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Going Down

by rg Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 03:17:47 AM EST

From the diaries - whataboutbob


David Holmgren.  Who he?

David Holmgren (born 1955) is an ecologist, ecological design engineer and writer. He is perhaps most well known as co-originator of the permaculture concept with Bill Mollison. David Holmgren is a controversial figure. Through the spread of permaculture around the world, his environmental theory has exerted a global influence.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Holmgren

Well...hey, Bill Mollison?  I saw some great videos with Bill wandering around Australia and New York.  I'll link to them later.  But first.

Permaculture.  Huh?

Below is a 25 minute video of an interview with David Holmgren, recorded by EON.  If you're interested (I hope you are), I suggest scrolling down and watching it, then coming back (if you're interested) and reading my ramblings upon what has been said.  If you haven't got video access, I hope I don't overly mangle the contents.

The interest, for me, of the interview is not the practical details of permaculture, which he doesn't really go into, and about which I recommend the Bill Mollison videos--and I suppose his book, though I haven't read it.  Bascially: permaculture = letting nature take the strain mixed with systems analysis of the land equals maxium yield for minimum input.

But but but...what I find interesting about the video below is that it briefly (I don't think 25 minutes is a long time to have your attention held) lays out the underpinnings of "The Permaculture Philosophy".  For it is a philosophy and it functions within a specific paradigm: The permanent decline of energy resources.

I re-viewed the video last night and wrote some brief notes, with timings, so that I--or anyone else--could find the relevant section quickly.  What follows are my notes followed by my thoughts, for what they're worth, on what he (David Holmgren) has to say.  The video is at the very bottom of the diary and I would really urge you all to watch it--only if you're interested in the subject, of course!--as I may have misquoted, mis-represented, or otherwise missed whatever was actually going on in the video, and arguing with my views or points won't be the same as arguing with the points and views as he expresses them in the video.

Wordy, oh lordie!

Right, earwig oh.

00:00 - 1:30 Talks about context of book, "Beyond sustainability"--idea of permanent decline in energy resources

The interview ties in with his new book.  I don't know how new, it's not relevant here--I could look it up, but so could you and I'm onna roll and afearing ketchup.  So...The key idea of permaculture is:

The idea of the permanent decline in energy resources.

1:30 - 2:30 History of growth of power, peak reached 1500, then came--coal

I may have misquoted with the "1500" figure, but his main point is that there is only so much human culture you can get for your energy.  To get more of it you need more energy.

2:30 - 3:30 American society a result of the energy resource, culture a result of energy rather than human brilliance creating resources

Reminds me of the "You create your destiny/your destiny creates you" conversation.  David is of the eastern persuasion.

3:30 - 4:30 Half the world's oil consumed in one generation--hard to grasp how great is this source of power

He talks about a person born in 1950 and dying in 2025 seeing humans use half the world's oil.  The mind boggleth.  His main point is that we are--our lifestyles are predicated on--an unprecedented glut of available energy.

4:30 - 5:30 the depression as a hiccup as the move was made from coal to oil, now there is no such new energy source

I don't know what to make of the idea of the depression as a hiccup in the move from coal to oil, but his point--hey, I'm writing what he said and what I wrote--is that we don't have "the next energy source" ready to roll....or do we?

5:30 - 7:00 Possible futures.  Always possible that a new source of energy emerges, but unlikely.  Dismisses nuclear.  Science fiction expansion pushing back the environmental debt. depends on a massively increased energy base--thinks it is highly unlikely.  If it happens, permaculture ends up in the dustbin of history

This is a key section, I think.  He dismisses nuclear jusslidat...He sees something unrealistic about the science fiction dreams.  But, he says, if they work out, then permaculture...nada...nothing.  It has no role in an ever-richer energy future.  

What I see is one of the fundamentals of the pro/anti nuclear debate--or describe it how you will.  A key element in the idea of nuclear power is that it is good that society continues more or less as is.  It is, I suggest, a conservative with a small c position, maybe reactionary, certainly not revolutionary as it doesn't seek new vistas, only alternative power for the status quo.  So those who do well out of, or support, the status quo should really be pro-nuclear, or pro-some alternative "science fiction" method of maintaining energy supply at its current (anomolously) high level (by historical standards)...  "Permaculture" is about transitioning out of the status quo, so it appeals, I suggest, to those who are less comfortable with --or suffering more from--how things are.  Hence the arguments about "how things are", and hence maybe the anger sometimes from the nuclear side of things at the "bonnie prince feckless" approach of...."they"...who like green ideas but couldn't take the harsh realities...whatever they may be.  Let's find out.  Next!

