Permaculture ? don't mention it?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Ev, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    g'day peter,

    yes 'sue' covered it pretty well, sometimes hard to say things exactly as meant in the written word and without the dimension of body language. for those of us like you and me and sue i would presume, no other can influence us or manipulate us in anyway, it's when new people happen along and take a look and then maybe say i'm outa here, like one poster said like it needed to be arbitary, "if one does not do a pdc course how can they expect to understand permaculture" that is how the undercurrent seems nowadays, but strong words for something that is basically common sense. few things happen as they seem many do pdc's just to display a framed piece of paper on their wall to impress friends at cocktail afternoons, and in that then many may only give token effort to any practise of principals. and of course everyone who partakes in a pdc then has this opinion that they are good educators and all hang out their shingles looking for a piece of the action.

    len
     
  2. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Where does your bitterness come from Len?

     
  3. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Pete

    Hard to say, without actually having a baseline data set, and then a new set to compare this with. Having said that though, I do feel I have some anecdotal evidence to share:

    The experiences

    For the past 5-years I have studied (full-time) - 2006 Cert IV Conservation and Land Management, and 2007-2010 Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning. During this same period of time, I have worked (part-time) - Aug 2007 to Aug 2009 Cadet Planner (local government). Also, I have consulted on over 20 differing 'permaculture' projects. Of these, probably only five were explicitly known to the participants as 'permaculture', the remaining were called various other things - 'sustainable development', 'eco-friendly', etc. Last, but not least, I have maintained a connection to six differing 'local community organisations', together with dozens of informal group/individual relationships with family and friends. All of these individual/group interactions (hundreds, maybe thousands in total?) have provided me with an opportunity to introduce all other party/s to permaculture (if they were not already aware - probably less than 5%), in one shape or form (i.e. either covertly (by 'stealth'), or overtly). Regardless of the scope and method of delivery to raising an awareness of the base ethics of permaculture (planet care, people care, and fair share), most (80%) of all interactions resulted in a positive response to the ethics of caring for planet and caring for people. Similarly, most (80%) did seem to have a problem with the third (and debatable) ethic of permaculture: 'fair share'. As I love a challenge, this is where my practice interest has evolved to, and where I subsequently put most of my time and energy today.

    Changes?

    A few things are getting better, most things are getting worse (nearly all of the literature today that is concerned with 'social ecology' agrees). As my knowledge of communalism grows, so too does my my understanding of why there is so much resistance to the third ethic, and it simply comes down to this - people are mostly selfish beings. True 'mutualism' is rare in the history of humanity. We are mostly pre-programmed to the 'survival instinct' that we have carried over from the time we first climbed out of the tree canopies (from a position of relative security) and bipedalled out into the savannah (to a position of relative insecurity).

    The future?

    Back to uni next year to complete the Master of Community Planning and Development, with a view to rolling this over into a PhD in 2012.

    Continue to study in the field with an emphasis on further researching the barriers to 'communalism'.

    Maintain connections with local community organisations (and continue to 'push' the permaculture 'barrow' within them).

    Continue to do pro-bono, but only if the projects have a strengthening third ethic.

    Continue to charge (an ever-increasing fee, commiserate with my KSAs) where the above cannot be satisfied.

    ...and, hopefully find enough time to continue to learn and teach via this medium.

    Cheerio, Markos.
     
  4. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    dunno what you are talking about purplepear?

    no bitterness in my objective critisism, but i've had subjectivety put to me many times at a personal level, this maybe just more of the same by the looks of it.

    i'm not tucked away in a box or comfort zone, it saddens me that permaculture missed the mark at grass roots level.

    why single me out this too has happened before i am not the only one here with issues concerning this topic.

    len
     
  5. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hey PurplePear, I found no bitterness in anything Len had to say. Just some straight-talking honest opinion …………. which is exactly what I asked for!

    I’m certainly thankful that there are forum members prepared to give an honest opinion, facing as they do the risk of being run-down by the permaculture purists/cultists/religious factions etc,.

    So, how are things at Purple Pear Organics? Has time stood still for the past five years or have attitudes changed? :think:
     
  6. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Peter, I think there is no future in complaining about the various types of characters involved in Permaculture. It serves us not to say things like
    or
    These thinks are unhelpful as these people, if they exist are still educating others about Permaculture and we need to "just do it" and leave off whining about what others are doing.

    I think it is also unfortunate to support your arguments by calling others
    as these people may well be bringing permaculture to the world in the way they know how and if it does not suit you then you need to do it another way.

    Things at Purple Pear are great.

