What is a successful permaculturist?

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Alex.s, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    I recently went to Crystal Waters eco-village near Brisbane as part of the excursion for the Permaculture Design Certificate at Northey Street City Farm. It was wonderful and inspiring to see a community that is trying to be ecologically sound and productive, however I couldn't help but leave with a certain disillusionment and uncertainty.

    I have developed my own version of an idyllic lifestyle whereby I would buy a plot of land and build a home and garden that was sustainable and overly-productive with organic food. Having traveled somewhere that has been in the business of sustainable landscaping for 30+ years I did not find what I was looking for. The 'realities' of life seem to outweigh the ideals of permaculture. People seemed to have to focus on making the business side of their endeavour work which left little room for a permanent culture that was a closed system. Everyone drives in order to travel and often commutes very large distances. At two hours of driving a day the largest bill would be for petrol, and working to perpetuate pollution is madness. Only a small percentage of the houses there even engaged in permaculture or gardening. Some viewed it as a hobby or interest: meanwhile their life was defined by their profession, one was polished concrete, another a university professor.

    What they had was the reality of the economic system that we are one way or another tied into, and they have created a beautiful environment relative to what you normally encounter, however it has not offered me hope as to an alternative system should the world awaken to the realities of a dying economic empire. What confused me was what was not happening in the 'eco-village', there was not a developed food system that provided abundance to the members of the community. Do I see things too simply?

    So, what is a successful permaculture system? Does it exist already in the world? I have seen many examples of systems that are adapting such as community gardening in Cuba, but what is limiting the creation of a sustainable and preferable society? Why do people still need to be enslaved by the economic limitations rather than live in abundance as was portrayed in geoff lawtons food forest videos?

    What are the limitations from being self-sustainable in food production? The economic system is an absolute absurdity, but it is the result of our own ignorance and belief that it is the only way. So, is there another way? Is permaculture the way? What is the permanent culture that is espoused? I don't see it in this, the first eco-village in the world, and I don't see it as anything more than an Ideal.

    It seems the economy will inevitably enslave me as well, even though I see it changing dramatically in the next year or two. What hope have I got of practicing permaculture? The culture we have is not just perpetuating destruction, it is rigid and bureaucratic. I am part of this system, as are the people at Crystal Waters, as are the people teaching permaculture for $15 per student per hour. I cannot get land to start my own permaculture because I have no money, to make money I have to enslave myself and whats worse is I don't even believe in the promised future of this economic path because I see the global economy as volatile and likely to rupture very soon. So rather I am locked in the passenger seat of this stunt car called capitalism.

    The people I am sharing this course with are just the same as me, probably the same as you. This world is in such depth of crisis, depth of ignorance and perpetual inaction. What does the permaculturist say in answer to this?

    I guess what I'm really asking is, does permaculture work? All the examples I've seen so far seem to be selling permaculture in order to work, i.e. they are still dependent and subordinate to mother culture, the economy. If building a house can be done very cheaply (and numerous examples show that it is almost negligible cost) and growing food can be done abundantly, then what's missing? Where are the permaculture communities that are thriving and creating ecological, communal and sustainable paradises? Are there urban houses that are sustainable? Can this be more than just a hobby for someone like me, a young, poor, energetic student?

    I really want to throw all my energy into redefining this culture of convenience and ignorance, but sometimes I'm not sure whether it can gain momentum or just dissipates in the tide of unconsciousness.
     
  2. matto

    matto Junior Member

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    G'day,

    I kind of had the same view of Crystal waters even though it was my first experience of the word Permaculture. from what I saw staying there was quite a change in the community make up and there is some younger families there trying to still pay the mort-gage. was the concrete polisher one with a new home. If it was it was quite the example of a sustainable house design. Maybe you should have cut to the chaste and hung out with Max Lindegger. The man is a legend of Permaculture!!!
    I wouldnt get hung up too much in the ideals. Do what you can with what you have. We are in a unique time when we have the resources to spread effective information. Make the most of it while it lasts. But always keeping the ethics in mind!
    Have you looked into landshareaustralia.com There is a new post by an investor in Brisbane looking to buy land and intends to build a share farmer arrangement. Could be a good start for a project.
     
