Restorying nature connectedness project-ongoing

This project is developing as a result of work over the past year interviewing teachers about their developing ecological awareness. A takeaway from this work has been the realization that we all have stories of our relationship to the natural world, and that reanimating these stories through telling and re-storying them can both reconnect us to our own ecological identity and provide inspiration for others.

Several threads are currently developing in this project. Please share your thoughts and ideas, and check back to see how the project is going.

Continued research and practice in restorying our ecological awareness

Restorying our connectedness in place and time

A podcast of restorying

Restorying workshops

A Wedding with Trees: Aug. 7 2021

Norwegian Wood:

A Wedding With Trees

August 7, 2021, at The Small Earth Institute: Horten, Norway (one hour south of Oslo)

 A one day nature connectedness and Work That Reconnects event in which we will:

  • Explore our connections with trees and honor our pain for the plight of the forests and the ecosystems they nourish.
  • Write our vows to trees as we come to experience our love for these great beings.
  • Walk in the forest and experience the deep time history of trees on Earth, immerse ourselves in our relationship with trees, and choose (or be chosen by) a tree to say our vows, making deep connection and commitment to these, and all trees.
  • Celebrate our connection to trees in the evening with a ‘wedding’ celebration feast, tell stories and poems, sing, and dance.

This event is money-free: no monetary payment is required although you may donate if you like to help us continue the work .  We do ask that if you come, you commit yourself to giving this event forward to others, in other forests or woods. Also, please bring celebratory vegan/vegetarian food and drink to share.

For more information, please contact: The Small Earth Institute email:  Facebook: The Small Earth Institute  Twitter: @dennelillejord

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 sustaned, 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 thriveability 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 maintenaince, 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.