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Permaculture: A Designers' Manual - Preface and Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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Preface
- Author's note
- Permaculture defined and its use
- Conventions used
- Access to information
- Cover story

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 The philosophy behind permaculture
1.2 Ethics
1.3 Permaculture in landscape and society
1.4 References

Section 1.2 Ethics now has its own thread - click here.
I'll add other links if new threads are made. If anyone wants to start a thread based on one of the chapter sub-sections, please feel free.
 
Stephanie Garvin
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Regarding the ethics, the one I always struggled a little with was the third one, sharing the surplus. One article that really helped my full understanding of this was Toby Hemmenway's 'Finding a sense of surplus'. Now, I give my students a link to this article and encourage them to read it as part of their homework.

Here is the link:

http://www.patternliteracy.com/125-finding-a-sense-of-surplus
 
wayne stephen
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Where do you start with a chapter like that ? Every line warrants its own discussion ! So I flipped open the book , closed my eyes and pointed . Page 3 :
"Although initially we can see how helping our family and freinds assists us in our own survival , we may evolve the mature ethic that sees all humankind as family , and all life as allied associations. Thus we expand people care to species care , for all life has common origins . All are "our family".Not often that you read a book where every line is quotable or has a philosphical integrity equal to this . All Killer , No Filler !
 
Burra Maluca
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Stephanie Garvin wrote:Regarding the ethics, the one I always struggled a little with was the third one, sharing the surplus.


Ah, but that is *not* the third ethic.

The third ethic, as written the manual is

"SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION: by governing our own needs we can set resources aside to further the above principles."
 
wayne stephen
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My personal opinion regarding the Third Ethic - for the sake of this Book Club Forum - is to focus on "Setting Limits to Population and Consumption " as written in this book . This chapter alone is monumental and we will certainly digress onto many side roads by discussing the latter evolutions of this topic . We have enough to discuss without bringing up topics which will quickly become heated political debate . Those discussions are reserved for the Ulcer Factory and related forums . One of my New Years resolutions is to focus on Permaculture related subject matter more and more on permies.com - and less and less of politics and religion . The vessel is weak . Peace !
 
Eva Taylor
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Just glad to be reading this book. I bought this about 17 years ago cause it looked interesting- I had no knowledge then of permaculture this book was my best impulse buy!
 
Cj Sloane
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wayne stephen wrote: All Killer , No Filler !


So, it begins!

Even this baby chapter could easily be broken into threads/subchapters the book has:
1.1 PERMACULTURE DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
1.2 ETHICS
1.3 PERMACULTURE IN LANDSCAPE AND SOCIETY
1.4 REFERENCES

All in favor, say aye (thumbs up)
 
Cj Sloane
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Opposed, nay (er, also thumbs up).
 
Eva Taylor
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"Even the bacteria... Live by collaboration, accommodation, exchange, and barter". Love this book...
 
Ann Torrence
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It's a curious thing that Mollison so carefully starts out by with axioms, ethics, declarations to identify the crushing need for action and a visionary solution which he says permaculture will lead us to, but leaves out a key definition. What is meant by design? Avoiding heaps of deep philosophical stuff on the interweb, I found a definition that speaks to me:

Design "makes ideas tangible, it takes abstract thoughts and inspirations and makes something concrete."

And goes on to describe it as a method to "think through making things," which is "human-centred," "has a particular ability to make things simple" and "is collaborative."

I can work with this--designing is the process of figuring out the next right action. The permaculturist then takes action. As one of my farming mentors said, "at the end of the day, you have to get the trees in the ground."
 
Cj Sloane
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And that leads us right into:
The Prime Directive of Permaculture.
The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.
Make it now.

And on that note... I guess I'll go brave the cold (a balmy 16F) and feed the animals.
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Where did we first start seeing the 3rd ethic as "return of surplus"? I know Geoff taught it that way this past summer in his online PDC, but I found myself a bit surprised in reading it differently in the Manual. I guess my first couple of times reading this text weren't as successful as I had thought.

