autonomous futures

The Revolution is Permaculture?
January 30, 2008, 8:41 pm
Filed under: reflective log

Permaculture is revolution disguised as organic gardening.  (Mike Feingold, communithy activist and designer quoted in DIY: a handbook for changing our world, p. 16)

I have had a few different introductions to permaculture, but this week’s session was the first time I’ve heard it pitched as a ‘holistic approach’ to averting ecological crisis.  In the past I’ve only been aware of it as a design system for the physical environment in keeping with ecological principles.  I enjoyed the session, and the permaculture flower seem well and good, but I am unconvinced by the idea that permaculture is one of the few ‘integrated approaches’ prepared to tackle all that is wrong with the world.

Maybe I just need to read more or take a design course, but it seems like things like ‘finance and economics’ have been tacked onto the original agro-ecological basis of permaculture.  WWOOFing, LETS and ethical investment as the key examples don’t help my perception.

Of course I support any system that empowers individuals and communities to take control over their lives in a truly ecological way, but there seems to be something missing.  What about direct action (in the narrow, campaigning sense of the word)?  Yes, we need to build alternatives and actively create the world we want to see, but we also need to actively tear down the bad if we are to have any chance of averting major ecological catastrophe.


January 25, 2008, 12:55 pm
Filed under: implementation, reflective log

I’m pretty excited by the output for this module. I started the year thinking I would have to cut out a lot of my activist projects and commitments, but suddenly there is a bunch of time available to devote to something.

A bunch of different ideas spring to mind. Maybe the first decision is whether to take on more with something I’m already involved in, or to start something new. I could:

– Continue with Climate Camp and Scottish Climate Action

Scotland is hosting the national gathering the 5th and 6th of April and there’s loads to be done. We’re a young group and this will be the first gathering we’ve hosted. I’d like to organise a facilitation training beforehand so we have more skills locally, and also to assist with facilitation on the weekend. There will be lots of logistics involved since we don’t have a social centre with capacity for meetings/sleeping/eating. We’re not even sure if it will be in Glasgow or Edinburgh yet!

Planning actions for Fossil Fools Day in Edinburgh/Scotland – nothing is underway yet.

Also, the process working group is reforming and the next few months are likely to be its busiest time. So far there are four of us, myself included. I also plan on being involved in kitchen coordination again, or possibly networking or workshops. This work would get heavier towards April.

– Forest

We’ve become an European Voluntary Service hosting organisation and three full-time, international volunteers are arriving on March 11th. We still need to organise their accommodation, english classes, and maybe other skills training. They will be with us for six months and need a ‘mentor’ to facilitate undertaking projects at Forest and in the community. Currently there is no one to properly take on that role. It would be a great help and hopefully have the effect of great spinoff projects.

We have a new space set aside as a ‘community action room,’ but work has stalled on it. The hope is it will become a meeting space for Forest workshops and other community groups, as well as hosting computer, printing and photocopy resources, as well as a small reference library. Right now it is mostly a room full of junk and a few half-functional computers. There’s als oa working group meant to be overseeing this and other ‘political’ happenings within Forest. It has been dormant/defunct for the last couple of months and it would be good to get it going again with regular events/speakers/meetings.

Forest also has a small garden space that could use some love. I started composting out there almost a year ago and it is probably time to start a new pile. We have seeds and tools but it needs some intiative. It is also tied in with the Action working group.

– Something new

We have been trying to get a Food Not Bombs group off the ground for awhile, but it needs some help. The last event had to be cancelled because we didn’t have enough donated/skipped food to cook with!

Once upon a time there was an idea to create some sort of guide to sustainable living for Edinburgh. The idea came from the Leeds University guide, which I found at the Green Action food co-op on an open day. Lots of people were interested in helping, but no one really took the initiative to get it off the ground. It needs someone with some time to devote to getting things together.