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The Wheaton Eco Scale

 
pollinator
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Not sure how I stumbled on the ten year old post but I love it. Personally I'm about to graduate from 3 to 4. Sat at a two for many years, content with what I knew at the moment. Hubs is at the beginning of level 2. He is starting to see the benefit of the couple permaculture areas I created in our backyard. He kind of shook his head while I laid the chips, added the compost and planted bulbs and moved native species over. He even declared it a failure after a few weeks (I created it in November). Now he is willingly helping my build hugelkultur, not easy for his type A personality (the Chaos!).

Hoping our youngest children will leave home at level three or more! Excited to keep this adventure growing!

PS. Never considered different dandelions have a variety of flavor. Putting find the delicious variety on my list. I've got at least four kinds out there!
 
master steward
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I think type A folks do the best with permaculture.  Hell, sepp is at the top of the list.
 
gardener
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Can someone stick a link in here for the original podcast episodes about the "Wheaton Eco-Scale"?  I can't remember which episode(s) it was or find it through Google.  Thanks!  I love this infographic so much, just seeing it for the first time today.   I also think hearing Paul discuss and describe his concept is best way to understand the idea.  Trying to spread these concepts and build bridges with people who are caught up in the misunderstanding that cities can be "green".
 
pollinator
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Observation 1:  most people find folks one or two levels up took pretty cool.  People three levels up look a bit nutty.  People four of five levels up look downright crazy.  People six levels up should probably be institutionalized.   I find the latter reactions to be inappropriate.

Observations 2:  most people find folks one level back are ignorant.  Two levels back are assholes.  Any further back and they should be shot on sight for the betterment of society as a whole.  I find that all of these reactions are innapropriate.



I don't have any bad feelings about anyone, whatever 'level' they are. In fact I think all people have a little bit of every level in them (potentially). By showing them what's possible they will start seeing it isn't impossible to live a different life. And the tiny part of Permie inside of them will start coming out, so they can start 'rising a level', one level at the time or maybe even in larger steps! ;-)
Myself I am not at one fixed level, in some things I'm at a higher level than in others. And I am still going forwards ... (or maybe sometimes a little step backwards)
 
paul wheaton
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and now the scale is available as a video ...



 
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Wow!!! I'm so impressed. I loved the image of the scale, but this I can get people to watch and listen to. Great presentation of the concepts. Thanks for all your hard work!
 
paul wheaton
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Wow, the upvote to downvote ratio on youtube is looking pretty sad - this might even end up as my lowest rated video ever ....   i thought the video turned out really good.   I was thinking that this video was going to get major views and major upvotes.
 
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Posted this (with the link of course) in a "moderately granola" group on Facebook for families interested in the crunchy lifestyle. Described why I love it and the labels. Immediately got told off by an admin for "using the ableist term 'crazy' " That's enough Facebook for...forever, I'm going out to my garden. Argh.
 
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Maybe a lot of the downvotes are because the narrator doesn't quite have the same humor as Paul? To me, he comes across as serious and like he doesn't quite understand why he's reading what he's reading, and doesn't quite agree with it. Maybe that makes the viewer not nearly as persuaded--and more likely to be offended--by the video?
 
gardener
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I think this subject is controversial in it of itself even tho it’s advocating for people to be less judgemental of others and proposing a better understanding of what “Eco” can mean in a deeper and fun way. But this is good because it starts a conversation, specially if it’s inward. So people will get emotional and those who disagree will initially boo but as I write this the ratio is getting better and better :)

I really hope this one goes viral and reaches as many people as possible because it’s very thought provoking. And a good thing of having these ideas showcased in a linear way  is that it presents an exponential model for growth. No matter where you are in the scale there’s people and specially an Austrian guy who have proven that doing this is possible. Having the hope of being able to get to that level of understanding and impact is very inspirational.
I can’t help myself and smile when I imagine a world where the stats on this scale drastically change and billions of people start to do things in what I too believe is a “better” way.
 
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I'm trying to conserve my expensive bandwidth and didn't make it past Level 6 in the video, but I was really chuckling at that point. Your suggestion of each of us making our own scale is sensible, because what seems valuable and important is subjective (and changeable).

