Permaculture Politicians??

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by ho-hum, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    I have always wondered has anyone run for political office, ie council, shire, state, federal on the basis of advocating Permaculture. Even as part of their platform?


    Any information on this, even anecdotal, I would love to hear. I believe that across the globe now we are seeing the growth of 'grab-ism'-get in and get what's left first. Especially, in what are seen as the pressingly finite resources including old growth forests, fish, mining & oil.

    There are certainly national & international rumblings/grumblings that this shouldnt go on.

    In this idealogical soul-searching, I am not ignoring the important contribution of the Green movement which first formally raised its head in Germany around 1977 on the issue of acid rain. I do see them as an issue based reactive style political system and not an encompassing one [but this might just be very subjective] I havent seen them evolve.

    The reason I ask is that, internationally, what is the next great political system to evolve and will it be permaculture.

    ** FYI I am involved in conservative politics here in the NT. Politics is a lifetime interest for me, I have never been a candidate. Many years ago a very young Kim Wran [Neville Wran's daughter] said this ''POLITICIANS ARE LIKE BANANAS, THEY START OFF BEING GREEN, THEN THEY GO YELLOW, AND THEN THEY GET BENT'' I find it hard to disagree.

    Thoughts please,

    Cheers Mike
     
  2. heuristics

    heuristics Junior Member

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    permaculture politicians

    I went to a Permaculture North meeting last week where the guest speaker was a guy, Barry Thompson who is in his first term on Willoughby Council in Sydney.. Chatswood – Willoughby, Artarmon are the main commercial centres with lots of green open space and inner Sydney Harbor (super rich) real estate.
    He spoke for a long time, but did not really touch on how his permaculture views influenced his decision making on council.
    In fact he seemed to be in favour of a huge redevelopment of central commercial Chatswood that seems bereft of any permculture or even good (solar/civic) planning principles. IMO.
     
  3. Guest

    Hi Floot,
    In my area there are a lot of big holdings, mainly cattle and peanuts interspersed with orchards and lots of small crops.

    I interviewed quite a few past and present councillors recently for their centenary celebrations. I asked them all what motivated them to stand, and the majority said roads. They each came from pretty bad back roads and the bitumen only reached our shire boundaries about 15 years ago. One guy fought for 7 years to get water into the township (that he doesn't actually live in). He was the same guy who introduced improved pastures and began working the soil to increase yeild. All being farmers...their main environmental issue was water.

    That is the general way of operating here - the improved pastures method (till, plant, reap, restore/enhance and start again). It only began here in the 1950's. The council recently put on a horticulturist to look after parks and gardens and she has introduced a lot of permie gardens. Prior to that we just had guys that like gardening or needed a job. She has the benefit of working with a bank account, so the gardens are tidy and efficient, and she can bring in products that most of us might not be able to afford...different coloured earths or rocks, mountains of chip bark instead of hay...that kind of thing. I think it may have more to do with who is actually doing the work, than who is heading the council? She has introduced a lot of new parks and dispersed mini gardens throughout the town.

    We have a nature parkland our community is putting in near me, and she is keen to be involved. We plan on putting in a natural amphitheatre and she was over the moon when we suggested it. Council just nodded, asked what it would cost them, vollied it about a bit with a few hmmmm's and eventually said ok.

    I asked her about what products she uses, and she said she would prefer to use none, and everything is heavily mulched - BUT "until you have a garden the size of the one I look after, you might not understand that I have to use them" She looks after the whole Shire.

    There has been massive improvement since she began 2 years ago and the council has been there for the past 7. So I'd be inclined to say that if we want change, we might be better talking to the people who do the work, than those who just stand up and cuts the ribbons (so to speak).

    If someone stood up here (where I am) and presented a permaculture platform...I doubt it would have any massive impact. The community is made up of farmers, growers, graziers and they are getting results. As there is no problem, and things are working for them, they would be unlikely to 'connect' with the proposition, I think. There have been a lot of people come and go, through most small towns, and I think people really have to show evidence of their committment to anything before they are considered credible.

    There is growing disdain for armchair farmers, gardeners and philosophers... Those who are not actually in there doing it and getting their hands dirty, but prefer to garden academically. So I've found people pretty wary, until they actually see what you are doing what you are talking about and it presents reliable, visible results.

    So just from my limited experience, I would probably say the best way for a permie to make inroads into politics, was to first begin calling for permie placements in positions where they can make a direct difference and the results can be seen. But it might not be the same everywhere...
     
  4. bazman

    bazman Junior Member

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    Hi All

    I'm in the process of fighting the council trying to stop a block of land being developed and my mate nextdoors driveway being turned into a cattle/business road, this also goes straight past my place.

    It's a nightmare, the developer is a copper and is mates with lots of local councillors, the land has an old cattle dip on it and no one gives a crap that doing anything with this area will add more arsenic run off into the Lake, which is a water drinking catchment.

