Permaculture!? Why The Heck Should Anyone Care About That?

What if we could live in a world that works for all of us? What if that world isn’t as far away as we think it is? What if that world doesn’t require politicians or protests or apocalypses?

What if That World is Waiting for Us, Right Under Our Feet, Under the Pavement We Walk and Drive Over Everyday of Our Lives?

What if all we needed were the tools and the awareness that the world we are looking for is possible, and we made the choice to create it, not in some hectic revolution, but day by day, little by little, until the world we knew and were tired of rusted out like an abandoned car… and the world we CHOOSE to live in grew forward into the vibrant and unexpectedly bombastic reality of a growing baby? Seemingly small and fragile but growing and developing into something surprisingly able and unique.

Perhaps, it is as T. S. Eliot words in “The Hollow Men”,

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

And yet this is the way the new world begins, not with a bang, but with a win here, and a win there. Little wins, little moments of shift from pavement to planter, from run-off to river, from waste to resource; from discarded to recycled, reused and repurposed; from commodity markets to regenerative economies.

Permaculture Action Day: planting trees
Permaculture Action Day in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Photo: Zac Fabian Productions

When the county told us the impact on the land was too much for the oak trees, we could have left Live Oak and looked for some other place where we could park our cars all over the place. But Lucidity Festival has never been just a music festival concerned with packing people in to party. It has never been limited to that. 

It is a mythic arc of a story whose heroes are all the participants and whose setting is the world we live in. Our great challenge is to transform what was, into a world where it is safe for everyone to become ourselves and live our dreams out loud.

The arc of the Lucidity story is about each of us transforming from one way of being in a world that doesn’t make sense to us, into the kind of people that take on the great task of growing a world that does work for us, and works for the well being of the earth, our future and all living things here.

Permaculture is finally becoming a buzzword. This is a good thing. It means that it is moving from the outskirts of our collective awareness into our common dialogue. As long as we practice it’s Key Tenets:

    • Care for the Earth:
      Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply
    • Care for the People:
      Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence
    • Return of Surplus:
      Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics

It will stay a potent term.

Permaculture Action Day in Charleston, South Carolina
Permaculture Action Day in Charleston, South Carolina. Photo: Zac Fabian Productions.

This year is Kindred Quest. Returning back home to find our kindred. This phrase is not as simple as it seems. To return “home” we must regrow the one we have lost. To dance together on this earth and meet those we wish to journey with into the future, we must care for the earth we are dancing on, or else there will be no place to dance in the future.

This years festival is a moment of maturity for Lucidity and everyone that comes to be part of it. This year marks our stepping into responsibility for our impact on the land, not just in a “Leave no Trace” kind of way, because we are not living in a world where not leaving a trace of ourselves is acceptable anymore. We must leave a trace, and that trace must be regenerative. The old adage “Leave it better than when you found it” comes into play here.

We are not only committed to this as a festival, but this has become the largest public art piece we will be creating as a festival community this year: one that extends beyond the boundaries of Live Oak Campground and into our cities and back into the communities we all are coming from.

This public art piece is an interactive, collaborative piece of community education and transformation. It begins with an in-depth, hands on training in the Permaculture Action Course, which empowers participants with skills and training to become leaders in their own communities.  It extends into the festival with the Permaculture Action Hub, providing all festival goers with tools and resources to bring sustainable and fruitful change with them onto whatever ground they walk.

The Course then extends beyond the festival, into our surrounding communities in Santa Barbara, with a series of Community Action Days that bring what we are learning and practicing at the festival back into the larger community that supports it.

Permaculture Action Day in Boise, Idaho
Permaculture Action Day in Boise, Idaho. Photo: Zac Fabian Productions.

Our Goals:  We will leave Live Oak better than it was when we arrived. We will honor the trees and the land that is hosting us. Then we will take what we learn at the Permaculture Action Course and in the Permaculture Action Hub and bring these tools back home with us. We will dance and play and meet new friends. This is why we get so excited to go to festivals, to meet new people, have heart opening experiences, and have those moments that stop us in our tracks and confirm our next direction, our next dream.

This year we will more than ever also be developing the tools to walk away empowered to bring these types of transformation to others. We are growing into a festival that is really an interactive social game. We play the game by learning and discovering and building ourselves into the kind of people who can grow the world we all want to live in together. Then, in our near future and for the children to come, every day is a dance, every community is a festival, and every stranger is celebrated as our kindred.

What’s Your Kindred Quest?

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