Mainstreaming permaculture?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Seila, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Seila

    Seila Junior Member

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    Hi all

    I have recently completed a PDC and the Aid Workers Course with Geoff Lawson and Rosemary Morrow. I was a conference on food security crisis in Melbourne and ran into my past two lecturers. One was from my Bachelor of Agricultural Science and the other, the Masters of Social Science (International Development). I sat in on Darren Doherty's presentation on permaculture and later talked with my past pasture management lecturer. He was interested in introducing the concept of permaculture to the agricultural science course but was concerned about the scientific legitimacy of the concept. I think we can work to spread the education about permaculture using different strategies. The experienced permaculturalist are working on large scale farm projects and aid work in developing countries. There is now a permaculture diploma and certificate system through the Tafe systems. There are also many places throughout the worked to obtain a permaculture certificate training.

    It is the western countries with their industrial agriculture that need to be convinced of the benefits of permaculture. Developing countries do not have that luxury, if you have no food to eat and some one provides you with a possible solution, you will take it. I would like to see more experiments and documentation on the positive impact of permaculture on food security and biodiversity. I considered preparing an environmental impact assessment for new permaculture projects. This would act as a baseline data, for before the project starts and monitoring assessment during the life of the project, perhaps every 3 months or 6 months. Hopefully this would provide more documented evidence to convince the mainstream education institution about the benefits of permaculture. How much research has been done to assess the impacts of permaculture?

    I realise the movement has been grassroots and organic in its formation and organisation. Yet we all agree there is an impending crisis on the horizon because of the flaws in our economic, corporate, energy, industrial agriculture and consumer models. There is total disrespect for protecting the environment where we all obtain our resources and livelihoods. Yet, we need to engage in a dialogue with the institutions that control the mass education. However, the energy situation may make fertilisers and other inputs so costly that industrial agriculture will look for alternatives. By that time too much damage my have been done to sufficiently feed enough people.
     
  2. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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  3. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    In this light it is interesting to consider historian Arnold Toynbee's observation, after studying twenty-one collapsed civilizations, that what they had in common was inflexibility under stress and the concentration of wealth into few hands. We cannot deny the current stress. Will we remain inflexible in maintaining a system that concentrates wealth to the increasing detriment of most humans?
    excerpt
    https://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/Erthdnce/chapter20.html
    from
    https://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/
    (free book and articles)
     
  4. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    Thanks for bringing this up.
    In the 80's I did a course with Bill Mollison and my "big question" to him was...is he doing anything to help the agricultural colleges and government bodies to see the validity of permaculture. He was in exclusionary-survivalist mode at the time, as many people who "have the answer" get into...he said something like "every man for himself" we mind our business, others must be left to their own devices.
    Now as we have moved on a bit, and can see that we are all in this together, I think his answer would be very different.

    Both permaculture and the exploitive-regime people must work together for the good of the whole.

    A UK institute was studying agricultural practices in India and found that the natural permacultural systems the farmers have established over thousands of years....keeping some forest canopy intact in order to harvest the leaf litter for putting on their fields, multi-tier cropping and diverse crops. Apparently over 85% of the native bird population that would be there in virgin forest was still maintained in these natural farming systems.

    Lincoln College NZ has an organic dept. and probably permaculture now also...

    The most important thing for permaculture in the next 5 years will be helping people to set up their urban and community food growing systems. Thus classes, permaculture make-over businesses, perma-media campaign and advising needs to be as widespread as possible.
     
  5. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    The Globalization of humanity is a natural, biological, evolutionary process. Yet we face an enormous crisis because the most central and important aspect of globalization -- its economy -- is currently being organized in a manner that so gravely violates the fundamental principles by which healthy living systems are organized that it threatens the demise of our whole civilization.

    As Ralph Nader points out, "Under WTO rules, for example, certain *objectives* are forbidden to all domestic legislatures... including [objectives such as] providing any significant subsidies to promote energy conservation, sustainable farming practices, or environment-ally sensitive technologies."

