new video
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

permaculture velocity  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22177
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 15
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
(this is my feeble attempt to make a quick summary of my keynote talk)

I was given an hour and fifteen minutes. I think I went three minutes over.


This is not the kind of presentation I want to ever give. But the time had come and I believe that permaculture is being held back. For permaculture to move forward, we need to have an open and frank discussion of this topic. We cannot solve this problems unless we are aware of the problems.


The problem: why is permaculture not currently a household word? Something that most people have heard of? Something that most people have, at least, some vague understanding of what it means?

I started with the idea that I have a unique perspective. The amount of people problems (per million people served) on the forums at permies.com is about a hundred times greater than the problems on coderanch.com.

I tried to break it down into external forces (corporate trolls from big energy, chem ag, big pharma) plus internal forces ("you can't call it permaculture unless you pray to the earth").

I gave examples of the corporate trolls stuff, plus examples of our out permaculture teachers berating others for their good attempts at permaculture. I shared a link to reddit where a permaculture enthusiast replied to a comment about winning a ticket to voices and said "I'm gonna win then I'm going to go a punch Paul Wheaton in the face." I wish to emphasize that this was a person who spends lots of time in the permaculture subreddit - so I think it is fair to say that this person is supposedly a permaculture enthusiast. And checking that person's contributions to reddit you see this:



I then shared my unique perspective on the large amount of psychotic hate for the permaculture leaders. Probably mostly to do with corporate trolls. But this is nothing new, the heroes and saints of all of history have had detractors.

I then went on to point out the issue brought up with people refusing to attend voices due to the lack of women keynote speakers and the people that rejected the playing cards because of the lack of women in the deck. I expressed that I felt this was a serious accusation of sexism which should not be done lightly. If it is true, it should be fought to the very end to end sexism in permaculture. If it is not true, then the accusation should never be made - because the accusation itself is a destructive thing.

I embrace that there is clearly an imbalance.

Phase 1 of 3: am I sexist? I need an impartial metric.

I do the "queens" poll (for the cards) and apply the results to the voices conference. I filter for people being alive and for politics or social justice (not what I'm looking for). I end up with: Maddy Harland, Erica Wisner, and Carol Deppe.

It is important to note that one of the primary things one wants with a keynote speaker is a bit of fame to help sell tickets. I turn to google trends to show me a level of fame. Here are some of the keynote speakers:



Since Michael Pollan is eclipsing everybody, I take him out, and ...



Now Joel and Allan are stealing the show, so I take them out and add in the other keynote speakers:



I then leave in the two two lowest keynotes and add in Maddy, Erica and Carol:



The fame for the three contenders is lower than the existing keynote speakers. It would seem that the keynote speakers were selected properly, and not due to any sexism. I am now confident that I am not sexist.


phase 2 of 3: where are the women? Why is there an imbalance? I relate a story from last summer:

I am on the road, presenting. At a dinner with eight people, including the two female regional leaders. They will not attend voices due to the lack of women.

“Why don’t one of you do the stuff that makes for a great permaculture leader?”

“I see the amount of time you put in. I would rather have a life and read a book once in a while.”


In hindsight, my response is errant. And I regret it. But for full disclosure, I will now convey what I said:




"STEP UP!"




Since then, my position has changed. To get to phase 3 of 3, I need to lay some foundation.

In a thread with this image:



The woman shared yet another amazing thing she did. And another woman commented that if somebody slept on that floor with a baby, then the baby would die and, therefore, the woman that was sharing would be a baby killer. The woman that was sharing saw the comment before we could delete it. She decided that she would never share again. After 500 posts, she never posted to permies again.

I then go on to give a quick overview of podcast 111.

Theory 1: a permaculture innovator creates a new thing. Somebody says “that’s stupid” and the innovator patiently and lovingly persuades that somebody. After a hundred people say "that's stupid", the innovator has refined the message to be persuasive in less time. After 1000, there is a web site. After 10,000 the innovator is starting to get a bit peeved. At 20,000 the innovator says "WELL FUCK OFF THEN! THIS ISN'T FOR STUPID PEOPLE LIKE YOU! YOU MUST BE THIS SMART TO RIDE THIS RIDE!"

Theory 2: 1000 permaculture innovators each create some new thing. After hearing “that’s stupid” 100 times, 900 decide that permaculture is a private thing for them and they won't publicly share any more. After 1000, only 1 innovator is left.

phase 3 of 3 conclusion: gentle souls are focusing on a more private bond with nature.

------

I then share some phrases that make me cringe.



Each phrase is a beautiful thing. But my experience is that the people that use these phrases often turn out to bring us a lot of problems. So when we see it, we hope it won't go sour, but it has now happened so many times, I find myself preparing for the nasty that will soon come.

“You should love everyone unconditionally” -- The person that says that usually brings a lot of hate to the table.

