#PlantATreeForBill (and Olaf)

We've suffered a couple of losses this past fortnight. We lost a member of the family when one of our companion rats, Olaf, died of old age. This was followed swiftly by the news that Permaculture co-originator Bill Mollison died last week at the age of 88, and I felt a genuine pang of loss.

2016, you can stop now, you've done enough.

My discovery of permaculture was serendipitous. 10 years ago, struggling through the final year of a techno-fantastic applied environmental science degree, I stumbled across a page about permaculture design principles. It was a blast of fresh, hope-filled, ethical air at a time when I felt winded by my field's unthinking dependence upon completely unsustainable oil, water and economic resources to solve environmental problems just well enough that business could continue unfettered. The past ten years have seen those first chickens come home to roost.

Since then I've tried to incorporate permaculture principles into my life. One day I hope to complete a Permaculture Design Course. For now, I read and watch; and try to apply what I can. I like the permaculture aesthetic - greenery, weeds, wildness - and quite a lot of upcycling and tinkering. There are even vegans blazing a vegan permaculture trail, without a chicken tractor in sight (what is it with those damn chicken tractors?!) which pleases me no end.

That same year I discovered that you could keep rats as pets; and that they are friendly, intelligent, loyal and cuddly - like a dog, but quieter. I just wish that I hadn't purchased from a pet shop (retrospective regret from my pre-vegan days); and that they lived more than a few years on average.

We buried Olaf in a terracotta pot rescued from the kerb; deep under a Persimmon tree sapling that I grew from seed and which needed potting on. Perhaps it will fruit one day, perhaps it won't - I hope it does. But it will survive as a beautiful, life giving tree. There's no finer tribute than that for an awesome man or an awesome rat.