[permaculture] design as part of institutional strategic plans

John Gamble johnsgamble at hotmail.com
Sun May 1 18:26:08 EDT 2005

>From Andrew Hunt 5/1/05 9:15 AM


John, MO

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "michael snow" <msnow at mountainschool.org>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 7:35 PM
Subject: [permaculture] design as part of institutional strategic plans

Evening all,

The school at which I work is starting to re-draft our current strategic 
plan, particularly the parts pertaining to "sustainability".  I like David 
Holmgren's suggestion in Principles and Pathway's that design be a basic 
literacy, with letters and numbers.  This seems like a perfect time and 
place to make this happen, at this school.  What experience is out there 
with making design a central strategy to a business, institution or school? 
What has this list has been through, how might I approach this, do I want to 
say,"hey, let's make our edu-system sustainable by being like an 
eco-system..."?  Anecdotes, lessons, strategies, and material is all 


Mike Snow

For those of you interested, here's a little more information...

I think I've introduced myself before; I work at a high school semester 
program in the NE U.S. (www.mountainschool.org)  We run an academic and farm 
program with 45 students, 16-17, very bright people.  We do a very good job 
with the idea of place - in English class, in Environmental Science class, 
Humanities, the rest.  The farm raises meat and vegetables to eat here.  In 
the next five years, TMS plans to "become a living example of its new 
mission statement regarding sustainability: Model the values of simplicity 
and sustainability in practices such as food preparation, energy use, and 
the maintenance of facilities.  Through both educational and maintenance 
initiatives, we would like to inspire our students to practice living 
sustainability and to develop a heightened consciousness regarding the 
long-term preservation of resources on which we all depend."  The decisions 
made here are already deliberate, the intention I think is here, maybe there 
isn't anything to add really.  Do we even need a design strategy here?

Currently, these are guiding principles written in 2003, we've already 
changed them a bit but are similar to what follows:
Guiding principles: There are a few variables we would like to keep in mind 
when considering issues of sustainability.
·        Balance educational opportunities with the realities of economics 
in decision making about sustainability. In each decision, incorporate an 
understanding of the environmental economics as well as what is the best 
choice for the long-term (i.e. perhaps it's better to invest in a wind mill 
for Garden Hill seeing as that would be a highly visible project as well as 
great for educational purposes and a sustainable option for the future).

·        Focus on choices that involve the entire campus rather than one 
part of the campus (i.e. putting in one composting toilet on main campus 
rather than renovating a "green dorm"). We would hope for choices that would 
impact the whole community.

·        Prioritize a commitment to education and intentional conversations 
about sustainability in our program. Recognize that the environmental 
practices of the school speak significantly about the school itself and that 
a large part of sustainability involves choices and decisions the school has 
already put into practice. Creating a greater awareness of our current 
system and working to improve upon it will greatly enhance the decision 
making ability of students and faculty alike in all their homes.
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