By Rhamis Kent - 15 March 2011
Topic: Rhamis will be discussing how the application of permaculture water harvesting earthworks infrastructure will be used to address the ecological challenges faced in Northern Somalia. Of particular interest will be the Sanaag Region, which includes The Cal Madow Mountain Range. Cal Madow’s environment has suffered greatly in recent years along with its ecology, much of which is unique to it. Only a fraction of the flora remains, and its distribution remains sparse and unprotected. Although local knowledge of natural resources endemic to the area is great, agricultural and social projects as well as United Nations and foreign-aided development schemes usually fail to consider or make use of this insight.
A severe drought in the region in the early part of the 21st century caused an 80% or greater loss of livestock, though two good rainy seasons in 2004–2005 helped restore the area. Over a 15-year period of analysis, from 1988–2003, there was a 52% loss of forest and a 40% loss of grassland, and a 370% increase in bare land. Soil erosion due to weather and human activities and clearing of wood and brush for such uses as charcoal and fuel are issues leading to degradation of the environment.
Background: Rhamis Kent is a consultant with formal training in mechanical engineering (University of Delaware, B.S.M.E. ’95) and permaculture-based regenerative whole systems design. He has previously worked for the renowned American inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen at DEKA R & D for almost 3 years, with subsequent engineering work ranging from medical device research and development to aerospace oriented mechanical design. After taking an interest in the design science of Permaculture, he sought extended training with permaculture expert and educator Geoff Lawton at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia. This led to his involvement with design work connected to the development of Masdar City in UAE after Mr. Lawton and Mr. Lawton’s consulting company (Permaculture Sustainable Consultancy Pty. Ltd.) were contracted by AECOM/EDAW to identify solutions which fit the challenging zero emissions/carbon neutral design constraint of the project.
Rhamis recently lectured at Schumacher College (named after the influential economic thinker E.F. Schumacher) in Totnes, Devon UK about the application of permaculture in post-industrial Detroit. He is presently consulting with a delegation of Somali expatriates initiating ecological restoration and education work in Northern Somalia.
Given the rapidly growing interest in sustainable development, Mr. Kent hopes to bring to the attention of the investment community an aspect of the emerging sustainable economy that has yet to be seriously considered for significant financial support – Earth Repair/Ecosystem Restoration Work (ERW) and regenerative design.