[permaculture] BodyPolictic-Political Humor-Congress Votes to Outsource Presidency!

Robert Waldrop bwaldrop at cox.net
Mon Jun 18 09:08:59 EDT 2007

At my runningonempty2 conversation, there is a 
constant temptation to proceed immediately to the 
"downward dystopic spiral of die-off" (e.g. 
www.dieoff.com ) in our rhetoric.  The existing 
calamities, and those coming at us, are so 
enormous that they can be profoundly depressing 
and alienating.

I always caution against that, however.  It's not 
that I am admiring my pretty pink rose glasses 
that tint my view of everything.  Rather, it's 
that I believe profoundly in the power of 
self-fulfilling prophecies.  Indeed, they are the 
best kind of prophecies qua prophecies, because by 
definition they always come true -- they are 

I do, however, think that we should be careful in 
selecting which prophecies we choose to 
self-fulfill.  It is evident from human history 
that events often turn on surprisingly small 
happenings.  Outcomes can't always be predicted 
from current trends.  A small amount of rock dust 
can have an amazing consequence for yield.

Which is why, even with all I know about the 
potential for dieoff, I am not in a rush to 
embrace it, and I am certainly not going to 
self-fulfill it as a prophecy.  I like telling 
scary stories around a campfire as much as anyone 
else, but most of my time I spend planting seeds, 
organizing local food systems, learning and 
practicing permaculture, etc. The prophecies I 
work on self-fulfilling are those of a managed 
descent.  I am not building my rural retreat for 
me and mine and to hell with the rest of the 
world.  I remain in the middle, literally, of 
Oklahoma City, a metropolitan area of 1 million. 
Over the last 3 years I have cut the BTU use of my 
household by 50%.  I organized a food coop that 
only sells local foods, and amazingly now we have 
1200 members and move tens of thousands of dollars 
of locally produced groceries every month. ( 
www.oklahomafood.coop ) Wearing another hat, we 
distribute 150,000 pounds of food free of charge 
to about 9000 people each year in central Oklahoma 
who are without incomes or transportation.  That 
started in my living room, now it has its own 
warehouse.  The food coop started with one message 
to a listserv.  In May, people from 8 states came 
here to learn how to duplicate our system.

Will it be enough?  Not today, but tomorrow and 
the day after are their own stories.  As they say, 
it's not over until its over.

Bob Waldrop, OKC

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tommy Tolson" <healinghawk at earthlink.net>
> This is a profoundly political statement 
> favoring an arbitrarily
> privileged viewpoint, as far as I can tell.  It 
> comes from someone of
> remarkable stature,
> an authority figure, if you will.  This is a 
> statement of "how it should
> be," asking for no support, a simple, 
> authoritarian declaration, the
> forte of white men.
> How, pray tell, does a positive solution come 
> about without a
> decision-making process?  Yes, we are in energy 
> descent, but saying so
> is another political statement.
> Who decides what is "positive and practical now" 
> for the members of this
> listserv?  How is consensus gathered in the 
> Permaculture community in
> general and on this
> listserv in particular?  Who rules this 
> listserv?  Who may speak
> freely?   Anyone?  No one?
> I am not a farmer and I am not white in more 
> than skin color.  I look
> white until you look close but I'm not white.  I 
> have a Permaculture
> design certificate and I do
> Permaculture designs when they show up to be 
> done.  Even when I live on
> the land, I am not a farmer.  Am I subject to 
> farmer rules on this
> listserv?  Like it or leave it?
> Is that the rule here, too?
> I do not own a positive view of the future.  Two 
> out of three people now
> living are not ecologically supported in a world 
> without cheap oil.  It
> is going to get very ugly very
> quickly, and insisting upon a positive viewpoint 
> is not going to change
> that.  The likelihood is that two thirds of the 
> humans now living will
> die off within the next fifty years.   I can not
> begin to make that appear positive.  Global 
> warming is a one hundred
> year old issue.  The warning was issued one 
> hundred years ago and we
> haven't done anything about it yet.
> Peak Oil was predicted in something like 1957 
> and few outside the oil
> business (I'm third generation oilfield) still, 
> in 2007, even know what
> Peak Oil means.
> Leonard Cohen sang, "I have seen your future and 
> man, it's murder."
> That's consistent with what I know.
> Thinking we can build out our designs and make 
> them work and live out
> our lives in relative peace while the rest of 
> the world falls apart does
> not strike me as realistic at all, and
> if I have to adopt an attitude based on the 
> illusion that it is
> realistic in order to be on a Permaculture 
> listserv, I find that
> prospect bizarre as hell.
> Are there any adults in charge here?  Or has 
> Permaculture morphed into a
> New Age quasi-theology?  We can think the future 
> away?  Oscar Wilde, I
> think, said "If you tell them
> the truth, make them laugh or they'll kill you." 
> I have neither the
> desire nor the inclination to make you laugh.
> Tommy Tolson
> Austin, TX

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