A PDC for people living on the top of the world

In 2016, Rowe Morrow was invited to teach a permaculture course to students from Bhutan, Ladakh, Taiwan, and the Tibetan High School at the Dehradun monastery in India.  Find out what she learnt in her report: “Melting glaciers, sheer slopes, flash floods and permaculture.”

“The focus of permaculture on countries and districts in the Himalayas is critically important even if only to stay or buffer the worst of global warming and the worst of climate change outcomes.

Bhutan is an excellent model for the region with its commitment to the environment and 72% of natural forests in tact. The organic farmers were knowledgeable and supportive in sharing their experiences which could stand for the other countries and provinces. It was invaluable to have their participation. They were confirmed in the positive directions their government has taken when they heard stories from other regions. 

Ladakhis were pleased to tell their government has committed to a clean, green district although it is not fully functioning yet.

The PDC curriculum is challenged by melting glaciers and rising temperatures in these vulnerable and finely tuned ecosystems.   It also continues to be valuable in giving people knowledge to act appropriately and effectively to save lives and landscapes.

  • Where temperatures are not too low, many solutions lie in ‘restoring forests’ of relevant types from low scrubby to taller coniferous.
  • The permaculture approach of water harvesting in a multitude of small catchments and working with watersheds will be critical in the short term and yet has a large labour and cost component. Without these,  people need to start leaving the regions now.
  • Incomes are naturally a major preoccupation and new sources, or greater stability of older ones, needs thoughtful consideration. Meeting human needs within the region is traditional and could be widened and reinforced.
  • Integrated design for colonies and urban suburbs is a permaculture focus which is increasingly required because cities are more congested and polluted. 

Read the full report here

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