[permaculture] IPC Values ?

Koreen Brennan koreenbrennan at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 12:01:54 EDT 2015

These are good points. On my first PDC course, my teacher shared some major
errors that he made early on as a designer that caused actual catastrophes.
Rather than think less of him, I respected him for having the courage to
share those. And I remembered them vividly, as lessons learned - he learned
the hard way, so I did not have to on those fronts. Because those failures
were so dramatic and vivid, I really got the lesson and have avoided errors
in similar situations that I very well may not have if he hadn't shared
those examples with us.

Your statement about humility is appreciated. I haven't met anyone on this
Earth who has never had failures with either the natural world or humans or
both. They are both very complex entities that we are far from fully
understanding. Failed designs are precious learning opportunities.

Best, Koreen

On Wed, Jul 1, 2015 at 11:08 AM, Jason Gerhardt <jasongerhardt at gmail.com>

> If anyone practicing permaculture or ecological design has never had any
> failures they wouldn't be a very good designer, would they? I know I've
> learned from the mistakes I've made more than my successes. Personally, I
> would be very uncomfortable with the idea that IPC keynotes had to go
> through a litmus test of successful designs to confirm their speaking
> engagement. And, if that were to be a good idea I would think it wise to
> include those who learned a lot from failures. Perhaps Geoff's first
> Greening the Desert is a good example of this, which spawned him onto his
> new Greening the Desert site that seems to be going better.
> Eric Toensmeier told a group of students recently, if you haven't killed a
> lot of plants, you haven't been trying to succeed. Like any early forest
> garden, a lot of plants get lost in the design stages of Implementing and
> Maintaining. The important part is sticking with it long enough to watch
> the tide turn, and that goes for a single garden, a bigger project, and an
> entire design career (or likely all of these on an ongoing basis).
> I'd like to see an IPC with amateur designers keynoting on their projects
> and some of their failures, then they can get feedback from the "experts"
> in the audience. I know this was part of the early diploma process, which
> IPCUK seems to be upholding. As a permaculture teacher in direct contact
> with students almost daily year round I'm constantly having to walk them
> through their failures and provide useful feedback. I find that is the best
> edge to cultivate.
> Last, it's pretty hard to make an entire project bomb. All projects have
> their fair share of successes and failures (some greater, some smaller),
> and all are great for learning. Perhaps we just don't put enough effort
> behind promoting the lessons of our failures. That would take humility.
> The design trade doesn't have a success and/or failure problem, it has a
> humility deficiency. I think our energy is better spent in calling out
> those who lack this necessary trait.
> Jason
> --
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