[permaculture] Mollison's PDM, copyright, sharing, new PDM, etc etc etc Was: Subject: Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 82
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Wed Nov 25 22:06:53 EST 2009
How about not keeping this important thread offline -
bring it back to the list where it originated.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 82
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2009 14:02:06 +1100
From: Robyn Francis <erda at nor.com.au>
To: Alex McCausland <alex1mcc at yahoo.com>, <ktho at comcast.net>,
<holger at tierramor.org>, <slowfoodguy at yahoo.com>,
<venaurafarm at bellsouth.net>, <paul at heliosville.com>,
<paul at richsoil.com>, <fdnokes at hotmail.com>, <coordinator at cban.ca>,
<toobeeorknottoobee at gmail.com>, <toby at patternliteracy.com>,
<lflj at bellsouth.net>, <dickpiercedesigns at gmail.com>,
<scott at permaculture.org>, <lbsaltzman at aol.com>, <qazingulaza at gmail.com>,
<thejulianeffect at gmail.com>, <ossi at kulma.net>, <johnston.albertg at gmail.com>
Some background history...
I can appreciate your disappointment re the case of Tichafa.
The Permaculture Institute set up by Bill is the entity that has a
registration for PDC teachers (Tagari is the name of Bills publishing
business). The Institute changed a lot of its policies around 2000-2003
from the agreements that were made at IPC-1 (1984) between the Pc
Institute and the body of PDC graduates present at the convergence.
At IPC-1, Institute policies were discussed and agreed on and adopted by
the attending pc teachers & activists and the Institute’s directors.
Most of them were actually suggested by Bill but were reasonable and
embodied a generosity of spirit (fair share), and rigorously discussed
and fine-tuned by all. These agreements laid the ground rules that
enabled permaculture to spread. They included encouraging teachers to
develop their own curricula and adapt to local climate and culture while
covering the breadth of subject areas comprising a PDC.
Teachers were encouraged to establish their own institutes and issue
their own course certificates. The Institute issued a PDC Handbook
‘85-86 which summarised the topics and essential content, which we were
encouraged to photocopy and give to our PDC participants. The handbook
was issued as guide for developing our own curricula with permission to
change the order of subjects provided everything was covered. The
minimum 72 hours duration was agreed on, and the holding of a PDC
certificate of completion was deemed to be the minimum essential
prerequisite for anyone to teach permaculture (including and especially
PDCs), attend a designers convergence and use the word for professional
services including business name. Other matters agreed on were that the
PDC be made available to anyone irrespective of race, ethnicity,
religion, sex, age, or level of literacy (except for specific courses
for target groups), and that any changes to the Institutes policies
would first be presented to the ‘body of graduates’ at subsequent IPC’s.
Much of this changed 2000-02 without any notice. First there were the
unsuccessful attempts to copyright, then trademark the word PERMACULTURE
and PERMACULTURE DESIGN. The PDM was decreed to be the definition of
permaculture and the PDC “curriculum” with a directive that anything not
in the book shouldn’t be taught. Then the teachers register was created.
My application was refused because I taught some things in the “wrong
order” and not chapter by chapter as per the book. I’m an educator and a
text book, no matter how great, is not a course curriculum. This period
also marked the beginning of a tighter monitoring of copyright rights
and a few people got burnt after acting on verbal agreements with Bill
regarding translating and publishing his books locally.
Some folk, like myself simply go on with our work and honour the
agreements that were fine-tuned and endorsed by a democratic body of
those early convergences and leave the Institute to those that are happy
to tow the line and follow the decrees. My key issue with the
Permaculture Institute is that it is not a democratic or member-based
organisation and the directors can make changes without any consultation.
For these reasons I support the idea put forward during IPC8 that as a
global group of pc trainers we create an international PDC course
essentials checklist to provide a base-line of consistency as an
alternative model to take pc education into the future, and reclaim the
democratic process that was instigated at the first IPC.
Re free availability of the PDM, I know Tagari doesn’t make a fortune on
their books and its a struggle for small independent publishers to cover
costs for the next reprint. Most of their books are sold to wholesalers
at wholesale rates which essentially just covers print, post and admin
costs, they make a little bit of profit through direct sales and need
that to survive.
