What is the difference between Regenerative and Sustainability? In this episode, Hayley shares why she chooses to aim for a regenerative lifestyle rather than sustainable. She discusses the topic of regenerative agriculture and also introduces Syntropic Agroforestry.
These topics are discussed in regard to how if we move our agricultural methods more in those directions we could help reverse climate change and even improve our help.
What is the most simplest way to remind yourself to help the planet? Ask yourself “Will this make myself & the planet THRIVE or DIE?”
In this episode, Hayley Weatherburn introduces the concept of Thrive or Die. A simple way to look at moving yourself to live a more regenerative lifestyle. Whether you are putting food in your mouth, buying clothes, using some sort of transport, we can all make more positive decisions to help us and the planet thrive. And often what helps us thrive also helps the planet thrive. After all, we are nature! So let’s align with nature.
When you move away from the line of the natural succession of nature, you start to die. Eating processed foods; throwing plastics and chemicals out as waste; buying clothes that damage the environment; using anything that contains fossil fuels; the list goes on. The more we use those – we move away towards death.
When you align with nature you thrive as it does. Eating organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices from farms or gardens free from pesticides, and ideally grown through regenerative agriculture; bringing your own cutlery or containers; using natural products that are chemical-free; buying sustainable fashion; utilise renewable energy and more.
The Thriving with Nature Podcast is going to go on this journey to help you live a regenerative lifestyle and become a beacon of change over the next 10 years. Together we can turn this planet around to become a thriving one again, along with our health and communities coming closer together.
Hello and welcome to Thriving With Nature‘s podcast, my name is Hayley Weatherburn and I’m really excited to be starting this journey with you all. I am creating this Thriving with Nature podcast because I believe it’s time, between 2020 and 2030, we have this huge opportunity, almost responsibility to shift and change the direction of how this planet is heading.
At the moment the fires are burning immensely over in Australia and there’s been millions of wildlife lost and millions of acres lost, and who knows what this ripple effect is going to have on the people in Australia, in regards to food, in regards to shelter, in regards to what the future is going to hold.
Once these fires eventually die down I believe Australia is actually starting to get, after about four months of burning, I believe they are starting to get a handle on it. Fingers crossed. And my heart goes out to all those that have been affected: The volunteer fire fighters, the paid firefighters, everyone that has been involved in helping the community’s get together.
So I’ve entitled this first episode, thrive or die. I truly believe that we are in a place where if we align with nature, we will thrive. I mean you just have to walk away from a property and come back and you can see that it’s overgrown, that it starts to grow. Nature moves in a succession towards abundance. It naturally moves towards abundance. It grows through bitumen. It is constantly growing. So, that is the natural law of nature, it is to thrive!
Even our human bodies, if we stop feeding it for awhile. it goes into a mode where it starts to heal itself. It starts to eat away at the tumours and cancers and things. When we get out of the way, when we stop pumping up with too many chemicals, with artificial foods, our body comes back to thrive. It can heal itself. If it cuts [body], it heals itself.
So, we are nature, and that’s why I have called it “ThrivingWITHNature“. We ARE Nature, and I believe if we get out of our way and align with nature. I’m not talking about, let’s go back to living in caves, or living on farms or whatever (and I do think that can be a great life) but what do I really want to see is how we can thrive in this modern world with the technology that we have, an and come back to align.
It’s just a matter of this one simple thought: thrive or die. Whenever we make a decision on what we’re doing, what we’re eating, what we are purchasing, and how we are building our homes. If we just had this thought, is this decision, is what I’m doing, aligning with nature. Will it actually thrive? or is it headed for the trajectory of dying?
So for example, I went on the journey about seven years ago to start to move towards a higher plant-based diet. I am now 100% plant-based in my diet and it was it was a very gradual process. It happened purely by chance. When I first moved to Bali, I was living with a vegetarian. I said “You know what, I’m going to try this for six weeks”. She was cooking for me, so it just made it easier and my body felt amazing.