Is "return of surplus" one of David Holmgren's writings? I'll check in my Intro to Permaculture book to see what that one says.
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Ann Torrence wrote:
I can work with this--designing is the process of figuring out the next right action. The permaculturist then takes action.


Or the Permaculturist chooses inaction. We are working with nature here so sometimes we will find that something is already working well and our inaction is the better choice!
 
Ann Torrence
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Cj Verde wrote:And that leads us right into:
The Prime Directive of Permaculture.
The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.
Make it now.

How do I know I've really made a decision? By the actions that follow. I can decide to go on a diet, but unless I change my shopping, cooking, feeding, I still haven't REALLY decided to change. It takes each of us as long as it takes to be ready to change behavior. I know of no way to force that process for myself, much less others.

And Lucas Harrison-Zdenek is right on: choosing to do nothing can be active design. Or head in the sand--it's all in the intention. Who am I to judge another's intention?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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wayne stephen wrote:Page 3 : "Although initially we can see how helping our family and freinds assists us in our own survival , we may evolve the mature ethic that sees all humankind as family , and all life as allied associations. Thus we expand people care to species care , for all life has common origins . All are "our family".


As an urban permaculturist with little land, I find this quote to be particularly poignant. If you have a buffer of land around you, you can be more self-sufficient. In a city, one may have little land and may rely on municipal systems to handle things like energy, water and waste. By definition an urban permaculturist must become a collaborator and must see these systems and the people who run them and work in them as part of our system. I have to admit to being fascinated by how permaculture plays out in the urban arena and how we can address these places where the majority of the populous lives, in a more ethical and earth-friendly way. In contemplating this, I've come to realize to, at least here in the SW, how dependent we are on our broader landscape, especially our watersheds. We don't have the luxury of running streams and rivers - at least not anymore. There is a great need to revitalize these systems for the benefit of all.

So my focus right now falls out like this:
--10% about me and my own sustainability (this was more at one point but I have several good systems in place, so now it's less - it's been an evolving process)
--30% about my immediate neighborhood and surrounding 'hoods (organizing classes, talks, hands-on opportunities, cleanup events, social gatherings)
--20% about my city - working to change policy, etc
--40% about the broad landscape in which I live - working to change policy (in talks with the former mayor about proposed desalinization plants for Arizona/Mexico, care of wild lands w/Sierra Club, restoring riparian areas, etc)

For me, permaculture HAS to go beyond my property by necessity.

What do others think?
 
Matu Collins
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For me, permaculture HAS to go beyond my property by necessity.

What do others think?


Yes! Like wacky ol' Dr. Bronner said "All one!"

I also like the saying "Sometimes the next right thing to do is nothing" even though doing "nothing" for me is actually doing something-observation.
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote: In a city, one may have little land and may rely on municipal systems to handle things like energy, water and waste. By definition an urban permaculturist must become a collaborator and must see these systems and the people who run them and work in them as part of our system.

...For me, permaculture HAS to go beyond my property by necessity.

What do others think?


I definitely agree with you, being an urbanite myself, that we as premies must have extra focus outside of our own tiny properties. I have to disagree with you on the point of "relying" on municipal systems for energy, water and waste, though.

We have curbside garbage and recycling here as well as the normal municipal sewer and storm drain systems. We also get our water from the city, piped directly into our house with plenty of pressure…etc. The problem that I see, from a permaculture point of view, is that these systems, even when managed properly, are not sustainable. We are still pulling water from our local watersheds and aquifers without any regeneration plan or process. In the city, rain barrels, mini swales, water conservation methods…etc. are excellent ways to reduce our reliance on those unsustainable systems. Unfortunately, most of us live in houses that were built (unsustainably) years ago and have no way of removing ourselves from the use of these systems, but we can make every effort to reduce our dependence and help those around us to reduce as well.
 
