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Podcast 276 - Geoff Lawton on Permaculture Part 1  RSS feed

 
Adrien Lapointe
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Summary



Credit: CJ Verde

geoff lawton answers a ton of questions like why he's not on the Permaculture Playing Cards. Paul and Geoff discuss how they deal with detractors. They discuss the top women in permaculture. Why is there hostility in the permaculture movement.? How did metaphysics wind up in permaculture? Who is in charge of permaculture? If no one is in charge, who decides? The best system wins.

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Jerry McIntire
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:How did metaphysics wind up in permaculture?


It's because metaphysics includes everything else. Like rhetoric, which shows that "all knowledge is one." Dorothy Sayers said that. Another way of saying, everything is connected, which is pretty obvious from a permaculture perspective.
Jerry
 
Chris Badgett
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Good show! That was interesting at the end about how the children were positively effected by the parent taking the online permaculture course. Making permaculture more accessible to young people is great challenge.
 
Eivind Bjoerkavaag
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Can't wait till part 2!!
 
Heidi Hoff
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Thanks for sharing this, Paul. I've watched all Geoff's free materials, but I've never heard him so candidly passionate and, at the same time, clearly worried about the future. I had some reservations about the publicity videos he made building up to the launch of his online PDC, but he just wiped them away with this podcast. I understand much more where he is coming from now.

I share his perception of the American culture of "me first." I am American, but now live in Canada. One of the reasons I left the U.S. was exactly that attitude. Unfortunately, I find that there are always people who need to tear others down in order to feel better about themselves, no matter where you are on the planet and no matter which field of endeavor. It is not at all specific to permaculture or any other field, nor any geographical location. In my book, I believe it comes from their own inner void, their inner fear that they are not important, not even to those closest to them. It is a small way of thinking and truly very sad and pitiable.

I love what Geoff says about getting out there and doing the "hard yards." I believe that is the best way to overcome doubters, haters and woo-wooers. If you listen to nothing else on this podcast, tune in at about the 37:05 mark and listen through to the punch at about 38:20. Brilliant!

I'm re-inspired to get my own systems up and running and then seeing where that leads me. I'm now a true fan and thinking about doing his next online PDC.
 
paul wheaton
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Eivind Bjoerkavaag wrote:Can't wait till part 2!!


There might be eight parts.

Geoff and i recorded stuff on four different days. Usually for two to three hours.

 
David Livingston
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I'm with you on this one Heidi .
Jeff was very definite about woo in Permiculture. Despite what others may say or suggest . Its a design science with ethics .

David
 
Adam Moore
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Just finished the podcast and really enjoyed it. His comment on the idea of an online video permaculture course for children caught my attention. We homeschool our 3 children and would love to add something like that to our curriculum. A really great idea. I hope it becomes a reality.
 
Eivind Bjoerkavaag
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paul wheaton wrote:
Eivind Bjoerkavaag wrote:Can't wait till part 2!!


There might be eight parts.

Geoff and i recorded stuff on four different days. Usually for two to three hours.



That's nothing short of FANTASTIC news! Great capture, Paul! Bring'em on!
 
rowan james
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Jerry McIntire wrote:
Adrien Lapointe wrote:How did metaphysics wind up in permaculture?


It's because metaphysics includes everything else. Like rhetoric, which shows that "all knowledge is one." Dorothy Sayers said that. Another way of saying, everything is connected, which is pretty obvious from a permaculture perspective.
Jerry


simple as - couldn't agree more.

I have yet to listen to the podcast, busy morning - but I will later today, thank you for sharing them with us Paul, looking forward to them all.

edit'd for peace, and clarity. . .

and to quote from the podcast:

PW: Does permaculture contain any metaphysics?

GL: As a taught design science, it's based on proven science, it is impossible for it to include metaphysics in the classroom as a taught subject because it is about design. What is permaculture about? Permaculture is about science and ethics, it is an ethical design science, its a science that starts with ethics and it specialises in design.

Now, if you're going to design something it has to be proven - metaphysics is unproven.

