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4 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2010 - 9:59AM #1
catboxer
Posts: 14,012

I heard my daughter using the word "permaculture," and figured it had something to do with the environmental activism implied in cob building. But I got curious thinking about all the possible ramifications of a word which combines "permanent" with both "culture" and "agriculture," and realized I didn't know what it means.
The Wikipedia article on Permaculture tells us that it "is an approach to designing human settlements and agricultural systems that mimic the relationships found in natural ecologies," adding that it's not one specific thing or another, but a system of interrelated design principles which would enable people to live ecologically sustainable lives while reducing their reliance on the industrial methods of production and distribution which have all but destroyed the earth.  So permacultural approaches to food, shelter, clothing, and transportation could potentially change everything we have and do.
A cob cottage is a manifestation of permaculture; a suburban tract house isn't. Organic gardening, bicycles, composting toilets, and acoustic string bands are all vehicles for permaculture; factory farming, automobiles, modern bathrooms, and rock concerts are the opposite of it.
Permaculture could very well be a non-violent revolution waiting to happen. Its rejection of industrial methodology and its handmaiden, consumerism, implies a rejection of capitalist ideology and all its attendant commercial, mercantile, and financial relationships as well, not to mention the corrupt and violent political system which serves the plutocrats in charge of those relationships.
Its widespread adoption in what used to be called "the first world" (the industrialized world) might lead us to think differently about the earth's human carrying capacity. We tend to assume the planet is overpopulated, but what would be the effect if a hundred million people currently living lives of profligacy and waste lived much more lightly upon the earth?
This movement has a longer history than I would have thought, having originated in Australia in the '60's and '70's. (The Wikipedia article includes an excellent historical overview) But as with so many things in the world today, such as the prospect of nuclear disarmament, the future of this new paradigm is much more important than its past. Among other things, permaculture provides a possible scenario for the future of the human race, which might otherwise not have a future.
And if the overwhelming majority today disdains the idea of living in a self-made mud hut, or growing their own food, or abstaining from meat, or riding a bike to the store instead of driving, many of them are going to feel differently five years from now when there's no gas and no money.
Just one more thing, for those who may be inspired by these ideas: nobody goes from living as a consumer of industrial goods to a permacultural existence overnight. The bridge from our current destructive and unsustainable living arrangements to more sustainable, small-scale, and decentralized modes is necessarily accomplished incrementally, in discrete steps. We need to adopt the new paradigm piece by piece, incorporating each major part of the design into our lives before moving on to the next.
On the other hand, since time is growing shorter, we need to apply deliberate and daily effort to the task, and avoid procrastinating.
Cross-posted with illustration and a link to other photos at catboxx.blogspot.com/2010/07/permacultur...



Increased font so I could read.  


 

Moderated by Stardove on Jul 17, 2010 - 02:10PM
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4 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2010 - 12:36PM #2
Agnosticspirit
Posts: 9,244

Cat, great article. Thanks for posting. In keeping with the SPIRIT of Hot Topics Zone (where each thread originates from current events) I found a link from The Jerusalem Post to support this thread. Love this quote from the article:


"BEHIND  THE project is the principle that “what’s good for the  environment is good for me”; and while believing passionately in the  cause,  Engelmair emphasizes that City Tree does not preach or force others to  adopt  green alternatives."


AS


Linked your blog entry HERE.


Other movements seem to support the slow shift to another paradigm. The Slow Food Movement and Fair Trade for a couple.  "Think globally act locally" has prompted many to shift from big box stores and uber retailers like WallyWorld who pay their employees so little, taxpayers wind up subsidizing the biggest retailer in the world. 


 


 

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2010 - 4:22PM #3
Weepingangelofthetrees
Posts: 2,053

I'm the second generation (inheretance) making my living in the spirit of environmental preservation and recycling. We were green before green was cool, as an American company.


I think it's common sense to live in unity with ones environment, rather than opposed. We have but to look at the headlines to read evidence that nature has always had the upper hand to human civilizations.
Certainly we can erect giant skyscrapers that consume countless wats of candle power from the grid, and we can build manufacturing plants that spew scrubbed white yet toxic emissions into our air by the ton every hour. But let mother Earth shrug her shoulders just enough as the tectonic plates alter their place beneath those intimidating man made structures, and it all falls down!


Or let that gentle summer breeze that lifts a child's kite into the air and lends to hours of their joy at play, increase in knots to hundreds of miles an hour and that summer breeze turns into a funnel that can level virtually any man made structure in her path.


