You can listen to David reading this piece here:
In my recent piece, ‘Genetically Engineered Armageddon’ I used a tale about technology gone wrong in the agriculture domain more familiar to permies, ecological farmers and food sovereignty activists, and asked a series of questions about how we might have responded when faced with such a challenge to our values and assumptions.
In this essay, I reflect on the thinking about Covid and its Discontents that led to me constructing that tale in which I deliberately blended evidence, interpretation of historical events, informed speculation and fictional events.
Response of permaculture and kindred networks to Covid
The intention of my cobbled-together tale is to show how bizarre the adoption of the Covid narrative is within our networks. The slight but significant reframing from the domain of health and wellbeing to that of land and nature stewardship allows us to see the forest and not just the trees. Although there are many who are drawn to permaculture through an interest in holistic health, most of us feel less confident in our knowledge of disease threats to human health. Although we believe in the old organic mantra “healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy animals, healthy humans”, not being doctors or virologists, or statisticians, left most feeling they need to defer to experts. Perhaps even more important is the existential threat of one’s own death. It is my observation that the sceptical distance within our networks from faith in mainstream medicine is mostly skin deep and when it comes to life-threatening stuff most people still do what “their doctor” tells them.
Where that case proved weak (for most people of moderate weight under 50), the threat to loved elders and the otherwise vulnerable was a factor. This may be especially true for some current activists with radical roots who became loud and strong supporters of the narrative espoused by the health authorities.1See for example the post ‘Jab your ethics’ by food activist Tammi Jonas (also note in the comments Uncle Charles Davison’s rejoinder and further discussion).
Where couples, let alone whole families, were of a like mind then resistance was easier, at least psychologically, but in most cases the divide-and-conquer process showed that our network biases and grounded practise to trust in nature rather than pharma was little match for the forces involved. This weakness in our networks around health and fear of death is one I acknowledged in the RetroSuburbia chapter ‘Health, Disability and Ageing.’
The risks of global pandemics were certainly part of my Future Scenarios thinking even if I barely mentioned it as one of the compounding factors. So when I saw the early news from Wuhan come across my feeds in January 2020, we began reinforcing our already deep resilience plans, including alternatives to hospital (in case of severe illness), which in the process reduces the pressure on the system. In that way, I was primed by my own beliefs and research, including reading the very influential piece by Tomas Pueyo, “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.”
At Melliodora we were well ahead of the government in our responses, including our own track-and-trace spreadsheet for residents and visitors to our three semi-autonomous households on the property. In the autumn I remember working to remove a wood stove from a local house with my son Oliver for installation at his place. We practised full hygiene control, both to reassure the very nervous owner, but also to practise how to work in ways more typical of a hospital operating theatre. So I can say I was primed to treat the public information at face value, and assumed that official responses were slow and were underplaying the problem to avoid damaging the economy. In our business we didn’t apply for government help as we took risks focused on the opportunities in our belief that the RetroSuburbia work could help people cope with the immediate problems and set them on a more resilient path for future shocks.
When it became clear the government was prepared to shut down the economy for the health of the population, I took it as a sign that the virus was a very serious threat and my long-predicted command economy of the Brown Tech scenario was in fact unfolding. Naturally I understood that there could be good and bad outcomes, but it was exhilarating to see preparedness to bust the economy for (at least their version of) the greater good.
I quite quickly became more circumspect about how the command economy, implemented in response to Covid, was shaping up to be a mixed bag at best. Getting out and about to Queensland for the Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC) between lockdowns allowed me to test the waters, talking to and staying with colleagues and increasingly finding the narrative and the same old reductionist science that was looking dodgy to me seemed to be strengthening for many, including those I respected for their independence of thought and action. Seeing some of those lining up enthusiastically for their first Covid jab made it clear the divides that I foresaw in my Brown Tech energy descent scenario could fracture the permaculture movement. By June I was working on a “coming out” piece and contacted many colleagues inviting their advice before I went public with “Pandemic Brooding: Can the Permaculture movement survive the first severe test of the energy descent future?” in September 2021 and the follow-up bigger-picture longer version “Pandemic Brooding: Brown Tech in new clothing”.
In those pieces, I appealed to our movement to support diverse personal and collective responses as an essential expression of the diversity principle, which is good for adaptive cultural change. The ease with which many of us appeared to abandon the faith in diversity in favour of monocultural solutions was shocking for me and led to the greatest doubts I have had about the whole permaculture project since concerns I had in the early 1980s about it being just eco-fashion that, given particular conditions, could transform into eco-fascism.2See my autobiographical chapter “The Long View” in Dawborn & Smith (eds) Permaculture Pioneers Melliodora Publishing 2011 Hopefully, the upcoming APC will renew, rather than destroy, my belief that the permaculture movement remains a useful outcome of what Bill and I started in the 1970s and that permaculture ethics and design principles are powerful tools to guide people through challenge and change.
Limits to Growth (1972) and Future Scenarios (2008) as framework for understanding Covid
In the version of history in the tale, genetically engineered technology is a real response to the global predicament most clearly portrayed 50 years ago in the Limits to Growth Report.3Meadows et al 1972 The story undermines the widespread assumption in environmental circles that “the powers that be” have been in continuous denial of the Limits to Growth (or at least its current articulation as the Climate Crisis) for 50 years and it is only now that powerful forces of global governance and capital are playing catch up with us more informed folks.
The tale is, of course, a “conspiracy narrative” if not theory. Through the tale, I aim to rehabilitate the idea of conspiracy as a ubiquitous part of human responses to limits, stresses and dilemmas that face individuals, organisations, networks and states. Conspiracy theories mostly arise from the desire to make more sense of the world and represent at least basic efforts to think systemically, something our education system manages to subvert rather than enhance. Is this characteristic of our education system a result of a cock-up of cultural myopia or a conspiracy to keep the masses unable to grasp the big picture? To some extent the answer is less important than recognising reductionist thinking as one of the greatest threats to benign human futures, even if it produced some of our greatest achievements in the last 250 years.
Finally, it reminds us that the big-picture systems thinking of Limits to Growth (LtG) was, and remains, a much more insightful work than the massive reports of the IPPC. The latter are derived from vast volumes of reductionist science and inevitably reflect a careful balance between the summation of that science and the politically acceptable position at the time of publication. The LtG was the very opposite; at the edges of holistic science just as permaculture has been at the edge of design science.
