[permaculture] NAPC: Scarcity?

Jason Gerhardt jasongerhardt at gmail.com
Fri Aug 8 12:42:29 EDT 2014

I’ll think on this one more, but here are some initial thoughts short on
time. I realized a few years ago at the regional Colorado permaculture
convergence that many people were there under different understandings of
what permaculture was. In almost every break-out group at each event since
I’ve felt there was one factor that prevented us from getting anything
done, which was that lack of common ground of what we all thought
permaculture was. It’s like we all have this common term and think we are
all talking about the same thing when we use it and hear others use it, but
over a weekend it becomes very clear that we’re talking apples to oranges.

I think NAPC will be good for this in a few ways without directly saying,
‘hey, we don’t have a common vision of what permaculture is’. The standards
of the PDC discussions will inadvertently work to address this. The working
toward a common vision of national/continental permaculture organizationS
will be equally valuable in this regard as well as many other
conversations. I also see not having a common definition/vision of what
permaculture is derailing those conversations, potentially.

Perhaps we can develop a social interaction ethic to call people out
(humbly, gently, care-fully) if anyone is going off the rails in talking
about permaculture in ways that misrepresent it or stretch it. Even that
requires a certain level of common definition and vision though. I do
seriously hope we all see permaculture as an ecological and ethical design
system, but perhaps we can all make commitments to ourselves to make sure
we are describing well what we are talking about. I am definitely one of
those people that finds distinction of terms and accurate use of words to
be a very important thing as Darrell pointed out. If we can’t describe
ourselves well, nobody will understand what we are talking about. Instead
they will see us dancing for gaia and holding hands in circles and write us
off immediately, which is what happens and to an extent, and is how we have
limited our own impact in permaculture (we could also seriously limit those
such activities as part of regular programing). In large part our actions
are better at defining who we are than our words.

Maybe there will be a program for the whole event and a definition can be
put on there near the top to provide a structure. I imagine the organizing
committee has a mutually agreed upon definition in place already.

I hope I’m not being overly picky here, but I sincerely think this is an
issue to consider. I have less concerns about it for NAPC considering the
cast of characters who I know will be there, but I think it is a subtle
issue that will have more impact than we can see (perhaps the epitome of
invisible structures for us), and an issue that has had a lot of impact for
permaculture as a whole already.


More information about the permaculture mailing list