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Wed May 4 18:08:57 EDT 2011

somehow missing the point.

I was attracted to permaculture, because it is something you can do yourself 
and show your friends with pride of achievement over time.   Thus leading 
others by word of mouth to changing their ways.

If enough people do this at a local level, communities will change and with 
that great change emerges.

Perhaps I am being simplistic and fearful of getting involved with people 
who have a burning desire to change the world and it better happen right 

I actually like change, yet it needs to be at my pace.

Let the debate rage.
Best wishes
Robert Jensen

>From: Judith Hanna <jehanna at>
>Reply-To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
>To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
>Subject: Re: Permaculture conference Australia
>Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2000 08:26:49 +0100
>Dear >Russ Grayson and Fiona Campbell
>At 17:48 29/05/00 +1000, you wrote:
> >In her recent email announcement of this August¹s Permaculture Designer¹s
> >Gathering at Djanbung Gardens, Nimbin, Robyn Francis writes: "You are
> >encouraged to use the time until the gathering to commence dialogue on
> >important issues via the net". >I would like to kick off that process by
>raising for discussion issues which >I believe are pertinent to the future
>of permaculture.
> >
>Can some of us who aren't in Australia and won't get along to the
>conference join in?
>Certainly, my impression when I pop back from the UK on family visits to
>Australia (dispersed families are, indeed, inherently unsustainable) is
>that permaculture is much more mainstreamed in Australia -- but that many
>who say they are 'into permaculture' see it as organic home-growing of veg
>and fruit, composting and recycling, being nice to wildlife -- but will
>casually motor twenties of miles in daily commuting or hundreds of miles
>for a weekend. And car mileage is Australia's greatest contribution to
>unsustainability. In Perth particularly, the amount of new tarmac and
>cement being laid down as car space seems like a major contributor to at
>least micro-climate desertification -- crazy given Perth's 6-month dry hot
>summer and general wind-tunnel tendency. Challenging car-culture seems the
>main new thing needed for a wider-scale switch to a more sustainable
>Australia. Plus continuing to promote city (and country) greenery wherever
>it can be fitted.
>I'd pick out for strong agreement your point that:
> >All of these ideas have been promoted in permaculture since its 
> >While they have become institutionalised, however, they are still far 
> >widespread. Is our role as permaculture activists now to educate the 
> >about them and to lobby local government for their adoption?
>Absolutely -- how? Seems to me that:
>1) Permaculture's 'unique selling point' in catching people's imaginations
>and enthusiasm is the emphasis on demonstrating solutions in practice, so
>that people can see how to make their own. The permaculture garden centres
>in Fremantle are good for this -- everyone I know in Perth knows of them
>and enjoys the excuse to visit them. And they look like businesses that pay
>their way, helping people earn a living from working for sustainability,
>rather than depending on chasing hand-out grants. (Is this the case in
>2) Campaigning groups -- often single-issue in focus -- are natural allies
>in making the arguments and getting them through to the press and
>politicians. What they need, and are often short of, are practical examples
>of what they are talking about as solutions. This is what good permaculture
>projects should be able to provide. From roughly biennial visits, I don't
>get a picture of how effective a relationship there is or is not in
>Australia between the environmental campaigners and the permacultural
>examples relevant to what they are campaigning for.
>	Certainly in the UK, this relationship is generally lacking or weak. I say
>this as someone who belongs to both camps -- and finds great gaps in
>understanding and relevant contacts of the others on both sides.
>	I tend to think of it as a matter of human ecological niches -- one reason
>is that effective campaigning requires tight logistical organisation and an
>element of aggression, that doesn't sit easily with (for instance)
>remembering to water the office plants. I reckon effective permaculture
>requires a patient detachment that observes how things develop/grow/fail,
>then replans. It seems rare to have both in the same person -- but a team
>that includes both (and a range of others with different qualities) can be
>very effective.
>3) > Australia is fully a part of the global economic
> >system, a fact which has brought social, environmental, political and
> >economic change over the past twenty years. These changes have been
> >discussed by, among others, social analyst Hugh Mackay (Mackay Research),
> >who has identified:
> >- a persistent rate of unemployment
> >- underemployment (30% of the Australian workforce has been Œcasualised¹ 
> >part-time, unreliable work)
> >- an increasing polarisation of wealth and increased poverty
> >- a persistent social ambience of insecurity
> >- changed gender relations
> >- changed working lives
> >- reduction of government services at the same time as increasing 
> >of life
> >- fear of the future mixed with a belief that things will improve.
>This is the social milieu in which permaculture must operate. And to 
> >successfully ­ with relevance to the daily life of people ­ permaculture
> >activists must address the issues.
>By comparison with the UK, Australia has started from a much more
>egalitarian, secure and relaxed base and life there seems still much more
>relaxed and secure than here or in many other parts of the world. That
>said, one of permaculture's gaps has been in 'social ecology' or
>peoplecare. This seems one area in which British permaculture seems to be
>ahead -- lots of people packed into a small island means emphasis on urban
>problems and solutions.
>And the economy -- human patterns of owning and exchanging resources -- is
>indeed pretty basic to these. There is a good deal of what was called 'new
>economics' (before that term got taken up for the e-commerce economy) and
>old-fashioned economic anthropology that isn't just about money, and
>provides a useful starting point. US feminist economist Hazel Henderson is
>one of the best starting points. In my view (which may be biased, working
>as I do as lobbyist with the National Centre for Volunteering), valuing
>unpaid work and environmental capital is central to a sustainable 
>National Centre campaigning briefings at give more
>Also worth looking at what New Economics Foundation is doing at
>Of course, the LETS systems that are mentioned in the Permaculture Design
>Manual are a good practical start on tracking non-monetised exchanges and
>values -- but there is a whole lot  more permaculture could and needs to
>get to grips with. And maybe places like Maleny and the Blue Mountains are
>doing so?
>But such such small-scale local initiatives seem pitifully tiny set against
>the Global Economy -- which takes us back to making the links between
>permaculture's action-exemplars and education focus and the campaigning
>Enough for one oar into the discussion..
>Cheers, Judith
>Judith Hanna
>jehanna at
>15 Jansons Rd, Tottenham, London N15 4JU
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