Future Scenarios4See website futurescenarios.org; this work has also been published in book form by Chelsea Green 2009. outlined the systemic bones of four scenarios driven by two systemic uncertainties: the rate and severity of climate change impacts and the rate of depletion of techno-industrial modernity’s prime source of energy: “Conventional Oil”. In this way it reflected the LtG with both a rate of resource depletion and a rate of pollution impact to model the future. In workshops around Australia and overseas, starting in 2006, I hoped to prepare our networks for creative responses to unplanned futures.
As more evidence accumulated suggesting the peak of conventional oil would be buffered by massive investment already underway in “Unconventional Oil” (deep ocean, shale and tar sands) but that climate indicators seemed to be worsening faster, I focused on a deepening exploration of the Brown Tech scenario, using a series of sub-scenarios to make the systemic and global generality of Brown Tech more local and concrete. While my writing since then, including Aussie St,5Can be read in Chapter 2 of RetroSuburbia (Holmgren 2018) or watch the presentation I gave in Morwell focused on a property bubble collapse as being the most likely near-term trigger for most Australian permies experiencing, and hopefully understanding, Brown Tech realities, those realities came instead through Covid and its Discontents. Consequently, I titled my major explanatory essay “Pandemic Brooding: Brown Tech in New Clothing” (Sept 2021). These realities are being followed up by the changes wrought by geopolitical conflict and realignment unfolding as I write.
The idea that all these events are (according to the “cock-up theory of history”) disconnected, makes us susceptible to messaging from the best informed and most powerful agents who can take advantage of the crisis. The idea that all these events are (according to the conspiracy theory of history) the seamless rollout of an evil plan by a continuous historical and all-powerful elite suggests only a mass movement identifying and resisting the evil can reform the system. In this way, the deeper systemic causes and remaining productive pathways for regenerative action become obscured in the heat generated by crises.
The ‘Genetically Engineered Armageddon’ GMO tale is of course templated on my interpretation of Covid and its Discontents over the last three years, but like all my work, it also builds on and incorporates aspects of my own interpretations of lived history of the last half century or so. The questions I asked about our individual and collective responses are intended to encourage open, robust, but accepting, dialog about what has just happened and why. Framing it in this way helped me better understand why many people responded in ways that I found confounding.
The essay gives voice to my dismay at the way permaculture ethics and design principles failed to inoculate permies against being gamed in ways that threatened to both disable and divide our movement’s contribution to crafting a new story of “interbeing” and creative energy descent at the margins of failing techno-industrial civilisation. Instead of contributing to this new story, I’m witnessing permaculture’s progressive enclosure and the co-option of permaculture ethics, principles and practices in the suffocating straightjacket of Brown Tech orthodoxy, clinging to the dogmas of that failing civilisation’s story of “separation” with its right-and-wrong reductionist interpretations of reality. This sombre view of the current state of our movement contrasts with how some are hoping to move forward to experience the much-awaited mainstream lift-off of permaculture with its promise of scaling up the change and receiving the rewards of recognition and perhaps more secure livelihoods.
Some might attribute this all to just generational change and the inevitable fate of founders to become grumpy elders, discontent about what the next generation is doing. However I see a minority of permies, from kids breaking the bounds of institutionalised education and upbringing right through to fellow elders, all dismayed at the widening rifts of mutual understanding and solidarity in our movement, and with the sense that core tenets of the movement are being recast to fit within rapidly hardening ideologies being projected by the state/corporate nexus. My observation is, that for this minority, tolerance of their different choices or experiences will not be enough and that they will feel forced to discard the movement like a worn-out pair of shoes as they take the walk on the wild side of uncertainty (which is coming for all of us, even if we choose the security of the straightjacket over the risks of freedom).
I want to further unpack my interpretation of our individual and collective thinking and action with some modest reference to the vast field of accumulating evidence that I have scanned over the last three years. In doing so, I want to dedicate this essay to my prime collection point for perspectives missing from the censored world of mainstream and social media: Raul Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth (TAE) who has prodigiously collated (every day!) sources and perspectives about emerging issues and action in our interconnected world over many years, while surviving to support modest good works.
Through TAE I have kept track of the incredible work of the independent researchers, statisticians, frontline doctors, and leading, mostly retired, academics who have followed and applied the evidence, alerting those attempting to do their own due diligence in the face of obstruction, hostility and sanction from every level of government, corporation and institution that claimed to be looking after the public interest.
(TAE includes heterodox perspectives on many issues, some of which I don’t agree with. But unlike the current orthodoxy of cancelling unacceptable perspectives from one’s mental processes, I engage with them to test whether my own understandings hold up. By referencing a site that includes such views, I know I run the risk of alienating readers. A website airing these views, in the eyes of some, will automatically invalidate any information posted on TAE. Maybe that’s what the ‘Automatic’ in TAE means: that it automatically gets cancelled, by AI and even human censors, as does any online source that dares to air heterodox perspectives.)
I also dedicate this to the vaccine injured who have been ignored or derided, gaslighted (to use that now frequent expression) and buried, figuratively and literally. With that dedication lies the hope for effective therapies from real world practice at the fringes rather than corporate labs in the service of more disaster capitalism.
The Diversity Principle
The “monocultures of the mind”, and “one size fits all” are design principles that have more or less worked through the fossil fuel era. Permaculture however has a decades-long articulation of the necessity to accept and celebrate a diversity of strategies and responses, even if in the moment some of that diversity looks wrong and dangerous. It appears the ability to cope with uncertainty, ambiguity and the choices of others in a crisis is limited, even though the principle of diversity clearly applies at the social level. Diverse responses lead to diverse outcomes and the potential for a rapid learning cycle of what works and what doesn’t.
The caveat I put on that acceptance of diversity is to be suspicious of all responses promoted by the state/corporate nexus. For example, the hubris in assuming that the authorities already know what’s best, when in fact they threw their long-developed pandemic plans in the bin and decided to follow China’s totally novel response, should have been a warning sign that, at best, they had no idea what they were doing, but more likely what they were doing was not in the interests of people or the planet. All debate by dissenting experts was shut down in the mainstream media followed by the most rapid and comprehensive expansion of censorship in social media through partnerships between the intelligence and health agencies and social media corporations as now documented in the Twitter Files.6Documents about the inner workings of Twitter made public after the takeover of the social media company by Elon Musk.
