Permaculture bashing

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Tim Auld, May 31, 2009.

  1. Tim Auld

    Tim Auld Junior Member

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    Dmitry Orlov writes about collapse, using his experience of the collapse of the Soviet Union with his observations in the US where he lives now. I found this post on his web site recently. He posed some questions he may answer in an upcoming talk - some of them relating to permaculture. Some visitors to the site took the opportunity to express their displeasure with the permaculture movement. Do you think these people who believe/accept that we are facing collapse are familiar with disparaging constructive efforts that permaculture is collateral damage, or are their claims legitimate? Some of the criticism is ad hominem (vegetarians and vegans frowning on cheese), which doesn't necessarily reflect permaculture in general. Does permaculture have an image problem, or is there just no pleasing some people? It's not clear to me what they think the alternative approach could be if learning and implementing sustainable practices based on ecology is not effective.

    The criticisms include:
    • Too much talk, not enough action[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • Follows an Amway-like model (teach instead of practice)[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • 'Feel good junkets' to foreign countries[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • It's not complicated (after watching the Greening the Desert video)[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • Permie groups made up of miserable vegetarians and vegans[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • Demonstration farms using store bought food to feed visitors[/*:m:1t4ff18f]
    • Hobby for the rich due to cost of land[/*:m:1t4ff18f]

    The article is here:
    https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2009/05/e ... orlov.html

    By the way, I thoroughly recomment Dmitry's book Reinventing Collapse.

    Tim
     
  2. janahn

    janahn Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    I live in the rural heartland of Queensland. My full time work is Permaculture.

    After the Vic Bushfires I heard several people say "a bet there a few greenies now thinking about fire in a different light - or - those greenies are to blame"
    Comments were often aimed directly at me.

    A fair response is something like this...... ' 2000 homes were burnt down. Some belonged to Labour, Liberal and even Green Voters. Similar fires have ravaged this part of the Country before. Individuals were seen fighting fires in t-shirts and shorts. Governments and individuals have not learnt from previous mistakes. Even with a drought and record temp. the fires that damaged properties and claimed lives were avoidable'

    Critisism is periodically aimed at me for not being 100% self sufficient in food. (yet)

    A fair response is ......"when I get my iron ore smelter i will be"

    The infant Permaculture is still growing. Tell them they can do better, but make sure they do something.

    Leo
     
  3. gemjill

    gemjill Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    G'day
    I followed the link and was amused by the chap that observed that his permie group did too much talking and decided to spend more time in his garden actually planting ...... no really? what actually doing stuff?
    It seems to be aimed at the 'permaculture movement' in the US, as though it is some political lobby group or something.

    I think part of the image problems is the inevitable 'zealots' who preach it as tho' it is some new religion, and that it is seen as some sort of infallible system, but then all systems are only as good as the people maintaining it.
    I read on another site that Bill Mollison's property Tagari was regarded as a failure simply becuase he moved back to Tassie and the people who took it over had neglected a couple of the features!
    Interesting the comment about 'miserable vegetarians and vegans' the permies I've met are almost all meateaters.

    And then there's the real miserable so and so's that expect you to be some sort of environmental saint because your try and practice a few permaculture principles - the same people who are doing sweet fanny adams to reduce their carbon footprint and will never know the joy of a homegrown vegetable.

    And as Dumbledore said to Hagrid:"if you're holding out for universal popularity you'll be waiting a long time"
    thanks for sharing the link
    cheers
     
  4. Tim Auld

    Tim Auld Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    That's exactly right, and people will never achieve perfect concensus. This is a good thing, in general, according to the principle "use and value diversity". Everyone pursues different solution and somehow we muddle our way forward as the workable ideas achieve success. It's unreasonable to expect a perfect road map to sustainability, since we are in uncharted territory and sustainability is somewhat elusive and nebulous.

    On the other hand, many approaches are not guided by sound principles and are likely doomed to failure. The ethics and principles of permaculture give us a solid basis for evaluating different approaches before damage is done and resources wasted. It's hard to get people on board with this. For example, so many people think that we're a large part of the way to everlasting prosperity if we invent an abundant source of electricity, like fusion. In fact such abundance may accelerate depletion and destruction of other resources. It also encourages dependence and separation from ecologically sound ways of living.

