[permaculture] Theory of Everyhting

Kirby Fry peace at totalaccess.net
Wed Aug 28 23:42:03 EDT 2002

Hi Jamie,

Good to hear from you.  In the midst of all this text flying around there
ARE actually people behind the words.

>>  though I might have toned down your 'no exceptions'  <<

Yes, that was certainly overstated.  By 'no exceptions' I believe I meant
that, non-native plants should fall under permaculture ethics as well as the
natives they may be displacing, that they shouldn't be an exception to Pc
ethics.  I didn't mean 'no exception' to my interpretation of, working with
Nature rather than against it.

>>  It is for this reason that I'm not quite sure to what you were
responding.  <<

Apparently, I misunderstood Steve's question.  What I have been studying is
why folks have it in for non-native plants and if steady eradication
regimens are what they are recommending we carry out.

So I think I misinterpreted Steve's post as using scale of operation as
justification for persistently removing non-native plants.

>>  big from a European perspective  <<

Are you from Europe?

>> I certainly agree that 'industrial agriculture...is anathema to
permaculture' but does that also hold true of all large farms?  <<

No, not inherently, though the scale of mistakes increases right along with
scale of size.

I worked on a dairy farm in California for a few summers growing up.  It was
a big farm and could keep 1,000 cows milking three times a day.  I believe
now they are milking 3,000 cows twice daily.

There was a lot of manure and illness but I believe that the operation could
have eventually been run sustainably since my cousins were always open to
better and cleaner ways of doing things.  I hope to take my two girls there
(now 3 and 6 years old) for a summer in the near future.

>>  Should larger farms be broken up so Pc principles can be applied?  <<

Pc principles, of course, can be applied at all levels of scale.  I don't
think anything but market factors or disaster will lead to the break up
large farms, but large farms at least should be given more government
incentives to work with nature, i.e. better utilize their waste, improve the
treatment of their workers, and the plants and animals they harvest.
Hopefully, one day soon, our markets and natural resources will achieve

>>  What I'm after is a similarly coherent Pc strategy on the large scale
(within the resources of current large farm owners) to that many of us
practice on a small scale.  <<

Funny that you mention this.  I recently read Ken Wilber's book called, "The
Theory of Everything."  He talks about there being four quadrants that we
operate in:  internal singular - our individual perceptions and emotions;
internal plural - our collective behavior as a culture and society; external
singular - examination of the human body as an organism; and, external
plural - all of the natural world around us.

A genuinely integral Pc strategy or ethic would be able to serve all scales
of production and operate in all four quadrants of thought.  Larger scale
operations, hopefully, would not expand beyond their ability to meet the
emotional and social needs of the people which create and operate the
business.  Neither would the medical health of the individual nor the
biological health of the land and bio-systems supporting the business be

When we factor in the well being of all four of the quadrants we really
can't go wrong.  IMO, Pc needs the most work on the inner two quad's.

Re: my frustration with industrial agriculture...

I believe when I was talking about industrial agriculture, I was referring
to those sectors which are doing everything they can to dump their wastes as
inexpensively as possible.  Here in Texas there are suburban developers,
chemical companies, oil refineries and commercial farmers pushing every
button they can to make their operations as inexpensive as possible at the
expense of everything except the value of their stock or profits.

I speak from first hand experience...  We live right next to an aluminum
smelter that is about to annex another 16,000 acres of land for coal surface
mining - 2 miles away from our land.  This coal will fire the power plant
for the ALCOA Rockdale smelter which is the dirtiest energy plant in Texas.
Texas is the number one source of air pollution in the U.S.A.

The former CEO of ALCOA is now the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

So guess where that puts us, back in the realm of politics and graft.

However, there's plenty of hope for businesses who are willing to work
towards being more integrally sustainable in their operations.

>>  If we could come up with such a coherent structure we could then keep
these farmers away from the 'machine and influence peddling...corporations.'

I really like what Ben Cohen with true Majority, once of Ben and Jerry's Ice
Cream, is doing here in the states.  True Majority sends out an e-mail that
covers one social or environmental issue per month so that you can send a
fax, write a letter or call your congress person about that issue.

Those of us concerned with our natural resources and food production also
need to know more about our tax and trade laws and when to collectively
apply pressure on our governments and steer them towards an integral future.

Right now in Johannesburg, the World Summit is going on.  I wonder what's on
their agenda?  Who should we call?

You bring up Mark's response to my description of a Pc course.  Does that
seem like brain-washing to you?  I would only ad that most cultural
epiphanies happen when we let go of what we're sure reality is for a little
bit, when we seen something so many times that we finally see through it.

Kirby Fry

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