07 January 2016

The Modern Hippie/Yippee - The Permaculture Lifestyle Movement

When I think of the term hippie or yippie, I recall a period of time when I was a young child.  Flowery fabrics were all the rave and I had a pair of pants that I loved that were covered in flowers.  I also think of long hair, loose flowing clothing, jeans flared out at the boot, public outcries against logging and for environmental concerns.  Sure there were the not so societal popular elements of the hippie culture like drugs and love-ins and the rallies that didn't find favour with some citizens, government and law enforcement.

There's one aspect of the hippie movement that I think more and more of us can relate to.  It's the back-to-the-land movement.  This movement entailed the urge and actions to take up a plot of land and become self-sustaining, growing food for oneself or for others to consume.  The back-to-the-land movement wasn't only a product of the 1960's but it certainly made enough of an impression at that time as to be acknowledged in American demographic statistics. The desire to get back to nature was in part fueled by literature (At Home in the Woods, Living the Good Life, We Like it Wild), by concern over consumerism, the Vietnam War, concerns over environmental factors like air and water pollution, and failings of society and government.

Today the concerns are very similar, particularly climate change, pollution, the growing cost of food and consumerism.  The permaculture "revolution," a lifestyle not unlike the back-to-the-land movement, is a growing "movement" per se as a result of need and desire to become self-sustaining, to better care for the environment and for nature, to grow organic, to support local business and the desire to eat fresh produce and in some cases poultry and even honey (where by-laws permit them on private property).  If you break down the term permaculture, "perma" from the word permanent and "culture" from the word agriculture, you can see the basic definition of it.  It's a bit like being an urban farmer, wherein we grow what we eat, take care of the soil by enriching it naturally, and use organic methods of crop production.  It entails learning from nature rather than trying to bend nature to our wants and desires.  

Design in permaculture entails very little bare soil, growing plants together in such a manner as to have the greatest number of plants grown together in an area to increase yield.  Organic methods of fertilization including compost, mulched leaves and manure replace chemical fertilizers and, generally, preferred pest control is through natural and organic means.  Reduce, reuse, recycle and up cycle are all terms associated with the lifestyle.  Reducing waste including the amount of garbage we contribute to a landfill, reusing items to serve as planting containers, recycling paper as mulches (and recycling as our municipality allows), and up cycling like finding new uses for items that would otherwise to discarded are examples of the lifestyle of permaculture.

Permaculture is a lifestyle that allows for easier living, less labour as it evolves, healthier lives and individuals, a cleaner environment and living in harmony with nature and wildlife.  When we grow a garden using organic means, without chemicals, we encourage the return of butterflies and bees, those essential pollinators necessary for our very existence.  Creating habitats to welcome these pollinators and birds and other predators for those undesirable pests, are desirable attributes of the method.  When we take care of nature and our world we create our own sanctuary of sorts.  One in which we are fulfilling our needs and those of others around us, include nature.  A bit of peace that results from doing the beneficial acts of the permaculture lifestyle.  Not so unlike the peace the hippie generation desired, is it?

#permaculture  #organic  #gardening  #selfsustaining  #reducereuserecycle #upcycle  #naturesexample  #backtobasics  #backtotheland  #ecofriendly 

Disclaimer:  any association with the term hippie, yippie or movement are mine own and are not directly affiliated with permaculture.  I use these terms only as a means of comparison.

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