Apply Self-regulation & Accept Feedback

It would be hard to ignore all the information that we are bombarded with these days, via television, internet, newspapers, advertising and commentary on the current state of affairs of the world.

We are told to; ‘eat your five a day’, ‘go green’, ‘buy organic’, ‘think local, act global’, ‘recycle, re-use, reduce’, ‘stay young’, ‘get involved’, ‘support your local community’, ‘be safe’, ‘buy this or that’, ‘vote for this party or the other’, ‘care for the environment’, ‘stop climate change’, ‘fight the war on terrorism’, ‘plan for your retirement’, ‘keep up your mortgage payments (or be doomed)!!’, ‘eat healthy’, ‘eat MacDonald’s or any other fast food on the run’, ‘be wary of certain foods (depending on new scientific evidence, which changes week to week)’, ‘get a smart phone’, ‘stay connected’, ‘stand up, sit straight, lie down, relax, breathe, eat well, be happy, be present’ etc etc etc

No wonder then that we are dizzy, nauseous, have tension headaches, feel off balance, under stress, over worked, under achieving, more allergic, less energetic, distressed and generally more debilitated than in days gone by. So what do we do?

Reach for the ‘quick fix’; Fast food, easy money, rapid turnover, instant results, fast working remedies (and short-sighted solutions), mini-workouts, distance learning, online shopping –fast payment, pre-prepared food – all in recyclable wrapping, of course!!, power running, instant meditation, food on the ‘go’, multitasking, constant access, easy dieting, buses with WI-Fi!!!

Oh, or we can always rely on the next new Wonder Drug…

The new wonder drugs; available at every store counter, convenience store, 24 hour shop, garage, local off-license (in fact buy the headache tablets with your three bottles of wine so you have the hangover-cure handy, in hand bag/pocket sized packets) supermarkets and mega-drug malls.

Has anyone else noticed how big business is for every conceivable ‘fix-it’ medicine? How large the choices are for each kind of remedy for; upset stomach, cramps, indigestion, headaches, tension, sore muscles, aching legs, back pain, ulcers, acne, hangover cures, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, rashes, eczema, perspiring, palpitations, throat lozenges, sweaty feet, piles (hemorrhoids) constipation, bowel control, lack of sleep, lack of vitamins, lack of happiness!!! You name, there is a ‘cure’ for it. All packaged up in colorful, enticing, individually wrapped, sweetie colored, handbag size, crazy wrapping. It calls out  “you are not part of the whole if you are not buying these” or “you NEED these and you KNOW you do” They are the new accessory that no ‘sane’ person would be caught without (along with multiple flavors, colors and textures of condoms, of course)

So what has this to do with Permaculture? You may ask, it wouldn’t be strange question, after all.

How about the principles;

Produce no Waste – a stitch in time saves nine

Creatively Use and respond to Change – vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be

Catch and Store Energy – make hay while the sun shines

Obtain a Yield – you can’t work on an empty stomach


Use and Value Diversity – don’t put all your eggs in one basket

And even

Use Small and Slow Solutions – the bigger they are the harder they fall. Slow and steady wins the race (or in some cases fast and furious sees that you will keep on track!!)

Makes you dizzy, doesn’t it? Or it makes me dizzy anyway, and a little frightened if I am to be honest. Have the pharmaceutical industries caught up with Permaculture?

Or has Permaculture emerged as an anti-dote to the pharmaceutical crazed world we now live in?

At the risk of sounding old (well by some standards I would be considered getting on in age) I have to ask, what happened to simpler times? When there was the local Chemist or Pharmacist who would advise you on a particular remedy for an irregular suffering? And when did pharmaceuticals become Big Business? With their own dedicated huge, mega stores, filled from floor to ceiling of every conceivable ‘drug, for every considered ‘pain’? Super-Drug strikes again…

As consumers we are now being told to be responsible. Does that mean taking a pill for every possible ailment, just in case? Or is it just another symptom of a power driven, consumer led, and money orientated fast track society?

Having lived in Spain for several years I appreciated that no drugs of the legal kind (or illegal for that matter!!) were sold in supermarkets, convenience stores, garages or anywhere outside of the Pharmacies (Farmacias) and in entering one of these store you could not just go and pick up a ‘remedy’ or ‘fix-it’ for yourself, you needed to speak to the pharmacist. The few times I did go I was always advised to try a natural remedy, herbal concoction or a mild version of pharmaceutics, and unless you insisted on a stronger drug (which I didn’t) you were directed to visit a Doctor or Medical Centre. I felt safe in their hands, as I am not that keen on medicine, unless it is absolutely necessary. I didn’t feel that they were trying to sell me anything, I felt they were genuinely looking to help me find an appropriate cure that would get to the root of the problem, and they listened to me. In short, you weren’t expected to self-diagnose nor buy every drug possible to ease you of all the ailments of ‘life’. Maybe it is because there is sunshine there, and that is the remedy? But I doubt it; it just hasn’t reached the same level of ‘consumerism’ in Spain as it has in more ‘developed’ countries. Things were simpler there and I wasn’t that old when I arrived in Spain! I found this on the internet about Lanzarote, but it is the same all over Spain.