So, I’ve slowly become a plant-based and I know when I started looking into it, on an environmental affect. Society does need to move towards more plant-based. I’m definitely not saying that everyone needs to be plant-based. I believe if we lived in the law of 80/20. That is, if you were more 80% plant-based and 20% meat, if you choose to eat meat. And you chose to eat meat that was more of an organic, that they the animals have had a beautiful life, before they sacrifice themselves for your food. Even if the whole world moved towards more of that, that would just be an amazing contributor.
This whole journey that I’m embarking on with you all, is, let’s move us towards in the next 10 years, I believe in the next 10 years, we can make a significant change towards a better future where we thrive.
So, I want to give you example today, actually it was yesterday, when I was thinking about creating this podcast. I was like, okay, so what can I give to people in the beginning. Is it just, when I make this decision, “Am I moving towards thriving or dying? So, I wanted to make a sign for outside my house, I know it’s a bizarre example, but I said “okay Hayley, you’ve gotta do what you say”. It was I’m going to get a plastic sign made for my house, so people can know where I am, so people can find it. In Bali, the addresses are all very random numbers, so it’s quite important. But I thought, hey that’s just contributing, that’s just asking for more plastic, which is not going to be able to be broken down easily. So what can I use?
I sat and it just made me think for a second. And just by thinking, okay what can I use that is more thrive or die? Hey, I’ve got leftover wood that I can paint, or even carve which doesn’t even require any chemicals on it. And it made me go, “Are there any eco-chemicals out there that I know that if they get washed off or whatever, that it’s not going to harm the planet.
So I started looking and there is there [are] eco [paints]. I found page, you can contact me if you want, or you could just google eco-paints. It had companies, paints that are now created that are are very positive on the environment. So. I was like okay great, that’s what I will use. I’m going to find the eco-paint and just start moving towards [thriving].
In Bali it is harder than if I was back in Australia, in the western world, I could probably find these paints easily. Getting stuff in Bali, I feel, is like we are still a little bit behind the times in some of these things.. Sometimes I will order things in, and have some people bring it in, when they come visit. But yeah so, but it’s also not being so hard on yourself. If I can’t find those paints, the echo paints, I’m certainly going to try and find a few of these brands of eco-paints that I found online and to use. But if I can’t find it I’ll find the next best thing. I already have some acrylic paints that are here that I can use. I’m not just going to waste down the drain and and get rid of, so what I may do is just paint my sign with the acrylic paints, and then while I’m waiting for the actual eco organic paints that I can get. Then I can actually paint with them, so it lasts. It is the rainy season, so the acrylics may wash off, but I will see.
So, I just wanted to give you a small introduction, like concept of making that decision of thriving or dying. Even when you eat. So let’s get on a more personal level, if you eat something that’s whole from nature, say an apple, or you make a salad from the garden that you’re growing. Or even if you go to the farmers markets and pick some things from these amazing farmers that are they doing awesome jobs. And you eat that, You know, I mean you just have to look at an Apple. If you just left the Apple, it would rot. The seeds would eventually sprout. There is life, there is life force in that. You’ve all had an onion in the in your pantry that started growing. There is life in those things. So eating that way is thriving.
But if you go and get a doughnut, for example, that has chemicals that have been processed. Maybe it’s even got artificial flavourings and artificial somethings, maybe it’s a packet of something that’s got all these letters & numbers in the ingredients, You have stepped away from the line of nature. Where Nature naturally thrives. And if you’re not thriving you’re dying. And so every time you put one of these artificial foods in your mouth, you ARE moving that little bit away from that line of thriving.
Now, I am not 100%, there’s moments in my life where I’ll grab something that is a bit more processed or have something that’s not as whole food as I want, because of where I am or just due to being human and having an urge. That’s okay. But my lifestyle is definitely I would say 80 to 90% more whole foods and definitely 10 maybe occasionally 10 or 20% or even 10, 5% of eating, definitely I hardly ever eat processed food, and when I do I feel it immediately because my body is so sensitive now.
