Found this piece, written by Permaculture friend Kristof Nordin, who lives outside Lilongwe in Malawi.
When I visit, he has the most amazing array of plants and systems in operation. I love their approach to sustainability and simple, healthy lifestyles.
If we want to change the world then we really need to look to our
children. They are the future leaders, educators, scientists, health
care providers, farmers, and parents. We don’t want to just fill
their minds with information, we want to ignite passion in them
for learning. If we provide this type of “fuel,” then our children’s
desire to make the world a better place can become a reality.
Four years ago Stacia and I had our first child, Khalidwe. This
event has changed our lives and the way that we view the world.
We now have an even stronger determination to protect the earth
and its natural resources so that Khalidwe and her friends can
also benefit long into the future. We plant trees
like papayas so that Khalidwe and her friends
can eat fruits in one season. We also plant
trees like baobab that may take 20
years to produce, so that Khalidwe and all of
her friends will be eating fruits for the rest of their lives.
Children are like sponges. They absorb everything that they see and hear around
them. This is one of the reasons that young children can pick up new languages so easily. They also imitate what they see. That means that we are all role models for the children of the world. If our children continue to see us using poor land management practices, causing pollution, spraying harmful chemicals, and eating poor diets then it is very likely that they will continue to do the same.
But, if we begin to be positive role models for our children we can begin to raise a whole generation of people who will be caring for the earth, caring for its people, and sharing the earth’s resources fairly and sustainably.
Khalidwe is being raised this way. For her, Permaculture is not something that you go to school to learn and then come home and forget about: It is a way of life. Already at four years old she can tell you about the benenfits of planting trees, harvesting water, making compost, mulching, and eating a variety of foods to stay healthy. And, her friends can show you how to do these things at their homes (often while trying to teach their parents).
Just imagine a whole generation of kids who could grow up living in homes and going to schools that are surrounded by year-round nutritious foods. A generation that plants trees rather than cutting them all down, and a generation that becomes healthy and wealthy from the wise use of natural resources rather than wasting them.
Permaculture is perfect for helping children to learn how to live sustainably in their world. It gives us easy and practical ways that children can help contribute to food production and the care of the earth. In this issue we will be looking at some of the activities that you can do with children as well as some of the Permaculture programmes that are currently working with youth. Enjoy!