Ecological Futures 2019


The study of the relationships between plants, animals, people, and their environment, and of the balances between these relationships.

The term ecology was coined by Ernst Haeckel, a visionary scientist from Germany in the 1800s. The root word for ecology is the Greek ‘oikos’- which means household or more specifically, in this case, the earth household. Thus, ecology is a science of the study of relationships between the members of this earth household. Haeckel called it the economy of nature. In a way, ecology is the study of life and its physical and vital relationships.

Today, we live in a time of paradoxes. We have, to speak of, unlimited digital connectivity but we could not be more disconnected from each other and ourselves, advanced medicine has made us sicker and dependent on chemicals for daily survival, education has led to ignorance, increased means of information have burdened us with misinformation, technology has caused depletion of our own mental and biological faculties and increasing development continues to push more and more people to the margins of poverty. Our world continues to deal with the challenges of inequity in all human cultures, and in every respect, deterioration of our natural systems, climate change, and degradation of social and spiritual life.

Believing that someone, somewhere, at some point in time, with even more advanced technology, will find the answer to our ailing world, is burying our heads in the ground and perpetuating the same culture that has led us to this predicament.

Over the last few decades, scientists are observing a pattern common to all the above-mentioned crises- they are all very complex to understand and they depend on many variables. Zooming out and looking at the big picture reveals that all these problems are interconnected and interdependent and that it is technically impossible to solve one problem without solving the others at the same time. Therefore the solutions to any of these challenges at any scale will need to be holistic in their view of the individual, the community, and the natural systems, depending less on the advancement in our infrastructure and technology, and more on advancement in our personal, social and ecological relationships.

Ancient traditions and cultures always considered life as a unified principle and acknowledged the presence of the macrocosm within the microcosm. Our scientific mindset which was limited by our limited perception only what we can know and thus led us far from the truth and the immense potentialities of our existence. The field of quantum mechanics has revolutionised this understanding and it is only in the last few decades, that science has accepted these limitations

Our current development paradigms only create material profit at the cost of environmental and individual health. And a new future where it is possible to create communities that are sustainable and holistic would require a new paradigm altogether. We will require the birth of a new consciousness that can manifest in a harmonious physical world.

Ecological futures brings forth an exploration into the possibilities of and beyond sustainability. The clues for imagining these scenarios are revealed through patterns in natural systems that are inherently sustainable. The course will offer tools to synthesize our scientific and spiritual understanding of life and in that imagine ways of transiting from anthropocentric to eco-centric paradigms. To create a cohesive understanding of this, we will review philosophies and experiences from both the eastern and the western part of the world.

During the course, we will journey through the history of our mankind and the history of life to put our future in perspective.

This course is for people who feel the need to articulate their ideas on sustainability before they begin working towards it. Overall, the objective of the course is to send back the participants with a lot to think about and the confidence and skills to start observing deeply and design their own gardens or farms.


Fire as Design — Systems thinking — Understanding sustainability — Origin and evolution — Flows and patterns — Observing deeply — An integrated view of nature — Soil food web — Life of plants — The story of food — Jal Jungle Jameen Janwar — The network of Fungi – Natural farming — Reading landscapes — Mapping — Propagating plants — Seed saving — Animals in agriculture – Composting — Culture and communities — Invisible structures — Sense of sacred


SUMMER: May 13 t0 25
AUTUMN: October 7 to 19

Monday to Saturday


Rs. 15,000


The course fee does not include food and accommodation expenses.
Stay with village families and at local guesthouses is available. Food is offered at the homestays or the dhaabas in the village market.
Participants are welcome to take the fresh seasonal produce from the farm.


5 – 8

All participants will spend some hours working at the farm every day. During this time the participants will learn some basic skills on using tools, starting a fire, plant identification and classification, reading landscapes, water harvesting, starting seeds, harvesting, and a natural way of working in a garden or a small-scale farm.
All work on the farm is done with hands and no heavy machinery is involved.




Shunya farm is a community supported farm in a small village called Bir in Himachal Pradesh, India.
With an area of about 3/4th of an acre, the farm produces food for a few local people and restaurants. The farm is as much a source of food as it is a home to innumerable soil microbes, insects, birds, mongoose and more beings we cannot see or identify, and place for visitors and seekers to reflect on the our connections with soil and food. The practices on the farm are influenced by Fukuoka’s natural way of farming and Permaculture design towards creating a sustainable organic food farm and a regenerative community.
More about the farm: