Did you ever wonder how the earth’s life systems had been able to ‘stiff–arm’ basic physical laws of entropy—the movement of all things from more organized to less over time—that should be more powerful than the non-targeted energy inputs of the sun? It is not a reversal of the laws by any means; it is intelligent activity in cooperating diversity using one prime input—the sun—in an otherwise closed system, to reverse net degradation by sustainably building organization and complexity over eons. Intelligent activity makes all the difference. In a marriage of processes, synergy and entropy are paired against one another to see who will win. When synergy wins to create increasing abundance we can call the effect syntropy. It is the biological effects of intelligent and collaborative life and diversity that use ‘smart’ activity to overcome degradation laws of entropy that in their absence would channel energy inputs to further degrade the system.
Agroecology uses smart human ‘architecture’—locally specific knowledge based actions and influences—to amplify biological system syntropy through agrarian activity; with the aim of producing a multiplication of abundance from natural inputs that benefit the greater ecological system. Success and abundance means plenty and prosperity and in culture rich communities of cooperation, it also means an increase in security through additive knowledge capital. When you succeed you adapt that success into systems and culture to build upon it and add to it over time. Since success is not based on brute force but ‘smart activity’, culture adapts the human paradigm to sensitivity and inter-species cooperation. There are brutes in most ecosystems, often in flux and adaptation, but the rest adapt around them and over time relationships are built that undermine or override the insensitivities. In agroecology, the brute that mankind can be is tempered systematically over time into an easier more sociable role, first as a guest, student, and collaborator and increasingly over time as some degree of an orchestrator of symphony. It is the symphony of syntropy in a diversely balanced system stronger and more resilient because sensitive and intelligent people and their appropriately chosen technologies are a part of the diversity.
Agroecology is not different than permaculture, but it does tend to be more expansive and more oriented to larger regional policies of food and biome system collaboration. Agroecology… live the adventure; create the future!