“Namaste” -- I always thought this was supposed to be something lovely. But after hearing it hundreds of times, it came to mean "I will fuck up your shit tomorrow". For the presentation, I looked it up. Apparently it is supposed to mean "I bow to the divine in you."

vegans -- I think that it is noble for people to choose the vegan path. I am extremely impressed and, in all seriousness, must get down on one knee and take off my hat to somebody that has made such a noble life choice. At the same time, more than half of the hate spew that i deal with comes from vegans that feel all other people MUST also be vegans. Further still, about 60% of it is worded in such a way to suggest that they wish to kill people that will kill animals. Which strikes me as funny because that would suggest that once they have killed a person (which is an animal) that they must immediately kill themselves - out of integrity. In hindsight, I should have put up a picture of a borg with the word "militant vegan" and "resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."

the third ethic -- in my experience, people that feel the need to talk about the third ethic are really looking for others to validate their unethical behavior. Or they wish to bash somebody else in the name of the third ethic.

money -- people that are hell bent on talking about how money is evil .... my experience is that most of these people set about proving that you can have lots of evil without any money.

science -- scientists debate science as long as we have had the word. And usually they debate science in a horribly unscientific way: "that other scientist is ignoring TRUE science!" And people come to permies and it seems that their position is that everybody is wrong because of science. I wish to point out a few of the foundations of science: trial and error; anecdotal evidence; critical thinking. Usually, the people bearing the baseball bat of science seem to want to just bash everybody with the baseball bat - including other people that have their own baseball bat of science. It is non-productive and usually a big hassle.

----

Permaculture, the word. I talked about the many permaculture people that are actively using a word other than permaculture because the word has too much negative baggage (AgroEcology, Carbon Farming, Regenerative Agriculture, Transition Movement, etc.). I also talk about what Larry Santoyo calls "Purple Breathers": people that advocate that permaculture includes metaphysics and/or praying to the earth and/or .... lots of mystical stuff outside of what is outlined by Bill Mollison. And they condemn people enjoying permaculture without these things. some regional permaculture leaders strictly believe that it is not permaculture unless you pray the way they pray, vote the way they vote and live the way they live. Some insist that permaculture has no earthworks. Some insist that permaculture and money can never mix.

---

Finally, I wrap up the presentation by trying to provide tools to help. I propose the philosophy (which I have pushed for years) that "there are many schools of thought under the permaculture umbrella." This allows the people who believe that permaculture includes something spiritual to continue on that path, and it allows people to practice permaculture without a spiritual path. And since there are many schools of thought rather than ONE permaculture, then each can continue on their happy path without having to condemn the other.

I liken it to sculptors vs. painters: each can point to the other and say "THAT'S NOT ART!" or they can embrace that each person has their own idea of what is the best form of art. Permaculture artisans.

On public unmoderated forums, when things get ugly, it can be difficult to tell who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. I would like to suggest that people openly support achievement. If one person is doing something and another person is saying "that's not permaculture" - support the person that is trying: "it looks interesting to me, I hope you will tell us more."

If you use the phrase "I think", everything you say after that is utterly true. After all, nobody can tell you that you don't think that. Plus, this phrase allows other people to comfortably share their alternative thoughts - rather than entering into some sort of dogmatic debate.

On permies, we now have the "report to moderator" button. If anything might be icky, please click on that and usually somebody will take a look within minutes.

----

At the beginning of the presentation, I talked about how I would much prefer to do the bricks presentation I did last year:



But there is a serious problem impeding permaculture velocity. Bringing this mess up is a dirty job, but it has to be done. And while I think I am doing a good job of being a recovering angry person, I need to make people aware of this problem so that they can start to come up with their own solutions.

Here is what I want to do instead:


(source)




Grand summary:

Permaculture velocity is being impeded by multiple things:

    - corporate trolls

    - people within the permaculture community that are doing more harm than good

The solution:

    - embrace the phrase "there are many schools of thought under the permaculture umbrella"

    - when there is an online disagreement, support the people that have actually created something

    - answer healthy questions more than troll-like statements of false information

    - I hope that discussion on permies is easier than other social media because we adamantly delete troll-like stuff





Here is the keynote talk:



 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4147
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I met Rachel after this presentation because she was inspired to speak out after hearing the comments about sexism. You can read her thoughts in Rachel's Permaculture Voices thread.
 
Len Ovens
pollinator
Posts: 1452
Location: Vancouver Island
29
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sounds like a talk well worth doing. It would be easy to do a rant on any one of those topics... so you must have selected the right ones. I too miss seeing/reading about the innovations posted by said young lady. I know that I do not agree with lots of people on various things, but also have found that I can still learn from their experiences/knowledge base.

A request:
Would it be possible to have an article on the site somewhere (like the various ones for cast iron, raising chickens, etc. at the bottom of this page) that talks about heating water with fire.

Rational:
I have seen too many threads where someone suggests using water to store heat and then gets stomped on with messages telling them how dangerous that is.... and they go away. I would like to be able to point to a page about using water to store heat safely at the top of a message and then get on with discussing how water can be used for all these good things. Water has been used for heat storage for over fifty years now (a lot longer than that if you include the old steam radiators) we should be able to get past the fear factor. It would be nice to have one place where the safety stuff could be dealt with. This needs to be written probably by someone who at least understands what all the safeties on a hot water tank do... I just buy the tank with them already on and install it, I don't really know why they are placed where they are for example (I can guess, but thats not the same).

There may be other hot topics that get shut down by the "you will kill yourself" too.

Having an easy to find article rather than hunting for a thread in the forum would be nice... I have problems finding threads I started let alone something I have seen once.

While I am at it, I took a few moments in "the cider press". I probably won't go back, the topics are sequestered for good reason. Too easy to get the "is", "is not" kind of argument. Not saying it should go away or anything, just agreeing with current policy. (not that my agreement means anything )
 
Joe Braxton
Posts: 320
Location: NC (northern piedmont)
13
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I vote for the "Borg" slide..