Now, in the application of permaculture it is inevitable that there are metaphysical events because it's such a wonderful thing that things that are not proven in science do happen, but you cannot teach what you don't know is going to happen, can you?

And that is cowardice, that is absolute cowardice. You're hiding behind a curtain unproven science. Now step out from behind that curtain and face the audience and teach what is proven. . .



I think Geoff answered the question in a way that makes sense, and encourages the teaching of PDC courses to stick with the basic proven systems and leave the personal beliefs at the door.

thanks Paul and Geoff.


 
Craig Dobbson
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Listen to the tone of Geoff's voice from 0:37:00-0:38:22. If that doesn't sum it all up then I'm not sure what does.

Nobody with an empty stomach or a hopeless tomorrow gives a shit what shade of purple you're into. Pick up a shovel and get to work. There are lives at risk.
 
Marsha Hanzi
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Thank you for this podcast!

As a "female elder" in the Brazilian permaculture movement I certainly appreciate your comments!

I would like to say to Geoff how much I appreciate his work, and what a beautiful person he has become since our meeting two hundred years ago in Manaus!

I don´t know how he can keep up so much full-time passion!

(Marsha Hanzi, in the Brazilian drylands...)

 
Drake Dorosh
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Paul as you contemplate why Americans have a completely unique take on Permaculture and you wonder whats up with this metaphysics? I believe I know the answer. My awaking to this world of shadows came when I heard a speech by Judi Bari of Earth First. Seems the FBI said she was bad so she spoke. I believed her and that she was not bad. Heavy heavy stuff that you would not believe from me. Ever after that I wondered why younger "hippies" had a kind of fashion and music mentality and not the poverty fighting, equal rights environmentalist ideal that my now bald head used to grow. Then I found this guy Jan Irvin of Gnostic Media who has done an enormous amount of research on the psychedelic revolution. One article "Manufacturing the Deadhead a product of social engineering" is important history to consider because while Permaculture may just be a design science it may unfold as a social movement. The peace movement was a very serious threat to the establishment and while I almost totally agree with him about what happened to it you do not need to. I think his work on debunking Positive thinking, the New Age Movement including such figures as Carlos Castenada and Terrance McKenna and Centers like the Esalen Institute is also germane to Hippies and impractical political thinking. After all how did we all get so brainwashed?
The problems of modern oil based industrial society were so awful with child cancer clusters, air and water pollution, poverty and inequality and a huge military industrial intelligence complex that people were fighting for power. How many movements can you list? Can we think of any movement or problem that hasn't been disappeared with the magic of public relations? With no solutions by the powers that be people eat up any hopeful words that will distract them from the menacing disasters.
So I really appreciate that you don't fall for any cosmic debris and embrace practical "problems are solutions thinking". I am especially relieved that there are actual solutions to the mess that has been made and I don't want to waste my time singing Kumbaya either. Your focus on wealth production is what really resonates and is what is going to vindicate permaculture to any American political opposition.
 
Ty Morrison
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Very interesting discussion.

As Paul points out there are permaculture artisans who work in reds and there are those who work in blues.

When I think about 'who's in charge of Permaculture, I get irritated.

When I think about who is the best, or most righteous in Permaculture I get frustrated.

Really, the line of discussion is not germane, as this ambiguity is very common in the arts and simply needs to be accepted.

I think, a movement or a phase or a school or style is frequently started by an individual with little consciousness of what is going on half-way around the world, they are simply trying to do their best work. The work of a designer is somehow referenced to the work of another designer, and through comparison and contrast observation analysis is made. If there are more similarities than differences then the works are aligned and gain momentum. Frank Lloyd Wright built on the ideas of Louis Sullivan and was influenced by his reactions to Oriental travels, Mies Van Der Roe and Le Corbusier. But Frank's work became the "Prairie Style" and Mies became a "Modernist"

Think of the Beatles and Elvis Presley both being Rock and Roll performers, but then Johnny Cash was an influence on them both too.

That's the beauty of diversity.

Both Paul and Geoff have had an impact on my days, I can't wait for the next installment.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Through internet video I have enjoyed watching Geoff mature and develop from the young assistant to Bill Mollison into the modern day Geoff Lawton with his own style and technique.
He comes across as so kind, inviting and welcoming. What a good spirit. I appreciate his thought about taking hostility and turning it into a positive.

