needed his service throughout this season of joy.
He and I live in an area with a high unemployment rate; it hovers between 15 and 16 per cent. This fact adds to the stress people must live with daily and as the festive season approaches, this stress grows.
It does not have to be this way. Poverty, hunger and violence exist because our society lacks the social and political will to do what needs to be done to bring about the changes. It is not that we do not know what to do, we do, and we simply choose not to do what must be done.
Permaculture design gives us the information and the tools to bring about the shifts in perception and practice that will lead us out of this morass and into a world were no one needs to live in fear because of a lack of the funds to participate fully in the marketplace where goods and services are bought and sold.
Permaculture design ethics and principles can change the structure of that market place and even how we pay for the goods and services we need and use daily.
Consider the ethic of sharing the surplus or fair shares, if the wealth of a community was divided fairly among the people who live within that community then the benefits derived from that wealth would be shared equitably rather than concentrated in the hands of the few while the many suffer.
We can start bringing about this change by shopping locally; buying goods from locally owned business.
This helps create jobs, as it keep the money spent circulating within the community, rather than leaving town to locations often thousands of miles away.
Growing, producing and buying food locally is where we can begin to bring about this transformation. Fortunately, urban agriculture and other forms of growing food locally are spreading; this is one hope that brightens this festive season. Hope is essential, but hope must be grounded in action; permaculture and urban agriculture are theory in action and will keep hope alive and spreading. Happy growing.