In total, our team members have several decades of experience delivering talks, workshops and training in the field of sustainability and Islamic ecology for a wide cross-section of society: from the general public to schools, from local councils to Islamic organisations and faith groups, from Transition initiatives to University students.
We consider how we do things (i.e. process) to be as important as what we do, and our activities are also designed to be fun, inspiring, engaging and transformative.
WIN Representatives: Our Team
Muzammal Hussain has been involved with grassroots ecological work for almost 20 years and is one of the pioneers amongst Muslims in the UK. Muzammal is drawn to what he describes as the ‘Restoration of Wholeness’ – creating the conditions and mutually beneficial relationships such that the earth and communities can regenerate, becoming both productive, beautiful, and whole. This calling drew Muzammal to permaculture, an approach that invites giving space to observe and sense a system – whether a potential growing space, a group or a community – before then implementing a design that is supported by nature, rather than one that fights against it.
The same journey also led Muzammal to natural healing – Muzammal is an emotional breakthrough therapist and coach as well as a medical doctor with experience in psychiatry – and to conscious group work approaches through workshops, courses and retreats. Muzammal’s experience has led him to become part of a UK network of grassroot facilitators. Muzammal brings his background in these related fields into his teaching, facilitating groups to co-learn, discover their own wisdom, and be empowered.
He completed his first Permaculture course with Naturewise, and then completed the two-week Full Permaculture Design Course (PDC) as part of ‘Earth Activist Training’. This was at Landmatters eco-community in Devon, with two inspiring teachers – Andy Goldring and Starhawk. Muzammal also has an MA in Environment, Development & Policy – his final dissertation focussing on Islam & Climate Change.
Muzammal is now completing a 2 year Diploma in Applied Permaculture through the PAB (Permaculture Association of Britain). As well as teaching in this field to others, he also applies it to his own life – growing food on an allotment, designing courses, and developing a resilient livelihood while living simply. He is also part of a UK wide network of facilitators, and is able to support groups towards more richness and coherence, through facilitation support.
Some examples of Muzammal’s work include:
- Interviewed by: BBC News 24; The Guardian; Islam Channel; Sunrise Radio; BBC Southern Counties Radio; BBC Asian Network; Radio Ramadan; East London Advertiser; Emel Magazine.
- Co-designer and tutor of probably the first Islam & Permaculture Introductory Course anywhere in the world.
- Advising groups, such as Friends of the Earth and Sustrans on their initiatives, as well as London Sustainability Exchange (LSx) on a project to raise awareness on climate change amongst South Asians in London.
- Delivering Islam and ecology workshops and talks in mosques, universities (e.g. Cambridge , Edinburgh, Essex, Michigan), Islamic conferences, Transition Town initiatives and national marches.
- Establishing the UK’s first local Islamic ecology group, LINE (London Islamic Network for the Environment), in 2004, and helping coordinate many of its diverse projects and actions. LINE later evolved into Wisdom In Nature.
- Initiating Fast for the Planet, an inclusive concept involving collective fasting for personal, community and economic transformation.
- Muzammal was also invited to work with the Islamic Foundation for Ecology & Environmental Sciences, where he developed much of their grassroot activity. He has also worked in the lively Brighton World Development Movement (WDM).
Listen to Muzammal’s interview on Radio Tahrir in the USA, about the origin of Wisdom In Nature, and more..
Shumaisa completed the Building Sustainable Communities Permaculture Design Course at Brighton Permaculture Trust, with teachers Bryn Thomas and Hedvig Murray. She is also a member of the Permaculture Association’s Research Advisory Board, has studied food sovereignty and community food initiatives in London for her PhD, and taught undergraduate students about environment and inequality at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment.
Shumaisa grew up in the New Jersey and during her childhood went on trips to national parks and local farms, and every few years went to Pakistan. These experiences instilled in her an appreciation of the wider world and planted the seeds for her interests in ecology, social justice and human rights.
During young adulthood, she started listening to Democracy Now , on WBAI, a listener-sponsored radio station in New York; listening to this regularly during her formative years also influenced her perspectives on democracy. Later, she volunteered at WBAI, helping to produce reports for Free Speech Radio News. In the US, Shumaisa had also been very involved in challenging the media on coverage of news related to the Middle East, and in challenging government efforts to erode civil liberties post-9/11.
Having long been a volunteer, member, and supporter of food coops both in the US and then in the UK, she did her dissertation on food sovereignty praxis among community food initiatives in London.
In keeping with her passion for healing the earth and its communities, Shumaisa is co-teaching permaculture workshops to empower others to apply it to their lives, too!
Elizabeth Lymer >>>
[Currently on Sabbatical]
Elizabeth grew up in rural Mid-Wales, often climbing her favourite tree, walking and thinking about writing. Before heading away to university in London, she worked for a few months on an organic beef farm in NSW Australia, during which she enjoyed long, slow days observing the land and reflecting on the movements of nature around her as relaying important spiritual messages.
In London she studied Applied Drama where she became very interested in process and began developing her writing through devising performance art and poetry. Soon afterwards she trained in Forum Theatre/ Theatre of the Oppressed with Cardboard Citizens which she has used to facilitate children to experiment with solutions to their social issues and to facilitate adults to debate overcoming oppressions. After volunteering at Spitalfields City Farm she began looking to engage in environmental volunteering. She was drawn to support the work of WIN in particular because of its emphasis on process, for example, group facilitation to allow diverse voices within deep discussions and space for grounding, and engaged surrender to the Divine, through reciting Suratul Fatiha and through silence.
In recent years she has dedicated most of her time to home educating her young children and writing children’s stories and nursery rhymes, especially to nurture bonding between parents and children, to facilitate informal learning, and to celebrate harmonies between religious beliefs. She has revisited Mid-Wales many times and often found herself reflecting upon various social and ecological dynamics amidst the beautiful valleys she loves.