[permaculture] on an ethics of Mr Pittman (and the US military)
scott at permaculture.org
Wed Aug 11 12:41:19 EDT 2010
This has become a little tedious, having to listen to all the Monday nite
quarterbacks evaluate whether I considered this or that in providing a
course for the Army National Guard. I have heard nothing new from anyone on
this list to add to the considerations already made before I made the
The teaching team that worked with me also added their considerations and
questions and we all agreed to do this. I also questioned the chain of
command of decision making by the military. Who initiated the requests for
technological assistance? Who determined which village was selected? Were
any seeds being imported into Afghanistan thereby threatening the genetic
integrity of thousands of years of plant breeding?
To imply that we were teaching a program in a U.S. post peak oil context is
absurd, I wouldn't do that in this country let alone Afghanistan. So rather
than this being a discussion of how to interface with the institutions that
are most influential in destroying cultures and environments this is a free
for all over all of the things that might be wrong even making the attempt.
That some how this group of 14 national guardsmen imbedded in one small
rural village of Afghanistan will affect the way permaculture is seen in
Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan is a stretch and even if the ripples do reach that
far I have faith in the native intelligence of those cultures to check it
out on the web and other information sources before deciding out of hand
that it is another imperialistic trick.
Just to be clear I also worked in Haiti with a grant from the Corporate
Giant Mars and didn't find that permaculture was branded with the
Corporatist label in Cuba. I think that many of the comments here are
reminiscent of "White Mans' Burden" or in loco parentis which views third
world cultures as not being capable of thoughtful assessment of whether
something makes sense or not. I know from experience that if it makes sense
that they will use it and if it doesn't they will not.
>From all of the many respondents to the National Guard course only responses
from the permaculture group have been negative, which maybe speaks to how
precious we have become.
I find many of the responses on this group to be distasteful in the sense
that they never rise above the obvious; I find that permaculture is a way
more complex system for such simplistic understandings and concerns. I keep
looking for the meat in these communications and I only see white bread.
From: Kathyann [mailto:knat at sprintmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] on an ethics of Mr Pittman (and the US military)
On 8/11/2010 9:33 AM, Cory Brennan wrote:
> The thing that Nicholas and others are missing the boat on completely is
that permaculture, as a design science, TRANSFORMS SYSTEMS. Which means
that if permaculture were truly applied to the US military, it would
transform it into something completely different. It would no longer exist
as it exists right now.
I don't think they are missing that, but addressing a concern that
"permaculture methods" forced as a formula (which is traditionally how
our military has structured their actions) can have an unfortunate
effect of inoculating the populous against the ideas behind the methods.
There is much experience in the invasion by religious missionaries into
cultures to draw that concern. I, too, think we need to give credit to
the recipients to discern and acknowledge the next view will be a
combination of what is offered, what is given, what is utilized, and
what is self-generated.
In this forum, we think of design including the knowledge of the people
who live with an area as permaculture. Design from afar, imposed on an
area, no matter how benevolent the overlord, is unduly influenced by
antibody reaction. So a "method" introduction with techniques rather
than design empowerment seems not only limited but prone to
Goals of reestablishment are at odds. Within a culture still without
peak oil lifeview is not the same as postpeak US. The US has depleted
our supplies and if their citizenry rebuild in our likeness they will,
in a few short years, be settled to consume rather than export their
supply and we will not have had time to retool without oil.
I think it is a fine ideal that we structure our help in rebuilding to
be a model of globally appropriate scale (if we ourselves are similarly
required to that model.) Yet, the question remains, can one who has come
into an area to force a change, ever actually make the change or is the
system too caught up in fighting the invasion to heal with the invader
still present. Permaculture does give rise to an interesting thought of
forced symbiosis. Hard to picture the US military being aware enough for
accepting the compromises necessary. But it would be interesting. Tree
grafters have ideas? (scuse me if I don't call on the gene-splicers
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