    We constantly have the media reporting on our activities in sustainable food production and schools book to have a learning session or a camp to experience permaculture and see where their food comes fro and how it can be produced sustainably.

    We have had stories in small farms magazine which brings Permaculture to the many others doing the small holding thing with a message of using land effectively.

    We have started Transition Towns Maitland and are doing permablitzes in back yards - putting food where it is needed and linking families to each other for ongoing support and produce and seed swapping and food preparation demonstrations.

    We are providing food for twenty families through our Community Supported Agriculture project and we have now been involved with council in writing a plan for the future of Maitland that will allow for more sustainable practices in town planning.

    People rarely ask what Permaculture is but want to know more about it which is a vast improvement from when I was first involved over fifteen years ago. I sometimes think it is now where near fast enough and I get frustrated when one of our PDC's does not proceed for lack of participants when I see so many people who would have a life changing experience on completion ( as we have seen many times)

    I believe there is something in the pDC we all need and it is difficult to define but extremely beneficial. Something like the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. I experienced it when I did my PDC with Bill in the 1990's and have seen it since in the courses I have taught - both here at Purple pear and at at the Dungog community gardens which I helped to establish with a work for the dole crew (and that is another story of hope)

    There is so much that is great about now and to run that down is not only not helpful it is sad. The bitterness that drives people to comment in negative ways is as bad as someone who runs a website on organic growing saying that it is ok to use roundup.

    Time has not stood still in the last five years and it can not if we keep moving forward and not just sit back and wihge about how it should be but get out there and Do it.
     
  7. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Beautifully written Mark. Thank you.

    Grahame
     
  8. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    I am no missionary and anyone with a missionary ethic in permaculture can step over the line of delivering information,especially when they are all pumped up after a PDC which for many is a life changer.I am with Marko ,I am able to deliver a lot of permaculture to the people,but I only express it as permaculture when asked about it.I just use the catch phrase of the day,"closed loop","sustainable" etc etc.I am from a fairly conservative town and over the years a lot of well intentioned people have made huge gaffs with the local council and government as well as community groups.I find permaculture by stealth the best way to go.The transition town movement and the organics movement are seen as legitimate movements with a great deal of support,so it's easy to spread P.C in those circles again by stealth..If I am teaching organic gardening then,I am more likely teaching high yield permaculture gardening than straight organics.It's sad that many past PC people have lost the true meaning of PC which IMO is about design science.Permaculture is riding towards the mainstream finally,it's plainly apparent who the best teachers are and they will continue to push PC.
    The rest of the pack who are running around blending witch craft and paganism and all the other nonsense with permaculture will continue to take advantage of people,while lining their pockets and degrading what is truly a unique and beautiful concept.It's a shame these people have high jacked it but again only the fittest survive.
    Best wishes
    Fernando
     
  9. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Purplepear

    I don’t disagree with what you say.

    However, each permaculturalist will have their own experience of permaculture; good pdc, bad pdc, someone just after another piece of paper to hang on the wall, someone experiencing a life changing experience, etc, etc,. Within the context of experience many different opinions will emerge. I don’t feel the greater good will ever be served by refusing to accept the difficulties in favour of presenting a positive façade.

    The point was raised several times concerning the perceived control being applied to permaculture by those who have a purist/cultist/religious perspective.

    Whilst I wholeheartedly agree, that if you don’t like a particular presentation of permaculture you can find another, or go your own way. The big problem, if I’ve understood the scenario correctly, is that those permaculturists with a purist/cultist/religious perspective do not share your liberal democratic ideas but attempt to undermine, usually by means other than reasoned debate, those who choose not adopt their particular approach.

    I tend to believe that you can always learn something from a good debate and can at least agree to differ. However, references to clanking caravans, howling dogs, guru’s that are beyond question; to quote but a few of the comments that pass for serious consideration on the forum merely turn people away from permaculture.

    Anyway, great exposé on Purple Pear Organics. You certainly give a very positive view on what is actually being achieved “on the ground”. I suppose there is a tendency to look at the global situation and see the overwhelming bad, whilst overlooking the enormous good that’s being achieved in communities where real people practice permaculture within a spirit of tolerance and co-operation.
     
  10. PeterFD

    PeterFD Junior Member

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    Hi Markos

    Good to hear from you again.

    I tend to believe that change is something that we as humans feel, and that no data set can ever emulate that. However I can understand the need to quantify things!

    Interesting you fixate on the contentious “Fair Share” as the third ethic of permaculture. A similar reference by myself earlier in the year was quickly corrected because what Bill Mollison actually wrote was “Setting limits to population and Consumption”. However, I’m with you on this one, Earth Care/ People Care/ Fair share.

