[permaculture] Advance notes on Permaculture Standardsand Principals for NAPC

Scott Pittman scott at permaculture.org
Tue Aug 19 18:15:50 EDT 2014


There is a trend in permaculture of fear of change or of standards.  I know
that I have not mentioned authority, or paternalism in any of my
communications but the response of those opposed to standards or criteria is
always one of a loss of freedom to do whatever they choose to do in whatever
situation.  It is like the opposition to seat belts, or traffic lights that
somehow is seen as a restriction of ones freedom to kill themselves and
others with them.

I am assuming that I am dealing with intelligent people who, like me, see a
drift toward unregulated course content, and shoddy design as a threat to
the integrity of the design system called permaculture.  I am convinced that
everyone who was gifted with a permaculture course given by Bill Mollison or
one of the many people who followed in his tradition understand that we have
the conceptual and physical tools to begin healing the planet.  That this is
so is indicated by the incredible growth and proliferation of permaculture.

Could this system of thinking and action be taught in 3 days?, 5 days? Or is
it necessary to extend that time to give the full understanding of the whole
system design that is permaculture?  This is a simple question and, I
believe, it has an answer; I am sure there are those who will argue that by
teaching 20 hours a day they can transmit the breadth of the PDC in 4 days
and technically they may be right but effectively I think they are wrong.
So is it authoritarian to require the amount of time that it takes to create
the full understanding of permaculture through the PDC?, I think not.  Nor
is it authoritarian to insist on ethics, principals, and the visible and
invisible structures be presented in full.  

Many who reel restricted by the rigor of permaculture have taken just part
of the PDC and called it something different like Darren Doherty's
Regenerative Agriculture.  I think that this is the appropriate path to take
if one is just presenting a small part of the focus of permaculture.  Call
it Holistic Gardening or something else that is a more accurate descriptor
of what you are presenting.  

I think that each of the agenda items that I proposed needs to be defined
and then we need to reach agreement on those definitions so when one sees a
Certificate of Permaculture Design one knows it represents a particular body
of knowledge. I don't think that this tramples one anyones "freedom" or
should put them into a frisson of fear.

It is also tiresome being put into a position of defending ideas and
concepts that are not part of my agenda or desire.  I understand that we
have all been wounded by, and programmed by a culture of paternalism and
hidden agendas, can we just let go of that knowledge a little bit and start
giving each other the benefit of the doubt?  

I am passionate about permaculture and very protective of its integrity and
I think I have adequate reason to want to get some kind of consensus on what
does permaculture mean.  The meaning is explicated in the PDC so I would
like to at least get that part right and see if we are all on the same page.

Scott Pittman
Director
Permaculture Institute 



"To change something build a new model that makes the existing model
obsolete"  Buckminster Fuller


-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture [mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf
Of Koreen Brennan via permaculture
Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 2:56 PM
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Advance notes on Permaculture Standardsand
Principals for NAPC

Toby makes a great point about defining terms. I think it is essential to
start any conversation on these topics with definition of terms because I've
seen days, weeks and years wasted arguing about something when actually,
people were talking about two totally different things. 

I think it's very important to differentiate "standards" from
"authoritarian". Some people collapse those terms and they mean two very
different things. A licensing body is an authoritarian body that has the
ability to prevent someone from practicing IF they have the means to enforce
it which usually means that the government has to make laws about it. An
example would be a doctor of medicine - if you practice medicine without the
license, you can be prosecuted by the government. We are so far away from
doing anything like that or being able to do so, that people really do not
need to spend time worrying about that. Really!  It would be good to get
past that fear and into the meat of the subject which is really about
defining "What is permaculture design?" 


I think that there are always risks in codifying a subject too closely - the
main risk is that people have a tendency to go dogmatic once something is
codified. They no longer have to think or observe, they just follow the
dotted line. On the other hand, there are things that make permaculture
permaculture. What are they? Talk to 10 different people, and you might get
10 different answers. And 8 or 9 of them might not have anything to do with
design, at all. So I think there is room for clarification there! 

Is there a way to define our terms without painting ourselves and everyone
else into a box wherein no creativity or innovation can ever happen
thenceforth? I understand the concern as throughout history, standardizing
subjects has often resulted in the stultification and institutionalization
of them. So, how do we design to prevent that? We are designers. We have
many, many options. 

Subjects that never have any organization to them tend to die out
completely, or are absorbed and modified by institutions or people who are
in power. That is also a real risk, that I think Scott and others are
looking at. How can we retain the vitality and innovative creativity of our
subject while also maintaining its usefulness and purity? 
 
Glad this discussion is happening, and I'm enjoying the diversity of
opinion. Let's get it all out there and observe and interact with it!  :-)

Koreen Brennan
www.growpermaculture.com
www.northamericanpermaculture.org






On Monday, August 18, 2014 11:23 AM, Toby Hemenway
<toby at patternliteracy.com> wrote:
 


I'd be honored to be a part of this working group. These are issues that
should be discussed, and I think it won't be hard for a working group to
come up with resolutions and proposals. I imagine that there will be some
dissent from the contingent of permaculturists that confuses developing
standards with imposing authority, but you know, they can help, or they can
choose not to play. I also suspect both PI-USA and PINA have very similar
ideas about most of the topics Scott mentions.