    Hell even the EPA can't do anything to stop this. Time to write to the local rag, me thinks. I can see the headline now, "Council approves arsenic favoured water" heh

    The pine rivers council is so bloody bent they have all turned into fruit loops... or spend half the time kissing their own asses.

    I have been thinking about running for local council for a while now, but the whole idea scares me, but I do have a media background and understand the ins and outs of a good media campaign.

    If I did run it wouldn't be on a green or permie stand, I would stand on local issues and those effecting the people in this area, which is alot to do with the environment and local development.

    As I have said before I think the Greens tag has to much negative baggage attached and many will turn away from it, classing yourself as a permaculturist would be classed by many who know little or nothing of it as a cult of some sort or being a pot smoking hippy. (you know what I mean Rainbow ;-) )
     
  5. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Hi Guys,

    The trick, I think, when dealing with farmers OR politicians is to convince them that good practices make good economic sense, either avoided cost, access to markets, resource retention, etc. As you know, trying to show true cost accounting is likely to raise hackles, so show the benefits of good practices. The only way to get people to make changes is to show them that it is in their best interest.

    As an aside to that, our friend Tanya (long term organic farmer active in agroforestry and stacked polycultures here in Belize, a mentor and a friend) who is also on the MMRF board of directors says "Don't let "perfect" be the enemy of "good".

    If faced with a target community like the one you are talking about, a good way to get change is to find a suitable demonstration of the types of changes you would like to see that are actually working, using resources that are available to them.

    We use farms that have practices we like, for instance Saul Garcias incredible cacao dominated stacked polyculture (which I have posted about in the past so will not bother going into in much detail), which has so much to offer and is replicable by people with the same assetts: time, land and seed! His farm has hundreds of species, with huge diversity in the canopy, next to, trellacing on and below the cacao. In addition to the incredible diversity of species, he also has huge diverity within species/

    The trick for us has been to show people that this is in their interest. How do we convince a citrus farmer who raises cattle as his two sources of income that this is a more sustainable way? We show him a working farm with species he or she is familiar with that is more resilient biologically as well as financially, and the self interest will move them towards a more diversified and inherently more stable production system.

    Anyway, while your location is different from here, the same modality in seeking change by example and by self interest is a good way to approach the subject, in my opinion.

    Best,

    C
     
  6. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Actually Bazza If anything the greens are slowly increasing their votes their percentages and sucsessfull candidates are growing every little election..

    You dont hear about it like 1 nation.but it is happening slowly.with the voting process changing to 1 vote 1 value in west oz next election expect a increase...Not sure or up to date id send an email to Bob Brown and ask for some info or statiscates on whats happening.you might be surprised....

    I think that if your green minded that a person should show there true colours not hide or be scared,doing that may harm your chances,do u know many green/enviouromently friendly persons in townnever take propergander as a truth


    By the Way Ive thought about running as a Permie/greenie etc.But unable to as not a citizen....And I could never ever swear allegience to that little johnny
    or the Queen,so im in limboIm no hypocrite and could not sweart alegience to anyone except my wife kids and emediate family..


    Besides I class my self as a Citizen of Earth

    Would Nominate my self as a member of an Earth Council,

    Tezza
     
  7. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Tezza,

    Could you swear allegiance to Emperor Bill? Hu, couldja? :lol:

    C
     
  8. Tezza

    Tezza Junior Member

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    Hail Emperer Bill Yes hed be first non family person id vote for or swear allegience to

    He has a Possitive outlook to life

    David Suzuki is another.
    Peter Cundall
    Bob Brown
    Roger waters ( hes the brains behind Pink Floyd)allthough there are lots others Bob Geldorf.Sting Bono etc.Sad fact is their arnt that many who are well known to everyone every country has its champions

    Tezza
     
  9. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    I KNEW IT! HA HA (.... :lol: .....)
     
  10. Guest

    I think no matter how you present yourself and your values, Baz, people will mess with them if it suits their agenda. That is politics.

    It is isn't hard to turn a hardworking farmer, into a tractor weilding lunatic - like they did with Barnaby Joyce. Or a single mum who served behind a counter for 30 years into a criminal - like they did with Pauline.

    The local politicians I have met (both here and in the city), have each earned one element of respect from me, and that is simply because they had the courage to stand and keep standing, through the political backlash, unfounded insults, generated rumours and gossip. It is a mugs game, but where would we be without those well meaning people, who say they'll have a go, and are then taught how to play?

    Still back on the hill...telling Peter Lalor to ssssssh?

    Everyone that arrives new into our shire gets the story about how our 60 year old Mayor hangs her clothes out naked. It never ceases to amaze me. Having met the lady, I think it highly unlikely - but heck, if she wants to do that on her huge property, I have no problem with it. Each councillor is allocated a reason for insanity - one is the vietnam war, one is 'too long with the cows', another was sent mad by his kids, another his wife - and so it goes, with the people they are trying to serve knocking them down, constantly criticising and diminishing anything they try to do.