    I’ve read your posting several times. If you’ll forgive me for saying so, you give the impression of a former rebel about to take the well worn path to statesmanship ……….. and heaven knows permaculture needs all the statesmen it can get.

    How I envy you the freedom to go back to University and then go on to complete a PhD.

    Oh well, as someone once said, “the future is as yet unwritten”!

    Take care,
    Peter
     
  11. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day Pete, lovely to chat with you again, too

    In relation to the current debate in this thread, and concerning your comment above re: the third ethic:

    Mollison may very well have previously stated the above in the context of a third ethic, however in One (where it all started) both Holmgren and Mollison concluded with:

    As in nature, so in society, we can let many varieties of behaviour flower, but we must judge them from their yields, from their inherent stability, and their beneficial effects in interaction. A society that commands energy but has no ethics or goals is like a child with a machine gun, a potential danger to everyone and everything, surrounding it. We say, let us give the child an education modelled on permaculture; something that needs and returns nurture. It is time to turn the ebbing tide of energy towards useful ends, and develop a permaculture for the society of man and nature.

    Source: Mollison & Holmgren (1978 ) Permaculture One. Transworld Publishers, p. 95.

    "...so in society"

    "...let many varieties of behaviour flower"

    Agreed. Diversity within the human species is just as important as biodiversity within all other non-human ecosystems.

    "...we must judge them from ...their beneficial effects in interaction"

    True. A society that does not benefit from interaction, is merely a group of individuals intent on eradicating each other.

    "...let us give ...an education modelled on permaculture; something that needs and returns nurture"

    This, I believe, is the genesis of the third ethic in permaculture. This is where the 'take and give', the 'fair share', and the 'return the surplus' originates from.

    Yes, I am extremely fortunate in that I have been given the opportunity to study. I know Mollison has mocked a university education in the past, and that's fair enough - I mock much of it myself. However, I liken myself to that 'child with a machine gun' that Mollison and Holmgren analogised with in the above conclusion to One. When I first returned to tertiary education, and very soon after having completed a PDC in 2005, I was that child - spraying everyone and everything with permaculture 'bullets'. At the time I referred to it as my 'shotgun effect' - giving the whole crowd both barrels, in the hope that I hit at least one with the ethics and principles of permaculture. This I no doubt did. But along the way there was much collateral damage. Many people were turned off by my militant-style of permaculture delivery. I had to change, and I did. I begun to write here, to interact with other permaculturalists in a style that targets the individual in a positive manner, rather than spraying the whole crowd with the hope of hitting a few. Most times I get it right. Sometimes I miss the target - I am still honing my sights. University has taught and continues to teach me how to hone my sights; how to interact with others in a way that produces the maximum yield for the least amount of effort. By completing a PhD I hope to bring the ethics and principles to bare on the mainstream world in a way that encourages us to all take that 'child with a gun', and to turn it into a community of peace. This is my plan, and as Mollison and Holmgren stated when they closed One (ibid):

    We might borrow the motto of the University of Tasmania

    INGENIIS PATUIT CAMPUS

    "The field lies open to intellect"

    It is our responsibility to the future not to leave a barren field.


    Cheerio, for now, Markos.
     
  12. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    I think that at the very minimum that a PDC should be taught from the manual,I haven't seen a chapter in the book which covers spell casting,or connecting to the goddess etc etc etc this type of PDC goes to promote permaculture as a fuzzy pseudo science that is disseminated by individuals and groups with very little credibility.This reflects on permaculture as a whole in a bad way.To move it forward and away from this type of mis appropriation people who care about permaculture should be talking about what constitutes a good PDC.I like to make a point when I meet members of the permaculture community who are actively involved in marginalizing P.C to speak my piece.I am all for opening up the chakras and smoking dope and meditation,you can connect with earth spirits ,knit yourself a mung bean sweater,and be a born again Christian,just dont try and mesh it with Permaculture
    .Nitrogen fixation doesn't happen because the earth mother opens up her womb and spews forth fertilizer,it is a scientific process well documented and peer reviewed,respect for the science is all I ask.
    Best Wishes Fernando
     
  13. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I agree Fernando. We are very careful - as Biodynamic practicioners and teachers - not to include it in the PDC. It is spoken of only in response to a direct question and usually only to say "that is a totally different day, today we are doing design" or some such.
    We had an inquiry recently that asked if we taught BD as part of the PDC and I am not sure where people would get that idea. I believe that they are complementary but there is too little time to get through the manual with out taking any diversions.
    I think that it is a pity if the science does not leave room for intuition in considering the ecology and living in harmony with nature.
    regards Mark
     
