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what has permaculture become?

 
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If permaculture is to truly reflect a 'permanent culture' then wouldn't it be wise to marry the facets of it.... the art and science sides... to produce the best we can obtain?
With an allowance and acceptance of both.

And in reviewing the definition ..." A design system for creating sustainable human environments'( Mollison,(Introduction to Permaculture) , we must not forget the human psychological factor because isn't that the largest component of having/sustaining a 'permanent culture?'
And since each of us brings his or her strong and weak points ( wounds, egos, ect) to this 'culture',then a move toward inclusion and non duality would be as equally important for the reaching of the goal as say forest gardening, humanure composting ,et all.
Perhaps it is not just what we do, why we do and how we do it but also who we are when we are doing it.
Thus taking us to the areas of self awareness, self acceptance, increased consciousness and the unconditional love & acceptance of others with the full understanding that these play as equal a role in permaculture.
Everyone is equal, everyone belongs, everyone is valued. And there is no right or wrong, there just is.
Hmmm...those are my thoughts this afternoon.
 
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Hopefully Ahipa will correct me if I am wrong but the original post, now altered, was asking for scientific validation of the agro-ecological part of permaculture.
My point is that the variables are so great that without enlisting those in all of the different micro climates hard data for everyone would be difficult. Data from the desert would hardly be applicable to the PNW.
Social interaction in a future enlightened permaculture world to me seems so far down the pike my focus is more on that agro-ecological side. However that doesn't stop me from being interested in building a vibrant interactive local community.
I feel that once we start talking the  human phsycological part, as unpleasant as it is, we need to accept that the sociopath exists in small numbers and there is a right and wrong. Who determines that right and wrongness and the consequences of that behaviour is a sticky wicket.
 
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Terri wrote:
One sticking point of permaculture is what works out in practice in one country may not in another: Japan comes to mind. My land will *NOT* grow rice using the same practices that the permaculure Japanese do, plain and simple. I expect that others have often found that a permaculture that works in one area might not in another.



A couple of basic principles of permaculture design-

1) All good design is site-specific
2) All good design begins with long and thoughtful observation

Knowing that your land does not necessarily share the same climate, soil, rain patterns, native plants and insects with Japan, there is no reason to believe that simply using the same practices that work in Japan will be of optimal benefit on your land.

This does not repudiate permaculture. This IS permaculture.

It is, perhaps, a repudiation of a "toolkit" approach without a foundation. And I think that for many, the toolkit approach is what permaculture has become.

Tools, for better or worse, are value-neutral. The final result is a measure of the vision and understanding of the tool-wielder, and the level of skill with which the tool-wielder employs the tools.

 
Lee Einer
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Katee wrote:
If permaculture is to truly reflect a 'permanent culture' then wouldn't it be wise to marry the facets of it.... the art and science sides... to produce the best we can obtain?
With an allowance and acceptance of both.

And in reviewing the definition ..." A design system for creating sustainable human environments'( Mollison,(Introduction to Permaculture) , we must not forget the human psychological factor because isn't that the largest component of having/sustaining a 'permanent culture?'
And since each of us brings his or her strong and weak points ( wounds, egos, ect) to this 'culture',then a move toward inclusion and non duality would be as equally important for the reaching of the goal as say forest gardening, humanure composting ,et all.
Perhaps it is not just what we do, why we do and how we do it but also who we are when we are doing it.
Thus taking us to the areas of self awareness, self acceptance, increased consciousness and the unconditional love & acceptance of others with the full understanding that these play as equal a role in permaculture.
Everyone is equal, everyone belongs, everyone is valued. And there is no right or wrong, there just is.
Hmmm...those are my thoughts this afternoon.



Absolutely!

To the degree that we are products of the culture in which we were raised, we likely have a world-view and attitudes conscious or otherwise which leave us to some degree alienated from the natural world and our fellow creatures (including humans)  or in dysfunctional relationships with them.

Many of the tools and strategies of permaculture derive from the practices of indigenous peoples. But they are decontextualized from the world view and understanding which gave birth to them. So we may be wielding tools in a cavalier fashion without necessarily having the mindset required to use them insightfully.  I think it can help the practice of permaculture greatly to realize that the way we have been taught to see is not the only way of seeing, that our description of the world is not the only valid description.
 
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LasVegasLee wrote:
So we may be wielding tools in a cavalier fashion without necessarily having the mindset required to use them insightfully. 



Seems to me like the ethics and principles of permaculture would reduce or eliminate cavalier attitudes and actions.  I guess one thing that bugs me a lot is the idea that permaculture is just a set of practices, or a science, and not a system of design philosophy.  I guess I'm old-fashioned in this sense - when I see the question "What has permaculture become" and someone wondering why it has not become a science, maybe it is because it is not a science, but rather a design system with a set of ethics and principles, and actions based on observation (including scientific observation).  In my opinion based on Bill Mollison's writings. 
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote: someone wondering why it has not become a science, maybe it is because it is not a science, but rather a design system with a set of ethics and principles, and actions based on observation (including scientific observation).  In my opinion based on Bill Mollison's writings. 



Well put!

Permaculture as a whole or even it's so called agro-ecological side as a whole can in my humble opinion never be scientifically investigated. There are of course elements of permaculture that CAN be scientifically investigated. One could for example study raised beds/ hugelkultur in a certain environment. But all that one could then say is that in this particular environment and with so-and-so many millimeters of soil on top of so-and-so many trunks of diameter x cm, over the certain study period when it rained x mms the raised bed gave a yield of x kgs compared to x kgs from adjacent "normal" bed (and of course one would have to define what is a normal bed just as accurately). One would have to carry out a huge amount of studies in different climatic conditions to even begin to come to any kind of conclusion whether or not raised beds give a higher yield. It can be done and I have a lot of respect for people who try to do this but one must not forget that there is much more to permaculture.

I quote Maddy Harland (Permaculture magazine issue 73 Autumn 2012): "For us, permaculture is an important tool that helps us think holistically [...] what matters most is that people continue to experiment, test, refine and put into practice positive solutions that enable us to restore ecosystems, heal social divides and create more harmonious, low carbon societies." [emphasis added]

This is in my opinion exactly what is best about permaculture. Not the specific techniques, but the spirit of experimenting, the positive mindset that we can do something about the ecological issues. Permaculture has opened my mind so that I'm no longer depressed and hopeless but actively thinking about how I could create an even better life for myself and my family by working with Nature. What a huge difference!

Whether or not I get a higher yield from a hugelkultur bed compared with my normal garden bed is really not relevant to me. If for example on one year the hugelkultur bed gave a smaller yield than my conventional bed, so what? I got enough veggies from the two beds and I will continue experimenting what I could do better next year. And in the process I learn a lot about Nature and that is really the greatest result of all.
 
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http://permaculturenews.org/2012/11/16/changing-the-face-of-farming-permaculture-farms-in-the-us/#13530821305781&action=collapse_widget&id=3278332

a study study is being done on "permaculture farming"
 
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Seems to me scientist have given us insecticides, pesticides, and GMOs. If we only depend on supposedly science to produce food we will all lose. My take has always been after reading Mollison, and Holzer to name afew that they feel the same.
 
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In my opinion science has turned into an oppressive religion of late which is why as a child in high school I choose to not continue my path in biology... Maybe there aren't many (seriously read the books mentioned before, and the mycelium running) studies done because there are others like me? My thoughts are I would rather show the world what permaculture can do than try and tell them with a silly paper. A picture is worth a thousand words, and permaculture has alot of them.
 
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