It's not enough that we do our best


As more and more reports come in of food shortages around the world (this photo is from The Wire ), Churchill’s words ring in my ears:

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required. Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”

It is simply not acceptable any more to pretend this is not happening and to continue our lives as if everything is OK.

I can’t bear the fact that the future I’d always expected is not going to happen for my children, and for billions of people around the world. I can’t bear the fact that so many of the dreams I’d had and the things I’d hoped to do now seem so outrageously self indulgent that I’m having to rethink everything that matters to me and everything that I’d planned to do. I can’t bear the fact that I have to change – but change is what is required and I can’t pretend this is not happening. There is also no point in wallowing in thoughts of the future when others are

actually suffering in the present.

Nothing any of us can do will be enough, but those whose children are starving, or will be starving, need us to do what is required. Surely we would expect the same of the rest of the world if it was our children who were starving?

Permaculture ethics call for us to care for the earth, care for people, distribute surplus and set limits to consumption and reproduction.

In attempting to live according to these ethics, one of the principles of permaculture is to try and make sure that everything has at least two uses or outcomes – this simply and practically helps conserve energy, space and resources.

Being school holidays means that my children need attention but, by staying home for most of the holiday we’re reducing our emissions drastically and spending time together in the garden growing our own food and learning more about how nature works. I’m also getting prepared to “distribute my surplus” in a big garage sale in the near future. This is still not enough but it’s a start.

Spending time in the garden is surprisingly exciting for children at this time of year when there are so many creatures visiting.

I planted Green Harvest’s “Good Bug Mix” this spring and our front yard has blossomed with plants that also show nature’s tendency to do at least two things at once.


Queen Anne’s Lace, for example, is extremely pretty, attracts bugs and is a form of wild carrot whose roots are edible and nutritious.


The dill is absolutely enormous – we’re eating it already but I’ll also use some of the seeds to make dill pickles.

5 thoughts on “It's not enough that we do our best

  1. Susan G

    Good to have you back on line Lis.
    Like you I’m spending the school holidays doing a bit of a clean up. Let me know when the Garage Sale is on -I’ve got some surplus myself that can be redistributed.
    It sounds like your poppies produced seed just as nicely as mine did, I’ll grow them again for sure. And from the photo it looks like your nasturtiums are doing great as usual. I must come around and look over your garden fence to see what I sould be sowing and harvesting aboout now.

  2. Pingback: 3 Points on the Crisis of Food — FoodCycles

  3. Pingback: 3 Points on the Crisis of Food « FoodCycles

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