“In most cases the main illnesses encountered will be treatable by one of the local chemists (Farmacia). The local chemists in Lanzarote sell what we would term prescription drugs over the counter but if you require a specific treatment don’t forget to pack it along with the prescription. If you need to purchase medicine in an emergency, outside normal office hours, you will find at least one chemist in your area open 24 hours.
Painkillers such as Paracetamol are only available through a Farmacia and cannot be purchased in a Supermarket. Likewise, these products cannot be bought in a Parafarmacia – a kind of mini-Pharmacy that sells skin products and other non-prescription medicines.
Antibiotics can no longer be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription in Spain.”


Now we find that there is a law which has been passed restricting the sales of herbal medicines;

May 04 2011

European Union “Ban” On Herbal Products

Published by Steven Novella under Herbs & Supplements,Politics and Regulation
Comments: 105

Regulations have just gone into effect in the EU regarding the sale of herbal products. The regulations seem reasonable, but they have sparked near hysteria on the part of herbal sellers and advocates of “natural” medicine. They are calling the regulation a “ban” on herbal products, which much of the media has parroted, but it is not a true ban, just a requirement for registration.

The law was sparked by cases of toxicity from over-the-counter herbal products. For example, aristolochia is a toxic plant species that is either used deliberately or can be accidentally or carelessly substituted for other plant species. It is known to cause kidney damage – even leading to kidney failure is some cases. Another herb, kava, has been linked to liver damage.

The new EU law, which went into effect May 1, 2011, will require herbal products to be licensed, or prescribed by a licensed herbal practitioner. In order to be licensed evidence for safety of the product must be presented. It is estimated that it will cost between 80,000 and 120,000 British pounds to get an individual herbal product licensed.

I find it interesting, and completely predictable, that sellers of herbal products are wailing that this is all a conspiracy by “Big Pharma” to crush the little guy and steal all the herbal profits for themselves, or to ban herbal products to protect their drug profits. But this is a straw man. The real question here is the balance between marketing freedom and quality control – but those who want to defend their right to sell herbs don’t want to discuss the real issues, apparently.

Dr Rob Verkerk from a trade organization, the ANH, is quoted as saying:

“Thousands of people across Europe rely on herbal medicines to improve their quality of life. They don’t take them because they are sick – they take them to keep healthy. If these medicines are taken off the market, people will try and find them elsewhere, such as from the internet, where there is a genuine risk they will get low quality products, that either don’t work or are adulterated.”

First, he begs the question that the use of herbs improves anyone’s quality of life. That is, in fact, the entire question – are the risks worth the alleged benefits. The legislation is simply an attempt to provide a better risk/benefit for the consumer by putting into play better assurances of safety.

The full report can be seen at

Doesn’t this beg disbelief? With so many pharmaceuticals sold over the counter, under the counter, on open display, with stores dedicated to selling only pharmaceuticals, which people can buy in mega-loads, without question, when they have ‘diagnosed’ their own conditions and then have availability to super-strength (pure knock-out) medicines and they bring in a law restricting Herbal Medicines!!!

What about the Permaculture principle

Apply Self-Regulation & Accept Feedback – the sins of the father are visited on the children unto the seventh generation

In a world where goods, services, medicines, cure-all, quick fixes are shoved down our throats isn’t it curious that Herbal Medicines are being monitored and restricted and that only those who are qualified can prescribe them?

Permaculture in an Uncertain Age

Uncertainty is one of the defining characteristics of our age. Contributions to this state of affairs come from diverse sources.

  • Theoretical science has elevated uncertainty from simply a result of inadequate information to something which is inherent in everything.
  • The clash between the world’s multifarious cultural traditions and modernity leaves most people unsure of their values and roles in society.
  • The avalanche of evidence and information about the impermanence of almost every aspect of modern society and economy, especially due to the looming environmental threats, undermines any certainty about the continuity of everyday life.
  • At the same time accelerating technology and the emergence of endless new ideas, ways of seeing and being, movements, spiritual pathways and subcultures have expanded possibilities, hopes and fears beyond previously imaginable horizons.

The Permaculture concept and movement are part of this global cultural reality, which some call post-modernism, where all meaning is relative and contingent.

Taken from the preface of: Permaculture, Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability ~ David Homgren

It is no wonder we reach for the wonder drug, and the quick fix in a world of such uncertainty, but it is a time of awakening and of being responsible for our actions, our health, future generations and the health of the planet. If we are to become a healthier society, planet, people & earth, it is worth considering all these over the counter drugs for the ‘pesticides’ that they are. It may be time to stop trying to ‘control’ the ‘pests’ in our lives, ‘kill’ off the ‘weeds’, cloud the reality, and fully embrace the future unaided by the pharmaceutical crutches of our ‘modern’ times.

If you want to awaken all of humanity,

Then awaken

 all of yourself.

If you want to eliminate

The suffering

in the world, then eliminate

All that is dark

And negative in yourself.

Truly, the greatest gift

You have to

give is that of your

own self transformation.

Lao Tzu