[permaculture] Silent Spring & Corporate World

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Jul 14 10:08:47 EDT 2014

On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 1:48 AM, Steve Hart <stevenlawrencehart at gmail.com>
>  I do look forward to developing a Permaculture Advanced

> Course in Invisible Structures (IS) to discuss all these elements of how
> the world actually ticks in the domains of economics and the laws, or more
> correctly legal systems, are constructed to support it, then obviously our
> options as the appropriate journey beyond this conditioning that many of us
> are locked into on that great ferris wheel called society.  I'd love to be
> able to get to NAPC to chat with several who are actually doing stuff at
> the grass roots level in IS....Steve Hart

I would enjoy that too. For those who are not particularly mobile for
whatever reasons I look forward to this list
serving the same function. Bob W. has talked about the need for online
gatherings and conversation for those who do little or no travel.
I think that is a great idea.

What are your thoughts on Invisible Structures?

Here is something I found written by Vint Lawrence
Interesting website. Willits is where John Jeavons' Bountiful Garden is
To foster the creation of a local, sustainable economy in the Willits area
by helping residents to learn valuable skills and take action, and by
partnering with other organizations to share knowledge and support projects
that build a thriving economy.
Willits Economic Localization <http://well95490.org>

Invisible Structures with Adam Brock

Adam Brock’s Invisible Structure Pattern Language

Take your time to look it over. If you have thoughts on what to the pattern
language, leave a comment and help Adam grow this body of knowledge he’s
working on.

I think these pattern languages, in the long term, serve as one of the best
ways to take the vast body of information we have available as permaculture
practitioners, and break them down into something we can carry with us.
Though the descriptors that go with each piece of the language may take
several paragraphs, or pages, to explain in detail, the title of the
pattern is short. You can take all titles from the patterns in Peter Bane’s
A Permaculture Handbook, which is excellent by the way, and write them down
on the front and back of a single sheet of paper. The same can be said for
the edible forest garden pattern language in Edible Forest Gardens by Dave
Jacke and Eric Toensmeier. Take those two, add in Alexander’s plus Mr.
Brock’s, and you have a very powerful reference, that extends the ethics
and principles of permaculture. This toolkit allows us to facilitate
designing larger, more varied systems, all in a format that fits in a

*Inspirations for Adam’s Pattern Language*:
A Pattern Language <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Pattern_Language>
by Christopher
Alexander <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander>, Sarah
Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein
Debt the First 5,000 <http://www.mhpbooks.com/books/debt/> Years by David
Edible Forest Gardens <http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/about_book> by Dave
Jacke <http://www.edibleforestgardens.com/> and Eric Toensmeier
The Empowerment Manual
<http://www.starhawk.org/writings/empowerment_manual.html> by Starhawk
People and Permaculture
<http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/people_and_permaculture/> by Looby
The Permaculture Handbook <http://permaculturehandbook.com/> by Peter Bane
Sacred Economics <http://sacred-economics.com/> by Charles Eisenstein

The GrowHaus <http://www.thegrowhaus.com>
Tyranny of Structurelessness <http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm>
by Jo Freeman


Social Permaculture

Caring for People

*by Gary Caganoff <http://thegardenattheendoftheworld.info>*

*The Garden at the End of the World


Invisible Structures

 Social Permaculture has its permaculture roots in *Bill Mollison’s
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mollison>* and *David Holmgren’s
<http://www.holmgren.com.au/>* permaculture bible,* ‘Permaculture: A
Designer’s Manual’
where they talk about visible and invisible structures:
 *……….*Water systems*……….**……….**…..*Legal
*……….*Organic systems*……….**……….**..* Finance

It’s the ‘invisible structures’ that Rosemary has applied and adapted to
her work in war torn countries for 25 years or more. It is in these
devastated communities where a permaculturalist must begin at the
beginning, simply because there is not a lot of the invisible social
structures left after war and anarchy (if any) to hold up any physical or
ecological building project. To re-build the visible structures the
invisible structures must first be put in place. If not, then the project,
no matter what it is or how big or small it is, will fail. The fact that
international aid has failed in Afghanistan is largely due to this.

In the developed world we tend to take the invisible structures for
granted. They are hidden away in the foundations of our social construction
but are a vital and necessary part of making society work and for cultures
to grow and thrive within it, whilst being resilient to the effects of
corruption. In war-torn countries social breakdown brings the lack of
invisible structures to the surface like sepsis from a wound, displaying
not only corruption but also chronic health and hygiene problems,
malnutrition, high rates of maternal and child mortality, homelessness,
lack of education, lack of skills, almost no jobs, violence, etc., etc.