Eva Taylor
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I agree that permaculture has to go beyond my property, though I think for all of us it must begin with what we can influence directly first, then expand naturally from that. Whether that be with property, buying habits, or deciding where you bring your trash. This is where small ripples turn to tsunamis.
I began with a book and a garden, then I met people who had done the same, and now we have come together as a group and joined with Transitions US- to teach what we know and share what we have. No different from Paul and This forum. I think this IS the natural progression, I think we are making a course correction and that we just need to keep going and learning. This is awesome!
 
Cj Sloane
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This leads us page 46, Figure 3.6 Options and Decisions - Doing nothing is definitely a choice.

PRIORITIES Decided by ethics of use
STAGES of procedure by urgency, finance, skills, resources available, energy...

versus
STATES OF ACTION page 62 TABLE 3.5 INTERACTION OF MATRIX OF TWO SPECIES

I guess they are 2 different ways of determining what, if any action to take.

Thoughts?
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Lucas Harrison-Zdenek wrote:I definitely agree with you, being an urbanite myself, that we as premies must have extra focus outside of our own tiny properties. I have to disagree with you on the point of "relying" on municipal systems for energy, water and waste, though.

We have curbside garbage and recycling here as well as the normal municipal sewer and storm drain systems. We also get our water from the city, piped directly into our house with plenty of pressure…etc. The problem that I see, from a permaculture point of view, is that these systems, even when managed properly, are not sustainable. We are still pulling water from our local watersheds and aquifers without any regeneration plan or process. In the city, rain barrels, mini swales, water conservation methods…etc. are excellent ways to reduce our reliance on those unsustainable systems. Unfortunately, most of us live in houses that were built (unsustainably) years ago and have no way of removing ourselves from the use of these systems, but we can make every effort to reduce our dependence and help those around us to reduce as well.


Totally agree with you, Lucas. When I said "may rely upon" I meant that these systems were set up with serving a large populace in mind. Many are NOT sustainable. There are many small and large ways to go about making urban living more sustainable and less reliant upon the current systems. One can both take action on their individual property (as you state above) AND work towards policy change to effect a more sustainable system for all. Will urbanites ever be totally self-sufficient? Probably not - but there's lots of room to do things better than we are now - and that's where my focus, and yours, seems to be.

An organization I'm associated with, Watershed Management Group, out of Tucson is responsible for many positive policy changes on harvesting rain, grey, dark grey and storm water both at individual residences and at the city level. They are now working with the EPA to determine the feasibility of reintroducing composting toilets to desert areas. I'll actually be running their KickStarter campaign for this program (and just wrote the song I think we'll use in the video - a spoof of John Mayer's "Your Body is a Wonderland" - only in my version, it's "Your Potty is a Wonderland")

Another example of a community coming together is when Phoenix's former mayor proposed desalinization plants for AZ/Mexico. De-sal is costly, has environmental impacts and relies on fuel to desalinate the water AND to ship it uphill to where it needs to be - thus tying water costs to fuel costs. Because there was pushback, he is now organizing some community meetings and gathering alternative information on rehydrating our watershed through a variety of measures that are less invasive, costly and actually benefit the landscape. And they're not tied to fuel prices - at least not forever.

 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Burra Maluca wrote:
Stephanie Garvin wrote:Regarding the ethics, the one I always struggled a little with was the third one, sharing the surplus.


Ah, but that is *not* the third ethic.

The third ethic, as written the manual is

"SETTING LIMITS TO POPULATION AND CONSUMPTION: by governing our own needs we can set resources aside to further the above principles."


So, I asked the question "where did we first start hearing the third ethic as 'return of surplus' instead of 'settings limits'" With a little quick research, I realize that there are a few sources where I heard the former before reading it correctly in the book. The geoff lawton PDC this summer has it listed as "return of surplus" in the video description, it is found in the Earth User's Guide to Permaculture this same way, even the Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison lists the 3 ethics as 3 parts of the "care for earth" with the final part being "contribution of surplus time, money, and energy to achieve the aims of earth and people care".

