[permaculture] "Bogus permaculturalists" - Permaculture Going Wild

Holger Hieronimi holger at tierramor.org
Wed Dec 16 14:03:05 EST 2009

My feeling (and recommendation) is, that its best to simply "let go" -

One of the greatest advantages of Bills original and quite anarchistic 
approach of the PCD was that it allowed the idea to spread and go wild, 
one of the main reasons why PC grew so fast into more than 120 countries 
in the world. The disadvantage might be, that there are many expressions 
of PC action and education, that we don´t particularly like, including 
some rather questionable educational offers, like the Costa Rica or the 
CommonCircle PC programs-

Its too late to stop the concept from functioning very much like an 
"invasive species", mutating and acquiring all kinds of different 
aspects and expressions .... permaculture is almost a household word in 
many parts of the world, and means "different things to different 
people" (D. Holmgren). Lets accept it- the outcome in general is rather 
positive, don´t you think ???.... its like a permaculture system.... 
always evolving, with many surprises along the way....

I think its positive that PC didn´t go into the same direction as, for 
example, Holistic Management, Biointensive Gardening or Biomimicry, with 
their cooperativist-style brandmarking, copyrighting and sometimes quite 
extensive, expensive and  complex teaching & certification programs.

Don´t bother ! Any seriously interested person in PC will find out in a 
two-minute-Google-search, that there are dozens of more cheaper and 
deeper Permaculture Courses and experiences all around, especially in 
the US. The more you try to "control" Permaculture, the more you will 
archive the opposite. Use and value diversity. Lets go to work, planting 
trees or restoring landscapes. Its our work that certificates us 
(...once again...).

But there is a more deeper question arising for me while I observe these 

Honestly, when I read some of the recent posts, I get rather 
uncomfortable with the attempts to project global control on the 
teaching and spreading of Permaculture. From a Mexican perspective, it 
looks as there are already too many /gringos/ who want to control and 
certificate too many activities of any kind in the world. Certification 
on drug wars, "democracy", "organic" farming, financial systems, ... and 
now PC ?. Its still OK for me if you try to do this with an initiative 
in your own country, but here I see attempts to expand into other parts 
of the world (France, Costa Rica...?), and this simply doesn´t feel 
right to me.

I´m new to this list (but not new to permaculture), in the last one and 
a half month since I receive the different posts from 
/permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org/, I have read some rather strange 
expressions that illuminate some interesting aspects of human behavior- 
people qualifying Bills excellent PDM as "the bible" of permaculture, 
others talking about the "old" and "new" testament (Which one is the new 
one, actually ???), that have to be spread around the world to teach the 
"primitive non-believers" (???)- and now it looks as if some people even 
call for a "permaculture inquisition" ???? Judging from the appearance 
of some flashy Internet sites on if educational programs offered are 
featuring the only "true teachings" ? -

¡ Take care !

As I already mentioned in another post, here in Mexico we face a 
different phenomena - somewhat opposite to the processes you are worried 
about - we have PC activism here at least since 1985, an informal PC 
network at least since 1996, most of the more credible PC teachers and 
facilitators stayed marginal to the PCD scheme, also because we didn´t 
want to be judged by enthusiasts from other parts of the world if we do 
the "right" permaculture courses, but mainly because we were trying to 
adapt PC principles, teaching and action to the diverse ethnical and 
cultural landscapes of Mexico, based on our own experiences of what 
works and what doesn´t.

Now there are quite a few activists & projects with one, two or more 
decades of practical experience, delivering excellent courses (including 
some PCDs), and suddenly a new initiative arises that calls itself 
"Permaculture Mexico". They have their certification from the 
"original", since they traveled all the way to Australia to take a 
course with Bill and Geoff Lawton this summer. They never seem to have 
made an attempt to connect with local activists and projects. 
Nevertheless they have a colourful Internet site with a lot of links to 
Australian permaculture sites and videos (all English, of course), but 
none of the mexican projects are mentioned yet ... quite funny ... 
Although I felt initially a bit uncomfortable with this attitude of 
basically ignoring all domestic references, I came to the conclusion 
that there is actually no problem at all. Its actually great that there 
are ever more PC activists and enthusiasts, and if some people can spend 
thousands of dollars, international air travel and all that, very good, 
its maybe just that I´m jealous, since I never had the money & 
opportunity to do all that. As it happened with me and most PC 
practitioners, I´m quite sure that, after an initial period of 
protagonism ( holding the only original PC Design Certificate in your 
hands) you´ll end up with the insight, that the PCD (as any "first" PC 
course), was only the starting point for a lifelong process of serious 
learning, further study and a lot of design and practical experiences, 
and (of course) failures.

kind regards


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