This week I’m going to address the next big problem that I’ve seen with the lack of widespread adoption of permaculture principles and techniques. Last week I put down my musings on making the Permaculture Ethics jive with Traditional Catholic teaching. This week I’m going to rant about the negative impression many people have of permaculture and where I think it all originated. In the spirit of full disclosure I will state that I have never taken a PDC (Permaculture Design Course), and as such am not certified or qualified to state anything that I do or believe is “Permaculture”. I do feel qualified to point out whether something is a technique used in permaculture, and feel more than qualified to state my opinions about what I’ve observed within the permaculture community that I’ve had contact with.
To start off I am going to reiterate that Permaculture is a design science, an ethical framework for decision making. It is not a religion or a philosophy, although some may claim it as such. There are aspects of permaculture that could blur the lines between these categories if you let them, and this is part of what makes permaculture difficult to explain to folks who’s only impression of permaculture practitioners is a bunch of hippies rolling in the mud or sitting around a fire beating on drums and getting high.
With this kind of impression it’s no wonder so many good people, who would otherwise be open to the idea shy so strongly from it. Another issue that I’ve found is that many of these “mud rollers” insist that this is exactly what Permaculture is, and if you disagree they will fight you tooth and nail to prove their point. So may of the “first followers” in the permaculture field were new age, earth worshipers, and old school hippies, that they branded this image onto the burgeoning field. This image coupled with the sometimes militant insistence by these early adopters that they were the personification of permaculture, has dramatically slowed the momentum of mainstream acceptance. I say that there is room for this type of person within the grand umbrella of permaculture, but there is also room for the fourth generation farmer, the conservative suburbanite, or the Traditional Catholic trying to make a go of things on a homestead. This effect can be most dramatically seen amongst traditional, conservative folks, and friends the times they are a changing.
With documented large scale results like the one pictured here, there is no way that people can deny the effectiveness of permaculture techniques. The bad taste left behind by the Earth First crowd is easily washed away as more and more successful farmers make the transition to managing their land and lifestyles in a manner that is more profitable and sustainable through permaculture practices. As more people come to the realization that we were endowed by our creator to better this planet not just reduce our impact the more progress will be made. We have the ability to be a regenerative force on degraded landscapes. God has given us this remarkable mind to be able to observe and interact with the world around us. We need to make the decision to accept our responsibility as a good steward to this planet and move forward into a future of Eden like abundance.
I personally am convinced of the validity of Permaculture as a design science, despite the bad first impression given by so many practitioners. More and more traditional conservative folks are able to look past this and see the value of working within God’s framework to create the abundance he has promised us. More and more instructors are catering to an audience that consists of traditionally minded people who want to live a life of abundance while nurturing the gifts God has given us. For a Traditional Catholic permaculture does make sense, and momentum is picking up! Forward progress toward universal acceptance of permaculture practices grows by leaps and bounds every day. There is no real reason for mainstream acceptance of Permaculture as a science to not move forward.