Thoughts on Vocational Training Centers for Ecological Restoration

One of the things that people ask me a lot is: “What can I do?” to help.

I think it is crucial that each individual answers this for themselves. I know for me that having made the decision to devote my life to understanding, documenting, communicating about and restoring degraded Earth’s systems has provided an endless stream of fascination and purpose. I certainly believe it is critical and in many ways the “GREAT WORK” of our time to find ways to restore ecological function on a planetary scale. I recommend that each person get in touch with their own thoughts and determine what they can and want to do.

Given the thoughts above but still being asked “What can I do?”, I began to wonder what is the correct way to move from awareness building to action. We are facing some fairly enormous challenges including biodiversity loss, desertification, food insecurity. poverty, disparity, overconsumption, waste, pollution and climate change. Continuing to believe that we can maintain the global production and consumption economy and rapidly and continuously grow the economy to make new jobs this way for billions more people seems like we are headed down a dead end street. Eventually we’ll get to the end and our civilization will fail because it is simply impossible to continuously grow such a wasteful economy.

It seems that we badly need to have a lifestyle change. What could this be?

Gradually it has become more and more clear to me that we can base the economy on Ecological Function rather than production and consumption. This would put us on a different path that would lead to a sustainable future.

I went to Jordan with Geoff Lawton and VPRO and made the film “Green Gold” that was broadcast in April. You can see this in English here:

The more I have thought about it the more the Restoration of the Earth seems to be the “GREAT WORK” of our time. The main thing that we need to understand and get right during our lives. In order to do this we are going to need the skills to do this.

You can see Geoff’s farm in Australia here.

This seems to me to contain many of the skills that are needed to restore degraded lands. To spread this widely I would recommend building Vocational Training Centers for Ecological Restoration that include the Permaculture Research Institutes. Geoff and I have discussed this and are in agreement. The Natural Resilience Initiative being set up by Willem Ferwerda is another piece of the puzzle bringing modern management and capital to bear on rapidly ramping up these efforts. We could place these centers throughout the world in Community Land Trusts which would essentially be communities owned by the members. These communities would work to take care of themselves on one level but would also serve the GREAT WORK of large-scale ecosystem restoration and of training to teach the techniques to effectively restore large degraded ecosystems.

In this way we could ensure meaningful livelihoods for everyone who participates. This would change the basis of work from serving to make money to ensuring sustainability for ourselves and future generations. This is the way that I would like to live.

I’m currently editing a film from Bolivia where the government is advocating a policy that enshrines the rights of Mother Earth and promotes the concept of “Living Well” rather than the concept of acquisition of more and more material possessions.

I’ll share this after the DOHA COP 18 where it will be presented.

I’d be very interested in your thoughts on this.

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