Healing Soil, Healing Ourselves

Saturday was Soil Day in my permaculture design course. But if you really want to learn all about soil – from how to determine its texture to how to manage its structure and prevent toxicity leaching into what you grow on it – you have to sign up for a PDC or read the book. I will take you instead down a tangent of soil day that has more to do with regenerating ourselves and community than soil but it’s based on the things that soil needs (and we need soil! It’s the best CO2 store we have, so we better stop destroying it and start regenerating it!).

What does a person need to thrive? We came up with: Air, water, shelter (protection from sun, wind, water), food (diverse sources), and companionship. We then returned to soil science since soil also needs these things. I would like to go into a different direction by changing this question slightly. As I’ve pointed out before, most of us have some healing to do thanks to the degeneration that happens in our societies. So, what does it take to regenerate ourselves? Here’s what I came up with (using another mind mapping tool; click on the image to see a larger version): How to regenerate ourselves

There are a couple of branches that I would like to highlight: Nutrients and protection. Both include the obvious – food on the nutrient branch and shelter on protection – but I have also included more subtle things. I think we are nourished by the relationships we have but they have been eroded through the redefinition of that word – by shrinking the circle of people we related to, we have devalued friendships. The centrality of the couple does not fully nourish our need for relationships. We also need protection from a lot more than the elements. Meaningful work can protect us from burnout (assuming we also honor the balance branch). And a guaranteed minimum income can protect us from poverty. All of this requires that we reorganize society. Or rather redesign it – after all permaculture is a design science. This redesign gets easier, though, the more we observe what is not working in our current communities. (Cross posted here)