The hostility, BTW, I see existing in every area, not just permaculture. I do agree with Geoffs assessment of why this hostility exists. Basically ego, envy, and the unwillingness to do the work that created whatever it is that others are hostile about.

What I really enjoyed the most was listening to him get ‘riled up’ about the subject of combining permaculture and metaphysics. It showed a little more hard core side of him that I haven’t seen in the earlier videos.

Who’s in charge? Another lovely answer. He won’t back down from the ‘we are in this together – as a team’ attitude. And I agree with that – to a point. I do believe that we must have a central organization - such as the one he runs – to prevent the word and the science from being diluted to serve the fast dollar rather than the permanent culture.
 
David Livingston
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I am amused that folks even when Jeff and Paul have been so clear still feel the need for purple pencils .

David
 
Paulo Bessa
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Hey, this is a great great great podcast Paul.

I was very amused to hear this while I took my Saturday morning coffee.
I agree that this hate speech / hostility in Permaculture in undesirable. Better to be objective, like Geoff says.

We all have our weird personalities, interests, opinions, egos. But we go beyond those, and have fun. Befriend with each other. Of course, there are opposite views in things, its part of life. But one should more or less be fine with those opposing views, especially when they are tiny details like rocket stoves, digging or no digging, etc. Diversity is part of richness, as in species as in opinions and techniques.

I also liked the "women in Permaculture" discussion. Actually I don't know the women that were described in the podcast. Can someone post their names, I couldn't get it as I am not a native English speaker.

I like the question: "who is on charge of Permaculture" and even more the answer "no one! Permaculture is just like a weed, keeps growing and growing and spreading"

On the cards, I just realized now that they exist (sorry Paul I am quite absent minded at times!); I will definitively order them, it is such a great idea, Paul. Can't wait to take them to my friends and play cards with them and see everyone amused with the drawings on the cards. Very organic indeed.

I am looking forward for part II of this podcast!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Paulo Bessa wrote:
I also liked the "women in Permaculture" discussion. Actually I don't know the women that were described in the podcast. Can someone post their names, I couldn't get it as I am not a native English speaker.


They mentionned ruth stout. She is on the cards!

http://www.permies.com/t/10360/books/Ruth-Stout-Gardening-Work
 
Chris Kenney
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Reluctant to resurrect the "female representation in permaculture voices" topic because it is clear Paul feels serious accusations were raised. *duck* As a woman, I saw this comment as more of an open invitation rather than some vast conspiracy.

In addition to rattling off a lot of women I need to go research, I found the comment Geoff starts at 17:16 intriguing. Why there may not be as many women with the same trappings of fame? "A lot of the women are close to family, close to home... not necessarily at a distance, traveling so much as men..." The cut scenes in Geoff's weekly distros are a case in point-- he's jumping from communal gardens in Berkeley to several spots in New England in the space of a couple seconds of footage. He's at Paradise Lot in MA one week and building gabions in Jordan the next!

In future parts of this series with Geoff and other permaculture "Jacks," can you ask how much traveling they find themselves doing in order to teach and learn?
Are there ways they or we as the beneficiaries of this training can help offset the transportation resources needed to keep them itinerant and the knowledge circulating?
 
Pat Heyman
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Geoff Lawton! I appreciate his humility and willingness to give other people praise. Paul, I thought you asked some great questions. If I were younger I'd definitely be one a farm somewhere. As it is I can't until my kids are old enough to watch his home schooling course. playing cards for the nephews this Christmas!
 
Samuel Martin
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Metaphysical and spiritual endeavours do coexist with activities that care for the earth, and observation of nature has been recommended by scriptures and mystics from all over the world for centuries. The reality of an organised learning situation is that you have a limited amount of time and resources at your disposition, which can be used to either deepen your understanding of spirituality and of multiple facets of the present moment, or to deepen your understanding of physics, biology, horticulture and design. If you try to do both at the same time, you're not devoting proper attention to either.
 