I frequent a few forums of widely varing subjects and see the exact same types of people everywhere. I usually leave them alone with their problems. I suppose it boils down to different personalites or something.
I guess I'm not smart enough to understand them, but smart enough to avoid talking to them.
 
Kim Arnold
Posts: 38
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great summary, Paul. Thanks!
 
Angela Brown
Posts: 41
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have heard Paul make a lot of those points in various podcasts that I have listened to and I agree with them even more now that they all reside together! I think what hit me the hardest was the STEP UP message. I don't see a whole lot of female leaders in permaculture, but there is no reason why I can't become one even at my ripe old age of 41! LOL Thank you for sharing your outline with those of us who weren't able to make voices. You always seem to have an interesting perspective to share in this arena.
 
Lewis Brown
Posts: 6
Location: Willamette Valley
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul,
Very well put; and thanks for the heavy lifting.

I think the following things:

If Permaculture is about anything, it's about respect: respect for the natural systems and cycles of the earth, life (even as we consume it), reality (a big one), etc.; but not least of all, the good in virtually all of us.

Following the Non-aggression_principle works just as well in cyber space as is does in meat space.

As always, thanks for your good work.
 
Carol Peek
Posts: 6
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome summary, thank you! My thoughts (as a woman) on this....don't cater to the few; as there always seems to be those "few" who want to stand out or be noticed but don't do anything about it except complain OR they just complain and disagree because that's what they do best (again, them "few"). Sabotage comes in many forms. Please don't be distracted or discouraged from what you're doing helping the world on this amazing road to permy living....thank you.
 
Beth Oquist
Posts: 4
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey, Paul, I appreciate your wonderfully analytical mind that presents a topic logically so much better than my intuitive one would. I glean much from your presentations. AND I appreciate your attitude about learning good things instead of being mad at bad people. So much more productive.

I want to comment about the "sexism" idea. I used to work as a farm hand on a CSA (when I had a younger, less cranky body.) Out of the five farm hands, I was the only female. Isn't it possible some things really are gender biased for one reason or another? Or perhaps women are "quieter", as was mentioned, about sharing permaculture, but are doing it all the same. Personally, I would rather share it with a group of friends, working on our own permaculture projects together and promoting a quiet grass roots movement. It's unlikely you would ever see me among the permaculture "who's who" and I'm fine with that. I wonder what the percentage of other women interested in permaculture are "fine" as well.

I suggest you ignore the sexism accusations as being untrue and move on. Seems to me it's a low and underhanded blow to try and derail you, perhaps by those who are insecure in their own positions.

Frankly, I think you rock! I enjoy your honesty, commitment to the truth (as well as you know it), humility, and desire to make the world a better place.

 
Bill S.
Posts: 6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul, I Love the way your brain works! You got an agile mind amigo!
 
Aimee Grimmel
Posts: 18
Location: Western Mountains Maine Zone 5a - 4b
bee chicken forest garden
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Although I don't have anything much to add to the comments others have made, I wanted to chime in and say I agree with the sentiments of the others. I've never thought of permaculture, and certainly not any of the permie leaders (Paul, Geoff, etc) as being sexist in any form. Although it may be a hard thing to hear, I agree with Paul's advice to "step up" for those who feel that there is an imbalance. Just trying to keep up with a weekly blog is hard enough, so I have MUCH respect for the permies who put themselves and all their incredible info and advice out there. Keep on keepin on! And thanks so very much for all of your hard work and encouragement!
 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Permaculture has always had some prickley characters
Bill Mollison
Peter Andrews is pretty angry
I can even rub people up the wrong way!
some folk dont like to see others have sucess1
The quieter folk may seem to get pushed to the background ;avidHolmgren and lotss of the quieter early adaptors
Ithink permie women are the hottest around!

GOOD CONVERSATION TOO HAVE1!
 
Holly Turner
Posts: 11
Location: Potosi, Missouri (zone 6a)
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Wow! Thanks for sharing the info and video! Nice job.
 
Jay Hunter
Posts: 21
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Boycotts and talk of sexism is nothing more than politics. Its the kind of thing that works pretty well in US circles and lots of special interest groups have been able to gain influence and numerical representation beyond that merited by their contributions.

The process which ends in you being famous (whether that was your intention or not) takes a lot of work and involves taking a lot of flack from other people. To put it colloquially, it takes balls to deal with all the kickback you get. And that uncovers the underlying issue. While it may not be popular in our equaltarian age to say so, there are innate differences in the sexes and they have real world effects and here we see one of them.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 376
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
11
duck food preservation solar trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think you've proven a difference exists in gender involvement - it's hard to prove there is no influence of bias. But I think it's reasonable to put off efforts on affirmative action permaculture until we solve the gender differences in nobel prizes and professional baseball...
 
Elizabeth Skewis
Posts: 3
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yay, Paul!

I'm glad you brought up all of these "scary" topics in your talk. Gah! I hate people just dancing around the obvious and hoping it all goes away.

