[permaculture] Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 15, Issue 19

Scott Pittman pci at permaculture-inst.org
Mon Apr 19 11:29:10 EDT 2004

Michael Kramer wrote:

>-snip - Consider the permaculture movement itself. We have people working 
>full-time (gee, how many?), part-time, and volunteering out of personal 
>interest. We have farmers, independent consultants, authors, teachers and 
>some businesses and local guilds. We have people living permaculture at 
>their home level to varying degrees of intensity. Some are active locally, 
>regionally, nationally, and internationally. We have people who live it, 
>others who teach, some who write, others who network, etc. If we applied 
>permaculture to our own movement, we'd use zonation to create a design 
>that will build a strong system; we haven't done it yet, but we could.

I find this use of zonation a very contrived use of the methodology.  I 
think perhaps there is a much better way to articulate movement through 
social systems.  I can't see how the information derived from zonation of 
intensity of activities in various pursuits leads us to a design 
conclusion, perhaps I am missing something in your explanation.  Since this 
use of zonation for invisible structures in our culture has absolutely 
nothing to do with land use, then one must have a totally new description 
for the activities included in each zone;  what would those descriptions be 
and how would the use of zonation increase our understanding of them?

I think that the same problem would happen when applying sector planning to 
invisible structures, while this system is quite appropriate for gaining a 
visual understanding of how various natural flows impact the design site, I 
think it would be an enormous stretch to apply this to finance, legal, and 
social systems.

What I'm saying is that rather than trying to make a model fit all 
situations we might be better off developing new ways to model the flows of 
various components of invisible structures.

>-snip-  and it appeals to students because it helps them see the 
>importance of everything from inner spiritual growth to political activism 
>on a global scale.  If people examine the frequency and intensity of use 
>of their time, money, self-reflection, personal well-being, and public 
>participation - if we look at everything we do within the continuum of 
>degenerative to regenerative activities and resources - then we can truly 
>design their lives and our society to reflect the ethics and principles of 

I guess the above comments apply here, with the additional question of how 
does one quantify  frequency of spiritual growth, or political activism in 
order to determine whether they are placed in zone 3 or zone 5; does zone 5 
mean that we have reached samadhi or have become animists.

>-snip-  the United States doesn't seem to really "want" permaculture yet, 
>even though this society desperately needs it. So we need to go where 
>we're needed, articulate the permacultural Magna Carta for the 21st 
>century, and create social change at all zones of human activity.

I disagree with this statement.  I am amazed at the growth of Permaculture 
in the United States, a slow growth, perhaps, but inexorable and steady.  I 
am happy to see it taught, in part, in universities, used in city planning 
departments, and so commonly used that the name cannot be copyrighted.

Scott Pittman

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