Sarah Loy
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I loved the discussion. I stumbled upon permies.com a few months ago. The concepts all seem pretty compatible with the sustainable systems I was taught as an undergradute and graduage student 35 years ago. I have been farming for all those years now and love to see how experience changes and improves how I do things. The conversation about 'who is in charge'was interesting. There is so much great research that has been done in agriculture, forestry, and animal husbandry over the last 200 years, it would be a shame to discredit anyone or try to prioritize who is in charge. I sheer numbers, I would guess that the extension agents in the US are having a huge impact. I certainly learned so much from my professors. I am always trying to glean information whereever I can. Thanks for being one of the sources of interesting info to add to the mix.
 
Moj Jordan
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WOW Paul I hope you are not talking about my beekeeping teaching, I try to get people to down size bees to 4.9mm from 5mm, and not to feed with corn sugars. I would be really sad if that was true.
 
Moj Jordan
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Moj Jordan wrote:WOW Paul I hope you are not talking about my beekeeping teaching, I try to get people to down size bees to 4.9mm from 5mm, and not to feed with corn sugars. I would be really sad if that was true.


My site
https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Bee-Friendly-Company-Inc/147801815239144

I was called The Bee Whisperer by the Discovory Channel on teaching bees to kids.

I just hope it was not me you were talking about. 1:14:20 in the podcast
 
paul wheaton
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Cory Collins
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Whew! i made that connection with you too Michael. I've heard about you thru survival podcast and was surprised to imagine that this was the same Bee Whisperer. I hope that didn't bring you any bad press. I'm glad it's not you.
Moj Jordan wrote:WOW Paul I hope you are not talking about my beekeeping teaching, I try to get people to down size bees to 4.9mm from 5mm, and not to feed with corn sugars. I would be really sad if that was true.
 
Moj Jordan
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Cory Collins wrote:Whew! i made that connection with you too Michael. I've heard about you thru Survival Podcast and was surprised to imagine that this was the same Bee Whisperer. I hope that didn't bring you any bad press. I'm glad it's not you.
Moj Jordan wrote:WOW Paul I hope you are not talking about my beekeeping teaching, I try to get people to down size bees to 4.9mm from 5mm, and not to feed with corn sugars. I would be really sad if that was true.


Hey Cory, LOL
Well I got up at 5 am to have full emails and three phone calls. To tell you, and being honest, when I got the first phone call about Paul Wheaton talking about the bee whisperer......hell I did not care if he was out side with a torch........PAUL WHEATON KNOWS WHO I AM >>>>>> LOL

Well JACK called me and asked how I know Paul....I said I don't......he told me will don't let your ego get to big.....he has know Idea who you are. LOL
I mades some phone calls and my prepper group started putting out fires... It was not me.

I would like to talk to Paul some time on some of my teaching with NON AGGRESIVE BEEKEEPING. I liked when he talked aboout husp faming....no fire....I have been saying for a long time NO to little somke with bees...use sugar water...then on his HUSP thing....go better...not sugar water but honey mixed with fruit juice. bees will clean it off, checking for mites, and getting feed same time... no smoke.

Thanks for checking in on me.
All good now.

BEE WHISPERER OUT!
 
paul wheaton
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Hey there Moj/Michael. Sorry, this is the first I've heard of you. But you should be aware that you have a BFF in jack. Jack has sent me a barrage of anger. He must have hours invested.

Pulling this point of the podcast up again: "I saw this guy who called himself the bee whisperer ..."

In Jack's mind there is only one bee whisperer in the world. And that would be you.

The guy I saw did lots of thing far outside of my comfort zone. But the one thing he did is in front of a crowd (and I think he did this to especially make a point to children), he took a super and banged it on a truck bed really hard, several times. And he said that he was doing this to prove that bees are not stinging monsters. I found this terribly disrespectful to the bees. And was shocked that he had the audacity to refer to himself as the bee whisperer. This seemed to me to be the opposite of bee-whisperer-esque behavior.

