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.

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