[permaculture] On an ethics of permaculture, by a permaculturist working intermittently in Haiti, also with Lakota
dwoodard at becon.org
Fri Aug 6 03:17:46 EDT 2010
Cory Brennan <cory8570(at)yahoo.com> wrote:
I think it's great to look at these things and discuss them. My personal
experience is this: those people who are most responsible for the
problems absolutely need to be reached with the concepts of permaculture
such as "fair share", "people care" and "care for the earth." These
people, like many of us, were brought up in a culture that does not
embody or transmit these values for the most part and is quite
unconscious of them - in fact, it teaches the exact opposite in too many
Having been involved with very successful programs to rehabilitate hard
core criminals like murderers and rapists, I've found that criminals
only become so because they have lost their self-respect and they have
been brought up in an environment that has no workable ethics code. When
they are presented with a workable code in a way that they can
understand it, and told that they are not evil people inherently, but
were misled, the lightbulb goes on and they want to try to do the right
thing. Some of them become far more passionate and engaged about it than
people who have not gone so far the other direction - they feel they
have damage to make up, so they work hard at it.
How many of us have experienced something like that ourselves? Where we
realize we've been blind, and now feel we need to make up for our former
Are we to assume that National Guardsmen are inherently evil and cannot
possibly be touched by the beautiful and meaningful things about
permaculture that we've all been touched so deeply by? Many of these
guys (even more so in the armed forces) are from minority races who
signed up because they didn't feel they had other options.
In Haiti, I observed US Army guys and other armed forces guys truly
traumatized and touched by the suffering going on there. One guy from
the UN forces liaison got incredibly enthusiastic about compost toilets
and immediatley got the concept of connection to food, water, circular
systems, and went back to convince his fellows that was the way to go to
truly help Haitians. What if he succeeds? Would it be worth it to take
the time to explain these things to him, even though he "appeared" to be
a totally indoctrinated armed forces type of guy, at first? This guy
actually got that these things would make Haitians independent and
resilient, and they could increase abundance for themselves, and he
wanted that. He actually had a conscience about it and cared.
Many Army guys are from inner cities and know all about social
injustice. They are not all so "lost" as to not be able to see the
advantages of permaculture, and who knows how those ideas may infiltrate
the armed forces if it spreads? How about a "war, where nobody came?"
Ideas are far more powerful than bullets, they can infiltrate even the
tightest fortress, and bring it down. Don't underestimate the power of
an idea, and how it can insinuate itself into people's worldviews,
especially if it carries as much fundamental, practical, life affirming
truth as principles of permaculture.
I believe we cannot afford to exclude anybody from the ideas of
permaculture. If they truly think about them and observe them in action,
they will not be able to continue their unethical activities with such
unconsciousness. It is a unique type of challenge to find the entrance
point into the reality of people who are far from seeing these things
and to bring them along, closer and closer to seeing the big picture.
Almost anybody has such an entrance point - I believe that only the most
determinedly evil people may not and they are a small minority (based on
my personal experience).
Who could do more for permaculture, worldwide? A tribesmember in
Afghanistan who will never travel beyond his tribe, or a US Army general
who totally gets it, and speaks out internationally about the changes we
must make to achieve real justice and quality of life? I'm not
suggesting it is not worth it to reach tribesmen in Afghanistan, that is
not my point at all! I am currently at Pine Ridge reservation doing a
permaculture project, and have a project in Haiti as well. But if I have
the opportunity to try to enlighten a US Army general on permaculture
and in doing so, change his viewpoints and ways, you bet I will do so.
It's been my experience that if they don't get it, they don't dwell on
it or use it at all, not that they misrepresent it.
Best, Cory Brennan
--- On Wed, 8/4/10, rafter sass <rafter at liberationecology.org> wrote:
From: rafter sass <rafter at liberationecology.org>
Subject: [permaculture] Fwd: On an ethics of permaculture...
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org, "Northeastern Permaculture (List)"
<northeasternpermaculture at lists.riseup.net>
Date: Wednesday, August 4, 2010, 5:42 PM
I'm FWDing an email on from Kevin Skvorak, a good permie
who it appears has been banned from this list.
Kevin's original email below, then my response follows.
Begin forwarded message:
From: kevin skorak, regeneration CSA <regenerationcsa at gmail.com>
Date: August 4, 2010 7:26:06 PM EDT
To: "Northeastern Permaculture (List)"
<northeasternpermaculture at lists.riseup.net>
Subject: On an ethics of permaculture...
Recently, Scott Pittman, director of the Permaculture
Institute taught some National Guardsmen on their way to
Afghanistan some Permaculture basics. For me this very
tricky, if not perhaps untenable for a movement (for want of
a better word) that is espousing the values Permaculture
Liberation Ecology Project
More information about the permaculture