Thoughts on Vocational Training Centers for Ecological Restoration
John D. Liu permaculturist: “I’m often asked “What can I do to help?” to restore the Earth. Over the years I’ve struggled with the answer.
Sometimes I feel like it is unfair to ask me what someone else should do because even if I told them what I thought they probably wouldn’t do it. I think that each person should look inside their heart and decide what they will do.
However, gradually I’ve come to see Ecological Restoration as the “GREAT WORK” of our time. The one most important thing that all the people who are alive today need to understand and do together. I’ve come to realize that to do restoration at scale requires some very specific skills and also requires a type of lifestyle change. It also requires a change in the way we perceive work and the economy. One of the highlights of my year was meeting and beginning to work with Geoff Lawton of the Permaculture Research Institutes. We met in Jordan and then again recently in California and it has been eye opening to see the work that Geoff and other permaculturalists have been doing. Merging their work with large-scale ecosystem restoration can serve both local communities and the wider global goals of mitigating and adapting to climate change and achieving sustainable development.
Geoff and I publicly discussed these issues in “Green Gold” co-produced by VPRO and the EEMP and broadcast on VPRO in April. You can see the English version at the following link.
Gradually I’ve come to consider what we need to ensure that we have the skills necessary to restore the degraded parts of the Earth and have the type of collaboration and dedication needed to do this effectively together. The conclusion I have come to is that we need to build Vocational Training Centers for Ecological Restoration in every continent to serve as the vanguard for the Earth’s restoration.
The types of facilities needed are seed saving and propagation, soil creation, water retention technologies, nursery systems and of course all the other requirements of successful communities such as culture, recreation, education, health care and permanent agriculture.
This could help merge the needs and aspirations of communities with global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate changes, to restore ecological function to broad areas of the planet where they have been degraded by human beings over historical time.
Can we learn to live and work together for a common goal? Can we trade selfishness for collective security and sustainability? Can we work to ensure that the air, water, soils are clean and pollution free?
This is the way that I would like to live the rest of my life in helping to restore degraded landscapes and I believe that there must be millions more who would also like to do this.
I like to hear your thoughts on this.”
Best regards, John D. Liu
Dear John Liu: What do you think about donating depleted land to poor people who are willing to restore it? The government could cover basic restoration expenses such as trees and tractor work. The first few years would be rough, but over time this program should return very favorable results for the owners and society at large. Poor people who currently have very little would become landowners and eventually no longer dependent on government assistance. Do you think this is feasible and how much would something like this cost per hectare?