    (excerpts)
    https://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/Articles/globalize.html

    We don't have to act in stupid and self-defeating ways just because the way we did things in the past is too narrow for the future. Our economics can be as intelligent, as subtle, as beautiful, as joyful as the universe it reflects.
    excerpt
    https://www.context.org/ICLIB/IC02/Gilman1.htm
     
  6. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    Do you know about Catherine Austin Fitts and permaculture finance Ojo? www.solari.com

    'Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.' Friedrich von Schiller,

    Hopefully we will all get a lot more humble, and less stupid.
     
  7. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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  8. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    Siela, I endorse what you say.

    Do you have a question in all this?

    cheers,

    ho-hum
     
  9. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    "mainstream" the principal or dominant course, tendency, or trend:
    https://dictionary.reference.com/browse/mainstream


    We are no more able to find our way forward living as Homo modern as we are living as Homo hunter-gatherer. Both ways are blocked. Living today on the infinite growth treadmill as Homo modern results in the death of our planet. Homo sapiens has exploded our population to a level that we can no longer run back into the forest to make a living like the Mayan did. So what are we to do?
    excerpt
    https://culturechange.org/cms/index.php? ... 3&Itemid=1
     
  10. Jana

    Jana Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    Get a new operating system.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c8an2XZ3MU —Terrence McKenna, Culture is Your Operating System. It is from the position of being outside the cultural operating system that we can begin to ask real questions about what is to be human, what kind of circumstances are we caught in, and what kind of structures if any, can we put in place to assuage the pain and accentuate the glory and the wonder that lies waiting for us in this very narrow sliver of time between the birth canal and the yawning grave…in other words we have to return to first premises.
    How does one download a new operating system…well, first you have to clear your disc.

    In dealing with an obsolete and dysfunctional cultural operating system we have to be willing to "unplug" from the existing one and remain in creative limbo, or quantum space, until informed by new currents of being. This is an art of clearing, detoxing, fasting, resting, waiting, sensing, dreaming and exploring.
    • Erich Fromm said people would rather have certainty than freedom, and uncertainty is necessary to impel one to unfold their power with creativity and courage. As Fromm ventured, "creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."

    www.exploratorium.edu/memory/robertsapolsky.html —In this nice long talk by Robert Sapolsky he says the shaman's were schizotypal personalities...their harddrives being not as rigidly conditioned by the operating system of the culture.
    People that are working on setting up new operating systems:

    https://sittingnow.co.uk/archives/285 —Douglas Rushkoff
    www.realitysandwich.com
     
  11. Ojo

    Ojo Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    There is nothing inherently bad about subsidies. They can encourage the
    development of solar power, accelerate the adoption of less polluting
    technologies by industry and direct money efficiently to society’s poor-
    est. They could, in effect, play a crucial role in helping development around
    the globe become more sustainable.
    But largely they don’t. Many of today’s subsidies encourage practices that
    are economically perverse or trade-distorting or ecologically destructive or
    socially inequitable. Sometimes several of these harmful things at once. And
    most subsidies hinder progress towards sustainable development,

    No amount of subsidy reform, no matter how sweeping, will alone bring
    about the dawning of the age of sustainable development. To stop our
    current borrowing from the Earth’s future requires, as the Brundtland
    Commission made clear, a fundamental rethinking of every aspect of today’s
    civilization.

    “We do not achieve balance by one line or solution but by a careful
    interweaving of a great variety of partial answers which added
    together do not produce definitive answers — nature is too
    dynamic for that — but give us the possibility of proceeding without
    disaster, correcting, reconsidering, backtracking, advancing, observ-
    ing, and inventing as we go.”
    It was good advice in 1972. It still is. Let us proceed without disaster,
    correcting and inventing as we go. Let us start by quickening the pace of
    subsidy reform.
    excerpts
    https://www.envict.org.au/file/Subsidizi ... opment.pdf

    there was no hard and fast division separating environmental issues, social and economic issues. All the problems were intertwined.
    excerpt
    https://www.sustainablemeasures.com/Trai ... f-Br1.html
     
  12. Seila

    Seila Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    My question in all this is, how can we work to mainstream permaculture. How do we convince the industrial agricultural industry, the conventional farmers to change their approach to farming. Modern agriculture is more about natural resource management. However, will the impending climate change crisis force farmers and governments to a permaculture approach without them realising it? After I did the PDC, I realised permaculture offered a lot of the solutions the problems in conventional farming.

