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The queens of permaculture

 
paul wheaton
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When we created the deck, we had a long list of potentials for the cards. Then we whittled it down. And as we went we threw out some people/topics in favor of more important people/topics.

About a week before the kickstarter went live, people in the inner circle said "I wish we could have all women for the queens". Of course, by that point, an immense amount of work has already gone into the cards as is. So to do three cards over is no light task. And then we thought, well, if we go way over our goal, then we'll have a lot of extra money. Maybe alexander and I can take the time to make three more cards. And, of course, three cards would need to be bumped.

The primary criteria for people is that with their card comes some profound permaculture knowledge written along the edges. This would be things they have done or said. Permaculture information. And since this deck is a non-political deck, there is nothing in it about social justice.

So we already have one queen: ruth stout.

For the three queens my first thoughts were:

Maddy Harland
sally fallon Morell
Carla Emery
Helen Nearing

In our super secret, inner circle forum, other names that were suggested:

Erica Wisner
Jackie French
Barbara Kingsolver
Rachel Carson
Lady Eve Balfour
Louise E. Howard
Vandana Shiva
Wangari Maathai
Carol Deppe
Emelia Hazelip
Helen Atthowe
Dr. Elaine Ingham
Bryony Schwan
Rosemary Waters
Maria Telkes
Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards
Esther Deans

My plan at the moment is to have a bit more discussion about nominations. Then I will start a poll. I will then do another poll with a shorter list. The polls do not define who will be the queens. I will make the final decision. But the polls will have great influence.

For each person in the running, it would be great to get a thread started here on permies, complete with images and information about these people. For example, We have a thread about geoff lawton with videos, images, links, etc.

Later today I will announce the stretch goals, including the three queens. For now, it is the time to nominate.
 
John Polk
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Lady Eve Balfour, "The Living Soil", (1948) was certainly one of the early leaders, as was
Louise E. Howard, "The Earth's Green Carpet" (1947, Rodale Press), wife of Sir Albert.

Both of these ladies were involved in the early 'beyond organic' movements.
Influenced millions. Set the stage.

Free downloads of these 2 books:
"The Living Soil"
"The Earth's Green Carpet"

 
Charlie Magee
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I'd like to add L. Hunter Lovins to your list of potential Queens. A co-founder, with then-husband Amory Lovins, of the Rocky Mountain Institute, her Wikipedia entry includes this: "Named a "green business icon" by Newsweek, a millennium "Hero of the Planet" by Time Magazine, she has also received the Right Livelihood Award, the Leadership in Business Award and dozens of other honors."

Newsweek and Time aren't the most credible sources to lean on in the world of permaculture, but it does prove that her work toward a sustainable life for humans on Earth has had significant cross-over. It might help with spreading of the message as represented by the deck of cards.
 
Charlie Magee
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Another Queen possibility: Donella H. Meadows. Co-author of "Limits to Growth", "Beyond the Limits to Growth" and the classic "Places to Intervene in a System". http://www.developerdotstar.com/mag/articles/PDF/DevDotStar_Meadows_Intervene.pdf

It's important to have a lot of "how to grow this" and "how to build that", but permaculture rests on the shoulders of thinkers and poets, as you all know. For thousands of people "Limits to Growth" (1972) helped kick off the entire environmental movement. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limits_to_growth
 
mindy hawley
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My idea of a painting for ruth stout would be of her gardening...naked. Obviously tasteful
 
Laurie Wayne
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How about Starhawk - in addition to teaching (how many?) PDC's all over the world, she bumps it up a notch like David Holmgren and applies permaculture to social systems.
 
nancy sutton
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I'd like to offer Helena Norberg-Hodge as a candidate for permaculture queen. I doubt she would 'win, but if this only leads more folks to read her "Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh", and watch her documentary, "The Economics of Happiness", the nomination will have done great good From Wiki....

"Helena Norberg-Hodge is an analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide, a pioneer of the localisation movement, and the articulator of the core ideas of Counter-development. She is founder and director of the International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).[1] Based in the US and UK, with subsidiaries in Sweden, Germany, Australia, and Ladakh, ISEC's mission is to examine the root causes of our social and environmental crises, while promoting more sustainable and equitable patterns of living in both North and South. ..."

Also, I ditto Donella Meadows... a pioneer who died much too young.
 
Ce Rice
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Ok, there are many many here who are very versed, educated, and more knowledgeable about permaculture and its history than me.

But I think someone at least needs to make the objection/argument here:
Shouldn't the selections of permaculture "icons" be based on merit, influence and notoriety and not on gender?

I personally find it politically correct and communistic and a bit demeaning to HAVE TO add 3 more woman, just for the sake of adding women.

Here's the thing, there are hundreds of people that have had massive influence on the permaculture movement. But many weren't and can't be added. It's a deck of 54 cards.