What I take from all of this is that we cannot simply read the text without considering all of its implications. David Holmgren, in Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability, puts both of these ethics together as his third. Bill gave us the framework to get started. This whole book in all of its detail and diversity, is merely a jumping off point. This is what I love about permaculture, the intense amount of interpretation.
 
Jennifer Herod
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WOW! This is going to be an intense few weeks! I feel my brain swelling already!

We have spent the last 7 summers building an earthship. We are planning to move in this coming summer...so many things to do. Jobs just get in the way. HA!

I had never heard of this book, this author, or even the word permaculture until a few months ago. I was googling a collection of options to yet another earthship puzzle when I found permies.com. The mindset of self-sustainability has been hard at work in my psyche for some time, hence the birth of an earthship... but I am realizing now, that I have only had a tiny piece of the overall puzzle. I am hoping this book will give me a sense of priority and focus. I need to forge a plan for the property, as I did for the earthship. We have an acre and a half, and I want to design it smartly. From the tantalizing tidbits of chapter 1, I am indeed in the right place at the right time.

"It is hypocrisy to pretend to save forests, yet to buy daily newspapers and packaged food; to preserve native plants, yet rely on agrochemical production for food; and to adopt a diet which calls for broadscale food production."

I find my conscience tweaking at the tiniest of things...buying items at Target...clothes, soaps, trinkets and baubles...We put our entire house in storage a year and a half ago to move in to an RV and work on the earthship and property. I have come to realize, after a year and a half without those things, that I don't need most of it. I pared down quite a bit to move things to storage...or so I thought. I will pare down again. I feel a bit like a squirrel on a wheel. There is so much to do....and my heart longs to embrace it daily, make it my world...but I have to work to afford my "Hobby" but the time working for someone else gets in the way of the things that need doing each day...I am a teacher so I have more free time that most poor working sots...LOL, but not enough to jump in and get this going the way I would like. I continually remind myself to start where I am, and work toward where I want to be. The larger battle isn't against the elements, or the dirt, or the devil we call time, but against me...I long for the peace, the quiet, the stillness.
 
Frank Turrentine
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To be fair, I don't know that you can altogether leave politics out of this text without it simply becoming a technical manual. Right off the bat he says we must replace nation states with villages. He also says on page one that to accumulate wealth, power or land beyond one's needs is truly immoral. Those are pretty profound political statements.

Yet having said that, my interest in this manual arose from my desire to be a good steward of this property, to figure out how to manage the water and other resources, such that the systems around me increase in abundance every year, and to be able to extricate myself from a technological trap I can neither comprehend nor afford. I think in an urban environment there has to be a collective will to create regenerative systems, while individuals work toward a point where there is no need for trash pick-up, because there is no trash. I can't see urban permaculture working, however, without urban centers being broken down into a collection of neighborhoods that act as permaculture villages. I think in the end the cities have to die away of their own entropy as people leave them behind.

Honestly, I embrace the donkey cart as the transportation of the future.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jennifer Herod wrote:... but I am realizing now, that I have only had a tiny piece of the overall puzzle. I am hoping this book will give me a sense of priority and focus. I need to forge a plan for the property, as I did for the earthship. We have an acre and a half, and I want to design it smartly. From the tantalizing tidbits of chapter 1, I am indeed in the right place at the right time.


The PDM is awesome but I strongly urge you take a PDC. I swore up and down that I wouldn't take one, didn't need to take one because I didn't plan on teaching. About a year and a half after reading the PDM I took Geoff's online PDC and yes, the PDC was worth it and necessary.
 
Frank Turrentine
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I think "return the surplus" arises pretty naturally from the third ethic. "By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles." Return the surplus isn't a very tortured paraphrase of that.
 
Cj Sloane
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Frank Turrentine wrote:To be fair, I don't know that you can altogether leave politics out of this text without it simply becoming a technical manual. Right off the bat he says we must replace nation states with villages. He also says on page one that to accumulate wealth, power or land beyond one's needs is truly immoral. Those are pretty profound political statements.


