Internet PC course/symposium

Rene and Lorraine van Raders rvraders at
Tue Jan 13 00:45:14 EST 1998

Geoff wrote

>If growth of pc is a goal, why not put a pc course on the internet or
>web, so people located throughout the world, dealing with their own
>environments, markets, economies, strengths, and social situations,
>could learn and impliment the principles... isn't implimentation of pc
>more important than charging money, and setting up hierarchies for the
>transfer of such knowledge and principles? ...cannot afford to travel, or
pay to learn ...moreso than the positioning of titles or accredations next
to my name ... not my expectation of financial gain by charging others for
such wisdom.

Jack Rowe wrote
 > Hurray! for Geoff King's idea for an >open-attendance, Internet PC
> Or, a symposium with activists in various pc/sustainable fields
> papers on technical, detail-oriented aspects of their work, complete with
> examples from their experience. We're all familiar with the broad
> principles, what we need now is the exchange of working details. I'm in.
> Great idea, Geoff.

Well, I'm on the defensive here.  I don't think a free pc course on the net
is what is needed, nor do I think it would be very successful if there was
one.  (I agree with you Jack that the internet offers a global space for
regular sharing of ideas and with a listing by subject matter of global
information.  I would love to participate in a free database of
permaculture knowledge.   What do you think of the new forum at  Back to the free course.  If someone just wants to
read information about permaculture to implement or pass on, there is
already a huge array of literature.  A book like the Designer's Manual, or
a simpler text is much easier to use than any computer screen.  However my
own experience with pc, was that I thought I was doing pc (having browsed
through the manual and permaculture magazines) and wondered why I should
pay a huge sum of money to do a pc course.   Finally I did do the course,
only to be really confronted with pc issues in total and without my
screening what was of interest.  It changed my life - from being a happy
little self sufficiency gardener to being a pc activist very involved in
the community.  I'm sure there are people doing amazing work who've never
even heard of pc, but I think for the majority of people a course shakes
people's thinking and allows them to make quantum leaps forward in
understanding and motivation.  The same thing doesn't happen from casual
It seems to me that there are at least two options available to people...
1. Learn from books and other free information sources and  immerse
yourselves in pc activities (meeting with and working with other pc folk)
without ever concerning yourself with a pc certificate.  This requires lots
of self motivation but can be very successful.
2. Do a course to kick start yourself.  Two week design certificate courses
are great for this, or use a correspondence course.   These courses cost
money because the teacher needs some reimbursement for the time spent
teaching the class and all the time spent becoming able to teach.   It
that many people expect those who do good work to do it unpaid (only
unethical work should be paid??).  I have committed myself to teaching pc
(the word's not important but all the good things it represents), because
of this I don't have the time to make an income in the many other ethical
ways I know are possible.  In fact I could be much better off implementing
pc ideas rather than propagating them.  As it is now we fluctuate between
flush times when we reinvest all moneys into our business (teaching pc) and
very lean times when we rely on our garden for sustenance and paying the
I would love to be able to offer free courses and in the future might do
so, but as a teacher I need to make a living somehow.  It seems reasonable
to do that by charging for my services.   If someone can't afford to pay
upfront, we never turn them away... merely asking that they pay when they
can afford it. 

I could put our correspondence course on the internet, but without
interaction from a teacher I don't believe anyone would complete it, and if
they did I doubt that they would be in the same league as students who had
had teacher feedback.  I'm ready to have someone change my mind but that's
how I feel at present.

Well hope this quick response makes some sense.

Kind regards to you all

Rene van Raders

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