In Rosemary’s *‘Earth Users Guide to Permaculture’
she explains that Social Permaculture ‘is all about how we live in our
villages, towns and neighbourhoods’. Rosemary points out the importance of
creating and sustaining ‘bioregional prosperity’ – the wealth of local
bio-regions – which is, ‘measured by the increase in biological resources…
the growth in plant and animal diversity, in community gardens, and in
urban forests’. She explains that,

……….(the) three interwoven issues in a bioregion are:
*……….**……….*control of land
*………**……….**……*the economic system
*……….**………………..*and people’s livelihoods


 ..The very first design *principle
<http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles.php>* permaculturalists learn
is ‘observe and interact’. Even before a permaculturalist begins her design
to create a sustainable system on her inner city balcony, quarter acre
suburban block or broad acre farm, she must spend a lot of time observing
the ecological system already there. What’s the seasonal pattern of
rainfall? In which direction do the cold winds come in winter? Or the dry
hot winds in summer? How much sun does the property get and how much shade?
Where are the micro-climates and what determines them? What’s the
difference between them in terms of soil type and temperature? What
insects, birds and animals visit the property? Which plants are there and
which are not? A huge tree might be creating too much shade on the garden
or house or perhaps it provides shelter from the harsh sun or strong winds?
Is the tree deciduous, letting the sun in to warm the house in winter?
Observation of all these things and more is vital to even begin to design a
permaculture plan and implement it. It takes time, patience, presence and
awareness to do so.

When we understand that before we do anything on our own property, even
before we make our plan, we must observe what is going on in the
environment we are in, then we see that everything Rosemary says and does
in the film is the first principle of permaculture in action, but directed
primarily by the ethic of ‘care for people’. Preliminary and then on-going
observation is essential for developing and evolving permanent systems in
both the visible and invisible systems. In Social Permaculture observation,
and hence listening, is the first step in caring for people, just as it is
the first step in caring for the earth.

In Afghanistan Rosemary was listening to and observing, and then acting on,
many aspects of the people’s needs, including the need to create legal
documents for the children, establishing children’s rights in the
orphanage, creating clear and transparent accounts and an organisational
structure that is fair. Rosemary is guided by Maslow’s *Hierarchy of Needs
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs>* and knows
that the basic physiological and safety needs must be looked after before
anything else.

Again, fitting into what was said earlier, permanent food systems can’t be
created until there is some level of stability, which only comes from
setting up the ‘invisible’ systems that support it.

 ..Together with observing, Rosemary is ‘interacting’ with the people, thus
becoming more aware of their levels of need, gaining an understanding of
their level of stability, or instability, and most or all of their social
impingements. Examples are: the status of women, children’s rights, access
to doctors, food, water,  shelter, fire wood, education, the potential to
grow food again, etc., etc. Outside of the organisation Rosemary was
finding out what other NGOs were doing and looking at the possibilities for
introducing Permaculture at local and national levels; understanding what
resources have been destroyed and what remain, what physical and biological
resources are available on location, water availability, what it would take
to build the soils up, etc, etc.

As Rosemary lives and breathes permaculture just by her being in
Afghanistan she is constantly gathering all the information needed to make
up a good permaculture design plan. In recent conversation Rosemary
emphasised that, “If we care for people then we must have an eye for these

On this first trip to Afghanistan, in the short time of two months,
Rosemary implemented the preliminary needs of *Mahboba’s Promise
<http://www.mahbobaspromise.org>*, supporting Mahboba and Uncle Haji in
their work, enabling them to become a more effective organisation.
Rosemary’s work also helped Mahboba’s Promise establish some stability for
the women and children in their care – a level of stability that they had
not seen for a long time, and for the children for the first time ever.
Without stability there can be no movement towards peace and prosperity.

Rosemary’s introduction of a Code of Ethics is another practical example of
helping lay the ground for stability, fostering transparency, equality and
non-violence amongst a war-torn people in a war-torn land.

 Metaphorically speaking, Mahboba’s Promise is a tree in the vast garden of
Afghanistan which is giving refuge to a tiny patch of parched seedlings;
protecting them from further damage.  Rosemary’s work then, fostering
transparency, equality and non-violence, creates a social ‘compost’ which
can then be dug into the soil beneath the tree, so life will be able to
grow and eventually thrive once more. As we can see in the film, it is
already happening at this very early stage. You can see it in the children.
In the years since, Mahboba’s Promise has become a fantastic fertile
micro-climate in ‘the garden at the end of the world’.


Good ideas about Invisible Structures, the "Zone" 00 concept and seeing the
World through the Lens of Permaculture.
Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Skype: lawrence.f.london

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