My minor in college was in Celtic Studies. Let's take a lesson from the Celts on what NOT to do in these sorts of struggles: Way back, when the Romans hit the shores of Britain, the Celtic tribes were warring amongst themselves. Some even went over to the Romans. It seems to have never dawned on them that the Romans were not going to go away and, perhaps, they should work out their differences and resist this new enemy together...Fast forward to Ireland, about 1860's-ish. Same problem. Only this time it's the wealthy textile factory owners who are all fat, dumb and happy as long as they can keep the Catholic and Protestant workers fighting amongst themselves (and organizing into unions). Big Ag, Big Pharma and Big Government are well organized and WELL-FINANCED. We need to get it together. We've got to stop fighting each other. Issues of sexism, etc. are the LEAST of our worries. I think there are far larger, most problematic issues on the table right now. Who do we want to win? The good guys or the bad guys?
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2045
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well, this seems like a good place to post my own notes from Paul's presentation (I've still got a boat load of notes to post, but time is short--I'm currently visiting family):

Paul Wheaton

Q: How many acres of citrus are you going to grow in Montana
A: probably 5 acres of dead citrus and 3 living trees. You know, Sepp was in Montana and he said “No way will you grow citrus here.” BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA! I am going to use all your techniques and all MY techniques and we are so fucking going to get it done.

Q: How is hugelkutur different in California versus Montana?
A: Some things are different, like the wood you put in there has got to be local. In Montana I would never put a hugelkultur on contour (frost pocket), but I could do that in a place without frost.

Q: what about the buried hugelkultur thing?
A: Yeah, I’ve heard that works in the desert. I’m in cold climate, and hugelkultur should be tall where I am. Check out TEFA (textured earth food all year) in my cards.

Q: (missed it)
A: Well, a lot depends on climate. Where I am, you don’t want to capture cold air, but down here you might want to build your house in a frost pocket! In my cold mountainous region, I’m not such a fan of deep swales. I am more likely to put in terraces with just a little shallow swale to feed major rain events over there into my pond. Then when the cold air flows down the mountain, it keeps flowing right on by.

(Intro)

Hi, my name is Paul, and I‘m bonkers about permaculture. There are some who think I’m a dumbs hit because of this (profile display). I’d like to tell you that I didn’t have an optimal childhood and there were times when I was hungry and so these days, when food is presented to me I tend to eat it.

People complain about my language. . . (I can’t type that fast)

When I talked to the convergence last year, it was the sort of thing I like to do, more of an introduction to permaculture. For now I’ve got a darker purpose.

Since last year:
RMH DVDs Kickstarter; TEDx talk; Playing cards Kickstarter
23million to 38 million

225 Acres!
We’ve built a wofati, we have solar chain saws, we are getting an electric tractor

Paul’s unique perspective. Our velocity is being impeded in multiple ways.

Why I think permaculture is not currently a household word.

When I first heard the word permaculture, I was already running my farm with systems feeding systems and someone said to me “that’s permaculture!” So I read about it and I loved it, and I thought why isn’t this a household word?

I have another big website, CodeRanch (JavaRanch) that is about 5 times the size of permies.com I’ve been running that one for longer, and from time to time we’d have badness to deal with.

On permies.com, we have trouble with conflict every other day. (Gallery of movie bad guys.) Why do we have such piles of trouble with the site that is five times smaller?

25 years of managing online community:
-online communities want to morph to:
a) six people in asbestos underwear in a constant flamewar, to b) a river of fluff.

If you think you’re going to let everybody say anything, that will last about 4 months. I get a lot of people telling me how to run my site, but my goal is to encourage the gentle souls to participate. It is a hell of a lot of work.

Burra Maluca warns a volunteer about getting hate mail. . . Note: the hate is coming from permaculturalists.

“How are they going to know that what they are saying is idiotic unless a permaculture authority tells them? And how is it going to stick unless it is public?” -a regional permaculture leader

Be nice.

Never suggest that anybody on permies.com is anything less than perfect.

You can state your point without crushing others. You don’t state “the” truth, you share your opinion.

Many people tell us we are fucking censors and they’re never coming back. That’s true.

And yet, I have the biggest permaculture website on the internet.

Corporate Trolls: thousands of people have full-time, well-paid jobs commenting on things on the internet. These are people monitoring multiple sites and using multiple accounts to give an impression of peer consensus.

Organic Trolls: people who just love to get a reaction. They will say anything to get a reaction. Do not feed the trolls.

Examples on Reddit: here’s this guy whose strategy is to deliberately post something wrong, to get “the right answer.”

Please, please, if a sweet gentle person asks a question, please answer it. You can invoke the 48 hour rule on permies.com. If there’s no answer, sometimes I can throw it out to my dailyish email (I LOVE my dailyish email) and they will get like 15 responses!

Heroes and saints: everybody has detractors.
You have no idea what a festering shit hole of hate is in the permaculture community. I delete it. Some of them, I’ve banned. And then of course, they hate our guts, and that’s OK.

They often go over to PRI. Even that website is beginning to do more deleting.

Men vs women, as keynote speakers, on the cards in the permaculture deck. There are hundreds of people not attending this conference because it is obviously sexist.

So, am I a sexist? These are serious accusations. (presentation using google search data to measure, well, whatever it measures. The chicks are not getting searched for by name.)

Where are the women?

Where are the women who put in the crazy amounts of time and effort?
(Story about the sweet innovator who was driven away from permies.com by assholes.)
Where are the women? They are being poisoned. They are being driven away.

