Permaculture Is the Silver-Green Bullet (INTERVIEW)

Nadia-lawton-jordan-permaculture-islamJordanian Nadia Lawton, a permaculture teacher tells Green Prophet why she believes permaculture could be the region’s silver green bullet.

“Permaculture made total common sense to me,” insists Nadia Lawton, “it also fitted with my life ethics a a Muslim.” While the first part of Nadia’s statement may not be considered unique, her remark about Islam is. Permaculture is defined as the design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It basically looks at growing in a holistic framework which promotes sustainability, the conservation of resources and biodiversity. It is also generally promoted by atheist Westerners- so as a Jordanian born-Muslim, Nadia Lawton does not exactly fit the mould. I caught up with her to talk about the importance of permaculture in the Middle East, the role of Islam and overcoming barriers.

Back in September 2011, Jordan hosted the tenth International Permaculture Conference. The week-long events were coordinated by Nadia Lawton, who along with her husband Geoff Lawton, is a permaculture teacher eager to spread the word about the advantages of permaculture in the Middle East. Indeed, when I got in touch with her she was on her way home from teaching a Permaculture Design Course in Tarim, Yemen (yes, the very same conflict-ridden Yemen hitting the headlines). She informed me that there were plans to partner their Permaculture Research Institute with Sheikh Habib Umar’s Dara Mustafa Institute and set up a new small 1 hectare permaculture school farm and a 16 hectare farm permaculture college.

“This is a very exciting new project of ours that could influence the whole Muslim world,” she remarked. “We are also working on a direct translation (of permaculture information) not only into Arabic but also to include Islamic text references to the holy Qu’ran and hadiths.” For Nadia Lawton, faith plays an central role in her dedication to permaculture and she insists that Muslims should all have permaculture values. She also adds this belief will soon be verified by Islamic scholars of the highest respect .

permaculture middle eastNadia Lawton is also the founder of the Jordan Valley Permaculture project in Jordan which was completed in 2011. Located in a harsh desert environment, it demonstrates how permaculture principles can work even in the harshest Middle Eastern climate. “We always wanted to have a demonstration site and education centre to help local people… It has become part of my life work to set this project up so people can live in peace with the environment and each other.”

Nadia is optimistic about the future. Over the years, she states she has seen big changes with more people – from locals to royal families- taking permaculture seriously. In fact, Nadia says she is certain that Permaculture “holds all the answers for food, water and sustainable development [problems in the Middle East] and it fits perfectly with the culture.” So when I ask her what is holding the development of permaculture in the region, she replies that it is limited funding. “This means we have to work with what we have and show people what they can do with minimum funding, which is good. But we always want to do more, so we can help more people.”

:: Images via Craig Mackintosh.

For more information on Jordan and permaculture see:
Jordan To Host International Permaculture Conference
Permaculture Hannukah Party at Yesh Meain Ecological Farm
Jenin Playground to get Green Makeover

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16 thoughts on “Permaculture Is the Silver-Green Bullet (INTERVIEW)”

  1. shows says:

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  2. Edward Graham says:

    Considering your message, your point is well taken. They say that it takes a level of thinking greater, different, than what caused the problem. True, that the powers of creation are greater than our disfunction.

  3. JTR says:

    I fully understand the intent of your message. Thankyou. On the other hand, my environmental message now seems to me like just another lost cause. Obviously, people are driven by their instinct to grow relentlessly, because that is exactly what is happening, regardless of ecocidal consequences.

  4. Edward Graham says:

    Not sidetrack..two ways to deal woth things: first, deal with what’s in the way; second, create what you want instead. I was simply using what’s happened in Iraq to say that what’s in the way might need to be worked with first..thanks for the feedback. I’m only one opinion among many.

  5. JTR says:

    You’re trying to side-track this discussion into something people are afraid to talk about. I practice peaceful persuasion at all times, but If they won’t listen, the ecocidal consequences will consume them and, tragically, everyone else.

  6. Edward Graham says:

    Well, if you know anything about the indoctrination and sometimes coersive persuasion that goes into making a suicide bomber( kind of like Machurian Candidate, or perhaps Timothy McVeigh) you would realize that individual and human survival isn’t usually a priority. Some of these individuals, or at least, their assets are the equivalent of the Taliban.
    Spys have a strong survival drive, but a suicide operator is made to do as they’re told. It’s difficult for someone that espouses the principles of permaculture to beat them at their own game.
    Hard not to become worse than your opponent in order to win. This is the razors edge.

  7. JTR says:

    Edward Graham,

    The people you refer to also depend on the same living biosphere everyone else does. If they could be helped to understand that by a persuasive person like you, life on Earth might actually survive.

  8. JTR says:

    Planet Earth is a biosphere that cannot support a relentlessly growing population of money-addicted polluters. Either humanity learns to live in peace and balance or the environment and human society will collapse in ecocide and extinction.

  9. Edward Graham says:

    …So, i would have to speculate that the increasing militant violence in Iraq, and Afganistan, altho touted as religous sectarian infighting, is ultimately about food, and as the industrial ag system is dependant on oil..oil wells. I read that the cost and availability of wheat is what started the riots in Egypt. One moght suppose that doing that to Egypt would be in some nations interest, but the US is not s Democracy – far from it – and the Isrealies ans others probably wouldn’t want to regionally unify the Muslem(brotherhood) if that might lead to more terrorism; so, i suspect that our opponents are international corporations with the Military and private security companies/armies at their disposal. And when we promote people providing fpr their own needs in a sustainable way, ie: permaculture, that is whom we are up against. The religous violence and oppressive legislation is just a tool for tje spcial engineers.

    I also have a dream.

  10. Edward Graham says:

    Historically, the revolution is before the electorial process, but as with Iraq and the bombers after the elections, we in the US are expierencing a similar phenomenon: tyranny – removal of tyrant – elections – warlord(s) userp democracy and fight over assets. The NDAA would be an example, and following the industrial ag money, the case becomes obvious. I’ve tried to eat and buy organically – animal friendly – and the manure has been hitting tha fan ever since. I live in Coronado(San Diego, CA), home of many of the military units employed overseas, including Blackwater, whom also had contracts with Monsanto. Draw your own conclusions.

  11. Edward Graham says:

    The military-industrial corporate
    elements, and International Finance Organizations of our societies seem to be directly opposed to the principals of permaculture; the Anti-greenjeans; how do you handle that?

  12. JTR says:

    Permaculture is the best solution to global warming and ecocide, if there is still time for it to be put into practice by the populations of each continent.

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