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Permaculture Activism  RSS feed

 
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Hey I searched and couldn't find much on this. Nor do I know the right place to put this or ask this.

What are people's ideas on permaculture activism?
If one was to go out and talk to people on the streets what would you use to give people information other than speaking to them?
Is there some already designed flyers or brochure type layouts around that people want to share?
What are people's ideas on using minimal resources like paper or ink to do so? I have seen those cards you can plant. Maybe those could be used?
Is there a type of paper or ink or place to print these materials that people recommend?
I ask because if people are out on the streets and already doing activism for other earth centered ideas or organizations....why not include permaculture? Especially because this activism is typically done in cities where the people REALLY need to be exposed to permaculture.
I know there are the playing cards or shirts. That might get expensive to hand to random people. ha
 
pollinator
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I think the best activism is to make as many working models of permaculture as possible - that is, I think all us permies can make demonstration sites and share them with as many people as possible.  Telling people about permaculture might just be confusing, showing them permaculture can help them see that it works in the real world.

 
s wesley
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I totally agree with you. Although I wonder how to reach the people that won't get that tap on the shoulder from family or friends or acquaintances that might show them or introduce them to permaculture. It's hard to introduce it to strangers that way. There is a virtual tour option although not nearly as good. So maybe hand a card with info. on where to go online? ...or tell people? I am mainly talking about the people that seem to really need it and who's actions can potentially do major damage to earth and the world in general.  The strangers in the city that might not ever get any exposure or have any drive to seek out permaculture info. unless it hits them in the face (so to speak). They may not remember and may have as short an attention span as people seem to have these days. Hmmmm...
 
Tyler Ludens
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s wesley wrote: The strangers in the city that might not ever get any exposure or have any drive to seek out permaculture info. unless it hits them in the face (so to speak).



Difficult in the true "concrete jungle" of a high-rise downtown cityscape, but most of our cities aren't like that.  Many people in cities have yards in which they can practice permaculture.  Even people in apartments usually know someone with a yard who may be willing to donate part or all of it to a permaculture project.  Churches and other types of shared space often have unused or poorly used bits of yard that could become permaculture sites.  I think permaculture in cities could be the most useful, because potentially the largest audience.  One could put up nice signs to explain to passersby what is going on in the yard.
 
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I've read here and elsewhere about good hearted souls doing guerrilla gardening in (mainly) urban areas. It would be good if they left a small placard saying something along the lines of: 'Freely given to you by Permaculture Guerrillas'.

It would plant a seed in people's minds - 'What is this thing called Permaculture?' Then they would perhaps do a word search on their smartphones = lightbulb moment.
 
s wesley
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F Agricola wrote:I've read here and elsewhere about good hearted souls doing guerrilla gardening in (mainly) urban areas. It would be good if they left a small placard saying something along the lines of: 'Freely given to you by Permaculture Guerrillas'.

It would plant a seed in people's minds - 'What is this thing called Permaculture?' Then they would perhaps do a word search on their smartphones = lightbulb moment.


Great idea! We could do tiny little permaculture guerrilla plots or examples of guilds and leave a little sign and/or even some info. That would be a really cool in their face example! I really like that idea!
As far as people in the city having access to bits of land... I do realize that and the potential for good that could create which is why I was wondering how to reach those that don't actively seek it out like lots of us did in our lives. I really like leaving the guerrilla examples around as one idea. Wonder what the tiniest transportable examples of permaculture might be? Maybe a little model could be used for some street activism? Anyone have any ideas as far as the tiniest most expressive and transportable examples of permaculture?
 
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I lead by example. People always come up to me or slow roll by my house when I'm working in the yard. They're full of questions about my plants-- what they are, how I care for them, where I found them, etc. I also go on guerrilla gardening missions. Once people physically see what is possible, they get on board pretty quickly. Children and young people are especially curious about what I do. I'm skilled at convincing people to at least plant more trees. I save nursery pots and dutifully propagate my mature trees. If you don't have money to buy a tree, well I've got hundreds that will just go to waste if they don't get in the ground. I'll even plant them for you. Especially my acacia willows, which require zero care once established, grow very quickly, and readily adapt to our alkaline clay soil.
 
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Being on a few very non normal paths (permaculture, common law, voluntaryism), I've found that trying to convert the unwashed masses, especially if you approach people you don't know, is typically like beating ones head on the wall.

The Wheaton Eco Scale thread has some good information on this.

