Posted by Editors on Friday, August 8, 2014 · 4 Comments
The questions "why permaculture?" And "why so busy?" hung in the air as we arrived at the permaculturecabin to Eivind Bjørkavåg in Bærum. It's time to get the cat out of the bag, but we refuse to be guilty of being the first to spread the endoftime-negativity in the yard this evening. So we resort to naivety. (For new readers of Culture Works, we recommend that earlier published text - see here - Anders Asphaug as an introduction to the concept of permaculture).
By Ivar Sagbakken, philosopher and member of the editorial CULTURAL FACILITIES, and Magne Stolpnessæter, political scientist and editor in CULTURE WORKS
"Forget that the solutions will come from politicians who are concerned about re-election, or from the money people who are concerned more money. The solution comes from the grassroots, it's you and me and it starts in our own garden. "
KV: - Why the hurry?
- Is it so that I must point out the elephant in the room? Okay, let's go, let's get it over with. I do not like the word crisis. And as I mentioned earlier: permaculture is not just an emergency solution. It is quite frankly a realistic alternative to the system that destroys the planet. An alternative that also creates your dream life. A dream life that simultaneously saves the world, something I can not stress enough times.
With permaculture, we can create a life where we cover all our needs in a way that benefits nature and it provides a better life! I know it for sure, I've seen it work in many climates around the world. Permaculture has all what it takes to save the world, collecting all sorts of smart, sustainable solutions ranging from old traditions to new technology and research. Humans are the most destructive system on Earth, but with permaculture we can be the most constructive.
We stand behind the cabin, sheltered from the urban civilization just a few stone throws away. It is eight years since Ivar met Eivind last time. Then they were football (soccer) buddies and young philosophy students in Trondheim. Eivind was a playing coach of the very 5th division team Ivar played. The team players was mildly fluctuating, frankly very thin squad, and Ivar still remember the first line-up à la Bjørkavåg. Huge guys in defense, the guys with technique put the middle, and those with speed on top. Tough defensive organization with a focus on direct, forward playing game - usually in the form of long balls into the back room. This achieved amongst other losing only 2-1 against the league leaders. It was a battle plan steeped in realism. But the long-term plan was still visionary. And we think Eivind is like this still.
The long-term visionary, but unthinkable to undertake without the realism of the bottom. That motley crew in Trondheim should actually be able to start work as a team, rather than collapsing social, athletic and mentally after the first game, there were few other than Eivind which was absolutely sure before the season began. And he was right. Also permaculture is Eivind both realistic and visionary. For many it may seem verbose enough and dreamy, which automatically does the average Norwegian suspicious. But there is a real alternative just because it is feasible and verified, he said.
KV: - But you mentioned some elephant?
- Hehe, you give not. Yeah, you know, it is whispered about the perfect storm, if the major crises that we face, which are now about the same time. Economic crisis, climate crisis, energy crisis and population growth. But I tend to always talk about the crisis in terms of how permaculture can solve them. It is more constructive. Thus, a change must start with you and me. And permaculture is the best way to change this state of affairs, because it is the best way both to survive a crisis and to avoid it.
Realist Bjørkavåg in progress
- But we would do well to be a little problem oriented a moment to remember that everything is not pink and fluffy, but the fact is that we are in trouble if we do not do anything. Worldwide, it is the people at home and cry because they have understood the gravity. Plant and animal species die out every single day and it goes faster and faster towards the abyss, and some climate scientists and people with knowledge of it says that it is already too late, and we might as well continue the party.
With a blue-brown government that does not have the climate and the environment as one of its seven key focus areas, it looks the mildly ugly. When our sitting prime minister, Erna Solberg, is reminded of his advisers that she must go out in the media and say a few nice words about the environment and management responsibility, so as to phase out oil heating in public buildings such as the solution that really counts - when it is just to say good night.