    I think it is not good enough to have a surivalist mentality, to wait for the global economies to collapse, for a major starvation of billions of people. If we can anticipate the impending catastrophe and have the solution, what are we all doing? Scratching our heads?
     
  13. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    My experience is that it does no good to try and modify others' behaviour until you have begun to modify your own. First of all, it is depressing, because you get nowhere :cry: and second of all... people sometimes don't know how to do stuff so you're better off leading by example.

    My idea is that Bill probably would have felt that there is little you can do to force someone to change their entire lifestyle... :axe: you simply teach those who are ready to learn.

    I figure that the permaculturalists of this generation will be essential teachers and now is the time for me to be learning and doing.
     
  14. Flying Binghi

    Flying Binghi Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    IMHO, the best way to get 'conventional farmers' to listen, is first to explain how much money can be made from permacultre farming. Money talks, as they say.
     
  15. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    It certainly doesn't hurt to lead by example and to spend your money where it will encourage sustainable production. For example, shop at local farmers' markets, buy organic/free trade/biodynamic/sustainable/whatever, support local businesses, etc.

    Farmers, industry and businesses will respond to demand when they see it. Look how many are trying to "green" their image nowadays, because that's what consumers seem to be demanding.
     
  16. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    At a home garden level I think that permaculture is increasingly becoming mainstream. I see it in many of the gardening magazines and TV shows. Heck even the women's mag "Notebook" that I bought this month ran a "tree change at home" story and although the word permaculture was never actually used there were references to food forests and so on that made it obvious that permaculture was part of their plan.
     
  17. janahn

    janahn Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    every decision you make is an economic one. when permaculture is economic to the majority of people, it will become mainstream.

    Leo Mahon
     
  18. Noz

    Noz Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    I feel very strongly that the legitimacy of permaculture has been undermined. When you listen to and read experienced permaculture designers, they are flexible, suggest practical solutions etc. What you might get from a young hippie who has just learnt a little about permaculture is not even close to being valuable. They get confused about the techniques (of which there are many) and the design... which is site specific. This in turn doesn't impress the suited professional who has kpi's to meet and a manager to impress.

    Fundamentally. Bill was a scientist at heart who realised that we had the tools available to us, if only we could integrate knowledge, systems thinking etc. There is no question that we know a bit about rain, a bit about water management a bit about nutrient cycles, a bit about genetic diversity, habitat, edges, small system productivity etc etc.. where in modern agriculture is this being utilised??

    We seem to be continuing with insane management practices simply because of a perception problem - or a series of perception problems...

    No offence, but people need to really think about what they are wearing: your hair and general appearance make a big difference and therefore, if you are an educator or are commicating to professionals try to adopt an appearance that will not detract from your message - ie. if you are talking to someone in a suit, at least wear casual business attire or perhaps try and pass for someone who could vote Liberal. :rolleyes:
    Its no good trying to rebel and make them reconsider their stupid pre-conceptions... prioritise... convince them of the landcare solutions first.
     
  19. Cyna

    Cyna Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    "Plant a tree where it will grow, teach someone who wants to learn." Bill Mollison
     
  20. japhy

    japhy Junior Member

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    Re: Mainstreaming permaculture?

    I'mn afraid human nature suggests it's going to take someone to physically demonstrate that permaculture is a viable capitalistic concern, and by that I mean make money doing it, to bring it to the fore. I mean has anyone done it on say 100 acres or bigger? Wow, that would be something.... The problem, of course, is that permaculture systems are designed for a range of needs, not just profit. Perennial mixed agriculture is perfect for providing food, but less good for providing huge numbers of any one crop that can be sold....so the person who does this is going to have to go huge... I'd do it in a heartbeat if I had the money. Imagine planting a five hundred or thousand acre system.... awesome!

    What's sad is that there's some fundamental block in people that prevents them from knowing a good thing when they see it. Did anyone see Geoff Lawson's video about reclaiming a salinated desert in Jordan. Within six months he was growing figs - people from the government were coming down to check it out, no one believing it could be done. And then seven years later, (the system's still thriving of course) but the funding's stopped, and the local people are just tending it themselves. I mean why didn't the government wake up, realise that he had just pulled off a frickin miracle, and start ploughing money into changing the whole desert....
     

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