If you want to approach people you don't know your best results will likely come if you have a good idea of where they are now and what kinds of things you could talk to them about that wouldn't make them immediately write you off as crazy.

When I was younger I used to talk to people about various things outside of the norm... and my success rate with people that knew me very well, liked me, and thought I was fairly intelligent was pretty much zero. Not because I didn't know what I was talking about, not because I couldn't explain the ideas clearly, but because they were not in a place where my ideas could be comprehended.

I'd agree with those that have said to show by example. Start doing visible things and people who are within a few levels of you (ready to potentially be exposed to what you are doing) will find you and start asking questions.

Of course, follow your heart... but you will probably find more success if you can figure out how to reach people who are ready to hear what you have to say or see what you have to show them. That is one of the very nice things about the internet... if you know what you are talking about and write about it people who are ready to hear it will find you.
 
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I think people are fairly willing to lend help, whereas, they're really not much willing to get talked at.

Which means, maybe, do something plausibly non-threatening that you clearly have a right to do and believe in and ask for help at likely points in your effort. The people who respond may leave with some new knowledge, or at least they now know some weirdo they are willing to speak with again; also, they have a good story to pass along at happy hour.

I doubt it will be like winning the lottery, but it doesn't need to be. The concept is an old and accepted one. Disciples were encouraged with this story in their effort to spread the word :

“A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” A Moody Bible graduate teaching at the Zen Center in SF explained that, as a side note, it helped to understand that in those days a good return on seed was maybe 3  or 5 times what was planted. I'm not sure what the magic growth compound might have been, but clearly the concept was to do your thing front and center and the results would grow themselves. Or again: "Build it and they will come".

I guess whether those stories mean anything depends on where each of us are at the moment. I myself have seen how speaking what one loves and truly believes w/out any (or a minimum) self serving strings attached can really affect people. The story ends with an adjuration "Those who have ears, let them hear!" I always liked that last when I was a kid, though I wasn't sure why anybody with ears needed that advice. Now I think, yes, we _do_ need a prod sometimes. <g>  And it's probably better to step out in front of anybody and everybody because I don't think we really know ahead of time who the good listeners are. Besides, it's a journey, anyway, right?


Cheers
Rufus
 
Tony Jennings
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Rufus Laggren wrote:I think people are fairly willing to lend help, whereas, they're really not much willing to get talked at.


Definitely agreed. Personally I think this is in good part because those willing to hear what you have to say are the very ones willing to help out.

Rufus Laggren wrote:I guess whether those stories mean anything depends on where each of us are at the moment. I myself have seen how speaking what one loves and truly believes w/out any (or a minimum) self serving strings attached can really affect people. The story ends with an adjuration "Those who have ears, let them hear!" I always liked that last when I was a kid, though I wasn't sure why anybody with ears needed that advice. Now I think, yes, we _do_ need a prod sometimes. <g>  And it's probably better to step out in front of anybody and everybody because I don't think we really know ahead of time who the good listeners are. Besides, it's a journey, anyway, right?


I may be an athiest... but all of the books of the organized religions have a ton of amazingly good information within them.

As people, I believe that our ability to perceive new information depends very much on where we are currently. Some people will have ears to hear you now. Some might not have ears that can hear you until far in the future... and some may have ears that do not hear you because they are way past where you are... but you might have ears to hear them.

I love striking up random conversations when I'm actually out in public. Sometimes I learn a lot. Sometimes I find people that can learn from me. And sometimes I find people that can teach me some new things while learning from me themselves. Knowledge isn't a static thing on any particular subject. With our limited life spans it is almost always true that if you keep an open mind and actually listen you can learn from almost anyone if you have "ears that hear". A single accurate observation that you haven't yet to experience can open new doorways.
 
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I think that to try to explain all of permaculture, say, on a street corner, handing out pamphlets, wearing a sandwich sign, would run into a huge problem: not enough time and space.

No, I'm not getting metaphysical on you. There simply isn't enough time in five to ten seconds to talk about how wonderful all of permaculture is. There is also not enough room on a double-sided three-fold pamphlet to encompass all the relevant information. Or on a sandwich sign, for that matter.

There is, however, time and space enough to target a specific permacultural tool, a gateway tool, as it were.

Let's imagine this in the form of a mailer for a backyard chicken garden (I haven't seen this on this site yet, or anywhere, really, so I expect to see it discussed soon) initiative.