If I represent Bærum Permakulturforening I must emphasize that we are politically independent and is not intended to hang out the blue-brown, it happens all over the board. Kristin Halvorsen as finance minister during the previous financial crisis went out and encouraged people to shop more. Erik Solheim was in his time out and said he supports the giant, destructive mono cultures. Labor has done well without your seeing the big picture. The list is long.
Forget that the solution comes from politicians who are concerned about re-election, or from the money people who are concerned more money. The solution comes from the grassroots, it's you and me and it starts in our own garden. It may sound simple, but when some of the biggest problems in the world include population growth, food supply and soil erosion, and the solution to food supply and soil erosion is to scale down the agriculture and make it cycle-based, one need not be a rocket scientist to see through the argument of the industry on that it is more efficient circuit-based small-scale agriculture is not realistic because it requires more hands.
The food industry is catastrophic, and to say the founder of permaculture, Bill Mollison, "you'd have to be an evil genious two do worse." With vast areas plowed up to open wounds, where wind and rain bring with them incredible amounts of topsoil and washes it out to sea, is the giant fields died back by poison attacks and mineral fertilization. How we get our corn, rice, soybeans and corn. In addition to the food industry helping to destroy the planet, these are the mono cultures that are most vulnerable to extreme weather and poor harvests.
We have a moral responsibility as wealthy Norwegians to grow some of our own food instead of buying it out of the hands of the starving in countries that are produced. More than 60% of the food we eat is imported. And even more if you include the rain forest being cut down to grow feed for our animals.
Nature becomes vandalized, enormous amounts of forest are felled and vast areas are converted to desert, our consumption of gizmos causes extreme pollution, corruption and inequitable distribution. And where does this money come from? And where they end? Conflicts arise in the wake, along with hunger, sanitation, water scarcity, migration and infectious diseases. The list is long.
KV: - Which leads us into the perfect storm economic side?
- Yes, and population growth and a lot of the other problems. Everything is connected. If the poor should be up to our standard of living or level of consumption, let's rather use the term, then it's over and out. Actually, people know this. But we have not had any realistic solution before permaculture. Democratic capitalism has falitt. Economic growth, we have now seen through, and it does not work. Not in the long term. We will have to take drastic measures in use. We have to stop supporting the system that destroys the planet. We have to go over to use nature. We have to go over to an eternity culture.
"I believe that today there are too many laws and rules we have to deal with which makes it very difficult to live out permaculture full potential. That way, it is important that people should lead by example and break the rules ".
KV: - Can you mention the crises of lived and especially avoided?
- Yes. Permaculture is known to reverse desertification, it brings the water back to dry areas, it provides a rich food production that enriches the soil rather than deplete it, and where it does not turn the food industry in the number of calories produced, we turn them produced nutrients. Permaculture gives us shelter with natural building techniques and long-term solutions on all fronts that make it not a utopia allying with nature. Pests in food production is not a problem for established permakulturalister.
By observing nature and create rich ecosystems we have a sustainable and highly productive food production with natural pest control in the form of predators and Predatory insects. Permaculture is all it takes to save the world, but we are pressed for time and we need to get us legislators. That's how it is today, it is illegal in Norway to save the world. There is a wide range of examples of sustainable techniques are not allowed. It is about how to keep chickens, have compost, build efficient stoves, natural house building etc.
Mobile roost under development
We have to recognize that we have come so far that it requires drastic measures, that we should be allowed to experiment with sustainable techniques without being bothered with regulations and laws. The laws of the system that has led to the problems we face, standing in the way of bringing us safely out of trouble.
The system we are in is like a wild herd on the sure path toward the cliff. There is absolutely no way to turn it inside. Here comes permaculture in using nature as a herder who whistles a couple of quick messages to shepherd dog in no time turns the entire herd. It is nature that is going to save us, but we must ally ourselves with it and let it save us. We are the most destructive system on earth, but we can be most useful.
Nature and Spirit
KV: - It is impossible not to track a certain spiritual dimension to what you are talking about here, Eivind. It is reminiscent of Arne Næss when he spoke of Spinoza's naturalistic pantheism, or a shamanistic approach to our relationship with the living.