7:30 - 9:30 "Green textability" renewable energies.  Elements are appropriate, but he thinks it's likely we're facing a continuing reduction of energy to each succeeding generation.  Only depressing if one accepts the growth culture.  Not a natural position.  Ancient greeks believed differently.  Continuous material expansion--need to lose this, but we need to remember "continuous change".  Each generation has to do "something else", the driving force: less and less energy each generation.  The culture of change is adapted to that.

I'm not sure he actually says "green textability".  Later he calls it "green tech".  But now he proposes that the philosophy of the status quo (continuous growth in all directions, which is, after all, the status quo), is not a given of human aspiration or culture.  The key point, though: each succeeding generation will have less energy available.  It is the responsibility of each generation, therefore, to educate the next generation as to the best methods of living with less.

10:00 - 12:00 Change, older generations have seen even greater change (aeroplanes).  "Permaculture is the full on creative designed response to the pathway of less energy".  Instead of green tech being at the forefront, the more natural ways using a modest resource base has so many design implications--more involved in food production, moving around less, decentralisation.  Permaculture models systems designed for decreasing energy availability.

Okay, he sums up.  Change is inevitable.  It ain't all bad.  Our great granddads or our granddads or our dads saw more and more shocking and more total change, all things considered.  But: change is coming and it is predicated on the pathway of less energy.

12:00 - 12:30 This new approach will match ever better with the arriving situations.  Hard to promote ideas will become common sense.

He comes across as pragmatic.  If we find another source of power, fine.  But if, as he expects, we don't, then the new approach(es) will, inevitably come to the fore as they are adapatations to coming new realities.

12:30 - 13:00 "So you don't ascribe to the 'last man standing scenario"?

Doesn't he think Hobbes was right, or what?

13:00 - 17:30 We inherit "toxic thinking" from our past culture.  Spending resources to gain resources works in an energy rich ecological system.  Rising energy--it works.  As energy resources recede, those who follow that model will go down faster.  He hopes we're "informationally networked enough" that it'll be clear that they don't work.  The idealistic, utopian, co-operative strategies are just effective survival strategies in a period of declining energy.  We see this mirrored in nature.  Ecosystems with limited energy demonstrate symbiotic and co-operative structures, and great diversity.  Permaculture strategies rely on this ecological and systems thinking analysis.  Patterns seen in nature and human history.  The process may be rocky and dangerous for individuals, groups, nations, including catastrophes, but compared to the 20th Century, that was also not a happy period for many people on the planet--brought the greatest wars and exploitation, which is natural.  When there's less to fight over, nature and people learn pretty quickly that it's not worth fighting.  An example: natural disasters.

I've never seen this proposed before (oh, my ignorance showeth!): that where there are few resources, there is less violence.  But what about starving people in Africa?  Well, the thing is that they exist within a context of many resources but not for them--the resources are there but held back--ergo, there are many resources.  But where there are few, he proposes that there is little violence, and mucho co-operation.  It makes sense, I like it.  Anyone disagree with this analysis?

17:30 - 21:00 Example of England during WWII.  In nature, in ecosystems with limited energy, esp. limited fertility, the relationships become co-operative, there are not enough resources to be accumulated in a dominant species.  The food chains aren't long.  Now we have long chains in modern production.  We'll deal with that in the future by cutting out the middle man, growing food ourselves.  An example is "community supported agriculture".  They are systems of enormous economic and resource efficiency.  Amory Lovins, factor 4, factor 10 revolution in co-operation.  Essential items.

I meant to read up on Amory Lovins, but I haven't.  Here's a link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amory_Lovins

Okay, on a quick read, he's into energy conservation.

21:00 - 24:00 Green industrial revolution is still actually dealing with making more efficient the production of things we don't really need.  The real revolution in the future is "sustainable consumption", a lot of it is working out how we can live without bothering to consume these things at all.  Analysis: what's a better way of doing this, then stepping back and saying, "Do we really need to do this at all?"  Threatening to corporations and governments.  A shrink in the formal economy doesn't mean human well-being automatically must collapse.  "Love" rather than money as the regulator.  Visible in countries which have already lived through a period economic decline.  The picture isn't pretty, but the principles--everyone grows food in their gardens.  But it's wrong to analyse these systems from above.  Indonesia--the collapse, the people at the bottom ended up better off.

Well, that's more or less what he says.

24:00 - 25:30 Doesn't want to trivialise how radical these transitions are going to be, but focusing on the negative means people will bury their heads in the sand and ignore the problem.  The problem is the solution.  Weeds in our garden.  How can we use them?  The problem seen as an opportunity.

