What is permaculture?
jko at bctonline.com
Sat Dec 15 18:52:37 EST 2001
On Sunday 16 December 2001 10:58, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> David Holmgren has argued that permaculture is not a discipline in the way
> medicine is (or biology, or physics).
This question "what is permaclture" sometimes carries with it the
assumption that there is one common definition or a "right"
definition. When i think about culture the terms "evolve" and
"process" seems to fit better than words and definitions.
Pc then becomes the process of moving forward (living) and passing
knowledge on to others. There isn't any exclusion or "things" in the
core definition. It is process. All the words that have been written
about Pc and all the conflicting ideas have a place in creating the
We can view our interactions as culture building. Don't strong
cultures accept change and benefit from cooperation/diversity. We
don't define a culture. It is what it is at any point in time. We
plant the seeds by our actions/interactions and from this Pc
There is a discussion list with attempts to adopt this viewpoint. The
result has been fewer issues involving words and definitions. Anyway
the list is called "ecopath" and is one way to view permaculture.
here is a FAQ for the list:
FAQ for: ecopath discussion list
What is an ecopath?
An ecopath is the process of applying lessons
from ecology and sustainable technology to
I have a polluting job and live in an apartment,
can this be part of an ecopath?
The key component of an ecopath is the concept
of "process". If we are aware of our present position
and look for ways to be more ecological then
it is an ecopath.
What is ecological living and sustainability?
Both are process. This is the source of
much confusion because most of us want "things"
or specifics that define our goals. If we think
about it the state of being "sustainable" requires
constant work and we never arrive at a state of
being sustainable. Each day we begin again and
act in ways to support our local ecology. Thus,
each day we repeat the process of reaching for
Why the name ecopath?
A path is created by action (stepping). The
direction may wander as we evaluate and test
basic beliefs (the process).
The "eco" component suggest ecological principles
and lessons are useful to help set the
note: life is full of defined paths and people
suggesting how to live our life. An ecopath
assumes each path will be different and is part
of a life long educational process. In other words,
to be fully alive we need to define our own path, think,
How does politics, economics, socialism, communism,
liberals, conservatives, and social causes fit on an
One important lesson from history is that "how" we
achieve our objectives is often more important than
"what" our objective was. For example, fighting a 100
year war for peace only creates war. This suggests
the "how" in daily life may be more significant than
having a perfect philosophy. If we want a compassionate
world then we need to act with compassion each day.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
-- Mahatma Gandhi
This doesn't mean we can ignore things like "politics"
only that we keep them in balance. It is the present
moment where life is lived and not inside some abstract
yet another possible answer.
Language studies point out that "words" are not life
and definitions need to used very carefully. The
study of ZEN says much the same thing. ZEN suggests
we spend time away from abstract words and connect
with the present moment. In the present we find
words like liberal or conservative are often dust that
obscures our vision.
Why choose an ecopath? Isn't it a little depressing
being ecological in todays consumer society?
Our choices can lead to discomfort but an ecopath
is the process and not the choices. Some possible
advantages of making wise choices are:
- living ones beliefs is one step towards contentment.
- many people find living closer to nature rewarding.
- A process tends to continously learn and adjust
till we find a comfortable position.
Can i advertise my business on ecopath?
The ecopath list is open to anyone and unmoderated. Anyone
can post advertisements but repeated advertisements may
result in a warning. The use of tag lines at the end of
posts are a better way to handle advertising. Most people
reference a web page with a few words about its content.
Does ecopath have an archive?
What topics fit best?
anything to do with daily life such as:
gardening, oil, weather
Does ecopath have a web page?
No, but there are a few notes at:
Maybe someday enough people will get interested
to make this effort worthwhile.
How does one subscribe and unsubscribe?
To unsubscribe email: ecopath-request at csf.colorado.edu
with the message: unsubscribe your-email-address-here
To subscribe email: ecopath-request at csf.colorado.edu
with the message: subscribe your-email-address-here
To posts messages send email to: ecopath at csf.colorado.edu
This FAQ is maintained by jeff owens <jko at bctonline.com>
Distribution, and comments are encouraged. No part of this
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