What is the Greening the Desert Project?
The Greening the Desert Project is living proof that we can reverse desertification and bring back life to desolate barren lands. By living in harmony with nature and applying permaculture design practices to the landscape the possibilities are endless.
We follow the ethics of permaculture:
CARE OF THE EARTH
Provisions for all life systems to continue and multiply.
CARE OF THE PEOPLE
Provision for people to access those resources necessary to their existence.
RETURN OF SURPLUS
By governing our own needs we can set resources aside to further the care of earth and people.
About the Site
The site is located in the Al Jawfa area in western Jordan, Shouneh Janobieh (i.e., South Shouneh), in the Dead Sea Valley just 10km north of the Dead Sea and 6 km east of the Jordanian-Palestinian border, directly east of the West Bank. The local population is made up of traditional Bedouin tribes and long-term refugees stemming from displacement of local populations from within Palestine. The project site is typical of the area – a marginal arid-land low-income settlement.
Our Project site demonstrates energy-efficient appropriate housing with natural cooling systems and a plant nursery attachment, solar electricity, solar hot water, biological waste water treatment recycling, dry compost toilets, rainwater harvesting earthworks and diverse interactive plant, animal and tree systems for local food production and processing. The demonstration house functions as a classroom and administration office for the project and local Permaculture group. We also have a on site cafe and eolodge that will help to contriute to the funding of the project whilst housing and catering for guests that can learn a great deal by visiting the project.
We are all part of the solution!
We believe that humans have a duty to be the most beneficial element in an environment instead of the most destructive.
Our project aims to inspire people around the world to take matters in their own hands and tackle the big environmental issues that threaten our very existence as a species on this planet. We want to help people to not only live sustainably but to live a regenerative lifestyle that can create a permanent regenerative global culture.
Desertification is one of the most prevalent and critical global issues humanity has to face. More than 2.1 billion people live in drylands, and most of these deserts are manmade, They have been created over decades of abusing the earth. Forest have been cleared wetlands drained, groundwater and aquifers depleted, in turn the soil has been ploughed, poisoned, compacted, over grazed, washed away and blown away.
This has resulted in vast global soil erosion, and what we are left with is salty rocky barren lands that cant hold water or support much life. This was our starting point here in Jordan. On top of that, the sites climate and altitude make it possibly one of the harshest inhabited desert regions in the world. And this is a big part of why we chose it. The idea was that if we can succeed here we can succeed anywhere and in any desert!.
Our Approach is simple...
We teach permaculture design and provide practical permaculture training, as well as giving guided tours and demonstrations of our site.
This gives people the tools to do it them selves, it empowers everyone to be a part of the solution.
Meet The Team
FOUNDER & TEAM LEADER
Nadia Lawton was born in the Dead Sea Valley in Jordan where she learned traditional ways of land use from her father, an expert farmer and herbal healer. After completing her PDC in the Dead Sea Valley in 1999 she proceeded to work on the “Greening the Desert” project, established permaculture women’s groups and school projects. Nadia has a Permaculture Diploma in design, education and site development and is a registered permaculture teacher in the English and Arabic languages. Nadia dedicates much of her time to the permaculture movement as an international permaculture teacher, consultant and aid worker.
DIRECTOR & CHAIRPERSON
Geoff Lawton is a world renowned permaculture consultant, designer and teacher. He took his PDC in 1983 with Bill Mollison, widely considered the “father of permaculture. Geoff has specialised in permaculture education, design, implementation, system establishment, administration and community development since 1985. Working in over 50 countries, Geoff has taught more than 15,000 students.
He established the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia and Zaytuna Farm which is Geoff and Nadia’s family home. As an award winning Permaculture Designer, Geoff’s main aim is to drive the establishment of self-replicating educational demonstration sites across the globe.
HAYAL ABU YAHIA
Hayal was one of the first to join the Greening the Desert Project team. He took his Permaculture Design Certificate at the first ever course taught in Jordan at the original Greening the Desert Project site.