I, (Scott David Church)*, do hereby solemnly (and playfully) promise myself, and any others present, that I will care for the Earth, care for people, and take no more than my fair share for personal use. I understand my personal use, in fact, as working to to regenerate life in the land, in my communities, and in myself (my spirit, my soul, being, my Oneness). I will honor the efforts of my fellow Permaculturists in any form I find them. I will examine both intent and effect in my observation. I will give feedback lovingly, and accept the burden of working on myself. My network gives me strength, and I give back to it what I can, knowing that the stronger my network, the stronger I am. I take this obligation freely. I pledge to discharge these sacred duties faithfully, so help me (God/Goddess/me/nature/FSM).
*Parentheses and words/other words intended to accommodate the wide range of beliefs present in my particular course. If you want to use this pledge, feel free to modify words as necessary.
I took an Oath of Office when I commissioned into the Air Force. I’ve always considered it a powerful statement, and it still gives me goosebumps when I hear people pledge themselves to a purpose. As I was about to receive my Permaculture Design Certificate last week, I realized there was no such pledge I’d be making in this capacity, although I consider the work just as (if not more) important. So, I wrote myself the above Promise. After showing off my clapping skills as a member of The Pink Flamincos of Colombia (Tennessee), I read it at our final group activity, the renowned PDC talent show.
It felt good to re-read that and transcribe it onto the Internet. It’s been a week since our last day at Spiral Ridge, and I am still having frequent revelations about how the world needs Permaculture, and seeing places that might have nice soil for gardens, with pleasant microclimates for experimental polycultures. I want to plant seeds everywhere, make compost, catch solar energy, dig holes… the whole shebang, but I am realizing that in addition to making my own yard a veritable paradise of edibles and medicinal herbs, I can have a bigger effect if I apply myself to social permaculture. This means helping to create systems that perpetuate the useful knowledge and and best practices that I just learned.
For now, I’m going to dry some molokhia that I can send to my wife. She’ll like that, and she’ll probably cook it for somebody. It grows really well in Alabama.
I am still observing, though, and recording many thoughts on the best places to put my energy. Throughout my reflection, I have been feeling like I can have the greatest impact through practicing social permaculture. This means engaging more people around me, and helping them get on board with at least a few of the solutions that raise awareness, enhance personal wellness, and connect people to each other and the earth.