The corruption of the diversity principle with its substitute of inclusivity in permaculture networks is something I have been concerned about over many years. Diversity suggests difference with the possibility of what Illich called “ambiguous complementarity”,7To describe the traditional relationship between male and female realities in his “Vernacular Gender” (1982). while inclusivity suggests being invited into something on terms already established. Whether it’s a club, community or the “rules based international order” who or what is being included doesn’t threaten the basic structure, although it can upset the already included incumbents.
Some may see this as just a matter of semantics, but it is a theme that comes up often in relation to Indigenous inclusion, which is so often on terms dictated by white cultural ways. To some extent this is inevitable when any powerful group becomes more inclusive; it is strengthened by inclusion of what it absorbs, but more often than not, the included lose identity, autonomy and the ability to maintain other ways. Illich posits that the inability of each gender to fully comprehend the other placed a limit on the degree to which men could control women, even in the most patriarchal of traditional societies. In genderless industrial modernity that has evolved from its patriarchal foundations, women are included in the system but somehow, in Illich’s observation, men always end up dominating. Since Illich’s time, the emergence of the IT revolution has shown that, like in all previous iterations of techno-industrial modernity, men dominate. I raise Illich’s now ancient view of the gendered world dissolving into a genderless one, because I think it is relevant to my thinking about diversity and inclusion. But I also do so to remind some permies already embedded in a world of constantly proliferating genders that permaculture is a “broad church” and they have to share it with people of different beliefs and understandings of the world in the same way that people of different cultures and religions (and no religion) are welcome to adopt and use permaculture.
In the interests of supporting many different articulations of permaculture thinking, and to counter any personal tendency to ideological rigidity, I have mostly regarded the application of various strands of “woke” ideology as part of the multicoloured canvas that is permaculture, even if I remain sceptical of many aspects, or at least the ways of practicing, those newly minted orthodoxies of the woke worldview.
Covid and its Discontents has strengthened those doubts I had about inclusivity and the wider woke agenda, which is now taken as given in many permaculture circles. From initially seeing it as all well-intentioned and an example of how the pendulum of ideas sometimes need to swing too far before it comes back to a sensible balance over time, I now see much of the woke radicalism as at best misplaced and leading to those who don’t subscribe treating permaculture as just another expression of woke ideology. For me, this is directly analogous to the way I regarded the priority in valuing Indigenous vegetation as a benign expression of the beneficial biodiversity that both Mollison and I endorsed. However as this valuing hardened in the 80s and 90s into nativist ideology backed by the state/corporate nexus that took over Landcare, I began to push back harder. I think the pendulum in permaculture has begun to swing back against nativism but the similarly well-intentioned aspects of woke ideology in relation to personal relations, race, gender and culture are accelerating. Because these were not my prime area of expertise or passion, I was more prepared to see what emerged. As cancel culture took over the universities and the bounds of acceptable speech even began to constrict what we spoke of in teaching on PDCs my alarm bells started ringing. As the child of radical left, feminist, social justice activists of the second world war generation I, along with my partner Su, began questioning the new woke ideologies articulated by most young colleagues and friends.
At the same time I acknowledged as clearly as I could my empathetic understanding for why younger people had reason to be angry with elders.
With Covid, I saw this mostly youthful radicalism weaponised around how to care for the elders at the same time that elders were being demonised for their privilege. I was not surprised and began talking about the threat of the woke extremists to balance the obsession with the Far Right that flared across permie social media following our participation (with a permaculture banner) in massive rallies against lockdowns and vaccine mandates. As I wrote at the time:
The hysterical focus of the left on some extreme version of identity politics and their increasing alignment in support of authoritarian and corporatist solutions to the climate emergency leaves them more and more as serving “the system”. Let us hope that does not continue far enough to create some version of Mao’s Red Guards driving some ideological transformation of society from above, in response to the ever-worsening Limits to Growth crisis.
Covid and responses to it have demonstrated how radical concern about the “climate emergency” could be (and to some degree already is) weaponised to demand top-down high-tech solutions mandated by governments and delivered by global corporations along with the demonisation of ordinary folk for their bad behaviour or even just their beliefs. For example, the belief in, and enthusiastic adoption of, the all-electric future and demonisation of wood burning is an example of this new orthodoxy that is having a strong influence in permaculture networks. As this shifts from progressive policy to mandate and punishment for non-compliance, environmental radicals could become part of the social enforcers just as they have been in relation to Covid.
Let us be humble about what we have been through and accept that in a crisis most of us probably follow our initial biases, and will often continue down that path against mounting evidence to the contrary, sometimes to the point of doing harm to ourselves and others. Sometimes this is simply because of the sunken cost fallacy of not wanting to give up on some prior “investment” we have made. Sometimes it is because the behaviour has become normalised and reinforced by others around us, especially through media and social media. Both the flocking behaviour we associate with sheep, and the deep resistance we associate with goats, can, in different situations, be adaptive human responses to novel situations and stresses.
It appears that in a crisis when the going gets tough, this idea that we all need to flock like “birds of a feather” for the collective good draws on a more ancient collectivist instinct that served our forebears well. That this instinct to flock, and further still, to sacrifice for the common good, was so ruthlessly exploited by the government nudge units and the media shrills, has become clearer with hindsight. What was particularly galling was how the well-intentioned concern about disadvantaged minorities was a prime tool to pull at our heart strings to enforce compliance.
My growing disquiet in the 1990s about various expressions of green left ideology and specifically The Greens political party was tempered when Bob Brown launched Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability in Canberra. But over the two decades since, I found myself saying the reason I voted Green is more for their social policies than their environmental ones. Covid has smashed that last connection and left a sense of betrayal where I now regard The Greens as primarily doing more harm than good in the mainstream political context.
I recognise and value growing up in a family of dissidents who didn’t need to belong to the herd to hold true to their values. Having a life partner with very strong goat tendencies also predisposes me to walking the opposite way to the crowd, although as a habit I recognise that it doesn’t always work. But I also recognise that with a different life partner, my tendency to be reasonable and rational, as defined by society, could have led me to make different decisions in life generally, and perhaps even in Covid, although it is hard to admit that, even to myself given the evidence from hindsight. For calm and considered weighing of the evidence, especially in a crisis, most of us rely on experts and institutions.
