How to teach? or: about organic socks (not another article on sustainability), part 1

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Ingrid Wood — Brielle, The Netherlands, (Tuesday 7 December 2016)

I love it and hate it at the same time when Tim gives me a task. They always make me think and look and ponder and learn and expand, and then I need to restrain myself and bring it down to earth. Chew-able chunks, baby.

He and I are planning to migrate, maybe to Canada, but more recently we’re considering Chile. Now here the fun part: I’ll need to crash-learn Spanish. I’ve wanted to do permaculture next. Tim-padawan wisely said that the best way to learn is to teach. He offered to work with me on Spanish, if I teach him about permaculture and sustainability. And I said ‘okay’. I may have been too tired to remember that I also said yes to writing a series about it

Permaculture and Sustainability

Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I may remember. But involve me and I’ll understand. Chinese Proverb

Permaculture, Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability. David Holmgren, 2002. Recommended by Steve Saint, Green Cities Coalition

So here we are. Permaculture. Sustainability.  Think, think, think. I’ve lived it, worked in it, I believe I eat it and breathe it, but how do I teach it? I am not an expert, don’t hold a degree in sustainability. But I’ve lived it, so I’ll share from that, simply coming from me.

In the not to recent past, sustainability was pioneered by a small minority, us ‘tree-hugging green hippies’. Now it’s being chewed to death, regurgitated, spit out and then some. It has become the next buzz-word in the media, the next opportunity to look good for corporations.  This series is not about that. This is personal. This is about you, me, life as we (used to) know it, mother earth and the future of humanity. You may not have understood, not been aware, hiding out, overwhelmed, denying, not interested, or maybe (just a tad) lazy. You’re not the only one. I’ll need to order this book `Permaculture, Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability` by David Holmgren and read it. And say to those around me “no, I’m not available right now.” Shoot, it’s temporarily not available from Amazon. Okay, in lieu of that, here “Melliodora, Twenty Years of Sustainable Living” eBook, also by Holmgren.

How to Teach

To teach is: to share information in chew-able chunks with love and patience. What’s in it for you? How do I teach it so that it is practical, inspiring and entertaining? Otherwise, don’t bother, it’ll just be another article on sustainability. There are so many topics floating in this brain – just in a short span I wrote down 30 topics.  I’ll give it piece meal. I’ll make it personal – it IS personal, like teaching your child how to ride a bike or tie their shoelaces. We do that with love and patience.

To teach is: to ask. You may ask me questions and I’ll ask some in return. You may ask me: Now what do I do?  I alone can’t change anything, right? Wrong. Your simple everyday choices have an impact. For example, ha!, I just got socks as a present – I think socks are a Universal Christmas Present.  Are they cotton or polyester? (polyester is not so good for you or the environment) Are they made from organic cotton? Where do they come from, who made them, did they fly around the world or were they produced in your country? Are they shrink-wrapped in plastic or do they have a simple cardboard hanger?

Let’s have a Scary Teaching Moment

What about ‘organic’? There are a slew of those terms: organic, Fair Trade, GMO, kosher, humane… Organic refers to a way to produce something (store, process, package, ship etc) that avoids use of chemicals, irradiation and sewage sludge; avoids genetic modification and uses farmland that has been free of chemicals for 3 or more years. The US, EU, Canada, and Japan have government agencies that oversee organic certification, in other countries that is done by non-profit organizations and private companies. Organic costs more because production has more restrictions and is therefore more involved. However, the products are better for us, there is less waste to the environment which benefits all creation.

Next Wednesday, the second part of How to teach? or: about organic socks (not another article on sustainability)

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