Why ain't Pc more popular

Judith Hanna jehanna at gn.apc.org
Sat Jun 3 05:57:26 EDT 2000

At 09:05 01/06/00 -0600, you wrote:
>Claude asked
>>> Does PC have a bad rap? and if so, why?
>Toby replied:
>That subject is a large one and is a perennial issue. I'll just list some of
>the short answers:
>1. Pc is often viewed as a lifestyle, not just a way of doing ag, so people
>are reluctant to adopt it.

Depends on how the lifestyle is perceived -- this can attract the many
people who want a greener more natural lifestyle -- and is part of pc's
popularity in Australia. Glossy mags with attractive pics and good
distribution are part of getting pc as lifestyle taken up. Only if those
visibly representing 'permaculture' are seen as unattractive role models is
this a problem...

>2. It doesn't fit neatly into any discipline; it's not even a discipline in
>itself, but a way of employing other disciplines. This impossibility to
>characterize has slowed its adoption (try to define Pc in a soundbite;
>you'll see what I mean).

Yes, a bit of a problem when dealing with academia and bureaucratic
departments. But cross-sectoral multi-disciplinary multi-agency working is
the fashion. Can be overcome by good communication.

>3 Mollison can be abrasive or alienating at times, and this has led some
>people to dismiss his ideas.

Not a problem here in the UK -- and being controversial is part of visible
media profile. 

>4. Pc has a large countercultural following, thus has been dismissed as

This is the one that has struck me as the major turn-off factor -- and
comes down to deliberate untidiness and neglect of design aesthetics (site
and personal). Hippy can be colourfully attractive, of course -- but dirty
hippy is intended to upset the bourgeoisie. This brings us back to (1)
above -- is permaculture seen as attractive lifestyle? Also to the recent
debate around London's Guerilla Gardening turn-out -- media attention
picking out the weirdos in order to discredit the message and all those
involved. But -- catching the enthusiasm of young rebels, who mature, learn
and develop, is a source of strength and growth for the future. Simply, the
hippy/feral/crustie image needs balancing by permies in suits who can talk
suit talk when we need to get the suit world working with us.

>5. And let's not overlook the fact that if practiced widely, it would
>destroy everything that capitalists and politicians hold dear. That might
>lead some people to oppose it.

The hard one -- as an Oxfam book on Nicaragua put it, "the threat of a good
And why I find myself harping on about aesthetics and tidiness being
important, not to give the suit world the easy handle to discredit


Judith Hanna
jehanna at gn.apc.org
15 Jansons Rd, Tottenham, London N15 4JU

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