[permaculture] re: zonation thread

Michael Kramer MKramer at hawaii.rr.com
Wed Apr 21 00:54:25 EDT 2004

It's tough to read tone into e-mails but I was not intending to be amusing
by referencing Bill. I thought it would be appropriate to cite him because I
believe these works have value; I merely am suggesting that the points I'm
raising include and transcend Bill's (to paraphrase Ken Wilber). Nothing I
say or do negates Bill's or anyone's contributions; we are all building
fertility with our ideas and actions, so I see this as building upon the
excellent foundation he and Holmgren established.

I am sorry if what I am offering is confusing to anyone, and I admit that I
need to write a book on this to provide sufficient explanation and examples.
I am also open to any new conceptual tools for any of these realms.

As far as how money, governance processes, and values might be mapped...it
is subjective rather than objective for each person. For money, the sector
analysis might include various sources (job, interest, investments, sales,
barter, gifts, inheritance), and the zonation map would prioritize how
frequently and intensely a person might want to generate revenue from each
of these sources. Investment income might be Zone 5 for someone with little
or no such assets but Zone 1 for someone else if they're living off bond
interest. For governance there are differences one could map of how
frequently or intensely people participate in party or shareholder activism,
voting, writing to elected officials, testifying at city council meetings,
sitting on boards and commissions, etc.  In the spiritual realm, people can
certainly make a plan for how often they meditate, do yoga, go to church or
temple, celebrate rituals and holidays, commune with nature, or go on
pilgrimages or vision quests. In the interpersonal realm, one could create a
zonation map that indicated how often one wished to be in relation to all
sorts of people, each at different levels of intensity. One could create a
plan for how often one says something affirming to his or her partner or
child, and conversely, how often one wishes to not react strongly to
comments and situations. If my self-assessment reveals a pattern of bad
relationships, I can create a plan of how to surround myself with the types
of people and activities (like self-awareness workshops every quarter - Zone
3, or weekly religious practices - Zone 1) that help me feel love.  If a
sector analysis reveals bad eating habits, my zonation map might include
plans for daily healthy meals and the occasional (Zone 4) piece of chocolate
cake. If I spend too much time working or writing posts to listservs (!),
perhaps my new and improved zonation strategy limits that so I can go the
beach each day (Zone 1). It is this discipline that permaculture provides
which is very useful in planning our lives holistically, especially for
people who burn out from dedicating their lives to work or causes. If we
look at our personal patterns and make plans for how to achieve our goals,
we can live a sustainable lifestyle that really demonstrates the care for
people ethic.

The spontaneous and unexpected always emerge, so one can't plan everything,
but that's an issue of attachment, and people can certainly make a plan to
try to not be attached! Nevertheless, how much time we spend on a daily,
monthly, or annual basis engaged in these activities can form the basis of
long-range, annual, even daily "site" plans that are based on these time and
energy maps. It seems like permaculture to me and to my students, so I'm
going to continue to explore it.

Michael Kramer
Natural Investment Services
P.O. Box 390595
Keauhou, HI 96739


"Be the change you wish to see in the world."
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org>
To: <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 6:11 AM
Subject: permaculture Digest, Vol 15, Issue 23

