Ecology–Permaculture: Small, Slow, Diverse

Earth Care.  People Care.  Fair Share.  Recently I have been in the position to talk with several men who are in a drug rehab program.  Most of them are young, 20 somethings.  Some of them are in their 40’s or 50’s.  A couple of common themes come out of those conversations which strike me as real insights into our humanity.

Most of them have told me that this is not their first attempt at sobriety.  At first glance that seems sad–the suffering they are going through, and putting others through, goes on and on.  Yet, as they talk about their struggles, they seem to also acknowledge that it took those other times to arrive at this time and they express a genuine belief that this time will work.

Being given choices are important.  The program that they are in now gives them choices about how to spend their time each day (go to the gym, the library, small group, the sauna, yoga, etc).  They are given the choice of a religious approach, a meditation approach, or a twelve step approach.  The men I have talked to have been on each of those paths and each seems to feel equally that being able to choose that path is significant.

While I’ve heard many of them express the desire to hurry up and get this rehab over with, they acknowledge that rehab only has a chance if they take their time, learn some new habits and gain some insight into their lives.

I hear in these men’s stories a truth about enduring change and what works in this world, whether it is caring for the earth, caring for each other or struggling for justice, and they are the 9th and 10th principles of permaculture:  enduring change happens through small, slow actions; and we build something strong and significant through diversity.

What in the world are we working on today?  For whom?  Perhaps these insights of real human beings engaging their struggles can show us the way ahead.

Bob Patrick


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