[permaculture] Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison 1928-2016 /Co-originator of Permaculture

scott at permaculture.org scott at permaculture.org
Sun Sep 25 19:07:15 EDT 2016

Farewell my dear old traveling companion, you will be sorely missed by the "TROOPS".  Your boisterous laughter and outlandish stories (that I always disbelieved and was always proven wrong in that disbelief), astonishing facts dropped like bread crumbs leading an enraptured audience back to our planetary home, and what an inspirational mentor for all of us!

I was a friend and traveled with Bill from 1984 until 1997; from Kathmandu to the Former Soviet  Union (where Bill was inducted into the Russian Academy, and was awarded the Vavilov metal, both singular honors that Bill met with the comment "more honor no cash".)  We traveled from Indonesia to southern Brazil where we gave the first permaculture class in that country in protest of the "sham" U.N. Environmental Summit of 1991.  We covered most of Latin America and the U.S.A. in a kind of barnstorming approach to healing the Earth.  I can't remember how many august Statesmen, bureaucrats, 1%ers, famous personalities that Bill insulted along our route but he didn't miss many.  His reputation preceded him and soon the big names no longer showed up but sent their lower assistants to take the heat for their ridiculous responses to a world in disarray.

I can't imagine having a better teacher in this life, Bill was the ultimate pedagogue.  He was so damed articulate, and never forgot a name and function of anything.  I always worried when he walked into the lecture hall when I was a teaching, knowing that, somehow, I would stumble over my words, but he never once corrected me in a way that I felt shamed or diminished.  He was a true mentor.  He was also sharp tongued and lashing if the mood struck him.

For all the miles we traveled I am thankful to this legendary figure and know he is holding forth on high bereft of his aura and his chakras as he always claimed were missing at his birth.  I can imagine him leading the heavenly choir in a chorus of "my father was the keeper of the edison llight, played with mermaids every night ...."

