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The Future of Permaculture

The Four Boat Anchors Holding Back Permaculture

Where does the future of Permaculture lie?  Well, I would like to start off with where it doesn’t lie as that may lead us along faster if we are open and honest about it.  These are areas where I feel we are wasting time if we put any real effort into them…

  • Influencing the individual politics of others
  • Bitching about what is wrong with the current system
  • Doing everything for free or as a “nonprofit”
  • Focusing on PDCs over on the ground “workshops” and multiple income sources

I honestly believe each of the above represents no less than a series of boat anchors that hold back permaculture from moving forward at a much faster pace and gaining broader main stream acceptance.  Indeed if each is examined with a basic analysis of what it creates versus what it impedes the true way to move Permaculture into broader acceptance becomes clear in my opinion.

Boat Anchor One – Influencing the Individual Politics of Others

Let me be clear, I feel we are largely past the point of political solutions to most of mankind’s problems.  I classify myself as an anarcho libertarian but I really don’t care what you call yourself, I really don’t.  You can be a liberal, a conservative, a centrist, whatever, as long as you are using and practicing permaculture, I feel we are going in the right direction.  Make no mistake I am happy to debate politics with you, just not as a permaculture teacher or evangelist.

It is my personal contention that permaculture is an anti-political movement, one that is more anarchist than anything else.  Yet I will admit I am not an authority when it comes to this claim, I prefer to cite permaculture’s founder, Bill Mollison in making this claim.  Bill said the following in an interview you can view at this link http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/mollison.html

“Permaculture is anti-political. There is no room for politicians or administrators or priests. And there are no laws either. The only ethics we obey are: care of the earth, care of people, and reinvestment in those ends.”Permaculture-Anarchist

Friends, I just don’t think it gets clearer than that!  Too many permaculturists seem obsessed with solutions through legislation, “We need the government to _________”.  I laugh at this because what we in Permaculture most need from government is for them to get the hell out of our way.  Doubt me?  Try to set up an ecovillage and really live fully off grid.  When you do, the first real problem you will encounter is the government, along with a mile of codes.  Frankly urban farmers and front yard gardens are assaulted almost daily in many parts of the US.  Hell, why do you think Joel Salitan wrote a book called, “Everything I Want to do is Illegal”?

To me Permaculture is our best solution because it calls for action rather than committees and endless discussions about why the other side is the problem.  Let me put it this way, if you are worried about carbon, leave taxes out of it when spreading the permaculture message.  Stick to how to build self-sufficiency and less carbon will go in the air and more will go in the soil.  One hugul bed will put more carbon in the soil then a hundred CFL bulbs will prevent from going into the atmosphere.  You want social justice and food for the poor, go plant a garden where it will feed the poor.  It is that simple.  Now the truth is, when you plant that garden, likely the only problem you will tend to encounter is government obstruction.   You may want to consider that the next time you put your faith in a state based solution.  The key is though none of this is important if what you really want is more permaculture systems, permaculture businesses and permaculture living.

Teach permaculture thinking, and by that I mean the design science of permaculture.  Once people have that it will influence them, it will lead them to better choices.  You don’t have to tell them where they are wrong in your view, just show them how to be productive and you will accomplish more.  There have been thousands of people turned off by what most would call “leftist ideology” in permaculture.  Frankly, if you choose one side of the current political spectrum as your platform, you just shut down 50% of your market.  I’d call that cutting off your nose to spite your face.  Let me be clear, it doesn’t matter which side you choose, you cost yourself 50% of your potential market, either way.

The big reason to get off the politics though in permaculture is it works, it converts the unconverted.  To be blunt, when taught pragmatically, permaculture converts the heathens!  Preaching to the converted about things you all agree about does almost nothing to further permaculture thinking and design implementation.  Teaching things like technique, design and function stacking is what does that.  Does it really work?  In early 2013, Geoff Lawton approached me and asked that I promote his online PDC to my audience.  I was happy to do so, well, the results were over 500 registrations out of my audience alone.  The majority of these people are either politically right leaning or are libertarian oriented such as myself.  In other words not the usual suspects.

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About Jack Spirko

Best known for his work as the host of “The Survival Podcast,” a daily online audio program that focuses on modern survival concepts and philosophy. Jack’s podcast teaches skills such as gardening and permaculture, food storage techniques, alternative investing strategies, keeping small livestock, home energy production, food preservation, and creating individual liberty. Jack and his work have been featured in The Dallas Morning News, The Chicago Tribune, Freedom Watch on Fox News and the Mike in the Morning Show. Jack is a contributing editor for Survival.com Magazine and a former staff columnist for LewRockwell.com. Jack has been called “the face of the modern survival movement” by Judge Andrew Napolitano and “the man we should call Spirkodamus for his accuracy in predicting future events” by legendary survival trainer Ron Hood.

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  1. Well said. Some want a religion. Permaculture should be about improvements and eating stuff that is good for you. Follow the basics and the rest will follow.

  2. Thanks for this article, I have been on the fence with some of these topics, but see that there is benefit in becoming more self reliant and reducing my dependency from commercial growers, and big agriculture. I am not all that familiar with the permaculture community, but I can see how things get easily distorted when they tailor the principles to fit their own needs. I am also a strong believer that we each have to take back the responsibility for providing for ourselves and seek our own solutions through community and “Do-acracy”. By doing we are not only showing those that doubt, but we are directly benefiting while those that complain lose credibility.

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