Podcast 111 - why are the permaculture leaders such dicks?

A permaculture innovator creates a new thing. Reaction: “that’s stupid.” Innovator: patiently, lovingly sharing and explaining. By the 100th time, maybe you’ve optimized your presentation. By the 1000th time, maybe now you’ve written a book or put up a website. By the 10,000th time you’re getting a little annoyed. By the 20,00th time the innovator is darn prickly.

Or, 1000 innovators each create new things. After getting the hate, 900 of them decide that permaculture is a private thing.

Cringe worthy
“you should love everyone unconditionally” - and then follows the hate
“Namaste” - you keep using that word. . .
vegans - cool, but don’t tell me what to eat
the third ethic - usually cited by people who don’t have ethics
money -
science -

Permaculture Artisans

There are many schools of thought under the permaculture umbrella.
Some leaders strictly believe that it is not permaculture unless you pray the way they pray, vote the way they vote and live the way they live. Some insist that permaculture can’t contain earthworks.

To Do:

publicly support physical achievement; people that have created something; (it takes 20 kind words to offset 1 nasty one)
critical thinking is the foundation of science
everything following “I think” is always true.
(look for the word “you” when you’re trying to find the asshole in an online argument)


(and, I'm going to hope that the weirdness with apostrophe's and such that I see in "preview" will disappear when I post this. . . )
 
Michael Grant
Posts: 18
Location: Northwest Missouri
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
I shared a link to reddit where a permaculture enthusiast replied to a comment about winning a ticket to voices and said "I'm gonna win then I'm going to go a punch Paul Wheaton in the face." I wish to emphasize that this was a person who spends lots of time in the permaculture subreddit - so I think it is fair to say that this person is supposedly a permaculture enthusiast.

I understand about not feeding the trolls, and why you'd leave that regional enthusiast unnamed, but I still wish I knew so that I could avoid, and encourage my limited circle to avoid, such a toxic person. I do hope you went up and gave him a hug, and possibly a noogie.

Just remember the words of another Wheaton: "Don't be a dick."-Wil Wheaton

(See also MC Frontalot's take.)
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
Posts: 90
Location: Southeast Michigan, Zone 6a
8
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Like the many people using a different word than permaculture because of the negative baggage that comes along with it, I am a vegan who is looking for a different word for what I'm doing. I, like Paul, have found that being vegan often equates to being a total jerk who wants to preach on a soapbox about how much better you are then everyone else and how you wish anyone who ate meat was dead or suffering.

Personally, I have been working away from the word VEGAN for some time now because without some flexibility, there is very little point to life! We live in a city that allows chicken raising now. I plan to have a few hens. We plan to eat the eggs that we don't give away and our vegan friends are ALL against the idea. I tell them, what about the fact that you will be able to come over and pet and kiss the chickens and thank them for the eggs? They all say "No, that's not vegan!!!" Uggghhh. So I'm done. I'm thinking about calling what we do the farming lifestyle. Or maybe we are "eat what we growers". I don't know, I just need a better term that doesn't insinuate a$$hole.
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have been thinking about the hate/problems here vs. coderanch:

You have a LOT more passion here. Some coders will go to the mat on the stupidest things, but for the most part it is their JOB and they can distance themselves from it. Permaculture is a love/passion thing and people lose whatever reason they had to begin with. You are bound to have non-linear interactions here. Different shades of purple clash a lot more than professional opinions.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 295
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I tell folks how I'm going to turn my property into a permaculture paradise I get lots of enthusiast support most of the time. However, I have had one vocal naysayer that seems to want me to fail. My response has been "watch me!"
Sometime ago a read a quote from Sepp where he said, "Thank God I didn't listen to anyone". He wasn't afraid of innovation and going his own path, neither will I.
BTW, I think you're pretty terrific Paul.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would say most people eventually reach a point where they are tired of the naysayers. People who have no ideas of their own, but feel their contribution to the world is critiquing what others do. Good for you Paul on pointing out that at this point, what is needed is ideas and examples - let those who disagree be the critics, lord knows there are enough of them.

One issue perhaps, and why I don't think of myself as a permaculturalist is that I just want things that work, with the least amount of effort for good results. I borrow heavily from permaculture because the ideas work. I then adapt these ideas to my situation.

In other words, it isn't a formula to me, but a collection of ideas which require intelligence to apply - after all, why would someone have to learn to design if it didn't need intelligence?

Probably what I love most is watching nature take my design, and doing something different with it - still good, but different. One learns to work with nature, or you lose eventually.

I think the root cause for the reaction that you are seeing Paul is people who embrace religion - and I don't mean people who believe in God. What I mean is people who seem to turn everything into "there is a right way, and if you don't do it this way, you are going to hell - and you are taking the rest of us with you." It is hard to talk to religious people (i.e. true believers in whatever, whether vegan, feminism, permaculture, etc.) - because their brains turn off because doubting the "one true way" is the road to hell too...

Though I have my believes, I try very hard to realize there is a road to arriving where I am, and hopefully I never stop on the road, but keep moving. After all, I wouldn't agree with ME of 20 years ago, and I sure hope I would still accept me, though obvious I was wrong... (well so I think now)

In other words, a bit of humility helps a lot when we are discussing things.
 