  3. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I'm reasonably comfortable trying to do what I can in my own life, while hopefully positively influencing someone.
    I think focussing on the really big picture can be depressing, but I'm not an activist by nature and am much more at home in my garden and doing stuff in my community.
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    I like to think Purple Pear is a reasonably good model. Kate and I live entirely off the farm and we close the loop on most things. We do rely on educating others as income for rates and the like and bring on some mulch hay when it is cheap.
    You do need to be careful though when you start out as food can sometimes be hiding from an outsider. I remember thinking similar thoughts when I went to Tagari Farm to do my PDC - it wasnt till after being there for a week that I started to see the food everywhere.
    The CSA here demands certain level of food production and it is obvious in the mandala gardens which are continuously planted and harvested with annuals. A more perennial system is less obvious perhaps.
     
  5. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    My take on this is that the problem is thinking that you need to go somewhere to be able to "do" permaculture. Why not live next to the university and practice permaculture within walking distance of the campus? Sure you might only have a small balcony to garden on, but you may make a better go of it than an acre that you don't have time to tend because you are commuting.

    Having been involved on the board for a number of years now there is a common thread of - I want to find a place in the country so I can 'do' permaculture. If that comes attached to a mortgage and a commute to work I think it is unsustainable. I have a suburban block, and I find it take a significant amount of time to manage even at this small size, this early on in the evolution of my system. But I'm confident that at about the 5 - 7 year mark (I'm just starting year 3) that the returns will start to outweigh the effort going in. The mortgage will be paid off and there are shops and work opportunities for me within walking distance.

    Holmgren is a big believer that the 'burbs is the most efficient place to grow a permaculture community. The down side is that your average street isn't an intentional community with shared ideals. The aim then is to find the other food growers in walking distance and cultivate relationships. Peeking over fences works for me!
     
  6. Pakanohida

    Pakanohida Junior Member

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    Indeed, on my own property, there is a food forest system under construction using the fruit trees already here. It's 1 year later from purchasing the property, and I am still discovering local food plants on my property including a new Malus fusca (crab apple tree) which is completely inaccessible right now due to 1.5 meters of blackberry growth in height around it. Not to mention the 4 huckleberry plants we discovered this spring. Most people don't even know what a huckleberry is, let alone what the plant looks like when it is in front of them.

    I am not saying I am successful yet, but I do see where I am doing things right and it makes me happy.

    Edit - If you want to see a working model, check out the work of Robert Hart. He built an edible food forest in England prior to people knowing the concept. It was a marvelous forest of food, which again, most people don't see till they see it.
     
  7. macey

    macey Junior Member

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    Alex.s,
    Possibly part of the issue you are having with permaculture is expecting it to fit a certain mold or be able to meet certain measurements of success.
    permaculture is no one thing but the principles can be applied universally as far as I can see.
    There are hugely successful permaculture projects and movements both technical and social being implemented worldwide.
    For sure in order for permaculture to become a norm rather than a fringe there needs to be a greater cohesiveness in efforts but as individual projects and small incremental changes are made we work towards this aim.
    As we move towards a lower energy future, in whatever form that may take, the small efforts of many permaculturists will necessarily become increasingly perceived as relevant to mainstream society.
    If you require some inspiration that successful permaculture is occurring and making substantial impacts on a wide variety of people, places, cultures and and perceptions the recently released book 'Permaculture Pioneers' published by Holmgren publishing is a great place to start.
    By the way it is the passion that you are demonstrating with the question you posed is exactly what is going to drive permaculture forward!
    Best regards
    Macey
     
  8. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    That's a lot of good questions Alex.

    Think of intentional communities as pioneer species - they're not the climax state of a fully developed permaculture system. They're doing what they can with what they have in the environment they exist in. Much of the what's happened within communities is a process of observation, design, implementation, feedback, observation etc . I think it's too much to expect them to have this perfectly sorted in such a short space of time. Other things will evolve out of what they do i.e there will be a succession based on how they have changed the social environment.

