Tag Archives | Household economy

Household economy counts (full text)

AppleMarkAndy Scerri’s critique of Patrick Jones’ articulation of self-reliance, localism, and gift economies (Arena #115) is a familiar argument that has been used over the last thirty years to dismiss permaculture and related environmental activism by more traditional political activists.

The harsh reality is that neither pathway has significantly impeded the headlong rush of industrial modernity towards the ‘limits to growth’ cliff so accurately modelled 40 years ago by Meadows et al. I am more than ready to acknowledge that ‘our’ collective efforts at positive environmentalism during and since the 1970s have so far failed to catalyse the necessary changes in society, but Andy Scerri’s assertion that composting your private garden counts for nothing, reflects an ignorance of several structural and systemic factors driving and constraining social change.

First, if the changes or innovations required do not confer some advantage to the innovators and early adopters then there is little incentive for others to follow their lead.

Second, unless the necessary changes or innovations can be independently adopted by individuals, households and local communities without the resources, support and approval from central authority, then it can always be blocked by established interests that stand to lose by its widespread adoption.

Third, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for higher order organisations and governments to mandate a reality that doesn’t already exist as working models. Progressive and integrated adoption and refinement of the myriad of strategies and techniques associated with permaculture, enacted at the household and local level, addresses all three systemic issues.

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Retrofitting the suburbs for Sustainability

retro graphic2We have uploaded one of David’s classic articles “Retrofitting the suburbs for sustainability”. As most of us live in the city and that’s not likely to change any time soon, the suburbs need massive retrofitting. David takes an average urban street, plays with scenarios, and shows it’s doable. You can now download the piece, originally authored for the ‘Simplicity Institute Report 12i, 2012.

 

I believe the evidence of global instability leading to energy descent if not total collapse is so overwhelming that it is incumbent on everyone to begin taking personal and household responsibility for reorganising their lives to adapt in place (or consolidate with family or friends).  Paying off debt, teaching our kids to garden, and turning our hobby into a business is not going to solve the problems unleashed by permanent energetic and economic contraction, but after forty years of public policy denial of the limits to growth conundrum by government, the media and other sources of power and public policy, the bottom up adaption strategy is the only one with any remaining utility.

Download and read Retrofitting The Suburbs (PDF 254KB) in full.

 

Also you can explore the subject in the related pieces.

Retrofitting the suburbs for sustainability (adapted from public lecture given at the Aldinga Arts Eco-village in Adelaide in January 2005).

Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability (David Holmgren’s presentation at the The Wheeler Centre in February 2012)

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The household level counts

8673479525_4ea29d4776David Holmgren’s comment entitled “The household level counts” was published in the latest issue of Arena magazine (#123) and following is the first few paragraphs of the piece.

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Andy Scerri’s critique of Patrick Jones’ articulation of self-reliance, localism, and gift economies (Arena #115) is a familiar argument that has been used over the last thirty years to dismiss permaculture and related environmental activism by more traditional political activists.
The harsh reality is that neither pathway has significantly impeded the headlong rush of industrial modernity towards the ‘limits to growth’ cliff so accurately modelled 40 years ago by Meadows et al. I am more than ready to acknowledge that ‘our’ collective efforts at positive environmentalism during and since the 1970s have so far failed to catalyse the necessary changes in society, but Andy Scerri’s assertion that composting your private garden counts for nothing, reflects an ignorance of several structural and systemic factors driving and constraining social change. Continue Reading →

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Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability (presentation)

David Holmgren gave a Lunchbox/Soapbox talk at the The Wheeler Centre in February 2012, exploring the profound improvements that the application of permaculture principles and strategies could deliver for the sustainability and liveability of today’s suburbs.

Through the microcosm of four adjacent houses in ‘Aussie Street’, Holmgren demonstrates how suburbs can and will respond to the converging economic, energy and climate crises, and discovers how you can stimulate positive household and community resilience in the face of these pressures.

Watch the video and add your comments.

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Treehugger interview in Buenos Aires

Extracted from the original Treehugger interview by Paula Alvarado in Buenos Aires, October 2007.

“Many of the mainstream approaches to how we might make things more energetically efficient and ecologically friendly, although well intentioned, are a waste of time”, says David Holmgren. From a permaculture point of view, that is.

This is because this set of principles called permaculture have a more radical point of view to green. But don’t be scared just yet: we’re not asking that you leave all behind to live in an eco-village in the middle of the country.

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