So yes there’s a couple of examples and I just want to invite you listening to Thriving with Nature… firstly THANK YOU for coming onto my very first Podcast. This is super exciting! I have so much I want to share on this journey! I want to learn with you. Reach out to methrivingwithnature.com where you can contact me. If you’ve got innovative ways that we can thrive with nature; maybe you’ve created a plastic bottle that literally can either completely be absorbed into the earth and actually give nutrients to the garden when it ends up in disintegrating or maybe even has seeds. I’ve seen coffee cups that you could just throw on the ground and eventually plants grow because there are seeds inside the coffee cups.
You know there’s these amazing ideas out there and I believe that the human race, that if we just step outside ourselves and really think about aligning with nature. An apple falls, other apples can grow. So when we create things, TVs and I don’t know any plastic bottles, any chemicals… to really think about the long-term affects. Because if we are here with 7+ billion people on this planet we can’t just all be leaving a tiny little waste it just doesn’t ever disintegrate, because it it’s it’s just not possible so we’ve gotta start thinking in thrive or die
And so I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got ideas in this podcast I’m going to be talking a lot about regenerative agriculture. I’m going to talk about teaching you how to grow your own herb garden, even if you’re in an apartment, even if you only got tiny little bit of a balcony. I want to give you guys ideas on how we can all thrive and become a representative of Thriving With Nature.
So far that is my goal on this on this journey on this podcast I don’t know where it’s going to go. I know I have a lot to share and I’m so excited to be moving through this all with you. So yeah, as I said, you can reach out to methrivingwithnature.com I have a Facebook and Instagram all with the same name and I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you thought of this podcast, let me know if there’s something that you’d really love to learn and I’d love to, if I don’t know about, it I’d love to learn it with you.
If there’s people you love me to interview, this journey is about us together thriving with nature and so my my homework to you today as you leave this podcast is of course first, hit subscribe and rate it and you know, I don’t know how it works, but rate it or give me some feedback, I’d love to hear from you. And the second is, in your movements today, try and remember everything that you’re doing, and ask “am I thriving or dying?”, where am I headed? and start to introduce that simple concept into your life. Start to make this decision. I’d love to hear what happened did you did something happened that made you make a different decision. I would love to hear that. So, anyway, thank you so much for listening.
I believe that we can thrive with nature together and I’m looking forward to taking this journey with you have a beautiful day.
In the article above it shows 4 farmers experiences of the drought. It’s not hard to feel the devastation and want to do something to help, but what can be done?
Well, what if there already exists a way to help? In a video called “From the Ground Up – Regenerative Agriculture” (shown below) four different farmers show the way they have managed to reverse the drought in their farms, regenerate the land and their business and even save millions through regenerative agriculture practices.
In it David Marsh, Charles Massy, Charlie Maslin and Tobias Koenig show how they have completely steered their land from the metaphorical iceberg, and sailed clear and far away from the drought. In actual fact having their soils and plants growing better than before with some of their customers, for example, saying their ‘garlic’ has so much flavour than any others.
It is all along the principle of working FOR Nature, not being above it. In the mini-doc David Marsh explains that “What the world needs for the future, what human beings and all life need humans to be doing, is to have an agricultural system that the consequence of management is to increase diversity not diminish it.”
I personally believe that with a few shifts in the way we think and therefore behave, we could ultimately shift the much larger situation of this planet’s doom, to a possible future where farms flourish, healthier populations and ecosystems and biodiversity is thriving.
Industrial Agriculture and the depletion of soil quality to almost extinction is one of the biggest causes where all the carbon has been released into the atmosphere causing the imbalances and crazy climate situations. “We now know that the very best way of pulling down excess carbon from the atmosphere is through healthy agriculture, regenerative plants, regenerative systems” Charles Massy
Some people are concerned that with the massive populations we can’t feed the world? Charles Massey answers this: “People forget that 70% of the worlds food comes of 5 acres or less, off peasant farms, and interestingly the majority of those farms are women. But on the rest of it where there was once industrial farming, regenerative farming is more than capable of filling the gap with all the added benefits.”