So, should there be one, or 13 or zero females, or males or animals or things listed in this deck of cards? Merits overall when brought up against all the other contender's merits should be the final judge(and Paul, because he's grand Duke).

I really hope this comment doesn't start a fire, but an honest discussion/debate. From all that I've learned, the people here are fair and honest and for substance, not just NPK.
 
Matthew Nistico
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@Ce Rice - Thank you for your comment. I think you expressed a very important point, and I too hope that it doesn't start any fires, as you put it.

Probably you are right, in the academic sense, that if the intent is to highlight the most iconic of all pioneers and leaders in permaculturale/sustainability/environmentalism/etc., then they should be selected based on an objective review of the merits of their contributions. This is of course ignoring the obvious contradiction that such a review would be inherently subjective, based on the opinions of those with final responsibility for creating the deck. But no doubt consensus could be reached on a list of figures that most would agree as deserving to be among "the big names in their field."

But I still disagree with you. It seems only appropriate to provide four female examples of permaculture innovators for the Queens of the deck. The cards are Queens, after all! Having a man's face as "the Queen of Diamonds" just seems odd. I don't see selecting three more female figures as an exercise in political correctness; it just seems the natural thing to do. Could it compromise the exercise of prioritizing among all the important personalities, given the limited number of cards there are to fill? Again, in the strictly academic sense? Quite possibly, yes.

But this is not the definitive historical account of the permaculture movement being created. It is a deck of cards. Surely we want it to be informative; that is the whole point. Still, if slavish dedication to an academic principle resulted in something as counter-intuitive as a male queen, I think that would be just silly. And I fear that the average person using the deck would react the same way.
 
Ce Rice
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Matthew, thanks for the reply.

A couple small points, for what it's worth.
One king card is grey water. I think the point of permaculture is to break down systems that are not perfect. And we don't hold royalty and those systems as highly as the old world. The K, Q and J are just the recognizeable icons for playing common card games.

Since I'm still only two years into Permaculture, there are lots of names I don't know(male and female). Willie Smits is one I had to go and look up.

Finally, if putting 4 queens in there will make the permaculture 'brand' more appealing and more effective towards the goal of infecting brains, then it really isn't a big deal, and I say go for it. But I think this deck will be the first Permaculture many people will ever see. So make it as informative and great as possible.
 
paul wheaton
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We decided we did not want a person for the suicide king.

Another point: there are no guys on the queen cards.
 
Lm McWilliams
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Recognizing people who have made postitive contributions to a field (maybe even literally!) and
honoring them is great.

But if the purpose of these cards is to "infect brains", to introduce people to Permaculture - quickly
and in a fun and engaging way - will picturing people (of any gender) on the cards aid that goal?

I hope I am not offending anyone, but if creatures are wanted for the 'face cards', why not the 'unsung'
heros of permaculture: bees? cows? doe goats? a sow?

Thinking back over the times I have tried to share what Permaculture is about, I'm not certain that pictures
of the gurus of Permacuture, as important as they are, would grab the interest of the uninitiated. Or help
people to 'get' something of what Permaculture is all about (quickly, before their cell rings again).

Animals (with some words about how they can function as an integrated part of a Permaculture design) could
help to illustrate why I am so enthusiastic about Permaculture. I can see the folks I talk to slowing down
long enough to read a few lines about the animals.

If this was my project, I would make one exception, and feature Paul Wheaton as the Joker. Since there is no Duke...

Best to all-
 
Adam Moore
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I agree with LM. The uninfected will not care about the info of people on the cards as much as the cards with principles, ideas, etc. Amazing people will come and go but it's the knowledge that we need to pass on. For instance instead of adding a pict of Ruth Stout, I'd rather have unique info on how she gardened. Instead of a pict of Erica I'd rather have more info on rocket mass heaters to share on the card. But practically, if it costs alot of time and money to make changes then I would suggest you make no changes and use that money to buy more plants for your land. Even with no changes the cards are really well done.
 
paul wheaton
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Most of the cards are not people cards.

The few people cards are because that person brings a lot of permaculture tidbits to the table. The four to six messages around the person have a lot of important content.
 
Jane Reed
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It's a truth of psychology that the most interesting thing in the world to people is -- other people. I very much like to know about the accomplishments of the greats and near-greats in the permaculture and sustainability movement.
For example, knowing about Owen Hablutzel's grazing system on his ranch led me to look up his web site and it is now bookmarked so I can read his posts. Placing people on the face cards seems the right (and smart) thing to do.