So, back to Jack: I tried to tell him "not the same guy" but Jack felt that "there is only one". So I googled "bee whisperer" and came up with seven different people - none of whom were you (unless you are in australia - cuz there was an unnamed guy in oz). My point being that there could be hundreds of people sporting the label.

I got called away to an emergency yesterday and had to go - so I expect Jack will be back at beating me up over email in a little while.
 
Moj Jordan
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I am sorry for the mix up>

I will apologize for every thing on my end. Jack is a good Friend, believes in his people, and the community he has put together. I enjoy being part of it.

I feel it was all my fault......I was aww struck that you would know who I was............my EGO got the best of me.

When the next call I got was how I was getting bashed I started to reach out to see what I did that would make you so up set with me. I enjoy the work you do and show some of your videos to my prepper group here in Wyoming.

Paul I AM Sorry for what ever has happen. I hope that we can become friends do to our location to each other. Lets all move on to teaching the good word.

Michael Jordan (not The Basketball Player but Bee Advocate)
 
paul wheaton
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Moj Jordan wrote:I am sorry for the mix up.


No worries. You did nothing wrong.

One day maybe we will meet and I can tell you the story of how I beat up Michael Jordan in the ninth grade. He wasn't the basketball player either. It seems that I cannot tell that story publicly or a bunch of people will be sure I was talking about you and then this whole mess will get started again.


I will apologize for every thing on my end. Jack is a good Friend, believes in his people, and the community he has put together. I enjoy being part of it.


Again, you have nothing to apologize for.

I'm still not entirely sure what is going on, but I certainly didn't earn the stuff coming in my email from Jack. I think if you ever get a spot of trouble in your life, just mention it to Jack and he will bring the brimstone to their doorstep. You are fortunate to have such an ally.

I haven't had a chance to read all of it, but I suspect that Jack will be flushing me down the toilet today. What can I say: i make people angry. It sucks, but there you go.



In the meantime: I'm sure you've spotted our honey bee forum? And, you've seen my bee videos? Especially the CCD video? Have you seen my bee hut from 2005?

 
Moj Jordan
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I am very sorry to say that I have not. I am very new to the site. I was just introduced to every thing over the last year.
I never knew there a name for what I was teaching for the last 10 years. my love for beekeeping is like your love for I pie I guess. (video I watch and am fascinated about. you did at a Permaculture voices...you wanted to get done for pie.)

You and Jack are a lot a like. He respects the work you do and talks about your work. I am sure you do the same. ( one of the rules in permaculture...we harm none....may bash each other from time to time, take an idea or two, but we all have the same goal. love the earth)

I will do some home work now and look at your bee stuff.

if you ever get a hive....I would love to come see it.

MJ
 
paul wheaton
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MJ, do you have a page that gives a summary of your bee philosophies?

Here is mine compressed into a single playing card:

 
paul wheaton
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Here's a bee hut I built about ten years ago:



I very much like the idea of not painting the wood. The hut keeps the hives far more comfortable.

I shared the idea with Jacqueline Freeman and I recorded this:




Here is a video I made many years ago which i thought shows a rather complete solution to CCD, but .... the video reached only 39,000 people rather than the 10 million I hoped for:



 
David Livingston
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Hi Paul
just a quick mention I forgot to say earlier when I saw your post on bee houses . Have you seen these Bee Boles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee_bole
Cool eh A dry stone beebole is a great help to the bees warming up in the spring and keeping cool in the summer

David
 
Erica Wisner
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Adrien Lapointe wrote:
Paulo Bessa wrote:
I also liked the "women in Permaculture" discussion. Actually I don't know the women that were described in the podcast. Can someone post their names, I couldn't get it as I am not a native English speaker.


They mentionned ruth stout. She is on the cards!

http://www.permies.com/t/10360/books/Ruth-Stout-Gardening-Work


Other names I caught were:

Penny Livingstone - (I have met her and like her a lot, at least as a speaker and a person. She works with the Regenerative Design Institute in California. google "penny" + "permaculture" and she's all of the first 2+ pages.)