Through my extensive work in the area of bushfire resilient design and behaviour, I have found the preparedness of people to put their lives in the hands of the authorities quite disturbing, especially if those people have some understanding how climate change, if not wider Limits to Growth crisis and energy descent, will progressively reduce the capacity of those authorities. The history of the Soviet Union for example shows how systems facing limits, while appearing from the outside to be strong, can fail to deliver because they are increasingly broken and corrupt on the inside. For decades I have been watching the habitual use of ambulances as default responses to minor health crises, wondering how people would cope when ambulances don’t arrive in a timely manner, or even at all, and if they do, the failure of the overstretched health system at the other end.
Oh well, we are there now with a health system infected by state/corporate nexus dysfunction and corruption. In this context, it behoves us to do our own due diligence; a message I have always given, not just because it has worked for me personally but because I believe it is an important inclination and behaviour as energy descent driven dysfunction in our institutions makes them unreformable.
Reform or walk out
This debate about working to reform existing institutions vs modelling the new behaviours and subcultural norms in the shadow of the old systems is a recurring theme in permaculture and kindred circles. My radical and long cultural perspective suggests we need to let those old forms, shaped by what Charles Eisenstein calls the old story of “Separation”, to die of its own accord. Instead we need to be midwives birthing the new world informed by the new story of what Charles calls “Interbeing”; that everything is connected. We need to help weave the patterns that accept all lifeforms and ways of being. The old system is being kept alive on life support and, while I respect those still hoping to maintain the benefits we have gained from the old system, it is like the body of an old person progressively breaking down. Is it going to be a good death or are we facing drawn out agonies on life support? Speaking of industrial modernity in this way can seem far-fetched, arrogant and detached in the context of immediate concerns and needs in people’s lives but the big picture can also empower us to both survive and thrive the here and now while accepting loss and grief as part of life.
What is perhaps even harder for many in our networks to accept is the hypothesis that educated people and societies are more susceptible to being gamed by power structures into accepting dysfunction, and even down right evil actions, than those who are less educated. This hypothesis is one explanation for how Germany, one of the most educated “civilised” nations descended into collective madness under the Nazis. Uneducated peasant peoples often following their own limited and parochial understanding are more resistant to efforts by centralised governance to manage them, for better or worse. In our own societies, working-class people with negative experiences of school and other institutions are more often passive resistors to innovations and ideology that come from the higher classes.
The Progressive Hubris
Amongst most progressive left-leaning, middle class, university educated professionals that follow “the science” (as delivered by public institutions charged with high purpose), there is now a difficult process of gradually digesting that at least parts of what they took as fact turned out to be fiction. And that those propagating those fictions knew they were lying.
In general, the uneducated, working-class stiffs with unacceptable political and social views who made up the majority of the resistors, did so based on gut instinct and pig headedness. According to the narrative they put themselves, their families and society in peril and thus were demonised and penalised. Despite greater exposure to the virus, loss of jobs, societal and family shaming, and exclusion, the resistors seem to be doing ok and didn’t clog the hospitals, even though statistics were manipulated to try to prove that they did thus further reinforcing the demonisation of the resistors.8NSW has just stopped reporting hospitalisation, ICU and deaths from Covid by vaccination status no doubt because the data shows the vaccinated are the victims and the ones clogging the system almost in proportion to how many boosters they have had. The data June-Dec 22
While the treatment of the resistors was outrageous and a dangerous precedent, it also missed the opportunity in the huge experiment of mandated society-wide novel therapy to have a control group that was at least ethical in being self-selected. This official disinterest is reflected in the similar general lack of curiosity from family, friends and workmates of how we could have possibly survived the pandemic. While some of us, myself included, are part of a privileged elite who have more freedom of movement, it is interesting that in general, the better educated and wealthier in most countries have a higher vaccination rate than people with less options. That both education and wealth could be detrimental to health is impossibly confusing for most. I find it confirms long-articulated ideas about how the world could change as energy descent takes hold, and of course the Bob Dylan line “And the first one now will later be last” and just maybe the Biblical line about “the meek shall inherit the Earth” (although the educated elites often see themselves as the meek and the working class stiffs as loud and aggressive).
While I think this pattern is broadly true, I want to acknowledge the anecdotes and fragmentary evidence that the very highly educated (PhD level) and the very wealthy may also have shown a higher tendency to be resistors. That would suggest the resistors may be clustered towards either end of the spectrum of both education or wealth. Of course any research, let alone discussion, in the media is still taboo. Even the fact that about 2.5 million Australians9Based on NSW Department of Health data showing 14.5% remain unvaxxed in NSW as of Nov 22 remain unvaxxed is not widely known.
The Victims of the Vax
An issue that really makes my blood boil (rather than clot, if I can make such a sick joke) is how the denial of the vaccine injured brings a new level of callousness. It’s one thing for people to die or be disabled by nature (assuming Covid is a natural disease rather than the result of a biowarfare research project) but entirely different when people are disabled or die as a result of a therapy promoted by the authorities as “safe and effective”. That the authorities used the taxpayers’ funds to pay for and then promote the damaging therapy to the population rubs salt into the wound. That the authorities mandated the whole population take the therapy on threat of loss of livelihood and rights rubs broken glass into the wound.
If there were only one in 10,000 serious adverse events, including death, that would be terrible, with around 2,500 Australian victims of mandated and enforced experimental therapy, orders of magnitude greater than any previous vaccine injuries. Retrospective review of vaccine trial data shows 1 in 800 serious adverse events which would equate to around 28,000 Australians sick, disabled and dead and mostly without a diagnosis, other than psychosomatic or malingerer. At that level it should be observable from anecdotal reports despite there being no code number for recording vaccine as primary cause of death on a death certificate. In our circles it certainly is observable and much higher than deaths from Covid.
The adverse effects unfolding and yet to come could be greater, but may be lost from recognition as the manifold crises provide layers of confounding factors that can be used to cover the reality of unprecedented vaccine injury. They will do this more effectively than the current farcical claims on mainstream media that the thirty-fold increase in heart injury is just due to “bad food”, “too much exercise” or even “climate change”. Beyond the excess deaths, the increase in disability, accelerating onset of aggressive cancers, increased miscarriages and premature births promise a more physically and mentally impaired community less able to face the stresses of the energy descent future.
Dr Aseem Malhotra’s gentle evidence-based push back on the idea of more statins prescriptions to deal with the epidemic of cardiac problems turned into him nailing the real solution being real food as well as stopping the vaxx jabs as the primary new accelerant of the epidemic. This is significant because it is the first time mainstream media anywhere has allowed a leading expert to expose at least part of the truth about the trouble with our hearts. The video of Malhotra had 14.8 million viewers after one day but no longer shows up in a search on the BBC website.
