How to make permaculture a popular movement.

Discussion in 'General chat' started by sun burn, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Not sure where this should go so its here. Move it if you want.

    I just was reminded about the permaculture survey thing. I havne't done a course. But anyway while reading about that, it occurred to me - the obvious thing occurred to me - that the permaculture movement would be MUCH more successful if you could find a way to teach people for free. I think the way to do this is to adopt the business model of religion.

    The cost of courses is prohibitive to many including myself so I choose to glean what i can from books.

    I don't think that permaculture should be an exclusive club.

    I think on the ground communities should be encouraged the most. But from what i can see it seems to be part of the money economy too. It would be better if people did not try to make a living from teaching permaculture to other ordinary citizens keen to learn the skills by asking for high fees. But to make money from bigger organisations once you've done so many years of permaculture practice.

    I know that there is no reason anyone should take any notice of me since i haven't done the course. But i don't think it will ever become a widespread thing the way its going.

    I mean look at religion. Its free. People are free to donate to the preacher. That's how the churches can rise or fall. If people had to do a course for religion, it wouldn't be so big (where it is big that is). It just wouldn't.

    So i think you should model your expansion on the business model that churches use.

    This goes for ashrams as well as christian churches. You need people beating out the messages in weekly sermons or something of that sort. And yes this happens in ashrams too.

    But for heavens sakes, apart from a business model, don't try turn it into a religion or spiritual movement - although some people probably already think it is that. The best thing about permaculture is the growing of food so sight should never be lost on that.

    This post is a bit disjointed. Excuse me. I hope you can get the main point anyway.
     
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Junior Member

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    Great Sun Burn, I totally agree!!!! Here in Africa, the majority of people cannot affords expensive courses - not even books, but permaculture is THE answer for their circumstances!
    I truly hope this will be the start of a new era!!!
    Thankx!!
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    yes great one sun burn,

    this topic has arisen many times over the last decade or more, there is never any resolution, it is all about appealing to the grassroots level then let the snowball develop, not to be pushed or manipulated, the goose that may have laid the golden egg has as one contribute said turned into something like chicken little!! over the years many have contacted me seeking grassroots level pemaculure with no pressure to do courses, buy DVD's or worship the process, many forums are sitting their like lame ducks, many just have no activity at all. but alas i feel it is too late as permaculture forms more and more political affiliations on their path to becomming a political arm of fringe politics. there are other ideals driving those who drive permaculture.

    in a world that needs communities working together i don't see permaculture playing any role in the positive side of that.

    how i see it and some of what i have said many times before.

    len
     
  4. Mudman

    Mudman Junior Member

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    The more we progress in society the further we seem to be getting away from Permaculture.
    When I was growing up most houses had fruit trees, people had their vege gardens, compost bins and there were lots of chooks around.
    Peoples blocks were bigger, houses smaller and we had a more outside lifestyle.
    This doesn't seem to happen as much anymore and I am wondering where it all went.
    With our strawbale house, orchard, greywater system and chooks we are seen as slightly strange people, which suits us fine, but doesn't help with trying to make it more mainstrem.
    I think it is probably too messy for most people these days with their manicured lawns and bland houses. Here in Oz we seem to be becoming more bland every day, there is very little colour around (except for advertising) food is getting more processed and everything has to be neat especially in the cities.
    Would be interested what others think.
    Kurt
     
  5. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel Junior Member

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    Problem is, education COSTS.
    Let me tell you, a PDC course is still a lot cheaper than a University degree! Even each subject is more expensive than a PDC course.

    On a good note though. There are places that hold government subsidised PDC courses. I know there are in Victoria, so there should be some in other states.
    It means you need to shop around, but they do exist at over half the price of the going rate of normal courses. And you do not need to be a pension card holder to qualify.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    That's interesting and useful info pink but not what i am on about. But that's ok too.

    My university degree cost me nothing. It only costs money if you earn a fair bit. So that's fair. Who earns money from their PDC course? Can't be too many of those about. Its not easy converting vegies to dollars and in fact I spend more money on my garden than on anything else these days even though i try to be frugal. You have to be really systematic and very hard working to make it pay or make significant savings in your lifestyle i have come to realise. I don't really midn spending most of my money on my garden because i am trying to make it into something but so far its costing me quite a lot of money as I fairly sure is the case with most of the permies.

    But that's not what this thread is about either.

    I agree with you mudman about how bland things look. I think the increasing population and urbanisation of our country and the world is part of the trend. It takes time to make things look interesting and beautiful and most people don't want to spend their time doing that sort of thing. They are tired if they have full time jobs and if they don't they just want to do other things. Or have other things they have to do. Or feel they have to do.
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I'm not convinced that permaculture would be anymore 'successful' as a movement if courses were free.

