“Workers have become so deeply indebted on their home mortgages, credit cards and other bank debt that they fear to strike or even to complain about working conditions. Losing work means missing payments on their monthly bills, enabling banks to jack up interest rates to levels that used to be deemed usurious. So debt peonage and unemployment loom on top of the wage slavery that was the main focus of class warfare a century ago.”
When I took my Permaculture Design Course at Panya Project a couple of years ago, what inspired me most was not what I learned, the setting, the buildings or anything else, it was rather the other students in the group. Coming from different generations and different parts of the world, what they all had in common was a feeling that things are ripe for change, that we need to do more with less and a deep unease about taking on debt, there was something about all of them that was different and positive.
They all had hopes, plans and ideas, maybe not totally clear and fully formed, but they had them. They wanted to live in a harmonious environment with like minded people, spending their hard earned money on what they needed and not on some magicked out of thin air mortgage. Debt is slavery and they preferred freedom.
“This is the way out” I thought, knowledge about growing food and building with natural materials can be a powerful agent for change, as it allows us to find ways to live without debt. My fellow students and people like them can show others how it can be done. When we share what we have learned we become a part of this renewal process. IT CAN BE DONE.
At our place we have needed help from the village to build our house, but a small group of people younger than myself can achieve quite a lot in a short space of time. There are already many examples around the world. Real change can only come from the bottom up. We have benefited from the help and advice of many people and one day we will have our own practical experiences and knowledge to share.