Monday, March 27, 2006
For years now, I've been talking to people about a "green house demonstration project that includes its land and its connection to the greater community and environment" and at no time did anyone ever say, "Oh! You mean an Urban Permaculture project!"
I'll focus on how this excites me. I've been on the leading edge of many things but have yet to be a leader-- and now here I am, with this synthesis I carry in my soul, learning a new language and a new set of tools which make it easy to talk about and describe. Last year I knew this idea was part of my journey, but my tool set was incomplete.
The main thing I'd like to accomplish is a fractalization of the edge between our urban centers, our suburban areas, our agricultural areas, and our wild areas. I'd like to help people see the value of maximizing the interpenetration of these zones. It's a wilding of where people live. I feel this would solve a couple of problems at the same time: we could restore habitat, taking pressure off wildlife, and we could bring nature to our cities, taking pressure off people.
We saw pictures this weekend of a place in Seattle in which half a road got restored to a green space. It was next to a salmon-run stream. The road became a one-way road, the people who lived along it lost some parking but gained a green space, and the stream is now buffered against the high-water surge of a big rain. Also, road grime is filtered through the green, so the water is far cleaner. Salmon fry survive, now, and the neighborhood is a bit more connected to Nature.
People ought to congregate. Cities are hotbeds for human productivity. But in the shadows of our buildings, let's plant greywater reedbeds. We needn't treat all the water from an apartment complex with a reedbed, but we do need to establish some habitat for the creatures that are being pushed out of their homes by continued development. We do need places for our children to get muddy as they watch a dragonfly crawl out of its nymph skin. This provides that kernal of wonder so later we have the courage to set aside large tracts of land that aren't yet developed. Having Nature in the city reconnects us to the natural world so we are centered, grounded, and have inner peace so we can live cheek to jowl, in safety and security, in the urban core.
A friend asked me what I'm going to do with what I learn in this course. What I'm going to do is to co-create the diversity of habitat necessary to inspire people to live in clusters so the natural world can be enjoyed for the rest of time.
Posted by Robert van de Walle