After watching Geoffrey Lawton’s Greening the Desert (Lawton, 2015), it is clear that one reason permaculture was ideally suited to application in the Jordan Desert was that the land in this area was so poor that traditional agricultural methods simply could not be used. This as primarily because the area suffered from low rainfall and high levels of salt in the soil, making traditional methods impossible.
Another reason permaculture was ideally suited to this area was that the people farming there were desperately in need of assistance; the methods they were already using were expensive and unsustainable, as well as yielding poor results. Unlike more prosperous areas, this was an area where non-traditional methods could stand a chance of being accepted because the needs of the people were so extreme. However, it is not the case that permaculture was without flaws or limitations in this area, either. In discussing the significant amount of controversy that has surrounded the rise of permaculture in public awareness, a CNN article suggests that a criticism levelled against permaculture is that it may be less than accessible to those who need it most: ‘They argue the method is time-consuming in the early stages and that makes the system hard to get off the ground in many places’ (CNN, 2009, n.p.).
The extreme need of the inhabitants of this area, which made it possible for permaculture to be accepted, is also one reason why it might not be ideally suited to application in the Jordan Desert: this method requires large investments of capital and resources to be successful. A second reason it might not be ideal is the time needed to establish this kind of project. While scientists and experimenters such as Lawton have the time and resources to spend on establishing a permaculture site, those who actually need to benefit from it ‘ the farmers and inhabitants ‘ are unlikely to have the same time and resources to implement such systems for themselves. With this in mind, permaculture risks becoming another route to dependency for these communities.
- CNN (2009, October 7). ‘Making Barren Lands Bountiful.’ Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com
- Lawton, G. (2015, February 25). ‘Permaculture: Greening the Desert.’ Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xcZS7arcgk.