Asia West Pacific 

Peace Place Seals Earthcare Witness Guidelines

by Kins Aparece

Regular permaculture conversation with Petrus, Ian, and Paula to meet the needs of users and the natural environment. Nanik and Kins (not in the photo) also joined them. These meetings set the tone for Peace Place’s permaculture work. June 2019, photo by Kins Aparece

The capstone of the Permaculture Site Design and Work Plan, June 2019 at Peace Place in Pati, was crafting a Commitment to the Earth

Integrating the ethics, principles and practices of permaculture into the Peace Place activities is a big step towards making a reality of our insight that caring for each other depends on making peace with the natural world. The new depth of this understanding takes time and inter-looping processes to integrate it in a real and natural way. To do so, Peace Place needed a statement to guide us towards achieving this goal.

Ian illustrates waste segregation to the teachers, who must fully embrace these changes that must happen over time. The teachers will play an important role in changing the mindsets and habits necessary for a shift to permaculture at Peace Place. June 2019, photo by Kins Aparece

Our Commitment to Earth

Water

Catch and store water in tanks.
Clean water for drinking through silver-treated, ceramic water filtration.
Reduce water use, as much as possible.
Clean excess used water through filtration gardens that feed back into the Earth.
Use swales to direct water for healthy plant growth and erosion prevention.
Use naturally made soaps and detergents to reduce environmental toxicity.

Energy

Use LED lights to reduce energy consumption.
Minimise use of energy-consuming appliances.
Use solar and renewable energy.

Buildings

Use natural breezes and block the sun with shade trees and vegetation to cool.
Make buildings with natural sustainable materials whenever possible.
Use a layered roofing system to waterproof the roofs and block the radiant heat from the sun.
Use plants, indoors and outdoors, to filter dust, clean the air and improve living spaces.

Food

Design gardens as beautiful and functional edible landscapes.
Eat organically-grown, locally-produced food as much as possible.
Use homemade compost to grow food, without artificial chemicals or fertilisers.
Avoid using single-use plastic.
Inventory products used, and actively seek clean rather than environmentally destructive ones.
Prohibit smoking.
Minimise waste; reduce, reuse and recycle.

Learning

Integrate care for the Earth as a pillar of every activity and educational program.
Design educational spaces for children to interact with and learn about the natural environment.
Avoid chemicals and harmful, toxic products in our learning spaces.
Share our knowledge with others and always learn more.
Turn our inward love, care and concern for the Earth into outward action.

Integrating permaculture into the curriculum ensures sustainability. We are not only caring and supporting Peace Place, but organizing to share knowledge and practices on earthcare to many others. June 2019, photo by Kins Aparece

Some examples of actions we have been able to undertake immediately on our own are:

  • Use the silver-treated, ceramic water filters with passive charcoal in the Friends Guest House, school and training center for drinking water. We will experiment with storing water for training when the demand increases.
  • Nanik continues to make compost, mixing dried leaves in bay one with regular watering. The bay one compost has reduced to half already, even though it has not been turned. We introduced waste segregation at the Interfaith Youth Training, as we will in all future training, and they were very helpful in doing the segregation. And we introduced composting to the children in the school from the beginning of the new school year. Kenzzie, who is 3.8 years old, declared that he wants to make a compost at home. The kids are learning new vocabulary and keep repeating the word “compost.”
  • Incorporate gardens and land contouring into the lesson plans for the students and families at Peace Place. Develop activities to include the children in developing gardens and contouring the land to support them. Outdoor Learning Centers were made for twenty-one students three to six years old to use each day from Monday to Friday. The centers have ongoing activities and activities that vary with the topic and developmental levels of the children.
  • Make our own soap and detergent with one kilogram of chemical-free detergent powder and three kilograms of baking soda mixed together. Not yet the ideal recipe, but it is what we’re using at the moment. We hope to develop a coconut oil based soap in the future. We cook with coconut oil, and not palm oil, in the house and school, which is standard in Indonesia. And we have started using dishrags in place of sponges to wash the dishes.
  • We have started to use our own containers to buy food outside at the market and buy milk in our own containers.
  • We identified a source for LED lights.
  • Planted an aquaponics pond with a water pump for circulation. We planted mustard greens, kale, other greens, lettuce, and strawberries. 
  • Standardized the PP menu to include organic vegetables and fruits and local products. 
  • Quit purchasing instant coffee packets and individually wrapped snacks for training session and do boiled sweet potatoes, boiled or roasted corn, fried bananas, traditional snacks instead. 
  • Included peace and nonviolence with the Earth as well as each other into the curriculum for the school, training and community events. During the five-day training we wrote our visual aids on reusable cloth. We introduced permaculture to the participants in the last training, and they cooperated by saving electricity, turning off the water, lights, fan, and taking care of the compost.
  • Developed a permaculture site plan with zones for the under three, three to five year olds and six to seven year olds that also serve as contemplative, play and project areas for adults in training. This way we can direct our daily, small steps and request for help towards this larger design.
  • Tested the paint used on the wooden beads and demanded producers identify and use non-toxic paint on the wooden toys at Peace Place.