sense and sensibilty charity and humanity

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by gardenlen, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Unmutual

    Unmutual Junior Member

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    Is that ironic, or just funny? I can't make up my mind. I guess I would have to ask a Native American or some other indigenous person who didn't get to even try "due process" when their lands were colonized.
     
  2. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Right there with you.
     
  3. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unmutual View Post
    Is that ironic, or just funny? I can't make up my mind. I guess I would have to ask a Native American or some other indigenous person who didn't get to even try "due process" when their lands were colonized.

    isn't it about time we came together for the good of the planet, country and our communities? surely 300 years later past is past, we need to live together and support each other for a secure and sustainable community. what past people did is out of our personal control it always has been.

    you could say that portugal, or holland even japan might have taken aus' over what then? but they didn't here we are on 2013 stuck back in 1770.

    we have no discrimination in our lives, we see we are all equal, in the 50's i lived in a then sattelite suburb built for all returned service who were billeted at wacol army village, all races and creeds all in better harmony than we now have, no racial taunting, so what went wrong? pressure from self interest groups to cause separation? i dunno? life is getting shorter.

    so calling for due process is just another distraction,

    take care

    len
     
  4. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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  5. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Junior Member

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    Personally I think there is a balance of numbers that needs to be struck. The blunt reality is that there are far too many people around the world who would legitimately qualify for refugee status under the UN guidelines. Accepting even a significant minority of this number into Australia would completely overwhelm our already overstretched environment. Even worse, it would provide only very temporary relief for the country losing the people as their population growth rates are such that the gap would be rapidly filled and they'd be back to square one anyway.

    I think that the stable population party have got it pretty much right on this one. Race/religion/language/culture is not a consideration (within a basic "live and let live" ethos) but the overall numbers are critical. Most of our population rise is due to non-refugee immigration so maintain the refugee intake numbers but cut the skilled immigration programs to a net rate of 0 (balance immigration and emigration). In the meantime, put some serious effort into helping the countries creating the refugees to sort out the underlying problems (usually stemming from overpopulation and consequent resource shortages). Working on the basic assumption that most people prefer to live in their homeland with their own culture, this seems to me to be more humane than forcing them to assimilate into our culture.

    This strikes me as a long-term plan that is likely to lead to the greatest good for the greatest number of people (in Australia and around the world)

    There can be no permaculture while human population continues to increase.
     
  6. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    All very interesting, Len. However, while Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Other Islander (ATSOI) people continue to die on average 10-years earlier than non-ATSOI people, than discrimination in Australia remains a reality. And until every resident of Australia knows about and understands how it came to be that ATSOI people had their lands stolen from them, their cultures crushed and what was left of their lives, poisoned, raped and murdered into almost oblivion, then the past can never remain in the past.
     
  7. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I utterly agree with you. I grew up in & around the largest melting pot of polyculturalism there ever has been, NYC. Being able to learn, and appreciate all those cultures in 1 place is what taught me to not see color, only humans. The only difference between cultures is fear. Fear of what people do not understand, and it is that fear of difference that still separates some people because sadly that is the way they want it.
     
  8. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Here's an idea: Let's halve our average so-called 'standard of living' (i.e. consumptive lifestyle), and double our population by welcoming about half of the world's 'forcibly displaced' peoples. Net effect on the environment, nil.
     
  9. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Junior Member

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    Sure, we could do that. Then what? Keep accepting all the displaced people from all the countries around the world with overpopulation issues until we literally have insufficient water to stay alive? The numbers would get to that point eventually.

    Any plausible, long-term solution requires a stable human population. The only questions are:
    1. What is the size of that stable population?
    2. Do we get to this size through rational discussion and choice or have it forced upon us by nature?

    These questions apply at a national as well as a global scale. The difference is that we (Australia) have some degree of control over the national situation and can only contribute to helping out on a global scale.
     
  10. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Care to hazard a guess at what that number might be, and when we will reach it? Perhaps we could try to convince other so-called 'developed' countries to halve their GDPs and drastically increase their intakes, too.

