Permaculture and Bill Gates
I recently read ‘How Soon is Now’ by Daniel Pinchbeck, a true thinker who eschews traditional narratives [http://www.pinchbeck.io/blog/2015/12/21/how-soon-is-now-excerpt-1]. In this book he explains that “The fastest way for change to occur would be for the wealthy elite – or at least a subset of them – to take responsibility for humanity’s current predicament, overcome the hypnotism of privilege and use their capital to engineer a rapid turnaround.”
Although I don’t believe God, superman or aliens will step in at the last minute and save our destructive culture from self-annihilation, there are many rich philanthropists who share their wealth with others, such as the famous Bill Gates.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation describe themselves as ‘impatient optimists working to reduce inequity’. They work with partner organisations to fulfil their ‘missions’, one of which is ‘teaching farmers how to increase production sustainably’, especially in Africa.
I went to their website and entered ‘permaculture’ into the site search engine to reveal no evidence of permaculture being used as a tool for this aim. Knowing what I know about permaculture and from gardening 10 years as a permaculturalist I believe ‘all the world’s problems can be solved in a garden’.
The philanthropy as provided by the foundation seems blinkered and set in traditional ways of obtaining yields by ‘monoculture in rows’. I wanted to write to the director of agricultural development and ask if he had heard of permaculture and its ability to transform soil in order to ‘increase production sustainably’.
One of my favourite YouTube Videos is from lead permaculturalist Geoff Lawton, called ‘Permaculture Greening the Desert’, in which he clearly shows how permaculture can be used to convert the most unfertile and arid areas in the world, for example, land in Jordan, into a virtual oasis, using only waste material that is usually burnt on site.
I wanted to contact the foundation regarding this ‘link’ but they purposely limit approaches from individuals for obvious reasons. I ended up using their standard contact form for a ‘less than 500 character message’:
“Please deliver this message to Nick Austin, Director of Agricultural Development.
I am impressed by the important work of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I am writing to ask why Permaculture has no consideration within the Agricultural Development section of the Foundation and ask you please to look at the work of Geoff Lawton concerning this, particularly a YouTube video called ‘Permaculture Greening the Desert’. Many thanks for all your hard work. Kind Regards, Simon Mitchell”
I wonder if anything will happen!