Robyn Francis - also a big name; try http://www.robynfrancis.com/

Roan Morrows (sp?)- I did not find a spelling of this name that showed up online, but Rosemary Morrow wrote a lovely permaculture book: http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-Morrow/e/B001HD1XTG/

Penny Pyett - Australia - I found this reference: http://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/1710-penny-pyett

Leigh Brown - Africa - after finding all kinds of "lea browns" in training and activism, this permaculture profile seems closest: http://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/6637-leigh-brown

If anyone knows the Roanne Marroughs reference (just to make it clear that I have no idea how to spell the name), please chime in.

-Erica

 
Rich Harkrader
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I'm pretty sure he said Ro Morrow, with Ro being short for Rosemary. She was one of Mollisons early students and has written a few books.

Rich
 
Erica Wisner
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I also agree with Geoff that a lot of women in permaculture work in family and community settings, not out there garnering fame. Paul's criteria for effectiveness seem to include fame as a prerequisite - but then he also complains about famous people who spout unsubstantiated "purple" prose. So I'm comfortable giving more respect to people who do on-the-ground work with high integrity, and don't become famous, and don't need to have their names waved around in some kind of illusion of perfect equality.

People are not equal. You can't substitute one precisely for another - that kind of mathematical equality is for assembly lines.

If you believe women have to be famous to be respected, and you can't respect a local matriarch, the problem might not be that the "fame police" are keeping women down.
The problem might be that you have an erroneous belief that women have to abandon their traditional roles and priorities to be worthy of respect.
I respect my grandmother's choice to return to homemaking as a wife and mother; it doesn't diminish my respect for her skills as a fabricator, welder, seamstress, or writer. But she is only famous within our extended family.
I also respect her contemporaries who chose to continue with "unfeminine" work, some of whom became famous, and some who just had a lot of interesting adventures.

If you are going to boycott an event with "only" one woman keynote speaker, instead of attending her keynote speech, are you also going to "boycott" any class with a male instructor?
(People often make excuses for not attending an expensive workshop; or they may have a limited budget and choose to spend the money on a PDC with more female instructors, that's a consistent choice.)

If you believe women and men have nothing to learn from each other, and that somehow women suffer when men are productive and famous, you have a long road to develop a separate, parallel permaculture movement in which womyn work only with womyn, and reproduce through asexual cloning or something.

If you believe that it's exciting to listen to famous people, but the real work happens on the ground, it may not be surprising that the women you respect are mostly to be found doing the "real work" rather than speaking at conferences.
A number of men do both. Some women do both also - it's just statistically more rare.

I made the choice not to continue with grad school and academic track, because I wanted more real-world experience.
I did continue with science when many girls chose otherwise - at that time I was stimulated by challenges and not intimidated to be the only girl in a room. I was one of 3 in an engineering class of 200 - and perhaps the only one (because I came from off-campus) who was not surrounded by a coterie of admiring frat boys.
I was told I'd make a wonderful physics professor. But I did not want to become a physics teacher just to "prove" that girls can do it, or to be a role model. Because i would have been a bitter role model, doing something to prove it could be done, without choosing it out of love or conviction. Instead, I've followed my calling whenever I can hear it - sometimes teaching science, sometimes as a family caregiver, and yes, as a traveller.

If I ever do return to academia and become a university teacher, informed by permaculture, I might be a very good one. Hopefully as good as toby hemenway. But I don't think that's the only path that would allow me to make a positive difference in the world.

If I ever have a chance to prove out my growing knowledge of land management - or most interestingly, if I can bring communities together and reconcile some of the sad competing beliefs that are rampant in the US - I might make an extremely large difference.

But for me, now, it starts with working in isolation, with distant clients, local friends including Christian farmers and grumpy old veterans, --- who, incidentally, are practicing what the city folks preach better than I've seen most city folks do it. It starts with seeing what can be done in a community where most people don't accept black-and-white political polemics.

If we can develop a growing corner of America where people don't let party lines and tired old activist rhetoric divide us for conquest, we might just be able to pull together and make something happen here.

-Erica
 
I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay, I sleep all night and work all day. Tiny lumberjack ad:

World Domination Gardening 3-DVD set. Gardening with an excavator.
richsoil.com/wdg


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