Learn the lessons of history or repeat them
Many colleagues seem to want to “move on” or focus on “more important stuff” like climate change. I wonder if this would be the prevailing attitude if mainstream and social media was full of discussion and debate about the Australian Excess Deaths for 2022 running at 16%. This is hardly mentioned, but if it is interpreted in the media, it is attributed to current Covid, long Covid from previous years, underfunded health care or sometimes the effects of lockdowns. These are all potential factors but the novel therapies are never mentioned, even though independent statistical analysis10Neil & Fenton (2022) “The Devil’s Advocate: An Exploratory Analysis of 2022 Excess Mortality” confirming earlier work by Igor Chudov shows the only meaningful correlation across all countries is with the vaxx. To even suggest that there might be an association with the rollout of the experimental jabs that should be investigated is be considered as an anti-vaxxer, conspiracy-believing science denier. Obviously vaccination is so close to the core religious tenets of medical scientism that denial of reality is essential to maintain trust in vaccination more generally.11I still have an open mind on whether vaccination in general has been one of the greatest achievements of industrial modernity or just another technology with very well promoted benefits and some substantial downside but whatever the case, I believe the Covid mRNA shots have been such a disaster that they have the potential to destroy all faith in vaccines and the centralised medical system dominated by the pharmaceutical industry. For the professionals and institutions responsible for this mess, any level of adverse impacts must be considered “collateral damage” in the otherwise noble cause. History is full of cases of people sacrificing themselves and others for what they believe to be a noble cause that turns out to be the opposite.
I see multiple problems in this lack of concern or interest in understanding this issue in our networks:
- The first is centred around the ethic of care of people which was so widely referenced as the motivation for following “the science” or more correctly the narrative around “the science”. I see that this response was more than just virtue signalling because people put themselves at risk for the apparent good of the collective. When parents, warriors or anyone take risks, or even self-sacrifice, for the sake of others they love and protect based on the self-evident threats, it is a noble action. When they do it based on abstract ideology, complex science about threats that cannot be seen and vast systems of data collection and presentation, then the chances of more harm than good are very high.
- Second is the shutdown of debate and the destruction of livelihoods and reputations of doctors and scientists who refused to be silent, and the coordinated efforts of mainstream media to destroy competition on the internet, combined with the industrial-scale censorship of social media by government agencies revealed in the Twitter Files. If this issue was serious enough for an “all-hands-on-deck state of emergency top-down command and control response”, what does that say about how we deal with all the energy descent crises, including climate change?
- In wanting to move on, what have we learnt about how we should respond to the next effort to guide/game us into a globally coordinated response to the next crisis? Do we now understand that elites are prepared to do a controlled demolition of parts of the old world in attempt to salvage and transform as much of their power and wealth as possible in the Brown Tech energy descent present? I admit that in my enthusiasm for the opportunities from stay-at-home lockdowns, real as they were, I underestimated how those same processes would be used to destroy small businesses and massively increase the profits and the power of the largest, mostly online, corporations.
- Fourth is the concern of longer-term health prospects, especially for young people planning for a physically active life of greater self-reliance as well as the prospect for having children. My understanding is the risks to the vaccinated are ongoing, and that the pharma/state nexus will have a whole line of products to treat the symptoms, while the practical field science of doctors working to help the vaxx injured more holistically, a real example of bottom-up experimental medicine than reflects permaculture ethics and principles, will continue to be criminalised.
- Fifth is the implication for salvaging health care for energy descent at the household and local level outside of the centralised systems if there is no acknowledgement and consequent reform. As stresses on the system multiply, the material risks in going to hospital will increase but without rapid build-up capacity outside of the system, which I included in my “A history from the future” story (2016), the potential for self and collective reliance outside that centralised system will realistically be harsh. Any system of medicine, scientific or not, depends to a significant degree on the placebo effect where patients’ faith is reinforced by faith of kin, community and health providers. For those who have lost that faith we have no option but to accelerate our meagre efforts over decades to build a parallel low-tech, resilient health system, which our descendants will need in any case.
On the other hand, I have put very little effort into a crusade to convince friends and colleagues to see what I see for a number of reasons:
- Many people with my understandings of Covid become focused on truth and justice, which in the absence of any sign of that occurring can lead to taking out frustrations on family and friends. The results can be counterproductive for all concerned.
- I see any mass realisation of what has gone on could lead to chaos and cycles of revenge that just accelerate social breakdown. The concentration of disability in young, healthy, well-educated males is potentially an explosive waiting to blow up. A gradual wake-up, truth telling and realignment may lead to better outcomes.
- The psychological burden of the truth can overwhelm and disable people, especially those in the helping professions, and, more generally, those who are committed to making the world a better place.
- I will never know how much seeing the world going to shit played a part in our personal, and permaculture’s collective, loss of Dan Palmer.
But it is equally impossible for me to be silent in the face of denial, callous disregard and hypocrisy for several reasons:
- To support those who feel so isolated without support for their experience in being demonised and derided, especially the vaccine injured.
- To help those struggling to make sense of it all and provide a framework that can help inoculate people against being gamed through the unfolding crises of energy descent.
- To provide some record for history of positions and perspectives a bit more solid than anecdotes and memory, which are always at risk of reconstructing the past to be compatible with the present.
Finally, in appealing (in September 2021) for understanding from both sides in dealing with this sorry business and how it has affected the permaculture movement, just like the rest of society, I have shifted my position somewhat. Following the consolidation of the evidence since, I think the rebuilding of trust and ability to creatively work together will require more than tolerance of difference. It will require something akin to a truth and reconciliation process. While writings such as this are like position papers that invite measured responses on websites and online platforms that are not currently censored, such as Substack and Twitter, I think discussion, formal and informal, at the upcoming Australian Permaculture Convergence in Adelaide is essential. While I welcome position papers published and presented, I think the more important task is for people to be able to tell their personal stories and have those witnessed without interpretation, judgement or “fixing” by others. In this way, I hope we can contribute to truth telling and clearer foresight as well as lessening of pain, angst and anger allowing us all to move on with learning and giving us strength to deal with oncoming challenges.
In the process, we may be able to model similar processes we need to have within our families, communities and at least some workplaces where we can be inoculated against falling for the toxic idea that there is one big, fast solution to any new existential threat.
