[permaculture] Permaculture Going Wild

Tripp Tibbetts slowfoodguy at yahoo.com
Wed Dec 16 22:09:30 EST 2009

Holger, I for one am glad you wrote this!  I was sitting down to work on the very same thought process when I saw your post.  (Not sure mine would have been quite as eloquent.)
I used to be a very active political dissenter.  I spent a significant portion of my time reading, writing, protesting, and calling representatives about what I perceived to be gross political indignations.  How could we be possibly heading this direction as a nation??  Have we no sense of decency?
Then, watching an interview with David Holmgren one day, I discovered permaculture, and instantly came to grips with the solution embedded within the problem.  I was stuck in quicksand, and the more I struggled the more I felt defeated, flabbergasted, and red under the collar.  And it wasn't accomplishing anything!  Aside from raising my blood pressure, and alienating me from some of my friends.
In one turn I both gave up politics, AND became a more effective political model.  I got busy changing myself instead of demanding that the world do it first, and now people actually ASK for my political opinion!
Now obviously I'm not suggesting that anyone on this list isn't well on their way to being a top-tier member of the planet's biosphere.  I just whole-heartedly agree with Holger.  It's not controllable.  It's viral, and wants to be cut loose.  It's demanding to be freed.
There isn't an option.  I'm sorry if that offends the appointed defenders of our lady's integrity, but recombinant ecologies are already busy covering the bare soil.  Pull that kudzu and spray it if you like, but Nature will not be denied.
And like Holger said, there could be far worse things going feral on us.
Tripp out.

The best fertilizer is the gardener's shadow.
-Chinese proverb

--- On Wed, 12/16/09, Holger Hieronimi <holger at tierramor.org> wrote:

From: Holger Hieronimi <holger at tierramor.org>
Subject: [permaculture] "Bogus permaculturalists" - Permaculture Going Wild
To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 7:03 PM

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 discussions-

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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