And then of course – we can’t talk about all this without mentioning money. Can the farmers survive and thrive? David talks about how switching to regenerative agriculture not only helped regenerate his land, but ultimately saved between 1/2 a million and $800,000 in a year. He says instead of getting more and more anxious and debt spiralling out of control, he no longer goes through that.
So, How do we change?
For farmers, hopefully they can get the education and experience and start opening up and sharing to one another and help spread the news of regenerative agriculture. Allan Savory’s book “Holistic Management” is a good way to start if you want to look further into this.
Farmers switching to regenerative agriculture is just half the story. Us, the people in the urban areas need to also become aware and educate ourselves on these methods. Look into where in your local community you can by fresh product from regenerative farms. Go to the local farmers markets and buy from there – vote with your dollar.
You can also help to grow your own. Even if you have a herb garden that grows the top 5 herbs you use in cooking, and then a veggie garden in a box that grows your top 5 veggies, not only will you become more connected with your food, but done in a regenerative way – the veggies will be that much more nutrient dense and nourish your body beyond your imagination – helping your health as a bonus.
You can also help by sharing this article to friends, family, farmers you think could benefit in some way from learning more about regenerative agriculture.
“We’ve seen ourselves as outside of Nature for a long time, for probably a couple hundred years. But really we are just another species. Sometimes people think that evolution is all about competition, but there is a heck a lot of cooperation in the change of evolution overtime and adapting to circumstance” David Marsh
The first principle in Permaculture is to Observe. To really take the time and watch what nature is doing, or not doing. To get a full understanding of your domain and what is happening at levels. The sun, wind, water, soil, plants, animals, everything! It is suggested the ideal time to observe before you do anything to your land is around 12 months so you can see all seasons, get an idea of everything that happens to collect data for when you make decisions to build your home, garden or anything else. Obviously, in this day and age, time is so precious we often have to observe as we go.
Now I want you to imagine having the opportunity to observe for thousands or more years, as your primary purpose and then passing this behaviour down to your children along with the knowledge you have learnt. The wisdom gained is bound to be deep and quite profound. This is illustrated in the documentary “Aluna” .
For thousands of years, the Colombian tribe the “Kogi” have been doing just that: watching, thinking, discussing and have so much wisdom to share, that for the second time only they decided to share with us, their “Little Brothers” what they have seen through the millennia in this documentary.
They show how destroying certain points on the ocean, in mangroves, lagoons, rivers, has a huge impact on the mountains. Although we think logically that things come down from the mountain and not the other way, we forget that for water to get to the top, it has to evaporate from the oceans, lagoons, mangroves below. The whole system is connected. And when you block one river, drain a lagoon, it affects and can essentially destroy areas up in the mountains that are linked. With natives disappearing, water drying up and landslides occurring.
We are so interconnected that any destruction in nature can have a huge ripple effect.
The good news is, if we start healing some areas, other areas can equally improve. I truly believe that we can live in this world and thrive with nature, that we don’t have to destroy it to get what we want.
So how can we start creating a THRIVING PLANET?
Recycle & don’t use single-use plastic
Grow your own veggies OR support your local organic farms
Use renewable energy resources
Help re-plant forests that grow soil like Syntropic Agroforestry
Try and eat at least 80% plant based if not 100%
Share the message with your community
Spend your money wisely with organisations that help this planet thrive (eg organisations that think about the full cycle of their product or service and it’s impact on the environment).
I came across the concept of Syntropic Agroforestry when I was first doing my Permaculture Design Course. A team came from Brazil and introduced us to the concept and I was hooked! It replicated nature and not only grew food but regenerated the soil. It could also provide profitability as well – so a win win win! This could be a huge solution and a new way of growing food in agriculture.
What is Syntropic Agroforestry?
