Welcome to our Spring edition of Northern Edge! We hope that this edition finds you feeling energised and ready for new growth in keeping with the season. As the land begins to warm and the natural world around us starts to reawaken, we may find ourselves reflecting on how best to move forward at this critical juncture in our development. On the global and national stage, we are met with great turmoil and chaos in our political, social, economic and environmental landscapes. Yet there are many things that we can continue to do in our own quiet ways to move in a reliable, steady and measured manner towards a healthier way of being.
Here at Northern Edge we have been thinking a bit more about the significance of localisation and connecting with the areas in which we live. Localism is a strategy, not an ideology, it is the means by which we can achieve a greater level of community-sufficiency. We are reminded that we cannot generate real and lasting change alone and that it is within our communities that we will need to work with each other in order to bring about the necessary adaptations and permaculture projects that are so desperately needed.
As people become increasingly disillusioned with the failure of our current dominant system; outreach, networking and providing permaculture education that incorporates an understanding of the interconnected nature of all things is likely to be a vital part of our role in helping others to recognise that real and lasting change is possible, if not inevitable. New perspectives offered will include a deep understanding of our interdependency as human beings with each other as well as with the web of life. It would be fruitful to cultivate an awareness that no one person or few people hold all the knowledge or indeed all the skills required to enable necessary life sustaining systems to emerge. In fact, all members of a community are needed for any society to fully maximise its potential. It may be wise at this point to look to nature for direction on how to achieve these local developments.
Nature is gentle, slow and cyclical. Life emerges organically, with the intention of being and supports lasting connectivity and relationship. If we look for example at the growth of an oak tree it begins its’ life journey by putting down a deep tap root into the soil before reaching up through the air to the sun for warmth. Realistically as permaculture designers and pioneers of a whole systems approach, we are still in the process of developing our roots rather than fully emerging in the outer world in an obvious way. Again, it is worth holding on to our awareness that strong, established roots are vital for successful growth and optimal development.
As we engage with our local communities, we will see that we are more effective when we do not preach, impose our will, coerce or manipulate others into doing what we want them to as these are strategies that our old economic, political and social models are clearly showing us do not work. We can simply be open with others about our values, ideals and visions, generate discussions, find our commonality and explore our shared needs. We can listen to each other and allow ourselves to enjoy being in the presence of other humans; engaging with discourse and deepening our understanding of where our fellow human beings are coming from.
We are moving from a ‘power over’ violent, controlling, hierarchical culture to becoming a ‘power with’ society in communion with all life. This shift invites us to begin exploring what it feels like to be an adult who supports and enables others in becoming all that they were born to be, trusting that they will find their way, just as we will find ours. We may need to set boundaries at times if others attempt to exploit or use us for their own gain, but when we do not comply, those who engage with these old behaviours will learn that these methods of interacting are becoming redundant and necessarily so. We hope that our thoughts, ideas and musings will aid in facilitating the growth of your own as we continue embarking on this great process of change together.