Climate Change & Permaculture in Afghanistan

While in Kabul Rosemary Morrow explained her urgent mission:

“It’s important for lots of social reasons, it’s something which can bring people together quickly under the pressures of conflict. It’s about building a future, every time you plant a tree you are building an improved future. It’s especially important in the potential scenario of the city laid to siege, cut off from food imports, it’s essential people have the skills to survive. At the moment Kabul doesnt have permaculture at all, and it’s a highly polluted environment. My course in Kabul is about teaching people to a high level and with interaction, for example I plan to visit the very polluted local river and explore ideas of what we can do there.”
 
Gardens of Sanctuary 
A Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK Project with Anna Locke View this email in your browser Inspired by the Afghan Peace Volunteers and their desire to learn permaculture techniques, we have teamed up with esteemed UK permaculture practitioner Anna Locke to launch the
Gardens of Sanctuary Project.

We invite groups of all description to take part in this interactive and inclusive project to raise awareness around the wars in which many refugees living in the UK have fled. It involves working with refugees on a relaxing and therapeutic activity which will have excellent outcomes by way of beautiful permaculture gardens and a space to convalesce.

Last year the Afghan Peace Volunteers received an intense 18 day course by expert (and famous) permaculture practitioner Rosemary Morrow. She travelled to Kabul to work with 31 teenagers, teaching them how to design, plant and grow a permaculture garden.

Permaculture is an agricultural system or method that seeks to integrate human activity with natural surroundings so as to create highly efficient self-sustaining ecosystems.

Today, Kabul is one of the most polluted cities in the world, every year 3,000 people in the city die due to pollution induced illnesses such as respiratory diseases, allergies, miscarriages and cancer. The biggest culprits are the 900,000 vehicles, 80% of which are older than 10 years and lack catalytic converters. In addition, Afghanistan imports low quality “dirty fuel” and relies on generators for electricity. A city built for 500,000 people is now home to some 5 million as refugees pour into the city to escape the ongoing military fighting in the provinces. Kabul is the only capital city in the world which doesn’t have a sewage system producing 2,000 tons of solid waste per day.

While in Kabul Rosemary Morrow explained her urgent mission:
“It’s important for lots of social reasons, it’s something which can bring people together quickly under the pressures of conflict. It’s about building a future, every time you plant a tree you are building an improved future. It’s especially important in the potential scenario of the city laid to siege, cut off from food imports, it’s essential people have the skills to survive. At the moment Kabul doesnt have permaculture at all, and it’s a highly polluted environment. My course in Kabul is about teaching people to a high level and with interaction, for example I plan to visit the very polluted local river and explore ideas of what we can do there.”

The local river is more of a mountain range of rubbish with a thick grey murky sludge working its way through the valleys of trash. Due to climate change Afghanistan is facing a water crisis, especially in the years when the snows fail to come. Today only 27% of Afghans have access to clean water, while the water table in Kabul has dropped 10 metres in the last few years. 

Rosemary added: “Learning how to use grey water could be life changing, that will be a major theme, clean food for Kabul, did you know spirulina can be grown on human urine?”

Today, members of the Afghan Peace Volunteers now visit refugee camps in Kabul and teach permaculture. Gardens of Sanctuary is in solidarity with all refugees who have been displaced from their homes, those who can’t access food and clean water, those facing an environmental crisis and those in need of sanctuary.

Gardens of Sanctuary is being launched to coincide with the Nao Roz (Persian New Year) and will be piloted this spring in the town of St Leonards-on-Sea. If any other groups  would like to take part then please contact us.



The original layout and plant lists have been inspired by the splendid Babur Gardens in Kabul, a classic Persian style garden built in 1528 by the Mughal emperor Babur.

The Kabul gardens are now often used by courting couples who sit within the rose gardens or under fruit trees reciting Persian poetry.

This conceptual design replicates the symmetry found in Persian Gardens and uses classic fruit trees found in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
A plant guild is made up of different plants with different roles. This is a beautiful concept  in permaculture, it is where you create a self supporting micro-community of plants around a fruit tree.  This is particularly pertinent for young trees as they are establishing, and is a wonderful analogy for people trying to put their roots down in new places. 

 

See here for the full Gardens of Sanctuary design.


Letter from India…

(Written by a female member of the Afghan Peace Volunteers while on a permaculture course in India)  

I see myself fortunate to come here and have the experience of all those lessons in activities in the Arayna Farm.

In Arayna Farm I see people who has love and friendship with Mother Nature. Everything which has been taken from earth is restored back, no wasting water, soils are nutrient and fertilized with organic matters, and never used chemical fertilizer. Every kind of trees and plants are cultivated, no one uses plastic bags, and 95% of kitchen vegetables are from the farm. They have seeds bank and had kept seeds of all plants in the bank. For keeping the moisture of soils, they use the leaves, branches and plants, different birds are living in the farms, which are lovely when they sing a song in the dawn.

NOW, I am much confident in the power of women because the women in India do the 90% of permaculture work.