Syntropic Agroforestry can also sometimes be called Syntropic Agriculture, Successional Agroforestry or Successional Agriculture. Essentially it’s the growing of fruit, nut, vegetables and timbre in one area utilising the stratification and time things grow to replicate how nature’s abundant forests grow. It follows the Natural Succession of nature – which is how normally over 100s of years a grass plane could eventually turn into a thriving thick forest. What Syntropic Agroforestry does is takes the principles and replicates what nature does and essentially accelerates the process to regenerate soil, grow the crops you want and more. Through the biodiversity of the plants, the soil becomes rich, sequesters carbon, there is no chemicals required as the balance is natural and the fruit and vegetables grown are packed with high levels of nutrition due to the life inside the soil.
The specific concept of Syntropic Agroforestry that I was taught was systemised by Ernst Götsch who lives in Brazil. He took a dry grass land area and turned it into one of the most lush, thriving forests that is known for it’s award winning Cacao. It grows a plethora of different fruits, nuts and timbre all in the one plot.
What is the difference between Permaculture and Syntropic Agroforestry?
Syntropic Agroforestry fits under the umbrella of Permaculture. Permaculture is focused on the entire design from inside & outside home to the waste, etc. Syntropic Agroforestry is the design of the growing of the “food forest” area, although it’s a bit more design and planning than a food forest.
Recently I went to a wonderful Syntropic Agroforestry farm in Northern New South Wales in Australia – Gabalah Syntropic Farm – and had the opportunity to share what Syntropic Agroforestry is and why I love it so much… check it out below!
Let me explain a bit more and why I love Syntropic Agroforestry so much:
Life in Syntropy (an introduction to Syntropic Agroforestry
Curious – are you eating life or death? And if you are eating more death? Are you coming closer to it, feeling more ailments.. more sickness?
The saying goes “You are what you eat” and I never actually thought of it in the most simple way. Life and Death.
I was out with my girlfriends one Friday night and our Omnivore friend said you ladies may end up changing me, insinuating that we would “turn her” plant based. In my joking and always trying to make others feel comfortable, I nonchalantly said to her “It’s ok, we kill vegetables too… so essentially we are all eating dead things too”.
But then my fellow plant based friend actually pointed out that we are eating things that are alive. you can re grow celery from it’s core, you can grow carrots from the tops alone, the potatoes and onions in our dark cupboard – if left alone attempt to grow and multiply. Even the seeds of fruit we eat around or swallow can grow. I was watching the Bill Gates documentary part one on the sewerage system, and in one example there was the left over partly processed excrement and the gentleman said that often tomatoes start sprouting, as they do not get digested in the track. Like other animals do, even once we eat something – it can come out the other end and create more life. Nature naturally thrives… and if start aligning and eating it – we can thrive too.
Life begets life..The food we eat is still alive. There is a life force ever present.
Meat, eggs or dairy on the other hands do not – often left alone they start rotting and smelling. Yes sometimes things grow – dangerous bacteria, however eating that can often lead to what is happening to the food… death. I can’t plant a chicken wing and expect a chicken to grow from it. Even a Chickens egg, if not carefully nurtured by life, will rot.
I don’t need to go on about the benefits of eating a variety of plants in our diet – it’s not that kind of pondering…I was just looking at this from this simple perspective. If we want to be more healthy, eat more life force.
I find it quite fascinating, when I sit and stare at this red onion that I cut in half only a week ago, and here it is wanting to grow more life. I have this image in my mind of this pure electric life force that in some ways is like “magic”. Some of these life forces can heal the greatest of diseases but again I just want to keep this simple for now.
If you want more LIFE FORCE, more “magic”, and less death and issues…eat more life force. Period.
Rang-tan in my bedroom is one of the most heart wrenching poems I have seen in a long time. It truly illustrates and brings the reality of what is going on straight into your child’s bedroom!
