I write this today from day 3 of our two week Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) here at our farm in Punta Mona on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast and I couldn’t feel more confident that absolutely everyone could radically benefit from this course. The PDC is a perfect balance of learning practical skills that will be useful in being a part of redesigning our world and a taste of a deep spiritual connection with nature and our part in her endless mystery. This is happening while living in community with close to 40 people from 12 countries on a diverse farm that is located off the grid on the beach that is either a 2 hour hike or 25 minute boat ride to the nearest town of Manzanillo. We like to say “Disconnect to Reconnect” as there is no cell service here and only internet that is turned on a few hours a day. One arrives and will not see a car or touch money for the entire time that they are here and at Punta Mona we have one of the largest collections of useful plants on Earth bordering primary rainforest on one side and the Caribbean sea on the other.
In these days as our western religions lose steam and we wander seeking spiritual connection, a sense of purpose and connection to spirit, permaculture provides a set of ethics and principals that explains things we have been feeling for decades but just lacked the language and proper mental containers to store these abstract thoughts. The world is the way it is… but it doesn’t need to be this way any longer and it’s up to us to help to change this broken course and create a world that strives to support all life and the intricate natural systems that occur here. Permaculture ethics are Earth Care, People Care, Future Care and Fair share and these provide a lens that begins to effect everything we do thereafter.
Earth care is at Permaculture’s core and coming off centuries or even millennia of destructive practices that have eradicated nearly all of our old growth forests and have driven thousands of species into extinction, its time that we begin to take this ethic seriously. We are at an exciting time of possibilities where we can merge indigenous wisdom with modern technology and we have the know how to regenerate this magical planet that we call home. People Care although seems obvious has also completely slipped away from our focus and its time to not only work to care better for immediate families and friends but also ourselves and drastically improve our self care. Be intentional with your life design and make sure that you are setting aside the necessary time it takes to truly take care of your body, mind and spirit. This directly ties into Fair Share and all of the ways that our actions and purchases effect all of the many people along the supply chain. Where does the money go when you make a purchase and how can you strive to support people in your community and not the billionaires that own those big box stores and the stockholders of the multi-national brands.
And then there’s Future Care, the newest addition to the permaculture ethics that encourages us to explore what can we be doing and planning now to improve not only our own future but the future of our beautiful planet. The future can just unfold randomly but its time to incorporate deep intention into the way we dream for our lives and the the future of our species and this spinning ball of blue we call home!
Written by Punta Mona’s founder and co-director Stephen Brooks. Stephen runs Punta Mona with his wife Sarah Wu and a dedicated team of bad asses!