    (I would agree that any community that doesn't develop a food system is missing out in a big way. But there are other communities out there, so if intentional community is somethiing you are interested in look around. There is plenty to critique about what those communities are doing of course, but it's also good to look at what they're getting right).

    I agree with eco - if you think you can only do permaculture if you have money and land then maybe rethink what permaculture is. I don't own land, have a disability and live on a low income. But I still do permaculture. I also think that the man alone on his permie block of land meme needs to die (or evolve). The biggest challenge to humans isn't how to grow food (Mollison, Lawton et al have given us the tools for that), it's how to relate with each well within a permie system. We can't do that on our own. Wherever you are now, think community gardens, or volunteering, or woofing etc.

    What are you studying btw? Now is probably a good time to really look at how you can live without being subsumed by capitalism. Think about how you can make a living without that being something that takes over your life. I know lots of people that work part time, or work part of the year so they can do other things with their time. Maybe examine your ideas about what your future holds - how many of society's myths have you bought into about having to have a career, full time job, certain level of education, x kind of lifestyle? Are you someone who would do well from a formal career path through permaculture, or would you be better to go woofing for a year? (or both).

    As for the bigger picture, personally I don't believe that humans will make the transition to sustainable societies. We will be forced into survival and have to adapt from there. Some of us will fare better than others depending on geography, climate, politics. There are many people out there who are preparing for this, including many permies. I like David Holmgren's work on the powerdown, as it presents affirming and proactive choices about what we can do now.
     
  9. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Wow Pebble! You should get a section in the next edition of Permaculture pioneers for that well thought out observation.
     
  10. livingthelight

    livingthelight New Member

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    This is an important thread, touching on many of the initial motivations and perceptions had by people new (and even not so new) to permaculture.

    Alex.s, you ask "What are the limitations from being self-sustainable in food production?".

    In our context (Australia & any other 'first world' country), our lifestyles are intricately linked with the consumption of oil. Some call those intricate links with oil an addiction, and most people we're surrounded by have no idea of the extent of their addiction (let alone that they have one). Permies, and permie-fledglings, are those aware of the need to evolve/reclaim a grounded lifestyle. The thing is, we humans are a social species (as with much of Life) - we live in community and need community. Even if you're aware of the fundamental flaws of your lifestyle and work to alter them, you're influenced by the community around you. Likewise we individually influence the community around us, but not until a critical mass is achieved will this become mainstream, which macey nicely touched upon.

    The cynic in me agrees with pebble to an extent - we humans won't make the transition to sustainable societies, rather we will be forced into it. And that seems to be life - evolution, devolution, learning, growing, making mistakes, learning again, evolving again.

    And like macey mentioned, permaculture is a set of principals with infinite application, and that's because they resonate core life principles. Thankfully that means they're enduring and robust enough to buffer our human mistakes. Just as with any major change in life, transition is required, and this won't happen overnight - even if a major catastrophe changes our current lifestyle paradigm. The grounded-ness we gain from permaculture equips us with the discipline, knowledge, practice, ritual, and community that contribute to resilient systems. This is a life pattern that we must continue along, regardless of deviations, if we desire resilience.

    An inspiring movement that brings permaculture principles to a macro scale is the Transition Towns movement. If you haven't heard of it, it was started by Englishman Rob Hopkins in the 90's after completing a PDC and having many of the same questions you've posed. Transition initiatives are gaining more and more momentum around the world, as well as here in Brisbane and Australia, because they bring people together, in community, to share, learn, grow. I would highly recommend following the various actions happening in this regard.

    In the urban/suburban context, community gardens (like Northey St) are critical, giving us urbanites a lifeline and resources to work with in the space we have. So just like with any permaculture inventory, take stock of the resources available within the current system and creatively work them for all their worth.

    Thanks for sharing, and all the best for being part of this grounded community.

    Erin~
     
  11. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Not sure how to respond to that eco, but thanks!
     
  12. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    I believe a successful permaculturist is someone who can live a fulfilling life within the directions of their own moral compass. A truly happy permie, with no feelings of guilt associated with their lifestyle is probably successful. Who are we to judge?

