The adoption of permaculture is vital in the actualization of Sustainable Cities and Communities, part of the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose deadline is 2030. The world needs to start deviating from the conventional ways of life and start adopting the practice of permaculture. People living in rural areas and marginalized communities hold the key, with vast underutilized land being their major resource.
While the Sustainable Cities and Communities goal seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, permaculture on the other hand is an ecological design system that encourages human beings to make use of the resources of nature for self-reliance. Permaculture, derived from “Permanent Agriculture” is a way where people can draw their fundamental human needs through mutual interaction with natural ecosystems, without either destroying the other. It is a relatively contemporary field that is yet to be exploited, ostensibly due to lack of sufficient information regarding it.
This calls for extensive training specially to marginalized places and rural areas that have over the time been massively hit by the negative impacts of climate change. Various organisations have noted this big need and started proliferating this knowledge on permaculture with an aim to establishing sustainable development in their areas of operation. An example of this is Laikipia Permaculture Center, an organization supported by the Kenya Climate Innovation Center to assist Kenyans mitigate or adapt to the negative repercussions of climate change.
Laikipia Permaculture Center has become a forerunner in offering practical permaculture demonstration and training to communities. Albeit being based in the arid and marginalized area of Laikipia North, surrounding communities, majorly women groups, can learn how to imitate nature in their way of life so that they lead comfortable lives despite the unforgiving climatic conditions. In this case, communities have managed to construct better residential places and harness food, energy and other material and non-material needs as well as utilize the irrepressible features observed in natural ecosystems.
Communities have now started adopting alternative economic and social activities like subsistence farming and production of useful commodities from waste products; A thing that would have otherwise not been possible without the permaculture training. Major support for training is needed to sensitize people that rural areas can be as lucrative to live and work in, just like the urban areas, and that there are numerous alternatives in rural areas that outweigh the vices that come in with urban settlements, including overpopulation and pollution. This, which is part of permaculture training similar to what is offered by Laikipia Permaculture Center, will also elaborates on other multiple opportunities present in the rural areas.
While this training can be delivered on one-to-one sittings, diverse means should also be considered especially passing this information over the internet. Platforms like the global Climate Launch Pad competition that held its national finals last week, aiming at identifying enterprises that have come up with green innovations, also need to be supported. Government and non-governmental organisations as well as schools also need to encourage practical learning of permaculture mainly through the curriculum.
The misgivings of nature, most of which are as a result of destructive human activities, need not be a source of despair because the giving of nature is forever unlimited. Human beings only need to have the requisite knowledge of how to tap into them. Campaigns by Kenya Climate Innovation Center have proved this to be true because their interventions have enabled start-up enterprises to have an element of being climate-friendly, notwithstanding the nature of business operations. Permaculture is a discipline that has many fields. Its numerous branches include biological building, ecological designs, regenerative structures, environmental planning and sustainable development.
Permaculture likewise incorporates coordinated water assets and innovations, management that develops sustainable architecture and regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modelled from natural ecosystems. Its training therefore ought to be adopted and replicated widely especially in Africa where the effects of climate change are most felt and are dynamically changing every day.
A redacted version of this article was first published by the Sunday Standard on 29th September, 2019 by Solomon Irungu