For example, I used to give a lot of weight to organic food. However, although I garden organically, I've learned the significant limitations, even damage, that accompany doing it on the large scale required to feed large populations with relatively few farmers. I also don't want (and poor people can't afford) to pay premium prices for food with no apparent flavour or nutritional superiority, especially produce that's wilted or sporting bad spots, which is not uncommon in the supermarkets in my area.

The "carbon footprint" gauge is another subjective one. Striving to use energy efficiently is supported, I suspect, by most people. But being able to utilize abundant low cost energy allows me to accomplish many tasks that would be impossible or take too long using more primitive methods. (I've tried some of the old-style methods long before "badge bits" were around. 🙄) It seems to me that Permies-type efforts at broad self-sufficiency are greatly aided by utilizing all forms of energy and materials available to us. I'm looking forward to having a completed RMH in my hoophouse this winter to use some of my abundant tree trimmings efficiently, but I'm grateful that I could use an electric heater last winter to confirm the viability of growing veggies through a cold northern winter.

My scale is shorter -- perhaps 6 levels, but the idea has merit. As Andrés wrote, it's thought-provoking.
 
David Wieland
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I'd say the video is well done but has an ideological slant that surprised me. I've learned through research that some of the fashionable "eco" claims are at best dubious and don't deserve the cachet they've been accorded.
 
pollinator
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The idea is that everyone is on a progressive path and judging others or assigning them a number isn't productive.    At least that's what I get from it.   Just got my book copy and it's excellent, implemented 2 new ideas immediately,   2 more are now back on my radar and taking the next research steps.    About to go drop it at our local free library outpost today.
 
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This is great!  I think Olaf made this?  I love it.

The thumbs up are more than 10X the thumbs down now, but the view count is less than 2000.  I'm going to share this with some non-permie folks now, see if we can drive the view count.
 
paul wheaton
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When I posted earlier it was something like 86% thumbs up - which was awful.   It is now up to 92%!   92% is still pretty low, but not my worst.

 
Nicole Alderman
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Jane Payne wrote:Posted this (with the link of course) in a "moderately granola" group on Facebook for families interested in the crunchy lifestyle. Described why I love it and the labels. Immediately got told off by an admin for "using the ableist term 'crazy' " That's enough Facebook for...forever, I'm going out to my garden. Argh.



Hey! I replied to your comment on that facebook post, then couldn't find it again later. Came here to look for the "levels" thread because I hadn't seen it before, despite hours and hours of reading. Can't believe you got in trouble for it! Anyway, thanks for sharing because I enjoyed looking at it from that perspective.
 
steward
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Lol I loved the scale I love number 10 guy but I’m a 1 . I found his mountain and It looked like my dreams of Zion. Too bad the movie wasn’t in English. Looks like living in an apartment can keep people back from what they see in their hearts. We should each be given land we would all progress faster down the eco path just being reconnected to land again.
 
gardener
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Hi Dawn,

Have you seen PEA?  Permacuture Education for Apartment Dwellers ? Perhaps this would be a good place to explore?
 
paul wheaton
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the movie in english

https://permies.com/wiki/141614/videos/Sepp-Holzer-Permaculture-documentaries-Farming

 
paul wheaton
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A few days ago I heard about a "Climate Conversations Across Differences: Panel Discussion" thing in missoula - my town.  Over zoom.  It was free.  

How can we build overwhelming support for climate action if most of us don’t talk about it? Join us to hear success stories from the field, share your experiences, and explore skills for bringing climate into your day-to-day conversations consistently, and with more confidence. Link



I signed up and during the signup there was something asking for me to say something about myself.  So I did.  I thought they might add me to the panel.  They didn't.  oh well.

Three different times they showed clips from the movie "don't look up" and talked about how they related to the leonardo dicaprio character who is trying to tell everybody about a comet that will kill everybody, but nobody will listen.  

So, the 50 people on the zoom call related to not being heard.  

In the meantime, I am filling the chat with comments about 30 tons per year, rocket mass heaters, apple a day ...   35% of your carbon footprint is related to food, and a garden can eliminate that ...

I was relating deeply during that call.  The people keen on hearing how to have a conversation were focused on the speakers and not on some gadfly in the chat.  

There was one time in the chat where somebody acknowledged what I said.  And the host did share my question "how do we persuade a billion people?"  And one of the speakers had a decent answer for being put on the spot:

     - he talked about reaching the tipping point, which he said was about 11 million people in the US
     - he talked about "one person at a time" which I think of as the "how do you eat a whale? one bite at a time."

