[permaculture] [APC12 Discussion Group] Good morning all from a mild, sunny Sydney the...
stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com
Sat Feb 21 20:46:11 EST 2015
Thanks Russ for igniting what hopefully will be a constructive and
insightful discussion. I wonder if we can recognise another layer of
analogies that may be more pertinent to Permaculture. Nature. After all one
of Permaculture's greatest principles is "work with nature not against it".
Suypported by "learn from nature". What leaders/leadership exists in nature
? What is the forms and characteristics or veins of leadership in nature.
Is ruthlessness one such characteristic? Then if we also look at another of
Permaculture's parallel support lineages that of indigenous cultures, what
leadership characteristics do we inherit here ?
As far as the leadership in Permaculture we as a culture or a gang or mob
are a long way from recognising nature in this light. What is leadership to
us " the family members of Permaculture ? " And, as you suggest Russ, time
moves on, what is this question of the generations of Permaculture members.
Being from the 1st generation I personally never looked at anyone s a
leader. Mentors yes but not leaders. Perhaps that is my own personal
psychie as well.
If we were to ask what is a leader we may then construct this debate
further. Is a leader of men (the species) one that shows honesty and
integrity ? What else ? In Permaculture it perhaps could do with examples
that are true and legitimate. Not like "The Greening of the Desert" and
more similar failures.
Another question is when do people wake up to their senseless tracking or
need for leaders. I know much of the world's population of 8 billion are
recognised to be members of the movement known as sheepocrscy and then
known as sheeple. so perhaps our challenge is to move beyond this and
develop Vandana Shiva's trajectory ? Its a long pathway.
On 22 February 2015 at 14:19, Russ Grayson <
notification+ot=4tyj6 at facebookmail.com> wrote:
> Russ Grayson posted in APC12 Discussion Group
> [image: Russ Grayson]
> 22 February 14:19
> Good morning all from a mild, sunny Sydney the close to the coast.
> I understand John Champagne was interested in having a public conversation
> on this Facebook on something to come up at APC12—the role and leadership
> of Permaculture Australia. I couldn't find it, so append my contribution
> here. What follows was produced in response to email postings and refers to
> Thanks John Champagne for starting this important conversation. It would
> be interesting to learn more behind your comment "the culture within
> permaculture at the moment".
> THE TWO LEADERSHIPS
> I've never thought of Bill's leadership through permaculture's formative
> years and either 'good' or 'bad'. For me, it was a de facto leadership that
> appended to someone who started permaculture, who had done most thinking on
> it and who had articulated that in books. In those days before globalised
> digital communications, the production of a book afforded you a leadership
> status in much the same way that it brings you the perception of 'expert'
> in the eyes of old media.
> The comment that Geoff L is perceived internationally as the Australian
> 'leader' of permaculture I put down to a couple things:
> • his—or should I say PRIs?—high profile that is deliberately fostered
> through his digital media
> • his work overseas as a consultant in permaculture design and the turning
> of that into material reported via video or otherwise on his website
> • the regular flow of new material on the PRI website
> • having a website forum with an active participation.
> You see most of these are online things. That's because, compared to 20
> years ago (about half permaculture's lifetime) online is where people find
> you and connect with you. It is the first point of contact and, so, it is
> one of the most important operations of an organisation.
> Geoff and his organisation have an active online presence and this ensures
> not only its discovery by people searching for things permaculture but,
> importantly, repeat visits. Thus, he and PRI become perceived as the
> leadership of permaculture in Australia.
> Adding to this phenomena are perceptions coming from Geoff being appointed
> by Bill to take over the operations of the Permaculture Institute. This was
> a lineage rather than a democratic move.
> COMMUNICATION THE ESSENTIAL NEED
> Permaculture has in the past placed much emphasis on 'doing', which
> usually meant doing something locally. Now, all development sooner or later
> becomes local, so doing something where you live or where you work remains
> important. But it is no longer sufficient and the 'doing'—usually followed
> with the words "something practical"—and it has been used as a divider
> separating it to work online, sometimes with a tone of moral superiority,
> as if planting a small, isolated garden was somehow more important than the
> global permaculture conversation.
> But local initiatives often remain local and this makes that approach out
> of synch because we live in a global society (as evidence, consider how
> permaculture educators travel internationally to jobs and convergences, and
> how they do so regionally, within national borders).
> To add value to the local we need to globalise it, and this is the role of
> communication. Authentic communication that is, not a leadership atop the
> pyramid telling members what to do or just about what they have done.
> Reporting back is important but on only one function in organisational
> communications. As Matthew Ingram of Gigaom put it: " ...interacting with a
> community of readers — the people formerly known as the audience — isn’t
> just a luxury in today’s environment, it’s a necessity". Just substitute
> "members" and "permaculture practitioners genrally" for "readers".
> And this is what Geoff seems to have done, to some extent at least.
> NOW IS DIFFERENT
> Today, now, is different to the time when permaculture started. Societies
> have changed as have economies both national and global, technologies,
> scientific insights, access to knowledge and communications, the nature of
> conflict, personal outlooks, working life, government. Bill's book,
> 'Permaculture—A Designers' Manual', was published 26 years ago for the
> world of then. The question that then follows is, if the world has changed,
> then has permaculture changed sufficiently to be capable of addressing
> contemporary needs… is it still relevant?
> This is a big question which we obviously can't answer here. But the
> corollary are questions about leadership in permaculture that John has
> started. What is the best form of leadership for the world on now and not
> that of yesterday?
> Some years ago I thought about this and wrote those thoughts down in a
> Recently, I've been doing a MOOC (massive open online course) entitled
> Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World and, earlier, another
> entitled Planetary Boundaries and Human Opportunity, through the University
> of Stockholm's resilience centre. Both of these address leadership and both
> point out how old leadership models are insufficient in today's global
> environment. They emphasise the need to understand events through systems
> theory and to understand how the world works as networks.
> Is this something relevant to developing leadership in PA?
> Which brings me to yesterday…
> HOW TO BUILD A SOCIAL MOVEMENT
> Yesterday, I participated in an invitation-only conversation with Indian
> food sovereignty educator and advocate, Vandana Shiva. There were around 50
> people there and they had been invited by the organisers because of their
> roles in the national and the regional fair food movement.
> I asked Vandana about developing a social movement from the disparate fair
> food organisations and players. You might see the analogy with permaculture
> here—small, disparate groups, geographically distributed, focused on
> particular things.
> Here's Vandana's response to my question, summarised:
> • the time of old fashioned, pyramid-shaped organisations with a
> leadership sitting at the top (that forgets it is supported by the bottom
> layer of members and participants) is gone
> • biodiversity is the model for viable contemporary organisations; that
> is, they are self-organising and self-managing and are structured not as
> pyramids of decision making and power but as networks
> • there are multiple organisational entities, there is no, single 'leader'
> organisation; rather, there are organisations that act like overlapping
> circles in which the areas of overlap are also areas of cooperation; the
> analogy for internal organisational structure is that of self-managing,
> task-focused teams that cooperate in moving towards organisational goals
> • she made a further analogy by referring to multicellular lifeforms—there
> is no 'master cell' directing or controlling things, she emphasised; cells
> self-organise into functional clusters (ie. there is no central leadership
> in doing this); would an organisation adopting this as a structure be
> copying and replicating nature?
> • today's alternative-to-the-old-model for organisations is that of the
> network and the self-organisation we find in nature.
> Can we draw analogies for what Permaculture Australia would become from
> Vandana's ideas? Is biodiversity with its self-organisation and network
> structure relevant? What about her comment about lack of a central 'master
> cell' role?
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