[permaculture] hierarchies and networks

jamesdavid Sneed harvestcircle at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 1 14:03:14 EDT 2010

Both your messages are important things to consider. I suspect that if a standard of organization is implemented for permaculture it will be a sign that it has become an "ism" instead of a way of living. The ism tends to become a creature unto itself, and the original goals can suffer as a result.
> Date: Sun, 31 Oct 2010 21:25:26 -0400
> From: lflj at bellsouth.net
> To: permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [permaculture] hierarchies and networks
> On 10/31/2010 5:54 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
> > One subject we touched on in the recent certification thread was new and old tools for change, and the difference
> > between hierarchical and decentralized organizations and tools. I'd said that I once had high hopes for decentralized
> > leadership tools, like consensus, but was disappointed by how rarely they live up to their promise. I've been
> > skeptical of the value of these and similar methods to actually produce change, and have found the older
> > tools--strong leadership, old-style voting--at least as effective (though I still prefer inclusive versions of these
> > tools to exclusive).
> They say that the world is run by those who show up.
> And, freedom of the press belong to those who own one.
> However, these thoughts have been circulating lately: a permaculture heirarchical oversight organization
> that offers, like a governmental agencies that have no teeth and only can offer recommendations at best to
> those who do have the power to put laws, rule and regulations in place.
> You vote with your feet. Permaculture teachers, organizations, consultants and designers and anyone who would hire a 
> permaculture professional simply could require that they have proven expertise, knowledge and a certificate(s) of having 
> completed training and fieldwork before being hired. This phoo could help those professionals in training by offering a 
> set of permaculture standards, similar to the Organic Rule for USDA certified organic farms and an outline and 
> description of standard coursework that should be required of anyone seeking status as a certified permaculture 
> professional. This process could be elevated to community college and university level coursework.
> Do read my suggestion about the need to recognize and help those who cannot afford any training but want to play a 
> significant role in their communities as permaculture mentors, teachers, activists (political too, if necessary),
> consultants, designers and local practitioners within a growing community of like-minded individuals (this would be so 
> important to so many, just think about that if you're thinking about ways to make waves for forge the future).
> > I was catching up on a stack of New Yorker magazines this morning, and in the Oct 4 issue there's an article that
> > fits right in to this conversation, "Small Change" by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell is known for his book "The Tipping
> > Point" and in general being a whole systems thinker. He's made the points I would have liked to have made. I was
> > intrigued that he feels network tools aren't good for doing design, and that they are better at preserving the status
> > quo than changing it. So here's a quote from the article.
> >
> > "Unlike hierarchies, with their rules and procedures, networks aren’t controlled by a single central authority.
> > Decisions are made through consensus, and the ties that bind people to the group are loose. This structure makes
> > networks enormously resilient and adaptable in low-risk situations. Wikipedia is a perfect example. . . .
> >
> > "The drawbacks of networks scarcely matter if the network isn’t interested in systemic change—if it just wants to
> > frighten or humiliate or make a splash—or if it doesn’t need to think strategically. But if you’re taking on a
> > powerful and organized establishment you have to be a hierarchy . . . .
> Wonderful thinking!
> LL
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