A Story of Change...
Text from Renald FLORES:
THE HIGHWAY FROM PRIVATE BANKING TO SOIL MICROBIOLOGY.
From nurturing private money, to nurturing the land:
Numbers, numbers, numbers. Financial affairs. Private Banking. Private Interest. Money dealing, Budgeting, Investment, cash management, return on investment, competition, risk return, growth, growth, growth; that was my world, a little while ago…
When I first started in this industry, I thought making money would make me happy. Before I had that thought about money, during my childhood, I also felt I would have to do some meaningful action, dedicate myself to something bigger than me. This would carry ethics & Human values.
Yes, I took a contradictory path, most probably out of fear.
Still, comfortably chairing in my office everything was still. Only my screens would show life & action. Digitally plugged into reality, I wanted to change the world, starting by the financial industry, just by myself, just in my mind, just in theory.
Naïve sensitive optimistic dreamer, I had some unsuccessful tries. Indeed, the first and only thing I had to change was myself. Find myself, reconnect to my human Nature, reconnect my humanity to Nature and be the change I wanted to see.
I was then facing and experiencing the private banking world. Beyond proposing innovative projects related to Socially Responsible Investment, I ended up struggling and pushing to change things from the inside. Financial crisis after financial crisis, all remained “business as usual”. My Socially responsible works went on…the shelves, and my frustration built up. I was looking toward a side of the world, but acting in the other direction.
I was unhappy; something was missing. I could not stick with the lack of human care, Earth care, and short termism. Money was the king, Humanity was its slave, and still is. No fairy tale here.
It was like getting on board a fancy car, once inside enjoying comfort, speed, but destination was not right; even crazier, the driver was absent. I had either to jump off this car while running full speed, or take control.
I jumped off.
Seven years passed and came that day; that day when I would finally accept I will leave it. No matter what, I would try to get closer to myself, closer to what could make me happy, closer to Humanity, Earth and Mother Nature.
Not forgetting the past, but leaving it behind.
Leaving it for something else then!
But what for; and where to start? Going toward that something I did not see, that something I did not know, that something bigger than me. Reconnecting with my childhood intuitions.
I remember that day. I was just back home from a night out with my rugby mates. Drunk, facing myself in front of my Facebook account, everything I was seeing was a reflection of myself: not much meaning, worried, anxious, steady, frozen, stuck, paralyzed. On the other side my guts were pushing me, my hopes bringing some light, full of faith to make it happen, to just try it. That was the moment the dots connected, I started to take action.
Although I was unplugging, it opened me some doors: Permaculture, Holistic Management & grazing Planning, Keyline design, Soil Microbiology, agroforestry and a full diversity of hopeful people and creative lively actions. My mentors so far has been: Bill Mollisson creator of the Permaculture Institute worldwide; Pierre Rabhi a French farmer and philosophe creating “oasis type community” in France as an act of resistance; Allan Savory for his tremendous work stopping desertification and his framework for Holistic management and decision making in complex environments; and Dr Elaine Ingham and her Life in soil teachings. All of them, lively inspiring example showing accurate understanding of our modern Human’s paradigm: Desertification and climate change, soil depletion, rain water harvesting, decrease of human social link, ethical values, etc. But more important than that, they bring consistent solutions to address these issues.
So my first step has been to organize the closure of my previous life in Geneva: mortgage, remaining student loan instalments, empty my flat, pack my backpack, and go…
I started to practice and get certified in Permaculture, study Holistic management and grazing planning and started to teach communities. Practice Keyline Design and water harvesting techniques. And for the beauty of it, I could enjoy using my previous financial skills.
I found some essence to my life, I found humans, humans, more humans and more humanity. I found the meaning of community, the meaning of sharing, the meaning of compassion, the meaning of Love, the meaning of sacred, just by reconnecting my humanity with Nature, reopening the book of human nature.
Care for the people, care for the land, return and share the excess the knowledge and the visions to the communities, the next generations and the land: the 3 main pillars of permaculture, the three main pillars of life on our Home planet Earth.
Regenerating the soil while using Soil Microbiology, Holistic Planned grazing, while bringing soil fertility and food autonomy back to communities. Reintegrating animals to where they belong: the prairies. And reactivate the natural organic regenerative cycle while having high yield crop producing systems.
Understand rainwater harvesting as a free resource, and design the best systems to use it.
The art of creating regenerative systems integrating all ecosystems the one with the others: habitats, agriculture, animal management, water management, culture, etc. Create regenerative human footprint and enable human communities to be happy. Design systems with the least input needs and the maximum outputs. Working with nature rather than against it, cooperation rather than war.
Using all human past experiences in order to understand our flaws, correct it and find a balance. Create a sustained human life on earth with regenerative practices, which take also into account money, of course, but not as a central pillar…
So far, in that journey I volunteered and worked in multiple types of permaculture farms, in multiple large scale projects, and in multiple countries: Portugal, North Carolina USA, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Tanzania, Nepal, Latvia, France. More than 60 countries in 7 years so far.
I read more, dug deeper, questioned more, put things in perspectives more, acted more and felt more hope and beauty.
6 years ago I made the decision to embark on the quest of Soil Regeneration at large scale, learning from Dr E. Ingham 40 years of experience in field. I have started to walk the talk, acted for change, and not just thinking about it anymore.
The same hope which was after me when I was a kid, or working in the financial sector, I am now experiencing, I am pushing forward and sharing it the more I can.
I changed myself; changed my own paradigm, started the quest in the Kingdom of myself, jumping in the adventure of Life, learned from Nature, Loved more, and strengthen my faith for wiser, Nature Oriented Human communities.