Fred Morgan
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
15
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Scott Stiller wrote:When I tell folks how I'm going to turn my property into a permaculture paradise I get lots of enthusiast support most of the time. However, I have had one vocal naysayer that seems to want me to fail. My response has been "watch me!"
Sometime ago a read a quote from Sepp where he said, "Thank God I didn't listen to anyone". He wasn't afraid of innovation and going his own path, neither will I.
BTW, I think you're pretty terrific Paul.


I have been were you are, what I learned was it is better to just ignore those who wish you to fail, never try to answer them, never try to do anything just to prove them wrong - just go about your own path and leave them standing, because those who are like this usually are doing exactly that, just standing. Those who are moving rarely have the time to do anything other than encourage others, or give them a bit of helpful advice.
 
Scott Stiller
Posts: 295
Location: North Carolina zone 7
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree Fred. Luckily I've not had to deal with hateful behavior here on permies. Everyone has been very helpful and freely giving of their knowledge. I'm very thankful for this online community.
 
rosemary schmidt
Posts: 32
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Argghhhh!
I think its this way!
Who cares what sex I am, (for that matter who cares if I'm purple and have three foots!) if I have good stuff to contribute then "step up"
If I have a question, no matter how stupid others may think it is, ask it and ignore the detractors. I just might get a solution!
Of course it's anyone's choice as to how they react to less women involved in any situation. I "think" walking away from an opportunity to glean knowledge, in any situation, ain't too smart and pretty detrimental to any process they are involved in and could be why its taking them longer to achieve than those who showed up and took the "risk" of being one of the few in their category. I personally, don't have time to devote to whining about whats between the legs of participants in lifes classroom.
If I'd had the money to put into the travel and stay for that conference I would have gone and gleaned everything I possibly could have and been better for it.
 
Sue Rine
pollinator
Posts: 296
Location: New Zealand
6
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the summary Paul and for the work you do to keep this forum positive. I never would have guessed that you'd be needing to spend so much time and energy on it but am glad you do.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22177
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think one thing that I should have added to the presentation is the idea that the forums at permies.com are designed to nurture the quiet, gentle souls. Or, at least, my idea of quiet, gentle souls.

Permaculture will thrive on good soil. Permaculture will wither if it is sprayed with hate on a daily basis.

I remember a forum I used before setting up these forums. I tried to talk about my ideas before I heard the word "permaculture". The overwhelming response was "if you ain't using roudup, you ain't farming." I was very much on my own, but I felt certain there were other people in the online world that had similar passions, I just needed to find them. Now, when I come up with a permaculture-esque idea, I can hear from dozens of people that have better ideas, or even people that have already tried my idea. Strong forward progress.

 
Angela Brown
Posts: 41
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul,

This brand new gardener appreciates that she can come here and ask all sorts of questions that have probably been answered a dozen times in the past and not get flamed for it! I'm looking forward to the time when I will have more than just questions to add to the discussion.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
paul wheaton wrote:
“Why don’t one of you do the stuff that makes for a great permaculture leader?”

“I see the amount of time you put in. I would rather have a life and read a book once in a while.”


This reminded me of something that happened maybe 30 years ago. I went to see a Degas exhibit at MOMA with my mentor. It was huge & beautiful. We then went downstairs to see a much smaller Georgia Okeefe exhibit. It was small and beautiful. I asked about the disparity and my mentor told me, "Georgia Okeefe had a life beyond art, Degas did not."
 
eric johnson
Posts: 4
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
first off a suggestion to paul: "i think" that you "may" (this is a gentle suggestion find it profitable to read a bit of church history and cult personality theory. i have spent most of my life in churches and a good number of years in groups with "cultish" tendencies and the dynamics you talk about are hauntingly similar. when folks get passionate about things they think are rreeaallyy important (like religion and permaculture), they get more ugly than geeks in tech forums.

a few things i've observed in churches: you see a few folks who do most of the work. some are quiet gentle souls who nobody ever knows or cares about. many sigh frequently and make subtle comments to show how martyr-like they are. few just seem to be stable and press on regardless for good until they find themselves burning on a stake or die of supernatural causes. some burn out (do a quick search about burn out in the ministry) and disappear. many new folks once they start hanging around are just smart enough to stay away. others have dark, strange needs that regional leaders are keen to play upon. this is the land that sprouted the phrase "my way or the highway." these are a few things that come to mind reading your comments. i wasn't able to hear the voices, but i've been to enough "christian" conferences to know the vibe of which you speak. i wish you all the best in your efforts to make your forum a happy and healthy place to hang out and applaud you for your warfare to make the world a better place.

when i get anxious about the state of the world and the obviousness of the solution, i read this poem by wendell berry:

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

on the vegan theme, here's another pertinent quote:

it's easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet. - margaret mead

and the talk about women in permaculture brings another group to my mind: what about native people in permaculture?

now i'm going out to my simple little garden to plant some good seed, watch the buds swell, flowers form, see how tall my hops bines are getting; and am free.

 
Andrew Langford
Posts: 1
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dear Paul,

First I want to appreciate the work you do in permaculture, the gusto with which you present your thinking and your plain speaking. Permaculture bad boy or not (and I think not!), you do a tremendous amount of good for the cause and your enthusiastic advocacy is helping spread the word, far and wide. Good on you!

