About change

Without getting too philosophical, change is the most fundamental aspect underpinning all systems, without change there cannot be any life, without the conversion of heat into energy there cannot be any food.

In the context of our ability to fashion a relatively comfortable living arrangement in any sustainable sense, resilience is most usefully defined as the ability to withstand changes in the circumstances that surround us.

So it is essential to understand clearly the various ways in which these changes can take place, in order to design as resilient a system as possible. By system I mean the sum total of the interactions between landscape, environment, plant and animals and our own work and effort.

Some of these changes can be somewhat predictable, like seasonal changes in rainfall, temperature, daylight hours, or slower moving changes like tree growth and  soil texture, but also our own physical changes or changes in our personal circumstances.

More sudden, and less predictable, changes include damage from storms or unusual weather patterns and insect damage, but also a sudden illness or deterioration in our physical ability, so when we talk of sudden changes we seem to talk mostly about things we don’t want to happen.

Whatever type of change we are dealing with, our most prevalent instinct is a desire for control, but eventually we realize that whatever control we feel we are exerting on our surroundings is mostly an illusion, change is much bigger than us and our only option is to go along with it.

The more diverse a system is, the more resilience is naturally built into it, this holds true in every relevant context, be it crop selection, social cooperation, technology, knowledge etc.

This is where our effort brings the most useful results, in this context we have examined and used the permaculture principles in the last ten years, in our case it has led us to a interest in agroforestry as a solution to the resilience question, especially in a tropical setting.

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