Good bye old friend,

Scott Pittman    

>  -------Original Message-------
>  From: Lawrence London <lfljvenaura at gmail.com>
>  To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
>  Subject: Re: [permaculture] Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison 1928-2016 /Co-originator of Permaculture
>  Sent: Sep 25 '16 10:07
>  Thanks an unmeasurable amount for postin gthis news, Wes. Kudos to you.
>  Keep up your excellent work.
>  RIP Bill. That man did as much for mankind as anyone in the world ever. He
>  should have gotten the Nobel Prize (though he might have rejected it).
>  This statement really inspires me, it resonates with deep meaning:
>  "“We are true tme scouts finding places now for what will be needed then.”
>  We are indeed and should never lose sight of that.
>  A request to Scott Pittman: could you repost what you wrote previously
>  about Bill receiving a presigious award from the Russian Academy of
>  Sciences? That should be added to Graham's obit.
>  LL
>  On Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 11:12 AM, Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture
>  Network <lakinroe at silcom.com> wrote:
>  > Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison 1928-2016
>  >
>  > Graham Bell
>  > Sunday, 25th September 2016
>  > Graham Bell's moving tribute to Bill Mollison, who died today, a true
>  > pioneer who gave up a promising academic career to challenge the status quo
>  > and establish the global Permaculture movement.
>  >
>  > Bruce Charles 'Bill' Mollison (born 1928 in Stanley, Tasmania, Australia
>  > and died today, 24 September 2016 in Sisters Beach, Tasmania).
>  >
>  > A few people are born who are world class heroes to those who know them
>  > and unkown to the great majority, until one day their inescapable influence
>  > floats to the surface and is generally recognised for the cream it is. In
>  > hindsight such leaders go on to become household names.
>  >
>  > Such a man was Bill Mollison: backwoodsman, academic, storyteller, lady’s
>  > man and to many just ‘Uncle Bill’, but doing all these things par
>  > excellence. In consequence he has left a worldwide movement of remarkable
>  > resilience. He has left much useful information and not a few words of
>  > guidance and encouragement for those who will miss him most.
>  >
>  > Growing up in Stanley, Tasmania, he left school at fifteen to help run the
>  > family bakery and before 26 went through the occupations of shark fisherman
>  > and seaman (bringing vessels from post-war disposals to southern ports),
>  > forester, mill-worker, trapper, snarer, tractor driver and naturalist.
>  >
>  > His lack of formal education gave him many learning opportunities in how
>  > the real world works.
>  >
>  > Bill joined the CSIRO (Wildlife Survey Section) in 1954 and gained
>  > extensive research knowledge. His time in the Tasmanian rainforests gave
>  > him the founding structure for what became his life’s passion -
>  > Permaculture. The idea that we could consciously design sustainable systems
>  > which enabled human beings to live within their means and for all wild life
>  > to flourish with us.
>  >
>  > A spell at the Tasmanian Museum in curatorial duties, a return to field
>  > work with the Inland Fisheries Commission took him back to college in 1966
>  > living on his wits running cattle, security bouncing at dances, shark
>  > fishing, and teaching part-time at an exclusive girls' school. Upon
>  > receiving his degree in bio-geography, he was appointed to the University
>  > of Tasmania where he later developed the unit of Environmental Psychology.
>  > During his university period (which lasted for 10 years), Bill
>  > independently researched and published a three-volume treatise on the
>  > history and genealogies of the descendants of the Tasmanian aborigines.
>  >
>  > In 1974, with David Holmgren, Bill developed the beginning of the
>  > permaculture concept, leading to the publication of Permaculture One. He
>  > became fixated on proving and promulgating what he saw as a world renewing
>  > concept. Leaving the University in 1978, abandoning a secure academic
>  > tenure at the age of fifty (an unheard of move) Bill devoted all his
>  > energies to furthering the system of permaculture and spreading the idea
>  > and principles worldwide. He has taught thousands of students, and has
>  > contributed many articles, curricula, reports, and recommendations for farm
>  > projects, urban clusters and local government bodies.
>  >
>  > In 1981, Bill Mollison received the Right Livelihood Award (sometimes
>  > called the "Alternative Nobel Prize") for his work in environmental design.
>  > In recent years, he has established a 'Trust in Aid' fund to enable
>  > permaculture teachers to reach groups in need, particularly in the poorer
>  > parts of the world, with the aim of leaving a core of teachers locally to
>  > continue appropriate educational work.
>  >
>  > We are helped in remembering Bill by his 1996 autobiography Travels in
>  > Dreams. Typically he laughs at himself: “This book is a work of fiction:
>  > most if not all of it is lies. Even the lies are imprecise reports of old
>  > lies overheard.” He wasn’t universally liked. One ason being he was
>  > committed to disrupt the status quo of misguided unfeeling management.
>  > “First feel fear, then get angry. Then go with your life into the fight.”
>  > He was eloquent about the need for peaceful ‘warriors’ as he called them to
>  > challenge the stupidity of ill-governance on a global scale. His own fears
>  > about being ineffectual were misguided: “Nobody takes any notice of me and
>  > even my friends continually criticise me.” In reality he engendered a
>  > massive global respect which will endure and grow as others develop his
>  > foundation thinking.
>  >
>  > The pinnacle of his career to his students was the publication in 1988 of
>  > The Permaculture Designers Manual, honoured to this day by devotees as 'The
>  > Bible of Permaculture'. If devotees suggests falsely some religious
>  > connotation it’s really that Bill pioneered a deep respect for the planet
>  > and for more sensible approaches for how we could live on it: “We are true
>  > time scouts finding places now for what will be needed then.”
>  >
>  > Bill asked: “Are we the public or the private person?” The truth of the
>  > matter is that for all seasons we are both. Perceived as challenging, a
>  > huge harvester of great ideas from around the world (and not always
>  > crediting their sources) Bill was also a sensitive man, eloquent raconteur,
>  > poet and appreciative of the poetry of others. He knew how to provoke
>  > others to action, but also when to withdraw and let others carry on the
>  > work. He paraphrased Lao Tzu: “True change is to so change things that it
>  > seems natural to everybody but no-one knows who thought of it.” And: “Our
>  > best will not be our children’s best.”
>  >
>  > Though often outwardly gruff and challenging there was real heart to
>  > everything he did.
>  >
>  > Bill Mollison founded the first and original Permaculture Institute, which
>  > was established in 1979 to teach the practical design of sustainable soil,
>  > water, plant, and legal and economic systems to students worldwide. Bill’s
>  > legacy is that hundreds of thousands of past students have created a
>  > world-wide network to take his concept forward. This is a world in which we
>  > are acutely aware of our environment, its capacity and its limitations, and
>  > we design systems to meet human needs which respect that.
>  >
>  > Bill spent his final years in Sisters Beach, Tasmania. The final words
>  > must go to him in true classical tone:
>  >
>  > “If you hear that I am dead tell them they lie.“
>  >
>  > Graham Bell is the author of The Permacultiure Way and The Permaculture
>  > Garden <http://www.green-shopping.co.uk/books/pp/graham-bell.html> and
>  > has been teaching permaculture internationally for over two and a half
>  > decades. He has one of the oldest forest gardens in the Borders of Scotland.
>  >
>  > Cross-posted from grahambell.org <http://grahambell.org/wp-
>  > content/uploads/2016/09/Bill-Mollison-Obituary-25.9.16.pdf> with our
>  > thanks.
>  >
>  > Help spread the permaculture word…
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  > https://www.permaculture.co.uk/news/14748130637497/bruce-
>  > charles-bill-mollison-1928-2016 <https://www.permaculture.co.
>  > uk/news/14748130637497/bruce-charles-bill-mollison-1928-2016>
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >
>  >  <https://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/vivienne-
>  > westwoods-10-steps-climate-revolution>
>  >
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>  --
>  Lawrence F. London, Jr.
>  lfljvenaura at gmail.com
>  https://sites.google.com/site/avantgeared
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