Books like Rosemary Morrow’s excellent Earth Users Guide to Permaculture
and Permaculture Teachers Manual are ultimately of more practical use
and available at a more accessible price than the PDM. She provides a
great model with these of what we can do to as independent permaculture
teachers and designers.
BTW I organised the launch of the PDM in 1988. Bill held up the book and
said “This is the book for people who have done a PDC – the PDC prepares
people to read this book. It is also an important resource for those
On 21/11/09 2:26 AM, "Alex McCausland" <alex1mcc at yahoo.com> wrote:
Dear folks who have posted on the Permaculture list recently,
concerning the copyright of the PDM issue: Sorry to send this
message to you out side of the list, however i have tried to post it
on the list 3 times and have also written to the list administrator
to ask why it hasn’t appeared, however no reply has been given and
it has still not appeared, so i am sending it out to you as i feel
it’s an important issue and i want people to consider it. The
conversation has moved on somewhat since, but can you please forward
it to the list anyway, so that everybody concerned can consider the
issues raised. I don’t know who manages this list, but i don’t think
CENSORSHIP helps reach the best conclusion to the debate. Salam.
_<original message clipped>
_As some of you may be aware, the SCOPE program in Southern Africa
has been implementing PC in colleges schools and communities for
nearly 14 years. John Wilson introduced PC into Zimbabwe in 1994,
leading to the establishment of the Fimbadzanai Training centre and
the SCOPE initiative. SCOPE, has in recent years has become
Re-SCOPE, expanding its activities to many parts of Southern Africa
reaching as far north as Uganda, but focussing on Malawi, Zimbabwe,
S. Africa also working in Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique. One of
Re-SCOPE’s lead trainers, Tichafa Makovere, came to work in Ethiopia
last year, to lead PDC trainings at the Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge
in Konso. One of John Wilson’s earliest, brightest and most
dedicated students, Tichafa has trained over 500 Zimbabweans alone
in Permaculture design, and taught in 7 countries around southern
Africa. Recently he led the Re-SCOPE PDC in Uganda training students
from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. Tichafa was formerly the
president of the Permaculture Association of Zimbabwe. He’s also a
headmaster and a farmer... you can see his CV *_here_*. But Tigari
has refused to recognise that he is capable of leading a PDC.
We offer a certified 72h course at our site in Konso, S. Ethiopia.
Tichafa leads it. Our certificate bears the logo of the SCOPE
program. The rainbow-snake (a difficult symbol to explain to most
people in Ethiopia) is not allowed on our certificate, because
according to Tigari, Tichafa is “bioregional” (which, we strongly
suspect, is a veiled way of saying that he is not competent to teach
PC at the level of a white man – Africans don’t have enough
bull-dozers, or gadgets). Tichafa’s curriculum is taken from the
same DM as any other teacher’s. (The range of environments in Africa
BTW encompasses most conditions on the earth and Tichafa has worked
in most of them.) We wanted to fund our courses for the community by
training foreigners, NGO staff etc. But that has been made far more
difficult to do without Tigari’s support. We had been hoping to
bring this up at the IPC9, but due to financial constraints we were
unable to attend.
“BILL’S dance”, if he allows us to take it seriously, on the
ground, is THE solution to the MATERIAL woes of MILLIONS of people
all over Africa and the world, teaching them how to make use of the
resources they do have. But it seems not only are they supposed to
pay for the information with resources they lack, but even those
that HAVE got the critical knowledge, in the critical place, are not
supported in passing it on to those that need it the most! Without
wishing to seem “holier-than-Bill”, much as i LOVE my own father,
i’d hardly respect the old fellow if he was so obtuse and
belligerent with such elitist tosh in such circumstances. There’s
something more than social skills lacking there...
So thanks for the Kalil Gibran quote. Let me quote Allah (SWT) for
you in response (for free): “Have you seen him who denies the
recompense? How he rejects the orphan and urges not the feeding of
the poor?” (English translation) You may call this fundamentalism,
but those who believe in the after-life will note that Mollison is
selling himself WAY SHORT. He could have untold rewards for allowing
the free distribution of his book to the impoverished corners of the
world, but no, he/Tigari, prefers to keep the “meagre” income that
it generates (apparently so he can go on trips occasionally and give
away the odd free copy here and there). He’s had his reward already
then, and it seems like a pretty measly reward to me.
Permaculture in Konso Schools project:
More information about the permaculture