And this deck of cards is meant to be used. In my experience, there is little more distracting in a card game than a deck that is fussy and self-conscious by being too far out from what we are accustomed to. My additional vote is for cards that make it easier to notice the number and suit. I have used alternative cards in the past and, for me, it's not fun to have to continuously put my concentration on the cards in my hand in order to figure out what it is I hold. Paul, perhaps you are not very concerned about this aspect of things. Me, I would take out these cards once or twice, but for serious playing, I would not. If you actually want people to use these cards frequently, and not just on the one-off "isn't this clever", I hope you will take this into consideration.
 
paul wheaton
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I have played with novelty cards where the numbers on the card were difficult to make out. Are there any of our cards like that?

I think that while these cards **CAN** be used to play cards - that is a tertiary function. I think their primary function is that I give them to somebody that suspects that I am crazy when talk about hugelkultur or rocket mass heaters .... and they spend 30 seconds pawing through the cards. It's about that 30 seconds. That 30 seconds is what the deck is REALLY about. The mission is: can I pique their interest enough in the first 30 seconds to draw them in for another 30 seconds? And another? And another? That then leads to the secondary function: have I piqued their interest enough that they will carefully examine the whole deck? And if they carefully examine the whole deck, will they be interested enough to read a book or watch a DVD or look on the internet?

And, yeah, you could play cards with it too if you wanted.

I think permies have a need for their friends and family to understand permaculture. Sometimes there is a desperate need to convince a spouse-type person. Books, DVDs and even the internet appear to be not working in most cases. So the primary and secondary function of these cards is to help meet that need. The fact that they can be used to play cards is an excuse for the gift.

 
Thom Illingworth
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Paul,
The cards are an excellent idea and an easier way for people to have their interest piqued about permaculture. Maybe introducing the "players" or "icons" of permaculture isn't appropriate for this deck. Stick to concepts, principles, and practices. Save them for Deck 2.0, the trivia card deck: Questions on one side with multiple choice answers, Correct answer on the reverse with more explanatory verbiage. Could be fun game.

That said, if I had to nominate one person (other than Helmgren and Mollison) to be depicted on the cards, it would have to be Rachel Carson, who gave society one large kick in the butt that got many related movements started.

Thom Illingworth
 
paul wheaton
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I think we already have a thread on permies dedicated to helen atthowe. Do we have threads for any of the other candidates? When setting up the poll, I rather like the idea that folks can seriously consider their candidate.

 
Cliff M. Davis
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It seems to make these more timeless in their appeal, only two people should be on the cards (if any at all) Mollison and Holmgren. Many of the people mentioned were not even practicing permaculture. You can't select a few people that have happened to become popular in the present time and elevate them above all others. Stick to the co-originators and get rid of the rest! Really, we need not idolize these people. They are not gurus. Just experienced and forward thinking designers.
 
nathan luedtke
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If we wanted to be quite cheeky, we could put some gay male permies on the Queens cards....


I would recommend considering Reny Mia Slay as an addition to the list- she co-wrote the Designer's Manual and did much of the illustration. I think she deserves a lot more credit than she gets, her letters at the end of Mollison's "Travels in Dreams" are very valuable in helping to understand what Permaculture looked like when it was gettins established.
 
John Polk
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I think that Hoyle will need to rewrite the poker rules:
"Grey Water" & "Composting Toilets" & "Humanure" should constitute a Royal Flush.

 
Chad Sentman
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I'm not opposed to putting women on the queen cards, as long as it doesn't feel contrived, but I do feel that face cards should have faces, and that there shouldn't be faces on 9s and 6s, if there are non-faces on regular face cards. Just one man's opinion.
 
Ce Rice
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Hmmm...
Seems I did spur an interesting tangent on the discussion.

I'm guessing that for all the time, effort and debate put into these cards, Paul really doesn't want to change them at all. I don't mind persons on them. They are good because people can find lots of permaculture resources when people google their names.

So I propose this deck be left alone as it is already presented in the poster,
And Paul, if he wants to on a future deck, can make the suggested changes then.

Polk, I love your idea for a royal FLUSH!
 
Miles Flansburg
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I guess my first reaction to seeing the cards was, cool there are three kings of permaculture... but only one queen. The others were plants etc... are there no other queens?

If these cards are about educating folks about permaculture than there should be queens. This thread has sure educated me about the women of permaculture! I had no idea there were so many...and my ignorance of them makes me sad !

So even if Paul does not change the cards , his request for threads about all of the above "queens" should be followed through with. So please rather than argue about wether or not there should be queens, lets start some threads so we can all learn about these great women!

And the suggestion about trivia cards is an interesting one. My extended family always plays trivial pursuit when we gather together. I would love to introduce a set of "permie pursuit" to them!
 
nathan luedtke
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Robyn Francis has been absolutely instrumental in the development of permaculture as an actual educational discipline in Australia- she started the Permaculture College Australia and secured accreditation. This has led to MUCH greater widespread acceptance of permaculture in the mainstream of Australia.
 
paul wheaton
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What pages have been created for possible queens here on permies? Or, what pages already exist?
 
