Charles Massy

I didn’t realize he’d been in Santa Barbara recently, and here I am, reading and enjoying his book. [On the other hand, now I get to get excited again: in April, we’re headed to the GrassFed Exchange, which is finally coming to California.]

Some seem to think it rambles; like Allan Savory’s books on holistic management, this isn’t a prescriptive tome but rather, the tale of a journey, and waypoints, rather than a set of directives and directions. There are plenty of places to stop and ponder; personal reflections and stories of individuals, pauses along the way. To me, that gives a sense of place and time, of the author’s learning journey.

It occurred to me that I need to rewrite the article I’ve worked on for over a year for Holistic Management International, and instead, write it honestly. Holistic Management gives me the tools to make the decisions between the elements I might arrange using permaculture; and the Regrarians framework provides a comprehensive way to oversee, understand, and arrange things in both space and time, through a practical implementation of the Scale of Permanence. That’s how they work together, for me — not in some abstract way that I’ve used “with clients” (yes, all 2 of them – one which never really even got started with my haphazard, makeshift ‘process’) and the way that I described it in the original draft. This is particularly true because now more and more people are asking me to help facilitate this process, and I need to revamp how I go about doing that. The process is ever-evolving.

Nonetheless, I was still inspired by the same people and their work. Maybe I’ve integrated and conceptualized it more than I thought at first glance, which is a good thing.

I also took an ethnobotany course once, online. I took a course on tropical forest peoples, and biogeography courses. The concept of using indigenous knowledge to inform our understanding of ecology isn’t new to me at all: but yet in over 10 years, I haven’t implemented in any way into my own work. I’ve continued to fervently believe in a model of knowledge and understanding that has only existed for a handful of hundreds of years; when compared to a diversity of systems across cultures and ages that span millenia, that seems a puerile and naive choice of belief systems. But I, too, can change. I just wish I’d become who I am now, ten years ago. Twenty. I’m sure that’s a common enough lament.

There is land around here needing managing; and there are people we know that know the people that own that land, and may be looking for someone to manage. So why don’t we; why haven’t we? We are afraid, simply put: afraid to make mistakes, to cost someone, to look the fools. Instead, we let the same conventional, simplistic, annihilative systems persist – the ones that everyone is used to, that won’t be ridiculed or picked apart, criticized publicly, scoffed at, dismissed. By doing nothing, we support their persistence. Now if that’s not impetus enough to change, what is? What could be?

So where are you letting things persist, because you’re afraid to speak up and change them? Because you choose not to determine just how far your circle of influence extends, and instead, stay safely seated within your comfort zone? Why are you leaving things up to the experts, rather than picking apart the outdated models, challenging them with your ability to think, to reason, and yes, even shining the light of the advancing science and ancient wisdom upon them?

Is fear really a good enough excuse to keep you down?

When we have perhaps a decade before it all collapses – what could possibly be enough to excuse our inaction?

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