[permaculture] what is "politics" exactly...?
scott at permaculture.org
Fri Dec 7 14:09:26 EST 2007
This is a great thread and I want to add my two bits later but for now I
would like to point out several of the people/books referenced by Keith in
his list that I have trouble with.
Amory Lovins, Paul Hawkins, William McDonough, and to some extent the
Natural Step are all proponents of capitalism in a revised form. They are
dangerous in my mind because they don't question the economic order but
rather look to a reformed industrial state that will pollute less or be more
energy conserving but don't question the very roots of the system. In my
mind they are incredible dangerous because they allow people to feel good
about the current arrangement so that they can continue to participate.
It's like looking to biofuels to solve peak oil and then not dealing with
our systems of transport and industrial processes. To have "good" guys like
Al Gore internationally flogging biofuels and florescent bulbs as the
solution to Global Warming creates warm feelings of false security, and set
us back enormously.
Paul Hawkin and a past hero of mine Lester Brown (founder of Worldwatch
Institute) are both now looking to bio-technology (I read gmo food) as a
solution to some of our problems.
William McDonough excites everyone because of his Ford plant makeover that
is solar oriented and lessens the waste stream. I'm not overwhelmed with
this accomplishment when the men and women on the assembly lines in these
architectural wonders are still doing the same mindless and soul eroding
As I have mentioned before on this list I think there are a limits to growth
in industry just as there are in nature and that once you exceed those
limits you lose sustainability. It a tree branches one too many times it
starves the last addition because of viscosity. Our industrial machine
overcomes this by adding more energy (fuel) with the predictable outcome of
pollution, lack of care of people and depletion of resources. It is built
into the system.
Capitalism by its very nature cannot be "Green".
I would much rather see Ivan Illich on this list!
From: Keith Johnson [mailto:keithdj at mindspring.com]
Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 10:48 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] what is "politics" exactly...?
Stimulated by Paul Cereghino's assertion (or recommendation) that
Permaculture design (even as applied to politics) should focus on
analysis of actual processes and phenomena, flows, source, sink, etc...
I Googled Ecology of Politics and Political Ecology to see what was out
there that might correspond with Permacultural perspectives and found,
not surprisingly, an interconnected web of familiar thoughts, people,
books, theory and practice including:
Social Ecology: In response to the social and ecological crisis in
which we find ourselves immersed, social ecology advocates a
reconstructive approach that promotes a directly democratic,
confederal politics. As a body of ideas, social ecology envisions *a
moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy toward a
world that fully celebrates diversity*.
Social ecology is, in the words of its leading exponents, "a
coherent profound critique of current social, political, and
anti-ecological trends" as well as "a *reconstructive,
ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society*".
What literally defines social ecology as "social" is its
recognition of the often overlooked fact that *nearly all our
present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social
problems*. Conversely, present ecological problems cannot be
clearly understood, much less resolved, without resolutely
dealing with problems within society. To make this point more
concrete: *economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts,
among many others, lie at the core of the most serious
ecological dislocations we face today*--apart, to be sure, from
those that are produced by natural catastrophes.
Ivan Illich (who distinguishes between /environment as commons /from
the /environment as resource)
/Political ecology (which Wikipedia defines as) the study of how
political, economic, and social factors affect environmental issues.
The majority of studies analyze the influence that society, state,
corporate, and transnational powers have on environmental problems
and influencing environmental policy. There are many approaches to
these issues, and some scholars give weight to the role that access
to natural resources plays in structuring political and economic
life: particularly how land degradation, 'fortress'-style wildlife
conservation, or deforestation influences a range of social
relations and politics.
A number of books (for which I have created a new category at
Permaculture Trading Post called Eco-Politics
and invite you to suggest other titles to add)
Dave Foreman (Earth First)
Ecopsychology (what Mollison was teaching when he met David
Holmgren, I've been told).
Paul Hawken and Natural Capitalism
The Natural Step
...and much more. If Permaculture represents "the connecting
science", these provide many opportunities to connect the dots and
build bridges between our local cultures and the living planet.
Paul Cereghino wrote:
>> Permaculture design (even as applied to politics) should focus on
>> analysis of actual processes and phenomena. Flows, source, sink,
>> etc... If natural systems are are the source of inspiration for
>> ecological design, what is the source of inspiration for political
>> More critically... what is the effective transitional system from
>> current state to target state (least work greatest effect).
"Be fruitful and mulch apply."
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