    I don't think it matter what others do, I think it is of the utmost relevance what YOU do. As individuals we will probably not see a society based on permaculture, but we owe it to our children and those who follow, we owe it to Mother Earth, to give it our best shot.

    We are just threads in the weave, but we can be damn fine and glorious threads.

    From little things big things grow.

    That's if you ask me anyways ;)
     
  13. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    Thank you to everyone for your responses, they are well thought out and have given me a good deal to reflect upon.

    Pebble I study Law and Spanish, however slowly I am realising that for me to be happy I will have to center my life around permaculture because it is a lifestyle that is in harmony with all of my values and what I feel is needed in this world.
    It is daunting to agree with you that we probably won't make the transition very smoothly but that doesn't dampen my enthusiasm. I think one of these days, much like in 2001 for 9/11, the whole world is going to stop as we watch a news story about a global economic crisis from which we cannot recover.

    I particularly like your comment Eco that permaculture does not need me to change my living situation by going somewhere else, but rather how I engage with what I have.
    I think perhaps the mentality of all or nothing permaculture is perhaps denying the opportunity I have in front of me to adjust to my current environment.
    Ultimately I think I would answer my own question by saying a successful permaculturist is one with the intention to change his habits to a sustainable pattern on the ideals of permaculture, and is honest with himself in his efforts to achieve this. I certainly have the intention, but I have not sincerely committed myself to right action.

    The path is clear though :) I have many ways to start adapting my lifestyle to the reality of the environment, firstly by not using my car unless circumstance demands it (fortunately that is very rarely). I am expanding my gardening operations to saturation, I have recently raised over 200 seedlings and am filling up my vegetable patch (and soon every other patch I can find). I am limiting my consumption of goods by trying to buy as little processed foods as possible (my staple is a vegetable box from foodconnect in Brisbane; am already vegetarian^). Eventually I really want to minimalise my use of technology (and electricity), and start using a humanure compost system.

    I realised the only responsibilities of a permaculturist are his own actions and the consequences flowing from them. As such I think if I can make my life a closed system (no unaccounted pollution) then I will be as successful as possible and also offer the model of transition to an environmentally responsible/sustainable way of life.

    Ultimately this would one day mean having my own eco-house that adheres strictly to all the above values and ideas :) but for now I will make the important steps in changing my own consciousness, and in doing so hoping to influence others to do the same thing.

    Sometimes the desire to have control over the trajectory of the world blurs just how important all the little steps are and perhaps that they are all that we can do.
     
  14. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    Glad to hear that :) I think we can still do very good things that have meaning even if we can't save the world. Possibly even more so.

    Spanish and law could be useful. If you want to travel, spanish might take you to alot of interesting permie projects. And if you love the law (you don't say) then I'm sure permaculture will have the need of lawyers in the future (already in fact), lawyers who understand the ethics and principles of permaculture would be amazing. But I'm sure you will figure it out. Just don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Good luck!
     
  15. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    This originally started as a correspondence with a friend, but became part of something I would like to share with everyone on this forum

    Unfortunately I do think that permaculture remains little more than an ideology for most of the people 'involved' in it (including me), and many people identify themselves with this illusion and not the reality. The reality is that it is very hard to find any real momentum towards the ideals put forward, in fact 'permaculture' does not really exist. Very rare are the people that are willing to radically change their lifestyles in order to defend the values of permaculture. Rather they change their opinions and think that this is a substantial step and a self-justified position. 'Fitting in' with the current economic system is the main priority.

    I think we are probably very similar in our outlook. I'm certain that there will be an economic upheaval sooner than expected and I have been limiting myself by my lack of access to any substantial resources to practice what is preached. I am starting to change my point of view though. I think that the only thing limiting me (and all permaculturists) are the barriers we put up ourselves. There was something mentioned in one post that is worth looking at; https://vimeo.com/20785959. That is a video of somebody in America who has started a profitable business on small scale urban farming. It has inspired me to think outside the box and accept that I can radically change the way I live if I am willing to take that step. It requires making those ideals into reality, acting on the values that I hold etc. The way I see it, people tend to think that small adjustments are the majority of what is possible right now because of 'this' or 'that' element of society that is blocking change. We become slaves to society, imprisoned by what we believe. When we stop seeing external factors as what is limiting us and understand that it is internally that a revolution is needed we are free to innovate and deal with the practical aspects of what change involves.

