Permaculture In The News This Week - Beyond Capitalism
Friday, 14th September 2012

Here are the 5 permaculture news stories that have grabbed our attention this week. Read about alternatives to capitalism or 'a bad economy, natural disaster, or worst-case scenario, zombie apocalypse'(!), view a film of permaculture practitioner and author Aranya teaching and see how permaculture helped someone on the Lonely Planet forum.

1). We like this article from America, which states that Permaculture: It's not just for hippies and homesteaders anymore. (Was it ever?!) The features illustrates how diverse permaculture is becoming and the conclusion makes us smile: "In the end, it's hard to argue with a movement that advocates getting more for less, playing nice with others, and improving this little planet we call home. If nothing else, creating a self-sufficient homestead and strong community is the ultimate insurance policy against a bad economy, natural disaster, or worst-case scenario, zombie apocalypse."

2). We also love this story Growing Against The Grain, also from the States. Junior Samantha Mason spent the summer filming at Ithaca, on the outskirts of New York. Mason is a documentary studies and production major and is going to be creating promotional videos for the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute. "It's a lifestyle that's completely opposite to capitalism," says Mason. "You're not commodifying the earth. Capitalism has succeeded in separating humans from the earth we consume from. Permaculture reminds us we're part of this system." We are all looking forward to the permaculture films she makes!

3). Keeping the American theme going – it is also great to report that American sales of Permaculture magazine are up this year-to-date and we are also seeing our authors becoming more well known on the other side of the pond. Aranya is currently taking part in an online interview and projected podcast via one of our favourite sites Stateside, You can read their review of his new book Permaculture Design: A Step-by-Step Guide - it features a video of Aranya teaching which is well worth watching. You can also ask Aranya questions on the site and there will shortly also be a podcast with him, Click here for details: Welcome Aranya author Permaculture Design

4). Spotted on the Lonely Planet forum this week is this request for information of a Permaculture Design course in Southeast Asia. Good to see so many knowledgeable people replying and helping someone else find permaculture :-)

5). Finally, one we don't want you to miss from our own website. Polly Higgins, the founder of the Ecocide Campaign, needs support to continue their work. If you can donate here: Eradicating Ecocide.

JackSpirko |
Fri, 14/09/2012 - 15:21

Samantha Mason's contention that Permaculture is the opposite of capitalism demonstrates a lack of understanding of both capitalism and permaculture.

Capitalism isn't evil, this website is a capitalist website, it is privately owned and run for profit. It is done with a noble agenda but it still a capitalist endeavor. The greatest examples of permaculture design have been done by PRIVATE OWNERS of property. People invest in things when they are able to reap the benefits of their investment.

As long as many in the permaculture world demonize capitalism you are pushing away many people who would be your biggest allies.

The problem is that many people view technocratism, corporatism, economic fascism, neoconservative socialism and the modern plutocracy as capitalism. None of these are capitalism. Capitalism simply states that people have a RIGHT to own property (real or otherwise) and the right to control the fruits of their own labors.

Permaculture in its pure form is more capitalism then anything else. Sure some people want a commune, some an ecovillage, some an organic farm, some want to run schools that teach others, some just want a suburban home that is somewhat self sufficient.

Um get a clue guys our biggest warriors in the movement are capitalists.

Geoff Lawton is, he told me himself.

Bill Mollison sounds like not just a capitalist but a libertarian capitalist, it is what sold me on Permaculture.

Joel Salatin is a capitalist.

Sepp Holtzer is a capitalist.

Like the other article said, Permaculture isn't just for hippies.

Vilifying what you don't understand won't fix the problems that you also do not understand.

