[permaculture] "certified permaculture designers"

Paul Cereghino paul.cereghino at comcast.net
Fri Jul 27 02:10:23 EDT 2007

This thread always captivates me, since my professional investment is 
not in permaculture, and I am periferal to the 'make a living doing 
permaculture' scene, but as someone fully engaged in professional 
'resource management' take very seriously the need to penetrate the core 
of society with sound ecological design theory and education.

Many professional certificates have exams... you are put on the spot, 
instructed to perform, and your output is judged by a panel of experts.  
Is this kind of meritocracy not acceptable -- or do we hand out 'status' 
based on good intentions?

Can you assess the permaculture quotient of a design or a site? I'd 
suggest that many of the characteristics of permculture-based systems 
can be objectively characterized.  This is a personality free assessment 
-- either its Pc or it ain't regardless of where it came from.  This 
feels stronger to me... after all, what we silly monkeys say is less 
important than what we do.  We talk alot.

Otherwise we have a system of lineage.  Apprenticeship systems would be 
stronger if the indentured apprentice was adding value to the master's 
business model.  Thus the master would be strengthened by accumulating 
apprentices rather than plagued. However many permaculture business 
models are not based on labor-limited returns... It seems like there are 
more permaculture institutes than permaculture farms, and institutes can 
only support so many 'hangers-on'.  However, at this point it really 
does appear like a lineage system... kind of like Kung Fu or something 
(imagine a dubbed fight scene.. "my taproot permaculture will crush your 
shallow bird-roost permaculture"..). 

In my particular version of society the period of time that folks are 
willing to financially spend in a 'internship' is limited, particularly 
when the financial reward of completing the service is minimal... unless 
of course you really are planning on 'dropping out'.  (I can imagine a 
kind of idealist/realist split not unlike the German Green Party.)

There could well be a breakthrough whereby the permaculture brand adds 
value to a business... it sounds like this is happening in Australia to 
some extent... I suspect that in America other brands will dominate the 
'ecological design' market.  There isn't that 'homegrown' mystique that 
Pc can ride on downunder.  I'd anticipate in America that Pc as a 
professional thing will be subsumed by architects, engineers, designers, 
and educators that have their credentials from a source other than Pc 
but are strongly influenced/

The other factor is that Permaculture alone is insufficient to provide 
professional services... if you are designing land development then you 
need additional skills and experiences related to land development... if 
you are a permaculture banker you need to understand banking... so 
permaculture is like a garnish on whatever set of professional 
credentials you have built already.

Assuming of course that professionalization is the goal.

Paul Cereghino

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