    I think that permaculture is not being pioneered actively enough, people are seeing things from the culture we already have and trying to adapt in fragmented approaches. Rather I feel that people need to see things from the other side of the fence, and this requires a fundamental change in consciousness. If we stop seeing our current lifestyle as normality, and realise that it is almost as unnatural as possible, we have a better focus of where change is necessary. We need to chance our perspective and understand that permaculture is not something we adapt our current lifestyle towards, but rather that our current lifestyle is a severe deviation from 'permaculture'; a natural system of living. It is a small percentage of the population who would be willing to invest their time and hearts in this endeavour, but I am becoming more and more motivated to shed the habits that have created this ugly culture and lazy consciousness.

    I do not want to discredit the actions of the many beautiful people who are actively making these changes, I am speaking very much from my experience which has had minimal contact with environmentally conscious people. It is important to make that clear, the lack of real energy towards permaculture that I see is a symptom of my own point of view :) Only I have the power to change that, and when I do I will see those changes echo around me.

    There is a tendency to feel that we have no power to make that change, but immediately we are losing ourselves in the barriers of the mind. The truth is that the changes that need to be made are so obvious and direct that few people acknowledge them. The urban permaculturist needs to change their lifestyle into a a closed system where there are no unnecessary inputs or outputs that become waste. This has been called biomimesis, imitating and adhering to the rules of nature. It is so shamefully obvious and simple and nobody does it. What it requires is that no unnatural products get brought into the cycle (plastics, chemicals) and none go out (sewerage, pollution, waste). All that is required therefore is a compost toilet and organised production of food (please respond if you think this is a naive point of view). It takes about 100 square metres to feed a family of four with vegetables. The way we live our lives is so absurd it is insane. Many of the people at the eco-village did so much driving that they were working just to pay for the fuel to keep driving to work. We work for 'money' so that we can continue to live destructive lifestyles. I am starting to slip into permaculture phraseology, so where is the reality?

    For me so far, reality is a learning curve. I am learning how much food I can produce and how to produce it (this is my first year of vegetable gardening). I am learning how I can limit waste and create a more closed cycle (I am trying to use my bicycle to travel as much as possible and am trying to limit processed foods, I also have plans to make a compost toilet and an outdoor shower linked to a rainwater tank). To make permaculture a reality this must be sustainable and effortless, in fact for it to gain momentum it has to be the obvious choice. This is possible when people see that surviving in this world does not require money, and that the desire and preoccupation with money is the symptom of our own laziness and materialism. The most amazing thing is that not only is permaculture possible, but it is so powerfully rewarding that it is the obvious choice! One of the most fulfilling experiences I have is to be involved in the process of growing a plant from seed and eating the fruits that it puts forward. It reconnects me with nature and makes me feel wholesome and complete. Yet this truth is subtle, and it's power cannot be described but only experienced. Hence trying to tell someone that rather than working to get enough money to buy something material they could enjoy organic food and a relaxed lifestyle is not convincing.

    In my opinion, permaculture has become a popular idea, a social ideology. I recently met a friend I hadn't seen in a long time who was 'practicing permaculture' by having a vegetable garden. At the same time his business takes orders from Australian clients to have suits made in China that are then sold at a great profit. The contradiction between the ideology and the reality is obvious. Yet this is what 'permaculture' often refers to, it is many little efforts at remembering that we are part of nature. Yet the illusion of 'capitalism' is where our real consciousness revolves. Permaculture requires a divorce from popular culture. It is not somewhere in between, it is a complete revolution of the way we live our lives. It is understanding that no polluting action is sustainable and that the habits we are engaged with are destructive.

    What does this all mean? Basically it asks us to question ourselves deeply, for there is nobody to lead the way in this amazing endeavour. Why are we seeking 'permaculture'? What are we willing to do to establish it, and if the answer is not everything then what are we really aiming for?