Jerry Simon |
Sat, 15/09/2012 - 12:16

I think I get what you're saying Jack Spirko, thanks for that comment. MY problem with capitalism is that, unless it's a single self-employed person or a co-operative group of workers reaping the fruits of their own labours, then pretty soon you're in a situation where owners are reaping the fruits of other people's labours, taking profits to themselves and paying workers basically as little as they can get away with. People with money use their money (calling it "investment") to manipulate people with far less money to work to make the better-off guys even better off.
And I'm assuming that Geoff Lawson and Bill Mollison aren't that sort of capitalist. And I hope they're not, because that is a model that leads to the sort of "growth" and "development" that has brought the biosphere into a situation of great peril for all. Because it leads to owners/shareholders trying to maximise profits and market share at all costs - because THEY tend to be in it for the money rather than because whatever "it" is is a noble or necessary enterprise. I think that's why so many of us see capitalism and permaculture as mutual opposites.

ldm_magic |
Sat, 15/09/2012 - 19:46

In Italy the Fascist regime created a corporatist economic system in 1925 with creation of the Palazzo Vidioni Pact, in which the Italian employers' association Confindustria and Fascist trade unions agreed to recognize each other as the sole reprsentatives of Italy's employers and employees, excluding non-Fascist trade unions.[ The Fascist regime first created a Ministry of Corporations that organized the Italian economy into 22 sectoral corporations, banned workers' strikes and lock-outs, and in 1927 created the Charter of Labour, which established workers' rights and duties and created labour tribunals to arbitrate employer-employee disputes. In practice, the sectoral corporations exercised little independence and were largely controlled by the regime, and employee organizations were rarely led by employees themselves but instead by appointed Fascist party members.

When the top1% of this country control as much wealth as they do, and when 1 billionaire, or 2 brothers billionaires can contribute as much to a presidential election as everyone else in the nation combined contribute it is not a far stretch to say we are closer to a Fascist state than a capitalist state. So what passes for capitalism when a 1% elite rules the country is decried as not a good thing for the country by a college student, I don't think it is fair to attack her for her choice of words. You would be better off to fight against the Citizens United ruling by a radical right Supreme Court, or by fighting to make the country more fair so a small capitalist could compete against the Koch brothers. But when they can buy an election, or maybe 50 or so Senate elections without disturbing their weekly coffee funds, it is not a time to attack a student.

Ecosutra |
Tue, 18/09/2012 - 17:21

Hello ya all' I am in st Croix virgin islands. Looking to install ocean temperature conversion to desalinate water for food forest design. Well I don't need OTEC, but it would accelerate the process much faster to reinstall rainforest. St Croix use to get 90 inches of rain a year, now is down to 40 from deforestation. The Cayman islands are developing a $300 million dollar 25 mega watt on land OTEC site. The design can be scaled to off platform water worlds. 1 million watts. I need people to Create the expedition to reward Permaculture by collecting bio mass co2 capture for algae bio fuel. That brings capital to efficiency. Capitalism does not value efficiency. That is the bottom line. But if a group of willing could gather their resources to create an enclosed aqua ponic in door climate controlled environment with a game changing light bulb called Britesol, that is a game changer. Just in, production of Daniel langs light available in 2 months. Fredricksted is a dying town, the oil refinery shut down here and things are getting violent. Chaos will provide me with creative order here faster than anywhere. I want to fix Fredricksted. The incentive or the capital value is the surplus in energy from Agro forestry into algae bio diesel. A community can produce on 6 acres 100 gallons of bio diesel a day. That's a good $12000 in energy product at $4 a gallon. Industry does not want to unleash this technology because it can be scaled , even the us military can not get the gatekeepers to install it for their fleet. Just look at my twitter for more research. It's the migration to Eco village with green energy conversion over efficiency which will put value to permaculture capitalism. I understand that most of the people I am talking to in here wish for a more primitive example of what permaculture means to you. To me it's just a design landscape that can be interfaced with modern systems to put value to natural capital. I have assembled all the engineers and I can install these designs. I just need about $40 million with about 4000 people. That will get us started. I don't know why I can't accomplish the mission. It is the energy independent revolution, I am Ecosutra.