Age of Awareness
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Age of Awareness

Midwives of the Regeneration: On the fertile edges of the more beautiful world

Review of ‘Fertile Edges: Regenerating land, culture and hope’

More about Maddy Harland

“In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”

— Wangari Maathai

The wise elder who taught the world about the power of forgiving grave injustice in order to heal the traumas of the past and build a brighter future for all.

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be the regeneration. Let greatness blossom.”

— Nelson Mandela

And the fearless teacher of non-violence who showed the world that daring to dream has the power to galvanize the masses and change the course of history.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Fertile Edges offers a reminder of all the amazing work that is already going on around the globe. Paying attention to the visionaries dedicated to transforming entire systems in equal measure as celebrating the unsung local heroes who’s tireless work is offering those vital inspirations that come from creating pockets of a regenerative future in the present.

“We are here to bear witness to these extraordinary times and to maintain our gaze on the atrocities meted out to other human beings, the other species who share this planet with us and even whole bioregions.

We are here to take our place in the world and do what we can to work towards a peaceful, equitable, more biodiverse and abundant world. We are also here to discover more intelligent and balanced ways of living, and to quietly test them out ourselves. …

To deal with this, we need to develop our own sense of resilience and the capacity to find balance. Life is not only precious; it is a profound experiment in learning.

People often ask me where I draw my inspiration from. How do I keep going? I make it my responsability to be as well informed as I can about all the ills of the world and the systems that exact the damage as I can. Then I make it equally my journey to learn more about the solutions: from the gran inspiring projects that regenerate whole landscapes to the small tequniques we can use in our everyday life.”

— Maddy Harland

Fertile Edges is also a celebration of the elders of the permaculture movement. Giving homage to Bill Molison, David Holmgren and Patrick Whitefiled among many others. Maddy offers an abridged version of David Holmgren’s code to live by:

Reduce, reuse, recycle (in that order)

Grow a garden and eat what it produces

Avoid imported resources where possible

Use labour and skill in preference to material and technology

Design, build and purchase for durability and repairability

Use resources for their greatest potential use (e.g. electricity for tools and lighting, food scraps for animal feed)

Use renewable resources wherever possible even if local environmental costs appear higher (e.g. wood rather than electricity for fuel and timber rather than steel for construction)

Use non-reneable and embodied energies primarily to establish sustainable systems (e.g. passive solar housing, food gardens, water storage, forests)

When using high technology (e.g. computers) avoid using state of the art equipment

Avoid debt and long-distance commuting

Reduce taxation by earning less

Develop a home-based lifestyle; be domestically responsible

Fertile Edges is also somewhat autobiographical and a humble celebration of a servant leader who has given a voice to a whole movement of hopeful and committed human beings and a stage to their stories and their experiments in how to treat more lightly on this beautiful planet that we have been entrusted by our ancestors so that we may ensure that future generations of life can thrive in shared abundance.

“… I choose to act ‘as if’ — […] as if there will be a global awakening to our ecological predicament and radical changes implemented with unprecedented insight and wisdom; …”

— Maddy Harland

[Ready to get your own copy? Best to buy the book directly from Permanent Publications.]



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Daniel Christian Wahl

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures