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State of the World Article for understanding the need for Permaculture  RSS feed

 
Douglas Crouch
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To conclude Chapter 1, finally, of my online book, TreeYo EDU, I give you the State of the World article.  Fitting timing after yesterday.  Its a part that every permaculture design course has in it and i offer a patterned based approach to the perspective.  Its a pretty fun read i have to say and i hope you enjoy and leave comments on all the great projects that are going on around the world as i ask for in the last sentence.  https://treeyopermacultureedu.wordpress.com/about/state-of-the-world/

Excerpt:
A Pattern Explanation

While there are an infinite amount of opinions towards the state of the world, I will attempt to keep it at the pattern level and myth bust a bit.  In nature, biodiversity brings stability and resilience yet across so many systems on the planet, (economic, social, environmental) we are creating monocultures.  It’s the homogenization of culture, not necessarily globalization, that has brought so much entropy (loss of energy) to our systems.  For example look at the picture bottom left on the slide below and please tell me where this suburban development picture is from.  Automatically people will say the states but I have seen suburbs in Portugal sprouting up like this. And even if it is in the states, where? It has no cultural identity, has no design based on how nature works (permaculture principles), and is such a consumer of energy that its failure is obvious.  The loans to build such neighborhoods where at the backbone of the financial crisis tipping in 2008.  Moreover, the monoculture forestry operation on the top left below could also be anywhere.  Maybe its Australia, Portugal, or Mozambique.  It’s forestry that displaces so much life that even the toilet paper we use can’t be considered cruelty free or vegan just as Mark Shepard exerts in his wonderful read Restoration Agriculture.  And surely not the monoculture wheat field seen top right, which I have become so accustomed to seeing having worked in Iberia for so many years now.  The amount of toxins poured into these monocultures is astounding and while they produce food they also constribute so much pollution and are so inefficient that they are propped up with government subidies.  Without them, it would not even be possible to turn a profit in this grotesque game of globally reticulated food/ fiber production. 



To relay this message further I will use the language of J. Russel Smith, author of A Permanent Agriculture: Tree Crops, to show the progression of how we get to these points
in societal history.  If we think this is the only time in history that this pattern has happened, we are mistaken as all the great civilizations of the past collapsed from this esssentially.  But the pattern begins with a diverse and complex forest, or local economy, or interactive community, as this metaphor is seen across many different systems.  The forest has many players, many elements interacting symbiotically and building energy from complete cycles.  Water infiltrates, biomass is cycled and while in constant flux, its inherent quality is stable, diverse, and complex.

Then partly because of rational, Cartesian Dualism based philosophy of man being separate from nature, we cut the forest in lieu of two different land use types; fields for animals and plough for annual crops.  They go hand in hand and in the old days at least they were rotated between the two so that some level of fertility could be maintained.  They take huge amounts of energy to prop up, as discussed above, and so much wildlife is displaced, so many microorganisms are killed that it is anything but sustainable or vegan.  Loss of energy is massive as the amount of photosynthesis is dramatically lessened through the reduction of layered growing, soil microbes are early in succession, water runs off much more than infiltrating and it becomes a vicious cycle of degradation.  Diversity and complexity are lessened as we apply modern farming techniques and loose our pattern based rhythms of rotation of crops and animals.  Technology tries to save the systems with synthetic fertilizers and the myriad of agrotoxins that follow the plough and fertilizer.  And if it were in the realm of a local economy, the big box stores have moved in, manufacturing has been shipped overseas, dramatic mechanization has occurred, wealth concentrating. Essentially homogenization is rampant and the cultural identity of small business and local living is erased.


 
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