I hope NAPC can also be a place where the large amount of work already done
by PI-USA on curriculum, teaching qualifications, certificates, and more can
be acknowledged and transmitted.

While Permaculture Capitalism is a fascinating subject, I think about 4
hours could be spent just getting everyone on the same page on their
definitions of capitalism, because I think part of the problem is that
people define it in very different ways. A farm stand is capitalist in some
people's minds, for others it is Monsanto, or the Federal Reserve, or Steve
Jobs, or the Permaculture Credit Union, or Slav Davidzon. We'd have to get
that sorted out first before we could actually discuss the subject. So I'd
prefer to have that discussion elsewhere, or after everything else is done.

NB on spelling: we're talking about principles, not principals. Ah, the
Anguish language.

Toby
http://patternliteracy.com


On Aug 17, 2014, at 3:48 PM, Scott Pittman <scott at permaculture.org> wrote:

> This is meant to expedite this working group and to serve as a focusing
tool
> for the participants.  I am certainly open to adding to the agenda.  I
have
> high hopes that this NAPC will be a working event and that we will be able
> to reach some understanding of what is meant when one uses the word
> permaculture and permaculture design course.
> 
> 
> 
> I also hope to stimulate some online discussion prior to the NAPC.  Those
of
> you who are more computer literate than I please share to other web sites
> where it might generate interest.
> 
> 
> 
> Thanks,
> 
> Scott Pittman
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Permaculture Standards and Principals
> 
> 
> 
> This work group will look at PC Standards and Principals in a general way
> and then more specifically at the Permaculture Design Course Standards and
> Principals.  
> 
> 
> 
> By standards I mean such things as how many days is a PDC, what is the
> curriculum, who issues certificates, who is qualified to teach a PDC, and
> other questions.  By principals I am attempting to reach an understanding
of
> how does permaculture ethics come into play as practiced by the
permaculture
> teacher and designer.
> 
> 
> 
> The following is a partial agenda for discussion:
> 
> 
> 
> o     What is a PDC
> 
> o     Who is qualified to teach a PDC
> 
> o     How much time is required for a PDC
> 
> o     What is the curriculum of a PDC
> 
> o     What exercises are required for a PDC
> 
> o     What is the price of a PDC
> 
> o     Who issues the PDC certificate and under what authority
> 
> o     What is a PC Diploma
> 
> o     Who is qualified to issue a Diploma
> 
> o     What are the requirements for a Diploma
> 
> o     How do PC ethics apply to teachers and designers
> 
> o     Is PC Capitalism an oxymoron
> 
> 
> 
> To be perfectly candid the Permaculture Institute has already developed a
> standard for the PDC and the Diploma and my interest is in knowing should
we
> have a standard that applies to all teachers and designers?  This work
group
> will look at the above and other issues and hopefully reach some
conclusions
> that could be presented to the general body to be further discussed and
> perhaps adapted.
> 
> 
> 
> I believe that a PDC is a certification course that is the first step
toward
> an apprenticeship in permaculture and does not confer the right to teach
or
> to design.  Rather it introduces one to the ideas of permaculture and the
> students may pursue further study to become a teacher or designer.  The
> Permaculture Institute follows a policy that one should have a Diploma of
> Permaculture before teaching or designing on their own.
> 
> 
> 
> I also believe that PDC courses require a minimum of 12 days to reach
> certificate standards, and 3 weeks would be preferable.  The minimum
> standard of 72 hours face time established by Bill Mollison did not
include
> any hands on exercises, student design, videos, or other extracurricular
> activity.  The 72 hours was intended to cover the basic curriculum of
> permaculture design.  
> 
> 
> 
> The standards of the Permaculture Institute is that a teacher of the PDC
is
> ethically bound to certain standards of teaching and of following the
> curriculum plus any new information or techniques that update the
curriculum
> ie Global Climate Change.
> 
> 
> 
> I look forward to this discussion and hope this information is helpful in
> preparing for the discussion.  I am attaching the curriculum of the
> Permaculture Institute as well as the curriculum of Robin Francis as
> examples of Curricula that is currently being used.  I also recommend
> Rosemary Morrow's new edition of "A Teachers Handbook".
> 
> 
> 
> Scott Pittman
> 
> Permaculture Institute 
> 
> 
> 
> <PDC-Outline.pdf><PDC syllabus  session
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Permaculture: -- portal to an expanding global network of landtech pioneers
practicing and teaching permaculture
while designing ecological, biointensive land use systems with integrated
elements for synergy, sustainability, regeneration and enhanced
nature-compatible
human habitat --
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nature-compatible
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