Geoff Lawton: We just wrapped up another PDC here at the Greening the Desert II site!



Hi, this is Geoff.

We just wrapped up another PDC here at the Greening the Desert II site. We were blessed with an incredibly diverse and talented group of students who joined us from all over the world. We’re now shifting from the classroom to the field as we kick-off our one-month practical “Permaculture in Action” internship. Among the things we intend to explore: 1) engage with new design evolutions on our own project site as well as local sites and the schools of our students, 2) interface with some of the projects at nearby refugee camps, 3) complete a bulk compost order for an urban forest implementation project. Often students will ask me what to do after they complete their 2 week PDC course; these “Permaculture in Action” on-the-ground practicums are one option I frequently suggest. We have just ONE last one left in 2018 (December 3rd through the 14th at our farm in Australia). If interested, feel free to find out more here as spots are filling up. And if you can’t wait until December, but can make it to Jordan in the next couple of days, shoot us an email. Even though the internship starts today (14th October), it continues on for 4 weeks, so even if you miss the first couple of days, no worries — we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

And if you can’t make it to Jordan or Australia, you can do what thousands of some of my best students have done: Enroll in the online “Permaculture Design Certificate 2.0” course. This is our flagship PDC course that has produced more than 15,000 graduates, and this particular online course represents the most comprehensive, most in-depth, and most detailed iteration of the course that I have ever taught in my 30+ years. We had more than 1500 students when we first quietly launched this in late 2016, and are looking forward to another capable group of students ready to change the world. I welcome you to be one of them. The schedule for the course looks something like this

  • End of October / early November: Early bird enrollment (“EBE”) offered to those of you on my early notification list (EBE entitles you to priority, guaranteed enrollment, a tuition discount, and a wealth of “early bird” additional permaculture resources). If you’re interested in being on this list, click here, then hit the green button labelled “Please add me…” and input your name and email. Our team will take care of the rest.
  • Mid-November: Regular enrollment for anyone not on the priority-notification list, as well as members of the general public.
  • End of November: The course officially begins! Here, we will release the first batch of instructional materials (total video count is now well over 700+ videos), open up question intake for the weekly Q&A videos, grant enrollees access to the student community — all with 24/7 support from our incredible team of teaching assistants.

I’ll be sharing the complete, detailed breakdown of this with those of you on the Early Bird list, then a couple weeks later with members of the general public and those who are not on the Early Bird list. Again, click here to indicate your interest in being in this group and making sure that you don’t miss the priority enrollment + tuition discount.

Without further ado, here is this week’s Friday Five…

More “Greening the Desert” video: A couple of weeks ago, I shared a video update of the GTD site. It’s amazing to see how far it’s come along in the past 10 years. But beyond the specifics of the site itself, one of the more interesting things I’ve noticed over the years is that once you create a demonstration site that actually works, neighbors get curious, take notice, ask questions … and then start experimenting. The results are often astounding. Today I want to share with you one example of this: Abla’s garden. Abla is one of our neighbors at the GTD site and a former student who took her PDC course when we were here last year (!) Check out what she’s been able to do less than 12 months after taking a PDC course.

The way of the ostrich: Ostriches are believed to stick their heads in the ground in order to (stupidly) avoid predators, and this has given rise to speaking about this behavior as a metaphor for someone who (stupidly) ignores the unavoidable (often negative) reality of a situation. The irony here is that this is a myth – ostriches actually do this for entirely sensible reasons – but it is we humans that seem to be “burying our heads in the sand” in a way that may cause irreparable damage to our planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released an exceptionally-researched but disturbing report about where things stand vis a vis climate change. The Real News Network, among the most trusted news outlets that cover these topics, featured an informative three-part series of interviews. The first features Daphne Wysham, an environmental activist and the Director of the Climate Justice Program at the Center for Sustainable Economy. The second is quite special, as it interviews Heleen de Conick, the coordinating lead author of the IPCC report and associate professor in Innovation Studies at the Environmental Science Department at Radboud University’s Faculty of Science. Finally, the third interview is with Durwood Zaelke, founder and president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development in Washington D.C. Durwood argues that for reasons he details in the interview, the climate crisis is even more dire than the IPCC Report. All three interviews are absolutely worth viewing / listening to. We need to get our heads out of the sand, and professional permaculture design provides a practical tool to do so.

No cars: “A growing number of tech analysts are predicting that in less than 20 years we’ll all have stopped owning cars, and, what’s more, the internal combustion engine will have been consigned to the dustbin of history. Yes, it’s a big claim and you are right to be sceptical, but the argument that a unique convergence of new technology is poised to revolutionise personal transportation is more persuasive than you might think.” Interesting claim, especially given the IPCC findings alluded to above. Perhaps this is a step in the right direction? Full piece here.

#1 office perk: “The news headlines about what perks or elements of office design make for a great employee experience seem to be dominated by fads — think treadmill desks, nap pods, and “bring your dog to work day” for starters. However, a new survey by my HR advisory firm Future Workplace called “The Employee Experience” reveals the reality is that employees crave something far more fundamental and essential to human needs.” To find out what that surprising perk is, check out the full article from the Harvard Business Review. Hint: Most people actively doing permaculture are already getting plenty of it :)

Getting away (far, far away) from it all: Some of us dream of saying goodbye to the city and moving out to the countryside. Sjors Horstman went a few steps beyond (or should I say, a few steps down): “More than six million people visited the Grand Canyon last year, but less than 1 percent of them descended the roughly 5,000 feet to Phantom Ranch, a lodge and ranger station on the canyon floor at the confluence of the Colorado River and Bright Angel Creek. Most of those people stayed only a day or two. Sjors Horstman, however, has spent the last 31 years of his life at the bottom of the Grand Canyon as a volunteer for the National Park Service. As of April he’d logged 60,085 volunteer hours, an average of about 36 hours per week since 1987, making him one of the longest-serving volunteers in NPS history and a repository of firsthand knowledge of a place most people see only from a vertical mile above.” The full, amazing read can be found here.

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have any comments / reactions / or a different point of view, please share on the blog-version of this Friday Five (and all past + future Friday Fives), all housed here.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,



PS: Again, if you’re in or near Jordan, come on down — we’d love to meet you!

And if you can’t make it to Jordan but want to find out more about what many have said is the most comprehensive, detailed PDC taught in more than a decade, I invite you to jump on our early notification list here. Doing so will help you secure priority, guaranteed enrollment, a tuition discount, and a wealth of additional permaculture resources. More on this next week…

Permaculture Sustainable Consulting Pty Ltd 1158 Pinchins Road The Channon, AU-NSW 2480 Australia

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