There is one, and only one solution, and we have almost no time to try it. We must turn all our resources to repairing the natural world, and train all our young people to help. They want to; we need to give them this last chance to create forests, soils, clean waters, clean energies, secure communities, stable regions, and to know how to do it from hands-on experience.
Bill Mollison, Travels in Dreams: An Autobiography (1996)
This quote has been pinging around in memory of Bill Mollison, co-originator of the permaculture method, who passed away this week. A clear-eyed expression of the perspective that if we get only one thing right, in the time that’s left, it must be this: put the natural world first.
My inner rational-optimist likes this kind of message, likes it when scientistic faith in “problems” and “solutions” (It’s not too late. How hard could this be to fix? How hard could it be if we were serious, if we were actually, truly, deadly serious?) prevails for a while over dreamtime despair. But then I recall again who we are. What we’ve done. What we’re still doing. And what we’d be asking of ourselves, all 7-plus billion of ourselves, if we took Mollison’s advice to heart. And then I note that the autobiography containing the quote has been around for twenty years. (…and we have almost no time to try it.)
Don’t go there. Not this morning, this bright blue morning on the Welsh side of the Bristol Channel. The first rainshower has passed, wet sunshine glistens on the leaves. There’s a pot of coffee ready in the kitchen. The day beckons…