Zone 6

Charles E. Headington ceheadin at
Mon Mar 20 12:45:23 EST 2000

This is my first reponse to Pc discussions; I've been listening for two
weeks now (just put on list). And I landed in the midst of a fascinating
yet disconcerting discussion.

I live in a city, Greensboro, pop. 250,000 and practice within urban
conditions. I make my ideas visible in my 50 by 150' lot or in the schools
where I've facilitated Pc gardening programs. I also talk with alot of
people, a mixed group of neighbors, business leaders, activists, and 
teachers. Permaculture, in other words, is very much a public activity and
must comunicate with a broad audience. I follow Permaculture because it is
functional in language and method and because it works (while mimicing
natural systems.).  Were I to talk to my various audiences in the language
and metaphors of Zones 00 and 6, I would lose most of them. Perhaps you'd
say, well too bad; they don't understand anyway.  It would be too bad,
because a basic premise of the urban ecology is the exchange of diverse
forms of information among competing parties.  those of us who begin to
slowly turn the wheels of change have learned that seeking common ground
takes patience, openness, and compromise. What I want them to see is the
marvelous beauty, health and productivity of a Pc system. 

Zones 00 and 6 are not important to my work.  They may be to my particular
view of things, metaphors of the edges of my experience, but I don't need
them when I'm talking to school principals, teachers and students in the
same way that a Christian permaculturalist does not need to make explicit
a belief in the blood of the lamb. Metaphors can assist or hinder. the
metaphor of "zone" depends on its tangibility, and not all people, in
fact, few people see zones 00 and 6.  

In gneral, I think the metaphor of "spirit" is too often misused and I for
one could do without it.  It is too often seen as a separate substance,
something beyond, behind, within.  The discussion of Zones 00 and 6, to my
understanding, seek to pin down that which resists pinning down, not
because of what it is, but because it is no-thing; it simply doesn't exist
as a thing among other things. It is much like Pirsig's Quality.

I wish we could just be happy with bodies, with materiality. Permaculture
should not become a Platonic tradition.  We have had enough of that in the


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