    A good political candidate needs to be as far from political as they possibly can present themselves, to survive... they can get there with media strategies, and they also have to maintain them once they're in. That is where I personally see their courage. There are so many things to consider, issues coming from the left and right...nothing is straight forward, and just can't be. Every issue now involves EVERYTHING...environmental, indigenous, peace and war, democracy, survival, investments, sponsors, majority, minorities, natural resources, business, family... and it is complicated when these things are rarely presented thoughtfully. When you have people jumping up and down, instead of remembering they are human beings, and just knocking on the door and saying, 'Can I talk to you about this? I need you to consider this...'

    Be buggered if I'd ever consider it a cushy job, like some folks in town refer to it. It would do my head in, trying to please all of the people, all of the time, I think.

    I am thinking maybe the media has an opportunity to contribute a bit more thoughtfully or constructively to permaculture than politics... Even if they think we are just hippy's etc. the readers can at least consider what is going on when it is presented in relevance to what they are familiar with. I am able to work in all sorts of applications and practices under the traditional headings of Agriculture, Landcare, Community Focus and the Gardening pages. When what we are doing becomes 'newsworthy' it is received as such... and people are more inclined to give it a go, because others are already doing it, or experiencing success. Well, that's what I hope is happening...lol
     
  11. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Good stuff guys,



    I do believe that Permaculture should be represented in politics at all levels. Now I cannot teach Permaculture as I do not have a design certificate and I believe this is the criteria.

    [i wont do this] Could I call myself a Permie Politician without a design certificate? Do we want our lifestyle and activities to be 'mainstreamed'?
    Should we be counted as a movement or group? Should we start agitating to stop growing power stations, freeways & suburbs.

    Or do we become more like a Union and swing off a political party like the Greens.

    Without going back, I believe RF made a great point about the Greens. They have arrived in from the political wildnerness and every year their influence grows.

    All this is purely speculative. Permaculture may have no place in politics but I for one would be happy voting for a permie knowing that at the end of the day the we share a commonality of spirit.
     
  12. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    I cant talk for other states but here the WA Greens is about permaculture and much more ....... they arent like other politicians 8) they care about the planet and about people

    during the last parliament we had 5 state members in WA and I am proud to say I know them all personally and they are great people ...... Dee Margetts in particular was the MLC for the Agricultural region ( we live in this area ) which is an enormous seat stretching from Esperance to north of Geraldton .......... and she worked her butt off for it ....... she has enormous knowledge about the dangers of GMOs and about water issues plus lots more

    the WA Greens was the first Greens party in Australia and up until l 2003 was separate from the Greens in the ES :lol: :lol: Bob Browns lot copied us :lol: :lol: not that I dont think Bob is wonderful and Kerry Nettle :D :D

    people often call Bob the party leader but they dont realise that the Greens do not have a leader we are a true democracy and ALL decisions are made by consensus .........

    our state logo last election was GREEN not GREED :D

    and yes I admit it 8) mr frosty and I are proud to be party members ........ I have been asked to stand for parliament back in 2003 but had to decline because of my health problems

    frosty
     
  13. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    wa greens

    Starfish,

    Apologies, Earlier I credited RF with something you said..


    I am glad I asked this question and it seems like the WA Greens are on the right track. I will find their web site and read up on them.

    I knew that the WA Greens were different in some respect to the others but had no idea what the difference was.

    I feel a bit upbeat now that the good work being done by permies in this country-even in a tiny was recognised by someone.

    Cheers

    Mike
     
  14. Richard on Maui

    Richard on Maui Junior Member

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    Eh, are you sure about the WA Greens predating the eastern states? I had always believed that the Tasmanian crew that coalesced around Lake Pedder and then the Franklin River were the first Green Party in the world... I seem to remember reading or hearing something by poor dead Petra Kelly about how the German Greens were inspired by the Tasmanian ones. Not that it matters, one hoot, to the barrow loads of work required right now!
     
  15. christopher

    christopher Junior Member

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    Richard,

    I hate to state the obvious, but everyone knows it was the Wampanoag nation who started the Green movement...
























    ( :lol: )

    C

    EDITED TO ADD: Jes Kiddin' :lol:
     
  16. frosty

    frosty Junior Member

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    maybe the tasmanians were not an official party just a movement ........ or didnt have enough members to be a registered political party ......

    or maybe I did get in mixed up ( but I dont think so :? )

    anyway the WA Green were started basically by Jo Valentine ( wonderful lady :D 8) 8) ( who went on to become the first Greens member of Parliament in Australia -

    the web site is

    https://wa.greens.org.au/

    this quote from about us

     
  17. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Richard on Maui,


    Dead right there we do need barrowloads of work done right now.

    It seems mainstream parties in the US and Australia are paying lip service to green issues and only doing something about it when forced to.

    Was reading in a National Geographic recently that GW's administration have approved 41,000 new gas drilling sites on BLM land in the USA.

    It would seem the in both the USA & Australia we have put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

    As an aside - who is 6'4'' tall, has blonde hair, big tits and lives in Vanuatu? ...


    Osama bin Laden!!!


    Cheers

    Mike
     
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