So first, you'd have the outer packaging, a spore-pressed envelope with the appropriate species of fungi that can be laid under mulch.

There would be a pamphlet talking about the benefits of both backyard chickens and planting a chicken garden, along with all necessary municipal contact and compliance information.

Then there would be an information sheet all about perennial plants that like to grow on fence lines that provide food and shelter for chickens, and lists of forage plants that could be sowed into lawn to convert it to pasture, and potentially notations about guilds that could be used that wouldn't look out of place in a lawn.

Perhaps there would be a chicken information sheet, complete with permaculturally-aligned farm sources for fertilised eggs or, more importantly for urbanites who aren't allowed roosters, sexed chicks or older and even rescue hens.

Finally, there would be another, inocuous, insidious pamphlet that starts with "If you like this sort of thing..." simply listing all of the amazing tools and goals that permaculture encompasses, and maybe a QR code as well as conventional notation for Permies.com.

-CK
 
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Paul and I are writing a book about building a better world in your backyard instead of being angry at bad guys. The book is filled with things people can do that will make a BIG positive impact, save them money, and help provide a more luxuriant life. I think that "more money and more luxury for you" speaks to the average person much better than "it's good for the planet. Do it please." So I think there will be some great success there.

The book is being written with the idea that a permie might buy a dozen of them at a great price and give them to others.

I'm not sure if that would be considered "activism" but I do think it would be extremely effective at infecting more brains with permaculture. Of course, I may be biased.
 
Tony Jennings
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Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:... I think that "more money and more luxury for you" speaks to the average person much better than "it's good for the planet. Do it please." ...



That's actually what got me into permaculture... or rather "spending less money and having more free time to enjoy life with my family". After outlining my cash flow, cutting unnecessary costs, and reducing necessary costs I was left with food, energy, and taxes as remaining costs... so I started focusing on reducing food and energy costs and eventually found myself growing more of my own food and finding ways to reduce energy needs.

Showing people how to cut their food and/or energy costs in a way that doesn't require huge changes does speak to people... and once you get them interested they might consider more off the beaten path methods. A local group (meetup, craigslist, farmers market, etc.) based on such ideas could work quite well depending on the area.
 
Rufus Laggren
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Shawn

... I think that "more money and more luxury for you" speaks to the average person much better than "it's good for the planet. Do it please." ...



Not sure I agree. Please exercise considerable care where this idea goes. Speaking your truth may not resonate with all others, but to bring your truth to flourish, your _do_ have to speak it and not pretend you're sharing a get-rich-quick tip. There is a lot of idealism in America (and I'm not saying that makes us special and good - idealism cuts all ways). People like and follow _grounded_ enthusiasm (and check the Greek roots...).

We can and should point out that "good for the earth" can comes with some nice bennies, but at some point a person will need to make choices between quick, easy and profitable and actually good for the earth. There _will_ be a perceived and real price to pay for that virtue and I think it's better not to confuse people at the beginning about what we're _truly_ into: Good for the earth. Let there be no confusion, both in others and in ourselves.

I have sailed a lot and brought other people to sail. One always wants potential converts to enjoy a good first experience, so it's smart to pick a good sunny day and not to put noobies through anything too challenging. It's show and tell time. HOWEVER: We enforce front/center right in the beginning certain ground rules. We don't cast off until everybody has shown they have warm outerwear, puts on a life jacket, has understood what their job is in a man-overboard event, and acknowledges the we strongly recommend all precious objects like phones, wallets, glasses, keys, etc be stowed in a personal bag safely below. Absent clear and proper respect for the sea, nobody leaves the dock with me or those who taught me. Sailing is a wonderful experience that can be enjoyed by most people safely but it's NOT a play pen where people can behave irresponsibly.

My point: Sugar coating or buying interest is _not_ necessary or smart. It becomes a bait and switch that can reverse all gains down the road.

There are _always_ consequences following on our choices. I think that may be part of what karma means, but in any case... "Those who live by the sword die by the sword" is not a condemnation of soldiers. It's a basic truth that applies to everybody. "Those who live by permaculture die by permaculture" is equally true when the time comes. We all know this somewhere in ourselves. For sci-fi buffs, TINSTAAFL. At the simplest most basic level, when one goes sailing, one cannot at the same time go dancing in the park. I think it's important to be quite careful about what one might seem to be saying regarding permaculture. I  think a permaculture save-the-world life is real choice and If it's real, it has consequences. It's important to make conscious effort not to obscure this, to be clear about our basic motives here.

