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.
- David Holmgren
- June 1, 2003
- Energy descent, Permaculture musings, Political & social
Do we need nature?
Terry Leahy’s introductory book is certainly not the last word on understanding and participating in the politics of permaculture, but it is an excellent start in showing how permaculture thinking and action can contribute to a better society in times of challenge and change. In introducing permaculture to the general public, his portrayal is sensitive and sympathetic but without the slightest hint of evangelistic fervour. He points to both strengths and weaknesses, in language that is clear and direct with the very minimum of academic jargon. His methods of enquiry are transparent and rigorous, deserving respect from his academic peers and the wider progressive intelligentsia, many of whom are unaware or even dismissive of permaculture as a social movement. It is hard to imagine a better portrait of the movement to inform both its participants and those curious about it.
The Problem is the Solution: how permaculture-designed household isolation can lead to RetroSuburbia
COVID-19, an invisible agent that barely qualifies as a lifeform, is bringing the most powerful civilisation the world has ever seen to a grinding halt. In three months it may have led to 10 to 20 times greater reduction in greenhouse gas emissions than all the science, talk and technology have done in more than three decades. This represents a moment of opportunity, but there remain roadblocks in the way.