RESILIENCEAnswers in the trees
I found the solutions to a sustainable economy in the woods near St.Winnow in Cornwall on a walk from Lerryn to Lostwithiel.
The valley edges are too steep here for the Forestry Commission to farm and has allowed a natural habitat to form with ground litter contributing to a rich environment.
Gnarled old wood and dead branches overhang the riverbanks and you can smell the salt rising from the mud flats at low tide mixing with the tang of decaying wood.
At this point you are some distance from any roads and the splash of water, the calls of many birds, the gentle sounds of air moving through leaves fill your consciousness, a gentle reminder that you too are part of nature.
Life can sometimes be so complex that we lose touch with the 'greater picture'. Contact with nature is the greatest gift to combat the dis-eases of modern society. It links us back to natural organic cycles.
These cycles give great clues about how to manage land, environment, society and even economy in a sustainable manner.
It's really very simple. In modern terms every 'output' in nature creates a new 'input'. New life thrives on decay, the energy always recycles. In contrast, our modern economic investment processes are based on exploiting the capital assets of the earth and using them as income. Its short term products become polluting waste.
In our society we waste people, products, energy, resources. As a result the very fabric is starting to crumble and the earth is full of toxins. There is another way - just let the woods show you.
Many people are working on ways that we can extract the lessons of nature from around us to construct an economy which ceases to rape the planet for profit. One of my favourite sources for this is permaculture, kind of the opposite to 'monoculture'.
My ancient, tatty Survival Scrapbook book from the 1960's on says: "Money doesn't exist - only energy, materials, imagination" and these can certainly be thought of as forms of capital that can be exchanged separate from money. Ethan C Roland of Appleseed Permaculture in the USA goes even further in identifying forms of capital and exchange. He describes a way of designing a financial system that looks more like an ecosystem. Rather than repeat it here please download the complete article (PDF) as published in Permaculture Magazine No. 68:
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