With my very own eyes I have witnessed the vision that is shared when she says “I don’t know what to do”:
This was taken by me, from a plane, less than a month ago when I was flying across Sarawak in Borneo:
It is frightening to see this with your own eyes – lush forests knocked down and replaced with a mono crop that not only tears away family and homes for the species of the forest, but destroys the soil so that only chemical input can maintain this unnatural monstrosity all to sustain a global community who don’t realise their daily decisions are encouraging it.
Yes, I agree awakening the masses to make more conscious choices so we don’t loose our species, eventually destroying ourselves! This is a start. Check your packages and don’t purchase anything with palm oil – vote with your dollar!
But what often happens is that we portray these farmers as the EVIL enemy, when in fact ironically they are just trying to house and feed their own families. They aren’t the enemy. What is wrong is the method of how we are doing this.
What if we can have a world where we have orang-utans AND palm oil together…. WHAT?
Is that even possible?
I believe it is.
What if you could create a world that build their agriculture mimicing the biodiversity of nature. That it had a complex biodiversity whilst producing high yield, whilst regenerating the soil and habitats of our animals!
This truly can happen in the world of Syntropic Agroforestry. Where in the four dimensions of space and time you pre-plan your crops so that you are always producing yield, whilst building the soil. Utilising stratification and time, accelerating growth through pruning (ironic, I know), having the forest you are building follow the natural succession straight into the Abundance System. Without having to wait millions of years!
I know we have truly F@*&ked things up in such an incredible short time! Truly – we have done a bloody brilliant job!
HOWEVER I also think – that together with the knowledge of Syntropic Agroforestry and some collective community support – we can turn this around so that even our grandchildren won’t realise the damage we had done from our “younger years!”
I believe we can THRIVE WITH NATURE!
Follow me on my Facebook or here in the blog as I share the world of Syntropic Agroforestry and how we can all make a difference!
Thank you to Emma Thompson, Greenpeace and creative Agency Mother for putting together such a powerful video! Hopefully it spreads enough to create awareness… but I also hope people can see there is a solution!
Share this article to spread the word that there is something we can do!
Have you ever seen a tiny fragile seedling popping it’s head through thick heavy bitumen? Or the roots of a magnificent tree engulfing the remains of an ancient ruin?
Nature is abundant. When left alone to do it’s thing, it thrives! It doesn’t choose to thrive, it is inevitable, just as we thrive naturally, if we get out of our own way!
As humans we have been trying to understand, control, manipulate nature to learn from it, potentially “improve” upon it, or to master it’s secrets. However the truth is, in this process we have completely brought it to the edge of destruction. In fact, being involved with, or responsible for, the extinction of many animal and plant species since our small time on this planet. But are we intentionally bad people with a vendetta against nature?
I personally do not believe so, what I believe has happened is a separation from nature. This idea that we are separate from nature. In fact the truth is so far from that…
WE ARE NATURE!
We are part of this majestic macrocosm, a piece in the puzzle and we have such a beautiful role as a guardian of this earth. We have the intelligence to recognise ourselves, and recognise the whole. Now it’s up to us to observe and ultimately ask “What can I do to optimise the processes of life and bring more life to this place?”
My mission is to understand, observe and interact with nature – discover it’s complex yet simple systems and hopefully illuminate it for others to see how we can be THRIVING WITH NATURE, rather than destroying it. If we do not do this, we are ultimately a snake eating it’s tale – destined for tragedy.
But I truly am an optimist. If we were left with one avocado seed, with patience & care we could ultimately bring back avocados to abundance. Like some of the most delicate flowers that can grow from darkness, I believe we can recreate a thriving planet – not only naturally, but as a modern society. I don’t think we need to regress, but progress. Realise that we can have thriving nature AND profits.
I am just scratching the surface of this beautiful adventure, diving into permaculture, agroforestry and Syntropic Agriculture and whatever helps reveal these secret systems of nature! If you are curious and wish to also be part of a thriving natural world, come on this adventure with me… subscribe to learn as I learn.. let’s do this together!