• Pedro Valdjiu

Permaculture and Social Zoning

Updated: Jul 30, 2020


Last summer we hosted one more edition of our Permaculture Design Courses at Terra Alta. A co-facilitator of the course introduced the students to the Social part of Permaculture which brings the design field of “zones” from land designing into the people and social sphere. The students' feedback was really positive and made me think about what I was going to present.

I have used the book "People and Permaculture", by Lobby Macnamara, were the author describes different zones and their circles of influence on humans and I strongly believe that the studies of social permaculture must be included in a land design course, taking in consideration that most of the people don’t have access to land but have access to people, like family, friends, peers and so on.

Looby definition of zones ends with zone 5 – the world, and after some months from delivering these content I felt that I could had-on something to her vision and this is where I decided to present to the social permaworld zone 6 and 7, the universe and the unknown .

It took me some days until I felt the internal process warm enough to write some words with a lot of  personal points of views.

I also come to the idea that by adding zone 7 to the mandala it was creating a loop between Zone 00 – Ourselfs and Zone 7- The Unknown. So I feel that there is a tours pattern like the one on the picture above representing these loop intention.

Torus with human inside – could be the album cover from a progressive band!

From Zone 00 to Zone 7

Zone 00 – Ourselves

These is the Zone were I feel most of the work needs to be done, so that I can mirror myself through the world in my greatest potential.

We are constantly designing the world with our thoughts. What we dream and what we think it can happen, really really happen!

I have find out that I need time on my own, near nature  and in silence,  so that I can silent my talking mind and start to see me as I Am. These of course is not so easy, considering that these particularly mind loves a god chat…

Music, meditation, chess, love, walk, and so one seems to support me in these zone, but above all it is all actions or non actions that brings awareness to myself, self-awareness that keeps on answering the eternal question – who Am I ?

Zone 0 – Our family and people that we see everyday

I feel very blessed with my family and I am very grateful for sharing a life with them. It is for sure the second biggest challenge in life.  Being a child  from a mother and father is quite a long process, starting within the mothers belly, to our childhood, teenagers, and then to adult life. And then later becoming myself a father and starting the process again but from the other perspective. Seeing with how many patterns was I programmed by my parents , and how many am I going to perpetuate with my child and even creating some new patterns of my own that will be possible perpetuated from my children on.

On these zone we also have partners, companions and I have to say what a big challenge here!! What is love?, what is freedom?, what it is respect?, trust... These topic is to big for blogging!

We also find neighbors on these zone. I share with you that after buying Terra Alta, were we live, a lovely friend called Henrik came to live here and this is where I started to believe on the importance of having such a good neighbor , a person that you trust and lives next to you!!

Nourishment is what I feel is needed on these zone.

Zone 1  – Friends and other family

On the movie Into the wild Christopher McCandless writes "Happiness only real when shared", and this is what a good friendship does in our life’s. Being open to friends seems an important factor.

In family I see  the need for tolerance , because some times this is where I find that even if there are no similar tastes and behaviors there is the blood proximity that needs to be respected. Who already suffered with a christmas party here??

Zone 2 – Work colleges , schools clubs, associations, cooperatives. Where there can be common bonds and understanding, or assumptions and motivations

These zone is where I feel that our gifts can be brought to the collective of people, our social gifts, our crafts, arts, music, philosophy’s, gardening, and so on. We are also very blessed here in Sintra to have such an amazing community of people who are giving the steps into a transition from capitalism orientated culture to a more resilient one.  Although i see that we are kind of in the kindergarten still, giving the first steps… Its Great!

These zone motivates me to be part of local actions that can affect the world.

Zone 3 – Shared cultures, locality, friends of friends, community of interests

I project my self to the closest city from Sintra which is Lisbon, Portugal , South Europe. For those who still don’t know Lisbon, I can say that it´s a great city for wild people! In a good sense… good art , food, architecture and people. I see Lisbon as a friend that I like to visit sometimes. Still not so many times because it is a city that needs a lot of good design like most of them and i can go a bit tired. Urban permaculture is needed on these Zone so that we also see the benefits of good design applied into economy , people and city land.

Zone 4 – Nationality

I am Portuguese and there is a reason why. I feel that there is always a higher reason why we are born were we are. What I have found it´s that on these zone I need to take responsibility. If I don’t like the kind of politics that it is being practiced on my country I need to be able to change it , and at least to know what I want from it.  And if those that are governing doesn’t do it , so I will do it anyway.  I accept my part of responsibility for the people of my country for nature and myself.

I think that it will be possible to overcome these separative feeling of nationalism when each one of us will take responsibility for they actions, and be wise in what we do. Self responsibility is what I have found out to be the key on these zone.