My personal priority is in responding to questions arising from those who have read at least some of my extensive writings around the Future Scenarios framework to be better able to navigate reality and make us more resilient to weather the next shocks to hit the lucky country. In this way, I want to support those struggling with angst about “evil actors” and the understandable demands for justice by focusing on the larger-scale systemic forces that are driving psycho- and socio-pathic behaviour by individuals caught in the web of institutions and governance structures that reward and amplify this behaviour. I still have faith that most people can break out of those patterns if freed from those organisational structures. And further, maybe those working within the system who have the strongest ethics, and perhaps naïve insulation from that corrosive culture, can still help by providing insider intelligence and even ameliorate the adverse impacts on those charting new territory at the spatial and conceptual fringes.
But my greatest curiosity is to hear stories from respected colleagues, and in fact anyone, who followed the received wisdom further down the track than I did to the point of taking the vaxx (for whatever combination of reasons): how that worked out for them, their kin and colleagues and what they think about it all now. I have had lots of conversations after which I find myself wondering: were they one, two, three, four or even five times vaxxed? Occasionally I’ve tried asking but it mostly has led to defensive reactions that I might be judging them as a bad, or maybe stupid, person. Reversing the demonisation is the last thing we need, but having general philosophical discussions based on the idea that personal relationships to the vax is not useful, or even not relevant information, is incredibly frustrating. It feels that the self-censorship is more powerful than the control of media. In the same way that a picture can tell the story of a thousand words, one’s vaxxed status speaks volumes, and given we were – and might still be – all classified by the system according to that status, surely we can be honest in our family, kin, neighbourhoods and collegiate networks. Without that honesty I believe there can be no trust and truth telling. So let the truth telling and deep listening unfold for the benefit of all.
* * *
Further Reading and Viewing
The following articles, interviews and presentations complement and extend the references in the text of “Covid through a permaculture lens”. They have been selected from the vast field of heterodox research investigation and advocacy by a process that owes as much to serendipity as systematics. They include many examples of journalism with good references, as well as a few peer review studies (from many hundreds) but also some that appeal to our hearts more than our heads, ending with practical and empowering sources.
My aim, as always, is to help those in permaculture and kindred networks to be better informed about the diverse implications of the last three years. For me, zooming into detailed investigation and back out to broad systemic perspectives and sources is essential to read the informational landscape, just as with reading the natural landscape. Through this process, we can be most effective and energetically efficient in our designs and avoid being distracted, gamed, gaslighted and divided by powerful but desperate actors responding to progressively unravelling globalised systems of economy, governance and ideology.
Beyond my dedication to Raul Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth, I want to also thank Patrick Jones, Meg Ulman, Daryl Taylor and Ian Lillington as close colleagues over many years who have, through their own research and networks sought to understand Covid and its Discontents. They pointed me to many of these sources, but the selection and annotations are mine.
Nils McCune and Camila Escalante
The short article from Sept 21 shows the role of corporations and globalist networks in disabling the work by grass roots movements seeking to reform global food strategies and policies. It is an excellent news story highlighting the issues, actors and institutions active in agriculture and food that informed my fictional GMO scenario. That the key players driving this coup against our collective work and vision are the same ones that have driven the Covid responses, including mass vaccination, reinforces the point that health is not separate from food and agriculture. This is a point which those powerful actors clearly understand, better it seems than most in our own networks do.
It’s Time for the Scientific Community to Admit We Were Wrong About COVID and It Cost Lives
Kevin Bass (Jan 2023)
This opinion piece is significant because it is written by someone from within the Covid Consensus, albeit very junior, admitting major mistakes by the authorities and is a personal mea culpa for strongly supporting the authorities. It is doubly significant in being aired in a major mainstream media publication. Unlike the BBC interview with prominent Covid supporter turned critic, Dr Aseem Malhotra, which appeared to be a mistake, this Newsweek Opinion piece appears to be a case of beginning to allow a diversity of perspectives and debate, something that was almost completely expunged from mainstream and dominant social media during the Covid “emergency.”
Even a brief review of a few hundred of the 1,600 comments show very, very few compliment the author on making some steps in the right direction, a larger number reject it as baseless uninformed opinion, while the great majority see this as falling well short of either facing the facts or providing a mea culpa for elitist arrogance, gross violations of human right and criminal malfeasance. It is clear that a large majority, of Newsweek readers at least, remain very, very angry and are unlikely to forgive and forget without widespread criminal convictions, massive compensation and reparations. Whether something like South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission could bridge the divide, especially in the USA, seems unlikely. In Australia the situation is more complex because of greater levels of trust in authority, a somewhat less divided society and on the other hand being one of the smaller affluent countries where the health authorities, media and civil society groups were more absolutist and draconian than in the US.
It all began with Fear
Paula Jardine (Feb 2023)
This article about UK journalist Laura Dodsworth follows the theme of Dodsworth’s book published in 2021 A State of Fear using personal stories and perspectives on how we were all misled before some of us managed to stand back from what with hindsight can be recognised as mass hysteria that was skillfully sown, cultivated and amplified in diverse but globally networked ways.
A Letter to Dr Andrew Hill
Dr Tess Lawrie & Oracle Films
A 19 min video from a year ago by Dr Tess Lawrie includes Zoom footage of her conversations with colleague Dr Andrew Hill from Jan 2021 (commissioned by the WHO to review all of the studies on Ivermectin effectiveness in treating Covid). His paper, published as a preprint in Jan 2021, was instrumental in doctors and hospitals worldwide not using Ivermectin to save lives and indirectly in allowing the experimental vaccines to be approved, publicly funded, paid for, pushed and mandated. This example of the corruption of medical science with devastating consequences for the whole world (all captured on Zoom) is easy for anyone to understand.
Tess Lawrie’s claim about how she and Andrew Hill might have been able to save millions of lives had their review been different may be overstating the degree to which any rational evidenced-based scientific review of Ivermectin, lockdowns or vaccines would have made a difference to events driven by very powerful forces committed to predetermined outcomes. But her emotionally powerful appeal for Andrew Hill to come clean is based on ethics as much as outcomes.
Is the FDA “doubling down” on a failed strategy?