    First we'd have to find what it is that constitutes a decent so-called 'standard of living' among that same population. Is it a 6-bedroom, 6-bathroom, 6-plazma screen TV, 4-car garage, 4-SUV/V8 Commodore McMansion in the outer ring suburbs of Syd/Mel/Bris?

    The optimist side of me suggests the former, the pessimist in me says the latter, and the pragmatist (that I try to be these days) says probably a bit of both.
     
  11. gardenlen

    gardenlen Group for banned users

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    i was thinking of not replying to you mark, my post will probably be binned.

    but what you point to is what i talk of while living in that past you indicate(not caused directly by any of us here and now, or even indirectly) are those people moving on doing what they can to improve their lot, as basic education is there for everyone, just we need to attend some education centre to get it, i have medical issues so much so my wife does all the heavy lifting but i get out there and we do things together, no one is magically going to come along and do it for us.

    no sorry to say living in the past and waiting for those who caused the issues to rise from teh dead and fix it all, won't happens we need to function as an australian community, if the name australia is not suitable call us something else, the sun will still rise in the east. i worked with aboriginal people in regular employment, they all as healthy as me if not more so,yes we would like our day in the sun, but if we didn't go to work we didn't get paid.

    i don't see that as discrimination, if it is it is caused by government, not eh people.

    anyhow mark we can live in hope for a strong united community

    len
     
  12. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Junior Member

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    I think the better way to look at it is to start with working out what we consider to be a reasonable, sustainable total human footprint on the natural world. How much can we sustainably take in terms of water, food, pollution, repurposed land, etc. for human use without impacting "too much" on the natural world? This is open to a great deal of subjective argument as there are those who argue that we should make no more impact than a wild animal living in its natural habitat and there are those who think that we should manipulate the entire planet to maximise resources for humans (pretty much our current world economy). Most people sit somewhere along a spectrum between those two extremes with most permies tending towards the "smaller footprint" end.

    Only when we have worked out the total footprint does it make any sense to discuss individual standard of living (footprint per person). This is almost a complete trade-off between total population and resource consumption per person. If we have more people, each one gets fewer resources. Conversely, if we have fewer people then each gets more resources within a total fixed footprint. A permanently increasing population is a mathematical guarantee than no standard of living will be low enough for long-term sustainability.

    Remember that this is talking about the long term. Decreasing fertility rates (at a global scale) are essential to achieving a stable population (of whatever size) unless we seriously want to increase death rates. Contrary to popular opinion, this doesn't require draconian policies like China's one-child policies. In the absence of overt pressure from religious and political leaders, fertility rates will decline as a populations (especially the women) become better-educated and have access to birth control. We are already seeing this around the world with countries like Singapore and Japan already having less than replacement birth rates.

    In the short term, of course we should try to do as much as possible for the people who are in terrible circumstances beyond their individual control. An open-doors policy, in the absence of a viable plan to stabilise global population at sustainable levels, simply buys some time (and not very much of it either). We need a combination of short-term compassion to deal with the current situation and long-term pragmatism to drastically reduce the number of refugees that need looking after.

    Some would argue that we've already surpassed it (some research in the 1980s suggested a sustainable population of less than 12 million people for Australia) but it really doesn't matter for this discussion what this number might be. While we keep acting as if population can increase indefinitely the only remaining question is "when?" rather than "if" that number is to be reached. The same applies for other developed countries.

    Most permaculture practices require relatively low population densities in relatively fertile locations. In Australia, this is totally at odds with a large population. Population can increase but we only have one planet for the foreseeable future.
     
  13. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    I agree pretty much with all of what you write, but not the above. While it is true that a lot of permaculture sites exist at low dwelling density X high fertility sites, I don't see this is a 'requirement' of the practice overall. Rather, and more often than not, I see it as a choice being made by the designer/practitioner based on the subjective need to have 'privacy'. I think this is one area where permaculture is still in its infancy, this issue of dwelling densities. We need to develop more demonstration sites that have increased dwelling/resident densities, and we need to undertake experiments at these sites to determine the optimal ratio.
     