Here is my perspective on the sexism issue. I've done a fair bit of work on this myself over the years and have moved my thinking from a place of resistance and denial (what me? sexist?) to one in which I clearly recognize that, as a man raised in a sexist culture (UK), it is inevitable that I carry and deliver memes of sexism. I sincerely don't want to do this but these memes are often so subtle and so normalized in my own psyche and the psyche of my culture that acting on them is a kind of second nature.

A second part of my perspective is that this does not, repeat, does not make me a bad person. Indeed I understand that I am essentially a good, loving, intelligent and cooperative being and that whenever I act contrary to this essential character it is because I am acting from a place of my own unresolved and early hurts (I'm working on healing these and they have less and less power by the day).

Because of these understandings, that sexism is not inherent in me (or, in my view, any other men) and that I/we can recover our full humanity with some careful work, I am now (mostly!) grateful to hear from the women in my life just how they would like me to change in my attitudes and behaviors towards them. They know that I will make the effort not to be defensive and that I will take their feedback into account. This seems to make for better, more relaxed and close relationships all round.

On a bigger scale my perspective leads me to expect that our beloved permaculture movement, arising as it is mainly in cultures that are power skewed like crazy (in favor of white, English speaking, heterosexual ... men), will be infected by some of these mainstream out-of-whack memes. These things are virulently contagious and are virtually invisible. They are possibly less overt in permaculture than in other sub-cultures and most of us wish they weren't there but it is, in my view, a mistake to think that, because we don't want them to be there, they are not active.

I was in Cuba for the IPC last year. Pandora Thomas, a black woman permaculture designer from San Francisco, USA very gently let us know that we have a problem being attractive and relevant to her constituents. Her evidence is that, whenever she attends a Permaculture gathering of any sort she is, to use her phrase, 'one of very few chocolate drops in the box'. That's a potent observation and I think we'd do well to take active notice of this phenomena and get to work to see if we are showing up with unwanted, hidden patterns of racism that make us a little repulsive to non-white folks. It's quite likely ... and, to repeat myself, this does not make us bad persons in anyway.

Indeed, in my experience, facing up to the task of eliminating these dysfunctional patterns of oppression is a deeply humanizing, liberating and connecting process - something that will increase our maturity and congruence with our ethics.

It is also very practical - the promise is that all of us marginalized by the current dominant culture because of class, gender, race and sexuality can transcend our (mostly false) differences and willingly join together as allies to bring about the ecological and social transformation we are all so hungry for.

Anyway, enough already. It is one of my personal goals for the next few years in permaculture - to bring conscious awareness to the issues of human oppression and liberation up to the front so that our already extraordinary permcaulture capacities for earth repair can get the traction they deserve.

If you'd like to help with this work please write me at andylang49 at gmail dot com and I'll send you my Patrix (patriarchal matrix) papers with details of how you can get involved.

All the best.
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1181
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Len Ovens wrote:Sounds like a talk well worth doing. It would be easy to do a rant on any one of those topics... so you must have selected the right ones. I too miss seeing/reading about the innovations posted by said young lady. I know that I do not agree with lots of people on various things, but also have found that I can still learn from their experiences/knowledge base.

A request:
Would it be possible to have an article on the site somewhere (like the various ones for cast iron, raising chickens, etc. at the bottom of this page) that talks about heating water with fire.

Rational:
I have seen too many threads where someone ... gets stomped on with messages telling them how dangerous that is.... and they go away....


I would be delighted to put together a 1- or 2-page thread-starter on this topic. If Paul likes it, he could turn it into an article at some point.
http://www.permies.com/t/34547/rocket-stoves/Rocket-Hot-Water-SAFE#270475
I will get back to it with images soon, but please feel free to add your favorites meanwhile.

-Erica
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2091
66
bike books food preservation forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul,
I think you're doing the right thing. I've seen other forums get bogged down by people who want to argue rather than talk about the relevant subject. In my local permaculture scene, we have a few people who are trying to establish their reputation by taking a different well known permaculture person down a few shots. It really disturbs me when they do that. I think that some people don't think about how much work goes into running something like permies . com. We don't have to agree with every last thing you say. I actually don't, but I feel I can discuss a disagreement with anyone on this list civilly, and if we can't, start your own list. Usually I have seen a few people try to create a problem, then the person who is in charge (that would be you, Paul) finds a way to send them off to a forum in which they can hate each other and people can go back to actually sharing their experience about, say, permaculture.
John S
PDX OR
 
Erica Wisner
gardener
Posts: 1181
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
199
books cat dog food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Angela Brown wrote:Paul,

This brand new gardener appreciates that she can come here and ask all sorts of questions that have probably been answered a dozen times in the past and not get flamed for it! I'm looking forward to the time when I will have more than just questions to add to the discussion.


I'm gonna second the appreciation of Paul, and thank you for joining and supporting his work.

And then I'm going to spin this one:

One of my favorite female mentors told a story about how she asked so many more questions in her science study group, and the guys kept answering them or blowing it off like she didn't get it. And then the exam came. And she out-scored them. Another week of study group, another week of Marilyn asking 'dumb' questions and getting most of them answered by her study-group guys, and then another exam. And again Marilyn gets the highest score in her group (might have been top of the class this time).
And gradually, it dawns on this group that Marilyn asking questions does not indicate she knows less. It indicates that she notices what she doesn't know, and wants to fill those gaps. And while the guys may think the filling for her gaps is 'obvious,' they clearly have gaps of their own.