Maryanne Demasi (Jan 2023)
A recent article by Australian investigative health reporter Maryanne Demasi shows how the FDA, responsible for the disaster of the Emergency Use Authorisations for the Covid mRNA injections, is continuing to push the failed and toxic technology despite the widening cracks in the institutional consensus. It provides insight into one small part of the ongoing corruption and criminal action showing the purpose of the highest levels of mainstream medical regulatory system is to provide a secure working environment for corporate profit at the cost of lost lives and health.
Serious harms of the COVID-19 vaccines: a systematic review
Maryanne Demasi (March 2023)
A more recent and in depth systematic review of serious adverse events from Covid 19 vaccines co-authored by Maryanne Demasi and Peter Gøtzsche. While authorities are slowly walking back the advice, most of the evidence reviewed in this study was available to the authorities when they were strongly pushing the experimental vaccines.
Why Are Excess Deaths Still So High
Thomas Fazi & Tony Green (Jan 2023)
This current and extensively referenced and linked article by professor of history Tony Green and journalist Thomas Fazi investigates in some detail the shocking continuing growth in excess deaths that are not directly related to Covid deaths. While it focuses on the UK, they use comparisons with data from many other countries to show that this is a globally widespread phenomenon. The authors’ systematically review the different explanations acknowledging that the lockdowns and other measures taken contributed to the death toll but arrive at the logical conclusion that the correlation between the proven side effects of the Covid shots and excess deaths demands much more than casual dismissal.
The Covid Consensus: The Global Assault on Democracy and the Poor- A Critique from the Left
Lara Dodsworth (Jan 2023)
This recent extensive interview by journalist Lara Dodsworth with the authors of the previous article and a new book is important because it explores the almost complete failure of the political left (at least in the English speaking world) to recognise and resist the unprecedented attack on democracy and common folk. The interview provides insights into the reasons the political left abandoned their values to support the state/pharma nexus that complement and go beyond my own exploration of these same failings within permaculture and kindred networks
Horowitz: Australia bears witness to vaccine deaths
Daniel Horowitz (March 2023)
It is interesting to see how Australia is viewed in the American conservative media and how reporting of our staggering excess deaths data barely rates a mention in our own mainstream media. It seems to me that it is only the unvaccinated and the vaccine injured who are aware of this historically unprecedented data. To the extent it is acknowledged by the medical community it is assumed to be a result of Covid, which society is failing to take seriously enough due to the public wanting to move on and governments needing the consumer economy to run full speed. In this way there might be a shred of alignment between the Covid narrative evangelists and those dedicated to promoting the heterodox perspective.
The existential threat to doing good science
Luana Maroja (Nov 2022)
This article by professor of biology Luana Maroja reports on how authoritarian ideology is corrupting both scientific teaching and research in universities. This exemplifies my concerns about Woke ideology that I referenced as part of the corruption of left and green philosophy that has been damaging the permaculture movement and made its activists vulnerable to Covid and other propaganda narratives.
Bill Maher on the Woke cultural revolution
Bill Maher (Feb 23)
In reference to my concerns (Sept 21) about Woke Warriors becoming like Mao’s Red Guards, this latest satirical commentary by Bill Maher asserts they already have, based on what is happening in American universities. I reference this to reflect the situation where comedy and satire become the last effective means to characterise the extreme nature of the consensus reality. The court jester is the ancestral model for allowable dissent when no other is possible, while Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal used absurd and horrific logic to shock the reader into “waking up”, which is ironically the origin of the term “Woke” from black American activist culture. In the mid 2000s we used Robert Newman’s Short History of Oil to encourage people to get up to speed with energy descent and geopolitics, a comedy that has stood the test of time in describing our world better than 90% of so called serious analysis and commentary of the time. Similarly, Artist as Family’s satirical song and video Jab the Kids has also stood the test of these rapidly changing times, as serious commentary and succinct art.
Mortality by Vaccination Status ONS Critique
Interview Norman Fenton by John Campbell (Feb 2023)
From satire to serious painstaking work by those analysing the data in the public interest rather than that of criminal corporations. This interview by Dr John Campbell with professor of statistics Norman Fenton is about his team’s forensic analysis of data from the UK Office of National Statistics, and their success in getting the UK Statistics Regulator to formally recognise that this government data (which was widely used to support claims that unvaccinated people were dying at higher rates than the vaccinated) is in fact flawed and cannot be used for that purpose. This easy-to-follow presentation, for anyone moderately familiar with statistics, provides a clear example of how missing and corrupted data, misclassification of data and wilful hiding of the raw data from independent researchers leads to lying with statistics.
The Epidemic of #DiedSuddenly
Vinay Prasad and John Mandrola (Jan 23)
Doctors Vinay Prasad and John Mandrola address the question of why so many young people seemingly in the peak of health are dropping dead, on the sports field, on the stage and on TV. Well referenced.
Vaccine Injured Protest London- January 2023
Alice the Journalist (Jan 2023)
This short (9mins) recording of a protest is one of the most emotionally powerful pieces of documentary film making I can recall. The way “Alice the Journalist” records the restrained grief and rage of the injured and the relatives of the dead says more than hard to hear words of the speakers over the distorted PA. However it is the way she depicts the leaflets taken by the bystanders and her capture of their expression watching the parade lead by wheelchair bound protesters that makes this so powerful. A great balance to the endless amount of rational, evidence-based independent medical and scientific research done by so many trying to correct the shutdown of any public acknowledgement of the vaccination aftermath.
Doctors warn: Culture of fear and silence in the Australian medical profession puts patients at risk
Rebekah Barnett (Jan 2023)
This report on the culture of repression hanging over all practicing medical professionals in Australia explains why professionally independent advice from a doctor is almost impossible for any Australian to receive. For those of us who have lived largely without using the medical system, this only intensifies our alienation from it, but for people with more faith and need for the system it is an ongoing existential threat to their health and life.
Masks are a mass social delusion that do nothing to prevent infection, but that make some people feel better by helping them to cope with virus hysteria
A very long title for a very brief article referencing the Cochrane Review of the mask efficacy from Eugyppius: a plague chronicle, one of the longest running, prolific and evidence-based Covid blogs focused on German events and action.
Bill Gates, the Global Depopulation Agenda and What Is Actually Happening
This longer piece from Eugyppius is one of the most insightful descriptions of the psycho-social drivers behind not only Bill Gates but the emerging global elite. It is an important antidote to the widespread perception amongst those railing against the orthodox Covid narrative, that these notable elite responders to Covid, and other manifestations of energy descent, are simply evil actors bent on killing off large numbers of humans. As such it can be seen as a steel (not straw) man argument from the heterodox perspective that is rare in an increasingly polarised world.
