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Why we need better systems for a brighter future

5 months ago

Have you ever considered the interconnected nature of what sustains life on earth? Life is made up of systems.

And yet as humans have expanded their population, extracted resources for our economy and continually encroached upon the natural world, so too have we lost biodiverse ecosystems.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Here we stand at a critical tipping point – perhaps made even more evident with the spread of the Covid19 pandemic. We are not separate from nature.

But our socio-economic systems have brought the world crashing down in the face of resource extraction, wild fires and pandemics. We are in the process of awakening to the fundamental ways we are all connected.

What is the link between Covid19 and extractive and wasteful systems? No longer can we ignore the warning signs of a burning planet. For as we steadily extract and burn resources to feed our burgeoning population, we in turn destroy wildlife habitats. And wildlife habitats are integral to planetary wellbeing.

For example, reducing an apex predator like the wolf to dwindling numbers results in an imbalance in the ecosystem. The whole of any system is greater than the sum of its parts. That means life evolves to encompass ever greater realities for the good of the whole. Remove one part and the whole suffers.

You can see how we’ve destroyed nature through wars for oil or through the planting of monocultures like palm oil. The rapid deforestation has resulted in more cattle ranches and soy plantations and feed lots. As the planet warms and oceans acidify, we begin to feel the effects of our rapidly expanding industrial systems.

From food to energy to the economy – all extractive systems are top-down and extract wealth for short term profit at the expense of people or the planet. Wildlife habitats are in danger. We must therefore do something about the loss of biodiversity or we will suffer even worse pandemics than Covid19.

And that means putting an end to extractive systems.

Creating balanced systems

Whereas a scarcity mindset sees all parts of a system as separate – there for exploitation and manipulation, an abundant mindset builds on systems of interconnection. I walk into a forest and see how trees, plants, microbes and fungi all add to the totality of the ecosystem.

Abundance therefore integrates the parts into the whole of the system. Rather than exploiting people or nature for profit, we draw the link, and create new systems that benefit both people and the planet.

Permaculture for future systems of sustainability

Permaculture is an ethics of design which includes earth care, people care and fair share. By growing a food forest, for example, we integrate both large and small trees, shrubs and root crops and ground covers. We grow a holistic system of food production that works with nature rather than against her.

In permaculture each input must serve more than one function, such as fixing nitrogen, producing food, or complementing other parts of the system. Ancient, indigenous cultures in Mexico used the 3 sisters system of growing corn, beans and squash together. Each plant served a function that contributed to the overall functioning of the system.

The squash acts as a ground cover, protecting the soil. The corn serves as a vertical function on which the beans grow, creating a symbiotic relationship between the plants while producing food. These simple systems, rather than stripping wealth from the system, add value to the overall functioning of the system through purposeful design and planning.

Linking the dots

The more we expand our awareness and connect the dots between our wellbeing and the overall systemic functioning of other life forms throughout the planet, the faster we can transition to sustainability.

We can use the Covid19 pandemic to raise the consciousness of the collective so that we may actively engage with our environment, together with what serves the whole. The systems that shape the modern world also impact our health and wellbeing. When one system packs up, we suffer.

There’s no better time to learn about systems that shape the modern world, our role in creating new systems based on sustainable metrics and our own personal wellbeing. Would you like to raise your consciousness in alignment with planetary wellbeing while actively shaping a better future? Then sign up for our FREE online course, or download our FREE ebook – together we can make a difference!

 

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