[permaculture] Hierarchies and certification..

John Schinnerer john at eco-living.net
Mon Jul 7 20:58:47 EDT 2003


Control doesn't happen (or as Buddhists say "...is an illusion"), and we
can't 'guarantee' anything.  Why repeat the mistake of trying?  Why not
take other approaches?

> But the spirit of Permaculture at its founding was that of local and
> personal empowerment, and that must also mean including material from our
> own experience and lives, and not just slavishly repeating Bill´s manual (
> and having to shell out to someone who may not even know our work...)

I agree.  I am not interested in first and foremost establishing a
'national' anything for PC.  I am interested in first and foremost
increasing local and personal empowerment - "learn from crabgrass," as
someone cited in a recent post on some other thread.

I would like to see growth of local activists, teachers, implementers and
(minimally formal) organizations that are regionally aware and regionally
focused (while keeping half an eye on larger contexts, of course). 
Cross-fertilization can be provided by print and electronic media and
occasional intra-regional f2f events, as well as all the usual encounters
(potentially shared via print and e-media) between itinerant
practitioners, traveling mentors, interns, etc. etc.

>From this may (or may not) grow some usefulness for a 'national'
organization, though I would rather not use 'nations' as the bounding
descriptor.  The borders are mostly arbitrary and unhelpful for purposes
of ecological designing; most ecosystems don't give a fig about those
political lines on a map (except as we force them to).

I am not interested in creating a 'profession', *as we currently live
them*, of PC.  Ivan Illich is more eloquent than I on the pathologies of
'professions' as they now exist, so I refer y'all to his writing in
regards to that.

If I don't know and work with someone to a certain extent, I will not be
willing to 'certify' anything about them, and I would be dubious of those
who would or who were so certified.

I don't notice too many of us championing centralized production and
distribution of food (agribusiness, wholesale conglomerates, supermarket
chains); quite the opposite.  If I want to know more personally those who
grow my food, I am unlikely to want them to be certified by some national
organization run by people perhaps neither of us have seen or met, let
alone gotten to know.

> In my experience , if the person teaching Permaculture has some sort of
> academic accreditation ( like a Masters in anthropology etc...) that
> somehow validates their Permaculture course in the academic world...It´s
> not necessarily fair, but it functions...

This can be a very useful lever.  Perhaps related to leveraging existing
teachers by inviting them to PC knowledge/practice; leverage interested
people already hooked into existing institutions.  This also fits with
"work where wanted."

John Schinnerer, MA
- Eco-Living -
Cultural & Ecological Designing
People - Place - Learning - Integration
john at eco-living.net

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