  14. Fernando Pessoa

    Fernando Pessoa Junior Member

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    BD is a solid science,Stiener and all those boys knew they were on a good thing and interestingly enough science has proved them right,BD preparations are very much similar to Compost tea making etc,so I see BD much the same way as Natural Sequence farming a discipline that P.C can embrace and use in design .Fukuoka although a man of deep science did not feel the need to empirically investigate his methods because, they worked.Intuition is the basis of all learning so I would hate to see that attacked and thats not my aim.I am just putting it out there,that a real crew of high jackers are at work marginalizing PC by mixing in lots of mysticism,politics.The other thing that gets me is Permaculture protest groups,protest is for all those other people who don't have the skills,who are still afraid,Permacultralists are empowered persons,their energy should be spent on work related to earth repair or people care etc not wasted in protest.I am all for standing up and yelling about injustice but I don't wear my permaculture badge to do it,because permaculture is not about protest so it's unfair to use it's profile to push a non related cause.Just a quick tip for anyone considering a course, read your manual and as much as you can and other related texts.The PDC taught from the manual is at break neck speed,and can be over whelming if you are a complete newbie.I have often looked at student in PDC courses and thought wow they look like rabbits in the headlights.
    Best wishes Fernando
     
  15. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Can you give some examples of the hijackers and the protestors FP? I'm not sure who or what you mean.
     
  16. geoff

    geoff Junior Member

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    I'm not saying that your message here is invalid, but I think that the "interaction" in the sense of the original statement was concerning the interaction of the various behaviours, as in the totality being more than the sum of it's parts, rather than a statement about interpersonal relations.
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Fernando said
    I do not disagree however it is important that many people get the opportunity to do the "life-changing" Permaculture Design Course and using the word Permaculture in general conversation may well lead to more people becoming aware of the opportunity for them to take this step.
     
  18. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Possibly. However, in the context of the original statement, "interaction" was prefixed by "social". The Macquarie Online Dictionary defines 'social interaction' as:

    ...the reciprocal stimulation and response taking place between individuals and between groups, with particular reference to cultural activity.

    Take the 'social interaction' out of permaculture, and you are left with many independent (as opposed to interdependent) actions (or 'behaviours'). Whether the sum of the parts (actions or behaviours) is greater (more beneficial) in totality, I don't know. But I do know:

    No man is an island entire of itself;
    every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were;
    any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    it tolls for thee.


    John Donne (1572-1631)
     
  19. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Permaculture is really just a name. A word. A portmanteau. It's a cool word. A word that deserves more than it seems to get - even from it's loyal friends. But like all words, especially ones that are used to carry powerful messages, it carries and collects baggage where ever it goes. Some people have taken the word for their own personal use, twisted it and shaped it to their own ends. Others have wielded it flippantly or naively and damaged it unintentionally. People have invested great hopes into this word; placed the weight of the world upon its shoulders. If you place such great expectations on the shoulders of this word, would you be willing to carry that weight on your own? I reckon if we share the burden with our great friend the word permaculture, it will lend even greater strength to us.

    Might well we say 'For the love of permaculture!' let's not use It's name in vein.

    Here is Chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching (as translated by Stephen Mitchell)

    The tao that can be told
    is not the eternal Tao
    The name that can be named
    is not the eternal Name.

    The unnamable is the eternally real.
    Naming is the origin
    of all particular things.

    Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
    Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

    Yet mystery and manifestations
    arise from the same source.
    This source is called darkness.

    Darkness within darkness.
    The gateway to all understanding.
     
  20. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    I tend to use BD to illustrate the fact that there are a whole raft of things out there, that we may not be able to explain, but they seem to work (in many cases). When teaching Permaculture Design, I am teaching exactly that, Design.
    I will use examples of plants in nature that work as great companions, but I am not teaching people to exclusively plant corn, beans & squash; I am teaching them to look at how & why that guild works, then apply that investigative thought process to other areas (not just planting food crops).
    Removing the wolves from Yellowstone almost killed the whole bio-region - because they were an integral part of the whole environment of that area. To the vast majority of humans, wolves and other prime predators are the epitome of all that is evil and bad in nature, but to a permy, they are an inescapable part of the landscape, and must be allowed for in your planning, as they have an intrinsic worth, and are not just a mobile "weed" to be disposed of for our own short-sighted gain.
    I believe that even the "hijackers and the protesters" have their place in the overall scheme of things, even if only to become "ashes to ashes & dust to dust". They make us have these sorts of discussions, and reflect on our own place in the scheme of things. (Well, they do to me, anyway)
     

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