With seeing this permaculture land now, I am encouraged to work in this area and want to be the first youth in Afghanistan who makes the first farm of permaculture. In addition, I want to be an encouragement of other youth to do permaculture work and with this work, they would understand that the best way for keeping the nature alive is the permaculture method.

It very good the APVs could be in contact with Padma and Narsanna and they could be a good friend of APVs.

Once they told me, they like to visit APVs and APVs could really have them as visitor.

They gave me two books about Compost method, saving water and irritating method and hope the books to translate and use in the Institute.

I want to bring some seeds from the form and we will start collecting seeds because it is very hard to find pure seeds of plants in Afghanistan.


Permaculture in Afghanistan

A permaculture principle : working with nature, not against it

From the 10th of February 2018 to the 3rd of March 2018, Australian permaculture expert Rosemary Morrow brought 31 Afghans through the second 18 –day Permaculture Design Course organized by the Afghan Peace Volunteers in Kabul.
“In Australia, the bird-songs are my wake-up call. Here in Kabul, there are just too few birds,” commented Rowe, our permaculture teacher. Through face masks, we can still smell the biting smoke and poison in the air and sewerage-waste water, and in the grey phlegm we cough and spit out into the sink every evening. “The soil is exhausted, dry and starving,” Rowe remarked during the Permaculture Design Course, “so we have to repair the soil. We have no choice, if we wish to survive.”
“You mean, industrial agriculture is eroding the soils?” “You mean, we are harming ourselves?” the permaculture design course participants asked incredulously. How did we go ‘off-course’? Who convinced us to take our eyes off the natural blues and greens, to believe in the killer chemical toxins we produce? What made us prefer touching rectangularish digital screens to touching tendrils, petals and bark? What allowed paper or metallic money, ultimately, imaginary money, to inflate our egos so much we forgot to revere the earth? Instead, we cut down our oxygen, our carbon sinks and rain-makers. Without so much as a pause, we cut down our lives.


We’re all students of Mother Earth and Nature

When Afghans, or any human being, are forced to tether on the edge, they cling to the air, they lose their balance and direction, and, on bad days, which are overly usual, I lose it with them. However, what if we allowed ourselves to fall in love with the soil? What if we desired to make the trees smile, and the leaves to shimmer? Wouldn’t Mother Nature restore our breathing, calm our frayed emotions, and court the missing birds who will wake us up?

When Rowe returned from taking a taxi-view of a few refugee camps, her eyes had the sorrow of a thousand years, an indignant disgust at what all politicians are doing or not doing. She shook her head as if to hide her trembling, “Oh, the children, the children…” I could tell she was not about to cry openly, in the same way I try to cope with my daily sense of loss. I sometimes imagine storing those tears in a reservoir, only that, in Afghanistan’s deserts, the droplets would scatter and dissipate. We have no choice, if we wish to survive.”


Simple soil analysis revealed weakened Kabul soil Inaam the young permaculture designer being affirmed by Rowe
 
Inaam drew a big yellow-and-black bee, and placed its hive next to his vegetable garden, the hive’s face opening its wax and honey to the hydrogen-helium sun. He designed a rain-harvesting system from the roof, while aware of the Afghan crises of drought and  falling water-tables. He pictured himself teasing the chickens as they provided manure while pecking at grubs and insects. I could see the garden in his mind, and was sure that it would be better to take boring school lessons out of his brightly-lit brain, and water his imagination into self-schooling. There, in his and our change of understanding, life would grow to feed all.

Learning from Nature to design healthy ecosystems and meet the needs of all


Invite the birds back to Kabul!

Photo Essay by Dr Hakim
Repairing our decayed soil, air water & food.


Afghan Flood Appeal 


As of 5 March, nine provinces in Afghanistan have been affected by heavy rains and flooding. More than 40 people are known to have died, and hundreds of others have been injured or are missing. More than 2,500 houses have been damaged and over 1,300 destroyed. Flood affected people are in need of emergency shelter, warm clothing, food and hygiene kits. Almost 5,000 people have been displaced and 1,200 houses have been damaged or destroyed.  
In response to that, we are conducting relief operations to ensure disaster victims receive the resources that are needed most. Other charity organisations also work on the ground, and our association also wants to play its effective role in support of relief efforts currently underway. The goal is to help as many people and as quickly as possible. In order to accomplish this urgent mission efficiently and effectively, we are relying on your generous monetary donations. The donated money will be used to provide food, medicine and other necessary items and to contribute to prevent the outbreak of diseases and escalation of the current situation.    
As you know, monetary donations are critically important in the aftermath of all disasters because they can be used quickly to purchase exactly what is needed to support affected people and strengthen the recovery effort. Even a small amount can make a huge difference and impact.
 
DONATE HERE  

On behalf of the victims, we greatly appreciate your generosity and support.   Kind regards, Association of Afghan Healthcare Professionals-UK Website: http://www.aahpuk.org        
Registered charity no. 1150024

Happy
Nao
Roz!