Rufus
 
s wesley
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Thanks for all the responses! I think the problem is there is a lot of people who aren't even hearing the word, much less getting any info. or opportunities to experience real life examples about, permaculture. So many people I have interacted with have never heard the word. Like all activism interacting with random people and improving and learning from your experiences is key. Ha, I'm not sure some of you have a good idea of effective activism in your heads. It doesn't have to be like a mad man yelling on the street corner. It can be very passive and inviting. Let's say you just put out a banner with some pictures of your land. Then wait for them to come to you and ask if they have questions or comments and engage that way. If you can't bring them to your land then you can bring a picture of your land to them maybe? Picking an appropriate location is part of it too. In many subjects where activism is applied all one has to really do is "plant the seed" (so to speak). If you don't ever say anything out of fear of either how they will take it or how you might come across then they may never hear it. What if that is the only time in their life they will ever come across permaculture? In case everyone isn't aware...permaculture is not something being programmed into people's minds by mainstream media that much if at all. If we are to change this world we need to get the word out in all ways and directions. The other thing that people may not consider. PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. One way of reaching someone may not work for another. Some may only like the guy shouting on the corner to be interested. If a person comes across that shouting dude on the corner and gets off put by his demeanor then it still might plant that seed that may be watered by another gentle soul expressing their interest or real life examples of permaculture. I say we need to double down. We need to speed this up. We are doing great with personal projects and we can continue everything we are already doing and just get it out there more and more and more however we can. If permaculture cannot be explained in a short period... Maybe hand out some info.? Included in that info. can be links to online places like here where info. is vast and expansive. Hand out the books Shawn was talking about. The playing cards. Shirts. Whatever it takes. If you all look outside of permaculture circles and communities there are soooo many people that are not aware of the benefits financially, physically, ecologically and more. I don't think it can hurt to plant the seed and give them a chance at least to consciously turn it down. Waiting for permaculture to become part of mainstream programming and gain popularity with the masses that way may be a losing battle. I don't think it can hurt to try to spread the truth for any subject and give people more information especially on something so obviously good for many reasons. I was a person who seeked permaculture out but even I could've benefited from an earlier introduction or seed planted in my head. We need children to grow up on this in mass to change things permanently down the line. It might be a losing battle but to me it's a battle worth fighting. Don't get me wrong... I understand the best approach is putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others (so to speak) or tying your shoes before you run and that is what I think should be our main approach. However I do think we need to let everyone know anyway we possibly can. Even if it's just us using the word permaculture more casually in more conversations when we talk. Let's plant more seeds! ha
 
Rufus Laggren
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From a macro viewpoint, it probably helps to have an "Association" (or something) where major players sign their names and the party line(s) are presented in an orderly and consistent public face. Some way to present a unified public front helps a lot. There is nothing magical about it, people just prefer to see some kind of consistent concept that they can wrap their heads around when they have no idea what being talked about. In the case of permaculture, there are maybe 10 or 12 major well known (w/in the community) contributors who don't really connect their ideas with those their peers. An association, like any business group, has the job of gathering, harmonizing and explaining under one conceptual umbrella. It documents "generally accepted good practice", lists available certifications and recognitions, lists a bibliography, lists current extant schools and generally ensures that there is a "there" there when somebody from the other world tries to take a look-see.

[edited to shorten]

I'm not aware of any easy overview of the permaculture community as a whole. In part I'm sure this is because the people who do permaculture are doing something pretty personal and are very independent and committed to a particular view they have spent years developing. It's not necessarily natural for strong minded self starters to come together and form a council and start to codify stuff. I'm sure it's not going to be as easy as, for example, the APA (plywood association), which documents, archives and presents information on type and usage of plywood; they have a narrowly defined set of products and facts and best practices are fairly easy to determine.

But it's an evolving thing and growth of a movement has it's stages just like any living thing. Just throwing this out as a concept to look at.

Rufus

Rufus
 
Tyler Ludens
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Rufus Laggren wrote: In the case of permaculture, there are maybe 10 or 12 major well known (w/in the community) contributors who don't really connect their ideas with those their peers.



I'm not sure what this means.  Can you explain?

 
s wesley
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

Rufus Laggren wrote: In the case of permaculture, there are maybe 10 or 12 major well known (w/in the community) contributors who don't really connect their ideas with those their peers.



I'm not sure what this means.  Can you explain?


