Integrate rather than segregate is actually one of the most valuable permaculture principles. It speaks to looking at how things can work together as a whole instead of separating everything that is different and grouping everything together that is the same.
We see this a lot in our society whether it be in schools with cliques, in agriculture with monoculture, in our communities with cultural differences and in our current class system with upper, middle and lower class. When we have too many of the same things grouped together in a system it eventually causes for that system to become stagnant as it ends up with too much of one thing and not enough of another.
How can we go about fixing this?
I know that when I was younger I was taught that being different was bad, that thinking outside of the box was silly. How many other children are being taught this? Most of us are taught to think within the current system instead of being encouraged to think of ways things could be different. We perpetuate the cycle of segregation and we constantly fight integration. The reality is that integration is the natural way. If you look at a thriving natural system you see that there is a lot of diversity to make that system function. It operates successfully and abundantly only because of the diversity it offers. If we took this model into our current system we could also operate more efficiently. I propose that we spend more time encouraging students in schools to think outside of the box. This can be done by offering various teaching styles to students, surveying students and asking them for ideas on how we can do things differently and rewarding them for having different ideas instead of making them feel outcast or silly. Encourage children to learn from each others differences and understand the value in diversity instead of being fearful of it. The reason why I focus so much on schooling as our youth are our future and I know much of the thought patterns I have struggled to turn around come from my childhood and youth, we should start there.
Breeding openness to ideas amongst our youth will also open up our next generation to diversity and acceptance. It will allow for others to really see the value in differences and alternative ideas. In turn we will have a diverse system with enough of everything to make it function as a whole.
Love and Light,