    I have been a dweller on the threshold for some time now, and taking that leap towards what is truly required of individuals right now is slowly gaining magnetism within me. I am looking for a new consciousness that is not full of the conflicts that arise from believing in permaculture yet acting in destructive culture.

    I am fortunate enough to have fairly free life circumstances. I am currently studying at University but with enough spare time and resources to enact changes. My next steps? I am currently growing as many vegetables as possible and hoping to grow them everywhere possible to prove to myself and others that abundance of the necessities is what nature provides us with and that 'working for money' to live is insanity. I am going to take my car to my parents house and ride my bike home so that I am able to center my lifestyle around what reality should be in my opinion (I dream of a world with no roads, only gardens in between houses!). I am going to make an outdoor shower linked to the rainwater tank (there is no better feeling than taking a shower in the garden). I am going to exclude all processed foods and as much packaging as possible from what I consume (I am a vegetarian as well). I am going to stop dreaming about permaculture and start living it. In the future I want to build a compost toilet and cob-oven.
    I am going to call for expressions of interest in the land-share scheme as enacted by Curtis Stone in the afore mentioned video. Please add to this list if you have any suggestions of other unconscious habits that can be easily changed :)
     
  16. Alex.s

    Alex.s Junior Member

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    Part of the correspondence that this post emerged from touched on the fact that permaculture is a very nebulous concept. The PDC I am doing is not enlightening or even very practical at all in terms of what I can do on an individual level. It seems to be framed around the idea that with this information I will have some credentials with which I can fit into the current economic system, or with which I am better poised to be innovative. The information itself is extremely spurious and seems to be little more than a basic framework coherent with the teachings of Bill Mollison, then packaged and sold to students. In all probability it started as an individual motive for the dissemination of these teachings with the underlying aim of making permaculture economically viable. The exorbitant price charged for it is not relative to the value of the information or teaching. Most importantly the real learning and teachings of permaculture are subjective, not objective. They cannot be taught, they are not explained, they are observed and understood intuitively. The real teachings are not even primarily learnt inside the garden! It is the very way we live our lives, not just the infrastructure within which we live our lives. In fact, we will not change the structure of society until we change the choices we make on a daily basis.

    I will end with a reflection on what I have tried to aspire to in this thread. These actions that people are taking are all expressions of the consciousness that is evolving in people who are questioning the insanity that we see around us daily, the result of a materialistic economy. I want to propose that while the term 'permaculture' is something to aspire to, and something that should not be defined too heavily, the term 'permaculturists' is misleading. Identifying the self with any faction is a game of the ego, saying that something or someone pertains to permaculture is drawing from the fiction that is clouding over the reality of what we are doing. All that is happening is we are waking up from the illusion that arose through capitalism. We are seeing that we cannot live that way, that it is destructive and insane. Nobody wants to hurt themselves or others, but we are deeply unconscious. We are emerging from the age of ignorance, a temporary fling with material pleasure. This is happening globally, and everybody is a permaculturist at heart :) But at the same time, nobody is a permacultrist individually! The idea that somebody is a permaculturist and somobody is not implies that there is a specific value that one person has and the other has not, and that tends to come down to the actions that are exhibited. Yet if we are going to try and define permaculturists by actions, then I challenge you to refer me to a real one, because very few are the people who have managed to become completely positive in their relationship with the earth, to become exemplars of a permanent culture. Certainly none of the people at the eco-village had managed this venerable goal. So rather I propose that 'permaculture' is merely the phrase we use to describe something that is emerging from the core of each human being. Some of us may be more aware of this process, but are not more connected on a relative scale. How each individual responds to this awareness is the action of 'permaculture', and to be a 'permaculturist' is merely to be part of this great work, which excludes no living entity.

    So, if you are one of the many that are taking action to bring about this revolution, I embrace you, there is nothing more honourable than the efforts we make to change our destructive culture. There will soon be a time of great conflict as our material comfort is wrenched away from us, but through the efforts to achieve a society that is in harmony with nature we will experience a bliss of being more connected than we have been for some time as humans on this beautiful planet.
     
  17. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    :clap:

    we live by the ethic as best we can and strive to improve with time.
    Care for the earth - care for people, make no waste.
     