- Spirituality follow the person who is talking about it. Permaculture is all obvious to come close nature, observing nature and working with nature. There are certainly a force of nature that we can not see with the naked eye, but that is around us and within us, and that in various ways are expressed. Although I am not so concerned about it, also because of the design of the switch with the realism of it all. In the small permakulturmiljøet in Norway is at present unfortunately a majority of hippies in the communities that want to save the world, and it speaks paradoxically enough, not in nature's favor.
Where they sit and smoke his pipe and talk about elves and dwarves and celebrates 150 members in Norwegian Permakulturforening 25 years of effort, but being sure if one is a bit politically incorrect or call a spade a spade because they think it's so damn important to be well-liked by everyone. For me it is important that spirituality is a private matter, and a non-concern and uninteresting topic in permakulturmiljøet.
Metaphysics is not a part of permaculture, but each one can believe what they want, just do not teach permaculture away as if the goblins are part of it. Similarly, it is okay if you want to boycott uøkologiske products or Coca Cola or stop eating meat. Go for it. Just do not come and say, 'You have to do it, unless you run not with permaculture "."
What is needed is practice examples, there is no doubt. The change going to start with you and me. I believe that today there are too many laws and rules we have to deal with which makes it very difficult to live out permaculture full potential. That way, it is important that people should lead by example and break the rules. Not by harming others, but through planting things and through for example building houses the way they want, and build stoves that are more environmentally friendly and efficient than those that are prevalent today.
We need to build sustainable gråvannsanlegg and toilets. Natural house-building is a super important element that is a nightmare to build here in Norway. We must be able to sell and switch freely, regardless of the production animals got some kitchen waste for lunch or that the seeds are not on the approved list to the EU. If politicians are serious about our thinking on the environment then it must be possible for it must be legal to experiment with sustainable solutions. It is essential! "
If we in rich Norway who is considered to be one of the best countries to live in can set a good example, then I am sure it will be noticed and that it will give an insane signal power. Oslo had nerve enough to apply to be considered as Europe's green capital, with a real permakulturdugnad so maybe this had been in his place. There are many balconies, gardens and cottages around where you can grow some of their own food and experimenting with sustainable alternatives.
"Permaculture helps us to achieve interaction with nature that will provide more nutritious food, better and more ethical food than industrial agriculture can give us - unless we really need to work much for it. 37 hour work week is unheard of! What about 12? What would you spend your free time then? "
Where no one would believe that anyone could live
When we took the metro line 2 west to Absolution and went the little stroll trip Eivind had drawn up for us, the support we suddenly in a vertical mountain side which in many ways marked the end of the world - at least for the civilized man's eyes - so we just simply had to stop and look back. But are you aware, however, and sees a small path which is more suitable for goats than people, will be after barely a hundred meters mountaineering find this man in the rubber boots that can tell you that this therefore is not at the very end anyway, but rather beginning.
The place is right next Gerhardsen cabin where leaders from East and West have discussed world issues since the last great war. Westward lies the idyllic Dælivann with Kolsåstoppen in the background. To the north is the thick forest, while to the east lies the haze from the capital money smoke and electrically illuminated night sky. But here in the yard advises silence, the secluded, only occasionally disturbed by hikers and hønsekakling. But peace and quiet despite: there is nothing game to derail tunets landscape. Everywhere bears the stamp of the area to be processed, planted, excavated, built and converted, all aligned with everything else, and clearly made by human hands. It is natural, but also cultural. Here is permaculture.
We stand with Bjørkavåg by the mobile hen house behind the cottage. It is central to the operation and is nearing completion. With solar panels on the roof will generate electricity to power the fence around which protects the cart and chickens from predators. Hønsehuset with metal grille at the bottom below the roost rolled into a new area when the chickens have eaten up finish in the first field.