And so it endeth.  

Right.  What is the basic principle?

The permanent reduction of energy resources

Whether it is a good or bad thing is not the point at this point.  It's rather, Is it true or not?  Those who don't like the suggested future would do best to fight in any way possible, conservation, renewables, Jerome's list.  Those who either like the idea of a different social structure along the permaculture lines, or else those who whether they like it or not agree that we are heading, generation after generation, towards societies of lower and lower energy consumption (due to lack of resources), might do well to ponder how they'd prefer to locate themsleves in such societies.

Or they--or you--might think, My God!  Is rg still wittering on?  Hasn't this diary finished yet?

Hey, here's the video:

(Hat tip to Transition Culture for pointing me to the video.)

And here's part 2 of "The Permaculture Concept".  Watch Bill set up a balcony with plants!

You'll find the other parts here

And finally, I'm on holiday as of now, time off from the daily grind.  For those who have to or want to work, enjoy!  For those enjoying your time off, enjoy!

And remember: "Most cannibals only eat strangers."

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It always strikes me that predictions of the future are generally more driven by ideology than facts. While I quite like the permaculture concepts in detail I'm not impressed by the underlying ideology of some of the proponents, which I'd caricature as "evil technology cut man off from nature so the decline of technology is good". A lot of these people seem not to want us to find new energy so that they can save our souls.

Permaculture is very, very high tech: it's subtle with lots of interlocking components. I'm not entirely certain why availability of energy would preclude it's use.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 03:45:34 AM EST
Availability of energy allows you to be lazy and avoid all the work of getting permaculture right.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 10:31:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if you can easily convert the cheap energy into good, living soil or massive amounts of pesticides and fertilisers and so on.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the definition of "cheap energy". If it's not cheap enough to do that, it's not "cheap".

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure how useful a cheap supply of electricity (say) would be for producing chemical fertilizer from expensive oil supplies. Not to mention the apparent inherent problems of sustainability when you're apply huge amounts of chemicals to crops.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:04:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the focus on "energy" misplaced in the argument, then? It seems the problem is not so much "peak liquid fuels" but "peak fertilisers"?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is misplaced, to at least some extent. There are lots of reasons for wanting a less brutal approach to producing food and organising your garden - not least of which is that one of the principles of permaculture is to let nature do the work as far as possible! I like a garden which expects me to be lazy.

But there are all the issues of food quality, soil health, water usage and so on to be addressed. One of the strengths of permaculture/food forest is that it's much better at catching, using, holding and conserving water than monocultures or more traditional gardens.

A lack of expensive energy might make proselytising for permaculture easier.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:39:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the only reason you'd want lots of fertilizer would be to reclaim land that had been ruined by urbanization or by predatory agricultural practices... a sustainable agroecosystem will (as experimental evidence has shown) take care of itself and its human community indefinitely.

"Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world" -- John Lennon
by Cassiodorus on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that was the point.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:43:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Beans and courgettes from my 4'x4' bean/squash/corn patch are going into dinner tonight. Though I don't think I'll be able to manage to leave it fallow for eight years. A winter crop and some added compost next year will just have to do.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 01:49:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
the only reason you'd want lots of fertilizer would be to reclaim land that had been ruined by urbanization or by predatory agricultural practices...

We're in 2007, not 10000 BC. Ruined land is a fact of life, especially in Europe [though I have heard that maize fields in the American Midwest have lost metres of topsoil in the last 200 years]

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 04:21:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why only Europe or North America ? The worst are the nearly desertic "Fertile Crescent" (!) and Sahara...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 05:27:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the Sahara hasn't been ruined by predatory agricultural practices.

I would guess Europe is worst for wear, actually.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 05:35:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's some suspicion that Sahara desertification was fastened by early pastoralism and agriculture, which can be predatory in arid land...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 05:46:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's quite a lot of evidence for that, I remember my girlfriend having an argument with a Latin teacher, who was claiming thatone part of the Odessy was obviously wrong as the outskirts of the city they were talking about were not desert. and secondly all the other contemporary sources showed that area to be Lush, forested areas.