    For one, I have met a surprising number of people who know about permaculture, who have done a PDC, and who are not actively living a life of permaculture. I'm talking about environmentally and socially conscious people. So, making courses in permaculture free would be unlikely to convince masses of people who are addicted to consumption to take the course, let alone change their lives so significantly. I also think that the people who have money, the real consumers, would think the cost of your average PDC no big cost. For those who truly cannot afford a PDC, there are teachers who give a certain number of free placements to courses every year.

    I think in the long run the only way to make the movement widespread is to build communities based on permaculture, and the only way this is going to happen is for people who are passionate about it to build communities around them and the things they are actively doing.

    Sunburn, I think the 'business model' of some religions gets a pretty big head start, based on historical wealth and modern 'not for profit' tax exemptions. I'd be hesitant to base anything on any model of organised religion. I also question that religion is free. Some of them have a pretty hefty personal cost in the form of guilt and fear.

    I personally think the permaculture movement IS growing, I am often surprised these days by how many people have at least heard of it, and who know more than a passing thing about it. 20 or even 15 years ago the average person was oblivious to its existence. Similarly, the Greens are now taking a healthy bite of the political vote, ten years ago I had to align with dreadlocked ferals, now the environmental movement is far more encompassing - my Herald-Sun reading parents even have solar panels, because they wanted to do something for the environment! Imagine if the major political parties had talked about the environment 15 years ago - they would have been laughed out of Canberra.

    It can take a long time to overcome personal oil addictions (and don't be fooled, this is a seriously hard-core addiction) and it takes even longer for societies to overcome it. Remember this modern society was built around oil and coal. Whole cities are designed on the availability of cheap oil, especially here in Australia. The fact that permaculture is about pretty much the opposite is what holds it back, not so much the cost of a course.

    I encourage people not to be too gloomy about the future of permaculture, because my experience is that things really are changing. The answer is persistence and time. I have to trust that we will have enough of each left.

    It is also worth remembering that economic forces may end up being the thing that thrusts permaculture to the fore - look at the cuba experience. Necessity is the mother of all permaculture gardens ;)

    For your consideration and discussion
    Grahame
     
  8. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    The business model of the church of Scientology is hardly one I'd like to see the permaculture movement adopt.
    In my opinion people don't value what they don't pay for.
    There is no such thing as a free education. Someone pays those uni lecturers that gave you your "free" education. Let see - it might have been me when I paid my taxes.
    Permaculture teachers have to eat too. And if they have to take time out of their lives to educate you - who is feeding them?
    You pay for the things you put in your garden, why not pay for your PDC?
     
  9. Pink Angel

    Pink Angel Junior Member

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    There is no such thing as a free Uni education. It costs!!
    Currently I am studying a $35,000 degree and my hubby is doing his honours year at $20,000
    If he wants to go on and complete his Masters, it will cost $40,000!!

    My PDC course is a drop in the bucket when you compare those costs.
    At least I know that there is a great future in Victoria with the diploma PDC under my belt!!

    As eco mentioned, someone has to pay for the teachers to lecture, the rent and ongoing costs on the premises to hold the lectures, and then the handouts etc.
    If you really wanted to be educated in permaculture, there are enough free introductory lectures, groups to join and learn from other people and not to mention libraries and online resources.

    If you do not want to do the above, you really do not want to know about permaculture, or you will be too lazy to introduce the lifestyle into your world....
     
  10. Ellen

    Ellen Junior Member

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    Pink Angel, you are right, education is often expensive. As long as you keep in mind that you are a very very privileged person to be able to so such expensive studies....
    I know education costs.

    But you know what, it's easy to talk about resources and being LAZY if you don't want to apply them. I'm talking about the poorest of people. They live in straw huts here in Africa- which are eaten by termites year after year. The few that get some kind of money (old age pension) live on less than $2 a day, and from that $2 they maintain a whole family. The rest lives from what te land offers them. And therefore I was talking about permaculture being such a golden opportunity for them!! They have a wonderful river, land to be used and human strength. But no library, computer, groups, money for books and many can not even read or write. Permaculture is not know at all in Namibia.

    Very hard for many people to imagine. And of course, they don't need a PDC to apply permaculture! But they do need willing people that can offer part of their time or life to come and teach them - without making profit. We are trying - we offer some basic training from what we get from resources.
    But it's not enough.

    We need people with knowledge and skills who will step out of their comfort zones and go and teach people in the poorest parts of the world to care for themselves and their families.
     
