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Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Next year will be an election year for town councils, city councils, zoning boards, school boards, local boards of this and that, state representatives, all sorts of small scale politics. I have a fantasy that permies all over the globe will start thinking about running. The presidential election gets sooooooo much press and the US reps and senators get a lot of attention too, but those people get almost nothing done at all. The place where the rubber meets the road in politics is local. Imagine the changes that could get started if the people making the decisions were basing decisions on permaculture principles?

Anyone already in office? Anyone starting to think of it?

What would you do if you were in charge? I, for one, would make my community walkable and bikable and fund public transit. (this is not the case here now at all) I'd fund microloans for small local business ideas that focus on energy independence, sustainable living and healthy communities.

I'd plant municipal food forests with the local schools!
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I think that all of the media hype that surrounds national elections has 2 principal effects:
* It tricks us all into thinking how important these people must be.
* It causes us to forget about the small town, local politics that directly affect each of us every day.

When there is a pothole in the street in front of your house, does it matter who is on Capitol Hill?
Will it help with school over crowding? Local transit? Cleaning up the river front that runs through town?
Is a 4WD more important for the Sheriff than remodeling the reading room at the Public Library?
Do we add one more salary to the School District, or the Parks Department?

I believe that if we all put more emphasis on local issues, our day to day lives would improve.
Once everybody lives in a friendlier environment, only then is it time to look at the national issues.
The Feds can just tread water, holding the status quo, while we take care of our homes first.

Let's get our own house in order before we go out there to 'change the rest of the world'.

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
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You thinking of running, John Polk? I heard about a municipal microloan program in Eugene from Jan Spencer, a permaculture enthusiast there. He said the city gave some matching funds or something like that to a business that built a portable bike powered cannery!
 
Craig Dobbson
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Posts: 1834
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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How could the principals of permaculture be conveyed to the general public in a way that would not make you come off as a complete nut case? How could you compete with the high price of pay to play politics?
If you imagine your different governmental departments as species in food forest guild, how would you rearrange them to make them more compatible?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:How could the principals of permaculture be conveyed to the general public in a way that would not make you come off as a complete nut case? How could you compete with the high price of pay to play politics?
If you imagine your different governmental departments as species in food forest guild, how would you rearrange them to make them more compatible?


I think the idea of permaculture needs to percolate within the population for awhile and that demonstration sites need to be on the ground. Both of those are happening in Phoenix and Tucson and we get public officials showing up at events. Score one for us! Working within the constructs of urban areas, where one MUST work with government agencies, businesses, etc. can be quite exciting work. Phoenix's mayor actually started a demonstration farm on an empty property in downtown with the help of Ag Ext. which was influenced by work done by local permaculturists. If one can influence the mayor of the nation's 6th largest city - a city that's not known for its "progressiveness" - I'd say other parts of the country have a pretty good shot.

I have been tossing around the idea of running for the Water Board - a non-paid position that decides policy on water we bring into AZ and existing water from more local watersheds. Right now, the Tea Party sees the Water Board as a way to increase their strength in AZ (school board is another one they're after).
 
wayne stephen
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Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I would not mind seeing much of the governmental structure - local and federal - become a part of a huge hugel mound within a worldwide forest guild . If they were allowed to focus on one simple task - retaining and wicking water to the rest of the guild - they could do a good job. Other than that I can not concieve of any place in permaculture for government interference . {The USDA is getting ready to abolish the use of manure in agriculture - heard on NPR yesterday } . I say that permaculture is a creative , flexible system that requires motivated individuals unthwarted by mediocre and stifling government interference . They should get out of the way and leave their meddling fingers out of our business . We know better than they do . We should know better than to involve them in our endeavours . They will just compromise us into mediocrity and take their share of the yield against our will . I cannot think of any greatness to achieve by involving politics . The local food movement , Kickstarter , Mollison , Fukuoaka , permies.com - all happened because of creative individuals and voluntary free associations . No government required .
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I hear what you're saying, Wayne and I agree to a point. The sticking point for me is that the government is there, it has lots of power (more than it should), it makes lots of decisions for us, and if we don't join em, we will have no power to make those decisions. I mean, if you don't want to run, don't run of course. But if permies really did get onto water boards and school boards and into state and local government, it could make a serious difference. Whether we like it or not, until the revolution, the government calls the shots so it's either let them call the shots or get in there and fix things. It's not for everyone but I hope it's for some of us. I know it's happening in some parts of the pacific northwest, and really good things start to happen.

It's true that there is idiocy and stupidity in the government now, but with the state of things as they are, an overthrow of the US government doesn't sound like a viable alternative. In my fantasies, government and multinational corporations get out of the way so that people can really thrive and build a better society. But people are so angry and sick. Everyone but the people on permies, who are no less than perfect!
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Matu Collins wrote:I hear what you're saying, Wayne and I agree to a point. The sticking point for me is that the government is there, it has lots of power (more than it should), it makes lots of decisions for us, and if we don't join em, we will have no power to make those decisions. I mean, if you don't want to run, don't run of course. But if permies really did get onto water boards and school boards and into state and local government, it could make a serious difference. Whether we like it or not, until the revolution, the government calls the shots so it's either let them call the shots or get in there and fix things. It's not for everyone but I hope it's for some of us. I know it's happening in some parts of the pacific northwest, and really good things start to happen.


Yeah - I get wanting the government to "get the hell outta the way" too. However, if I truly think about it, it is an overly simplistic reaction to a very complex problem. If we speak about government in permaculture terms - it has reached a state of "chaos" - chaos being defined as an oversupply of something that cannot be returned to the system in a productive manner, thereby creating waste. If we were to find a way to divert some of that chaos and bring it into balance again so that is no longer a waste (i.e. put permie people into position where they can change policy, etc, at the most local and effective level), then we might have a shot at balancing things out again. There is that permaculture principle of making the least change for the greatest potential outcome.

Granted politics is not for everyone. I, myself, tune 99% of it out because it is blather. However, I show up when and where I CAN make a difference. And I've seen the effects of "showing up" here in AZ (especially in Tucson) where advocacy groups have made changes to local and state regulations.
 
Chris Kott
Posts: 804
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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I find it funny that our political systems can be discussed as if they were a foreign object in a body. These things are human created and supported constructs; there are people still believing in and supporting them, either because they agree ideologically, or because they believe in a steady paycheck, which is what status quo offers if you're already going where you want to go.

Even Tea Party members are true believers; why else would they participate (support) the system with which they take so much issue?

So you're supporting the system if you participate, which is the only way to have a chance at your choice of representative, or your wishes are overlooked if you fail to speak up.

Best to participate, I would say. Get the permies in municipal council, and as high up as we can from a grassroots level. Just being a persuasive voice in a political arena will cause others to react to it, and they will absorb any points into their platform they can without looking like a flip flopper.

-CK
 
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