Hi, this is Geoff.

After a couple of months away, we’re back home in Australia. I definitely missed this 🙂 And I’m having a great time with the newest group of wonderful men and women that traveled from all around the world to join us at our latest on-the-ground PDC.

A couple of quick admin notes before jumping in this week’s Friday Five.

First, I want to welcome the newest members of our Permaculture Circle community — I’m honored and delighted to have you join us! If this is your first Friday Five, buckle up for what’s going to be an informative (and I hope interesting) ride. Each month, I send out 2-3 of these emails. My aim is to get them to your inbox on Friday, and occasionally will choose to deliver it over the weekend. I try to keep these short-and-sweet, but sometimes my love of all things permaculture gets me carried away a bit 🙂 You can access the entire archive of more than 100 of the past Friday Fives here, and please remember that these are intended to be interactive; anytime you’d like to comment or engage, drop by the blog version and share your thoughts with the rest of the community.  

Second, this is the final Friday Five before I begin to open pre-enrollment for my upcoming online “Permaculture Design Certificate 2.0 course.” I have been teaching different versions of the PDC course for almost 30 years to over 15,000 graduates, but this particular online course represents the most comprehensive, most in-depth, and most detailed iteration of the course I have ever taught. We had more than 1500 students when we first quietly launched this in late 2016, and are looking forward to another capable group of students ready to change the world. I welcome you to be one of them.

The adjusted schedule for the course looks something like this:

  • Beginning this weekend / early next week: Early bird enrollment (“EBE”) offered to those of you on my early notification list. EBE entitles you to priority, guaranteed enrollment, as well as a tuition discount. In addition, from the day we close early bird enrollment until the day we start the course, we will be sending to those of you who enroll (and returning alumni who are already enrolled) exclusive content and additional permaculture resources (on average once every 2-3 days). All of these “early bird bonuses” will be free of charge, designed to help jump-start our permaculture journey together, and keep everyone engaged and excited until the course formally begins soon thereafter. If you’re interested in being on this list, click here, then hit the green button labelled “Please add me…” and input your name and email. Our team will take care of the rest.
  • Middle of December: Regular enrollment for anyone not on the priority-notification list, as well as members of the general public.
  • End of December: The course officially begins! The first week will include a release of the first batch of instructional materials (total video count is now well over 700+ videos), weekly Q&A video, access to the student community, and 24/7 support from our incredible team of teaching assistants.  

I’ll be sharing the complete, detailed breakdown of this with those of you on the Early Bird list THIS WEEKEND and coming week, and shortly thereafter with members of the general public and those of you who are not on the Early Bird list. Again, click here to indicate your interest in being in this early notification group to make sure that you don’t miss the priority enrollment + tuition discount.

With no further ado…

Only in Australia: Friends sometimes ask me why I — as someone originally from England — love Australia so much. Here is one answer. Warning: Don’t eat or drink anything while watching this video, as I don’t recommend that you have anything halfway down your throat when you start laughing at what you’re about to see. Sheer genius…

Favorite pic of the week: Early morning steam cloud from a freshly turned pile of compost. Believe it or not, this picture is unfiltered — that is real steam rising in the photo. Making compost is one of the techniques we use for building soil. To paraphrase my friend, mentor, and “Father of Permaculture” Bill Mollison, the full array of permaculture design elements is akin to a wardrobe, and making compost is like a coat hanger in that wardrobe.

Black Friday surprise: No, not that kind of “Black Friday,” but rather this kind: “On Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the federal government published a massive and dire new report on climate change. The report warns, repeatedly and directly, that climate change could soon imperil the American way of life, transforming every region of the country, imposing frustrating costs on the economy, and harming the health of virtually every citizen […] The report is a huge achievement for American science. It represents cumulative decades of work from more than 300 authors. Since 2015, scientists from across the U.S. government, state universities, and businesses have read thousands of studies, summarizing and collating them into this document […] It may seem like a funny report to dump on the public on Black Friday, when most Americans care more about recovering from Thanksgiving dinner than they do about adapting to the grave conclusions of climate science. Indeed, who ordered the report to come out today? It’s a good question with no obvious answer.” The full article can be read here, and the full report that the article analyzes can be read directly here.

Generalist is the new specialist: I remember sitting in a boardroom in Dubai while consulting on the Masdar City project (which aimed to be the world’s first zero-carbon footprint city, though it hasn’t lived up to those ambitions just yet). I looked around the room and was awed by the varied assembly of world-class specialists, and asked myself why I was asked to be in the room with these absolutely brilliant single-subject experts. As the project wore on, the answer hit me like a lightning bolt: I seemed to be the only one who could meaningfully engage with ALL of them. In other words, although these were mind-bogglingly brilliant individuals, they came to see the world through the narrow lens of their own specialization and found it difficult to switch lenses and see things from the perspective of one of the others in the project. But because of my decades of training as a permaculturist, which by definition helps you access and use a wide variety of tools, frameworks, and perspectives, I had enough in common with each of them to have fruitful engagement with all of them. When I read this article about how artificial intelligence is about to cause an earthquake in what society finds most useful (hint: permaculture-trained generalists will rejoice), I felt grateful for the varied toolset that permaculture has blessed me with. Thank you, Bill.

Saying bye to Greening the Desert (until next year): The Dead Sea in Jordan has become a second home for me. And although I’m elated to be back in Australia on the farm, surfing, and enjoying incredible weather, a bit of my heart is always at the Greening the Desert site. Here are a couple more videos from my last visit there: First is a lovely video of the Jawaseri School Garden project (this is one of my favorites – watch it and you’ll know why 🙂 Second is a “hushed” tour of Hayal’s garden — the variety here is incredible — and a pool in the desert? Finally, here is an overall November update of how the site is doing (don’t mind all the laughter of students and interns in the background – it’s easy to be happy and laughing when you’re around this much greenery and life 🙂 )

That’s it for the Friday Five. As always, if you have any comments / reactions / or a different point of view, please share on the blog-version of this Friday Five (and all past + future Friday Fives), all housed here.

Cheers, and have a great week,

Your friend,


PS: Again, if you’re on our priority notification list, you’ll get a series of emails and a special invite this weekend / early next week detailing priority, guaranteed enrollment, a tuition discount, and a wealth of additional permaculture resources. If not, no worries, and I look forward to connecting with you again on the next Friday Five.