Beyond this focus on elites, this piece represents a more fundamental challenge to the widespread assumption in environmental thinking that the wider and more distant our moral focus, the more we are evolving in our consciousness from a “primitive” focus on ourselves and our family. While I don’t agree with some of the assumptions behind this critique, it helped me better understand the evolution of my own explanation of permaculture ethics. In Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability I acknowledged the importance of the global image in contributing to Care Of Earth but chose to emphasise the more immediate Care of Soil beneath our feet and lifting our eyes to the horizon to consider and value a modest territory where we have power and responsibility as an important balance to the abstractions of global ethical concerns that Eugyppius sees as the most destructive moral force at work. Well worth a read by anyone grappling with permaculture ethics.
PsyWars: Fifth Generation Warfare and Sovereignty
Robert Malone (Feb 2023)
A systemic overview of Covid and its Discontents as psychological warfare, presented by Robert Malone, one of the big names of the resistance movement whose role in inventing the mRNA technology has been removed from Wikipedia (just like key figures of the Communist party were airbrushed from photos with Stalin during early Soviet times.) While some would denigrate this presentation as “conspiracy theory” I think it provides important thinking for permaculture activists trying to work out how to be effective in a world of radical uncertainty and breakdown.
Covid-19: The Biodefense Mafia
Spartacus (Feb 2023)
This transcript of a 1hr 46min extraordinarily comprehensive documentary, provides an overview of the timeline of Covid and its Discontents. It starts with the background of the bio defence arm of the military industrial complex and its links to the pharmaceutical industry naming people in key positions. The comprehensive review of the emergence of peer reviewed science that contradicts the dominant narrative is well beyond my ability to fact check, both in terms of expertise and quantity, but it confirms many understandings I have from independent sources. I think it is the most comprehensive picture and although I disagree with the suggestion that the Limits to Growth and other aspects of constraints on the human project are just part of a neo-Malthusian vision by Elites for a controlled and downscaled society, I now accept that Limits to Growth can be used to justify a global “final solution”. If even half of the facts, connections and inferences in this body of work are true, it provides a useful way of understanding Covid in a much larger context, but it is only for those with the intellectual and emotional stamina and resources to digest and then do something positive with. For many, the reality suggested by this text and documentary is too overwhelming to be helpful. Even if we just look at this as propaganda to push back against the propaganda behind the dominant narrative, it represents an extraordinary example of do-it-yourself research from anonymous actors matching the coordinated power of nation states, global corporations and international institutions working in consort. Even if Spartacus and the Institute for Coronavirus Emergence Non-profit Intelligence is supported by rich individuals, it’s hard to see any material gain that occurs to those pushing this work out into the uncensored public domain, whereas the gains to those pushing the other side have been trillions of dollars at the very least, if not unlimited power from the Great Reset. My inclination is always to support David rather than Goliath, if only to help level the playing field of ideas.
Endless emergency? The Lockdown Model for a System on Life Support
Fabio Vighi & Panda (February 2023)
In a postscript to ‘Pandemic Brooding: Brown Tech in New Clothing’ I made a link to a presentation by Professor Fabio Vighi providing an economic explanation for Covid and its Discontents. This more recent presentation elaborates his theory showing how lockdowns and money printing on an unprecedented scale was essential to avoid global financial collapse triggered by illiquidity in the US Repo market in September 2019. More generally, he shows how Covid was the first step of a final phase of globalised capitalism as Disaster or Emergency Capitalism.
A plausible theory that helps make sense of not only Covid, but the war in Ukraine, threat of war with China, economic sanctions and other factors contributing to a “controlled demolition” of swathes of the material economy to save the financial system from implosion. This shows some of the structural drivers without so much angst about evil actors, although the consequences and the prudent responses at the individual, household, small business and community level remain the same.
To see more of my writings about energy descent, see holmgren.com.au/writings and search by topic: ‘energy descent’. My specific essays on Covid and responses are:
Protesting Permaculture: the last five weeks and the last five decades November 27, 2021
Autonomy and Solidarity in a Covid mad world November 25, 2021
Pandemic Brooding: Brown Tech in New Clothing October 1, 2021
See also my extensive part-manual, part-manifesto, Retrosuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, outlining household strategies for resilience in an energy descent future.
History from the Future is my story told from 2086 about how energy descent might unfold in central Victoria.
470 is an energy descent novel by acclaimed permaculture author Linda Woodrow.
Ready, Set, Prep with Nicole Foss
Interview with Nicole Foss by Alia (Jan 2022)
This first (focused on finance and economics) of a 5 part series of presentations 1½ to 1¾ hrs each, is on the Odysee video platform. This update of Foss’s incredibly important work from her home context in NZ is an amazing free resource to help more people get through the bottlenecks that are likely following the one we have just been through with Covid.
I worked closely with Nicole Foss on a Australia-wide speaking tour in 2011 with her presenting a limited earlier version of this overview of the future to help ordinary citizens navigate challenging times. Not only is Nicole one of the best big picture systems thinkers, her presentation is both confronting for people facing these issues for the first time but also pragmatic and empowering about how to deal with the manifold changes. For people within the Covid resistance, this presentation is very important in explaining the structural limits that have led to what most people in those networks see as simply the pure evil of bad elite actors. By moderating and refocusing the energy of anger towards self-reliance and community building, her work mitigates our drift towards family, household and neighbourhood level conflict. It is also essential viewing for those in the environmental and social justice mainstream who are starting to doubt that the system can really be reformed before the cascade of crises, and are thinking about how they can adapt to change without abandoning their values (ethical communitarian prepping so to speak) or simply putting their lives in the hands of the paternalistic state and its corporate partners.
2023: The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible
Charles Eisenstein (Jan 2023)
The title of this New Year’s essay by Charles Eisenstein is taken from his 2013 book focused on the new story of Interbeing replacing the old story of Separation. While he acknowledges his focus over the last two years on the dark extremities of Separation and the world being in a dark space of No Story, his focus this year will be on fanning the flames of the new story he calls Interbeing. Charles is a prolific writer who was influential in permaculture and kindred networks until his heterodox response to Covid led some to decide that he had fallen into the abyss of wrong thinking and action. With the heat of Covid fear fading I hope he receives more than begrudging acceptance for his work for a better world.