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Re-earth the Cities!

Cover of Permaculture 2. ©Andrew Jeeves.Reproduced with permission. Click for lots more about Permaculture.

Re-earthing is the process of re-connecting ourselves with the earth.
Practically, we learn to nurture the soil & grow the things we need; psychologically we become 'grounded'and more balanced as we develop our awareness of how the earth under our feet supports & connects us; emotionally we gain a sense of well-being, when we connect with it as our home; intellectually we learn more about it at every opportunity; metaphysically we honour it as one of the four elements; & on the spiritual plane, we learn to respect & reverence the Earth, as a manifestation, or, if you so believe, the divine creation, of life energy, whose evolutionary history from the beginning of the universe all beings share.
We develop not only a sense of place, but also an ethics of place

"....an ethics of place involves not just loving your place, and respecting your place of attachment, but also being able to live in a way that doesn't degrade other places, and other people's places, and others species' places as well. " - Val Plumwood

Why the city?

"Stay out of the bush. It is already in good order." - Bill Mollisson

Re-earthing the cities,
making them pleasant & sustainable places to live,
is the world's best hope of environmental renewal

More than half the world's population now lives in a city or town, & the percentage increases hourly.
In Australia the figure is closer to 80%.
Only a privileged few can support themselves in rural areas.
If you are not convinced, try dividing the world population into the total cultivable land areas of the Earth -
Earthday reckons 1.8 hectares per person is all we currently have
And calculate your own ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT
This International Calculator from the WWF needs cookies turned on, but doesn't require Flash, is comprehensive, and fun.

And take a look at the United Nations FAO STATISTICS database.
You need 'cookies' enabled for this site. It does not load easily with IE3

I am deeply conscious that my own experience will apply mostly to first world cities.

However, it is in these cities that the need to simplify & reduce consumption is greatest.

I have no experience of living in developing countries, but from my childhood in WW2 London,
I know that human suffering can be such that survival must appear more important than sustainability.
Yet even in desperate situations there are CHOICES.

See A Green Childhood In WW2 London

Any suggestions made on this site I have either found from experience to be feasible,
or would be willing to use in appropriate circumstances.
This does NOT necessarily apply to information & suggestions on other sites to which my links may lead you.
I offer these suggestions with great humility.
We all have to start where we are.
If you have relevant experience
please share it.

Gardening is an essential part of the Re-earthing process.
" Gardening is not a rational act.
What matters is the immersion of the hands in the earth, that ancient ceremony of which the Pope kissing the tarmac is merely a pallid vestigial remnant"
- Margaret Attwood
But simply to garden is not enough.
We must learn to garden sustainably and responsibly

And without WATER, none of this would be possible.

The Charter of Calcutta.

We are at a turning point in history.

Our planetary environment is severely damaged.
Desertification is spreading, the globe is warming.
Entire eco-systems are under threat.
And the city is at the centre of the storm of destruction.

But that is the key!
We must cease seeing the city as a problem.
We must see the city as the solution.
For the city is our home.
It is what we make it to be.
It is where we live.

If we fail to seize the future,
We will be consumed by the past.
The Future begins NOW!

Let the Charter of Calcutta be simple & clear,
To be heard by all,
And filled with hope & vision.

Charter written in 1990 at the 1st.Eco-cities conference by Paul Downton & Prof.Santosh Ghosh
Return to PIJ article

The Prince of Wales is, & always has been an outspoken champion of environmental issues.
join up the broad spectrum of disciplines affecting our impact on the natural world.
His latest book - "Harmony: a new way of looking at our world" is intelligent, thought-provoking,
and suggests many possible ways to cope with the environmental crises we face.

(Annual lecture series, year 2000's theme 'Respect for the Earth')


A student presenting his design at the conclusion of one of my Permaculture Courses emphasised that
'Permaculture is as much about designing lifestyles as about designing habitat'
And adopting an earth-friendly lifestyle can be a joyful and fulfilling process.
My friend Deborah White, architect, and contributor to Permaculture Two, refers to her voluntary simplicity as
"frugal hedonism"!

The Shaker lifestyle incorporated dance, music, song, frugality, simplicity & dignity
Simple Gifts

City Farmer - graphic link Canada's office of Urban Agriculture has lots of practical stuff, & Global links.

Urban Forestry is vital both to modify climate, and to make cities sustainable.
So is the restoration of urban biodiversity.

A good starting point for information about Urban Forestry is the
And check out


work in cities around the world, focussing their meditations on the healing of the cities.

Home | Re-earth the Cities! | The Permaculture Journey | The RainbowWeb Story | Sustainable Solutions | You Can Save the Earth!
Deep Ecology & Re-earthing | Inspirations & Resources | Rough Guide to Site | Site Map | Links
Margaret's Sustainability Articles

Australia - This is an Australian website - Contact Margaret RainbowWeb

URL - http://www.users.on.net/~arachne/reearth.html