3.5 billion years in the making, natural ecosystems are productive, resilient, self-maintaining and sustainable – all the things we like for our systems. I have created a toolkit making it easier to mimic the ways natural systems function.

Many people think that sustainable solutions are costly and difficult to implement. Sustainability is seen as a bolt-on extra – something to do when it’s compulsory, or we have the resources to invest.

The good news - this is changing!

People at the leading edge, from fields as diverse as carpet manufacturing, community networking, cereal cropping, architecture, horticulture to backyard gardening, are recognising that all our systems operate as ecosystems and are ultimately subject to the laws of nature.

They are going to the source of good design – natural systems - drawing on the 3.5 billion years of accumulated wisdom natural ecosystems have used to develop productive, resilient, self-maintaining and sustainable ecosystems . Everything we would like for our systems.

Using this ecological approach, these innovators are moving beyond mainstream sustainable solutions, like switching light bulbs, environmentally friendly cleaning products, dual-flush toilets, recyclable packaging, or organic farming practices.

They are creating genuine change for the better. Solutions without costly side effects or unforeseen impacts down the track…. and they are being rewarded with systems that are productive, economically viable, resilient and easy to manage, healthier homes and work environments, and goodwill from their customers and staff.

As Janine Benyus says, “Valuing nature not for what we can extract, harvest or domesticate, but for what we can learn is one of the most exciting revolutions of our time.”

With my Ecological Toolkit, we can all become innovators, creating genuine, sustainable and cost-effective solutions.

The Ecological Toolkit contains Practices helping people look at their operations from an ecosystem perspective, use natural ecosystem functions as their best practice role models, and then develop opportunities to bridge the gap between how their systems operate and natural systems perform.

The Practices are supported by cutting edge research, real world innovation, and practical tools, including Permaculture Design, Agroecology, Industrial and Business Ecology, and Complex Adaptive Systems.

A great deal of thought and expertise has gone into developing these Practices. My goal to create a toolkit that can be easily used to improve any type of operation - from farms, tourist operations, restaurants, to homes and backyard gardens.

I have been improving the toolkit over the last two years, using my property, horticultural consultancies, and the courses I run through my Learning from Nature program (learningfromnature.com.au) to trial the Practices. I have experimented successfully with using the Ecological Practices for business and community development with a group from Cambridge in England. However, my business beachhead is where my expertise lies, with food growers.

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