Everything we do in Permaculture is “investing.” 

That is what we do. That is EVERYTHING we do. We invest in transforming our lives, landscapes, and world. 

But because that word reminds us of Wallstreet, sweatshops, and oil companies, that word makes a lot of Permaculture people uncomfortable. And it also seems like an activity only available to privileged rich people, used to get even richer. 

But to paraphrase Permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison, “everything invests.”

Virtually every successful organism on this earth ”invests” in making its environment more abundant and more conducive to a better future. Plants and animals catch and store energy from the sun, and minerals from the earth into building deep, rich soil, and a complex rich biodiverse system. Because investing in the beings around us, and creating a rich, abundant environment ensures there will be a strong, resilient resource base for us to thrive in the future. 

So when we talk about ”investing” on this page, and in our book , that’s what we’re talking about: building holistic, earth-regenerating wealth that benefits the entire community. It’s about creating a rich, abundant system for ourselves to thrive in.

And BTW, that absolutely does NOT have to be “capitalism” (which I use in the strict sense to mean “investing in privately owning means of production to make money off other people‘s work.”) Of course, I personally tend to agree with anarchist authors like James C Scott, who think small businesses (like some of the organic farmers in our group!) can have mutually beneficial relationships with workers. But we can still invest without capitalism. A lot of us want to play with plants and animals, instead of managing labor. We can do that! In fact, our upcoming 500-page tome Growing FREE includes 147 pages of “regenerative investments” that do not involve ”capitalism.” Imagine that, a “money” book that focuses on non–capitalist investments. 

And it doesn’t take a single dollar. If you’ve got 15 minutes free, you can either “waste time” or you can invest it in learning something that will benefit you in the future. You can plant a seed. You can prep a meal. Or you can invest it in relaxing, calming your mind, centering your breath, communing with the universe and experiencing this rare, precious gift of being alive. 

(Images: This is what “regenerative investment” looks like.)

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