  18. nchattaway

    nchattaway Junior Member

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    Alex, I share your frustration. I think it's impossible to live sustainably on your own. You can only do it as part of like minded community. Permaculture provides an excellent framework around which to design such a community, but studying a PDC will not give you an instant sustainable community. It will equip you to participate in one, or even to take a leadership role in developing one.
    The problem we have (here in Australia) is that property ownership law is the foundation of capitalism, and capitalism is still (just) kicking here. So, you need to participate in the economy to own property unless you have inherited or somehow come across an existing fortune that allows you to buy property with no debt and step outside the economy. In western capitalist cultures that are closer to dying than Australia, this problem can be worked around to a degree. Think of Detroit Michigan. The epicentre of US postwar manufacturing, car culture and suburban utopia is now the poster child for post growth urban decay. You and some friends can pretty much move into a group of suburban houses of your choice and start growing your food on vacant lots around it. I don't know what Michigan is like for growing food, but there seems to be plenty of fresh water around there, which is one requirement met.
    Perhaps we won't have to wait long for this sort of opportunity here in Australia's capital city suburbs.

    I work 4 days a week in the economy, to meet the mortage payments for our 50 acres of future permaculture community. This limits the amount of work I can get done establishing our food supply. But I am making very slow progress in the right direction. And if the economy were to collapse completely (including specifically the bank that holds my mortgage) I'd have a lot more time to get on with things that matter!

    Like you, I think we're poised on the edge of something very big. The news articles, the blogs, the increasing frequency of occurrence of exact events that "doomers" have been predicting, the meltdown of capitalism as debt crushes everything, the lack of "jobs" in an increasingly service and consumer dependant way of life all point to it if you take the time to research. So, if we expect the economy and our current consumer way of life to collapse soon, what should we do to set ourselves up to best weather the storm?
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    ....and share surplus.

    I think we also should/need to remember that permaculture is still in its infancy in spite of the fact that it has been going, for what seems an awfully long time to us.

    Every goal, no matter what it is, in my opinion, should be and is achieved step by step.

    I used to tell my kids to be where you are when you are,
    in an effort to get them to ground themselves spirtitually, (as one of the first steps) but this idea, I think can also be applied here with this subject.

    There is a very large sometime overwhelming goal that we are striving for and if anyone thinks that it will be achieved overnight, sorry, you are being alittle harsh.

    Utopia is a dream and reality is in your face, finding a balance is differcult to say the least but if approached one step at a time keeping in mind what the overall purpose is should make the chasm between them less with each step.

    I havent done a PDC and Im not really into touchy feely group things but the ethics and principles of permaculture really hit a nerve and made me realise that perhaps there was something that could be done to help change the way our kind do things.

    I do also have this feeling that part of the problem this world faces is that so much emphasis is placed on the physical needs and that there is a lack of balance due to not really being aware of the spiritual nature of ourselves.
    While I admit that this sounds flakey, I think it is worth looking at in more depth on a personal level.
    We as consumers, consume more than we should and in many cases me included, more than we really want to.
    Why?

    I think that there is a lack of balance between the physical and the spiritual and because we are conditioned to solve any lack with more consumables we try to overcome this problem by buying and consuming.... Things.

    Rather than be disappointed because somebody else has not met expectations,look at what steps have been achieved and how they can be improved on.

    Last year I was of the understanding that it was too late to change the overall trend of things but felt we should go through the motions anyway then I realised that this planet has been here for countless years and will probably be here after we no longer exist and that anything I did that would help would be better than if I had just simply not bothered to try.

    You only fail when you give up.
     
  20. nchattaway

    nchattaway Junior Member

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    I ran out of time earlier, but I wanted to post a relevant link to a very thought-provoking series currently being written by George Mobus on his blog "Question Everything".

    https://questioneverything.typepad....he-goal-episode-i-the-basic-requirements.html

    https://questioneverything.typepad....al-episode-ii-support-for-security-needs.html

    George is a systems scientist/professor who is interested in sapience, energy and has come to the conclusion that permaculture is our best chance for the future. I've been enjoying his clearly articulated descriptions of how energy underpins our way of life for a few years now.
     

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