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Author: the Inkslinger

Our friend Dharma Dog is back from his journey to and through India and sends us this thought-provoking video postcard about permaculture and the vision of the world held by his traveling partner, Rico Zook.

Back home in Arizona after my eco-odyssey through India, where I
tagged along side permaculture advocate, and sort-of modern-day
Kokopelli, Rico Zook, I capture a slice of his vision for "Heaven On

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While I reenter the atmosphere of life in the U.S., like an astronaut
adjusting to life under the influence of gravity, I relive the vision
through hours of video footage. Rico, I learned, is something of a
legend throughout the places of India we traveled (though he would
graciously deflect such a description), where villagers welcomed him
as if royalty to their humble, yet culturally rich homes and lives.
The villages or "bustis," as they are called, had newly installed
electricity as recent as 6 months ago! Some of the villagers had
acquired a T.V. two months prior to the arrival of their electricity,
in eager anticipation of the alluring modernity. I found this news a
striking synchronicity to the intent of our trip and ironic
juxtaposition to the modest, one-room dwellings, cradled in the lush
tea-growing region with the majestic Himalayas towering in the
background: The spread of a foreign virus or sign of progress?

The addition of this Western influence to this culturally rich and
agriculturally diverse region, which has successfully sustained both
for centuries, begged questions of cultural erosion, and irreversible
change I wrestled with both then and now. Rico, clearly far more
expansive in his views of such change than I, will no doubt be met
with new challenges in this Northern region of India and Sikkim
however, as he advocates the use of solar and wind powered showers,
while electricity seduces to plug-in and power-up.

My reentry has been alternately filled with the normal flux of
domestic duties, peppered with pouring over hundreds of still shots
and hours of video from the trip. As I viewed both, it was clear I
needed to capture a small portion of Rico Zook's vision of a world
that includes the consideration of "Heaven on Earth," here and now.
His inspiration comes not only from the magnificent Himalayan
landscape, but from the simple beauty of the people of the region,
that embody an innate wisdom from their cultural and spiritual
heritage. I hope you enjoy this video blog, "Heaven On Earth." For
more on Rico Zook and his permaculture work, check out this log of our
adventure together through India.

–Dharma Dog