So it makes sense that a permaculture evolves from what our Western society recognizes is no longer a matter of dominion/domination over the earth. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Nature does it. It's only a matter of time when all else has proven fallible and incompatible in our way of manufacturing a lifestyle that contradicts sustaining quality of life and environment in the name of living in a style that's only temporary when it's firstly so bloody toxic to all concerned.


 


 


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4 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2010 - 8:45PM #4
catboxer
Posts: 14,012

Agnostic Spirit, always so nice to see you. WeepingAngelo, it's a pleasure to meet you.


I'm real excited about this bicycle thing. Since I got it I'm down to starting the car twice a week, on Tuesday to work down by the airport and on Thursday to drive the ten miles to Edmonds to teach a class.


The bike trail is a great thing. Every city should have them, and I wrote about that today.


catboxx.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-trail.ht...


I can post it here if people want, but I'm really struggling with formatting, not being able to bring in pictures, etc. BNet's going through transitions I guess.


Anyway, here I am saving money and burning nothing but calories by not driving, and feeling like the quality of life is improved by pedaling the two wheels. Sounds like permaculture to me.


The test will come this winter. The weather's wonderful right now, but we'll see how I do when those Seattle rains set in. If I pass the test, I'll try to arrange all my jobs to be bike-accessible and in town next year, and get rid of the car.

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 17, 2010 - 8:54PM #5
Girlchristian
Posts: 11,417

Jul 17, 2010 -- 12:36PM, Agnosticspirit wrote:


Cat, great article. Thanks for posting. In keeping with the SPIRIT of Hot Topics Zone (where each thread originates from current events) I found a link from The Jerusalem Post to support this thread. Love this quote from the article:


"BEHIND THE project is the principle that “what’s good for the environment is good for me”; and while believing passionately in the cause, Engelmair emphasizes that City Tree does not preach or force others to adopt green alternatives."


AS


Linked your blog entry HERE.


Other movements seem to support the slow shift to another paradigm. The Slow Food Movement and Fair Trade for a couple.  "Think globally act locally" has prompted many to shift from big box stores and uber retailers like WallyWorld who pay their employees so little, taxpayers wind up subsidizing the biggest retailer in the world. 


 


 




I have started the shift to local shops versus the big retailers like Walmart, but it's not easy on a tight budget.

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4 years ago  ::  Jul 18, 2010 - 7:28PM #6
Weepingangelofthetrees
Posts: 2,053

Jul 17, 2010 -- 8:45PM, catboxer wrote:


Agnostic Spirit, always so nice to see you. WeepingAngelo, it's a pleasure to meet you.


I'm real excited about this bicycle thing. Since I got it I'm down to starting the car twice a week, on Tuesday to work down by the airport and on Thursday to drive the ten miles to Edmonds to teach a class.


The bike trail is a great thing. Every city should have them, and I wrote about that today.


catboxx.blogspot.com/2010/07/on-trail.ht...


I can post it here if people want, but I'm really struggling with formatting, not being able to bring in pictures, etc. BNet's going through transitions I guess.


Anyway, here I am saving money and burning nothing but calories by not driving, and feeling like the quality of life is improved by pedaling the two wheels. Sounds like permaculture to me.


The test will come this winter. The weather's wonderful right now, but we'll see how I do when those Seattle rains set in. If I pass the test, I'll try to arrange all my jobs to be bike-accessible and in town next year, and get rid of the car.




A pleasure to meet you as well, Catboxer. Smile


Bicycling will get you in shape with a quickness that's for sure. Just make sure you stretch thoroughly before and after, so as to get the best effects and stay healthy without muscle tear.


I use to bicycle on Dale Mabry Highway when I lived in Tampa Florida years ago. I was a student at the time and so making my way to class or around to the local Publix etc... shopping, it was a great opportunity to interchange exercise regimens between that and bodybuilding at a local gym. You gotta keep workouts interesting. Wink 

If your route of travel happens to concern air quality or pollution areas, like a major highway in my case, you might consider investing in a filter mask for the ride.
I used the Totobobo mask because it was tested to be the most cost effective and best protection.Bad air depletes the green effects you're looking to achieve, I think.


I wish you all the best in your journey. If it were me I wouldn't get rid of the car just in case I needed it for long distance travel. You know what they say, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.


 


Safe riding. Smile


"Remember, Jesus would rather constantly shame gays than let orphans have a family."
Stephen Colbert
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4 years ago  ::  Jul 25, 2010 - 4:25PM #7
Merope
Posts: 10,257

This thread was moved from the Hot Topics Zone.


 

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