  14. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Junior Member

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    While increasing our understanding of how things work is always a good thing, we should be careful not to undervalue the emotional and psychological requirements of the people involved. While you seem to see privacy as a subjectively-needed luxury, there is much research to support the notion that it is actually a critical requirement for mental and emotional health and the consequent healthy functioning of communities. This article is long but covers in some depth the underlying importance of privacy in a way that shows it is not merely a social construct but a universal need that is addressed differently within different cultures.

    This brings us to the main point of parties such as the Stable Population Party make. While there is little doubt that we can support a larger number of people by consuming fewer resources each, there is no compelling case why we should choose to do so in the longer term. A larger population must still be stable so there is no change in fertility rates compared to a smaller population.

    Even if privacy, space and access to wilderness are optional luxuries, I see no reason why we shouldn't choose to maintain a smaller population in order to have such things.
     
  15. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    It might 'seem' that this is what I 'see', but the reality is quite different, and probably has much to do with my inability to adequately express myself via this medium. And for this, I apologise.

    What I was trying to suggest is 'permaculture' does not 'require' low density socio-cultural environments. Rather, some (and without doing the study I couldn't put a figure on it, but it 'seems' to me in my 8-plus years of experience in this field that it would be a majority of) people who practice permaculture, choose to do so at low (relative to the global average) residential densities.

    Further, I would also argue that the notion of 'privacy' is very much (ie mostly) a socio-cultural construct. Otherwise why else would we have the broad spectrum of examples that exist today: from the very little (eg various 'longhouse' cultures), to the great deal (eg Japanese culture)?

    However, I digress. What I really am a passionate advocate for, is for the development of well planned, designed and constructed (i.e intentional) communities that allow for people to live at far greater densities than what the bulk of people now live in courtesy of low density suburbia. Yet communities that still allow for privacy if and when required. Think more urban/peri-urban eco-village/co-housing permaculture project, less rural/remote idyll permaculture project.

    Sure, population expressed as a volume is an important topic to discuss, but no less important than to what degree any given population does sustain/unsustainably consume.
     
  16. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Junior Member

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    Apologies for misinterpreting and misrepresenting your views - it was never my intention and is one of the limitations of the spoken word :(

    I'm completely with you. Higher-density living (even high-rise if the soundproofing is adequate) can be quite pleasant if there is good access to shared open space and gardens. Shared open parkland and community gardens are arguably far more conducive to privacy than everybody having a 30-40sqm patch of grass out the back of a townhouse, even if the total space per person is lower on average. Unfortunately we live in a society that is obsessed with "owning" stuff rather than simply being able to use it freely. Thus, most recent development minimises shared space and carves up everything to be sold off as privately-owned space.

    The catch with the higher-density living is that it needs to be relatively small in size (compared to many large cities) in order to give people reasonable access to the open space and wilderness without significant car travel requirements.
     
  17. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Yup - that sounds like my vision for the future too. There's a bunch of us that have been toying around with the concept here and you may hear us referring to it as Mandala Town. It's our lovely fantasy vision of urban permaculture. It has a pub of course, a library (built in honour of the recently departed and much missed Michaelangelica), communal and personal growing spaces and an educational facility. I'd love to see it come to fruition one day.
     
  18. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Yes, all extremely important points, many of which are lost on much of the 'development' approaches practiced today.

    Higher (no more than four-storeys) density, mixed use, decentralised, ecological urban planning scholars have been around for a long time:

    Peter Kropotkin, Ebenezer Howard, Patrick Geddes, Lewis Mumford, Ian McHarg, Christopher Alexander, Jane Jacobs...

    If only we were able to convince the average 'homebuyer' as the benefits of living according the creeds they advocated for.
     
  19. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    It will!
     
  20. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    I utterly disagree.

    Geoff Lawton has turned poor land quality into thriving farms.

    IDEP Foundation
    out of Bali works with people living in rainforests, which has notoriously poor soil.

    Bill M. in Africa checking out the Permaculture he started years prior, again, in a very poor soil place.

    I could keep going on with examples, but my point is that the people who really really need it have soil that is not in the best of shape. Myself included.
     

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