I know that many of my readers are from around the planet, this is an interesting group in Chicagoland that you may want to check out. http://www.midwestpermaculture.com/
Forging new alliances with Earth, Air, Fire and Water, as well as the Spirit that fills us all with life means looking out to the world in a different way. The tired and no-longer-serviceable world view, that “nature is harsh, forbidding and untamed” have been eclipsed by reality for most of us. No doubt, the storms are raging with more fury than ever, but in our way, we encourage bad behavior by expending evermore fossil fuel, deforesting large areas and feeding the biosphere on a diet of toxic compounds, carcinogenic ones, teratogenic agents and plastic. What organism would tolerate that kind of assault? We can see from the edge of space that we are but a tiny droplet within a vast ocean of cosmic stuff. Inexplicably, we must confront the wisdom that guided us to subjugate one another, conquer vast “territory” and drive out the natives upon every continent. We are doing the same with most native species, supplanting them with genetically modified organisms.
The biosphere has adapted over millennea, each organism, to inhabit a relatively stable niche. Perturbation of natural cycles has been the rule for centuries amongst we of big brain, but we humans have not noticed when glacier-melt fed Rome the vital fluid of civilization, those vast amounts of water went Equator-ward, but we had not yet developed the rain gauge. Perhaps the very breathing of a few hundred thousand humans, never mind millions, could be influencing humidity over vast areas. We are just too clumsy to measure.
Permaculture, at heart is a way of perception as much as it is a discipline of the arms and legs, equipment or engineering models. Beyond engineering lies a long-forgotten art. In the days of pre-contact native people in my area, the forest was burned occasionally, to encourage oaks, for acorns and the regeneration (pioneer species) that deer prefer as browse. We humans had cultivated a relationship with the deer. It was to keep them on the hoof, a living (food supply) deer yard. Fire was sustenance. Do we not inevitably plan to change nature in ways that we determine to be “preferred?” Yes! We also are faced with the challenge of growing within us the ability to see what is best for not only our immediate surroundings, but in and around every place that we go. One way to do this is to perform your very own “environ-ectomy.” Try not going into any single realm of the current economic structure, the fuel station, perhaps, for just one week, find a way to stay out of that place. If the local mall looks like a scar, when seen on satellite photos, just don’t go there.
Next, and this will change you, as well as the rest of the world, assess with critical eye, how might these places might adapt, how they could become productive, more pleasant and life-affirming. If no way is possible, restructure your life to never have to go back to them again. When you give up ties to, or spend less time utilizing a relationship-crippling method of sustaining your own life, it yields time with which you can breathe life into local soils, flower pots, planting beds, arable land of all sorts. I have heard of people bringing in dirt to cover over whole parking lots to farm in urban areas. This may sound extreme, but listening to what Mother Nature wants, or could use, is more often about slowing down enough to “see” the relationship. Especially with nature, our species will only become viable and healthy, when the give and take is mutual. As long as we feed one another and increase worldwide integrity, of natural systems that permaculture will ensue.
Even the tiniest planter box can inhabit a porch or deck, work where you are. If you find yourself somewhere that is inhospitable to life, work to change whatever part it might be to become more accepting, no enhancing of life. We are only living in the desert because no one has concerned themselves with bringing life into areas. We were too preoccupied with bringing in dollars.