> Send permaculture mailing list submissions to
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
> permaculture-request at lists.ibiblio.org
> You can reach the person managing the list at
> permaculture-owner at lists.ibiblio.org
> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of permaculture digest..."
> Today's Topics:
>    1. Re: "Societal" zonation and "evolution" (Toby Hemenway)
>    2. Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 15, Issue 22 (Scott Pittman)
>    3. brief response re: zones and concept-blurring
>       (robscott at freeshell.org)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2004 21:45:44 -0700
> From: Toby Hemenway <hemenway at jeffnet.org>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] "Societal" zonation and "evolution"
> To: permaculture list <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <BCA9F908.1D47%hemenway at jeffnet.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII"
> First, semi-OT correction that word geek yours truly can't ignore:
> On 4/19/04 6:46 AM, Donna Jones wrote:
> > It is most imprecise to speak of society and ideas 'evolving'
> Au contrair; in this context, evolve is an excellent word. See Webster's
> 3rd: "Evolve: to work out or develop esp. by experience, experimentation
> extensive care or effort . . . to develop by or as if by evolution." The
> published examples the dictionary quotes are ". . . evolved a fresh and
> personal approach to residential design" and "hygiene has evolved into
> preventive medicine." (I'm a former geneticist with about 20 books on
> evolution sagging my shelves; but the word simply means progressive
> Biology's use is one restricted meaning of a broad concept.)
> Okay; back to topic:
> Knowing both Scott and Michael, I know that Scott is conservative about
> changing the established order of Pc, while Michael has extended Pc's
> land-use ideas into a number of new realms. And I'm glad for both
> approaches. Both poles are necessary for Pc to develop its full potential
> while still retaining rigor and precision. Pc does evolve, and quite
> quickly: If you compare Mollison's "Permaculture One" and his Designer's
> Manual, many early ideas have been altered, expanded, attenuated or
> by Bill alone.
> Michael has co-taught with me a few times, so I've had the pleasure of
> hearing his (highly interactive) presentation of zone-and-sector applied
> invisible structures, and I find it a very useful concept and see that
> very stimulating for students. Sure, as Scott says (and I wrote earlier),
> there are difficulties (right now) with a literal 1-to-1 mapping of each
> zone from land use to, say, politics, but already Scott's suggestion of
> descriptions for the activities in each zone" is being undertaken. And as
> analogy and thought-provoker, the extension is extremely valuable. The
> genius of Pc is that it works as far more than (merely?) a land-use
> and the zones analogy is an easily grasped example of how.
> Even though I teach zones in a pretty conventional sense, students see the
> possibilities. In one recent course, a retired software engineer created a
> map with zones arranged from walking-biking-cycling-public transit-car to
> airplane; and sectors including (and not mutually exclusive any more than
> the sun and wind sectors are) influences in our lives such as local
> businesses, our community, extended family, individual/personal,
> mega-corporations, etc. So where mega-corp met 'zone one" was
> Local business and the cycling zone intersected at CSAs. "Traditional Pc"
> meaning ag/gardening occupied only zones 1-2 of the personal sector.
> Incredibly thought-provoking. One observation was that many of the outer
> zones, requiring mass-transit or planes, contained increasingly
> dysfunctional or unsustainable activities.
> I'll agree that zone-and-sector, or the equally thought-provoking general
> core model can't be used to model everything. But some of the greatest
> breakthroughs in thinking have come when tools from one field are applied
> another (statistics to medicine, or radio to astronomy, many more).
> Good science is a process of proposing a new model and then critiquing it,
> then responding to the critique by strengthening or discarding the model.
> One measure of a model's worth is how many new ideas it generates; another
> is how many phenomena can unexpectedly be encompassed by it. I don't think
> this model deserves to be discarded, as many phenomena seem to fit nicely
> (more or less) into it, and it's proven very thought-provoking.
> Toby
> www.patternliteracy.com
> ------------------------------
> Message: 2
> Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 08:59:32 -0600
> From: Scott Pittman <pci at permaculture-inst.org>
> Subject: [permaculture] Re: permaculture Digest, Vol 15, Issue 22
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: < at pop.mindspring.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
> At 10:26 PM 4/19/2004, you wrote:
> >3. Re: zonation (Michael Kramer)
> Your comments about "permaculture is bigger than Bill, his texts, his
> teachings" becomes amusing in the context of the contents of your
> correspondence where approximately fifty percent of your text is quotes
> from Bill Mollison.
> I think that you misunderstand me when you imply that I don't think that
> many of the design principals and tools are relevant to the "invisible
> structures".  Quite to the contrary I think that most of them work very
> well in both realms.  I am concerned when we utilize every concept in
> permaculture as a metaphor to be applied to every situation.  I know one
> could use swaling as a metaphor for financial savings, or wind breaks for
> creating co-ops etc. but to what purpose if it engenders more confusion
> than enlightenment?
> So all I'm talking about is that some concepts work very well with visible
> structures and land use while others work better with invisible
> A hammer is a very good tool for building, bashing things, and as a paper
> weight but to apply this tool to social contracts is a bit of a stretch,
> why not use something more meaningful and appropriate to the subject one
> addressing.
> Perhaps I am a bit dense but I don't "get" your example of the Village as
> zone 0.  Since zonation is a form of mapping out areas in regard to
> frequency of use and availability of resources where on the map would you
> put "money, governance processes and values (including culture and
> spirituality)"??
> Of course "a site design that did not consider these issues would be
> incomplete", but it does not follow that zonation is the best methodology
> for that consideration.  Our design "tool box" is not so limited that we
> have to use each tool for every situation, but I repeat myself.
> "Even in a land-based site assessment and zonation plan we consider zoning
> ordinances, building codes, local planning processes, and right
> all issues that impact but are not necessarily located on the site.  But
> they are part of what impacts how each and every one of us spends our time
> and energy each day."  Your preceding statement is, of course, true but so
> what?  Just because species characteristics is not included in zone
> but in, another design methodology, analysis of elements does not mean
> species characteristics aren't important just that it has more meaning in
> the context of analysis of elements.  I think forcing an element of the
> system into a design method that does not quite fit shows a lack of
> imagination in creating new categories and methodologies to account for
> unique characteristics of some elements, like money, religion, law, and
> social structures.  They are a very important part of design and therefore
> deserve there own conceptual tools and means of understanding them within
> the overall context of the design.
> The examples you cite for Zone 1-5 are all part of the overall description
> of the human situation but I don't see how categorizing them into various
> zones helps in understanding or design.  Perhaps a bubble map would be
> edifying, or a Dahlgrin method of description within the context of
> relationships.
> I would love to see your map of the flows of time, money, habits, ideas,
> feelings, and interpersonal relationships drawn out perhaps then I could
> understand why it is such a profound way of informing the students of the
> place each of these elements play in their overall design and  the
> understanding of  permaculture's relevance to this process.
> As for the whinging of others on this list about rigid versus open, your
> missing the point entirely!  It is the very discomfort expressed in the
> face of disagreement, and striving for understanding that is the first
> indication of rigidity.
> Scott Pittman
> ------------------------------
> Message: 3
> Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2004 15:42:44 +0000 (UTC)
> From: "robscott at freeshell.org" <robscott at freeshell.org>
> Subject: [permaculture] brief response re: zones and concept-blurring
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.58.0404201539481.25627 at sdf.lonestar.org>
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> Kramer,
> Yes, you lose me when you say these are nutrients. I don't visit the
> "realm" of nutrition of my system. Nutrition is a system requirement.
> -Rob
> Michael Kramer wrote:
> > It is therefore logical (though I can
> > see not too popular) to not only look at the village's physical
> > surroundings to see how often you'd visit the reservoir but also the
> > other flows of nutrients through the village such as money, governance
> > processes, and values (including culture and spirituality), since we
> > "visit" these realms with differing levels of frequency and intensity.
> ------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> permaculture mailing list
> permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/permaculture
> End of permaculture Digest, Vol 15, Issue 23
> ********************************************

More information about the permaculture mailing list