Food, Farming and Healing our World

This is an online event hosted by Chelsea Green and Advaya. Dr. Martin Lee Mueller will present in the session on February 3rd installment on Working with Nature to Heal the Earth. There is a 20% discount with the code HEALINGOURWORLD. For more information and to register, please visit…/food-farming-and-healing-our-world

Wednesday 27th January to Wednesday 17th February, 2021Online Event
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Working With Nature to Heal the Earth: Tuesday 2nd February to Wednesday 3rd February, 2021Online Event
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Permaculture Principles

Design through permaculture is often aided by a set of design principles that mimic and reflect natural and ecological processes.   These principles explore natural laws of energy flow, resource creation, depletion, and regeneration, abundance and diversity, economy and forms of capital, and the intersections of natural and social structures.  The study of natural patterns and erosion and growth cycles provide insight into the ways that structures evolve or devolve and the ways that elements and people interact.  All of these elements can provide insight and application in social and group contexts.   Mirroring nature, the use of a permaculture design protocol leads to solid, effective, and sustainable design.

Permaculture principles are used in workshops at The Small Earth Institute in order to provide a structural framework for problem solving related to planning and processes in schools, and for strategic and project planning in businesses.   The aim is to present the principles and help participants to use them in their own contexts.   Briefly, the ten permaculture principles that will be explored in context are:

Observe and interact-  take time to observe situations, patterns, and systems and interactions when creating a design.

Catch and store energy- identify the sources of various types of energy at different times and places in your systems, and devise economical strategies for obtaining, storing, and using it.

Obtain a yield- determine what the yield(s) of your  design will naturally be, and how and when it can be obtained.  Change your design if it is not yielding what you mean for it to yield.

Apply self regulation and accept feedback-  create feedback mechanisms in your design and manage responses for optimal effectiveness.

Use and value renewable resources and services- explore all the resources at your disposal; determine which can be renewable and how, and create mechanisms for renewal.

Produce no waste– identify the waste in your design and create solutions for its use, reuse or absorption.

Design from patterns to details –  Step back and design generally before specifically.

Integrate rather than segregate– Integrate smaller designs into the larger pattern.   Identify areas of segregation and create solutions for integration.

Use small and slow solutions– Start small and build slowly

Use and value diversity– create a diversity of opportunities and offerings, identify value and integrate diverse perspectives, use diverse resources and diverse solutions

Use edges and value the marginal –  think beyond the conventional in designing and planning, to look for solutions at the edges of what is normal.

Creatively use and respond to change.  the rate and amount of change we can expect in the next decades, due to climate change, food and water scarcity, migrant populations, and many other factors, will be greater than we have seen before.   This principle encourages us to creatively use and respond to that change.

Together, these principles provide a broad structure for systemic planning and solutions in concert with natural patterns and processes.   This will be introduced and given specific context in the full day seminars for business and schools, and then can be more fully developed through additional planning sessions as desired.

Redefining sustainable development

Whole Systems Sustainability and Regenerative Development

Sustainable Development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In this case sustainability is seen as the ability to maintain a current level of growth while allowing for the needs of the future. In this conceptual framework the idea of ‘needs’ and of ‘future generations’ is often applied unilaterally to humans, and does not take in to account the thrivability of other species and of life on the planet. In addition, it assumes that the current level of human development can be maintained without affecting the needs of future human or other earth populations.

Whole Systems Sustainability starts from the premise that sustainability for humans is only possible within the context of the sustainability of all life on Earth. Either entire ecosystems are sustained, or entire ecosystems break down, to the detriment of all life and also human populations, who are embedded interdependently in those systems. In looking at whole systems, the importance of maintaining ecological relationships that regenerate the health of entire ecosystems is brought to the fore. To do this, the understanding of how we meet the needs of the present, as well as the basic concept of ‘need’ for human and non-human life on Earth must be brokered. Finally, the assertion that current human development and growth can continue without undermining the viability and thrivability of coming generations of both human and other than human life on Earth must be considered.

In this context, ‘development’ can be redefined and ‘enlivened’ to allow for the types of regenerative activities that lead to whole systems sustainability. Development here refers to the development of new paradigms and world views that embrace the interconnectedness of humans with the planet. It refers to the growth of ecological consciousness and nature connectedness. Development refers to regenerative growth that includes rewilding, ecosystems maintenance, and wellness connected to nature. It refers to growth of forms of capital that are not monetary: natural, social, health and network capitals that lead to true sustainability and true systemic health for individuals, society, and the biodiverse life on Earth.

Redefining and re-enlivening sustainable develpment for a world in peril- embracing whole systems sustainability and regenerative development- are key to a thrivable future for all.

Grief, Gratitude and Grace in the Spiral of the Work that Reconnects

spiral picHonoring our pain for the world and seeing with new eyes:
This one day interactive seminar based on the work of Joanna Macy explores grief, gratitude and grace in response to the planetary emergency. Deep time, evolutionary systems, and nature tales are woven into a story of who we are and who we can become both individually and as community.
Katharine Burke is a registered WTR facilitator, an educator, and a deep ecologist. She teaches social studies and geography, is a permaculture farmer at The Goats Garden and the founder of The Small Earth Institute.
Georgiana Keable is a professional storyteller, founder of the Fortellerhuset Group and of Oslo’s Storytelling Festival, and inspirational in setting up storytelling education at Oslo Met. She is a recipient of the Espen prize from the Storytelling Festival and of Oslo Artist’s price for her outstanding contribution to the artistic life of Oslo. Giorgiana is the author of the book The Natural Storyteller, which received 1st prize in the Purple Dragonfly Book awards for Green books 2018 and Moonbeam Spirit Awards, chosen from 1200 books as one of 5 gold medalists.
Time and Place:
Where Oslo: Fjøroftsvei 117A 0982, Stovner t-bane
When Feb. 9, 2020 10:00 to 17:00
Sliding contribution dependent on personal economy:
Recommended contribution: 200 to 400 kroner including lunch and workshop. Scholarships are available.
For registration, information, or scholarship please send name and workshop details to

Eco-literacy Training for Teachers

From its formation four years ago, the Small Earth institute has had as a central premise the need to train teachers in environmental consciousness and ecological literacy.  We have been working with teachers throughout Norway and abroad, offering seminars, presentations, and engaging interactive workshops.

Environmental consciousness is a key to making change.  However, in our current situation, awareness often leads to malaise or overwhelm, even among teachers, and certainly among young pupils.  An emphasis on sustainability that comes across as an admonition of what we must do can lead to frustration and anger and burnout when we become aware of just how much change is needed quickly.   Teachers know we must act as leaders in environmental change, but we are often unsure the best way to do that.  Awareness alone is not enough without a foundation of deep appreciation and a change in how we relate to the world around us.

Eco-literacy goes beyond awareness to develop a shift in perspective to one that acknowledges the interconnectedness of systems thinking and applies this to all of our interrelated subject matter in a trans-disciplinary format.  Systems thinking, and particularly developing Earthfulness- an orientation toward our interconnectedness with all Earth processes and Earth systems, is essential to developing the mindset that can help teachers guide students toward healthy and active environmental awareness that will move our entire society toward a healthy relationship with our environment.

We would like to offer a preliminary talk of one hour that can be followed up with a longer workshop format for schools that are willing to commit to this.  This unique and engaging workshop will culminate in direct collaborative work with teachers and curriculum development.

Time commitment:  1 hour for introduction and one day for the full workshop