Transhumance System that this also works in large scale with cattle. With proper implementation prevented soil and pasture and soil life gets better and better every year, while the animals' presence binds more greenhouse gases in the soil than they emit. How to save the world by eating meat and eggs, says Eivind. Truth be told is the solution impressive creative. And Deep Ecological.
- Chickens are among the smartest thing you can have. They eat almost anything. They here helps me Iberian slugs and other pests, and it is much better to give them kitchen waste than composting it. What you can not give them add just under Mulchen kitchen garden. And then they make some of the best food in the world, next to bacon and hamburger, with their eggs and their hønsefrikassé. And they are so lovely to look at! Better than TV!
KV: - But the chickens did not show up by itself?
- These I got for free through a tip from a friend and permakulturkollega. An organic eggbonde should replace the chickens because chickens lay fewer eggs during the spring change, and as Norwegian consumers will have huge, unnatural chicken breast instead of enervating, but tasty chickens, so it is cheaper for the operation to pay to destroy them than to sell them . Food industry, you know. I was already looking for hens at the time, so the timing was perfect.
After a quick calculation, I found that I could have 15 chickens, and I got it. White Italians. Genetic diluted and corrupted as naturdyr due industriavl but nice girls with clothes on. And they lay gorgeous eggs. Much better than the store! Other feed for the chickens do I get to the bottom of the bread cutting machines at stores in Bekkestua, and I have an agreement with Baker Hansen. They are very allright. Coop Mega in Bekkestua has also been very benevolent, who has given us food that has expired when we have had courses.
While Eivind and his partner in the hen house, Elias Boysen, discusses refinements to the cart must review, we find ourselves a comfortable deck chairs in anticipation of the question session can continue. Mind goes back to the time in Trondheim. At that time he was, in my view, far more urban than me. And while I went to the mountains after finishing my studies, went Eivind eventually champagne breakfast and upper class bubble in a tropical metropolis. Now I'm back in town, while feeding chickens, wandering around the woods and builds hügelkultur. Last year he started Bærum Permakulturforening along with a bunch of like-minded and is the driving force for practice example in Bærum. What happened?
- My former roommate got a job in Manila, the Philippines, so I applied for leave and joined the bandwagon. Where I lived almost two years in an upper class bubble. Close to the typical sydhavsparadis with mango margarita in hand and toes in the sand, one can safely say that I got the feeling of living like a millionaire just by virtue of coming from Norway. Without work, I had to be home and with the same circadian rhythm as madam I suddenly had the time to learn about all kinds of things, and that's how I eventually found permaculture.
As a part of the very few rich, in a nation with 100 million people on the same land area as Norway, it was only ten minutes by taxi from where we stayed in the upper class bubble slum and total poverty. I got to see how the rich maintain their power over the poor, and how it affects people, animals and nature. I had heard it before, how peace and war and politics and all that is important in the world, but the sudden realization that there is us in the West, with our consumption, which is responsible for the catastrophic events in developing countries, however, was a new insight for me.
Eivind scratching their heads.
- There went up a light for me. It was clear to me tours.The that permaculture solves all this. Although in many ways we are getting faster way toward the abyss, we salvaged using nature as in permaculture. After this awakening, it was difficult to return to life as an ordinary consumer in plastic society. Because nature has a value. It is the greatest treasure we have! And the fact that you have to sacrifice their welfare to save the world is crazy, in permaculture can live a dream life while saving the world!
With this realization, it was too late to turn back, and then Paul Wheaton as one of the world's authorities on permaculture wanted me on a roadtrip permakulturell in the United States, the last pieces fell into place. It was insanely inspiring, and it gave me certain insights into the permakulturbevegelsen is one of very few real alternatives to the system that is now in the process of destroying the planet.
Permaculture helps us to achieve interaction with nature that will provide more nutritious food, better and more ethical food than industrial agriculture can give us - unless we really need to work much for it. 37 hour work week is unheard of! What about 12? What would you spend your free time then? The time for hobbies, family and friends. Then we can create paradise on earth. And the only thing we need to do is to arrange, so arranges nature rest. Knowledge is all that is needed.