    Perhaps permaculture sits uncomfortably with these people because it implies too much of a change in culture and the feelings of entitlement are too great. Petty criticisms give them an excuse for rejecting it.

    Could feeling helpless be too much a part of their world view? Personally I feel the most secure and empowered when I am learning and exercising permaculture and interacting with people of the same mind.

    Cheers,
    Tim
     
  5. Flying Binghi

    Flying Binghi Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    I did an earthworks/fish dam construction course at the northern NSW permie place about 15 odd years ago. The main thing that interested me was the self feeding fish dam concept. From memory the fish dams had only been started on about a year when i did the course.

    How did the fish dams go ?

    I've worked up a dam under the concept...roughly oval shaped, about 20 x 60 metres in size with the island in the middle to give more shore line. To me the concept proved non-viable for any commercial expansion, though suits somebody who just wants the occasional fish. The dam certainly brims with life.
     
  6. Dalzieldrin

    Dalzieldrin Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    :lol: i've gotta remember that one
     
  7. trimnut2

    trimnut2 Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    Most perma groups in my experience are good examples of the adage about committees:

    "The unwilling and the unable trying to tackle the unnecessary."

    Most permas don't know the "Doing". Which is far more important than any of the PC course materials I have seen.
    Give each one of them a 2 square metres of ground, one hand tool and say,

    "Start. I want food production in x weeks".

    Until the Doing is at an almost instinctive level forget all that course material. It is useless, assuming food production is your interest.
     
  8. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    I tend to agree trimnut2,

    It's a bit like evironmentalists driving to a protest in their 4WD's with a handy bag of McDonalds for lunch. No point shouting and raving unless you are willing to walk your own talk.

    Permaculture is still the new kid at school, and he looks different to the others - so people are going to push him and test him and make him feel like the outsider - the other kids just can't understand him because he says strange things, and thinks differently. Permaculture is still finding it's way too, in many ways it still doesn't understand itself, or it's place in THIS society NOW.

    I'm not a hard core extremist permie, for me it's enough to learn how to grow things efficiently and sustainably, lessen my 'footprint' and get better at it over time. I tell people what I am doing, but don't judge others for what they are doing. I am evolving towards this sort of Permaculture Utopia, perhaps one day I will arrive, perhaps not. In the meantime I feel good about what I am doing, and part of that is working to do it better. Deep in my soul I know this is the right course of action for me. And I also know that this is the ONLY thing I can do to bring about any change in the world.

    BE the change that you wish to see in the world - it is as simple as that.

    Grahame
     
  9. trimnut2

    trimnut2 Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    Agreed, Grahame. Thanks. The most important revolution I run is the one on myself.
     
  10. ShadowWalker

    ShadowWalker Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    I saw this article shortly after it was posted on Orlov's website. I thought I'd posted a comment but it doesn't appear to be there.

    Permaculture is represented by all kinds of people from all walks of life. Unfortunately, you are going to run into people who want to sit around and talk about the ideas rather than act on them. This is the same in just about every group that gets together for whatever reason. How many people are talking about Peak Oil instead of doing something about it? How many people are talking about Climate Change instead of doing something about it? And the list goes on.

    In January of 2008, I took my PDC in Melbourne from Bill and Geoff. Since that time I've been putting together notes to register as a teacher. But even more importantly, I've been making an effort to apply what I learned to my home garden in Canada. The property is small, so I'm having to leave out a lot of the ideas. In some ways it looks not much different from an intensive annual garden. I would love to integrate chooks, etc. to get a better feel for the practical aspect of permaculture, unfortunately I live in a city that has outlawed most of the animals you would find on a permaculture property. Nevertheless, I don't feel that I could teach confidently unless I'd put what I learned into practice. So I'm still working on the notes, reading up on permaculture by people like David Holmgren (a tough read when I'm tired :wink: ), Dave Jacke and, of course, Bill. Also watching every video I can find online.

    When it comes time for me to teach, I want to be able to confidently present the information and hopefully leave the students with the same passion and desire to put permaculture into practice that Bill and Geoff passed on to me.
     
  11. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    You have a good point, Trim...

