Thu 7 Dec 2023 • Nick Kershaw
Turn a desert green? That's Impossible!
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In this blog, explore the profound journey of Impact Marathon, from challenging personal boundaries in running to driving sustainable global changes, particularly focusing on the success of the Greening The Desert project in Jordan. Discover how the principles of permaculture intertwine with various Sustainable Development Goals and how the resilience of runners is harnessed to create a significant impact on Life On Land. Join us in this inspiring story of transformation and hope.
Since our inception in 2015, Impact Marathon has been driven by a singular and powerful tagline: "Unleash the Power of Running." This ethos not only defines our approach but also reflects the transformative journey we facilitate for runners around the world.
Beyond the Bounds: The Runner's Evolution
The initial steps in running often present seemingly insurmountable barriers. The thought of running non-stop for 5km, for example, looms as an outlandish goal for many beginners. The idea of completing a marathon, covering a daunting 26.2 miles, appears even more far-fetched. However, as runners, we learn that discipline, commitment, and daily progress can morph the impossible into the possible, and eventually, into a triumphant reality.
Applying the Runner's Mentality for Global Impact
Our Impact Runner's mentality - that relentless pursuit and gradual overcoming of challenges - is a superpower we realised could be extended beyond personal achievements to effect broader societal change. This realisation came around the same time the nations of the world were aligning around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. These 17 goals, while ambitious, resonate with the runner's spirit of defying the impossible.
Each Impact Marathon we've hosted focuses on one of these global goals, demonstrating how the runner's mentality can contribute to meaningful and sustainable global change.
The Jordan Chapter: Life On Land and the Permaculture Principle
In our recent event in Jordan, we turned our focus to SDG 15: Life On Land. Here, we witnessed the remarkable interplay of permaculture principles with various SDGs including Water & Sanitation, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Gender Equality, Quality Education, and more. Permaculture's holistic approach underscores our belief in interconnected solutions, addressing multiple challenges in unison.
Can You Green a Desert? The Story of Greening The Desert
A pivotal question that often seems impossible to answer is whether one can truly green a desert. For ten years, the Greening The Desert Project, led by Geoff Lawton of Discover Permaculture, worked tirelessly yet quietly, persevering through challenges and setbacks. Their commitment to incremental progress mirrors the runner's journey.
This transformation didn't happen fast. And it wasn't possible to see any semblance of a finish line in those early years. After a decade of daily work, daily dedication, daily discipline, the project finally opened its gates to reveal a transformed landscape. The once barren desert didn't just turn green; it became a hub of productivity and biodiversity, a source of inspiration and hope. Wildlife was drawn from far and wide, sometimes seemingly impossible journeys ended in this little oasis in the desert. This transformation is a testament to the power of consistent effort and a vision-driven approach.
Connecting Runners with a Beacon of Hope
Our Impact Runners instantly connected with the beacon of hope that Greening The Desert represents. Our engagement with Discover Permaculture was not just an educational experience but a profoundly uplifting one. In a world where progress is often dismissed as impossible, the project stands as a symbol of what can be achieved with determination and perseverance.
The very concepts discussed last week in Jordan illicit hope and act as a powerful antidote to our era defined by bad news and fear. Within this oasis, optimism reigned, and all of us were energised by the power of possible.
The Runner's Creed: Rejecting the Impossible
As runners, we learn to reject the notion of impossible. This mindset, this superpower, drives us not only across finish lines but also towards making impactful changes in the world. Our journey in Jordan is a vivid example of how the tenacity and resilience honed on the running track can be channeled to address some of the most pressing global challenges.
In essence, "Unleash the Power of Running" is more than just a tagline; it's a call to action. It's an invitation to each runner to see beyond personal limits and contribute to a world where sustainable change is not just a dream, but a reality we actively shape with every stride we take.
Join Us and Make an Impact: Be part of this incredible journey and help us continue making strides in global sustainability. To support our ongoing projects, including the transformative work in greening deserts, visit and make a difference today. Every step counts, and together, we can turn impossible goals into impactful realities.