If you look at the records for food importation and wood importation from the Roman empire, there's no way that much of this area was in fact desert. You can tell a "successful" empire by the land it Desertified.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 05:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, there were once cedars in Lebanon.  mature old-growth cedar forest, timber renowned throughout the ancient world.  and N Africa once yielded heavy wheat harvests for the Romans.

they made a desert, and called it civilisation.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 02:12:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i see it more like this:

every hundred acres or so of farmland there would be huge composting piles, of straw, leafclippings, manure, rock dust, blood and bone meal, seaweed, tree clippings etc, which would be turned, and on- and off- loaded by electric or biodoesel powered forklifts, then distributed out to the farms for spreading and tilling.

it sounds like a lot of driving, but it would only be a handful of trips a year for each farm.

i reckon tractors and the like could be shared between more farms than they are presently.

compost creates a lot of heat, which could be fed to greenhouses, to get an early start with seedlings, to grow warmer climate-foods than would make it outside, or to warm baby animals, like chicks.

none of this would work with a competitive mindset, needless to say, but would depend on a high level of evolved participants and
sustained co-operation.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 03:57:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Permaculture is very, very high tech

I understand permaculture to be very high analysis of natural systems combined with very low tech. activities.

And okay, you have a caricature of some proponents of...whatever it is.  What I found interesting in the video was that his approach wasn't personality based, but rather he was looking at how systems work with the energy base available.  His is a theory of what works best in a low-energy environment.  What particular people make of that (The horror!  The bliss!  And points in between) doesn't strike me as relevant, though I have a prejudice that those who see those who support "green" initiatives as falling into the caricature you paint a) Aren't involved in green initiatives (and so are painting pictures based on media representations, and we all know that the media gives us the picture it wants and is not to be trusted) and b) has a judgmental view of human behaviour, by which I mean that, for me, part of "hippie" culture (which is where the green movment comes from, among other places) is about "letting go and being yourself, warts and all", and that is very upsetting to those who automatically think, "Ugh!  Look at those horrible warts!"  That judgemental approach I find in english culture, I also find it in "neo con" culture.  I found less of it in Italy, where I found one was allowed to make ones mistakes and have a laugh about them afterwards.

I have no doubt that some "green" proponents read their tea leaves, follow their astrology charts, and do everything else that is suspect and creates sneers on faces, but those same people, removed from a "green" environment would probably be watching big brother, reading their horoscopes in The Sun or The Mail, and driving SUVs, so if the criticism is of a certain level of superficiality...well, actually I think you are caricaturing a more "puritan" aspect, wanting to "save our souls", and I'd rather a green person wanted to save mine than any religious person, for a start (just to get a scale--puritan + religious = worse than puritan minus, and both worse than "not puritan"...)

Ach ach ach, the worst comment ever, it's official!  But can ye see my point about the judgement?  I really do think that your caricature is based on media images rather than contact with people, but that's my prejudice.

Overall, I'm happy that people wish to reconnect with the land as I think it's healthier overall.  And "evil technology" is more about "alienating technology" and I think there's plenty of evidence that technology can alienate individuals and communities (e.g. the car--the biggest single cause of children no longer playing outside)...

Heh heh...Man, I just can't explain this stuff at all at all...  

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 11:33:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Permaculture is very, very high tech

I understand permaculture to be very high analysis of natural systems combined with very low tech. activities.

Implicit in that is a disagreement on the meaning of tech.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 11:49:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
knowing how to do permaculture is nothing new;  in fact Mollison and Holmgren have been criticised by various indigenous activists for, in a sense, "patenting" or claiming to have invented techniques that are ancient and traditional in many cultures outside the wheat/beef nexus and/or fossil-fueled industrialism.  

there is some irony and ill-feeling in this critique because, of course, it was the allegedly "advanced" whitefellas who bribed, persuaded, bullied and if necessary murdered to get indigenous/peasant farmers around the world to stop farming in traditional ways and jump on the so-called "green revolution" bandwagon (or hamster wheel) of debt, toxicity, soil and water contamination, etc.  -- and now the educated whitefellas are back, once again telling everyone that they know how to farm, except now they are recycling the very insights and techniques that they scorned and tried to exterminate only 2 generations earlier.

to their credit, Mollison and Homgren do acknowledge that they are in part preservationists of ancient knowledge as well as scientists in the modern tradition:  We can look at systems at any scale and still take a holistic view. For instance we can think of a tree not as just an individual organism, we can think of it as a set of productive units, which are the leaves, the infrastructure which is the heartwood of the tree that holds everything up, and the tree as habitat for other things and living beings. Systems theory doesn't necessarily divide things into the convenient compartments that we're used to thinking of. A forest can be seen as an interconnectedness of roots, as one shared system and the canopy as another. Leaves dropping down into a stream add to the nutrient flows. Fish migrate up and are eaten by animals and those nutrients go out into the forest . Systems theory connects us back also to indigenous and traditional peasant peoples connected with nature�their ways of understanding things. Systems thinking, while it's an incredible abstraction, and seems to involve lots of math and science, actually brings up insights connected to the ways indigenous people think.

