[permaculture] Costa Rican PDC Course at Permaculture University - various notes/responses

Dick Pierce dickpiercedesigns at gmail.com
Wed Dec 9 12:59:45 EST 2009

I read over the Permaculture University's web site and PDC Course
announcement. I am concerned, as many of you are, that this seems to be
neither Permaculture nor Design and that the listed individuals seem to have
no PC background, at least not a PDC. I felt moved to send them a note to
this effect via the "contact us" feature of their website.

FYI and scan, I am coping my note below:

I know the W Coast of Costa Rica is great - spent time at Bosque de Cabo a
while back -love it. Your Village/Center seem to be beautiful and
well-functioned from the photos and write-up on your colorful website. Your
course in January seems to be a great collection of sustainable practices
that I assume both use and reflect the facilities that you have installed
and the expertise that you all have developed. A fine-looking course in
[more] sustainable living and "walking one's talk." It also looks to be a
great tropical and environmental experience/vacation. Best of luck.

I am sure your place is beautiful and a great teaching location, that you
have experience in building/operating the many sustainable topics on the
agenda, and that your motivations are to spread the sustainable,
earth-friendly "gospel" far and wide. However, as a Permaculture advocate
for 20 years and a Permaculture Instructor for 10 years, I do not see what
the Permaculture community would call a "Permaculture Design Course" in what
is written about your course, the curriculum, or the staff/facilitators. To
Permaculture folks the "Permaculture Design Course" is a very defined term -
a minimum of 72 hours of instruction (plus site visits, hands-on projects,
evening activities/speakers), that covers as a minimum the specific topics
of the PDC curriculumor the topics of the PC Design Manual by Bill Mollison.
At least the lead instructor should have a Permaculture Design Certificate
from a recognized course, and most often 2 or more years of
teaching/interning with a qualified PC insrtuctor. The curriculum can vary
by instructor, region, and audience, but always has standard elements such
as PC Ethics, Aims, Design Principles, etc. A PC Design Course always has a
section were students do and present a design, either as individuals or in
teams. These elements I see as missing from what I have read of your
materials to date.

As initially stated, your course appears to be a valuable, well-intentioned
collection of good/great sustainable practices, well in line with what
you've done at Osa Mtn and its climate/terrain. But it seems to me to be
neither "Permaculture" nor "Design" in the sense that I and many others use
these terms. I also did not read in your description of "About us" of anyone
graduating from a Permaculture Design Course - to me a prima pre-requisite
in conducting a PDC course. Nor did I read or see any description or
definition of what Permaculture is - this is very curious in light of the
fact that the organization is named "Permaculture University."

I wish you luck with your enterprise and your courses - the world needs a
lot of education - but I also wish that you would not use the words
Permaculture nor Permaculture Design Course in connection with your work. I
also would request that you read up on Permaculture as a 40-year, world-wide
movement, and the Permaculture Design Course and its content and teacher
requirements as they are practiced around the world.
If you would care to review my path to becoming a Permaculture Design
teacher, please check my bio on DickPierceDesigns.com and read up on the
formal requirements to teach the PDC that have existed in Austrailia and the
UK for many years.

Best wishes to you all in your efforts to bring environmental justice and
human joy/bounty to the world.

Dick Pierce
Permaculture Designer, Consultant, Teacher
Austin, TX, USA (winter), SE-MA, USA (summer)
DickPierceDesigns at gmail.com

On Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 5:18 PM, Scott Pittman <scott at permaculture.org>wrote:

> Thank you Isabel for writing the scammers at Permaculture University - if
> everyone on this list would expose them for what they are at
> www.permacultureuniversitycostarica.org perhaps it would slow down the
> process.  I am going to see what I can do legally when I am in Costa Rica
> in
> January.  I have found that just shining light on such scam artists is
> usually enough to get them hide under another rock.
> Scott Pittman
> Director
> Permaculture Institute
> www.permaculture.org
> -----Original Message-----
> From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Udan Farm
> Sent: Monday, December 07, 2009 9:09 PM
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] US National Permaculture Conference
> Thank you again Scott.
> I was thinking it was a good idea to hold a national conference-for about
> one day. Then I got to thinking about carbon and all those people flying in
> from everywhere.And then you reminded me how stressful those things can be
> to organize.
> So, yah, National no-Regional YES!!
> My thinking is that at our regional gatherings (the Southeastern one-yes,
> it
> is at Celo, NC-someone asked) we perhaps plan an extra day to talk about
> the
> subjects I mentioned (open source Wiki/pfaf kind of thing, Building a
> better
> designers manual, teaching skills, Large scale Permaculture, etc.)
> Maybe ALL of the regional gatherings could put some thought into that and
> see what comes up...Also, since the digital age is here, maybe we can start
> thinking about those kinds of things here-serious thought to planning
> things
> like that (I know nothing about open-source or wikis but it seems like a
> very good move)...
> As for the Costa Rica University...Oh, MY.  They are selling CONDOS! I did
> post to their board and ask who their teachers are.   :)
> Peace,Isabel
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Message: 9
> Date: Mon, 7 Dec 2009 16:26:48 -0700
> From: "Scott Pittman" <scott at permaculture.org>
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] US National Permaculture Conference
>     proposal.
> To: "'permaculture'" <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Message-ID: <5374C18CA1C6450488AE69E1C72962C1 at 1050A33921534E2>
> Content-Type: text/plain;    charset="US-ASCII"
> I organized a national pc convergence in the late eighties which Michael
> Pilarski as well as many others participated and it was one of the most
> fractious and stressful events of my short, at that time, permaculture
> career.  It was then that I realized that pc is a very anarchistic
> phenomenon containing many diverse personalities and philosophies who
> somehow maintain forward motion with an amazing degree of civility and
> support but put them together in one room and watch out!!
> I think that the regionals are sufficient to our needs right now and when
> there is a real need for a national it will happen.
> As time goes on I am even more convinced that we need to protect our turf.
> I recently received an email from the Permaculture University of Costa Rica
> which has no one who has taken a permaculture course but is offering the PC
> Design Course.  They were willing to pay me for certificates.  The white
> shoe crowd has discovered permaculture and sees dollars there;
> unfortunately
> some of the permaculture graduates have discovered and put on the white
> shoes and belts and headed to Bahrain.
> Scott Pittman
> Director
> Permaculture Institute
> www.permaculture.org
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DickPierceDesigns at gmail.com
SE-NE (summer) & Austin, TX (winter) cell- 512-992-8858

Please check out www.permie.us
Sept 14-25    -12-day PC Design -MV-MA
Sept 26- Nov -10-day PDC Design
                    Course, Austin TX - w'ends

-Dick's PC-Bio. on www.permie.us
-You Tube Dick Pierce for video clips

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