    Planning is good, we need to know what to put where, but we can easily get lost in the science behind something and forget about the actual act of "doing it".
     
  12. trimnut2

    trimnut2 Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    milifesyle let me push your reply a little further: "Doing it' WELL means that the design/ planning issues will naturally arise. So one starts thinking/seeking systems and organisational patterns after the fact. A right order of learning. Starting someone on systems thinking without a background of fact and experience leaves people wallowing in ideology and self delusion. Not a wise starting point for food production.
     
  13. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing-well,well,well

    I just had to be here for this post.
    Having been torched, trolled and kicked from this very forum for waving my rad permie flag and pissing off (shall we say) some of the city based designers with my challenging talk of ' rolling over '. Comparisons with AMWAY; I am staggered that someone else had the similar gall to make this call.

    I get 'bashed' by non permies because they are 'not with it'.
    I get bashed by permies, because they are not with it ...and they know it.

    I 'bash' both camps because I find them equallly irritating.

    Your'e either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem.

    Permaculture got highjacked by organic growers, woo woos, and too many city dwelling - non pot smokers way back.

    What ever you do, DO NOT DO A SURVEY HERE ! Piss off the permaculture designers here and your login will mysteriously fail.
    regards, KImbo
     
  14. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    Hi Kimbo,

    Glad to see you're back, as I missed your humorous, intriguing, pointed, and thought provoking posts.

    I'm not aware of any reasons to "fail your login", but we did have the entire forum hacked and crashed twice in the recent past. Perhaps your account was disturbed in the rebuild? When Murray is forced to rebuild the forum, he has to go back to the most recent "back-up" and all activity that occurred between the back-up and the crash is lost (including accounts).

    Anyhow, like I said, I know of no reason to exclude you from this forum and I, for one, welcome your posts. I believe that a real Permie observes his or her own peculiar situation, then designs from what's been observed using the twelve Permaculture principles put forth by David Holmgren:

    My belief is that there are no "one way" hard and fast rules for Permaculture, just concepts and ideas on how to approach design/life. Each situation is unique and requires the aforementioned observation to arrive at an appropriate design/approach. In any given single situation, I would think that multiple Permies would each arrive at a different set of design approaches based on their individual perspectives and resulting observations of an identical situation. From what I've read, your approach encompasses these principles very well.

    If you have any questions or issues regarding the forum here, please let me know and we'll try to sort it out.

    Welcome back! :D

    Bill
     
  15. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    Welcome back Kimbo. I missed you to. You sure the pot ain't making you paranoid? We could do a survey :!: :lol:
     
  16. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    Tezza
     
  17. gbell

    gbell Junior Member

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  18. buff orpington

    buff orpington Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    its all well and good to go blah blah blah, he who desires but acts not breeds pestilence, everything gardens.
     
  19. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    Dmitry may have a point.
    He even sold 18 tickets. The 'event' is now cancelled if you check his website and he has kindly offered refunds.

    The big 'point' about permaculture is what does it offer you; and is it a way of life that you would aspire to or benefit from, more so, can you positively impact your lil piece of the planet with its practices?

    The Catholic church pushed the concept of a FLAT EARTH long after the demise of Galileo, mostly on the premise that Galileo MIGHT be able to prove the earth was round but not what was 'out there'. Many permie naysayers have the same attitude wanting 'undeniable proof' that fits within their rigourous parameters that suits them. If you are one of the many permies that grows herbs, saves water, rides a bike occasionally, tries to help out on public land and is currently land bereft - hail you.

    Being nice and sustainable to the planet, which by no means is unique to Permaculture, can't be all that bad. If you hold this view then ignore the naysayers that demand proof and do the best you can by the planet and the community around you. Permaculture is a 'ways and means' thing that for me is pragmatic and works.

    Ask them to prove Permaculture either redundant or wrong!!!..

    cheers,

    ho-hum
     
  20. jmygann

    jmygann Junior Member

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    Re: Permaculture bashing

    My experience is that the permaculturists in my area are just trying to sell design plans ,conferences and books.
    A few wealthy yuppies have their land sculptured ... but buy their food ,and drive their hybrids and show off their back yards.


    " insight is useless unless it leads to action" ... the Dalai Lama
     

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