As elsewhere in the world, permaculture has become the rising star of planned, small-scale soil use in Baja California.

It is a system of dynamic design principles that leads to increased agricultural productivity of a given plot of land that was first developed in Australia by Bill Mollison and David Homgren.

Permaculture has become the most important model of sustainable development in recent memory, according to Eli, a professional musician with a keen interest in sustainable agricultural practices who has been promoting it in Rosarito, Baja California.

In permaculture designed for home gardens, everything is taken into account: the relationship between light, shade,

permaculture practices with the advanced theories of the recently deceased Japanese biologist Masanobu Fukuoka.

Furthermore, Eli promotes the ideas encompassed in the Transition Movement, an undertaking originating in the work of Rob Hopkins, that proposes localized organization and the application of legislation to increase community resilience, so as to resist and survive negative economic impacts—such as   the  crisis  in   the   supply  of
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refined petroleum products and access to food.

Eli promotes Green politics in northwest Mexico and publicizes his views in “Permacultureli” on Youtube. He strongly feels that Green ideas need to be promulgated in that region, or anywhere else where a region’s inhabitants want a sustainable future while still being able to cope with permanent world economic crises.

“There       could       be       serious

A Means for Dealing with the Decline
of a Petroleum Based Economy

By Óscar Cota*
consequences if modern societies don’t change their present course," says Eli, adding that “with each passing day, we see more signs of the deterioration, collapse and social chaos of modern societies, like scenes from the movie Mad Max, all of which have pointed for decades to the logical outcome of the excesses in our current non-sustainable lifestyles, which are based on greed, consumerism and capitalism.”

Since Eli lives on property with an arroyo running through it, where alder and many other native plants naturally occur in the fertile soils, he began to experiment with the cultivation of California liveoak acorns (Quercus agrifolia).

His enthusiasm for growing plants quickly extended to other regional native species. For two years  now  he  has  strapped on a backpack and embarked on  seed-
collecting    expeditions     in    the

region. He has successfully grown  specimens  of  the  shrubs Rhus laurina (Laurel Sumac), R. integrifolia (Lemonade Berry), and Heteromeles  arbutifolia  (Toyon).

After realizing the extent of deforestation that exists in northern Baja California and the general loss of cultural knowledge of the flora, Eli has decided to focus on educating local people about native species.

Through his initiative called Integrifolia, a project aimed at teaching people about the local flora, Eli has organized field trips for local youth interested in helping reforest the region.  He proposes the greening of the region’s cities, with rows of oaks germinated from acorns, surrounded by Lemonade berry, Alder, Toyon, and Laurel sumac.

Although we no longer may find it necessary to eat acorns, Eli thinks  the   day may come when
La permaculturaRosarito: La permacultura surge como una alternativa económica para disminuir la inseguridad alimentaria, una idea verde e innovadora. (Foto: Óscar Cota)

semi-shade, wind, the land’s drainage characteristics, soil enrichment, arquitecture, and the solar heating of water, among other factors.

The concepts encapsulated in the Food Forest provide the guiding principles of permaculture and give practitioners an alternative for confronting the economic uncertainties the nation faces linked to declining oil production and “peak oil”. Peak oil is represents the point of maximum oil production, which has already been passed and will eventually bring with a permanent economic collapse. The cost of food production has already risen and will continue to be a grave consequence of this process.

In order to demonstrate how to confront the decline in oil production,      Eli        combines

diversified whole.”

Eli thinks that our future depends on the wholeness of ecosystems, the  regeneration  of  nature,   the control of population growth and a return to development models that are integrated,   sustainable,   experi-
mental and agricultural.

He believes that if humanity continues on its present course, we face a bleak future. A worse-case  scenario  is the possibility of a dramatic reduction in the human species. He sees the possibility of a less extreme means of population control if we follow the practices he champions, one that relies on sustainability, the re-education of people and the voluntarily reduction of our ecological footprint on the planet.

According to Eli, what he and other ecologically-minded people throughout northwest Mexico and  the  rest  of   the   world  are

*Oscar Cota is Eli. Not wanting to write the article in the first person, he agreed to use his stage name.
Grassroots Bulletin on Sustainable Development in Northwest Mexico
proposing   is   community coop- 
eration and an egalitarian voice from   all    in   the    creation    of advanced models for living that offer the possibility of bringing an

era of peace and brotherly love under the watchful, approving eyes of Gaia, the Goddess of Earth in Greek mythology.
this traditional native regional food  is  once  again  exploited. In the meantime, the oaks would help to lessen the trend towards global warming.

The Integrifolia initiative teaches about:  the  basics  of   permacul-
ture; food security; self-reliance in regional food production; community organization; the creation of organic gardens; the looming oil crisis and the resulting permanent economic decline; and environmental conservation and restoration.

“These are but a few of the cultural changes that must be made   soon,”   he   says.   “Green politics provides a blueprint for cultural change, a change in paradigm that everyone mentions but few practice. It is a path leading from an anthropocentric society to a society that takes everything into consideration and one in which human beings are but part of a complete,  integrated, biologically