Kisses + a seasonal reminder.
When you see or hear the word "mistletoe," what comes to your mind? We typically associate it with winter, festivity and kissing. But did you know that mistletoe is a parasitic plant? It exists by attaching itself to a host tree, and then absorbing water and nutrients from it. It's a leech. I think this is a very timely and appropriate reminder during this time of year when people get even more consumptive than usual, to not behave as parasites, sucking the life out of the planet we indwell as though the Earth was nothing more than material resources for our decadent, unconscious pleasure.
I know... that message isn't sweet like a sugar cookie, but I only share it 'cause I love you, and our shared home. Which brings me to...
An important resource for urban regenerative designers. Lovin' the big metro cities we're in.
In permaculture circles, there's an unfortunate tendency to regard cities as inferior places to be. Congestion, pollution, senseless zoning restrictions, too much concrete and artificiality, not enough natural and living landscapes... these combined traits have rendered countless caricatures of a zombie apocalypse that should be avoided or fled, if you have the means to do so.
I'm guilty of having had that stinking-thinking, too. My love of forests and solitude had grown into a passive resentment of my current reality, which includes apartment dwelling in the heart of a big city. An interstate highway, Redline subway station and shopping center are 50-feet from my front door. I used to consider these things conveniences, but they had now become annoyances. Much like the pulsing blue lights of cop cars that shine on my bedroom walls every night.
I used to live by Rumi's challenge that said, "Wherever you are, be the soul of that place." I put those words aside to romanticize a peaceful heavily-treed plot of land that was anywhere other than where I presently am.
Thankfully, a dear online friend -- Jill Lanier of Permie Peeks -- shared with me a pivotal interview that has helped me shift and lift my ideas about place. Listen to it here. Jill, a New Yorker, earned her PDC with the interviewee, Andrew Faust.
Big, public thanks also goes to Scott Mann, of the Permaculture Podcast, who hosted the recorded conversation that helped me renew my love for Chicago in particular, and cities, in general.
It is unwise to despise
where you lay your head.
If you want "different" or "better"
first, yourself, BE different or better.
Escapism is cowardly (and ineffective!)
Bloom where you are planted, beloved.
And as you do, ironically,
your roots strengthen enough
to shake free + dance themselves
to a new vista. At which point,
it won't even matter anymore,
because you will have learned
oasis is not a place.
Oasis is a choice.
10TH PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLE: USE + VALUE DIVERSITY.
Begging heroin addicts, ambitious University of Chicago students, good-hearted ministers and hard-working entrepreneurs are all my immediate neighbors. Intellectually, morally and economically, I live in a very diverse setting, and I have humbly learned to value it all. I am no better, and no worse, than anyone I walk beside. That is true in Englewood, and everywhere.
Did you know that **more than half** of the world's population now resides in urban centers (54% as of 2014)? Both Chicago and the NY-NJ-CT tri-state areas are some of the most populous urban areas in the country. And, these growth trends are only expected to continue. John Wilmoth (Director of the United Nations DESA's Population Division) states that "managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the 21st century". Permaculture definitely offers tools for meeting that challenge.
12/23/2014 05:20:13 am
Jill, I did *not* know that! And I'm grateful for you sharing such important knowledge about urban areas. AND inspiring images on your blog. I still long + plan to live in a non-urban setting, but I'm more at peace with where I currently am, and want to be as useful as I possibly can to cities. If you ever decided to collate your images into a 12-month calendar, or something, I would order one in a heartbeat! ;-)
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