Thursday, April 03, 2008

Permaculture solution to Afghan opium and world heroin supply

Discover the Permaculture solutions

Kevin Rudd, Australia's centre-right Labor Prime Minister, who has just received a glowing review from US conservatives, has called for Afghanistan's massive opium production to be eliminated. All well and good. That might help get heroin off our streets -- as we noted here, since Bush's invasion, the country has become a virtual smack factory to the world.

However, apart from suggesting that foreign funds be injected into Afghanistan for different kinds of agriculture (read, 'agribiz'), neither Rudd nor his government and its bureaucracy have any idea how to go about fixing it. He's flying a flag, I suppose, as all pollies do, but one wonders how he thinks the destitute farming families of Afghanistan might switch from this crop. All that his government, and almost any government, comprehends is the model of agriculture we have in the West -- and look at the damage that is doing.

Permaculture does, however, offer a solution. It is a design system applicable to any bioregion, including Afghanistan, with the potential to rapidly increase community self-sufficiency and sustainable harvesting of food, fibre, fuel, building materials and other necessities of life.

As a foundation member (1978) of Permaculture Sydney, probably the first Permaculture organization in the world, I've watched for three decades as successive governments here and abroad have squandered countless opportunities to see the answer that stares them in the face for innumerable world problems. Sometimes this has been understandable, as when a problem is actually but not overtly one of land use (as is often the case). However, in the case of making a switch from opium farming to other kinds of horticulture or agriculture, the situation is perfectly obviously one of land use. And Permaculture is quite demonstrably the cure for the disease.

What is Permaculture? It is not organic gardening, as many believe, although it generally encompasses that. It is a flexible, common-sense design system for any human environment -- one that gets organic horticulture to make sense and not be overwhelmed by (a) relentless hard labour, and (b) pest invasions.

The information and methodology of Permaculture are well hammered out and freely available. Useful plant species for virtually any bioregion are known. Simple, clever methods for designing self-sustaining garden/forest environments with great yields are well understood. So, what are governments waiting for?

The only things stopping the implementation of sustainable agri-design are lack of imagination and of knowledge, and the vested global interests of transnational corporations. So, spread the word, and may young Permaculturists with plenty of energy and enthusiasm carry the methods to Afghanistan -- preferably before the 'authorities' do, with their men with clipboards, chemicals, fossil fuels and American Express mentality.

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Blogger Diana Schuetz said...

Such an excellent idea you have! Maybe you should write to some governmental agency and suggest they approach the problem as you have explained it. You never know! SOMEONE might listen! Maybe. Possibly!
Are Mollison and Holmgren still around? It would be a great media event, I think, if they themselves went to Afghanistan to begin the permaculture process. If the media got involved, perhaps the governments would be more amenable to the permaculture way of thinking, particularly if the process was already started.
I don't know! Just a thought!

3:39 AM  
Blogger Pip said...

Messrs Holmgren and Mollison are definitely still around and active in the movement. I like your idea and agree that media would be very interested. Let's hope others will read this and carry the torch.

9:04 AM  

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