Earth Day Replays

Earth Day Replay Listing

The New Storytellers

Transforming Human Society

Making the Story Real

Permaculture as Blueprint for Sustainability: Regenerating People, Culture, & Planet
Recorded on Apr 22, 2014
With Jay Markert ("Jay Ma"): Director of Living Mandala & Melanie St. James: Executive Director & Global Programs Director (USA) of Empowerment Works & Jeanette Acosta ("Sat Siri Kaur"): Teacher of the Principle of Council, Certified Teacher Trainer of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation & Jon Young: Co-founder of Wilderness Awareness School

Permaculture is what sustainability is “on the ground,” and its proven principles provide maps that will move everything in the right direction, from gardens to governments.

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Jay Ma is a holistic educator, regenerative design consultant, permaculture teacher, and social entrepreneur committed to creating ecological and cultural resiliency through living systems design principles. As the founder and director of programs at Living Mandala, Jay works with holistic educators, businesses, communities and institutions designing, organizing and promoting educational trainings, events, and initiatives for personal, ecological and social transformation in the pacific northwest, nationally and internationally.

Jay is a community organizer and seasoned event producer who has produced educational programs, retreats, workshops, conferences and community development projects for 12 years now with organizations including the Regenerative Design Institute, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Gaia University, Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, Harmony Festival, and many others. Jay is permaculture design course instructor, a nature connection educator, a community facilitator, and a fire walk instructor through Sundoor International.

Jay is permaculture design course instructor, a nature connection educator, a community facilitator, and a fire walk instructor through Sundoor International. Jay is also co-founder of Shire Springs - a developing Ecovillage based on Permaculture Ethics & Peacemaking Principles offering affordable residential Ecovillage living and community co-stewardship opportunities on a beautiful oasis in the greater Mt. Shasta Bioregion in California - U.S.A.. Jay is skilled community organizer as well as an engaging educator passionate about sustainability, nature connection, social entrepreneurship, team building, and creating a culture of human beings living harmoniously with each other and our environment.

Melanie St. James' passion to change the world began at 20 in 1994 with a semester in mainland China, an experience that awakened her to the pressing social and environmental challenges of humanity. Through field studies in Senegal and Zimbabwe (1999) Melanie met many local social entrepreneurs ready to turn local resources into solutions, and in 2001 formed “Empowerment Works” to bring them the access to markets, tools and partners they needed to thrive.

In 2007 after participating in the World Social Forum in Kenya, Melanie led the co-creation of The Global Summit (2008- 2020)  to advance participatory, multi-sector and community-led solutions. Returning to China in Fall 2009 to co-create the service learning program for the World Academy for the Future of Women, Melanie delivered EW's flagship approach "7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS)" as a curriculum, which continues to evolve as an open source Asset-Based Community Development knowledge base.

Through the vehicle of Empowerment WORKS, Melanie is a creative social entrepreneur, building a team of fellow visionaries dedicated to building a thriving world from the ground up and the inside out. Highlights on the journey include the 2006 International AIDS Conference in Toronto, the 2004 Sustainable Resources Conference in Boulder; Chairing/ Moderating the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth, 2008 Global Sound Conference; and Co-founding the Coalition for a Sustainable Africa (CSA).

In 2007 she published a medicinal plant based AIDS treatment which she seeks partners to help make available in the developing world at cost. Her training in Transformative Mediation and International Negotiations supports EW's multi-sector collaboration model. Fluent in French and Spanish, Melanie has lived and traveled across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

For all her life, Sat Siri Kaur and her family have applied their shared experience to create cultural preservation and teach sustainability and stewardship of the Earth. Together they develop and implement practical solutions for sustainable living while offering hands-on permaculture courses, workshops and more. Sat Siri’s courses lead us through the principle of Council, followed by an exploration of Indigenous teachings about sustainability passed on by her parents and Chumash Elders. Council is the practice of speaking and listening from the heart.

Through compassionate, heartfelt expression and empathic, non-judgmental listening, Council inspires a non-hierarchical form of deep communication that reveals a group's vision and purpose. Council offers effective means of resolving conflicts and for discovering the deeper, often unexpressed needs of individuals and organizations. Council provides a comprehensive means for co-visioning and making decisions in a group context.

Council is about our personal and collaborative story. Her workshop sessions introduce the abundance of materials, resources, knowledge, and ancestry that exists in our natural environment (i.e. the practice of gathering and use of native plants.) Sat Siri provides expertise with cultural immersion specifically to Indigenous Maritime land use system as it relates to culture and ethno-ecological importance. She teaches to cultivate inner garden’s cycles, transitions, restoration, and revitalization process as it relates to the preservation and stewardship of Self, Earth & Spirit.

Sat Siri was raised in a household visited by traditional Indigenous healers who imbued in her the respect of these sacred traditions. She is the Blesser for the Annual Blessing Ceremony for Peace at the 3HO Summer Solstice International Peace Prayer Day. She is also a certified Teacher Trainer of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation. Sat Siri Kaur is deeply connected with the earth and spirit, emotes love, compassion and connectedness and seeks to fill others with gratitude, consciousness and the sensation of being blessed.

Jon Young grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey, and was mentored from from the age of 10 as a naturalist, tracker, survivalist, and mentor in a Native American tradition by the tracker and author Tom Brown, Jr. He received his BS in Environmental Science in 1983 from Cook College, Rutgers University, with particular emphasis on natural history and anthropology and a focus on how native cultures helped their children understand and connect with the natural world.

From 1984 to 1994, Jon was mentored as naturalist, tracker, cultural specialist and mentor by the African Akamba elder Ingwe. Inspired by his mentoring with Tom Brown, Jr., fueled by his studies in natural history and anthropology, and guided by the elder Ingwe, Jon has pioneered blending Native mentoring and cultural techniques from around the world with a broad array of tools for connecting with nature, and developing refined and holistic tracking skills. 

Jon co-founded the Wilderness Awareness School with the support of the honored elder Ingwe in 1983, and has created several popular training tape series, including being the principal author of both The Kamana Naturalist Training Program and The North American Master Shikari Sequence for CyberTracker. Out of the Wilderness Awareness School, Jon developed a system that is now called “8 Shields Cultural Mentoring”. This system tracks processes and mentoring techniques that are built into the design of one-on-one mentoring programs, family mentoring practices, community-based mentoring, and more traditional modes of education.

The 8 Shields Cultural Mentoring Model has now influenced well over 100 nature and eco-community programs in the United States, Canada and Europe, and is also used in his consulting for organizations, government agencies and communities worldwide. Jon has utilized the 8 Shields Cultural Mentoring model to develop and enhance community development for communities interested in working with peace-making as it relates to nature connection. This has evolved into a world-wide network of practicing communities.

Jon has given over 1000 public presentations and has helped many PhD and Masters students as well as undergraduates with the completion of their degrees on topics ranging from native education to wildlife tracking. Jon is married and has six children, and truly wants his children and future grandchildren to experience the joy and benefits of living in a whole and healthy world and as part of a remarkable community of mentors!