The Self as the First Permaculture Zone

This is a talk given by Ethyl Ruehman at the First Unitarian Church of Hobart Indiana on March 28, 2021. Ethyl talks about being raised with without a sense of connection to her local ecosystem or the wider web of life, and how she came to understand her body as an ecosystem which is connected to the ecosystem around her. She goes on to talk about how she became intoxicated with environmental activism as a youth, and what happened when her social and material support networks collapsed and she became homeless. No longer longer able to focus on the “big picture”, she had to turn inward and focus on her immediate needs of shelter, food, health, community, etc. “I had to realize I was my own first permaculture zone,” she says. In doing so, she learned that “nourishing myself is an act of nourishing the earth.” This is a timely reminder that self-care is not just practical, but an integral part of an ecological worldview.

Bio: Ethyl Ruehman is 21 years old, from Portage, IN, and now resides at Green Acres Permaculture Village in Bloomington, IN. She was recognized as a Hoosier Resiliency Hero, IUN Newman Civic Fellow, and revived the Save the Dunes 2020 Youth Environmental Dorothy Buell award. She is now studying at Indiana University Bloomington.

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post,, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

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