The Permaculture Student

A resilient, abundant future starts with permaculture education.

The Good Life | Matt Powers

Matt PowersComment

The Good Life

How to live a good life? to find happiness, meaning, and fulfillment?
What are the steps, the pieces, the ingredients? is it like Oprah said, we need 70k a year minimum? or is it a higher goal that forms a life of purpose? How do we obtain this “good life”? It was not mentioned in schools, my family didn’t focus on it, and it’s from this place inside me that I feel this need for change, for something more, for something to radically change, for something to grow. 

There is a cultural awakening - we are bankrupt, not only of ecological capital but of our social capital. We’ve run low on care, stewardship, and compassion. But there is hope, wherever there is recognition, confusion, discussion, debate, and disatisfaction, there is opportunity for growth and change, even in the unlikeliest places and persons: we ALL want a good life and it is fleeting.

If we have children we want the peace and assurance that they will be able to live to an old age and not be the last generation and live only to see the rest of the earth’s ecologies die, as we are currently. 

If we are under 50, we will live to see the end of all the animals we grew up learning the names of as children. The chimpanzees, the rhinos, the cheetahs, the whales, the tigers, the elephants, and so many many more.

What did they do to deserve this end? 

We are realizing there’s an abrupt end to the story coming unless we get out of our seats and leave the theater. We are realizing we can no longer be passive if we want a good life - that my good life is your good life, and that it always has been; we’ve only been tricked into thinking this all is a zero sum game by the cultural systems we were born into. We share this air we breath in and out, this water we take in and release with every breath, every step, and every tear, we breath the oxygen the plants on land and in the ocean release and they take in what we exhale along with everything fungi exhales and decomposition and oxidation releases. The plants use our exhaled breath to trade with the soil for what they cannot get themselves. We are all in this together, and a good life acknowledges and magnifies this deeply intimate relationship with each other and all the natural processes.

If you dream of a good life, you likely see yourself eating the best food, living in a safe, wonderful home, having wonderful relationships with your community, companion, and family, expressing yourself, building an ethical business of purpose and service, and living in a way that spreads peace, regeneration, and abundance with all that you interact with. All abundance, all wealth, comes from Nature - natural capital begets all other forms of capital. If we want a good life, we want a regenerative life, economy, culture, and that means we need permaculture education: the 3 ethics: Earth Care, People Care, & Future Care, universal and bioregional natural principles, and regenerative methods, frameworks, and design. 

We can’t just hope for a better tomorrow - we have to make the choices today that will form a strong bridge to that specific future. We can’t leave it to politicians, protestors, or disaster to spur us on - we must knowingly, consciously, and perhaps even publicly make these choices.

To live ethically.

To live abundantly.

To be free. To have peace.

To know that tomorrow will always be a brighter day. 

That is waiting for us all - everyone is entitled to a happy life, a life of richness, of service, of meaning, of health, of abundance, and that doesn’t mean we don’t have our individual challenges or that my happiness looks like your happiness, but to arrive at this place, we ALL need to start living differently. 

It’s not just the trash. It’s not just the atmosphere. It’s not just the pollution. It’s not the numbers. It’s the entire symphony of life that we are missing out on - the natural world is a mirror into our own, we are it and we will never escape that fact. It does not matter if technologically a fraction of humanity can survive on a hostile earth - we will not survive the loss of nature emotionally. We cannot backup Humanity using Mars - this is our home, our future, and the hidden half of our own nature. Hospitals are adopting forest bathing, scientists are discovering antidepressants in the soil, and so much more - we belong to Nature - she is our Mother. Our bodies are born of soil and return to it to serve again and again and again through all the permutations of creation. When we can see the soil as our future, our past, our ancestors, and our grandchildren, we will not only see the truth but we will see ourselves because we are also made up of them as well. Humus, Humility, to be human - it is who we are and our greatest challenge to see past our pleasure, our pain, our confusion, distraction, and fear. To RISE, to BELIEVE, TO KNOW that WE are regenerative forces, that a good life waits just beyond that thin veil our culture has dropped over our eyes. It’s time to lift that veil and see the world and our future plainly for the first time. We don’t have much time. The next decade will decide everything. Are you ready for a good life? We dont have to wait for tomorrow - we can start today with how we eat, how we compost, how we plant, how we grow, how we shop, how we build, how we interact, how we observe, how we design, and who we share with, care with, and teach along the way. 

A good life is waiting, but we need to seize it before it slips over the horizon beyond our reach. We are in this together - intertwined, our fates are fused. As with all nature, we are one thing, not many. The loss of one is a loss of part of everyone and everything. It’s time to flip the script, to empower Mother Nature again, and to partner with her again with every step we take. A good life is waiting - the best food, abundant health, true wealth, amazing relationships, a future to look forward to, and peace instead of fear and anxiety. We don’t have to live in a scarcity model - our economies and cultures are only social agreements that have always changed - it’s time to adapt, to grow, to change, to diversify, to explore, to expand, to rewild, restore, and regenerate. The time is NOW to start on that Good Life, to seize it, and to carry those around you with your conviction, with your vision, and your care.

Now is the time to speak up, to share, to inspire, and to let them all know - we CAN change, there are BETTER options, and a GOOD LIFE is Waiting.