Maybe he means there are some well known "big names" in permaculture that don't exactly focus on connecting to each other for many reasons. Sometimes they may be too busy doing projects or it could be a personality quirk ot maybe it's a recognizing or assumption that they are the tip of the spear and others may not have anything worth contributing. I see this happening in other subjects of interest too.

To clarify from my last response. I don't think there is one sort of "magic pill" in this area to get people to wake up to permaculture. If everyone hasn't realized by now... people can have some major differences and they all respond to subjects differently. In order to wake up the most amount of people I think we need to explore more and more ways to spread the message and at the very least "plant the seed" like I said before. It is kind of surprising there isn't already many layouts for information to give people in a setting of either street activism or just random interaction with strangers. I think we could benefit from creating such things. I am not too lazy to do so. I just wanted to check and see if such things already existed. I realize our physical projects are the best examples, but that may not reach people enough or be as interesting to all as some might think. For example, some people are numbers and words people and might just gloss over a real life example or label it as just "stuff" in front of their eyes. Again, there probably is no magic answer here. I just think we can get creative and try to reach more people in more ways. I'm certainly also not saying we aren't already doing that either...ha. Just trying to get some feedback as far as street activism or random encounters. I realize it may not reach them or they might brush it off. But... If we don't try to let people know then it FOR SURE will never work. ha.  Let's plant more seeds!
 
Shawn Klassen-Koop
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Rufus Laggren wrote:at some point a person will need to make choices between quick, easy and profitable and actually good for the earth



I have so much to say (a whole book's worth really) but I'm going to limit it to this: It is my opinion that these two options are not mutually exclusive.
 
Rufus Laggren
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@Shawn

> [profit... virtue]  not mutually exclusive...

Surely not, at least not by definition or necessity. But. No promises. At all. There very often comes a moment when a person looks at themself and thinks:  "I've just spent x number of years doing this stuff I really believe(d) and (not being a moron) it's plain as a nose that I may well lose my land and die poor. Unless maybe I use that land for soybeans... And I really didn't think it could come to this." That last sentence makes it a lot harder to remain true.

I'm saying "it could come to this" and it's better to hold that possibility visible always, understanding that, well, it's not really a problem, just real life. In that light, do I still want to do this stuff? I'm saying "be careful in speaking about your enthusiasms, and avoid brandishing rewards". Rewards come and go; understanding this and being aware of our values and why we chose this path (what are we _doing_?) can give us a better chance of hanging in there compared to if we go around expecting rewards, success, etc just because we're doing this virtuous stuff.  In my experience you can chase rewards or you can carry on your chosen path. The two are _not_ the same, although they are not mutually exclusive. One is your life, the other a side affect. Or say, perhaps, the other is a readout of a particular type which you can use to make certain operating decisions - but it's not why you're here doing this permies thing.

Rufus
 
Tyler Ludens
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Rufus Laggren wrote: In my experience you can chase rewards or you can carry on your chosen path.



In my experience permaculture is it's own reward, it creates such a huge improvement in quality of life.
 
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Demonstration sites are necessary to convince some people, however others will only be receptive to a new idea if its value is proven by peer-reviewed research or if its profitability is news-worthy.

I think getting 'Permaculture One' into your local library is a good start.
The most convincing reason I've found when talking to people is the idea of doing less grocery shopping, more backyard harvesting.
Folk in rural areas seem to loathe going to town and perusing the fluorescent supermarket.

As a youth I hated gardening and feared dirt, it was global warming that motivated me to get into permaculture. For others, quality of food or easier land management seem to be big drawcards.

I would like to see permaculture practices incorporated into local councils maintenance regimes, then you have public medium-scale examples that people drive past everyday. You could also save on property tax, which would itself be newsworthy.
 
s wesley
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Getting permaculture books into your nearest library is a good idea. Even better if you get them to promote it in some way. Sometimes libraries will do things like movie viewing parties. If so, we could get them to play a permaculture related movie or documentary.
Another idea I have done before is placing an ad in the local newspaper. Mine was for anyone interested in permaculture design services. I forget the exact wording I used. Just the word permaculture might get at least one person to look into it. I think I paid for a week or two and no one asked if I wanted more but they just kept printing it every week for a while for free. It's a small town though. I never did get any calls. Hopefully someone looked it up though or again maybe it planted a seed.
 
Story like this gets better after being told a few times. Or maybe it's just a tiny ad:
177 hours of video: the 2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/hours-video-Permaculture-Design-Technology
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