Unexamined gaps are a much bigger problem than relevant questions.

Please keep asking them - the ones that get asked the most often, are the ones most worth repeating.

Although, please feel free to use the search function too. Pick a relevant forum, or just "all topics" for the widest scope.
If you do find an active thread on the topic, not only might you find your questions answered with no wait time, but you can also find a whole group of people who are subscribed to updates on that thread. Pick a thread that seems friendly, or knowledgeable, or helpful, or suits your needs today, and post your (relevant) question as a tag-on. That bumps a good thread back up into circulation, and is another great way your questions improve this site.

Conversely, 'flame wars' bump the worst threads back up for review again and again. So if you find a thread that doesn't jibe with your sense of truth and beauty .... unless you think there's value there worth salvaging, let that one pass by, and keep searching for something more useful.

Yours,
Erica W
 
Julia Winter
steward
Posts: 2045
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
174
bee bike chicken food preservation hugelkultur urban
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Interesting point about the arguments bumping up the "worst" threads. I would add that if the search isn't working for you, you could also use Google to search permies.com for what you want.

It's truly amazing how much data is here, after all these years.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
master steward
Posts: 4147
Location: Missoula, MT
389
books food preservation forest garden hugelkultur toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Julia Winter wrote:Interesting point about the arguments bumping up the "worst" threads. I would add that if the search isn't working for you, you could also use Google to search permies.com for what you want.

It's truly amazing how much data is here, after all these years.


A bit OT, but adding to Erica and Julia's suggestion, if you type this into the Google search field:

site permies.com/forums: light bulbs

and replace "light bulbs" with whatever you're looking for, it will search all of the permies.com forums for that topic and not other places on the worldwide web. Very handy distillation.
 
Deb Berman
Posts: 54
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some thoughts about the permaculture velocity thing:

1. Permaculture itself may not (yet) be a household word, but in the years that I've been associated with permaculture I've seen quite a few ideas that come from permaculture be what I'd call "mainstreamed", particularly in the eco ag/sustainable ag field, which I'm quite involved in. It absolutely jerks my chain when some big university professor presents an idea that came originally from permaculture as his (or her) own, and does not ever mention permaculture in relation to it. But I'm not sure it should jerk my chain, as it is probably actually a sign that we are being successful in spreading our ideas, and that they work. Plus the important thing is that we make the changes in our culture that we need, and it's probably less important where they come from.

2. In order to get permaculture accepted by the university culture, which is an important part of getting it accepted by the wider culture, I think we need to acknowledge that permaculture works because it is based on science, and, as many people have pointed out, the nice thing about science is that you don't have to believe in it for it to work. As Bill Mollison said, permaculture is environmental science and ethics, and he should know. Many people in permaculture aren't aware of permaculture's scientific basis, or that the first part of the Designer's Manual is basically a textbook on environmental science. I think we need to change that, and I would be interested to hear from people how we might do that.

3. I think the lack of recognition about the permaculture name is really a branding/marketing question, and could be probably be addressed by a marketing campaign if people wanted to go that route. Biodynamic agriculture did that years ago, and it seems like it worked pretty well.

4. It's well-known in livestock breeding that you will see faster results if you select for one trait at a time. Maybe part of the problem with the apparent lack of permaculture velocity is that we have so many good ideas. Maybe we should pick one concept or area at a time and develop a strategy for getting that into the mainstream. An example might be to focus on water. Permaculture has a lot of strategies for healing the water cycle and rehydrating the earth, and water resource issues are on the verge of becoming a really serious problem for a lot of the world's population. Just a thought.


On the gender bias thing:

I did not go to Permaculture Voices because I didn't have time, so I've found Paul's summary of his talk very interesting (thank you Paul for the talk and for summarizing it for us). One thing I keep wondering about, and maybe it's covered somewhere on Permies or in a podcast, is, what are some good ways we can step up? I consider myself to be a permaculture innovator, but I'd be the first to admit that I'm not good at self promotion. So any suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3729
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
86
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
How about starting a project thread? Or a blog?
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22177
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Deb Berman wrote:what are some good ways we can step up?


1) create good examples

2) connect those examples to brains

For many years I did not have land, so I was not able to do "1", but I would find people that were doing "1" and not doing much in "2". So I went out and did a lot of "2" for them. All of my efforts in "2" made me one of the top permaculture people - but that should never happen. I have not accomplished enough "1" to be worthy of the spot.

On the other hand, the gauntlet of nasty that you pass through when you do "2" is so huge and powerful, that people that do "1" and "2" are getting shut down at "2". The few people that make it through the gauntlet are either the toughest or they have found a way to reach lots of brains and bypass the gauntlet.

So my message in this presentation is again twofold:

A) We need to, collectively, be aware that we, permaculturalists, are part of the velocity problem. The solution I feebly offer in this space is the phrase "there are many schools of thought under the permaculture umbrella" - so rather than permaculturalists bashing other permaculturalists with "that's not permaculture" we can have better universal forward velocity. I also think it is good for the greater permaculture community to be aware that corporate trolls are very real.

B) I am trying to make permies.com be a gauntlet free zone. So when somebody has done "1", I hope that permies.com will be a huge help with "2". Granted, there are a lot of permaculturalists that think that I am doing it all wrong - so I hope that they create their own gauntlet free zone also.






  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!