This quote is from a rather good interview with Holmgren in which he states clearly:Now in all pre-industrial societies, agriculture, or its precursors in hunting-gathering, had to have a net energy yield, otherwise they were all dead. And yet, our agriculture system actually consumes more than it produces. Now that is the fundamental problem of industrial agriculture. As a byproduct of that it damages the soil and reduces future capacity. There's been a lot of focus on that damage with artificial fertilizers, heavy machinery, monocultures, pesticides, and that sort of thing. Those things are important, but while there's still a cheap source of energy, it's possible to keep patching the system up, using more energy here, to compensate for a problem there. When you get an energy decline you can no longer do that.

worth a read.

As a simple example, we can look at a lump of wood and a book�both can be put into a fire. They both have the same amount of energy given off, but common sense tells us that's a poor use of a book. We have in us an energetic common sense which comes from a peasant groundedness connected to nature, which permaculture is trying to recreate, because we've mostly lost it. We actually have this energy hierarchy in our heads of energy quality and embodied energy. We understand that a lot of work one way or another went into making the book.

that common-sense is what is warped and disabled by a glut of "cheap" energy.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 06:04:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
sorry, I got lost in Holmgren's pithy quotes.

permaculture is "high tech" in the sense that it involves a deep understanding of how biotic systens work, and a willingness to work with their complexity rather than trying to simplify them into mechanisms.

however, plenty of people who never developed calculus or physics manage to understand and live symbiotically with biotic systems.  they may not be able to analyze every element of the web of life that sustains them -- nor can we, as its complexity and intricate detail far exceed our observational and computational capacities -- but they know how to interact with it, much as a good surfer can interact with a wave effectively and beautifully even without a post doctoral degree in fluid dynamics :-)

what Mollison and Holmgren have been working on, along with the western "permaculture" movement, I suppose could be called a marriage of the techne of mathematics, chemistry, and physics with the traditional techne of indigenous knowledge and millennia of agricultural expertise (much of it already squandered, lost, deliberately extirpated).  we could either view this as a wonderful way to vindicate the methods and practises that have worked to produce food for humankind for thousands of years, or as a face-saving wrapping-paper that we in the energy-hogging nations require to make commonsense and traditional expertise somehow "respectable" [i.e. white and male?] enough for us to adopt it without shame.

personally, I no longer care much which it is, or what motivates people to change their soil/water/food praxis, how we explain or justify a paradigm shift -- so long as we scrap industrial/chemical agriculture as fast as possible, before it drags our civilisation down by multiple means (nutritional deficit, toxicity, enclosure, fragility, resource depletion, biotic systems crash, etc).

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 06:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
amen...

just imagine rivers being clean again, instead of rural pesticide draining systems...

what i wonder is, without some understanding of a system like permaculture, will we be doomed to have to work so hard that there will be no surplus time and energy for culture?

whatever the reasons cheap, too cheap energy,and the usual human folly, the chain that connects us to much of our earth wisdom has snapped over the last 2-3 generations, and it is up to us to try and re-forge it.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 09:24:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of things that the permaculture crowd can do is draw ideas from all the various best practices around the place. Traditional systems were not, by any means, perfect. We can all learn from each other.

Actually, one of the things that I wonder about is how much work they've done on permaculture in non-forest systems.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 at 02:18:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
me too...i look at these valleys in umbria that now are growing subsidised tobacco with chemicals, and think that for centuries they grew the grains, beans, fruit and vegetables with only local fertilisers, and supported a culture that produced such an abundance of immortal art...

i have a friend growing commercial echinacea organically. i visited his field recently and almost swooned at how lovely it was, the gorgeous purple flowers crowded with bees and butterflies, thriving away...

great inspiration...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 at 06:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent insights! Thanks, you opened my eyes...

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Aug 5th, 2007 at 07:48:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have several books on the topic, so I'm speaking from my interpretation of the written presentations made by the permaculture proponents. I can't recall whether I actually have books directly by the people you mention, but certainly by their disciples.

You see, I like sensible, useful technology like this, and I like the inclusive definition of technology: the application of knowledge for practical purposes. I try to incorporate permaculture tech into my garden as best I can, though the literature is geared for much larger plots - ironically most of it is aimed at the US style suburban lot we love to hate around here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 12:52:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are, incidentially, pretty strong parallels between building (say) computer systems and building a (mostly) self-sustaining plant/insect/soil system. Including the requirement to debug both.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 at 12:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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