Turning a problem into solution

Walking out onto the lawn during the last few weeks of snow and ice, I’ve noticed more and more molehills. Most gardeners or farmers would be horrified and send for the mole catcher. However, I look upon them with a different eye.

Since meeting Arthur Hollins on my permaculture course in 1990, my view of moles has been transformed. On his farm in Shropshire, Arthur loved molehills. He had changed his whole farming methods round to a foggage system which meant keeping his cows outside all year long. To him molehills were super seed beds to plant new and different types of grass which would increase the variety and strength of his grazing areas. He explains all his methods in ‘The Farmer the Plough and the Devil’, a brilliant book which should have revolutionised farming for the better years ago.

Farming is like a massive oil tanker, very slow to turn, but hopefully more and more farmers are finally starting to catch up with his forward thinking ideas. Thankfully, his children have managed to continue his wonderful work and taken it even further creating the first Community Owned Farm. The story of how that happened is another excellent example of a massive problem being turned into a solution. I highly recommend reading about it in the Fordhall Farm Story on their website. https://www.fordhallfarm.com/

Fordhall Farm used by kind permission of Charlotte Hollins

A small footnote about Fordhall Farm-even though many people on the permaculture course were vegetarians, they were so inspired by Arthur Hollins and his methods, they stopped being veggies for that day to sample his meat…and were suitably impressed.

Problems being turned into solutions is a viewpoint we would all do well to adopt. It’s one of the fundamentals of permaculture and has helped to change my mindset over the years. There are many dire situations around the planet today, but this is a great way to deal with them; turning a negative into a positive and bringing hope.

Photo by Jeremy Beck on Unsplash

As I was writing this, I had a call from Greenpeace. We ended up talking about the first Rainbow Warrior (that was maliciously attacked and sunk by the French secret service in 1985). Lying on the sea bed off the coast of New Zealand, a new coral reef has grown on it. That terrible tragedy, involving loss of life as well as the flagship, has at least been turned into something beautiful after all these years.

There are many examples of people turning problems into solutions. One of them is innovative ideas for plastic bottles,

using waste plastic for energy sources,

and using brambles and bracken (that are fire risk) to create compost heaps that generate heat and power for a community https://waldenlabs.com/compost-water-heaters-from-jean-pain/

…to name but a few.

There are many positive signs for the future, it’s up to us to focus on them and be part of the solution ourselves.

Photo by kalei peek on Unsplash
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