How permaculture can build resilience and meet basic needs during a pandemic

As COVID-19 spreads, people are showing a growing interest in permaculture principles and techniques to heal their lives, communities and the planet.

(Flickr/Local Food Initiative)

From powerlessness to positive change-making

“Permaculture offered me a positive way forward in a world where I’d wanted to change so many things,” said Aranya Austin, a trained permaculture practitioner and educator based in the United Kingdom. “When shown what we can do on a personal scale, our perspective changes from powerlessness to positivity.”

Aranya Austin’s permaculture teaching in action. (Learn Permaculture)

Turning problems into solutions

Permaculture encompasses a multitude of techniques that can be applied in small or large scale, in both rural and urban areas, and adapted to anywhere in the world. Yet it incorporates a universal mindset that problems can be turned into solutions — and ordinary people have the personal and collective power to do it.

Luwayo Biswick is one the many people that have benefited from Never Ending Food’s permaculture training in Malawi. He now grows almost 300 food crops on his land, which became a permaculture demonstration and learning site. (Permaculture Paradise Institute/Never Ending Food)
The Crystal Waters community, based in southeast Queensland, Australia, is currently formed by around 200 people of at least 16 nationalities. (Facebook/Crystal Waters Eco Village)

Pathway to a better future for all

Scientists who have studied the coronavirus disease have concluded that the virus originated in wildlife, probably in bats (that were sold in China’s live-animal markets), and then spread to humans. Studies have also shown that most epidemics that have emerged in recent decades — such as Malaria, Ebola, SARS, Lyme disease and hundreds more — were caused by the increasing human-wildlife conflicts and destruction of natural habitats. That means the best way to prevent the emergence of infectious diseases is by preserving nature and biodiversity.

Alternatives to toilet paper use, by Brenna Quinlan, a permaculture illustrator. (Facebook/Brenna Quinlan)

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Marina Martinez

Global sustainability researcher. Writing about the controversial relationships among People, Nature, and Economy.