[permaculture] Major histocompatibility complex

Marimike6 at cs.com Marimike6 at cs.com
Mon Mar 24 10:23:22 EST 2003

In a message dated 3/23/2003 12:43:57 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
bamboogrove at cmug.com writes: 
> I suppose you can say that lots of people don't want some other people, so
> some people are weeds. We evidently need a good ID manual on this, because
> it seemed some people had their buttons pushed by the least hint of
> stereotypical ideas on which people might be weeds. We have seen numerous
> failures by governments in deciding which people are weeds, but now we have
> governments deciding which plants are weeds; I hope the disruption is less
> than with deciding particular peoples are weeds. The best I can come up 
> with
> is MY definition of which plants are weeds:
> The ones I decide are weeds ARE weeds.
> -Rick

Dear Rick--

You raise a good point-- one person's weed is another's cash crop. I think 
what I've really been complaining about is not so much the idea of invasive, 
dominant species-- this after all is just nature's way of keeping the 
succession moving along-- but the idea of manufactured monocultures. So I 
guess I have to forget the "weed" thing. 

For instance, let's compare two different human cultures. The Hanunoo, who 
still practise their traditional agriculture on the Philippine Island of 
Mindoro, recognized and named well over four hundred different plants, 
encouraging each of them to grow in its assigned niche so it would be 
accessible when needed for medicine, twine, essential oils or whatever use. 
They also had an ingenious system of calculating slope, to decide which lands 
should be irrigated, which put into dry garden, which to be semi-tended, and 
which to be left untouched as forest. They get a lot of rain there, and were 
very attentive to erosion control. They were a prime example of a "gardening" 
culture, as opposed to being an "agricultural" people. They didn't plow or 
create monocultural fields, while Filipinos all around them specialised in 
rice, pineapples or sisal. There are apparently still ten or twelve thousand 
of them around-- a good example of human "old growth".

On the other hand we have a robust multinational economic system that 
disturbs existing ecosystems planet-wide, chewing them up to feed a 
monoculture-- Western Man. One of us was just describing a typical activity 
last month, where some prime old farmland in Okanogan Falls (B.C.) was under 
threat of being rezoned and sold as a site for an asphalt plant.

I'm not really a Luddite. I think there's a place on earth for some asphalt-- 
going to market or visiting friends would be a lot tougher without it. But 
the problem is that there's not much reverence for parts of the planet with a 
higher potential to nourish life. All our reverence seems to go toward 
projects that will nourish wealth. So we have two types of people. Those of 
us like the Hanunoo will never get rich in the usual sense, but will have 
plenty of satisfactions in their lives, arising from their relationship to 
the earth.

Those of us exclusively focused on making a lot of money are endangering this 
way of life, because they will not be happy until they have it all. So my 
feeling is that we try to ignore them at our risk-- one day they will be 
driving stakes at the edge of our property and putting up signs about the 
proposed rezoning. We really do need to stay involved, even if our preference 
is to avoid politics. Otherwise we'll wake up one morning wondering what that 
sound is, and it'll be a bulldozer. 

So keep an eye on the invasives while you're tending your garden. Once they 
get established they are really, really hard to eradicate.

Mike Elvin
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