  11. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    My post wasn't really about me and my lack of money to do a PDC. Its was about spreading the movement. I really was trying to imagine how it might grow faster if it was on a different model. Like religion though, i guess it needs charismatic teachers.

    In australia you only have to pay for your education when you start earning an income from it. I would have liked to be in a position to pay for my degree. Alas, things haven't worked out that way. I think i am just too mental. You only have to pay up front if you want to. I think its a pretty fair system in Australia. Although i think the courses did start to become quite high priced too. I thought it was best when they first brought in hecs. Well the cost of courses that is.

    But back to my thoughts about religion. Oh it doesn't matter. I was just speculating on an alternative.
     
  12. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    "If you really wanted to be educated in permaculture, there are enough free introductory lectures, groups to join and learn from other people and not to mention libraries and online resources. "

    Maybe, but I think sun burn's point is that we need to make access to Pc easier. Having the bar set at "if you really want it you will overcome obstacles to get to it" is hardly a good approach if Pc is to become common.

    I also find the idea that anyone can access Pc easily if they really want to to be inaccurate. There are plenty of places where no-one is offering any kind of courses and where there aren't good libraries with lots of Pc books.

    Sun burn, I don't think religion is a good model myself. I'd rather Pc was sold in its own strengths rather than the charisma of its leaders.

    I think it's fine for the PDCs to be at a cost as long as there are scholarships etc for low income people (which does seem to be the case in some places). But PDCs are for hardcore permies and there needs to be another level of education. Some of the PDC is not suitable or too advanced for what many people want and need. It's a course designed to produce practitioners and teachers. We don't all need to be that. I'm surprised there hasn't been a second set of classes formalised and promoted. These could be made much more accessible and cheaper.
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I think all teachers of PDC's will offer assistance to people keen to do the course but have not the resources - it is part of the ethic.
    PDC's are important as a stepping stone to a sustainable life and it is for much more than hardcore permies, though many who do the PDC run the risk of becoming hardcore it is by no means a prerequisite.
    The introduction to permaculture runs over a weekend here at Purple Pear. It is affordable and accessable and will give a good start to your backyard but please remember the PDC is much much more that a backyard food garden. It is problem solving and across zone design as well as settlement design and earthworks and ............
    It is aimed not at producing practicioners and teachers as much as it is aimed at producing folks that look at the world with an empathic view of what is happening around them and with a desire to be part of the solution in what ever way they can.
    I think the thread is sensationalist and a little silly and one great way to start making pc a popular movement is to stop silly discussion and get out and do stuff in your community that feeds the greater good.
    (end of rant)
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    "It is aimed not at producing practicioners and teachers as much as it is aimed at producing folks that look at the world with an empathic view of what is happening around them and with a desire to be part of the solution in what ever way they can."

    Maybe, but it's still going to be a limited pool of people who (a) are willing to transform their lives that much and (b) can afford a fortnight (or x number of weekends) in order to make that change. Most people I know are simply too busy, so the PDC is only going to attract people who are already very keen or want to become practitioners/teachers. I'd be interested to see a demographic breakdown of who attends PDCs (I wonder if the PRI has that data) - eg how many young/old people, gender, class/income bracket etc. If Pc is serious about being a mass movement, those things are important.

    The intro weekend sounds good, I wish there was more of that going in.
     
  15. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I do hope you are wrong Pebble. We need many people willing to get unbusy and look beyond their immediate situation to assist in the turn around of the planet simply so we can survive and I believe this is happening and will happen if we all do our best and work with each other for the greater good. It is important.
     
  16. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I agree PP. I just think that we can't afford to wait for enough people to get unbusy and Pc needs to be made available to people in the way that their lives are now. There is such a great interest currently in the things that PC teaches, it's a good opportunity to connect people with Pc, but not solely via the PDCs I think.
     
  17. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    I am not sure it is that unpopular or little known as you think
    I have a 'google alert' for Permaculture and it harvests about 30-60 links a week from the web.
    I scan these for anything groundbreaking to add to the news section.
    i could easily add ten explanatory and pro. news articles to "news" every week, but i figure people here are a bit beyond that.
     
  18. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I doubt there'd be more than 50 households doing permaculture in my region. Ok lets say its 100. That's not very many. My region being from cairns to the Atherton tableland and north to cape tribulaton and the daintree.
     
  19. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Neither do I think we can afford a quick perhaps evangelistic solution with an attitude that perhaps got us into this mess in the first place. Creating a "market" for Permaculture needs some careful thought.
     
  20. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    yes, and maybe it's not even so much a matter of marketing as connecting people with things they love. Organics happened that way, from people's passion, and much has changed in the past 20 years because of that. Other things too like Farmers Markets, which give people a way to make money more ethically.
     

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