No subject

Wed May 4 18:08:57 EDT 2011

of interest???

(gist of debate so far- permaculture is all very well on a 'personal'/local
level but fails to effectively address issues of more radical social change)

> Should we put our energies into averting the downfall of (just another)
> civilisation and the probable near-extinction of the human species ? It
> feels like an uphill struggle, a truly thankless task

Just a small personal perspective- I arrived at Permaculture after years of
involvement in various 'radical' movements- from 1977 onwards when as a
skoolboy I realised that Labour wasn't working, the Tories would only work
for their own class and the National Front were a Nazi front- a progression
from and through the Anti Nazi League/Rock Against Racism, Hunt Sabatuers,
Ban The Bomb, Stop Vivisection, Smash The Poll tax, Sanctions Against South
Africa, No to The Criminal Justice Act, Stop The Uranium Mining, Oppose The
Pit Closures, Class War, Anti McDonalds, Stop The Road Building, etc, etc...

Etc, etc, etc... You get the picture, and you'll notice the constant here is
the negative- always AGAINST something or other, and whether 'We' won or
lost on any specific issue, 'They' would always have the next 'cause' around
the corner, the next thing to be opposed to... It's a road that can only
lead eventually to burn out- permaculture on the other hand focuses on the
Positive, what we can do that actually can make a difference- since being
involved in PC rather than 'oppositional' movements I feel I've probably
made more of a difference, involvement in Local Agenda 21, running
permaculture courses, creating forest gardens in urban situations, bringing
permaculture ethics & principles into my workplace(s), deep involvement with
the local LETS system, involvement in local 'Green Fayres', community
allotments, mental health and food growing projects, raising public
awareness about issues like woodland management & coppicing, alot of  'Zone
Zero Zero' personal and community development stuff, etc, etc, etc....

What separates Permaculture from any other design system to me is it's deep
ethical core of 'Earthcare, Peoplecare, Fairshares', which does mean that
Permaculture engages explicitly on the level of fundamental social change in
spite of what Ted seems to be saying in his article. But often this is best
achieved on the personal small scale level. i'm reminded of Steven Covey's
'Circle Of Concern' and 'Circle Of Influence'- of course we are CONCERNED
about issues like nuclear power, animal welfare, the barbarities of
Capitalism, etc etc, but there's not alot we can DO about these PERSONALLY
(" The head goes before the wall does", as a good friend of mine used to
But we can do our best to live by the values we DO believe in - take
responsibility for our own actions.

Covey reckoned that the more we focus inwards, in attending to our own
'circle of influence' (ie, focussing on those areas where we CAN make a
difference), the more effect we will actually have in the 'external' world
(eg, by being a good example from which others can draw inspiration- which
is definately true of many Permaculture projects- eg, Robert Hart's Forest
Garden- Robert never set out to 'change the world', but to provide right
livlihood, good food and a therapuetic, healing environment for his disabled
brother- in the process he has provided inspiration for thousands accross
the globe)... I can almost see a direct paralel between Covey's 'Circles of
influence' (see 'The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People') and the
permaculture concept of 'Zoning'.

Of course we still need the element of the direct activists who are out
there f*cking sh*t up for the WTO, GAT, G7, etc, etc, but maybe our place as
permaculturists is to present the other side of the coin- yeah, you gals
(and guys) are doing a brilliant job in highlighting what we are AGAINST-
but come and visit us gals (and guys) and take a look at what we are
actually FOR...


Graham Burnett

Land & Liberty
My artwork
Our Garden
South East Essex Organic Gardeners
Permaculture- a Beginner's Guide
South East Essex LETS
Robert Hart's Forest Garden

More information about the permaculture mailing list