Zone 5 – The world

How do we connect with these zone?  From zone 00 to zone 5 seems a giant leap. I feel that when I close my eyes and breathe deep for a while I can be part of the world.  My big question here,  is how can we support hate in a world that is full of Love.  How can 6 or 7 billions of humans be supporting such a disadvantage energy when compared to love?? When are we gonna reach the critical mass and all give a big jump, a giant leap into a new state of global consciousness.

I heard once from Agostinho da Silva, a Portuguese poet and thinker that the word “world” means translucent, were the light coming from the Sun as consciousness doesnt gets filter by anything or anyone. The world as a garden of truth.

Even not being a part of any religion I do my own praying so that we /I make these shift. I believe on the power of people!

Zone 6 – The Universe

On these Zone I ask  how do we connect to the stars, planets and all that exists on these dimension .

We have astronomy, astrology, and space science, we have  biodynamic farming that presents a complex and wise farming system , different calendars from the Gregorian to the Mayan and the Chinese.

Unfortunately for Life astrology and astronomy were separated in the 17th century by the Age of reason were in my belief both lost a lot from these break up, and what was sacred before is now either scientific or just a way to predict the future or as a form of divination. We also seem to become divided as we can see nowadays on what we call university’s, were people are learning how to become specialized in a little part of the big picture rather than seeing the higher perspective on the subject they are committed to study.  So I say, university’s should now be called dualversitiy , a place were one will learn how to be even more dualistic.  Long ago Pythagoras started the first academy in order to support the growth of man, where is vision was a place were one could learn about the universe and its mysteries.  Later on the first university emerged from the libraries of the churches to what we have today, mere places to grow more soldiers of the production army installed on earth.

I see here a need to create new codes and ethics for outer space, cause we are already doing a mess there , sending garbage to space, having millions of junk orbiting around the planet, and even the idea to move to another planet were we don’t even know how to take care of these one seems to be pretty crazy and foolish.

These zone is where there is probably a lot to learn from different cultures besides earthlings. I mean our alien friends

 I wonder how are they building chicken tractors in Sirius…

Zone 7 – The Unknown

These Zone is immeasurable , at least with the tools that we know, it’s an abstract zone and whatever I will refer in the next lines it will be simply my narrow perspective from the Unknown.

I feel that there is a lot to learn from these zone, or to relearn, considering the fact that our highly developed technological culture negligence the studies of these mysterious zone. As a consequence of that the Age of separation is dominating the collective consciousness, being manifested in our monetized and profane economy . These separation, I believe is connected to the feeling that patriarchal massive religions promote that heaven is not here but  somewhere else which makes our connection to the unknown in stand by, waiting for death to establish it,  and therefore we have the right to destroy our habitat with the hope that something better is waiting for us. These mind frame made Life a profane act instead of sacred.

These feeling of separation is imprinting fear in our cells 24 hours a day, in our cells, in our souls, our communities, jobs, countries and the world.  Establishing connection to the unknown is accepting the cycle of life that includes also death, and a result of these a reconnection with the sacred aspects of these material existence on earth, were Life and death must be respect equally.

I believe that agriculture was born from the fear of the unknown, from the impulse to dominate nature, impulse that is now everywhere, in almost every culture and micro culture, in our heads, these feeling to know what is going to happen today and tomorrow and next week and next year. And finally people get a job, becoming an employee of someones vision. Using their energy in someone´s dream , not their dream, giving up personal gifts for the good reason of dominating life and the Unknown, ie, receiving every month a little amount of money that will keep things under control.

Personally I struggle a lot with the feeling of anxiety that is coming in my direction from these zone , and from the lack of a proper education on these area… There are cultures that have these education since childhood, Native Americans call the Unknown the Great Spirit, Tibetans seem to know so much about it that they even know were they are going to reincarnate, and we are still looking out for new ideas to invade and dominate these cultures. Why? Fear of the Unknown!

What else is coming from the unknown? Utopia, I guess.

Utopia like something that still doesn’t exist in the world, the New, that wants to be manifested, new codes , new ethics, new imaginations, new art,and a new holistic vision for humanity. These zone 7 is from were the 3 ethics of permaculture emerged , Earth care , People care and Fair Share.

I feel so often frustrated by the fact that it’s almost impossible to leave under the ethics of permaculture, – earth care?!, and then I drive my car to take my child to school using petrol ( I wish I had a donkey…), people care?!, and then I eat a piece of chocolate that probably was harvested by a slave child, and so on. It Makes me feel bad, but it also makes feel aware that from patterns to details there is a need for a big internal transformation.

Being ethical seems to be utopic, and it´s ok with that, because utopia is being sent to us from the Unknown, like a beam of light guiding us into a new direction every day.

It is up to us to stop and tune in with that channel so that we can create, either through meta science, through spiritually or both, a better world.

I surrender to the Unknown!

Pedro Valdjiu, from The Unknown to The Universe, Solar system, Planet Earth, Europe, Portugal, Sintra, Almoçageme, Terra Alta , my room, Myself..