We may be OK as long as we distinguish between political and partisan!
 
Jennifer Herod
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Cj Verde wrote:
Jennifer Herod wrote:... but I am realizing now, that I have only had a tiny piece of the overall puzzle. I am hoping this book will give me a sense of priority and focus. I need to forge a plan for the property, as I did for the earthship. We have an acre and a half, and I want to design it smartly. From the tantalizing tidbits of chapter 1, I am indeed in the right place at the right time.


The PDM is awesome but I strongly urge you take a PDC. I swore up and down that I wouldn't take one, didn't need to take one because I didn't plan on teaching. About a year and a half after reading the PDM I took Geoff's online PDC and yes, the PDC was worth it and necessary.


PDC Online? hmmm. I didn't know such a thing existed. So I can get this certification online...very interesting indeed. How does the course differ from the text? How do they work together? And thank you for the heads up.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Jennifer Herod wrote:PDC Online? hmmm. I didn't know such a thing existed. So I can get this certification online...very interesting indeed. How does the course differ from the text? How do they work together? And thank you for the heads up.


Not only can you take it online - there are several online PDCs offered

A discussion of Geoff Lawton's PDC: http://www.permies.com/t/30228/permaculture/PDC-Geoff-Lawton-opinion
 
Cj Sloane
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Many on this thread will agree Geoff Lawton's is the one to take. There should be another one coming up soon. In the mean time, check out his cool videos here. Some at permies have complained about Geoff site and,or that he's to self-promotional but the videos are awesome.
 
Jennifer Herod
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thank you again! I am watching videos, and have put my email in for the next online class (I hope,,LOL).
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Frank Turrentine wrote: I can't see urban permaculture working, however, without urban centers being broken down into a collection of neighborhoods that act as permaculture villages. I think in the end the cities have to die away of their own entropy as people leave them behind.

Honestly, I embrace the donkey cart as the transportation of the future.


Really permaculture never works in a vacuum - we truly are "all in this together" - no matter if we are on an isolated homestead or in the middle of a megapolis.

One of the most wonderful things someone ever responded to me on this site was regarding the promise of trees and how a critical mass of trees brings rain and works to rehydrate the landscape. Brett A (New Mexico) said that he'd grow trees in Albuquerque to pass along moisture to TX if I'd grow trees here in Phoenix to pass along moisture to NM. In turn, I heartily thank the efforts of Tree People in CA (Las Angeles) for sending their tree moisture to NV and AZ! While a cooperation of regional areas growing trees to help each other extend rain patterns and rehydrate arid lands seems almost laughable -this technique has been successful in parts of Africa through Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.
 
Jessica Gorton
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Yes! To this discussion, and this book, and to already pushing me in this new year to better myself...

I agree that Mollison makes a lot of political statements, in that he argues for a different organization to human interactions, and government really is just a way of codifying how a group of people "ought" to live together. I think as we move into the more practical, design-oriented parts of the book, the politics of it won't be as big a part of the discussion, but for this chapter, I don't think we can ignore his prescriptions on how to build a better world. For me, permaculture encompasses so much more than simply the design of my own homestead, and I do get a little frustrated by the lack of a venue here to discuss how we go from the micro ideas of practical day-to-day sustainability to the macro ideas of redesigning our communities and laws to make the whole ball of wax sustainable, peaceful and just (though I bow to Paul's vision of a forum that doesn't devolve into name-calling and political ranting...I'm just hoping to add a couple more apples someday so I can get into the messier conversations ).

