Sunday, 26 May 2013

Shooting for a dream

 Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. 

-Harriet Tubman

Go confidentally in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

-Henry David Thoreau

 The voyage on the Permaculture ship is often, if not always, a very indivdual and personal one. I believe that anyone, whether they have just dabbled in the subject, taken a full course, or live the life as a whole, has done so because of a motivation that comes from deep within themselves. Maybe it isn't always apparent at the time, but when one looks and asks oneself 'Why am I doing this?' the answer will be different for each person.

I have always regarded nature as the most important, the most interesting, fascinating, beautiful and precious 'thing' in the world.

It makes me angry and sad to see the daily destruction of it. I work as a chemist. I drive my car to work, I work for clients that cause huge devastation on the land, whether it would be oil companies which work in the tar sands of Alberta, or logging companies that clear cut the forests with no regard for the destruction of the surrounding ecosystems.

Therefore I have decided to do something about it. There is a real risk of failing in this endeavour and yes, it frightens me somewhat, but I have always been of the opinion that I rather die standing, than live kneeling down.

We have just incorporated a company that will focus on several different aspects in sustainable living with an emphasis on Permaculture. For one we want to teach ways of modern sustainable living to others and spread information about how we can maybe turn this ship that is heading for the cliffs around. On the other hand we want to set an example on how our current practices are not the most efficient and find better ways to manage our precious resources. We want to restore a recently clear cut area into a examplary food forest and agroforestry system that will demonstrate that a sustainable agroforestry is economically viable and feasible.

After a long search for an appropriate property we finally have found a place that we will try to purchase. It is 50 acres of clear cut land which consists of multiple different zones from wetland to hillside. It is absolutely devastating to see what has been done to this land for a couple of bucks, but the practice is common in the Maritimes region and sights like this are unfortunately more the norm than rarity. Initially when we first had a look at the property, the logging crews were still working, but most of the land had been cut. Some lonely old trees were still standing, which by the look of them were to knarly and bent to be of any value to the loggers.

When we had another look, even those trees were cut, the bottom 6-8 ft section taken and the rest left to rot. My heart felt like it was being squeezed, knowing that these trees which were nearing 100 years in age have been chopped for a section of wood, that when everything is said and done might make a profit of $10-$15.

Unneccesarily felled

There might have been 8ft of usable wood in this tree.

There might be some activism that can be done to stop this practice, but I don't think that it will help as long as there is even $1 to be made.

Instead, we will reforest the land with a productive forest system, that will provide income, food, warmth and shelter for many people on an ongoing basis. This is supposed to be a demonstration in how we can change the forestry sector to something sustainable and more useful that what we currently are doing with it.

We can't do this on our own, however. We will need help. There are many avenues we will explore whether it is crowdfunding, giving workshops, and later selling the products from the forest to finance more and more reforestation.

I dream of every clear cut area in the world being turned into something that can provide for people in the long term. I know this will not be possible, but once we can show that there are more productive, sustainable and economic ways of resource forestry available to us then just the chop and saw alternative, we might initiate a shift in thinking.

If you have any ideas, skills, time, or anything else that might help this undertaking and you are willing to share them with us, please feel free to send us a message or comment on this post.

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