I tried to point out how many people I am reaching right now.  i would like to share about that.  And maybe even get feedback on how to do more.  But ...  just a kooky gadfly ....   like the leonardo character.

This morning I was still stewing on it ...   how can I reach a billion people when I couldn't make a dent with 50?  And then I remembered the wheaton eco scale.  Of course.  

I think I might currently be a solid level 8 right now.  That means to everybody up to level 5 will see me as crazy.  As much as I tried to suggest things that would appeal to level 2 and 3, I did make the mistake of mentioning rocket mass heaters - that is definitely a level 6 thing.

-----

I gave a link to my book.  That might have appeared to be a bit too self serving.  I wanted to add heaps of links to other things, but I felt that would be too overwhelming - and I was already being too overwhelming.

Here is my keynote at a conference in california:



Here is my ted talk:



Here is my four minute presentation at SIEW:



And, of course, my book: https://permies.com/bwb





This is such a massive gob of frustration.  But I have now been down this path a thousand times.  Each time, people encourage me to talk to celebrities, hire a publicist, etc. - but I've never gotten traction there either.  In the end the only thing I can think of doing is to create content for level 5, 6 and 7 people.  Sometimes the level 5 people will share it (or give it) to level 4 people.   And maybe some level 4 people will give it to some level 3 people.  Etc.  

I need to focus on producing bricks to build a better world and hope that those bricks make it to millions of people.  

One day, maybe one brick will go viral and then the rest of the bricks will get a boost.  
 
pollinator
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I think the issue with advocating for permaculture as the one and only solution to the worlds problems vastly oversimplifies the mess western industrial countries are in right now. If you live in an apartment, what good is a rocket mass heater going to do if you cant produce the fuel to run it? Where are you going to plant 10 apple trees every day? If all the apartment-dwellers moved out to the land, who is going to keep the industrial production going, or the internet running?

I think the mismatch is that you believe that what you are advocating for is going to solve all the problems, and other people do not. Perhaps that is not your intent, but that is the impression I get.

I think it might be less frustrating if you picked a more limited scope. It is tempting to want to say "If only everybody would do ... blank" then we would all be saved. But every problem is interconnected, and each one your wipe away with a keystroke, will spawn a new problem to take its place.

In the absence of a solution to all the world's woes, I think the best we can hope to do is live well, and inspire others with the work we do.
 
paul wheaton
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I don't have time today to address each point, but I did take on the first one here.
 
pollinator
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So, I came across this thread relatively recently and have to say, my mind pretty much viewed my path in the same way when I discovered permaculture.

But I was married and 25 years old when I discovered permaculture and wanted to dive from about a level 2 to the end of the road instantly. My wife was probably a 1 at the time, and in no way had the same revelatory life changing experience as me and so had no desire to get farther down the path so to speak. Now, 5 or so years later and I’d say I’m close to a level 4, wishing I was a bit farther along and still (less urgently) heading down the path. My wife is probably around a 1-2 now but full of anger, resentment and sadness due to feeling neglected or less of a priority for several years. I understand her feelings and agree they make sense. But I cant sit around stalled out not making progress. Im already slowing way down for her and trying to ease her transition. I like to dive in and shes a tip-toer. But she’s stubborn and a fighter and I’m tired of conflict.

I guess I’m curious, what do any of you recommend if you find yourself suddenly a level or two “ahead” of a spouse who unfortunately doest view you as “pretty cool” like the eco scale suggests? She feels like shes being dragged along kicking and screaming the whole way, and I cant say I feel any differently about it. To me, she needs a new perspective. To her, I need to change my behavior.

Any advice is appreciated!
 
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When someone close to us doesn’t have the same interests, what do we do? And is permaculture an interest, or is it the fact that you’re actually trying to save her life and yours? It could be a do or die thing, but maybe you’re going to have to open your hand and let that go.Only thing I can think of doing is to help other people with their permaculture projects. Do your level in a different arena. Prioritize your relationship, because that’s where most of our growing as a human being takes place. I’m sure if you back off to her level, you will still make significant + changes in your lives, and save your relationship. Be the leader in your team and create peace  Be like water, find a way around the problem, or better yet, see the problem as an opportunity.Good luck!
 
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