I mean, how do we talk about this chapter without touching on things like:

"The courage we need is to refuse authority and to accept only personally responsible decisions. Like war, growth at any cost is an outmoded and discredited concept."
"We can either ignore the madness of uncontrolled industrial growth and defence [sic] spending that is in small bites, or large catastrophes, eroding life forms every day, or take the path to life and survival."
"The wage-slave, peasant, landlord, and industrialist alike are deprived of the leisure and the life spirit that is possible in a cooperative society which applies its knowledge."
"...tribal peoples, whose aim was to develop a conceptual and spiritual existence, have encountered a crude scientific and material culture whose life aim is not only unstated, but which relies on pseudo-economic and technological systems for its existence."

...and all these quotes come before we even get to the "Ethics" section of the chapter...

I do agree that getting into partisan conflicts isn't a good idea. But a big problem, in my country at least, is that we have been conditioned to see the political as 2-sided (rather than multi-faceted), and to view every political discussion as an argument. We also see the political as somehow separate from our lives, something that those jerks in that city down there keep messing up, rather than something that starts as soon as I step outside my door. We also (conveniently) ignore that by focusing on this tweak of the law, or that narrow injustice or minority group, we are missing the bigger picture, which Mollison puts very succinctly: "we have arrived at final and irrevocable decisions that will abolish or sustain life on this earth". By lapsing into arguments about how socialist Obamacare is or isn't, we avoid making the huge changes that are going to be necessary to heal the multitudes of wounds, upon our planet, our communities, ourselves.

I'm not trying to make this a political discussion at all (it's much bigger than that, really). But Mollison is pretty clearly calling for a new world order, a sea change, a totally different idea of how society could be structured.
 
Frank Turrentine
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I don't see it as partisan at all though. I think the macro-political changes have to follow what each of us do individually and collectively. The political landscape will come along to codify that change. One problem with many of the progressively labeled political revolutions of the last century was their "top-down" nature in most instances. Well, that, and many were just cadres of gangsters hiding behind progressive politics.

But yes, we do have to each make a decision in those instances where we are faced with the choice to abide with the ongoing destruction of our land-base and even participate, or to work toward something different.

I tend to take a "resist not evil, keep yer eyes on jesus" approach, personally. I could be chained to a tree in east Texas this year, or I could simply send some bail money to those folks while I keep planting trees. Since I have a pretty good record with the fuzz already, I'll sit tight here on the river.
 
Jennifer Herod
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He is, indeed, calling for those things...like many big and worthy ideas that have grown and spread globally over the centuries, if it rings true with me, and I act upon that truth, and talk about it, others may see the truth, and begin to learn and act on it, others will see their work, and so on. I think this method, will eventually gather enough steam to begin effecting government itself. If we affect government only and attempt to dictate, from the top down, it will fail. People will rebel without understanding what they are rebelling against. Change takes time.

We can affect a larger change, I think, by how we spend, or dont spend, the almighty dollar. There are BIG political and commercial entities in practice that are tough to steer toward or away from anything...unless like-minded people hit them in their pocketbooks.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Jennifer Herod wrote:Change takes time.


This is a truism that I think befuddles most of us. We WANT to see results - if not immediately, within our lifetimes - but it might not work out that way. Especially with something like evolving environments and settlements. We have to employ that permaculture principle of "working with what we've got" and move forward through active observation and appropriate action. If not, we will continue to be stuck in the same or worsening circumstances.

 
wayne stephen
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How do we discuss the ethics without discussing politics ? To quote the man himself {from later interviews} :

London: Even though permaculture is based on scientific principles, it seems to have a very strong philosophical or ethical dimension.

Mollison: There is an ethical dimension because I think science without ethics is sociopathology. To say, "I’ll apply what I know regardless of the outcome" is to take absolutely no responsibility for your actions. I don’t want to be associated with that sort of science.

London: What do you think you’ve started?

Mollison: Well, it’s a revolution. But it’s the sort of revolution that no one will notice. It might get a little shadier. Buildings might function better. You might have less money to earn because your food is all around you and you don’t have any energy costs. Giant amounts of money might be freed up in society so that we can provide for ourselves better.
So it’s a revolution. But permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.