It's not about going back to the stone age. It's the real important that you get with you, it is hugely important! It is only to forget to save the world if you have to get people to go back to the stone age, or force them to boycott Coke and hamburgers. Should we boycott everything that should be boycotted, so there is nothing back. And then, one is left with that one should produce more of what we consume. So why not just start with that, then you can either gradually wind down on cola and harry trade.
Kompanjong Elias Boysen adds:
- It is important that children have a relationship with nature again. We see an increasing alienation of nature in young people, where to take a shovel is seen as something inferior, and where to patch one ripped jeans associated with low social status.
The school appears to be little evolving nature of understanding today, and this must be addressed. Although school today try to be balanced, the social forces early on and directs many young people into the money and status. And then comes the demands of the school of economics and growth learn more and more in the higher stages. This is the notoriously not quite in line with sustainable development. So the school can not teach how to be happy by choosing a slightly different direction.
Young people need to learn to make things and be creative, as something fundamentally you can do to make our relationship with resource usage becomes more conscious. And not least, self-mastery in creating things mitigate the need to buy what others have made at any time which may be more expensive than the benefits. One can be proud of themselves, instead of constantly yearn for something new that others will sell. And then recycle into play. One who knows how to cook something will find many more recycling areas for the most part.
It is of course good if young people start digging in the soil again. But that is quite distant for many now. Only when you yourself feel that it may seem healing this could reach. It's not like the old days of toil in the fields is something we should require children to do as a kind of penance, and moral upbringing. Children should be taught that natural plants with good natural soils that are not manipulated gives off the best and healthiest food that you are healthy to eat. It offers more power and it gets a little dirt under the fingernails something to live with.
I believe the contents of the school is important. We most've been tired of school once, and it can often be because learning seems irrelevant. However, it is my opinion that it is better to try to follow school than to drop out as a general advice to all students. It was not that hard when I was young. We actually had a good number of electives and a lot of arts and crafts. The students become aware of the content of teaching and begin to make demands is just fine, but we need not go into the naive trap and believe that students themselves can do to affect as much himself.
But then we are left with the eternal conflict of the importance of theoretical subjects versus practical subjects. There has been a lot of theory without relevant experience for most of the day but by offering weaker students only practice will soon be able to be a practice without theory ... Best when these can be reconciled. But we have no matter in more sustainable ways. Whether one is theoretically grievous or not, everyone can contribute to the important work towards a greener future.
Boys word evokes for thought, and while it gets dark, and it is time to begin the journey home we go to hügelkulturen just outside terrace door to the main house. Hügelkultur is a form of raised bed with many advantages. It consists of the soil of three. It is easy to build, albeit somewhat time consuming. The time you save in as the years go by because the slow decay of the tree helps to retain moisture and nourish eliminating the need to water and fertilize.
KV: - This system must be perfect for mookses and sloth part?
- Absolutely, there is room for much relaxation in the hammock if you want it, and it is also part of the overall picture - good luck. If we look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, including the more than just food on the table. Are you a real working ants and thrive with it, it is extremely much to gain from learning permaculture. There is plenty of money to be there, just for the record, but there is not. We are screwed together different, and I like best hammock. "
And bunk we shall soon all together. We walk a last lap around the yard and consider the many edible plants Eivind enthusiastically pointed out. Plants as in most others eyes considered weeds. Stinging nettle, dandelion, clover, forget-me-and many more. Nutritious and useful plants which are naturally included in the theory that all small and big things are holding a new potential rather than limiting properties. So when we left standing on Avløs subway station awaiting transport to town again it's a little easier to notice the white clover flowers leaning against a bike rack on the platform than it was when we arrived. And that's something.
In Norway permaculture is a growing but still young movement, and Bærum has national scale come a long way already. We advise all interested parties to stop by the cabin before the snow comes, and also to check out Bærum permakulturforenings Facebook page for more information (see here) .