Miles Flansburg
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Lm McWilliams
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Jane Reed wrote:It's a truth of psychology that the most interesting thing in the world to people is -- other people. I very much like to know about the accomplishments of the greats and near-greats in the permaculture and sustainability movement.
For example, knowing about Owen Hablutzel's grazing system on his ranch led me to look up his web site and it is now bookmarked so I can read his posts. Placing people on the face cards seems the right (and smart) thing to do.

And this deck of cards is meant to be used. In my experience, there is little more distracting in a card game than a deck that is fussy and self-conscious by being too far out from what we are accustomed to. My additional vote is for cards that make it easier to notice the number and suit. I have used alternative cards in the past and, for me, it's not fun to have to continuously put my concentration on the cards in my hand in order to figure out what it is I hold. Paul, perhaps you are not very concerned about this aspect of things. Me, I would take out these cards once or twice, but for serious playing, I would not. If you actually want people to use these cards frequently, and not just on the one-off "isn't this clever", I hope you will take this into consideration.


Great points!

Yet, if I know nothing of permaculture, why would the people who are 'bigwigs' in permaculture be of any interest?
I think the topic comes first, then the interest in the people are noted in that field. It could just be me... but I am
having a hard time seeing how cards featuring people will help to introduce people to WHAT permaculture is (in a
nutshell, so to speak) and WHY it is important - to me, and to them, whether they are yet aware of it or not.

You have a good point, too about the legibility of suit and number. But I don't see myself taking these out for
intense competition games. The striking designs and juicy tidbits of information on each card would make
them fun to use when playing with a congenial group of our friends and family, where conversation and fellowship
is the point of the card games....and gradually exposing them to more info on permaculture, while sparing them
from trying to listen to me explain. <smile!>

Mostly I see myself carrying these around as eye-catching and quick 'visual aids' whenever I find myself
talking to people who have never heard of permaculture. Or who do not know what that word really means.
These cards would be very useful for that even if they had not been designed as 'playing cards'.

Best regards!
 
mindy hawley
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I am excited now to have a list of women to research. This project is very exciting and has lots of potential. I loved the cards immediately upon seeing the kickstarter and am even more excited with the addition of queens. I think the people of permaculture that i have read and implemented techniques like holzer, lawton, deppe, are just as interesting if not more to lure people in. Completely appropriate for a deckfact of cards .
 
paul wheaton
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Here is the list I have so far. Did I leave anybody out? In a few hours I will start the first poll

Maddy Harland
sally fallon morell
Carla Emery
Helen Nearing
Erica Wisner
Jackie French
Barbara Kingsolver
Rachel Carson
Lady Eve Balfour
Louise E. Howard
Vandana Shiva
Wangari Maathai
Carol Deppe
Emelia Hazelip
Helen Atthowe
Dr. Elaine Ingham
Bryony Schwan
Rosemary Waters
Maria Telkes
Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards
Esther Deans
L. Hunter Lovins
Donella H. Meadows
Starhawk
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Reny Mia Slay
Robyn Francis

If we achieve our stretch goal of $100,000, three of the existing cards will be bumped in favor of adding three women. So the argument of whether to do it or not is now moot.

I think now is a very good time to make sure each of these women has an appropriate, media rich thread for them in the "permaculture design" forum. If it is inappropriate to post a thread about them here, then they really don't make the cut for the cards. Also, it would be good to start composing the 4 to 6 tiny bits of information about them that would be written on the borders of the card. I think if we can only think of 2, they are not as good of candidates as somebody where we can easily come up with six.

It is not too late to add more women to this list, but I will be doing a hard cutoff in about two hours.


 
Erica Wisner
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Well if you're going to make it a deadline, I'll thrown in a few other regional teachers.
They'd make a good thread even if they might not out-shine those already on the list.
At any rate, they've been at it longer than me.

Mariah Cornwoman (Heart of the Highlands - heritage seeds, teaching, and food crop research)
Connie VanDyke (no-work gardening teacher)
Marischa Auerbach (PDC teacher)
Penny Livingstone (Regenerative Design Institute)


-Erica
 
paul wheaton
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Elia Charalambides
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Vandana Shiva

Her activism is astounding. It touches on so many facets of permaculture especially the social end and she reaches a broad audience. She also has a way of talking about Permaculture and not saying its permaculture so thus infecting brains that may be initially turned off if they hear the word permaculture.
 
Matthew Nistico
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paul wheaton wrote:...If we achieve our stretch goal of $100,000, three of the existing cards will be bumped in favor of adding three women. So the argument of whether to do it or not is now moot.


Good idea! The argument was starting to become tiresome.
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