He also discusses how to come together and get things done :

"In any group endeavour, there are practical and effective, or impractical and ineffective, ways to manage a complex system. Impractical, frustrating, and time-consuming systems are those governed by large boards, assemblies, or groups (seven or more people). These "meetings" have a chairperson, agendas, proposals, votes, or use consensus, and can go on for hours. Consensus, in particular, is an endless and pointless affair, with coercion of the often silent or incoherent abstainer by a vociferous minority. Thus, decisions reached by boards, parliaments, and consensus groups either oppress some individuals (votes) or are vetoed by dissenters. In either case, we have tyranny of a majority or tyranny of a minority, and a great deal of frustration and wasted time. The way to abolish such systems is to have one meeting where the sole agenda is to vote to abolish decision meetings -- this is usually carried unanimously -- and another where a consensus is reached to abolish consensus -- this too shouldn't take long."

On page 3 of the Manual - 1.2 Ethics :

"It has become evident that unity in people comes from a common adherence to a set of ethical principles , each of us perhaps going our own pace , and within the limits of our own resources , yet all leading to the same goals , which in our own case is that of a living , complex , and sustainable earth . Those who agree on such ethics , philosophies , and goals form a global nation ."

So I guess we get out and do it ! We link up with others who are doing it . We teach and inspire others to do it . Pretty soon everyone is doing it . If everyone is cooperating and everyone lives by the ethics then maybe their will be no need for politics ? Am I groking this point correctly ?
 
Jean McMahon
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I am just getting started on the chapter and am also taking an online PDC at the same time so my brain is really in overdrive. Add to that the promise of the New Year (Happy New Year to all) to live more sustainably/environmentally/socially/ economically responsible and PHEW!!! But this is so exciting...I am looking forward to this journey with everyone!
 
Ann Torrence
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wayne stephen wrote:How do we discuss the ethics without discussing politics ?

Politics is the study of governing others.
Ethics is the study of governing oneself.

Ethics may guide someone acting in the political sphere.
Politics may compel certain behaviors but cannot ever compel someone to adopt an ethic.

Great quote--I like how Mollison says there are no laws, just ethics. Be the change and make it look more attractive than the alternatives, that's how it will get done, IMHO.
 
Eva Taylor
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There is so much to be said, and while I dislike politics, laws do have to change so that we may use more of the technologies available like building grey water systems and rocket mass heaters in new construction. That's where we can illicit macro changes, and seems to be happening with groups like permies and transitions.
I also think we need to reexamine the role we play on our own properties. What about exploring methods for incorporating critters growing already on our properties as food? All kinds of talk on how to control pests but what of eating pests- groundhogs, deer,bear, raccoons etc.? It's resource intensive to raise farm animals, we could raise all the food for them on site but still we are desturbing more land for a steak instead of a venison loin. Why are we expending energy on discouraging pests that we should be incorporating into our design?
This has been my thinking since toiling for several years to build a herd of sheep that the local bears ended up feasting on. I found I enjoyed bear meat just as much as lamb.

On a side note read this from Toby Hemingway on the transitions movement being a Trojan horse for permaculture
Toby Hemmingway
 
Matu Collins
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An important point is on page one regarding the "sundering of parts" that happens when knowledge and discovery is split into separate disciplines.

This is the case in medicine, where specialists know lots of up to date research on one specific body part but know very little about overall health promotion and the way systems interact. It's not any one doctor's fault, the system is built this way. It's incontrovertible that enough sleep is essential to health and yet doctors in residence are routinely required to have schedules incompatible with enough sleep...

All over, it's a conundrum. We know so much collectively now but it's hard to gather all the info together to put the pieces of the big picture together. And we are so dependent on the system of specialized work to care for us as we've lost the knowledge and ability to do many of the variety of tasks that our ancestors did.
And figuring this out is much of what we do here on permies! How do I grow many kinds of food/warm my own house/build shelter?

I'd like to know about a broad variety of topics myself and have a community that puts heads together and knows everything we need to know.
 
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