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

Ben Martin Horst ben.martinhorst at gmail.com
Mon Jun 18 16:20:40 EDT 2007

Are there scary, murderous, catastrophic times ahead? Anyone not
blessed by extreme naivete will concedethat the future does, indeed,
look grim, on many fronts -- just as the present looks grim in many
war-torn and ecologically ravaged places around the globe.

But it doesn't do any good simply to point out the problem. As you
noted, Tommy, people have been doom-and-glooming about both Peak Oil
and global warming for decades, and nobody in power has done anything
about either except to make the problem worse. We've got to do more
than bitch, and that, frankly, is why many of the recent threads on
this list have been so frustrating. It's fine to be annoyed about
someone smashing their car into your favorite tree, or about US
pressures to derail G-8 commitments on greenhouse gas caps, or
whatever, but every single last one of us can go to all kinds of fora
to hear plenty of discussion on topics of annoyance.

We can stand on our virtual streetcorners with our "Repent, the end of
the world is nigh" signs all we want, but everyone is still going to
pass on by. The only way we're going to get people to actually slow
down, stop, and "repent" is to start doing the repenting ourselves,
and do it in such a fascinating way that people can't help but be

That is what got me hooked on permaculture: people doing fascinating
things, like food forestry, humanure, community-building, and
guilding, to name a few, and all in an integrated way that presents
real, viable alternatives to mainstream global culture. I've been
hearing doom-and-gloom all my life, and I certainly cared about it --
and was scared about it -- but I never saw much effective I could do
about it until I encountered permaculture principles.

I'll never advocate an unrealistic, pie in the sky idealism, but it
takes positive vision to motivate people, not beating them over the
head with what is going wrong. We all aready know the broad outlines,
at least, of what's going wrong. And we're going to get a lot farther,
a lot faster, if each of us is active in transforming problems into
solutions in our own local communities than futile acts to persuade
entrenched national and global politicians and oligarchs. It's not
about ignoring the rest of the world, but about changing the things we
actually have interest over. Once we take care of some of our own
shit, we may have some momentum and influence to begin transforming
things on a somewhat wider scale.

Of course, since this is a global list, I'd suggest that issues that
concern local communities in particular only be addressed here if they
have a wider bearing on global problems and solutions (that is to say,
it doesn't matter to most of us that the Orlando Permaculture Guild,
for example, is having trouble with greywater zoning requirements
within city limits unless the Guild is soliciting our influence and
experience in similar situations, or unless the Guild discerns
patterns in dealing the zoning requirements that might be applicable
in other situations around the globe). It isn't an issue of
censorship, but an issue of common courtesy not to burden people
halfway around the planet with something that can't do anything with
or about.


On 6/17/07, Tommy Tolson <healinghawk at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Graham wrote:
> > lets keep the
> > internatrional permaculture forum focussed on positive solutions and
> > ways forward to abundant living in post energy descent futures and what
> > we can do thats positive and practical now...
> >
> > Cheers Graham www.spiralseed.co.uk
> >
> 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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